Philip Balma

This study is the result of an interview with Edith Bruck which took place on May 3, 2006, in her apartment in Rome. The purpose of my paper is, in part, to expose and discuss in detail a series of conditions that created a new ghetto for the novelist who survived Auschwitz; this time a thematic ghetto. Focusing on the author’s recent statements, this essay will begin by discussing some of the difficulties encountered by Primo Levi in his dealings with the Einaudi publishing house; moving on to Edith Bruck’s experiences as a Holocaust witness who, eventually, found herself blocked in this role, in part because of pressures she felt from the Italian publishing industry. Analyzing her experiences in the world of cinema, I will then transition to a discussion of some stormy events which took place in the former Yugoslavian republic, and later in Italy, during the shooting of two films on the holocaust: KAPÒ by Gillo Pontecorvo for which the author worked as a consultant (without ever appearing in the credits), and ANDREMO IN CITTÀ by her husband Nelo Risi, based on Bruck’s story contained in the homonymous book. In particular, the author’s difficult relationship with director Pontecorvo will be brought to bear, and the surprising behavior of Italian newspapers (from the political right and left) following an unfortunate incident when the writer was assaulted by a Bosnian man who hated Hungarians.


Keywords: Edith Bruck, Holocaust literature, Italian cinema, censorship, Primo Levi