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Survival In Auschwitz by Primo Levi reading questions:

1. One of the things Levi frequently notes about the Germans is their calm demeanor. Why is this significant to him in 1944, and why is it so memorable in 1958 when he wrote the book?

2. Discuss the different characterizations Levi makes of the prisoners: various animals, spiders, slaves, etc. What is the point of these comparisons? Do you think that they stem from Levi’s feelings, or from those of the other prisoners, or from the guards, or somewhere else?

3. Why do you think that Levi says (p. 98) “here in the Lager there are no criminals nor madmen; no criminals because there is no moral law to contravene, no madmen because we are wholly devoid of free will, as our every action is, in time and place, the only conceivable one”?

4. Explain the meaning of Levi’s claim (p. 34) that “death begins with the shoes.”

5. Does Levi think the Germans outside the camps knew what was going on inside them?

6. Why does Levi hate the Greek doctor on p. 155?

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