An early start meant that I reached the Mauthausen concentration camp memorial and exhibitions early. The presentation and explanations were excellent, but even grimmer for that.
Outside the main gates are memorials from the many countries whose citizens died at Mauthausen - it truly was an international tragedy.
No punches were pulled on topics such as: that the maltreatment of prisoners was "by the book"; prisoners were set against each other by establishing hierarchies; german companies that profited from slave labour; the difficulties of prosecuting those involved due to destruction of evidence; and the continued persecution of some groups after the war.
After that I completed three half day sections of the route, time trialling it to reach Melk 10 minutes before the tourist office shut. A helpful assistant found me budget accommodation based in a wood fabrication workshop on the edge of town.
Photos - main gate of Mauthausen from the parade ground, the Italian memorial made up of individual names and photos, Melk Abbey from the old town.Read more