By Primo Levi
With the ethical stamina and highbrow pose of a twentieth-century Titan, this somewhat outfitted, duitful, unassuming chemist set out systematically to recollect the German hell on the earth, steadfastly to imagine it via, after which to render it understandable in lucid, unpretentious prose. He used to be profoundly in contact with the minutest workings of the main endearing human occasions and with the main contempible. What has survived in Levi's writing is not just his reminiscence of the insufferable, but additionally, within the PERIODIC desk and THE WRENCH, his savor what made the realm beautiful to him. He was once himself a "magically endearing guy, the main delicately forceful enchanter i have ever recognized" - PHILIP ROTH
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Additional resources for If this is a man
I am not yet so asleep as not to be aware of the double nature of the engine. It panting, is, in fact, the very engine which to unload in Buna today. had fact that even now, as the heat it radiates when from its it towed the wagons we I it recognise by the passed close by us, black side. It is I feel puffing, ever nearer, it is on the point of running over me, but instead it never arrives. sleep is very light, I will do it, I want it is a veil, if I want I can tear it. it is My can get off the railway track.
And where will I be able to find one? And where will they send work? Diena knows no more than I, and me replies to with But from above and below, from near far and from away, from all corners of the now dark by hut, sleepy and angry voices shout at me: "Ruhe, Ruhel" other questions. I understand that they are ordering word is new to me, and since but the me I to be quiet, do not know 35 If This is a Man meaning and implications, my inquietude increases. of languages is a fundamental component of the manner of living here: one is surrounded by a its The confusion perpetual Babel, in which everyone shouts orders and threats in languages never heard before, and woe betide whoever fails to grasp the meaning.
After which they counted us again and made us take in the cold, they we were still wet from the one and some were trembling from a chill. another shower, although first We are now ready for the definitive examination. Outside the window one can see the white sky and sometimes the sun; in this country one can look at it through the clouds, as through a misty window. m. Good-bye and we have been on our feet for ten soup by now, hours and naked for six. fixedly, To judge by This second medical examination 48 is also extraordi- Ka-Be the doctor (he has a striped suit like us, but with a white coat over it, with the number sewn narily rapid: on the coat, and he is much fatter than us) looks at and touches my swollen and bloody foot, at which I cry out from pain.