Centro Internazionale di Studi Primo Levi > Web > English > Contents > Auschwitz


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    Deportation and the Concentration Camps


    174517 was the number that was tattooed on Primo Levi’s left forearm in February 1944, when he entered the Auschwitz extermination camp. He was detained for eleven months until his liberation on January 27 1945 by the Russian army. Levi gave an account of that experience and of the conditions of the Lager right after the war in his book If This is a Man. However, this became the focus of his thoughts and his commitment to direct testimony, especially in his relationship with young people, his whole life long. This culminated in the publication of The Drowned and the Saved, a kind of summing up of the studies and reflections of 40 years. Levi had to have unmistakable original characteristics in order to tell the story of the Shoah. At the same time, this task was an essential test of his skills as a writer, thinker, and man.


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