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I sommersi e i salvati
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I sommersi e i salvati (Auschwitz Trilogy #3)

4.35 of 5 stars 4.35  ·  rating details  ·  2,833 ratings  ·  146 reviews
Quali sono le strutture gerarchiche di un sistema autoritario e quali le tecniche per annientare la personalità di un individuo; quali rapporti si creano tra oppressori e oppressi; chi sono gli esseri che abitano la «zona grigia» della collaborazione? Le risposte dell’autore di "Se questo è un uomo". Prefazione di Tzvetan Todorov, postfazione di Walter Barberis.
Paperback, Einaudi tascabili, 167 pages
Published 1991 by Einaudi (first published 1986)
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Paul Bryant
An unrelentingly grim series of eight essays about the concentration camp experience, recommended only for true pessimists and those who think that Primo Levi is one of the very greatest writers about the Holocaust, which I do.

One thing Primo Levi does for us is complicate things. He explains :

Without profound simplification the world around us would be an infinite, undefined tangle that would defy our ability to orient ourselves and decide upon our actions. In short, we are compelled to reduce
...more
orsodimondo
CAMPO DI ANNIENTAMENTO
A prima vista la Shoa appare materia senza grigio, senza sfumature: il bianco delle vittime, il nero dei carnefici.

Ma è anche materia delicata come un castello di carte, perché, come dimostra Primo Levi in questa breve magnifica ulteriore riflessione sull’argomento, la zona grigia esiste eccome: è quella piega ambigua dello sterminio, si annida in quella schiera di persone che ha subito l’ulteriore oltraggio di essere sporcata dal proprio aguzzino.
È una zona grigia, dai c
...more
Lobstergirl
Levi's last book is about several things:

- the necessity of witnessing to what happened in the Lager (camps), even though memory is fallible. Witnessing - telling the story - is not wholly possible, because those who have the truest vision did not survive. They reached bottom, and never came back.

- the moral structure of the Lager - the gray zone in which some prisoners collaborated with the guards, which improved their position slightly and also meant they would have to inflict suffering on ot
...more
Andrew
It's really too bad that the whole art-about-the-Holocaust market in the U.S. has been cornered by sentimental war-is-bad treacle in the Life Is Beautiful mode. Because Primo Levi lays it down.

What I admire most about Levi is his refusal to accept any of the easy answers that have been provided since the Shoah to "explain" the events that took place in Europe in the '30s and '40s. Instead of laying blame or bestowing forgiveness, he simply accepts historical events, and looks at how people beha
...more
Sandra
"Veramente si è indotti a pensare che, nel Terzo Reich, la scelta migliore, la scelta imposta dall'alto, fosse quella che comportava la massima afflizione, il massimo spreco di di sofferenza fisica e morale. Il nemico non doveva soltanto morire, ma morire nel tormento".
E' un dovere leggere e rileggere le parole lucide e pacate di Primo Levi, e prestare la massima attenzione al suo ammonimento: " è avvenuto, quindi può accadere di nuovo".
Patrick
Primo Levi is best known today as the author of ‘If This is a Man’ and ‘The Truce’, a pair of memoirs which dealt respectively with his imprisonment in Auschwitz concentration camp and his subsequent long journey home to Italy after the liberation. Often published together, those books are (rightly) often regarded as two of the most important accounts of the holocaust and the immediate aftermath of the last war in Europe. His training and long career as a chemist inspired his writing and he also ...more
Ginny_1807
Riletto per non dimenticare.
Crudeltà e orrori inimmaginabili vengono descritti in uno stile analitico, piano e pacato che rende il resoconto delle vicende vissute dall'autore e le sue considerazioni in merito ancora più toccanti, terribili e sconvolgenti.
Bellissimo.

