ARBEITSKREIS FUER HEIMAT-, DENKMAL- UND GESCHICHTSPFLEGE ST.GEORGEN/GUSEN
Plattform 75 JAHRE REPUBLIK
KZ Mauthausen-GUSEN Info-Page
Louis Haefliger & Albert Kosiek
Both man have to be mentioned along with the liberation of the KZ Mauthausen
and KZ Gusen Concentration Camps because of risking their lives and careers
for the liberation of some 40.000 inmates in that camps in May 1945.
He was a bank-clerk from Zurich, Switzerland that volunteered in 1945
to guide a convoi of 19 trucks of the International Red Cross Comittee with
food to the KZ Mauthausen Camps.
When Haefliger arrived a few days prior to the liberation at KZ Mauthausen
Camp on April 28, 1945 he was denied any possibility to give that food to
the prisoners by the commander of that camp, SS-Standartenfuehrer Ziereis.
But Haefliger did not refuse. He went back to nearby St.Georgen/Gusen and
asked Ziereis to contact Ernst Kaltenbrunner meanwhile.
At St.Georgen/Gusen, Haefliger learnt from local people about the crimes
and real situation in the Mauthausen and Gusen concentration camps. So, he
became convinced to have to do more for the inmates than to bring just
When Haefliger returned to KZ Mauthausen central camp on April 30, 1945 and
since Ziereis has had contact with Kaltenbrunner meanwhile, Haefliger was
offered accomodation with SS-OStuf Reimer, the chief of the KZ Mauthausen
Since this high-ranking SS-man was also a bank-clark in civil life, he
and Haefliger have had a good rapport and therefore Reimer told Haefliger
on May 2, 1945 about the secret plans of mass-extermination by blasting the inmates
and the local population into the air at the KZ Gusen I & II underground
When hearing about that secret plans of Pohl and Himmler that should have been
carried out in the last days of the KZ Mauthausen-Gusen camp history, Haefliger
decided to prevent this tragedy actively.
So, he infringed his competencies as a Red Cross official and started to influence
the war-scenario actively by bringing in Allied Troops as soon as possible
to the two concentration camps.
Therefore, on 4 May 1945, with the help of Reimer, he adapted one SS-car as
an Red Cross vehicle by painting it white and by organizing a Red Cross flag.
So, Haefliger, Reimer and one driver started in the early morning of May 5, 1945
to search for Allied troops in the surroundings.
With the help of Mr. Aschenbrenner, the vice-mayor of neighbouring
St.Georgen/Gusen they reached the valley of the "Gusen" river
north of St.Georgen where they saw the platoon of S/Sgt. Albert J. Kosiek ...
S/Sgt. Albert J. Kosiek
... when Kosiek and his 23 men at first saw that white Red Cross car and
Haefliger with the white flag accompanied by an SS-man, they thought to
be confronted with a trap of the SS.
But Haefliger was able to convince Kosiek to follow them to liberate the
40.000 inmates of KZ Mauthausen-Gusen Complex (some 25.000 at Gusen and
some 12.000 at Mauthausen). And so, Kosiek infringed his competencies too and
followed Haefliger to St.Georgen, Gusen and Mauthausen.
In fact all of them risked their lives by doing so.
Haefliger & Reimer by being shot by the US troops in the case of any
circumstances and Al Kosiek & his 23 men by being by any SS troops
somewhere in the surroundings.
But nearly all went O.K. at this day as you can read in the personal
report of Al Kosiek.
At first they liberated some 12.000 inmates of KZ Mauthausen Central Camp
without any fighting and some 25.000 inmates at the KZ Gusen I & II Camps
While the liberation of Mauthausen was a peaceful one, the liberation
of the KZ Gusen Camps was not that successful.
At KZ Mauthausen Central Camp and internal prisoners comittee took over
power after liberation. But not so at the KZ Gusen Camps. Here, a very
brutal excess of lynching broke out between the inmates and some 500
of them killed themselves at the day of liberation.
There had been many very brutal Kapos at the KZ Gusen without any future
persepectives and therefore heavy fighting broke out. Some of this Kapos
hided themselves in the surroundings of the KZ Gusen camps and terrorised
the local population for several weeks after the liberation. It took the
U.S. troops several weeks to capture some 150 of them to bring them back
to the KZ Gusen I camp at the end of May 1945.
Furthermore the conditions were that bad in the KZ Gusen II camp that
some 2000 inmates died in the weeks after liberation (Father Jacques is just one example).
- Comitee International de la Croix Rouge, Die Tätigkeit des IKRK zugunsten
der in deutschen Konzentrationslagern inhaftierten Zivilpersonen (1939-1946), Genf 1985
- Matt Alphons, Einer aus dem Dunkel - Die Befreiung ..., Zürich 1988
Back to Oustanding Personalities
Back to Index
For more information, scientific contribution or other suggestions, please contact:
ARBEITSKREIS FUER HEIMAT DENKMAL- UND GESCHICHTSPFLEGE
Most recent updates of this page were made on
970620 by Rudolf A. HAUNSCHMIED