LeviNeT - The German Network. Primo Levi's Correspondence with German Readers and Intellectuals

Primo Levi (1919-1987), one of the most important witnesses of the Holocaust, has been studied increasingly over the last three decades. Levi is currently recognized as one of the few Italian thinkers of essential importance for the understanding of the 20th century as a whole. The LeviNeT project aims to provide the very first edition of a significant portion of Levi's multilingual correspondence.

The edition will be open source and hosted on an online platform. It will concentrate on Levi's German correspondence: the epistolary exchanges that took place between Levi and his German-speaking readers, interlocutors, friends, survivors and former oppressors from 1959 to 1987. This correspondence constitutes a stunning epistolary network between him and many German-language correspondents, including the translator, Heinz Riedt, the philosopher, Jean Améry, the historian, Hermann Langbein, and the politician, Hety Schmitt-Maass. It consists of a rich and vibrant discussion on themes such as guilt, the possibility of overcoming the past, and the consequences of that past on the present. What is at the heart of this network is the rebuilding of a post-war European identity. In short, this project uncovers a new and decisive crossroad in European cultural history.

Thanks to the authorization of Primo Levi's heirs, it will be possible to access Levi's private archive for the first time, and so to have a complete view of his German network. The planned open-source edition will include: a philological transcription and a semantic analysis of each letter, a graphic visualization of the German network, in-depth biographical information for each correspondent, a timeline and a map, and a series of thematic itineraries. This edition will provide a brand-new narrative in studies of Primo Levi and unique core material for literary scholars and historians. Moreover, it will be an innovative didactic tool for the international community of teachers, students and readers.

eu_flag.jpgFunded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or European Research Council Executive Agency (ERCEA). Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them

Project details

Project Coordinator: Martina Mengoni

Funding source: HORIZON EUROPE - ERC Starting Grant

Start date 01/09/2022 - end date 31/08/2027

Total cost: 1.190.125 €
EU contribution: 1.190.125 €
EU contribution to Unife: 983.875 €


  • Università degli Studi di Ferrara (UNIFE), Italy
  • Centro Internazionale di Studi Primo Levi, Italy