He was arrested by the Fascist militia who later transferred him to the SS. SS was the German force who generally handled the affairs of concentration camps. These camps were spread across the occupied Europe and Jews were going to be the main group of prisoners here. As the account of those dark days begins, Levi vividly describes a scene of deportation where before a group of isolated Jews waiting in some station, a notorious transport train came and halted. Levi was one of these unfortunate people, and he writes that the “goods wagons closed from the outside, with men, women and children pressed together without pity, like cheap merchandise, for a journey towards nothingness, a journey down there, towards the bottom.So what did this bottom mean? Was it a seemingly endless see of grief, wherein the unfortunate Jews were being thrown to explore the so called bottom? To reach this bottom, each and every prisoner was to be transcended through a definite process of systematic torture. This was the avenue of Nazi torture and related contortion tactics to humiliate the otherwise cultured and generally well-to-do people … Europe’s Jewish people.Nazi concentration camp administrators divided the captured and/or deported Jews in different groups mainly as per their working capabilities. Levi was put in the group of mostly young adult males, who could be used as forced labor under conditions of strict bondage. This bondage extended from mere enslavement to continuous subhuman living.The prisoners were kept on minimal food. They were subjected to terrible cold. They were forced to denude before each other and bath together in a crowded manner. They were to stand in ankle deep ice cold water. Being a forced laborer, Levi was asked to do various sorts of works by the Officers at different times during the detention period. And in Auschwitz, the most notorious Nazi concentration camp in Poland, biting cold was particularly painful and hunger was terrible. At every step … bathing, working, eating, lining in queues, etc. the prisoners were systematically made to believe that they were Untermenchen (the German word for sub human). As far as the officers and guards were concerned, “they were particularly pitiless, vigorous and inhuman individuals” (Levi, 81).The Jewish prisoners were not criminals or convicts. They were not under trial. Unlike Levi, majority of Jews
Work CitedLevi, Primo. Survival in Auschwitz. New York: Collier Books, 1961. Print.
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