And I also know how important it is in life not necessarily to be strong but to feel strong, to measure yourself at least once, to find yourself at least once in the most ancient of human conditions, facing blind, deaf stone alone, with nothing to help you but your own hands and your own head...”, “I am constantly amazed by man's inhumanity to man.”, “Sooner or later in life everyone discovers that perfect happiness is unrealizable, but there are few who pause to consider the antithesis: that perfect unhappiness is equally unattainable. Everyone dreamed past and future dreams, of slavery and redemption, of improbable paradises, of equally mythical and improbable enemies; cosmic enemies, perverse and subtle, who pervade everything like the air.”, “In order for the wheel to turn, for life to be lived, impurities are needed, and the impurities of impurities in the soil, too, as is known, if it is to be fertile. In Auschwitz, all the ritual humiliations appeared as if designed to hasten the prisoner’s descent to what Levi termed “the bottom”. Levi does not declare his position, but the meaning of his inability to agree with Steinlauf, an intuitive insight he keeps referring to, becomes ever clearer in his later work. .. because it means that I have to translate his uncertain Italian and his quiet manner of speaking of a good soldier into my ... Kuhn is out of his senses. Go through these quotes by Primo Levi which reflects his pains, miseries and positive approach towards life. The book provides an account of Primo Levi’s survival in Auschwitz. It is providential and is our means of surviving in the camp. LINK/CITE. The memories which lie within us are not carved in stone; not only do they tend to become erased as the years go by, but often they change, or even increase by incorporating extraneous features. “An enemy who sees the error of his ways ceases to be an enemy.”, “Then for the first time we became aware that our language lacks words to express this offence, the demolition of a man. We're taking off our kid gloves and pulling precisely zero punches: this one's not at all easy to read. Share. Levi states that thus far he has only described the workings of life itself in the Lager, but now he would like to offer his own analysis.In his eyes, “the Lager was pre-eminently a gigantic biological and social experiment,” since many men of different languages and traditions have been thrust together, left to survive or die by their own means. Quotes. Testimony is then not the goal of survival but its justification, one bears it, but it justifies and redeems nothing: He says that Lorenzo's "humanity was pure and uncontaminated" and that because of him he "managed not to forget that [he himself] was a man" (12.24). What does primo mean? Paglietta, poor woman, was little less than a lusus naturae: she was small, without breasts or hips, waxen, wilted, and monstrously myopic; she wore glasses so thick and concave that, looking at her head-on, her eyes, light blue, almost white, seemed very far away, stuck at the back of her cranium. More dangerous are the common men, the functionaries ready to believe and to act without asking questions.”, “Perfection belongs to narrated events, not to those we live.”, “The aims of life are the best defense against death.”, “...the sea's only gifts are harsh blows and, occasionally, the chance to feel strong. Primo Levi (Turijn, 31 juli 1919 – aldaar, 11 april 1987) was een Joods-Italiaans schrijver van korte verhalen, romans, essays en gedichten. Goodreads helps you follow your favorite authors. His subject may be humanity in extremis, but it is still humanity ), The Periodic Table (1975, 1984), 227-228. 310 quotes from Primo Levi: 'Monsters exist, but they are too few in number to be truly dangerous. Primo Michele Levi (Italian: [ˈpriːmo ˈlɛːvi]; 31 July 1919 – 11 April 1987) was an Italian Jewish chemist, partisan, Holocaust survivor and writer. Yet Levi’s magnificent testimony of the Lager, Se questo è un uomo (If This is a Man) – which he would compose in the immediate aftermath of the resumption of his life in Turin, and which was first published 70 years ago in 1947, making it one of the earliest eyewitness accounts we have – is far from a heroic description of his “survival in Auschwitz” (as the American title given to his text would have it). It is that which at this instant, issuing out of a labyrinthine tangle of yeses and nos, makes my hand run along a certain path on the paper, mark it with these volutes that are signs: a double snap, up and down, between two levels of energy, guides this hand of mine to impress on the paper this dot, here, this one.”, “I live in my house as I live inside my skin: I know more beautiful, more ample, more sturdy and more picturesque skins: but it would seem to me unnatural to exchange them for mine.”, “Our ignorance allowed us to live, as you are in the mountains, and your rope is frayed and about to break, but you don't know it and feel safe.”, “... how important it is in life not necessarily to be strong but to feel strong, to measure yourself at least once, to find yourself at least once...”, “If it is true that there is no greater sorrow than to remember a, “We must be listened to: above and beyond our personal experience, we have collectively witnessed a fundamental unexpected event, fundamental precisely because unexpected, not foreseen by anyone. Two months later, following the inspection of a small squad of German SS men, he was loaded onto a train, together with all the other Jewish members of the camp, for expatriation from the Republic altogether. Tags: Levi, Primo. Primo Levi does a great job describing in emotional detail of what his arrival was like. - quote by Primo Levi on YourDictionary. This article was originally published on The Conversation. Levi Primo and Raymond Rosenthal (trans. For the description of what Levi calls the “ambiguous life of the Lager” alters our understanding of the very structure of witnessing. It can happen, and it can happen everywhere.”. We are slaves, 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.”, “Those who deny Auschwitz would be ready to remake it.”, “A country is considered the more civilised the more the wisdom and efficiency of its laws hinder a weak man from becoming too weak and a powerful one too powerful.”, “I too entered the Lager as a nonbeliever, and as a nonbeliever I was liberated and have lived to this day.”, “This cell belongs to a brain, and it is my brain, the brain of me who is writing; and the cell in question, and within it the atom in question, is in charge of my writing, in a gigantic minuscule game which nobody has yet described. Does … As Levi insists, words such as good and evil, just and unjust, quickly cease to have any meaning on this side of the barbed wire. Credit: Logaritmo/Wikimedia Commons. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. But this process was especially accelerated in the case of those he called the drowned: “they followed the slope down to the bottom, like streams that run down to the sea”. Credit: Logaritmo/Wikimedia Commons When he was captured by the Fascist militia in December, 1943, Primo Levi (1919-1987) preferred to declare his … With characteristic, but unsettling irony, it is the word fortune that appears instead in the very first sentence of his text (“It was my good fortune to be deported to Auschwitz only in 1944…”) and that sets the tone for all that follows. And this is the reason why so often in free life one hears it said that man is never content. Indeed, what is striking about Levi’s contribution, still today, is the conspicuous absence of a heroic register from its pages, whose appropriateness in this context – which is in large part what Levi teaches us – must surely be as questionable as the temptation to invoke it is strong. Because of this insight, Primo maintains his friendship with Alberto, and the pair share equally everything they get. Yet far from invalidating the survivor’s testimony this made it all the more urgent. In the next paragraph, Primo Levi says “We looked at each other without a word. 32199 of 42574. “Consider if this is a man…”: the imperative issued by Levi’s text is thus not that one should persist in seeing the human in the inhuman. Levi received his Bachelor … Primo Levi is describing his arrival at Auschwitz. Primo Levi (1919-1987), Italian chemist, author. Italian-Jewish chemist Primo Levi survived a year at Auschwitz against all odds. 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