Consider if this is a man… who dies because of a yes and because of a no
June 5, 2017 1:41 PM   Subscribe

If This Is A Man (American title: Survival In Auschwitz), Primo Levi's memoir of his internment in Auschwitz during World War II, turned 70 this year.
As part of the festivities, London's South Bank Centre produced a live performance of the entire book, read by a mix of humanitarians and actors and with interstitial music based on references in the text. You can hear the entire reading, split into five sections, in this playlist from SBC or this playlist of the episodes as re-upped by the The Times Literary Supplement

The various readers include: Levi’s book shares its title with the poem that opens the book.

Interviews with Levi: Other thoughts on the book:
posted by Going To Maine (9 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
 
Also, previously
posted by Going To Maine at 1:46 PM on June 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


"festivities"?
posted by w0mbat at 2:05 PM on June 5, 2017


It would be difficult to overstate the place this book holds in my life. Thanks for the post.
posted by The World Famous at 2:18 PM on June 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


We were assigned If This Is A Man in English in... year 9 or 10, I think, of school. I still have the copy I was supposed to return way back then. Such a powerful book.
posted by Dysk at 2:35 PM on June 5, 2017


“A Man Saved By His Skills”

Can't think of a neater illustration of the "just world" fallacy. Levi himself says that he only survived 9 months in Monowitz because he happened to be arrested late in the war, after conditions there had been made less lethal in order to exploit workers longer before their deaths, that he probably escaped a selection for gassing because of a mix-up that sent someone else to die instead of him, and that it was only the last few weeks of work in the "chemical commando" that he did anything except more back-breaking warehouse labor, unloading and moving heavy sacks.
posted by thelonius at 3:09 PM on June 5, 2017 [6 favorites]


My recollection was that Levi also got sick with scarlet fever and was sent to what passed for a medical hut so that he avoided the healthy prisoners being marched away, I assume to be killed. Half the people in his hut then died from their diseases and general condition.
posted by biffa at 5:13 PM on June 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


I read it last year and it made a profound impression. Glad to see it's still getting lots of attention.
posted by flippant at 6:21 PM on June 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


My recollection was that Levi also got sick with scarlet fever and was sent to what passed for a medical hut so that he avoided the healthy prisoners being marched away, I assume to be killed.

They were evacuated to the west and many died in that process. Levi tells the story of two sick prisoners who thought they would be killed if they stayed and, at great effort, joined the evacuation, where they were shot for being unable to keep up.
posted by thelonius at 6:57 AM on June 6, 2017


If you have not read this book, do so. It is unlike anything you'd expect from a description of life in a concentration camp. It's brutally honest. No redemption here. I can't describe it.
posted by kozad at 4:10 PM on June 6, 2017 [1 favorite]


« Older I guess I’d have to start with Buddy Holly   |   If you’re hopin’ for a harbour, then you’ll find... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments