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Answering AuschwitzPrimo Levi's Science and Humanism after the Fall$
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Stanislao G. Pugliese

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780823233588

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823233588.001.0001

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After Auschwitz: What Is a Good Death?

After Auschwitz: What Is a Good Death?

(p.67) Chapter 5 After Auschwitz: What Is a Good Death?
Answering Auschwitz

Timothy Pytell

Fordham University Press

It comes as no surprise that suicide among Holocaust survivors is high. A few of the most recognizable figures are Bruno Bettelheim, Paul Célan, Jerzy Kosinski, Jean Améry, Tadeusz Borowski, and apparently Primo Levi. A closer look at the “deaths” of Primo Levi and Jean Améry unveils a great deal of ambiguity. Although a consensus seems to have emerged that Levi committed suicide, the uncertainty surrounding his death has left the issue open to doubt. For example, Diego Gambetta has investigated Levi's death and provides a very clear picture of Levi's “Last Moments”. In contrast, all biographers of Levi, Myriam Anissimov, Carol Angier, and Ian Thomson believe it was a suicide, along with almost all of Levi's relatives and friends. The one notable exception is David Mendel, a British cardiologist who befriended Levi late in life.

Keywords:   suicide, Holocaust survivors, Primo Levi, Levi's death, British cardiologist

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