May 1, 2010
The Drowned and the Saved
Primo Levi’s last book, The Drowned and the Saved, not only commemorates his time spent at Auschwitz concentration camp, but also analyzes the situations that happened to him and his fellow prisoners. The book gives sight to what was going on in the lives of all parties involved and how each has evolved into what they are today. The purpose of Levi’s book was for his audience to realize that even in our modern world, something tragic like the Holocaust can occur again.
In the beginning of his book, Levi focuses on people’s memories of what happened. Every side seems to have a justification to their actions. In today’s world, audiences cannot understand why a Nazi could say he/she was just doing their job. Primo Levi’s goes into detail describing how people cannot face such awful facts in their life and so they create new memories. In the end, the lies become truth and then no one can know the whole truth.
People today feel as if things need to be put into categories. But when it comes to things such as war, politics, and the Holocaust; things need two sides. Levi points out how this is not possible in the chapter, The Grey Zone. How was the villain and who were the innocent becomes blurred. Living in a totalitarian state means that people will do whatever they have to do survive and will ask questions later. If they even ask questions at all. People like the sonderkommando and the prisoners in charge of blocks were privileged. They were allowed to live more comfortably than everyone else, but they had to punish their fellow prisoners. That leads one to question how one prisoner could harm another. But when it comes to survival, Levi points out how people will do what it takes and bury their memories to a place where they cannot be found.
However, even the memories we as humans bury so deep, we feel as if they cannot appear in our lives again, they do. Survivors have daily reminders of what...
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