Magazine

Historical grounding

'Primo Levi' is an elegant and cogent assessment of Levi as a moral thinker, writer and witness to the Holocaust, and as a commentator on Jewish identity.

Turin, Italy; Primo Levi's birthplace.
Photo by: reuters
Until 1938, “it had not meant much to me that I was a Jew,” Primo Levi claimed in The Periodic Table (1975). “Within myself and in my contacts with Christian friends, I had always considered my origin as an almost negligible but curious fact: a small, amusing anomaly, like having a crooked nose or freckles.”

In December 1943, Levi, a partisan fighting against Benito Mussolini, was captured by the Fascist Militia. Less than two months later, he was deported to Auschwitz.



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