The Journey Essay

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 being forced to flee into the mountains because of his segregated life filled with racial laws. The night he was captured, three fascist militia companies broke into their refuge and took him as a suspect person. While being interrogated, Levi decided to admit that he was an `Italian citizen of the Jewish race', instead of the fact that he was involved with politics, figuring he would be spared from the torture and certain death being a rebellious politician would bring.

After being interrogated by the Fascist Militia, Levi and the others were sent to Fossoli, a vast detention camp. When he arrived at the end of January 1944, he found himself amidst about one hundred and fifty `Italian Jews' no different than himself.

On February 20th, the Germans inspected the camp Levi was at and gave hope to the prisoners by scolding the commissar for the defective organization of the kitchen service; and by stating that and infirmary would soon be opened. The next morning, Levis camp learned that all of the Jews would be leaving. They were not told their destination; only that they should be prepared for a fortnight of travel.

Later that night, everyone seemed to take a break from normal life and they did things that made them happy. Some people prayed, some drank, but the mothers all stayed up and prepared their children, in every way, for this journey they would take the following day. The morning came quickly, emotions ran high, and after a night of panic, everyone realized they said and did things they wished they hadn't, but the morning continued on.

Suddenly the Germans held the roll-call. When completed, the officer asked the question `How Many?' The corporal replied that there were 650 pieces, and that everything was in order. From there, the humans, who had just been referred to as `pieces' were loaded onto busses and brought to a waiting train, this is where they received their first blows, the captives had to question themselves as of how these men can hit them without anger. Waiting for them were twelve goods wagons, the notorious transport trains, which would never return. Men, women, and children were herded inside and pressed...

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