Primo Levi, Italian literature, literature, essay, fiction, Jewish


Born in Turin, 31 July 1919, to Cesare Levi, engineer, and wife Ester (née Luzzati). Studied at Liceo-Ginnasio D'Azeglio from 1934; University of Turn, degree in chemistry, 1941. Joined partisans in Valle D'Aosta to fight German invaders, 1943; arrested and sent to Carpi-Fossoli internment camp near Modena. Deported to Auschwitz, February 1944; worked as slave laborer at rubber factory of Buns-Monowitz (I.G. Farben, Auschwitz III). Liberated by Soviet army, 1945; after long journey through central and easter Europe, reunited with family in Turin, October 1945. Married Lucia Morpurgo, teacher, 1947; two children. Worked as industrial chemist for SIVA (paints, enamels, synthetic resins), Settimo, Turin; retired to write full-time, 1975. Regular contributor to La stampa. Many awards, including Premio Campiello, 1963, 1982; Premio Bagutta, 1967; Premio Strega 1979; Premio Viareggio, 1982; co-recipient, with Saul Bellow, of Kenneth B. Smilen Fiction Award of Jewish Museum, New York, 1985; Present Tense/Joel H. Cavior Literary Award, 1986; Prato Prize (for resistance work). Died after fall down stairwell, some populate a suicide attempt, Turin, 11 April 1987.

Original Publication Citation

"Primo Levi," Jewish Writers of the Twentieth Century, ed. Sorrel Kerbel (New York-London: Fitzroy Dearborn, 2003): 323-325.

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Fitzroy Dearborn






French and Italian

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor