Mauthausen Aktiv GUSEN
within ARBEITSKREIS FUER HEIMAT-, DENKMAL- UND GESCHICHTSPFLEGE (AHDG)
and Local-International Platform ST. GEORGEN/GUSEN, Austria
KZ Mauthausen-GUSEN Info-Pages
GASSINGS at KZ Gusen
Some people dispute the gassings and the presence of gas-chambers
at concentration camps. However, at KZ Gusen, lethal gassings were
conducted even without gas chambers by simply closing a barracks gas-tight
and filling it with Zyklon-B.
In March 1942, KZ Gusen conducted a "first" experimental gassing of this sort.
Previously, victims of KZ Mauthausen and KZ Gusen were transported
by special "busses" to Hartheim Castle
where a gas chamber had been operating since 1940.
First (Experimental) Gassings
March 2, 1942
An epidemic of typhus in KZ Gusen promoted SS doctors to order the dying
killed by starvation and heart-injections.
One hundred sixty-four Soviet prisoners of war were murdered by Zyklon-B in baracks No. 16
of KZ Gusen I. These Soviet prisoners were the first to be killed by
the experimental closed-barracks gassing.
On the same day, some three hundred dying Polish and Spanish inmates of KZ Gusen
who also suffered from typhus were gassed in baracks No. 32 of this camp.
Final Gassing of Ill and Unfit Inmates
The Night to April 22, 1945
Two weeks prior to liberation, some 684 inmates of KZ Gusen I
were gassed in baracks No. 31 because they were too ill to be
transferred to the "Sanitaetslager" of Mauthausen Central Camp,
just as 3,000 others had been a few weeks earlier.
SS-Hauptsturmfuehrer Fritz Seidler,
commander of KZ Gusen, ordered two inmates of Gusen to
force the remaining ill people into one baracks and to
After this gassing, the Polish prisoner-doctor Dr. Koniecny
committed suicide because he was not able to prevent the gassings,
which were ordered by the SS.
There were certainly other gassings at KZ Gusen but, just these
few are documented.
Pierre Serge Choumoff writes about 800 victims of KZ Gusen gassings.
The Gas Van shuttling
between Gusen and Mauthausen
In Autum 1941, SS-Hauptsturmfuehrer Dr. Erich Wassitzky, the chemist of
Mauthausen Central Camp, gave the order to prepare a green lorry
to gas people by carbon-monoxyde on the way from Gusen via Langenstein
to Mauthausen and vice versa, some 5 km.
Then, in spring 1942, the Reichssicherheitshauptamt (RSHA) delivered a more specialized
vehicle called a "Sonderwagen" or a "S-Wagen" by the SS,
and nicknamed "Phantomas" by Spanish and "Duschegubka"
by Slavic inmates.
This gas van held thirty people and was used between autumn 1941 and autumn 1942,
primarily to exterminate Soviet prisoners of war.
At KZ Gusen, SS-Hauptsturmfuehrer Dr. Kiesewetter was responsible for selecting victims to be gassed.
In fact, the Mauthausen victims were gassed on the way to Gusen and the
Gusen victims on the way to Mauthausen.
Pierre Serge Choumoff writes about 1,560 victims of that mobile gas van at Mauthausen
The Gas Chamber at Hartheim Castle
Beginning in 1940, the gas chamber at Hartheim Castle,
some 40 km west of Mauthausen-Gusen, was used to exterminate handicapped
German and Austrian civilians (Aktion T 4).
The first victims were gassed there by carbon-monoxyde.
In April 1941, RFSS Heinrich Himmler ordered "Aktion 14 f 13" ,
the special treatment of ill or decrepit concentration camp inmates.
The first pre-selections were made in KZ Gusen by SS-Hauptsturmfuehrer
Karl Chmielewski on 1 May 1941, and the first transfer of forty-five KZ Gusen
inmates to the Hartheim gas chamber took place on August 14, 1941.
Similar selections began in June/July 1941 at the Mauthausen Central Camp,
and the first transfers form Mauthausen to Hartheim comprised
seventy Jewish people from the Netherlands on August 11, 1941.
According to P.S. Choumoff, some 934 inmates of KZ Gusen and some
234 inmates of KZ Mauthausen were murdered in 1941 in the gas chamber of
The gassing of Mauthausen-Gusen inmates at Hartheim stopped for a while
in 1942, because gassings were carried out directly in, and between,
the Gusen and Mauthausen camps.
But in 1944, when tens of thousands were deported to KZ Gusen
to work and die for the KZ Gusen II (Bergkristall) Tunnels,
the ill and unfit again were brought to Hartheim Castle to
relieve overcrowding at KZ Gusen and KZ Mauthausen.
Pierre Serge Choumoff writes that there were about 28,000 victims
of the Hartheim gas chamber.
The Gas Chamber at
Mauthausen Central Camp
Set into operation in March, or perhaps May, of 1942 by SS-Standortarzt
Dr. Eduard Krebsbach, this gas chamber killed people no longer able to
work or those quite hopelessly ill. Thus, Dr. Krebsbach carried
out the orders of the Chief of Amt III D of the SS at Berlin.
On 29 April 1945 the technical equipment of this gas chamber
Pierre Serge Choumoff writes about 4,000 victims of this gas chamber
in the Mauthausen Central Camp.
Back to Index
- Choumoff Pierre Serge, Les assassinats par gaz a Mauthausen et Gusen, Presses de lŽImperimerie Boudin, Paris 1987
- Choumoff Pierre Serge, Les chambres a gaz de Mauthausen - Camp de concentration Nazi, Amicale Francaise de Mauthausen, Paris 1972
- Choumoff, Mauthausen-Les exterminations par gaz a Hartheim, Mauthausen et Gusen, Editions du Seuil 1988, Paris
- Hans Marsalek, Giftgas im KZ Mauthausen, Vienna 1988
- "Die Geschichte des Konzentrationslagers Mauthausen" and
- "GUSEN - Vorraum zur Hoelle" by Hofrat Hans Marsalek
(Oesterreichische Lagergemeinschaft Mauthausen, Vienna)
For additional information, comments or suggestions, please contact:
ARBEITSKREIS FUER HEIMAT DENKMAL- UND GESCHICHTSPFLEGE
Most recent updates of this page were made on
000211 by Rudolf A. HAUNSCHMIED,
Martha Gammer, Siegi Witzany-Durda and
Jan-Ruth White with her students in US-Alabama