• Day51

    Mauthausen Memorial

    June 29, 2015 in Austria ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

    Today we went to Mauthausen, one of the largest Nazi Concentration Camp in the world. They began looking for a location to build the camp in 1938. The first people to occupy the camp were criminals who had already served their time in prison.

    On arrival they would be taken to the assembly area where there were blankets on the ground, they were instructed to take all of their clothing, watches and any other items off and place them on the blankets on ground. Once they were standing there completely naked they would have their hair shaved off, taken to the shower and given a uniform. The guards would point at the front gates and they were told 'that is the way in' and then they would point at the crematorium and told 'that is the only way out'.

    There was what they called the 'stairway of death', they were force to contribute by carrying about 50 pound stones up the 200 stairs. They were malnutritioned and weak. Men would colapse and fall down the stairs creating a domino effect. One of the surviors said that you had to see it to believe it.

    There was a cliff face and the guards made them stand in two rows and the rear row was forced to push the front row off the edge of the cliff face. They would either fall head first to their death or into the water and drown.

    One if the survivors told a story of when he was used as an interpreter, he was instructed to tell a group to remove their clothing, count to ten while inhaling gas that would make them lose conscience within ten seconds. The guards were then injected the group with large petrol filled syringes. The survivor was then instructedto check their pulses to find that they were all dead.

    The guards would kill many people, this is only one example. The first to go are the ones that the guards see as 'useless mouths to fill' for example handicapped children, prisoners of war, the elderly and the ill. Often killed in gas chambers, it would take 10 minutes for them to die and 6 hours to remove their bodies from the chamber.

    They were often used as 'guinea pigs' and killed so that people could examine their organs, used to test new drugs and antidopes.

    Every day they would have to march
    And the weakest would be at the back and if they fell behind the guards would beat them with the butts of their rifles.

    Block 20 is where the men would go if they refused to obey orders. They were forced to be out working from 5am to 5pm. They would only get food every third day and even then they were only allowed to have five spoonfuls. They had no tables or beds and would have to sleep on the floor, if there wasn't enough room to sleep on the floor they would have to sleep on top of somone else. When it rained they would have to create a 'human carpet' by laying on the ground next to each other in the parade area so that the guards didn't get their boots dirty.

    On the 2nd of February 1945 one winter's night the men came up with a plan to escape. There would be three groups, the first would over power the guards, the second would short out the power and the third would create a human ladder to get over the fence. 500 men escaped that night. Guards chased the men along with dogs, all of the men found were shot immediately and their bodies were piled uo like a stack of wood.

    By the 28th of April 1945 the guards had already killed 10 thousand men.

    USA Army liberated Mauthausen Concentration Camp on the 5th of May 1945. The first day they buried 1200 and 300 the next day. Members of the USA Army could not believe their eyes and how these people were treated.

    I find it hard to comprehend that a human could do that do another human being. Watching the video and listening to the survior's story gave me goosebumps, I felt so much disgust.
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