Bianca Marconero
In questi giorni mi sono dedicata ad ultimare la lettura de 'I sommersi e i salvati' perché ci tenevo a finire entro oggi.
Questo titolo ha avuto un destino emblematico. Era quello scelto da Levi per la sua opera prima ( che l'editore poi cambiò in 'se questo è un uomo') ed è stato quello definitivo della sua ultima opera.
'I sommersi e i salvati' apre e chiude il cerchio di una testimonianza letteraria e storica, si presenta come un binomio, ma si risolve in un equivalenza, nell'idea che l'opzion
...more
*Rigel
Editti d'offesa memoria

I sommersi e i salvati di Primo Levi è sicuramente il libro simbolo del Novecento; il testamento spirituale del membro più eminente di una categoria di scrittori e intellettuali nati nel cuore del secolo scorso, partoriti nell’orrore senza fine dei Lager nazisti. Umanisti moderni, sfuggiti dall’insidiosa penetrazione della vergogna, arrivati al punto di scandagliare il più torbido fondo del male, per poi fuoriuscirne, per raccontare, per alimentare le membra sempre troppo
...more
Michael
A lucid and thoughtful examination of lingering questions about the meanings of the Holocaust 40 years after Levi survived his internment at Auschwitz, with the focus more on understanding than blame. He is well known for his compelling narrative of his experiences in "Survival in Auschwitz" and for his excellent account of the aftermath and long interlude in Russian hands in "The Reawakening".

Here, in his last book before he died, he strives to makes sense of it all in a series of penetrating
...more
Peter
If you are still thinking that America is like Nazi Germany after reading William Shirer’s Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, then there is no hope for you. But if you are a thoughtful, i.e., reflective, person and sometimes wonder how it was that Germany went astray, then you might read this book. But, warning, you may find it discomfiting.

SPOILER ALERT

There is a letter from a German at the end of the book that makes one think. The letter writer, a German who supported the Nazi Party, explains
...more
Natalie Zarowny
Wow. This novel is different from any other that I've read on the Holocaust, and I've read quite a few. Levi told his story through narrative in "Survival in Auschwitz" but in "The Drowned and the Saved," he's taking a look back at that and his other works, and his experience in general. This book is worth reading for everyone because of Levi's articulate and well-thought out points about the Holocaust, but especially insightful for someone who's been interested in the subject in a long time and ...more
Bob
One of Levi's last books (may even have been published posthumously) bookended 40 years of writing about Auschwitz. This book focuses on a number of specific areas including reactions to his first book (U.S title Survival in Auschwitz) which involved him in a number of epistolary relationships with Germans of his generation and the following.

He reports with some chagrin how the specific horror of the Holocaust began to turn into "history" (even more so in the subsequent three decades).

He also ad
...more
Chris
If you study WW II, you must read this book. It answers questions both spoken and unspoken.
Pierre Menard
Jul 15, 2014 Pierre Menard rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Who wants to understand without relying on convenient stereotypes
L’ultimo libro di Primo Levi, uscito nel 1946, è un saggio che si propone di tracciare un bilancio di quella parte della sua vita che fu dedicata alla memoria e alla testimonianza. Se pensiamo che Se questo è un uomo uscì nel 1947 e che l’autore si suicidò nella sua casa di Torino l’11 aprile 1987, è facile comprendere che a questo impegno fu sempre essenziale per Levi: in alcuni punti del libro si avverte l’intento di stabilire qualche punto fermo, di chiarire una volta per tutte alcuni dubbi f ...more
Sam
As hard to read as this book is, I can only imagine how hard it was for Primo to write as he explores the 'logic' and method behind the concentration camps used by the Nazi regime. He applies a scientist's objectiveness and analysis to a subject that the rest of us find hard never mind the difficulties faced by those who experienced it. This work builds on his previous books, especially If This Is A Man, and shows that despite his ability to write objectively he has not forgiven and he certainly ...more
Peter

This book seems to serve as a philosophical postscript to Sr Levi's previous writings in that it refers, and adds, to subjects and themes already covered in other books. It includes some very profound insight which shows the mind of an intelligent man still struggling, even at a distance of some 30 years, to come to terms with the events of World War II, Germany and the people involved; particularly 'the Germans' the elusive, passive enemy.
The most remarkable statement of this book is that, by
...more
Rose
I love this book. We read excerpts of it in my Holocaust history class in college and I went out and got the book to read the rest of it. The chapter on Shame is amazing, and his thoughts about a new language to really talk about the Holocaust since "cold" "thirsty" and "hungry" didn't come close to describing what they went through.




