A True House of Horrors
|The main gate at Mauthausen during World War II. It remains intact and looks just like this today.|
|The Mauthausen prison orchestra escorting prisoners to the gas chambers.|
|A Mauthausen prisoner beaten up by guards, then stood up against the wall for this picture|
|Sankt Georgen an der Gusen, Austria, part of the Mauthausen complex|
|Typical SS guards at Mauthausen.|
|Commandant Franz Ziereis accompanies Heinrich Himmler on an inspection tour of the Mauthausen concentration camp.|
|Aribert Heim - Austrian doctor, also known as Dr. Death. As an SS doctor in the concentration camp in Mauthausen, he was accused of killing and torturing inmates.|
|An SS-Obersturmführer serving in KZ Mauthausen. Somewhat surprising that he took a formal portrait without his cover.|
|Austrian Paul Winter, commander of blocks 13-15 in Mauthausen death camp toward the end of the war.|
|The garage entrance at Mauthausen|
|Aerial view of the main camps at Mauthausen. It was quite a large complex.|
- tight security,
- a large productive workforce and hidden,
|The underground works in the Bergkristall.|
|Part of the underground complexes (Ang/Federal Archive).|
The underground plants are extensive and many were buried late in the war, and it is not clear if they have all been located even today. The Soviets occupied the area until 1955 and did little excavating. The local citizenry basically ignored the whole matter until the 1980s, when a new generation came along interested in the past.
The Human Toll
Of the 200,000 prisoners who passed through Mauthausen from August 1938 until its liberation on May 5 in 1945, half would die. The death toll for the whole complex remains unknown, though the figure of 200,000 is often quoted. Russian and Polish prisoners were the biggest victims, along with Jews.
|The door to the showers.|
|"Died while trying to escape."|
|Bring out your dead.|
|Suicide by the electric fence.|
|The Mauthausen Stairs of Death, after the liberation.|
|The stairs today.|
|Female prisoners at Mauthausen.|
|The 11th Armored Division liberated the Mauthausen camp. This photo was staged the next day, 6 May 1945, to celebrate the liberation.|
|Residents of nearby Linz review photos of the camp immediately after the war.|
|Prisoners showing the Mauthausen ovens.|
Recording the Events at MauthausenFrancesc Boix is probably not a name that you have heard before. Even experts on World War II will probably be scratching their heads about that name. There isn't any reason for you to know anything about him. He was just a guy, and that is probably how he would like to be remembered, as a man with no pretensions, but skills.
|A Boix photo at Mauthausen.|
|This photo, not taken by Boix, shows him at the left, with his Leica around his neck.|
The French government at first balked at helping the refugees, but finally opened the frontier to the soldiers on February 5th. Instead of treating them as Republican brothers, though, the French immediately imprisoned the men in concentration camps. Boix himself was sent to the Septfonds Camp. Conditions were terrible, but it was better than being captured by Franco and executed.
Along with many Spanish refugees, Boix then was conscripted by the French army to build defenses. He was taken a prisoner in June in Belfort in northern France, from where he was transferred to a German prisoner of war camp. They claimed Spanish citizenship, but Spanish Foreign Minister Ramón Serrano Súñer, who was Franco’s brother-in-law (hence his nickname as El Cuñadísimo), disowned the Republicans. Franco and Súñer played a cynical game throughout the war, supporting Hitler just enough to avoid any glances by Hitler in Spain's direction regarding a possible invasion, but also avoiding provoking the Allies to do the same. This equivocation allowed the Germans to declare Spaniards within the Reich as stateless citizens (like Jews and Gypsies), and hence to be treated however the Germans wished (with no Geneva Convention protections and so forth). It wasn't all bad for the poor souls: the few Spaniards who were deported back to Spain faced torture, concentration camps, and firing squads. As far as Franco was concerned, the Germans merely helped rid him of a problem. The Germans, on the other hand, could use the free labor.
|Prisoners being treated like packhorses and forced to haul a huge stone.|
|Francisco Franco didn't want Spanish communists back, so they went over the mountains to France, and thence to Mauthausen.|
|The inmate uniforms offered no protection against snow and cold.|
The town of Mauthausen dedicated a memorial to Pointner on May 9, 2015, for her "brave and exemplary" fight against the Germans. She and Boix are heroes in the fight for justice, two of many, each a shining star.