If This Is a Man


by Primo Levi

You who live safe
In your warm houses,
You who find, returning in the evening,
Hot food and friendly faces:

Consider if this is a man
Who works in the mud,
Who does not know peace,
Who fights for a scrap of bread,
Who dies because of a yes or a no.
Consider if this is a woman
Without hair and without name,
With no more strength to remember,
Her eyes empty and her womb cold
Like a frog in winter.

Meditate that this came about:
I commend these words to you.
Carve them in your hearts
At home, in the street,
Going to bed, rising;
Repeat them to your children.

Or may your house fall apart,
May illness impede you,
May your children turn their faces from you.

* * *

primo levii1Primo Michele Levi (1919–1987), seorang Yahudi dari Italia yang selamat dari peristiwa Holocoust di Polandia. Dia penulis, juga seorang ahli kimia. Diduga, dia mati bunuh diri. Penerima Nobel dan juga seorang Yahudi yang selamat dari Holocoust, Elie Wiesel, mengatakan, “Primo Levi sudah meninggal di Auschwitz empat puluh tahun sebelumnya.” Auschwitz adalah sebuah lokasi kamp konsentrasi milik Nazi Jerman. (*)

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