Resources on Faith, Ethics and Public Life

Primo Levi

This individual is not a direct affiliate of the Berkley Center.

Primo Levi was an award-winning Jewish writer, chemist, and Holocaust survivor. Born in Italy, in 1943 he was working in a pharmaceutical lab when the Germans invaded Italy, which prompted him to join the partisans to fight the fascists. After being betrayed by a fellow partisan, Levi was arrested and deported to Auschwitz, where he was interned for 10 months. In 1945, Levi was liberated and returned to Milan, resuming his career as a chemist. In 1977, he retired and devoted his life to writing. Levi’s accounts of the Holocaust are commended for their candor and unadulterated style, as well as his clear, concise, and surprisingly non-accusatory tone. His most famous works include Survival in Auschwitz (or If This Is a Man, first published in 1947) and If Not Now, When? (first published in 1982). Levi died in 1987 after falling from the third-floor in his family home. Whether Levi committed suicide is still widely debated.
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