In Primo Levi’s Survival In Auschwitz, an autobiographical account of the author’s holocaust experience, the concept of home takes on various forms and meanings. Levi writes about his experience as an Italian Jew in the holocaust. We learn about his journey to Auschwitz, his captivity and ultimate return home. This paper explores the idea of home throughout the work. As a concept, it symbolizes the past, future and a part of Levi’s identity. I also respond to the concept of home in Survival In Auschwitz by comparing it to my own idea and what home means to me – a place of stability and reflection that remains a constant in my changing life.
In Levis description of his journey to Auschwitz, home gradually becomes a symbol of the past. As a young Jewish chemist, participating in the anti fascist movement, Levi was arrested in Italy and eventually taken to the concentration camp, Auschwitz. As he is about to board the train to the camp, ...view middle of the document...
Identity and home seem inextricably linked in his case, as home exists as a part of his identity. Levi writes that when a man loses "his house, his habits, his clothes, in short, of everything he possesses: he will be a hollow man, reduced to suffering and needs…for he who loses often easily loses himself” (20). During his time at the camp, home is reduced to a memory and an unlikely part of his future, a place he wishes he could return.
It is place that Levi is taken away from, but attempts to cling to emotionally.
When Levi ultimately returns home, he reflects on his experience as a holocaust survivor and writes this autobiography. The concept of home in Survival in Auschwitz is characterized as a place of the past, one that Levi no longer inhabits and is a part of, as well as a place in the future from where Levi ultimately reflects on his experience in the holocaust. Although I cannot relate to Levi’s torturous and life altering experience, I can relate to this definition of home as a place of the past and the future, where I return to as a different person each time, and reflect on the time I have spent away from it.
I left my past, and what felt like my entire life, for college. I take comfort in knowing that I will be able to return home one day and carry on with my life like I did during my childhood. I’m forever blessed and thankful for being able to see the world outside my comfortable boundaries, and my future is also something I consider on a daily basis. My home means everything to me and I am constantly thinking about people, places, and experiences I will have there when move back. For Instance, when I left for college and then returned home, I saw and felt changes in the people around me, who do not always feel or act quite the same. It makes me believe that I have changed as well. When I consider my own life, I feel as though the concept of home expressed in Survival in Auschwitz can be seen beyond the context of Levi’s experience. In my opinion, it is a profound understanding of the meaning of home, which can be applied to cases vastly different that of Levi, such as my own.