Survival In Auschwitz By Primo Levi

1007 words - 4 pages

Primo Levi, in his novel Survival in Auschwitz (2008), illustrates the atrocities inflicted upon the prisoners of the concentration camp by the Schutzstaffel, through dehumanization. Levi describes “the denial of humanness” constantly forced upon the prisoners through similes, metaphors, and imagery of animalistic and mechanistic dehumanization (“Dehumanization”). He makes his readers aware of the cruel reality in the concentration camp in order to help them examine the psychological effects dehumanization has not only on those dehumanized, but also on those who dehumanize. He establishes an earnest and reflective tone with his audience yearning to grasp the reality of genocide.
In Survival in Auschwitz, Primo Levi laments that men become “hollow” when deprived of everything they “love [and] possess” (Survival 27). He uses several similes comparing the men to animals which proves how their brutal treatment by the Schutzstaffel has dehumanized them. As Levi describes how he and the other inmates laboriously work in the Chemical Kommando, he states “Elias climbs like a monkey” (Survival 96). By comparing the way Elias climbs to a monkey, on all fours, it is apparent that he has lost his humanness. His behavior is likened to that of an animal which depicts the psychological damage subjected upon the inmates. A fight occurs in the camp and Levi portrays Elias’ punch “as powerful and accurate as a catapult” (Survival 96). This form of mechanistic dehumanization construes Elias “as cold, rigid, [and] interchangeable” as a result of their oppression (“Dehumanization”). Furthermore, Levi frequently refers to the inmates as “beasts” throughout the novel, especially when subjected to brutal violence by the Schutzstaffel (Survival 117). Because the Schutzstaffel treat them as subhuman and more like animals, they act as inhumanly depraved people. Levi’s ability to demonstrate the adversities of their oppression illustrates the dehumanization of the prisoners.
The inmates eat soup while in the camp. When the time comes for them to get their bowls filled, Levi professes they “have an animal hurry” to consume their food (Survival 69). This metaphor suggests the men’s animalistic behavior due to their severe thirst and hunger. The concept of dehumanization carried out by the Schutzstaffel primarily targets the prisoners‘ “identity” and “community” (“Dehumanization”). Each man’s struggle to survive in Auschwitz depends on their principal focus of themselves. They can “no longer elicit compassion or other moral responses”, every man endures on his own, and they cannot think of others. Ironically, waiting around to pass time satisfies the inmates; “ [they] are always happy to wait” (Survival 104). Levi rationalizes their content when Alex tells them to wait and says they have “the complete obtuse inertia of spiders in old webs” (Survival 104). He compares his Kommando to spiders, as they sit lifelessly, trapped in an abandoned labyrinth. The action of...

Find Another Essay On Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi

It was pure chance that enabled Primo Levi to survive Auschwitz. Evaluate. Levi, P "If This is a Man", Abacus, London, UK (2004)

972 words - 4 pages Although Primo Levi was the recipient of good fortune, he fundamentally survived Auschwitz because of resourceful improvisation and his ability to maintain a sense of humanity. Levi was not a particularly strong and capable prisoner and could easily have become a 'muselmann'. However, he was able to overcome his physical weaknesses by using his initiative to survive the brutality of the Lager. "To escape from Auschwitz was no small fortune" (p

Survival In Auschwitz Essay

1688 words - 7 pages Levi, Primo. Survival in Auschwitz; The Nazi Assault on Humanity. 1st edition. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1996. I. Survival in Auschwitz is the unique autobiographical account of how a young man endured the atrocities of a Nazi death camp and lived to tell the tale. Primo Levi, a 24-year-old Jewish chemist from Turin Italy, was captured by the fascist militia in December 1943 and deported to Camp Buna-Monowitz in Auschwitz

Survival In Auschwitz

540 words - 2 pages      “Imagine now a man who is deprived of everyone he loves, and at the same time of his house, his habits, his clothes, in short, of everything he possesses: he will be a hollow man, reduced to suffering and needs, forgetful of dignity and restraint, for he who loses all often easily loses himself.” This short quote is taken from Primo Levi’s “Survival in Auschwitz”. It depicts a true story of Primo Levi during the

Survival in the Wild Children by Felice Holman

836 words - 4 pages they can to guarantee survival for each other if not themselves. This inhumane act of survival suggests their insensitivity of finding food to survive. Another key component that keeps the band and each other alive is their contribution to their survival working together. For instance, on page 40, “ This one is Boris.. He’s in charge of food today… You earn your share by staying here and keeping a fire lit.” This implies that, each member has a

