Primo Levi’s 1971 short story “Heading West” describes a group of indigenous people who refuse to partake in an experiment requiring them to take a new drug purported to end a suicide epidemic; the chief writes that his people “prefer freedom to drugs and death to illusion.” A few years later, after Levi’s German teacher was found hanged, Levi refused to sign a petition claiming that he had actually been murdered, insisting that “suicide is a right we all have.” In a letter, Levi described suicide as “an act of will, a free decision.” His own death in 1987—from a fall down his apartment building’s stairwell—was ruled a suicide, though some contemporary scholars have contested this.