Mauthausen Aktiv GUSEN
within ARBEITSKREIS FUER HEIMAT-, DENKMAL- UND GESCHICHTSPFLEGE (AHDG)
and Local-International Platform ST. GEORGEN/GUSEN, Austria
KZ Mauthausen-GUSEN Info-Pages
CRUELTIES at KZ Gusen Camps
Dragging Inmates along the camp roads
This method was used in the first phase of KZ Gusen history as punishment
for inmates who tried to hide inside the camp.
The victims were dragged by their feet over the sharp stones of the
camp pavement until their heads were wounded.
Drowning Inmates in Water-Tubs
Between Summer 1940 and the end of 1942, many ill or unfit Poles, Spaniards
and Jews were selected to be drowned in tubs, small barrels, etc.
Kapo van Loosen, Kapo Klockmann and " Block-Aeltester" Schroegler
specialized in this method of killing at KZ Gusen.
Bathing Inmates to Death
This cheap method of killing ill or exhausted people was invented by SS-Hauptsturmfuehrer
Karl Chmielewski, when he was commander of the KZ Gusen I between 1940 and 1943
(in 1943 he became commander to KZ Vought, in the Nederlands).
Chmielewski´s adjutant during 1940 and 1942, SS-Hauptscharfuehrer
Heinz Jentzsch, would bring between 40 and 200 inmates into the KZ Gusen showers
and expose them to cold water until they died, usually after about 30 minutes.
Hence, Jentzsch was nicknamed "Bademeister" (bath-attendent).
Unitl 1943 several thousand KZ Gusen inmates were exterminated by this
"Hanging" Inmates on Trees
For punishment inmates were hanged from trees by their arms, which were bound at
their backs. This painful punishment was derived from medieval torture-methods.
In some cases, people hung thus were forgotten and died after some 30 minutes.
Throwing Inmates down
the KZ Gusen Stone-Quarries
This method was also used to kill people as cheaply as possible.
At Dachau trials, DEST stone-quarries chief Paul Wolfram was scentenced
for personally throwing several people down the KZ Gusen I KASTENHOF Stone-Quarry.
The same method was used at the Mauthausen Central Camp WIENERGRABEN
Stone-Quarry, where "The Parachutists Wall" stands
as a reminder today.
Beating Inmates to Death
In the final phase of KZ Gusen II, ill or unfit people were no longer
brought to KZ Gusen I to be killed by gas or by heart-injections.
They were simply beaten to death with axes, sticks and shovels.
On the night to April 23, 1945 some 600 "unfit" inmates of KZ Gusen II
were exterminated by beating.
Extermination of 420 Jewish Children by Heart-Injections
At the end of February 1945 some 420 Jewish children between the ages
of 4 and 7 years were sent into KZ Gusen, where they were exterminated
by SS-Doctors and their helpers with heart-injections.
Extermination of Priests
In early 1940, many priests from KZ Buchenwald, KZ Dachau and KZ Mauthausen
were sent to KZ Gusen for extermination. Together with the Jewish inmates,
they belonged to the lowest-ranking group of prisoners and often were exposed
to the private atrocities of SS men in the camp. Since all religious practices were forbidden,
many priests were punished or killed when exposed as priests or when betrayed for practicing
Polish priests, in general, were fully exposed to weather conditions, because they
were only allowed to work at the external commands in the stone-quarry and at the
construction sites of the camp.
So, the average survival period for Polish priests in KZ Gusen was around 100 days.
Because of the fleeing of two comrades, on August 13, 1940, all the prisoners of the
"Stone-Carry" Command were forced to run all day long. By the evening
of that day, 14 of them were dead - nearly all of them were priests.
General Treatment of Jewish Inmates
Jewish inmates together with the prisoners of the Punishment Unit were generally isolated
in Barrack No. 16.
The inmates of this barrack had to do the hardest and most dirty work in KZ Gusen and were
subjected to any atrocities the SS-men, Kapos or other inmates within the camp could devise.
For example, they were used to empty the cesspools under most inhumane conditions: they
had to do this naked (summer and winter) and running at the double.
Other time, they had to carry the stones in the stone-quarries of Gusen.
In the second half of 1940, none of the 41 Jewish prisoners survived KZ Gusen.
Between 1940 and 1943/1944 no Jewish inmates are known to have survived the Gusen camps.
The average survival period of Jewish inmates was several weeks. In some cases, it was
only a few days.
In the Summer of 1944, most of the Jewish inmates were sent to
KZ Gusen II where they had to dig the huge underground systems without
any medical support. As a result, nearly 1/3 of all the KZ Gusen II victims are Jewish.
Information credit:Trial against Karl Chmielewski
Trial against Paul Wolfram
Trial against Hugo Stahl
Bernard Aldebert, Chemin de Croix en 50 Stations
Hans Marsalek, GUSEN - Vorraum zur Hoelle
Hans Marsalek, Die Geschichte des Konzentrationslagers Mauthausen
Back to Index
For additional information, comments or suggestions, please contact:
ARBEITSKREIS FUER HEIMAT DENKMAL- UND GESCHICHTSPFLEGE
Most recent updates of this page were made on
990807 by Rudolf A. HAUNSCHMIED,
Martha Gammer, Siegi Witzany-Durda and
8th Grade Class at Beulah High School, US-Alabama,
Jan-Ruth White, teacher