Themes of Survival in Lord Of The Flies by William Golding

540 words - 2 pages Lord of the Flies is a modern classic by William Golding set during WWII. The book is about a group of 12-year-old boys who have been evacuated onto an island as their aeroplane is shot down near Spain. Nobody knows where they are, and their only hope of getting off the island is to send signals and survive for themselves. The fruit that grows on the island isn't edible, and they eat vegetables and fish. There are many themes in this book, and

Survival in One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Solzhenitsyn and The Metamorphosis by Kafka

2039 words - 8 pages Survival in One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Solzhenitsyn and The Metamorphosis by Kafka In both One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, written by Solzhenitsyn, and The Metamorphosis, written by Kafka, there were struggles

Surviving Auschwitz

1486 words - 6 pages From the first sentence of the Preface to Survival in Auschwitz, we learn that Primo Levi attributes his survival in the concentration camp to luck, or his “good fortune to be deported to Auschwitz only in 1944” (9). It was because of luck that Levi had a chemistry background, qualifying him to spend portions of the day during the most brutal months of his last winter in Auschwitz in the chemistry laboratory, and because of luck that he formed


1131 words - 5 pages details of the emotional mutilation and the impact Auschwitz had on the human body and mind. Primo Levi, a survivor of Auschwitz, recalls his ten months being held as a prisoner in the death camp in his memoir Survival in Auschwitz. Elie Wiesel provides a horrific autobiographical account of his time spent in the death camp in Night and writes historical fiction novels based on his experiences. Situated in the midst of Polish territory captured

The Journey

907 words - 4 pages "The Journey" is the first chapter in the book called Survival in Auschwitz, written by Primo Levi; which originally appeared in English under the title If This Is a Man in 1958. This first chapter brings you through Levi's journey from Turin, Italy to the work camp, Auschwitz, while detailing the routine of blatant inhumanity. The chapter begins as Levi states the fact that he was captured by the Fascist Militia when he was 24, only after

Bare Witness

1737 words - 7 pages , deprived of every right, exposed to every insult, condemned to certain death, but we still possess one power, and we must defend it with all our strength for it is the last – the power to refuse our consent.” – Primo Levi, Survival in Auschwitz. Just like Primo Levi, many Holocaust survivors wrote books to keep their memory alive. Ernest W. Michel is a Holocaust survivor that his calligraphy skills saved his life. As he was walking to the gas chamber

The ways in which the Häftlinge in Primo Levi's 'If This is a Man' and zeks in Alexander Solzhenitsyn's 'Ivan Denisovich' overcome the dehumanisation through the formation of friendships

1511 words - 6 pages Both 'One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich' by Alexander Solzhenitsyn and 'If This is a Man' by Primo Levi are books written about one of the most horrific features of the twentieth century - forced labour camps. Although the authors describe different types of camps with different regimes, their stories are very similar in one aspect. Both of them write about the degradation of the human soul as a result of the harsh conditions in the camp

Similar Essays

If This Is A Man By Primo Levi, Survival In Auschwitz

1306 words - 5 pages Ever since the holocaust occurred, it is attested that morality is submissive in severe conditions. Morality stopped to be contained by the barbed wires of the concentration camps. Inside the camps, inmates were not dealt like human beings and thus abided by animal-like actions needed to subsist. In his autobiographical novel Se questo è un uomo (If This Is a Man or Survival in Auschwitz), the “ordinary moral world” (86), as Primo Levi calls it

Primo Levi's Survival In Auschwitz Essay

1638 words - 7 pages Primo Levi's Survival in Auschwitz Reading the novel Survival in Auschwitz by author Primo Levi leads one to wonder whether his survival is attributed to his indefinite will to survive or a very subservient streak of luck. Throughout the novel, he is time and again spared from the fate that supposedly lies ahead of all inhabitants of the death camp at Auschwitz. Whether it was falling ill at the most convenient times or coming in

The Holocaust And Dehumanization In Primo Levi's Survival In Auschwitz

3239 words - 13 pages Auschwitz. The psychological survival of man became the true standard of a man's strength.Humanity was forever changed by the Holocaust and Primo Levi's work is an essential part in supporting that change and shedding light onto it. Through Hitler's rule, ethics, morality, humanity, and sanity were all notions of curiosity. Levi takes readers through the life of Jew in an extermination camp in a way that addresses all of those notions, speaking to the

To What Extent Will Man Go To Ensure His Survival? Explore With References To 'if This Is A Man' By Primo Levi.

1368 words - 5 pages In 'If this is a man' by Primo Levi the male inmates vary greatly, yet each goes to great lengths trying to ensure his survival. Each has different ways in which he tries to survive, depending on the personality of the individual. In life there always comes a point in which the circumstances are so horrific that ones survival instincts take over and any act, no matter how horrific, is then considered normal as long as one survive and so morals