Memorial Site, Former Concentration Camp Mauthausen
Memorial Site, Concentration Camp Mauthausen (640.236)
General and Historic Information
Only five months after the annexation of Austria to the German Reich on March 12th, 1939, the concentration camp was erected in Mauthausen. The construction works, executed by 300 prisoners of the concentration camp of Dachau, began on August 8th, 1938. At the end of 1941, the more essential construction works had been finished. The majority of the prisoners were forced to do heavy physical work in a quarry up to the point of exhaustion. The omnipresence of death, whether via the gas chamber, the gallows, gun bullets or other physical or psychological abuse, dominated their daily life at the camp. Due to the change of course of the war in 1943, the Nazi arms industry was relocated to underground installations and the functions of Concentration Camp Mauthausen extended. More and more sub-camps were built and added to the main camp. At that point, the majority of the prisoners were used to work those sub-camps. On May 5th, 1945, the day of liberation, the whole installation complex of the concentration camp encompassed around 120 hectares due to the ongoing expansion.
Around 200,000 people originating from more than thirty nations had been deported to the Concentration Camp and its sub-camps during the seven years of its existence. About half of them – women, children, men – were executed or died due to the consequences of the tortures during their imprisonment.
In 1949, former concentration camp Mauthausen was turned into a memorial site by the Austrian Federal Government in collaboration with former prisoners and became accessible to the public. It is maintained by the Federal Ministry for the Interior.
Some of the remarkable features of the memorial site are the original topography of the campsite, the preserved buildings of the fortress-like installation, the quarry Wiener Graben with the so-called Fallschirmspringerwand (parachutists’ wall) and the death stairs of Todesstiege. A number of commemorative plaques have been placed in certain areas (crematorium – gas chamber) by relatives of victims. After September 1949, affected nations and communities have added memorials all along the pathway between the main campsite and the quarry. Their architecture reflects the mental attitude of those who had them built and show a wide spectrum of different forms of artistic expression.
(Sources: information folder "Mauthausen Memorial, KZ-Gedenkstätte Mauthausen", Federal Ministry of the Interior, Dep. IV/7, "das sichtbare unfassbare", Federal Ministry oft he Interior; Dep. IV/7/a, Archive of the Memorial Site of Concentration Camp Mauthausen, 2005)
For further information, go to: Mauthausen Komitee Österreich
Burghauptmannschaft Österreich – Departments in charge:
Building Management Department 403 - Schönbrunn
HVAC Department 403 - Schönbrunn
Property Management Department 201 - Administration