Mauthausen Aktiv GUSEN
within ARBEITSKREIS FUER HEIMAT-, DENKMAL- UND GESCHICHTSPFLEGE (AHDG)
and Local-International Platform ST. GEORGEN/GUSEN, Austria
KZ Mauthausen-GUSEN Info-Pages
PREFACE FROM THE PRESIDENT OF THE INTERNATIONAL MAUTHAUSEN COMMITTEE
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
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
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
- Joseph Hammelmann, President of the International Mauthausen Committee (IMC), Luxembourg
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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