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Survival in Auschwitz | Chapter Summaries

See Chapter Summaries Chart

Timeline of Events

  • December 1943

    Levi is captured by fascist militia.

    Chapter 1
  • February 1944

    Levi is transported to Auschwitz.

    Chapter 2
  • April 1944

    Levi goes to the Ka-Be for injury.

    Chapter 4
  • Summer 1944

    Levi is tested for chemical kommando.

    Chapter 10
  • August 1944

    Levi meets Lorenzo.

    Chapter 12
  • October 1944

    Selection continues for the gas chamber.

    Chapter 13
  • December 1944

    Levi begins work in the laboratory.

    Chapter 15
  • 11 January 1945

    Levi goes to the Ka-Be for scarlet fever.

    Chapter 17
  • 18 January 1945

    Auschwitz is evacuated.

    Chapter 17
  • 27 January 1945

    Russian troops arrive.

    Chapter 17

Chapter Summaries Chart

Chapter Summary
Author's Preface Primo Levi notes that it was his "good fortune" to be deported in 1944, after the decision was made to "lengthen the ave... Read More
Chapter 1 Primo Levi was "captured by the fascist militia on 13 December 1943." He was 24. He had fled into the mountains and join... Read More
Chapter 2 Twenty minutes after leaving the train station, the lorry delivers the men to a door. Above it is written Arbeit Macht F... Read More
Chapter 3 After transfer from one kommando (work detail) to another, Levi is assigned to Block 30, which is "a perpetual Babel," a... Read More
Chapter 4 Levi relates that everyone there is an enemy or a rival, but then he gives the example of his work companion, Null Achtz... Read More
Chapter 5 After 20 days in the infirmary, Levi is discharged. He is not returned to his original block, but to Block 45, where his... Read More
Chapter 6 Levi relates details of his next bunkmate, Resnyk, who is tall and courteous. He is also assigned to Levi's kommando (wo... Read More
Chapter 7 Levi begins this chapter talking about the goal of surviving to reach the spring. The weather in winter makes survival a... Read More
Chapter 8 The prisoners are awaiting the "ceremony of the change of underclothes"; its delay leads to rumors that liberation will ... Read More
Chapter 9 Levi asks if it is "necessary or good to retain any memory of this exceptional human state." He goes on to argue that it... Read More
Chapter 10 A new kommando is announced, the chemical kommando, Kommando 98. The kapo, Alex, is a "green triangle" (a criminal). Unt... Read More
Chapter 11 Six of the prisoners are working inside an "old petrol tank." Even though the rust powder coats their throats, Levi desc... Read More
Chapter 12 Levi reports that the majority of the prisoners arriving in the summer are from Hungary. There has been no progress on t... Read More
Chapter 13 The onset of winter brings with it the reminder to the prisoners that 7 of 10 of them may die because of the cold. The w... Read More
Chapter 14 Levi speaks of the rain. It is November, cold and wet. Levi is at his work detail with Alberto, Gounan, Kraus, and Claus... Read More
Chapter 15 The rain turns to snow. There are no more air raids. Levi notes that of the 96 men who were with him upon arrival, there... Read More
Chapter 16 It is nearly Christmas. Levi is with Alberto, and they talk at night to catch up after days working apart. Levi's protec... Read More
Chapter 17 Levi sickens from scarlet fever and is sent to the Ka-Be. He is the 13th prisoner in his room, four of whom also have sc... Read More
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