Final Exam 2016: The Cosmic Salon:
Survival in Auschwitz, pp.9-38
At the outset Primo tells us that he writes these memoirs for two basic reasons:
Paragraph: 26-27 Explain the double sense of the term “extermination camp”. What are the key ingredients to the Nazi psychological assault on the prisoners?
p. 13 How does Levi describe himself before his capture and deportation?
p. 13 What was the nature of his brief experience as a partisan?
p. 13 Why did he identify himself during his interrogation as a Jew and not as member of
the political resistance?
p. 15 What made the day before departure surreal?
p. 16 What does Levi find absurd about the Germans methods?
p. 17 Why does Levi argue that perfect unhappiness is unattainable?
p. 18 Describe the impact of the conditions of the boxcar on the character of the prisoners.
p. 18 Describe the impact of the conditions of the boxcar on the behavior of the prisoners. How quickly are the prisoners dehumanized?
p. 19 What made the selections on the platform ‘dreamlike’? How many of the Italian Jews survive their first night in Auschwitz?
p. 20 Describe the ‘Canada’ detachment of prisoners who welcomed the prisoners.
26-27 Explain the double sense of the term “extermination camp”. What are the key
ingredients to the Nazi psychological assault on the prisoners?
p. 23 List the orders given to the prisoners upon arrival at the disinfection center.
p. 24 Describe what happens in the shower room.
p. 24 What is the gist of the Prisoner Doctor’s speech?
p. 27 What does Levi find at ‘the bottom’? What psychological challenge will survival
require to be overcome?
p. 28 What is Levi’s number? Why are the prisoners numbered? How can the history of the camp be explained in numbers? Why are those with high numbers regarded with ridicule?
p. 29 When Primo reaches for an icicle, it is knocked from his hand by a kapo. When he asks, “Why?”, he is told, “There is no why here.” What does that mean?