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United Nations Celebrates the Contributions of Primo Levi at Holocaust Event

Author Primo Levi shared his vision for a more just and human world in fourteen books, memoirs and essays that have been published together in three volumes in English titled The Complete Works of Primo Levi. To celebrate his universal appeal and contribution to humanism, the United Nations Department of Public Information will organize a roundtable discussion in partnership with the Centro Primo Levi New York titled “After the Holocaust – Primo Levi and the Nexus of Science, Responsibility and Humanism”. The event will be held on 4 May 2016, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the Trusteeship Council Chamber on the occasion of Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Memorial Day on the Hebrew calendar).

The roundtable discussion will explore themes found in Primo Levi’s writings including: scientific ethics, history and memory, language and transmission, justice and responsibility. The event will feature short welcome remarks by Ms. Cristina Gallach, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information; Ms. Stella Levi,Member of the Board of Directors, Centro Primo Levi New York and survivor; and Mr. Dario Disegni, Vice Chairman of the Primo Levi International Study Centre in Turin, Italy.

Following the screening of a film clip on Primo Levi’s life, produced by RAI Teche, influential passages from Primo Levi’s work will be read by Mr. Ramu Damodaran, Chief, United Nations Academic Impact, United Nations Department of Public Information; Ms. Carla Esperanza Rivera Sánchez, Minister Counsellor, Permanent Mission of El Salvador to the United Nations and Vice Chairperson of the United Nations General Assembly Committee on Information; and special guest John Turturro, actor and director.

A panel of scholars and experts will examine Primo Levi’s writings. Panellists include Ms. Natalia Indrimi, Executive Director, Centro Primo Levi New York, who will also serve as moderator; Dr. Lidia Santarelli, Nuremberg Trial Project, Harvard University; Professor Francesco Cassata, History of Science, University of Genoa; Ms. Maaza Mengiste, writer and author; Mr. Roger Cohen, The New York Times.

Primo Michele Levi was an Italian chemist and writer from Turin born on 31 July 1919. He was the author of several books, novels, collections of short stories, essays, and poems. His best-known works include If This Is a Man (1947), his account of the year he spent as a prisoner in the Auschwitz concentration camp in Nazi-occupied Poland; and his unique work, The Periodic Table (1975), linked to qualities of the elements, which the Royal Institution of Great Britain named the best science book ever written. He was involved the partisan resistance to the German occupation and has spent two months in a Fascist internment camp, eleven months in Auschwitz, and a further nine in various Russian refugee camps. He died on 11 April 1987 in Turin.

The Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme of the Education Outreach Section was established in 2006 to further Holocaust education and remembrance to help prevent genocide.

The Centro Primo Levi  is a New York based organization inspired by the humanistic legacy of writer and chemist Primo Levi. The Center offers public and academic programs and publications on the history of Italian Jews and Judaism. Its main focus on 20th century totalitarianism expands to a history of over two thousand years in an ongoing effort to present the experience and perspective of a minority and its relation with mainstream culture in ancient and modern societies.

To register for the event, please visit www.un.org/holocaustremembrance .
The event is open to journalists. For accreditation, please visit the United Nations Media Accreditation Unit website.

For information about the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme, please contact Kimberly Mann, Chief, Education Outreach, at mann@un.org.

For information on the Centro Primo Levi, please contact Natalia Indrimi, Executive Director, at Natalia@primolevicenter.org.

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