The unspeakable must be said again and again, the indescribable must be described again and again, the unimaginable must be presented again and again.
Especially those places of memory has grown over the grass, places like Gusen deserve special efforts that the unspeakable will never be forgotten, that history and stories are made visible.
THE GUSEN CONCENTRATION CAMP COMPLEX
The Gusen concentration camp complex – also known as the “invisible camp” – is one of the darkest chapters in Austrian history.
Gusen I, II & III were larger than the Mauthausen concentration camp. Together, these camps formed the Mauthausen-Gusen complex. From 1939 to 1945, at least 71,000 people were deported to Gusen, more than half of whom died in the camps. In 1944 and 1945 there were up to twice as many prisoners and significantly more victims in Gusen than in his notorious Mauthausen twin camp. The average life expectancy of the inmates in the Gusen II camp was only 4 months. Jewish prisoners in particular had little chance of surviving.
More details about Gusen:
The crematorium of gusen concentration camp
Construction of the Gusen I and Gusen II concentration camp complex
“Bergkristall” (NS code word) was a tunnel system built within 13 months by prisoners of the Gusen II concentration camp complex. With almost 50,000 m2 (approx. 8.5 km of tunnel length) one of the largest German underground plants, which reached production status at the end of 1944.
Due to the extremely high mortality rate of up to 98%, the Gusen II concentration camp and with it, Bergkristall, became one of the most terrible concentration camps in European history.
The “Bergkristall” tunnel system, which was used for the armaments industry, was part of the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp complex
THE LIBERATION OF THE GUSEN CONCENTRATION CAMP COMPLEX
On May 5, 1945, staff sergeant Al Kosiek and 23 men of the 41st century were liberated. Reconnaissance troops, 11. Ard.Div, 3. U.S. Army, the Mauthausen and Gusen concentration camps. They liberated more than 20,000 concentration camp inmates in Gusen (and another 20,000 in Mauthausen), most of whom were severely malnourished and seriously ill.
Aerial view Gusen today
THE TEXT MATERIAL IN THE FILM
The film reads from the following sources
(by two of the best Austrian actors Maria Hofstätter and Peter Simonischek):
- Karl Littner, Life Hanging on a Spider Web – From Auschwitz-Zasole to Gusen II, ed. Rudolf A. Haunschmied (2011)
- Edmund Merl, Besatzungszeit im Mühlviertel (1980)
- Franz Steinmaßl, Das Hakenkreuz im Hügelland (1988)
- Protocol Gendarmerieposten Rainbach (January 29, 1945)
- Letter from Johann Blöchl (Lasberg on 13 May 1898) 10. 2002)
- Interview with Martha Gammer (St. Georgen, 2013)
- Infos Mauthausen Memorial, mauthausen-memorial.org
- Slawomir Iwanowski: Mauthausen-Gusen. Auf dem Pfad der Erinnerung (2015)
- Bezirkshauptmannschaft Perg: Expert reports on the tunnel-system in St. Georgen/Gusen “Bergkristall” (2015)
- Interview with Bernhard Mühleder in www.meinbezirk.at (2015)
- Rudi Haunschmied in a radio show of Freies Radio Freistadt (2015)
- Parish Chronicle Pregarten (1945)