Tacitus & Primo Levi

word and silence

It was nice to realize that two Italian writers who lived almost two thousand years apart appear to share the same tone and outlook on world events. Here are a few bits from the Roman historian Tacitus (in his Annal of Imperial Rome) and the more recent memoirist and novelist, Primo Levi (in his The Drowned & the Saved). They both bore witness to horrid violence and bureaucratic indifference, whether in the excesses of the first century Roman emperors, or of Nazi Germany. Sometimes you just need their dark realism:

Levi - The Drowned & the Saved

On Levi’s own—and others’—guilt at having survived the concentration camps:

At a distance of years one can today definitely affirm that the history of the Lagers [from Konzentrationslager, concentration camp] has been written almost exclusively by those who, like myself, never fathomed them to the bottom. Those who did so did not return, or their capacity for…

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