The Grade 7 Humanities classes wrapped up their year with a visit to the Mauthausen concentration camp, and Anna Grace offered to share her photo impressions with me. Tony and I have visited the Terezin concentration camp outside of Prague long ago in 2001; and as a family we visited Auschwitz just before we moved to Vienna. Though I do not recommend visiting concentration camps as a “holiday” theme, each camp has its own important story to tell.
Mauthausen is but a couple of hours west from Vienna, near Linz. The camp was one of the first concentration camps established (1938) and one of the last to be liberated (by the U.S. in May, 1945).
The prisoners at this camp included “political enemies of the Reich” and “educated intelligentsia,” including, as all historical documents appear to indicate, a relative from Poland who was for reasons unknown transferred to Dachau in late 1944, and from where he was ultimately liberated.
The camp was a “Category 3” labor camp (meaning, “return not desired, extermination by work.”) Estimates of the number of people murdered at this camp range from 125.000 to over 300.000.
On Anna Grace’s visit the day was bright and sunny, which probably only meant a longer day of work for the prisoners during WWII. This row of barracks and buildings is about all that remain.
The sleeping arrangements, often 2 or 3 prisoners to a bunk.
The bathroom (with fixtures removed.)
The gas chambers in Mauthausen that came into use later during the war. Update: A commenter on this post questioned whether this was the gas chamber or the room where prisoners were disinfected upon arrival. As I was not in attendance and relied upon Anna Grace’s descriptions, additional research from the Mauthausen Memorial website indicates that this room was a gas chamber.
One section of the barracks is now a museum that contains the names of every prisoner who was murdered at Mauthausen.
Over 35.000 Poles (Jews and non-Jews) were murdered here. This is the memorial to Polish victims.
In my American ancestry there are engineer and scientist relatives who hold patents with The Ford Motor Company; and I (not to be braggadocios, but as a point of information), hold three patents of my own because of family who were able to leave Europe before and during WWII. But, what might have been we will never know.
Niemals vergessen. Never forget.