The Gray Zone by Primo Levi

745 Words Feb 6th, 2014 3 Pages
The Gray Zone by Primo Levi – Summary
In the chapter, the gray zone, the author Primo Levi describes the human relationships inside the Lager. In describing the gray zone, Levi discusses the different roles of prisoners assigned by the Nazi. The prisoners that did the work were seen as being more privileged which at the end of the day helped them get more food and live better. Therefore, the concept of the gray zone is analyzing the difference between the privileged and the non-privileged in the Lager. The difference can be seen by the tasks that the prisoners carried out, for example, one of the groups were seen as, “Low ranking functionaries... sweepers, kettle washers, night watchmen, bed smoothers... checkers of lice and scabies,
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Also he mentions since there were many implications that took part in the lager these events could have taken place anywhere else in the world.

Terrence Des Pres, The Survivor Summary

The Survivor by Terrence Des Pres discusses how prisoners survived in poor living conditions in the Warsaw Ghetto. He defines a survivor as, “…any man or women striving to keep life and spirit intact – not only those who returned, but the hundreds of thousands who stayed alive sometimes for years, only to die at the last minute.” He describes the experience in the Ghetto where it was possible to survive with the collective efforts of others, which is the opposite of how Primo Levi described it. Survivors experienced help from each other such as gifts of food from friends and family. People were willing to give up their valuables for the better of others. With these little gestures people felt better and more rich about their experience which helped lighten the mood in the Ghetto. However, thousands still died every day at Treblinka, a concentration camp in Poland. “At the peak of operations, 15,000 men, women and children died there each day. Death on that scale took enormous labor, and towards the end, when the SS began to fear discovery, the mass graves were opened and the rotting bodies burned.” The Sonderkommando, a group of prisoners, were responsible of disposing bodies of other prisoners. The purpose of surviving till the end was to tell