After Auschwitz: What Is a Good Death?

Timothy Pytell

in Answering Auschwitz

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780823233588
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780823241811 | DOI:
After Auschwitz: What Is a Good Death?

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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

Chapter.  8076 words. 

Subjects: Literature

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