Monday, November 16, 2020

“Depths of Hell” - Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp

 The suffering of the prisoners of KL Mauthausen-Gusen – one of the harshest German concentration camps – ended as late as on 5 May 1945. After several days in this camp, the prisoners who were previously detained at Auschwitz wished they could go back there. The “depths of Hell” – that’s how the former Gusen prisoners refer to that place. Those few who survived long enough to witness its liberation…

On the 75th anniversary of the liberation of KL Mauthausen-Gusen we created the film “Witnesses to the Age. Depths of Hell”, comprised of interviews with four former prisoners of the camp. Eugeniusz Śliwiński, Jerzy Fajer, Stanisław Zalewski and Wiesław Krawczykowski recall the dramatic events from the period of their detention in KL Mauthausen-Gusen. Each was sent there at a different time and through different paths. After the war they settled in four different cities. They have one thing in common – they were sent to the camp for being Polish and striving for the freedom of their country.

Sadly, Wiesław Krawczykowski is no longer with us – he passed away on 26 December 2019.

KL Mauthausen was established in August 1938 as the first concentration camp located outside the territory of the Third Reich (after the annexation of Austria). Gusen was one of its subcamps, but with time it became larger than Mauthausen. The entire complex is often referred to as KL Mauthausen-Gusen. The harshest of all concentration camps was liberated at the end of the war, on 5 May 1945, just three days prior to the capitulation of the Third Reich.

Austria Nazi death camps war crimes genocide Poland eugenics

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