Levi Primo was among the prisoners whose the most important things that they were worried about was their personal survival. Survival made difficult by everything that surrounded them from the Italian and German guards to officers that were in the top leadership. Later on, Levi came to learn that an individual is supposed to pursue his own ends using every possible means in order to survive. Levi began practicing how to survive the hard times even before he was brought to Auschwitz when he avoided pointing out that he was a political rebel. To him, being deported to the camp was a privilege because he knew that the Government was increasing the lifespan of the prisoners rather than eliminating them. Conditions at the camp were worse, Levi points out that everything was forbidden in the camp and that made him more sensitive and learn anything that would help him survive. Levi learns to survive by being quick to learn everything that was required for the prisoners and other additional means to survive. His skills as a chemist provides various survival chances. Contracting scarlet fever was also another chance to survive and keep his life as analyzed in this paper.
On the December of 1943, Primo Levi was captured by Fascist Militia. Primo Levi was a political rebel who believed that if he confessed that he was a rebel, he would be tortured to death. He knew that the people capturing them had no humanity and did not care whether individuals lived or not.
“During the interrogations that followed, I preferred to admit my status of ‘Italian Citizen of Jewish race’. I felt that otherwise, I would be unable to justify my presence in places too secluded even for an evacuee…” (Levi, 1996, pg.13).
Though Levi was right that he was an Italian, his statement of being an Italian citizen was meant for his survival. He had seen and heard how the others were mistreated and most of them killed for rebelling. Levi wanted to survive to be together with the other Jews with the hope that he would help them survive the whole thing. Of course no one can help if he/she is dead, survival gives an individual the chance to do more.
Levi saw it a privilege being alive. In the book he states,
“…it was my good fortune to be deported to Auschwitz only in 1944, that is, after the German Government had decided, owing to the growing scarcity of labour, to lengthen the average lifespan of the prisoners destined for elimination” (Levi, 1996, pg.7).
Levi along with other Jews were transported with the train to the new habitat. Although they did not love the whole idea of how they were being treated, the fact that they had more days to remain alive made Levi satisfied and filled him with hope for a few more days. Survival was important for all those Italian Jews.
At the camp in Auschwitz, it was difficult for the captives to survive. For instance, there was a water faucet but there was a warning that hindered all prisoners against drinking it. In the text, Levi points,
“…in this place everything is forbidden, not for hidden reasons, but because the camp has been created for that purpose. If one wants to live one must learn this quickly and well: ‘No Sacred face will help thee here!” (Levi, 1996, pg.29).
I think it was like a prison which are created with the purpose of restricting individuals from a lot. There are so many conditions that the inmates are exposed to. The camp at Auschwitz was no ordinary prison because even the survival of an individual was by lack. As the warning went by, Levi was quick to understand that there was nothing around to save them even from the face of death. When he was thirsty and required water to quench the thirst, he knew that he would only get it from soup, which was also rarely provided.
Everyone in the camp worried about their own survival. Every Italian Jews at the camp did not want to engage in anything that put their lives in danger. mectizan 3mg tablets For instance, Null Achtzehn was a young guy who was considered by the others dangerous and completely indifferent. However, Primo was comfortable working with him. No one also wanted to work with Primo because they considered him weak and klutzy. Each one wanted to remain alive and survive. Primo was no different, at some point, some trucks stopped near where Primo was working and at a moment he fantasized about escaping with one of those trucks. However, he was hurt by a heavy load that cut his leg, “He cannot escape if they run after him; his feet swell…” (Levi, 1996, pg. how much ivermectin do i give my goat 35). Any individual who is held captive gets the thought of escaping once a chance presents itself just like Primo felt.
The Germans made the life of the prisoners at the camp difficult to survive. For instance, when Primo lines with the others at the Ka-Be where he goes to seek treatment for his cut foot, the guards take away his bowl, gloves, spoon and hat. kop scabo Some of the prisoners laughed at him because he had not learnt all ways of surviving in the camp. They knew that one has to leave such belongings to someone or even hide them while reporting to the clinic. These few belongings were some of the few things that gave him the hope of surviving the harsh treatment of the Germans. Later on when he gets another set, he learns to take care of them for his survival, at some point in the book, Primo states,
“…I manage miraculously to take off my shoes and rags without losing any of them, without letting my bowl and gloves be stolen, without losing my balance and keeping my beret in my hand all the time, as for no reason…”
Primo Levi had so many opportunities that helped him to survive due to the fact that he was a chemist. This also brought moments of joy which broke despair while he was in the camp. Within the ten months while at the camp in Auschwitz, Primo recounts different moments which were luck as a result of his skills. Being a chemist physically allowed him to survive. His chemistry talent made him obtain one of the three positions that were open. The position helped him to “suffer neither hunger nor cold this winter” and to be “the object of envy of all the ten thousand condemned” (Levi, 1996, pg.140). The specialist position gave Primo the advantage over all the other Jews in the camp in that there were more chances of survival for him. Positions present power even in the modern world. Individuals with power are able to accomplish much more than those who do not have. For instance, Primo was got scraps and food from Lorenzo.
Good relationships with other individuals as a result of being a chemist was luck to Levi, just like he was fortunate to contract scarlet fever within the end of 1944. The sickness brought Primo luck because he was in Krankenbau, the hospital barrack, when there was a collapse at Auschwitz. Many individuals died shortly after evacuation in the harsh weather during the winter. Apart from that instance, Primo developed a lot of skills that helped him survive during that time they spend in the camp. The skills increased his survival chances on daily basis, for instance, “his collection of belongings which comprised of small tools that he used to fashion knick-knacks which could be traded for other necessities or food” (Levi, 1996, pg.151).
In conclusion, Levi clearly describes how prisoners lost their inclination to hope, intelligent thought and past memories. There was mental and personal loss of identity combined with physical stress for everyone within the camp. However, these made Levi more sensitive and he realized that they were weaknesses that would not have led to his survival. His chances of survival increased on daily basis since he was deported in the Auschwitz camp. He began by learning a lot from the warnings that were in the camp and later the unwritten rules that the guards made sure were followed such as hiding the few small belongings while in the clinic. Levi’s skills as a chemist gave him a position of power that made most individuals within the camp help him to survive.
Levi, P. (1996). Survival in Auschwitz .The Nazi Assault on humanity. New York. Simon & Schuster.