TICONTRE 06 TEORIA TESTO TRADUZIONE 20 16 T3 ISSN TICONTRE. TEORIA TESTO TRADUZIONE numero 6 - novembre con il. Primo Levi & the Demolition of a Man By Thomas Maldonado Surviving the senseless brutality of the concentration camps not only demanded sheer physical . Beiträge zur Literaturwissenschaft Jahrgang XLVI/ 2. Halbband Primo Levi. In Memoriam Edited by Manuela Consonni and Federico Italiano.
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Those who by chance climbed down on one side of the convoy entered the camp ; the others went to thegas chamber. This is the reason why. The three memorial works written by Primo Levi about the experiences lived during his stay at Auschwitz concentration camp and his subsequent memories about it, If This is a Man, The Truce and The Drowned and the Saved, known as Auschwitz Trilogy, have several elements in common. 𝗣𝗗𝗙 | On Jan 12, , Jacob Howland and others published Primo Levi's Nostalgia.
Cohen emasculated the Jews as Italian men. No, something more was needed, a nonverbal message, so the innocent would feel their sentence inscribed in their esh. As a matter of fact the Greeks began to gradually distinguish themselves from the other prisoners: Only in the Twenties Greek became the first language for young people, after it had been introduced as a compulsory subject in school programs. In the Penal Colony is chronologically and thematically interconnected to The Trial, for it was written in October , when Ka a paused from working on his novel, and deals with the themes of guilt, punishment, and justice.
A Very Short Introduction, cit. Essays , London, Faber and Faber, , pp. Ka a takes the opposite approach: The reader feels them teeming with germs and spores; they are full of burning signi cance, but he is never helped to tear the curtain or to go around it to see what it conceals. Every interpretation thus produces a new metaphor, and hence a new interpre- tation, in a circular movement that reproduces the structure of Talmudic exegesis.
The Praguese writer laid bare the inescapable duplicity of his identity, the complexio oppositorum that animated his inner world. Letteratura ed ebraismo, cit. See Citati, Kafka, cit. He obviously did not believe that Ka a actually foresaw the Final Solution and the gas chambers. He certainly had an almost animalesque sensitivity, like snakes that know when earthquakes are coming.
The Trial tells the story of Josef K. Since K. Initially, when summoned before the examining magistrate, K. Af er the rst hearing, the court, which appears as a great organisation veiled in secrecy, leaves K. Feldman, New York, Schocken Books, , pp. A Revaluation, in Essays in Understanding , ed.
A Dissenting View, in Admitting the Holocaust: See Levi, A Mysterio Sensibility, cit.
Interviews , ed. Gordon, trans. Incontri, interviste e conversazioni con Primo Levi, ed. The Letters to Felice, trans. Little by little, the trial takes hold of K. He therefore decides to dismiss his lawyer and take things into his own hands.
But af er long and confusing dis- cussions with Titorelli, the court painter, and with a prison chaplain in the cathedral, he gradually understands that he has no escape.
Ka a seals the book with Josef K. Figures like the thrasher evoked the mass of petty functionaries and piti- less authorities he had met in the camp. Above all, Josef K. Faced with Ka a, my unconscious defences were set o f: These defences collapsed as I translated him, and I have found myself lowered into the character of Josef K. Robertson, Kafka: As Robertson notes, the word Schuld in The Trial encompasses several meanings: See L. So what kind of impact did the story of Josef K. Second, the re exive nature of the judging process.
Third, the way in which the process of self-examination elicits a feeling of shame. Testimonianze , ed.
Of en we are tempted to Ticontre. The language used to evaluate the di ferent inmate-functionaries illustrates the di cult and yet necessary relationship between Holocaust testimony and jurisprudence: This category is a grey zone, with unde ned contours, which both separates and connects the two opposing camps of masters and servants.
