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Leonardo Cuozzo4/22/2019Professor CiarloHIST 1012The Miracle of SurvivalPrimo Levi’s survival in Auschwitz was nothing short of a miraclebecause of all the people he met and how they helped him maintain hishumanity throughout his journey. Primo Levi survived Auschwitz because ofsome of the people he met there. One of the most important people PrimoLevi’s time at Auschwitz was his “best friend” Alberto, who made it his goalto always be optimistic and not let the camp break him. Another person thathelped with Levi’s psychological survival was his advisor-like friendSteinlauf. Steinlauf was an ex-sergeant in the Austro-Hungarian militarywho made it his mission to survive this camp and maintain his humanity atall costs. Steinlauf knew that the goal of these camps were to dehumanizethe inhabitants, and Steinlauf did everything he could, no matter how small,to refuse this process. Not only was Steinlauf a friend of Levi, but he wasalso an advisor since he was 50 years old and Levi was only 24 years old.Primo Levi was saved from the influence of the camp because of thehumanity his friends and strangers around him showed.One of the first people to give Levi both advice and hope was hisfriend/advisor Steinlauf. Levi encountered Steinlauf while wandering thewashrooms. Levi admitted that he lost all motivation to wash himself just
after one week in the camp. It wasn’t until Steinlauf had entered Levi’s lifethat he regained the instinct to bathe. Steinlauf explained to Levi: “thatprecisely because the Lager was a great machine to reduce us to beasts, wemust not become beasts; that even in this place one can survive andtherefore one must want to survive, to tell the story, to bear witness…”1These words from Steinlauf were likely what saved Levi’s life. The goal ofthe camps were to reduce the prisoners within it into nothing but animals,