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Published: August 29th 2017
Geo: 47.2627, 11.3947
We left Melk today bound for Innsbruck (Austria), roughly a four and a half hour drive. On the way we called in to see Mauthausen Concentration Camp, just outside of Linz.
Mauthausen was classified as a so-called "category three camp". This was the fiercest category of concentration camp, and for the prisoners it meant "Rûckkehr unerwünscht" (return not desired) and "Vernichtung durch arbeit" (extermination by work). Mauthausen was chosen as a site for a slave labour camp because of the nearby granite quarry, and due to its proximity to Linz. The granite mined in the quarries had previously been used to pave the streets of Vienna, but the Nazi authorities envisioned a complete reconstruction of major German towns in accordance with the plans of Albert Speer and other architects of Nazi architecture, for which large quantities of granite were needed.
The granite rock-quarry in Mauthausen sits below the camp, and is accessed via the infamous "Stairs of Death". Prisoners were forced to carry roughly-hewn blocks of stone — often weighing as much as 50 kilograms — up the 186 stairs - one behind the other.
Mauthausen was known among the SS Officers as the
The Bunker Prison
Where prisoners were brutally treated often for no reason.
"Bone Grinder". Some 240,000 prisoners were killed between 1938 and 1945 in Mauthausen and it's surrounding sub-camps. The famed Nazi hunter, Simon Weisenthal, was a prisoner of Mauthausen. A disturbing but necessary place to visit, where man's inhumanity to mankind hits home.
Following our visit to Mauthausen, we continued our journey to Innsbruck. Innsbruck is located in a valley surrounded by very high snow capped mountains, which is interesting given it is summer over here.
Hope to get up to the snow level tomorrow. Just looking at the ski runs down the mountains, I think they need a category well beyond “black runs”.
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