Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Mauthausen Concentration Camp, Austria

Mauthausen Gusen Concentration Camp
In 2003 we took the kids to visit the Nazi Concentration Camp of Mauthausen Gusen outside of Vienna, Austria.

This urinal's brilliant plumbing was the only thing that could drum up a smile from Tate at Mauthausen. An old-world trough meets modern PVC plumbing before your eyes. You can literally see and hear the generations coming together about 2 inches above the tiles. SWEET!

The Czech Memorial
The urinals at Mauthausen were not the only thing that left a big impression. There are few places I've experienced with such a depressing air as this. To imagine the depths to which human depravity can sink (in a place that is otherwise so beautiful) is incredibly sad.

Stairs of Death
Parachutist's Wall  
The monument only begins to capture the shock  of what was done.  Mauthausen was used as one of the largest slave labor camps in Nazi controlled Europe.  Prisoners were literally worked to death. They were forced to race one another up the 186 'stairs of death' while carrying granite blocks. To fall was all but certain death. When they couldn't work they were lined up along the 'parachutist's cliff" and forced to push the man next to them off--or be shot.

About 85,000 inmates were freed by the US 3rd Army's Armored Division in 1945 when the camps were liberated. It is estimated that up to 320,000 met their death at the Mauthausen Gusen concentration camp complex.

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