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Moments of Reprieve: A Memoir of Auschwitz
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Moments of Reprieve: A Memoir of Auschwitz (Auschwitz Trilogy)

4.25 of 5 stars 4.25  ·  rating details  ·  435 ratings  ·  24 reviews
The acclaimed author of The Periodic Table and If Not Now, When? presents this impressive collection of stories that celebrate the spirit of having survived the horrors of Auschwitz.
Paperback, 144 pages
Published July 1st 1995 by Penguin Classics (first published January 1st 1981)
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Primo Levi’s life was saved by these things

He was a Jewish prisoner in Auschwitz but he was working as a chemist in the laboratory attached to the huge chemical plant there. (They didn't pay him very well. In fact, they didn't pay him at all.) In January 1945 he was looking around for something, anything, he could steal from the lab to trade for bread. Like all other prisoners, he was starving. He saw a dozen pipettes. He had no idea if anyone would trade for them but what the hell. He went to s...more
Primo Levi has written extensively about the Holocaust and his experiences in Auschwitz; If this is a man, The True, If not now, when?, The Wrench, The Drowned & The Saved.. But this is the first book I've come across of his in all my reading life. I first read briefly about Primo Levi not long ago in Bob Carr's "My Reading Life", but was prompted to seek Levi out after a conversation with Shellie(Layers of Thought) on GR. Shellie being the first person I had spoken to who had read and recom...more
So this is the first Primo Levi book that's left me disappointed. Moments of Reprieve is a sort of collection of deleted scenes from Levi's most famous work, If This is a Man, an account of his internment at Auschwitz, and before we get to Moments, it's important to consider why If This is a Man was such a success. Though that book was translated as Survival in Auschwitz for the benefit of the American market, the original title gives you a sense of what makes it so involving: Levi's attempt to...more
Kressel Housman
Primo Levi was an Italian Jew who began his career as a chemist, but was sent to Auschwitz, and after the war, became a highly-regarded Holocaust memoirist. This book reads more like short stories than a fluid narrative, and the concept behind the title is that it's meant to capture the moments of reprieve amidst the darkness of Auschwitz. The thing is, Primo Levi was an atheist, so his idea of a moment of reprieve was a Jew picking the lice off his head and putting it in a Nazi uniform. I appla...more
My first completed read of the year, Moments of Reprieve, aptly described in its missive as a discovery of 'bizarre, marginal, moments of reprieve' charts the stories of a myriad variety of people, mostly Jews who Primo Levi had come across during his stay at Auschwitz. Among many others, a juggler, an almost mute worker, a mirror chemist, a helpful SS officer, are all bound in a conflict, both that ravaged their internal beings as well as the external world they inhabited in times where sense f...more
Jason Kirk
Written late in his life, Moments of Reprieve depicts an assorted cast of friends, companions, and adversaries from Primo Levi's time in the infamous Nazi concentration camp, each essay rendered deftly from Levi's Italian into English by Ruth Feldman.

Inarguably enriched by a reading of Levi's other memoirs -- especially Survival in Auschwitz and The Reawakening -- "Moments of Reprieve" nevertheless stands on its own. With the distinct tone of long hindsight, what it lacks in immediacy, it mor...more
Bernard O'Leary
A classic is a book that is never finished saying what it wants to say. Warm, wise, human, profound, and timely all the time.
Companion piece to If this is a Man. Set of anecdotes from Levi's time in Auschwitz that fill in some of the background, there's mention of the factories where some of the inmates worked. Also a story in which a prisoner gets hold of a violin, too odd a story maybe to have been invented. No way as powerful even taken together as If this is a Man as it doesn't have the same narrative drive.
Sep 18, 2007 Steve rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all
Excellent companion book to Survival in Auschwitz. It contains many short stories that recall moments during his imprisonment when Levi either met people or had experiences that allowed him to forget the intense pressures of his situation. He occasionally caught glimpses of the humanity and caring exhibited by some who were afraid to express their distaste for their work as officers or employees of the camp, and those accounts he gives us here.
Loved it.
Such a refined pen.
Ranges from a world of humanity in inhumane concentration camps to the sadly ridiculous racist under- or overtones to a world where plants's pollen impregnates girls resulting in a progeny of tree-humans to his lovely village stories. Ever so present to his surroundings and inner being Levi's writings keep providing me with little big treasures making me want for more..
Primo Levi 'brings to life the friends, companions, and even adversaries who shared his experience of the Holocaust'. They are no longer faceless, but real human people. Primo Levi wanted to provide witness to those who didn't make it, telling their stories, so that we the readers could also witness. The stories are not all tragic, but 'bizarre, marginal moments of reprieve'.
Felicity Kendrick
Why I like this book: Levi writes about simple universal things which we can all connect with, but in the devistatingly foreign world of the concentration camp at Auschwitz. Interesting is the culture and behaviour that emerges in so short a space of time due to the extreme circumstances of the inmates. Philip Roth does a good review of Levi.
Primo Levi returns to some of his old characters, describing his experience of each of them in the same intriguing style employed in "If This Is A Man" et al. The tone of the book seems more hopeful and less despairing than his other Auschwitz memoirs. An essential read for anyone who has read Levi's more famous works.
Quick, easy, engaging read. Auschwitz in this story is like a city, where people are interacting with one another, sharing stories, trying to survive, just like outside the camp. He turns the camp not into a place that is desirable, but rather, one where it took will, perhaps faith, and a lot of luck to survive.
While these stories are not as compelling as Levi's more famous memoirs, they are still important. Here he's a witness to the stories of others, individuals that he couldn't get out of his mind. Each story is short, each focuses on one person and the quality that got that person through such horrendous times.
A collection of short essays about moments during author's time in Auschwitz. They show a little humanity at the worst of our inhumanity. Many were very moving and some came with a little humor. All were very touching and in a way gave hope for allof us in our worst times.
True accounts of a Jewish Italian living in Nazi concentration camps. Not a pleasant book, but if read, will help the reader to understand why WWII happened, and how to prevent another.
Rob Innis
A collection of short non fiction pieces based on his actual Auschwitz experiences. Personal and insightful, good reading for those exploring the issues of The Final Solution.
Steven Sears
Great writing. Shared many inspiring stories of individuals incarcerated in Auschwitz. Amazing how much ingenuity and spirit was shown by people
Marc L
Verzameling verhalen geschreven na 1975.
Conclusie: Levi blijft toch op zijn best als hij rechtstreeks vertelt over zijn kamp-ervaringen.
Patti Rio
Wonderful book that makes you appreciate how superficial and trivial the worries of everyday life can be.
Sep 14, 2009 Albie added it
Moments of Reprieve : A Memoir of Auschwitz (Twentieth Century Classics) by Primo Levi (1995)
I love this book, unbelievable, touching, fascinating, sad
Kenna (hoktauri)
Kenna (hoktauri) marked it as to-read
Oct 09, 2014
Cláudia Costa
Cláudia Costa marked it as to-read
Oct 08, 2014
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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...
Survival in Auschwitz If This Is a Man / The Truce The Periodic Table The Drowned and the Saved If Not Now, When?

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