Mauthausen Concentration Camp

Mauthausen Concentration Camp Walls


Location: 20 km (12 mi) East of Linz    Map

Established: August 8, 1938

Liberated: May 5, 1945 by the US Army

Perished: 119,000 people


9am-5pm daily (last admission 15 minutes before closing)

Closed: Dec 24-26, Dec 31, Jan 1

Cost: €2 adults, €1 children

Franz Ziereis

Franz Ziereis (1905- 45)

Commandant of Mauthausen Concentration Camp


History of Mauthausen Concentration Camp

Mauthausen Concentration Camp is a large group of concentration camps near villages Mauthausen and Gusen situated 20 km (12 mi) East of Linz. It was found in August of 1938 as a slave labour camp with a group of 49 satellite Nazi concentration camps in the area. Due to massive Waffen conscription Nazi party was forced to use enemies of the German Reich in quarries, arm factories and towards the end of the war even production of Me 262 fighter jets. Mauthausen Concentration Camp was liberated by the US 11th. Armor Division on May 5 1945. The total death toll for compounds ranges from 122,766 to 320,000.


Mauthausen Concentration Camp was found on August 8, 1938 as a extermination camp for enemies of the Reich. First inmates here consisted mostly of political enemies, socialists, communists, homosexuals, handicapped (mentally and physically) patients as well as gypsies or Roma. After the end of Polish campaign many Polish intellectuals were transferred here. This included scientists, artists, teachers, professors and many others. With a start of an Eastern Campaign the camp increased even further. Thousands of Soviet POW's were sent here. Many didn't stay here too long. Almost immediately they were send to gas chambers.


In September 1944 a women's camp was opened. Thousands of women and children were transferred from Buchenwald, Bergen Belsen and many other locations around Europe to Mauthausen Concentration Camp. As the war drew closer to the end Nazi officials moved 20,000 prisoners here. Most of them were exterminated within several days. SS guards tried to exterminate documents of the victims before their escape on May, 1945. Due to their actions today only 40,000 victims are identified. The next day American 11th Armor Division freed those few who were lucky to survive the war. Nazi commandant Franz Ziereis who headed the Mauthausen camp tried to hide from the Allies troops in the mountains. American troops were send to capture him, but instead they shot him when he tried to escape. Well, at least this was the official story. His body was hanged at the entrance of the Mauthausen Concentration Camp by its former prisoners.


Dmitry Karbyshev (Дмитрий Михайлович Карбышев) 1880- 1945

Dmitry Karbyshev was a Lieutenant General of Engineer Corps in the Soviet Army. During World War II he was sent to the front line to stop advancing German troops. In August 1941 Karbyshev participated in the fighting at the Dnieper River in Mogilev Region. Here was hit by an artillery barrage and suffered post- concussion syndrome. He was captured by the Nazi German forces while unconscious. He was held in several concentration camps including Hammelburg, Flossenburg, Majdanek, Auschwitz, Sachsenhausen and finally Mauthausen.


Nazi officials attempted to elicit his cooperation with tortures and continuous intimidation, but failed to achieve any collaboration. Despite his advanced age he became one of the most active leaders of the camp resistance movement in the Mauthausen Concentration Camp. Unfortunately underground movement was discovered. On February 17, 1945 Karbyshev along with other 500 Soviet soldiers were kicked out on the street from their barracks. Here they were doused with cold water and left over night. The next morning they were found frozen. Karbyshev was awarded the title of the Hero of the Soviet Union on August 16, 1946. This incident became one of the most famous examples of violence in this concentration camp. Today his memory is commemorated in Mauthausen with a statue on the open courtyard.