As has been noted, a careful reading of Se questo è un uomo, La tregua, and I sommersi e i salvati elucidates Levi’s philosophy on humanity and inhumanity, on the demolition of the human by the inhuman, and the creation of the non-human. Levi’s position chimes fundamentally with Levinas’ view that our humanity lies in our ethical recognition of the other, and of our responsibility to protect him or her-an ‘inalienable responsibility’ that is summoned and claimed by the other’s face. For Levinas, this is not the inevitable state of the world, but ‘a breach made by humanness in the barbarism of being’ (Levinas 1998, 186-87), just as in Levi’s work the threat of a ‘return’ to, or a degradation into, barbarism is often real, or hovers menacingly within the realm of possibility (Lo Presti 1997, 54). In the Lager, where barbarism is all too normalized, it is precisely these breaches by humanness that Levi searches for: they are few, but are clearly, deliberately signalled. In contrast to the necessary selfi shness seemingly required for survival in the camps, the ‘survival of the fi ttest’ mentality,1 Levi witnesses or experiences small acts of generosity, such as others sharing their rations of bread. When another prisoner does just this, in the infi rmary after the guards have left, Levi describes it as the fi rst human gesture to occur between prisoners, which marked the beginning of a slow process of rehumanization (SQ I, 156; IM, 166).