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Book Review of Survival In Auschwitz

Survival In Auschwitz
reviewed on + 44 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4


As I grow older, I realize that some of the most moving events in life are ones that take place in an instant. One of those moments for me was when I visited the concentration camp at Dachau when I was 16 years old. I will always remember the inhumanity mankind was capable of as I saw the photos of the prisoners at the museum and gawked at the âArbeit Macht Freiâ written in steel over a gate. To be honest, I had never heard of Primo Levi nor was I aware of this book, but when I found it, I was excited to hear a first hand account of a survivor's experience in a German Concentration Camp. I was hoping to get a perspective on the holocaust that I did not see and feel at Dachau.

Primo Levi was young chemist from the Turin area of Italy. At the age of 24, Primo was captured by the Fascist Militia and was eventually deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp as an Italian Jew. There, he spent 11 months in the concentration camp until the camp was liberated by the Russian military in late January of 1945.

Survival In Auschwitz is a great book on the experience of surviving in a concentration camp. If you are looking for a book that provides details of bloody torture and beatings, this is not it. While the inhumane treatment and torture is everywhere in the book, it is not of the âblood and gutsâ variety that the modern generation may be used to after watching years of action movies. The author is incredibly detached when describing events that happen around the camp (the author describes that you have to do this to survive in such an unpredictable and harsh environment). Sometimes when the author is describing horrific events, it is as bland as describing what he had for breakfast that morning.

I found this to be an excellent book on life in a concentration camp. The author tells of the few good times in the camp such as being picked for indoor work detail or finding an abandoned pot of soup that yields an extra cup or two. The author tells of the lows such as watching friends, good men who are marched off to be killed. The book describes policies and politics amongst the prisoners. The entire book does lack emotion, but as I said before, the author explains emotions have no place in the camp. The only thing I disliked about the version of the book I read is that there were a number of languages used (German, French, Italian, and a few others). Many of the phrases were not translated into English. I was not always near a computer where I could Google the foreign phrases, so many times their meaning were lost to me.

Survival in Auschwitz is an excellent narrative of life in a German concentration camp. If you are interested in what it was like to live and survive in the camp, this is the book for you. If you are looking for a bloody, gory tale of how prisoners were treated and killed, then pass on this book. Overall, I highly recommend this book. It not only outlines how cruel mankind can be, but also demonstrates the crushing blows a person can take physically and mentally and still persevere.