In honor of Yom Ha’Shoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) and on the centenary of Primo Levi’s birth, the Holocaust, Genocide, Memory Studies Program, the Program in Jewish Culture & Society, and the Department of French and Italian organized an evening of readings of Levi’s work with commentary by scholars.
The readings were performed beautifully by Kirsten Wynne Pullen (Head, Department of Theatre), and Philip Phillips (Professor of Physics). Sensitive and evocative musical accompaniment was provided by Jason Finkelman (Director, Global Performance Initiatives, Robert E Brown Center for World Music). After each reading comments and analysis were offered by Manuel Rota (Italian), Jonathan Druker (Italian, Illinois State), and Nora Stoppino (Italian). You could hear a pin drop as about 50 people listened intently to Levi’s moving words on the last day of the semester. See the video here.
Unfortunately, the antisemitic world Levi inhabited feels more present now than it has for quite some time. We closed the evening by reading the names of the victims of the Tree of Life massacre and the shooting at Chabad in San Diego. It is our hope that remembering and honoring Levi and other survivors will be part of the resistance to the rise of white supremacy we suffer now. Please join us next January 27th, 2020 on the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, for a screening of Liberation Heroes: The Last Eyewitnesses followed by a discussion with Scott Gendell.