To the visitor of Auschwitz - by Primo Levi
These words were directed toward the visitors of that which remains of that fatal Lager. It is an extraordinarily lucid piece. One which resounds like an appeal saturated with grief, and at the same time, serves as a severe admonition.
The history of the Deportation and the extermination camps, the history of this very place, cannot be separated from the history of the Fascist tyrannies in Europe: from the first sparks rising from the arson of the Chamber of Commerce and Work in the Italy of 1921, to the rogue of forbidden books in the Germany of 1933, up to the heinous flames rising from the crematory ovens of Birkenau, there runs an uninterrupted nexus.Not all Italians were Fascists: this is testified by the Italians who have died here. Sharing this testimony with us are those who fought against Fascism, from the workers of Turin, who in 1923 became victims and martyrs for freedom, to the imprisoned, the repressed, the exiled, to our brothers of every political faith, who found their deaths in resisting to the Fascism restored by the National Socialist invader. We were partisans, political combatants, striking workers, resistors; all captured and deported during the final months of the war. We were Jews, coming from every Italian city, already discriminated against by the anti-Semite laws of Mussolini. We were rich and poor, we were women and men, we were healthy and ill. There were infants and old people on the verge of natural death. All of us were crowded into the trains, and we shared the same fate: a Nazi extermination camp. Never before this, not even in the darkest of centuries, was it contemplated that human beings should be exterminated by the million, as if they were harmful insects; that babies and the dying should be sent to their death. We, children of the Christian and Hebrew tradition (although we hesitate in making these distinctions), of a once civilized country, to whom was restituted civilization after the dark night of Fascism, we are testimony to all of this. In this place, where too many innocents were killed, the depths of barbarism were reached. Vistor, observe the vestige of this camp and meditate. Make it so that your voyage has not been purposeless, that so many deaths were not in vain. For yourself and for your children, make it so that the fruit of hatred, which in this place has left its traces, gives rise to no seed, not tomorrow, nor ever again.