"I must repeat: we the survivors, are not the true witnesses."



"Perhaps it would be more correct to see in it an atavistic anguish whose echo one hears in the second
...more
Tony Johnston
For those who don't know, Primo Levi was a Jewish chemist from Modena, deported to Auschwitz in 1944 and liberated 11 months later. He died in the 1980's.

A lot of the book is about exploring the psychology of the trauma, both personal to him but also to nations and groups. Particularly interesting was to read how people (including me) have so many misconceptions. For example, he says that the biggest shock was that on arrival it was the other inmates who were aggressive to newcomers.

Lots of litt
...more
Pia
Regarding the current events in my country, I could definitely (and unfortunately) draw some parallels and would recommend it to anyone to reconsider any convictions that he is bearing that the unimaginable could not happen again.

This is a brilliant book and I can only admire the author for his humanly way of describing this inhumanly, senseless terror. I have read quite a lot of books on this thematic, but none had such an impact on me. Each chapter has an insight into the human condition and
...more
Ruth
There are many memoirs about the holocaust, but I'd argue that there are not many that are as intellectually stimulating, morally conflicting, thought-provoking and philosophically interesting as "The Drowned and the Saved." Levi--an Italian Jew who was captured and tortured after 1943 when the Nazis came to his native Turin, Italy--was sent to Auschwitz and subjected to all the horrors of the death camps. In this striking work, the author looks back many years later and writes a series of eight ...more
robxyz
Primo Levi stato un autore fuori dal comune, perch fuori dal comune stata la circostanza che lo ha portato a diventare uno scrittore: i suoi scritti testimoniano uno dei pi grossi crimini che siano mai stati commessi nella storia dell'umanit, raccontando i lager nazisti dal punto di vista dei prigionieri ebrei, i pi numerosi, quelli per i quali campi di sterminio erano principalmente stati ideati. Con questo libro Levi tocca una vetta dolente e altissima del racconto-testimonianza, riprendendo ...more
Tish Newmyer
This book was a selection of a book club that I'm in. I have read a slew of books about the Holocaust and wasn't sure that I was ready for another one. I was wrong.

What I liked about this book is that it is a reflection, and memories to put the reflections into context, about a horrific chapter in human history. Primo writes about the "gray zone" of inmate hierarchy including the Kapos and how the Nazi system of dehumanization led to situations where inmates hurt each other to survive. Other cha
...more
Ioannis Savvas
Μετά το Εάν αυτό είναι ο άνθρωπος, το συγκλονιστικότερο βιβλίο για τις θηριωδίες των Γερμανών στα στρατόπεδα συγκέντρωσης που έχω διαβάσει, σε αυτό το βιβλίο ο Primo Levi παραθέτει σκέψεις για το πολυδιαβασμένο βιβλίο του και σχολιάζει εντυπώσεις των αναγνωστών του.

Με πολύ αναλυτική σκέψη προσπαθεί να προσεγγίσει το μεγάλο του ερώτημα: γιατί συνέβησαν όλα αυτά. Με το κριτικό βλέμμα του επιστήμονα, με στοιχεία από την ιστορία, την τέχνη, τις νευροεπιστήμες, προσπαθεί να δώσει μια εξήγηση, καθόλου
...more
Megan
Preparing for the waterworks...

SO SO SO GOOD. This is probably the first novel/recollection from a concentration camp prisoner that addresses the experience of the horrors of Nazi rule in Germany and the occupation of surrounding countries, especially Poland and France with such intelligent commentary. Levi gives insight into what was expected of a prisoner, how proper communication was essential in order to survive, how one must endure the "useless violence."
Ruth
I almost gave this a 3.5, because it was so hard to read. I don't mean the subject matter, which was concise and informative, but the WORDING. I looked to see if there were other translations--no. Would that I knew Italian so that I could understand what was meant without reading one sentence over and over. Here is one of many examples: "According to common sense, which Manzoni shrewdly distinguished from "good sense", man when threatened provides, resists, or flees, but the threats of those day ...more
Matthew
This was the most fascinating book relating to the Holocaust I've ever read. It's very open about certain aspects of the psychology and sociology of prisoner life that I've never seen depicted or discussed in films or books on the matter.
Pat

Chissà quanta forza c’è voluta. Chissà quanta sofferenza è costata la stesura di questo saggio a Primo Levi. È un’analisi feroce, acuta, lucida, obiettiva. È un bisturi che lavora con precisione terrificante. Lavora sugli aguzzini e sulle vittime. Lavora sulla “zona grigia” composta di oppressi fatti oppressori, lavora su chi sapeva e ha taciuto, su chi vedeva e s’è finto cieco. Lavora sul senso di colpa del “salvato” cui pesa come macigno la domanda “perché io e non un altro?”. Un’indagine che
...more
Pam
Primo Levi wrote this book 40 years after the Holocaust, in effort to explain the meaning of the event so that it and its victims would not be forgotten. He is careful to discuss only that which he experienced first hand, so his writing is immediate and powerful. He doesn't accept any excuses from the German people and warns that it can happen again, anyplace, any time.
Christophe Nolle
In Primo Levis last book before his suicide, published 40 years after his liberation from Auschwitz-Monowitz, we are allowed a look into his perspective on guilt, shame and responsability for the Shoa. Although his thoughts are sometimes overwhelming because of their sheer density, the language remains clear and the judgment precise. Levi leaves us with a few answers and a lot more of questions unanswered...

In the end he states that "it happened, therefore it can happen again. That is the core
...more
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Primo Michele Levi (Italian: [ˈpriːmo ˈlɛːvi]; 31 July 1919 – 11 April 1987) was an Italian chemist and writer. He was the author of several books, novels, collections of short stories, essays, and poems. His best-known works include If This Is a Man (1947), his account of the year he spent as a prisoner in the Auschwitz concentration camp in Nazi-occupied Poland; and his unique work, The Periodic ...more
More about Primo Levi...

Other Books in the Series

Auschwitz Trilogy (4 books)
  • Survival in Auschwitz
  • The Reawakening
  • Moments of Reprieve (Penguin Modern Classics)
Survival in Auschwitz If This Is a Man / The Truce The Periodic Table If Not Now, When? The Reawakening

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“I too entered the Lager as a nonbeliever, and as a nonbeliever I was liberated and have lived to this day.” 31 likes
“Logic and morality made it impossible to accept an illogical and immoral reality; they engendered a rejection of reality which as a rule led the cultivated man rapidly to despair. But the varieties of the man-animal are innumerable, and I saw and have described men of refined culture, especially if young, throw all this overboard, simplify and barbarize themselves, and survive. A simple man, accustomed not to ask questions of himself, was beyond the reach of the useless torment of asking himself why.

The harsher the oppression, the more widespread among the oppressed is the willingness, with all its infinite nuances and motivations, to collaborate: terror, ideological seduction, servile imitation of the victor, myopic desire for any power whatsoever… Certainly, the greatest responsibility lies with the system, the very structure of the totalitarian state; the concurrent guilt on the part of individual big and small collaborators is always difficult to evaluate… they are the vectors and instruments of the system’s guilt… the room for choices (especially moral choices) was reduced to zero”
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