It has an incredibly complicated internal structure, and harbours just enough to confound our need to judge. The criminal complicity of individual collaborators, great and small never friendly, never transparent! We would prefer to entrust that judgment only to people who have been in similar circumstances and experienced for themselves what it means to act under coercion. The condition of victimhood does not exclude guilt, which is of en objec- tively serious, but I do not know a human court that could be delegated to take its measure.
A more subtle and varied judgment is required for those who held senior po- sitions […].
The same impotentia judicandi leaves us paralysed before the case of Chaim Rumkowski. The micro- physics of evil that enabled the Final Solution demands to be judged, and yet there is a residue that exceeds and escapes comprehension.
Levi, The Drowned and the Saved, cit. The Witness and the Archive, trans. Thus, in both situations the trial becomes a self-referential process, a punish- ment in actu which calls into question the law. Perhaps noth- ing reveals more about the nature of this trial-punishment than the dialogue between K. Interrogated about K. Genuine acquittals occur only in legends. As Titorelli tells K. Yet both leave the accused totally compromised, in wait of the nal blow.
The law of necessity is unappealable, it strikes with the inexorability of Tyche. Cacciari, Icone della Le e, cit. Tyche Roman equivalent: Fortuna was the daugh- ter of Ocean and Tethys, and thus a goddess of the sea and a sister of Metis. She represented luck, the event, the element of human existence that humans do not control.
Who belongs to the court? Should I also give an account of myself?
Levi knew well that only people of esh and blood can give an account of themselves, for both morality and justice concern the individual in his or her singularity. Kafka, The Trial, cit. On this issue, see also Hannah Arendt, Responsibility and Judgment, ed.
Josef K. Indeed, from the moment in which he decides to undertake this impossible task, the court and the trial redouble and become realities at once internal and external to his life.
See ibid, p. The violence of the tattoo was gratuitous, an end in itself, a pure insult: No, something more was needed, a nonverbal message, so the innocent would feel their sentence inscribed in their esh. The harshness of prison was perceived as punishment, and the sense of guilt if there punishment, there must have been guilt was relegated to the background, only to re-emerge af er liberation.
After the liberation, in the difficult start of the labyrinthine journey back home, he helped and supported Levi, not only practically but sharing with him his ancient and practical wisdom. Mordo, whose real name was Leon Levi, in the novel is a super Greek with exceptional organizational and survival skills. These are essential to a convalescent Levi, physically and psychologically exhausted, still incredulous and unable to face freedom.
Mordo, on the contrary, despite his poor state of health, has proved his wise concreteness providing himself with necessaries he keeps inside a large sack. He also has shoes. As they walk alone on the way to Krakow, A man who has no shoes is a fool Levi, , p. Mordo says to Levi who hasn't got them. The relation between Mordo and Levi is clearly unbalanced, the Italian is clumsy and is aware of the Greek's superior skills, so he makes a deal with him: As for myself, I confess that I was impressed mainly by his big sack and his quality of a Salonikite, which, as everyone in Auschwitz knew, was equivalent to a guarantee of highly skilled mercantile ability, and of knowing how to get oneself out of any situation.
Sympathy, bilateral, and esteem, unilateral, came later Levi, , p. To be the only two Mediterranean in the group evacuated from the Lager and the consequent possibility to communicate easily became effective elements of affinity that favoured an otherwise unlikely bond between them.
When they arrive in Cracow, they find a temporary shelter in some barracks full of Italian soldiers.
Mordo affably interacts with several of them who are veterans from the Greek campaign and they get to like him. His ethic was founded on work, whose concept was very wide and included, as well as certain permissible activities, smuggling, theft and fraud not robbery; he was not a violent man Levi, , p.
In fact, he refuses to be maintained and to receive food without earning it, abhorring all forms of servility or subservience. This is an idea of work in a broad sense, as something that would let one 55 be self-sufficient. Mordo doesn't understand whether Primo Levi is an idiot or just lazy, however he helps him and shares with him his food and some precepts of his ancient wisdom. Unlike Levi, Mordo sees Auschwitz as a natural demonstration of eternal human evil, There is always war Levi, , p.
