Primo Levi

A prominent Holocaust survivor and author who lost the will to survive.

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The Perils of Fame

His final collection of reflections on the Holocaust, The Drowned and the Saved, was published posthumously. In it, Levi devotes a chapter to the Belgian philosopher and Auschwitz survivor, Jean Amery, who committed suicide in 1978. Levi quotes Amery, who said: ''He who has been tortured remains tortured.... He who has suffered torment can no longer find his place in the world. Faith in humanity--cracked by the first slap across the face, then demolished by torture--can never be recovered.''

As with many survivors, Levi was consumed by a sense of guilt over having survived. The loss of faith in humanity, combined with the knowledge that "each of us [who survived] supplanted his neighbor and lives in his place..." may be what ultimately broke the man.

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Shoshana Olidort

Shoshana Olidort is a freelance writer based in New York. Her work has appeared in the Forward, Ha'aretz, Pleiades and The American Book Review, among other publications.