Primo Levi: The Language of Witness. Unlocking the identity, politics and power behind the words of a survivor. Primo Levi – the man. Born an Italian Jew in a time of political unrest in Turin. Turinese Jews were small in number (under 4,000) and remained a fairly closed community.
Unlocking the identity, politics and power behind the words of a survivor
“. . . Nothing could ever happen good and pure enough to rub out the past, and the scars of the outrage would remain with us forever.”-- Primo Levi, from The Reawakening.Levi lived and died in the shadow of this belief by having his prisoner number 174517 put on his gravestone as a testament to its indelible quality of the past.Levi committed suicide by throwing himself down a stairwell in 1987
“I must repeat: we, the survivors, are not the true witnesses. . . we are those who by their prevarications or abilities or good luck did not touch bottom. Those who did so, those who saw the Gorgon, have not returned to tell about it or have returned mute, but they are . . . the complete witnesses. . . We are the exception.”-- Primo Levi, The Drowned and the Saved, page 83-84.