With this sentence Mordo represents the human nature but, maybe, also refers to his life as a resident of Salonika. The city was either indirectly involved or in an actual state of war since the end of the nineteenth century until the end of the Second World War. The biography of my Greek was linear; it was that of a strong and cold man, solitary and logical, who had acted from his infancy within the rigid framework of a mercantile society.
He was also or had been open to other claims; he was not indifferent to the sky and the sea of his own country, to the pleasures of the home and the family, to dialectical encounters; but he had been conditioned to drive all this back to the margins of his day and life, so that it would not disturb what he called the travail dhomme. His life had been one of war, and he considered anyone who refused this iron universe of his to be despicable and blind Levi , pp.
During the rare moments of rest Mordo shares with Primo Levi his memories, including some private ones, never talking about his two years in Auschwitz but of his multiple activities in Salonika, of goods bought, sold, smuggled by sea or across the Bulgarian frontier by night; of frauds shamefully endured and of others gloriously perpetrated; and, finally, of the happy and serene hours spent after the days work by the shores of his bay, with his merchant colleagues, in cafs built on piles  and of the long discussions that took place there.
What discussions? Of money, customs, freight charges, naturally, but of other things as well. What is the meaning of knowledge, spirit, justice, truth? What is the nature of the slender tie that binds the soul to the body, how is it established at birth and dissolved at death?
What is liberty, and how can one reconcile the conflict between the liberty of the spirit and fate? What follows death?
When Primo Levi came back to Italy, in the chaotic world following the war, he lost every trace of his Greek friend. During the following years he searched for him through his business contacts in Salonika. In he said to Anthony Rudolph: Leon Levi could be a heartless man but he gave me a pair of trousers.
I'd like to meet him again Levi. In Belpoliti, , p. He never did.
References Belpoliti Marco a cura di Primo Levi Riga Marcos y Marcos. Fleming K. Princeton , NJ: Princeton University Press. Gordon Robert S. Primo Levi: Carocci Levi Primo Se questo un uomo. Levi Primo La tregua. I sommersi e i salvati. Levi Primo. The Drowned and the Saved. Abacus, Translated by Raymond Rosenthal. In La vita offesa. Storia e memoria dei Lager nazisti nei racconti di duecento sopravvissuti.
A cura di Anna Bravo e Daniele Jalla. Franco Angeli, The Reawakening. New York: If this is a man The truce. Translated by Stuart Woolf. Mazower Mark. Salonika, City of ghosts: Christians, Muslims and Jews, Harper Colllins. Meghnagi David The world to tell.
Trauma and writing in Primo Levis work. In Trauma and Memory, Volume 2, no. Sessi Frediano In a moment, with almost prophetic intuition, the reality was revealed to us: It is not possible to sink lover than this; no human condition is more miserable than this, nor could it conceivably be so.
Levi In all his observances, despite the lack of knowing the language of his captors, Levi understands that the assimilation of language is deliberate, it only has one purpose and that is to reduce the Jew to the lowest levels of mockery and oppression.
And while the temporariness is clear, Levi still takes the time to masterfully and efficiently learn his surroundings: Along with these details, Levi ensures not to leave out the rules that accompany the intimidation of such a place. And learn quickly Levi does. He learns quickly what he can do and cannot do.
By the virtue of being Jew, the smallest offenses are equaled with the largest offenses to the point that Levi schools his readers into understanding exactly what it is that he has learned: Like depersonalization and language assimilation, concentration is part and parcel of the demolition of a man, it leaves him with little hope for a future and forces him to accept that he no longer possess the freedom and right to live according to his terms.
He must live according to the laws, taboos and problems the Nazis conjure up for him. Levi considered the demolition of a man to be an offense that words could not explain, and throughout the chapter of his memoir, he does his best to put words together that leave a legacy for the victims and the survivors alike. To him, depersonalization, language assimilation and concentration were several of many recognizable tactics the Nazis used to carry out that offense.
Survival in Auschwitz. New York: Related Papers.