Analysis of the Theme of Survival in Auschwitz Essay

2577 Words Feb 19th, 2006 11 Pages
Survival in Auschwitz tells of the horrifying and inhuman conditions of life in the Auschwitz death camp as personally witnessed and experienced by the author, Primo Levi. Levi is an Italian Jew and chemist, who at the age of twenty-five, was arrested with an Italian resistance group and sent to the Nazi Auschwitz death camp in Poland in the end of 1943. For ten terrible months, Levi endured the cruel and inhuman death camp where men slaved away until it was time for them to die. Levi thoroughly presents the hopeless existence of the prisoners in Auschwitz, whose most basic human rights were stripped away, when in Chapter 2 he states, "Imagine now a man who is deprived of everyone he loves, and at the same time of his house, his habits, …show more content…
In Chapter 6, Levi tells how Kapos, "beat us from pure bestiality and violence, but others beat us when we are under a load almost lovingly, accompanying the blows with exhortations, as cart-drivers do with willing horses" (67).
A further aspect of Survival in Auschwitz that reinforces the dehumanizing effect of the death camp on the Jewish prisoners is the constant presence of hunger and starvation among the prisoners. Food and its acquisition and consumption are a constant topic that Primo Levi discusses because it constantly occupied the minds of most prisoners. Levi states, "We have learnt the value of food; now we also diligently scrape the bottom of the bowl after the ration and we hold it under our chins when we eat bread so as not to lose the crumbs" (33). Bread and soup are the only things prisoners in the camp receive and whether you are served soup from the top or the bottom is of great importance. The prisoners would try to get soup from the bottom half of the vat because soup from the upper portion is mostly watery broth whereas soup from the bottom portion contains more vegetables pieces (33). The insatiable desire for food would lead prisoners to act in very animalistic ways. Upon waking up in the morning, prisoners would quickly make their beds and then run to the latrines urinating "while they run to save time, because within five minutes begins the

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