Sometimes the human mind seems inadequate to understand and explain the enormity of the Shoah, which may explain why Freud is so often invoked by writers of Holocaust literature, ranging from D. M. Thomas in “The White Hotel” to Primo Levi in “The Drowned and the Saved.”
In 2005, Italian filmmaker Davide Ferrario decided to mark the 60th anniversary of Primo Levi's liberation by retracing the route of the writer's journey in January 1945, from Auschwitz to his hometown of Turin, with a camera crew. The result is Ferrario's documentary "Primo Levi's Journey". Intercutting footage from the 2005 journey with Levi's earlier observations on the same places, the film is disorienting in the beginning. Only gradually does it become clear that Ferrario is contrasting how much -- and how little -- has changed in the 60-year interval.
This is how naive I am: I never understood why Primo Levi killed himself. I'd long admired and devoured the works of the Italian chemist who wrote of his experiences surviving the Holocaust.