Eight Lecture

The eight Primo Levi Lecture was given by Martina Mengoni (Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa) on October 26, 2016, at Cavallerizza Reale in the Great Hall of the University of Turin to a large audience including some classes of the school Liceo Scientifico Niccolò Copernico in Turin.

Primo Levi e i tedeschi / Primo Levi and the Germans has been published by Einaudi in spring 2017.

In If This is a Man Primo Levi describes himself standing in front of the German par excellence, a compendium of every German: Dr Pannwitz, who "sits formidably" behind his "elaborate desk". The chemistry exam on which Levi's survival might depend is about to begin and he expresses his opinion, concise and inevitable, of an entire people: "What we all thought and said of the Germans could be felt at that moment, in an immediate manner."

"I can’t say that I understand the Germans" Primo Levi wrote in the Preface to the German Edition of If This Is a Man, published in 1961. It was a well-funded statement: and yet, during the 1960s (and later), Levi was fully committed in order to reach that aim. New elements contribute to demonstrating it: reading, conferences, public and private debates, even the project of a whole book  – not realized – with all the letters from the West-German readers. For a considerable part of his life of writer, "understanding the Germans" – or, at least, intercepting, meeting, questioning them – was for Levi a daily need and a creative spark.

Primo Levi and the germans

In If This Is a Man, Primo Levi describes himself standing in front of the German par excellence, a compendium of every German: Dr. Pannwitz, who "sits formidably" behind his "elaborate desk." 

Read the anticipations of the Lecture released on

"L'Indice dei libri del mese", XXXIII, 10, ottobre 2016

"Pagine ebraiche", 10, ottobre 2016

"Primo Levi e i tedeschi": dibattito con gli studenti

Il 27 ottobre 2016, presso la sala conferenze di Palazzo San Celso, la relatrice dell'ottava Lezione Primo Levi, Martina Mengoni, ha risposto alle domande degli studenti del Liceo Scientifico Niccolò Copernico di Torino.