Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Survival in Auschwitz

by Primo Levi
Rated PG-13

Primo Levi was an Italian Jew of 25 years of age when he was arrested by the Italian fascists and sent to Monowitz-Buna, a work camp in Auschwitz, Poland. An arresting narration, this book chronicles the struggles of life in the camp, the deep deprivations, the seeming random assignment of death, and the tangled knot of rigid rules that would wrest the very humanity and soul from its inmates if it could. But a soul is not something that can be taken, it must be given. From reading the mocking "Arbeit macht frei" above the gate to guarding against the constant threat of losing meagre possessions to theft, this is a stark, simple, honest account of the intimate realities of daily life in the work camp and, while not for the faint of heart, is worth reading.

I have rated this book PG-13 not from bad language or inappropriate scenes but because the nature of the subject is disturbing and no effort is made to cushion the reality of the experience. I would reserve this book for adults or teenagers older than 17.
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