Primo Levis søster, Anna Maria, deler noen erindringer om oppveksten og brorens liv.
Det er heller springende og fragmentarisk. Men noe er nytt, som historien om lappen under døren.
As strange as it may sound, we didn’t really know we were Jewish until 1938, when the Race Laws changed everything. I had to leave school, though Primo was allowed to stay on at university because he was already in his second year. After September 8 1943, when Italy surrendered to the Allies, the Germans still held sway in Turin, which became a very dangerous place for Jews. We had to go into hiding up in the mountains. One night someone shoved a note under the door that said, in the badly written Italian of the local farmers, «We know what race you belong to. If you do not give us 50,000 lire [about £20,000 in today’s terms], we will do our duty as Fascists and report you to the authorities.» Yet again my mother and I, along with other relatives, had to move and find a new hiding place.
Primo Levi, som har skrevet «Hvis dette er et menneske», Auschwitz-verdenens svar på «En dag i Ivan Denisovitsjs liv», begikk selvmord. Noen har hatt vanskelig for å godta at han endte sitt liv. Men søsteren sier: at det gjorde han.
As for my brother’s death in 1987, there were a number of factors behind the depression that drove him to end his own life. One of those was the gloom brought on by translating Kafka’s The Trial. Another reason was the effort it took him to write his last book, The Drowned and the Saved – it took everything out of him.
Before he died, Primo came to be seen as someone who could magically resolve everybody’s problems with the wave of a hand, as if he had the answer to everything. I think this became a bit of a burden to him. But the thing I remember most about my brother is that he was just a very kind, loving and gentle person.