Analysis of the Theme of Survival in Auschwitz Essay

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Survival in Auschwitz tells of the horrifying and inhuman conditions of life in the Auschwitz death camp as personally witnessed and experienced by the author, Primo Levi. Levi is an Italian Jew and chemist, who at the age of twenty-five, was arrested with an Italian resistance group and sent to the Nazi Auschwitz death camp in Poland in the end of 1943. For ten terrible months, Levi endured the cruel and inhuman death camp where men slaved away until it was time for them to die. Levi thoroughly presents the hopeless existence of the prisoners in Auschwitz, whose most basic human rights were stripped away, when in Chapter 2 he states, "Imagine now a man who is deprived of everyone he loves, and at the same time of his house, his habits, …show more content…
Levi illustrates with the constant discussion of hunger that even the prisoner's most basic of human needs are not met in the hellish prison camp.
The threat of selection for the gas chambers and crematorium is another element of Survival in Auschwitz that shows how the prisoners are no longer men, but mere animals in the death camp. In October of 1944, with the arrival of winter in Poland, the Germans sought to relieve the overcrowding of the camp huts through an atrocious process of selection (124). The method of selection was little more than survival of the fittest, as the Nazis would arbitrarily decide in a very quick review of the naked Jewish prisoners who was still useful and who would be executed (128). As each prisoner made two crossing in front of an SS soldier, his card was handed to one of two aids on either side of the SS man (128). If a prisoner's card went to the left he died, to the right he lived. Through this method the Nazis judged each prisoner like a rancher would cattle being sent to slaughter. Even within this simple scheme, Levi noted there were irregularities, such as a young and robust prisoner named René, whose card was placed on the left (128). Life in Auschwitz was full of inexplicable unfairness and those who survived the selections can be sure that luck played a major role.
The constant competition for food, clothing, and other limited resources lead to much