1: Video clip, “Primo Levi, Back to Auschwitz,” Italian with English subtitles, 1983.
Levi returned to Auschwitz for a public visit in 1983. He was accompanied by a group of Italian Jews, along with a documentary crew who recorded the visit for Italian television. In the half hour film, Levi speaks widely and freely to the Italian interviewer. The excerpt to focus on with students begins at approximately 7:00 and goes to the end of the fourteen-minute clip.
Suggested Activity: Ask the class to compare the interview to the first two chapters of Survival in Auschwitz. Ask students to comment on Levi’s demeanor as he tells the story in the video, and compare it to how they imagined he might have sounded as they were reading the pages. What might be the differences between trying to represent the Holocaust experience through writing versus through speech? What difficulties might a survivor face in trying to get across the experience through each medium? Is it possible to represent a deeply traumatic episode accurately? Why or why not?
Source: Sorgenti di Vita (Springs of Life – a television program of the Unione Comunita Israelitiche Italiane). “Primo Levi, Back to Auschwitz.” Radiotelevisione Italiana (RAI). April 25, 1983. YouTube video, 14:07. January 26, 2011. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPOKXfHOuw4.