He worked in Auschwitz and gave him soup every day

A fortuitous and banal encounter at the heart of the Inhuman.Italian mason addressing prisoners, no. 174,517, names cousin levy, told him that there was little mortar left, and lifted the shoe. They are building a series of tall, strong partitions to protect the “Buna” chemical plant, IG Farben’s massive project at the autonomous concentration camp in Monowitz, the size of a city four miles away. Auschwitz II. But the undernourished little guy grabbed the bucket and couldn’t handle it. It has no power. Mortar was spilled on the floor.

“Of course, for such a person…” said the bricklayer.if i were a Capo He’s sure to hit him on the head with a shovel. But he was an Italian “volunteer,” one of more than 8,000 volunteers sent to Nazi Germany in 1942 by the construction company of Giovanni Béotti, a Piacenza native, to build the Auschwitz universe. . Shocked by his accent, Primo Levi, a chemist and anti-fascist activist who had just graduated from the University of Turin at the time, recognized him: he was from Piedmont. break the ice: “Listen, if you talk to me, you’re in danger”. “I don’t care,” the migrant worker replied.

That encounter changed the author’s life if it was a man. “It is Lorenzo that I think I should be alive today,” he wrote in the first of three books that make up the heartbreaking Auschwitz trilogy about the concentration camp. The broadest, deepest and most overwhelming literary practice. massacre.He means Lorenzo PerroneA poor, miserable, alcoholic, quarrelsome man in a previous life who found a reason to keep living at the heart of the Nazi extermination machine.Historians have now reconstructed his legendary biography Carlo Grapi exist The Man Who Saved Primo Levi (criticize).

Lorenzo Perrone, in his 40s.

Lorenzo Perrone, in his 40s.

Courtesy of Emma Barberis

The two met one day in the early summer of 1944, probably between June 16 and 21. Since then, in the course of six months, the natural mason, who grew up in Burgué near the old town of Fossano and learned to fight with his life, compensated the prisoner in a selfless way malnutrition. He regularly brings her some thin soup every day, in his two-liter aluminum alpine jar, hiding from the gaze of the Gestapo. A few extra calories are vital to the survival of Primo Levi and his friend Alberto Dalla Volta who is always by his side.

“His humanity is pure, unpolluted, and he is outside this world of denial. Thanks Lorenzo, I haven’t forgotten I’m a man’ wrote the man from Turin, considered the greatest witness to the horrors of the 20th century. The Roots of Levi’s Testimonytheir indelible unity appears in the books that have shaped the cultural health of the Western world in recent decades”, analyzes Grapi, a doctorate in history at the University of Turin.

(The incredible story of two Jews who escaped Auschwitz, showing the horrors of the Holocaust)

Lorenzo Perrone’s story is brilliantly told, one of those remarkable and unbelievable stories that only happen in the most extreme of circumstances. Because in addition to providing liter soup, Bricklayer sent three postcards he wrote for Primo It was discovered when he tried to write the letters himself. Contact with the “forever lost world” also contributed to the inflation of this “unusual minority” of survivors.

after hell

The first letter was written on August 20, 1944 and mailed a day later. Through his intermediary, the author explained to his mother that he was fine, although the first recipient of the message was her friend Bianca Guidetti Serra: “Still in perfect healthAnd, with the good season coming, I feel better”. “Don’t worry about me, try to give me news about everyone and be as courageous and hopeful as I am,” he concluded.

The last meeting between the two probably took place on December 26, 1944, when the IG Farben factory came under a fresh Allied attack. While Lorenzo was in the kitchen picking up leftovers – which he used to do at dawn so as not to be seen – a bomb exploded next to him, blowing up the basket, ruptured eardrum. But he doesn’t miss his daily appointments: he has a ranch to give away to those who need it. A few days later, Primo Levi came down with scarlet fever and was admitted to a field laboratory: another “fortune” saved his life.

First letter sent by Lorenzo Perrone on behalf of Primo Levi of Auschwitz.

First letter sent by Lorenzo Perrone on behalf of Primo Levi of Auschwitz.

Primo Levi Archives

the author is if it was a man He always kept his savior in mind: his two children, Lisa Lorenza (born 1948) and Renzo (born 1957), They honor these names. One of the most interesting finds in the work of Carlo Greppi is Levi’s letters to the Piedmontese. They met several times after the nightmare at Auschwitz, but Perrone fell into a deep depression. He was “really emaciated”, “damaged by what he saw and heard there” and was hurt. “It hurts so much, I don’t want to live anymore”.

Lorenzo Perrone died on April 30, 1952, but not before leaving another shocking testimony of one man saving another from suffering, He knew nothing about this man and owed him nothing, yet this man had found no redemption for himself. Here is a postcard he sent Primo Levi for Christmas 1948. The postcard, written in his own hand, with a common misspelling of a poor “nearly illiterate,” reads:

“Dear Mr. Primo: I’m replying to your letter. I’m glad to know you remember me, only I don’t remember you, because when you’re poor, you’ll always be poor. But this year even in health Abundant though you know how my illness (tuberculosis) is when winter comes: I always had a little bit of bronchitis until I died. I am glad to know that your wife gave birth to a girl two months ago. Most wonderful All you can do for me is name her Lisa Lorenza so she will be named after me too. But I pray Lord I don’t have to suffer what I suffer In my life (…) I’m sure I need more, but you’ve done so much for me that I’m ashamed to even ask. it’s good now”.

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