The writing is beautiful and also brutal. I feel this is the gold standard for all memoirs about surviving the unsurvivable. A must-read if you truly want to attempt to understand what happened in the camps and how hard it was to come back afterwards. This volume consists, in fact, of two books otherwise titled Survival in Auschwitz and The Reawakening when sold separately. The first book, If This Is A Man is the harrowing story of his capture, the journey to Auschwitz, his life in the camp and how he survived until the Liberation of 29 January by the Russians. It is all described with a detached humanism, never flinching at the violence, but with a gift of description and analogy.
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Share via Email Wit and endurance … Primo Levi. They will even take away our name: and if we want to keep it, we will have to find our strength to do so, to manage somehow so that behind the name something of us, of us as we were, still remains.
My name is But it also required stubborn resistance. But he has been hollowed out by hunger, toil and unremitting horror. His sense of self has been undermined by mental and bodily weakness and the moral compromises needed for survival. If This Is a Man finishes with Levi in a kind of perilous limbo. The last pages are strange and abrupt. The Russians arrive as Levi and a companion — Charles — are carrying a corpse outside their hut.
They tip over the stretcher. The Truce is full of wonder. Early on, for instance, Levi crashes down to sleep in a telegraph hut by a railway line. And it keeps on getting better from there. In the latter, there was the numbing, frightening sense that Levi had no choice but to scour his surroundings for every detail that could change his ability to survive. In The Truce, we see a new curiosity awakening as Levi delights in his surroundings.
The Truce even takes on a picaresque quality, with its hero providing a rich variety of wry character sketches and fascinated depictions of lands and peoples. But there are also harsh jolts of reality: many nights spent in stalled railway carriages, forced break-ins to ramshackle refugee camps, numerous uncertainties and dangers. Sometimes Levi reminds us of the camp to show us how its cruel systems have disappeared. Barbed wire fences have holes.
The soldiers he encounters are drunk, asleep or cheerily helpful. The ruthless efficiency of the kapos and SS has been replaced by local bureaucracies that are confused, slapdash, unpredictable. Crucially, this time, the train takes him away and out of danger. There is plenty of himself that remains and plenty that he has regained. He has clothes, shoes, a name.
But a profound darkness hangs over the book. Levi reminds us at the end that he is one of only three making this journey away from Auschwitz; when he was sent there, he was one among In the last pages he recounts a terrifying recurring dream within a dream, in which his new, light-filled life is a dream he is having in the camp.
The final word in the book is chilling.
The Truce: how Primo Levi rediscovered humanity after Auschwitz
Note: the national borders are the current ones. Here people and landscapes come vividly alive in a bizarre, often comical series of events and human encounters; a truly remarkable tale. You remember Mordo Nahum? I had mixed feelings toward him. I admired him as a man fit for every situation. But of course he was very cruel to me. He despised me because I was not able to manage.
[PDF] If This Is a Man / The Truce Book by Primo Levi Free Download (419 pages)