Item #2711 Exchange of letters between Primo Levi and Rabbi Emil Davidovic. Primo Levi.
Letters from Primo Levi

Exchange of letters between Primo Levi and Rabbi Emil Davidovic

1960s. In fine condition.


Autograph Letter Signed, written in English to "Mendi" (Rabbi Emil Davidovic). Primo Levi thanks the former for supplying "literature" (quote marks in original) and "with best wishes to all of you for the impending feasts". Turin, 11th September, (n.y).

Typed Letter Signed, written in English to Alice Gadlin. Primo Levi writes a letter of condolence to the family of his Auschwitz bunk-mate, Mendi. "Despite the language difficulties, Mendi was the friend in Monowitz I most admired and listened to for advice and aid". Turin, 16th June, 1986. * With envelope.

Two further letters (in Xerox) from Levi to Davidovic. Including a reaction to Davidovic's article in the Allgemeine Zeitung (included in the lot) concerning the liberation from Auschwitz.

One letter (in Xerox) from Davidovic to Levi (12th February 12, 1965) correcting some of Primo's recollections of his fellow prisoners in Auschwitz.

One of 13 children born to an ultra-Orthodox family in Chust (Ukraine), Emil (Menachem Chaim) Davidovic (1912-1986) received a traditional yeshiva education until he set upon a less doctrinaire path and was ordained by the Neolog Rabbinic Seminary in Budapest. Nevertheless of all people it was the Grand Rabbi of Satmar, R. Yoel Teitelbaum who presided over Davidovic's wedding in 1941. Along with the mass of the Jews of Hungary Davidovic was deported to Auschwitz, from where he was sent on a transport to slave in IG Farben's Buna-Werke factory in Monowitz. It was there he met and befriended Primo Levi.

In 'If This Is a Man' the character 'Mendi' is a modernist rabbi, fluent in seven languages. This was the nickname Primo Levi used for Davidovic. Emil Davidovic (who post-war served as a Rabbi in Prague and Dortmund, Germany) remained friends with Primo Levi until their respective deaths.

Provenance: Rabbi Emil Davidovic; to his daughter: Alice Gadlin Lutwak (widow of the recently deceased New York book-dealer, Aron Lutwak). Primo Levi's 'If This is a Man' has been described as one of the most important literary works of the twentieth century.

Price: €11,000.00

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