Cover page

Title page

Copyright page



1 Testimonial given to Primo Levi at Kattowitz, 30 June 1945, by the ‘Head of Medical Service 125’.

2 Unpublished typescript of first page of the ‘Report’.

3 Title page of Minerva Medica, 24 November 1946.

4 First page of the ‘Report’ in Minerva Medica.

5 Primo Levi, ‘Statement for the Höss Trial’.

6 Primo Levi, ‘Questionnaire for the Bosshammer Trial’, 2 September 1970, first page.

7 La Stampa, 9 February 1975, first page.

8 Map of Nazi concentration camps.

9 Primo Levi. List of fellow deportees who entered Monowitz with Levi.

10 Primo Levi, Leonardo De Benedetti. Copy by Levi of list in figure 9 (1971).

Translator's Note

Judith Woolf

Given the status of many of these documents as an unmediated part of the historical record, I have followed the criteria already adopted by Fabio Levi and Domenico Scarpa in the Italian text by preserving irregularities of spelling and errors in the dating of events or in recalling the number or the names of fellow prisoners. On the basis of the same criteria, I have not standardized the various forms in which the German word Lager (camp) appears. I have translated the Italian word crematorio as ‘crematory’ rather than ‘crematorium’, to make the distinction between a mass incineration plant and a civilized funeral facility. Documents recorded and transcribed by Colonel Massimo Adolfo Vitale, the founder of the Comitato Ricerche Deportati Ebrei (Search Committee for Jewish Deportees), bear the unmistakable signs of his indignation in the capitalizing of key words and the addition of multiple exclamation marks to the otherwise sober prose in which both Primo Levi and Leonardo De Benedetti offer their testimony.

The first document in the book, the ‘Report on the Sanitary and Medical Organization of the Monowitz Concentration Camp for Jews’, was originally published in Italy in a medical journal whose readers would have known, for instance, that famine oedema is a form of dropsy caused by malnutrition; that phlegmons are inflammations of the subcutaneous connective tissue, leading to ulceration and the formation of invasive abscesses; and that Panflavin, grotesquely employed to treat diphtheria in the camp infirmary, was a brand of throat lozenge. Such details matter because they reveal the stark facts of a time and place in which human beings were condemned to die from diarrhoea and diphtheria and invasive ulcers as deliberately as they were condemned to die by gas. For a complete glossary of the medical and pharmaceutical terms used in the ‘Report’, see Primo Levi and Leonardo De Benedetti, Auschwitz Report, trans. Judith Woolf, ed. Robert S. C. Gordon (London: Verso, 2006), pp. 79–88.