Primo Levi at 100: If This Is a Man

Wed. Jun 12, 2019 at 12:00pm EDT
All Ages
18 days away
All Ages
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Event Stats
18 days away
All Ages
Event Description

To commemorate the centennial of the author’s birth, writers, performers, and scholars gather for a multilingual, full-length reading of his seminal memoir. 

“Many people—many nations—can find themselves believing, more or less consciously, that “every stranger is an enemy.””—Primo Levi, preface to If This Is a Man

In 1947, just three years after he was liberated from Auschwitz, Primo Levi published If This Is a Man, an unsparing account of his 11 months of internment in the death camp. The book had at first faced difficulty finding a publisher, and upon its initial publication, sales were modest. Yet ten years later, when it was re-published, his first-hand account of survival was embraced by an international audience. 

From the afternoon into the evening, one hundred years after Levi was born in Turin, Italy, readers will gather at The New York Public Library for a full-length recitation of If This Is a Man (also known as Survival in Auschwitz), sharing chapters aloud in some of the many languages into which his indelible work has been translated around the world. 

List of readers in formation: 
Waleed Alhariri Arabic
So Hyun Bae Korean
Debora Balardini Portuguese
Clémence Bouloque French
Fatma Bucak Turkish
Roger Cohen English
Michael Frank English
Jonathan Galassi English
Alma Guillermoprieto Spanish
Vít Hořejš Czech
Frank Hentschter German
Sherrilyn Ifill English
Revital Iyov Hebrew
Nicole Krauss English
Stella Levi Italian
Elidor Mëhilli Albanian
Erin Mizrahi English
Sam Norich English
Azra Raza English
Parul Sehgal English
Mark Shapiro English
Heli Sirviö Finnish
Yuriy Tarnawsky Ukrainian
Magda Teter Polish
Jordi Torrent Catalan
Kirmen Uribe Basque
Amir Vahab Farsi
Lara Vapnyar Russian
Aleksandra Wagner Serbian
Jeanne Marie Wasilik English
Bob Weil English

We anticipate the reading to last approximately eight hours. Please feel free to register for one, two, or all three sections of the event.

Presented with Centro Primo Levi New York and the Italian Cultural Institute of New York.

The annual Joy Gottesman Ungerleider Lecture has been made possible by a generous grant from the Dorot Foundation.

For free events, we generally overbook to ensure a full house. Priority will be given to those who have registered in advance, but registration does not guarantee admission. Non-registered guests will be admitted to the venue throughout the day, space permitting.

Please send all press inquiries (photo, video, interviews, audio-recording, etc.) at least 24-hours before the day of the program to Sara Beth Joren at For all other inquiries, please contact

ASL interpretation and real-time (CART) captioning available upon request. Please submit your request at least two weeks in advance by emailing

Registration Options
12 PM Section + More Details Free
3 PM Section + More Details Free
5:45 PM Section + More Details Free
Venue Details
Map of Venue Location.
Wachenheim Trustees Room (2nd Floor) The New York Public Library, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, 42nd Street & 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10018