Stone stairs of death in Austria
• Stone stairs of death in Austria
Mauthausen concentration camp was located 20 kilometers east of Linz - the administrative center of Upper Austria. It was the center of one of the largest complexes of camps in Europe. In Austria and Southern Germany has also developed around hundreds of such camps, but at Mauthausen conditions were the worst. Mauthausen was one of two labor camps "third class": to send "the most incorrigible political enemies of the Reich", and many of these people have died from arduous labor. Nazis themselves called it a meat grinder.
The prisoners worked in a granite quarry, which is on the edge of the camp was located. This location was chosen because of the proximity of Linz: Hitler was going to completely rebuild the city of Albert Speer's plan of using prison labor.
A few times a day, the prisoners were forced to wear the 186 steps of stone blocks weighing up to 50 kilograms. prisoners are not kept, and often dropped the goods - then he rolled down, creating a terrible domino effect: the people on the upper levels have fallen to the bottom, and those on the next, and so on until the bottom of the stairs. Stones pressed down the human body, arms and legs, and on the stairs someone died every day.
The SS could get exhausted people bring units up to the top of the stairs. Those who survived the ordeal, lined up on the edge of a cliff - the guards called it "The Parachutists Wall". Each prisoner was offered the choice of either his shot or he will face in the gulf in front of him. Many at that time jumped from the cliff itself. Now visit the "Stairs of Death" is a tour of the memorial mathauzenskomu. Ladder altered so that tourists to easily go up and down. In the concentration camp ladder it tilted and slid stage.
Today's visitors quarry at Mauthausen not see the same picture, that its inmates: while the ladder was not cemented. It was just steps carved in clay, unequal in size, slippery and practically unsuitable for lifting, and even more so for the descent. Prisoners were forced to move very quickly, so many fell and dropped his load.
The work consisted of carrying the ladder large heavy blocks. After that, still had a long time to go to the base. If the stone, which carried a prisoner foreman seemed too small, he was shot. And such trips had to be done in 8-10 days, and without a moment of rest.
Christian Bernadek, French resistance fighter caught in Mauthausen, and author of the book "186 steps"
Now Mauthausen overgrown trees and shrubs. The greater part of its territory after the war built residential areas. There is a museum and a visitor's center.