Exhibition: "Primo Levi: from survivor to writer"

pdf of the exhibition (in French) (in Dutch)


exposition_levi_collagepanneauxThis exhibition offers the public a unique documentation of images and texts on Primo Levi. Primo Levi: from survivor to writer has been designed to appeal to all publics and increase awareness of one of the great witnesses to our time, a survivor of Auschwitz, by following his life story and describing the works he bequeathed to us.


Primo Levi is a major witness to the system and experience of the concentration camps. His desire to give our knowledge of the camps a universal significance is a major feature of his commitment and his activism. But to see him merely as a witness would limit his importance for us.

Levi was a poet, a story-teller, a novelist, a dramatist who adapted If This is a Man for the theatre, a radio and television performer, an essayist. He won numerous prizes, and was nominated for the Nobel Prize shortly before his death. His work is as important for the quality of his writing as for its inventiveness and the rigor of his ideas.


Primo Levi was a true intellectual who took a stance on many political and social questions, including the terrorism of the Red Brigades, Israel, pornography and negationism. He contributed to public debate, both directly and through the columns which he wrote for over 20 years in the Turin-based daily newspaper La Stampa.



Obviously, it would not be possible to present the writer, the thinker and the witness without mentioning how much chemistry mattered to him. It was his profession, as he liked to say, but it was also a way of seeing and situating himself in the world. Chemistry was one of the factors that enabled him to survive Auschwitz, and, later it helped him keep his distance from the literary and editorial circles where he did not feel he belonged. Chemistry also raises questions of science and reason, which become central questions when it is necessary to stand up against irrationality and obscurantism. As he said in one of his many interviews, remembering Goya: "The sleep of reason can only give birth to monsters".





This exhibition does not present a tidy, finalized portrait of Levi. It leaves the questions and controversies open as Levi himself did. It aims to educate, thus following the example set by Primo Levi’s own testimony. Its text and images are presented on 31 boards measuring 83 cm x 110 cm which can easily be hooked onto grills or wall fittings.


This exhibition has been displayed at the CHRD (Center for the History of the Resistance and the Deportation) Lyon, and in two Italian versions at the Museo diffuso dell'Istituto storico [Display Museum of the Historical Museum] in Turin, Levi’s native city, and at the foundation of the former camp of Fossoli da Carpi at Ascoli (Bergamo), from which Levi was deported. In 2007 a French version was shown on the premises of the French-speaking Community of Belgium in Brussels.


pdf of the exhibition (in French) (in Dutch)


screen_site_levi_theatreRelated site (in French): Primo Levi et le théâtre (supported by the Fondation pour la Mémoire de la Shoah [the French Foundation for Remembrance of the Shoah])




Loan Terms (pdf)

Reservations: Georges Boschloos



For any information, please contact Georges Boschloos at Remembrance of Auschwitz:

Tel.: +32 (0)2 512 79 98 – Fax: +32 (0)2 512 58 84 – Contact by e-mail

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