Summary of Survival In Auschwitz by Primo Levi

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In Survival In Auschwitz, Primo Levi details his experience of life inside of Auschwitz and as a Holocaust survivor. Levi was a twenty-five year old chemist who was involved in the anti-Fascist movement in Italy. In late 1943, Levi was captured and sent to Auschwitz, where he stayed for the remainder of the war. Survival in Auschwitz is a bitter account, drenched and coated in pain, hunger, and cold. Prisoners are gradually dehumanised into Haftlinge who are only concerned with their own existence, and, at times, barely that. Levi describes the endless lengths Haftlinge go to ensure that they keep whatever meagre possessions they have and the vigilant calculations they must make to try to boost their miserable chances of emerging alive. The camps of Auschwitz were labour camps. Levi’s recount of the experience of labour in Auschwitz relates to Karl Marx’s discussion of the levels of estrangement and alienation of labour on many levels. Despite the fact that the prisoners in Auschwitz were treated inhumanely and barbarically, modernity was a necessary condition for the Holocaust to have occurred. According to Bauman, the Holocaust was a consequence of Enlightenment thinking. The Germans created and engineered a scientific way of killing thousands of people at once. The estrangement of men from men occurred during these mass exterminations. While not unique to the Holocaust, the SS members leading the exterminations were following orders of a higher authority, and the

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