Mauthausen Aktiv GUSEN

and Local-International Platform ST. GEORGEN/GUSEN, Austria

KZ Mauthausen-GUSEN Info-Pages


As President of the International Mauthausen Committee (IMC), and on behalf of all former inmates, living or dead, I am pleased and enthusiastic to write the preface to this documentation dedicated to the Mauthausen-Gusen Concentration Camps.

First of all, I would like to thank the initiators of the " Arbeitskreis fuer Heimat-, Denkmal- und Geschichtspflege St.Georgen/Gusen" from the bottom of my heart for their various ideas and concepts for rescuing from oblivion these former camps: Gusen I in Langenstein, Gusen II in St.Georgen/Gusen and Gusen III in Lungitz.

These sites of the horrible NS-terror from 1940 to 1945, which showed such contempt for human beings, increasingly must be the focus of research and education regarding Nazism, especially now that more than half a century has passed since the inmates of these camps were liberated by American troops on May 5th, 1945.

The events in these sub-camps make clear that right on the door-steps of the local population innocent people from many countries were imprisoned without a verdict, condemned to inhuman forced labor, tormented, tortured and murdered.

Abroad, particularly in the countries from which resistance fighters and prisoners of war were deported to Gusen, Upper Austrians´ manner of dealing with their memorials is considered indicative of their struggle concerning the Nazi past. The prominence of memorials in the three villages affected show the former victims of persecution how Austria, despite pressure from the extreme right, opposes tendencies to play down or even deny Nazi crimes.

Especially for the populations of Belgium, France, Greece, Italy, Yugoslavia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Spain, but also for the populations of Poland, the satellite states of the former Soviet Union, as well as Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary and the Czech Republic, the former Gusen camps are connected with painful memories of NS-barbarity.

The works and projects presented in this documentation give important and informative insight into how the young generation approaches various NS memorials, how they remember events from a dark historical period by talking to contemporary witnesses, how they see and feel, and how they express their emotions and realisations.

Illustrating this, I want to add that students of Prof. Hrdlicka´s Master Class presented some of their projects to the delegates of the IMC at their latest general assembly. The students aim to protect the last remains of Camp Gusen, in order to put up a monument, a commemoration path with artistic representation and content.

This cannot help but effect political education regarding the Nazi period, and is targeted toward teenagers as well as grown-ups. For the reader, this publication contains further suggestions for a personal approach to what happened in Gusen and for dealing with it inside and outside schools.

All survivors, the bereaved of more than 37,000 victims, as well as family members from different countries whose relatives had to eke out a miserable existence and, as time went on, died of their privations, thank the organizers of the "Arbeitskreis fuer Heimat-, Denkmal- und Geschichtspflege of St.Georgen/Gusen" and all those helpful in- and outside the camps as well as our American liberators from the bottom of our heart.

Finally I want to call to mind the significant events in Austria exactly 60 years ago which were decisive and determining for the whole world.

At the same time, let us also recall that the Human-Rights-Charter was ratified 50 years ago, as the former inmates of NS concentration camps in particular had lost all their rights of life, freedom and security.

Let´s take this as a reason for special efforts.

Jos. Hammelmann, President of IMC

Translation by Siegi Witzany-Durda and Jan-Ruth White, 01/15/98

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Most recent updates of this page were made on
990417 by Rudolf A. HAUNSCHMIED,
Martha Gammer, Siegi Witzany-Durda and
8th Grade Class at Beulah High School, US-Alabama,
Jan-Ruth White, teacher