Primo at Saccarello
Primo as a young man
Primo Levi was born in Turin in 1919 into a family of well-integrated middle-class Jews. From 1938, together with his sister Anna Maria, he went to the Library at the Jewish school where he became friends with Franco Momigliano, Vanda Maestro, Luciana Nissim, Giorgio Diena, Emanuele and Ennio Artom. After obtaining a degree in Chemistry in 1941, from 1942 to 1943 he was in Milan and was a frequent visitor to Ada Della Torre’s home. Together with his friends from Turin who gathered at Ada’s flat he spent many memorable evenings described in “The Fear Games”. After the armistice, he took refuge in Amay with his sister Anna Maria and his mother, but in the late autumn the two women went down to the plain while Primo with Vanda Maestro, Luciana Nissim, Guido Bachi and Aldo Piacenza set up a small partisan band linked to Justice and Freedom party. The band was discovered and all its members were arrested by the police. Primo, Vanda and Luciana declared themselves to be Jews and, after a month of imprisonment in Aosta, they were transferred the Fossoli transit camp and from there to Auschwitz. Primo was assigned to Monowitz together with Franco Sacerdoti and worked in the plant’s chemical laboratory. In January 1945 when evacuation of the camp began, he had scarlet fever and therefore remained in the concentration camp which was liberated by Soviet troops on 27 January 1945.
Multimedia interactive exhibition
Turin • 27 January | 20 March 2010
Fossoli • 25 April | 11 July 2010
5-20 September 2010
Roma • 12 October | 27 November 2010