20.09.2014 - 20.09.2014
Mauthausen is an area in Austria that housed a concentration camp. It has been maintained as a museum following the events of the holocaust. I did not spend much time here, but I felt that it deserved its own post.
This camp housed primarily political prisoners, homosexuals, and Jews. Those that were unfit to work or became injured were killed by gassing or the injection of lethal substances including petrol. Those who were fit to work were forced to carry stones from a quarry up a narrow staircase of over 150 steps to the camp. The stones weighed more than the prisoners who were barely fed and dressed in thin, dirty uniforms in the freezing cold. Often prisoners slipped and fell down the stairs, also knocking down anyone walking behind them. If a prisoner slipped and the fall didn’t kill them, they were shot.
I walked up these stairs. I was well fed and carrying nothing. When I reached about half-way, and began to feel the signs of physical exertion, I was consumed with sadness. By three-quarters of the way the muscles in my legs were started to feel sore. At the top of the stairs I was ready to get back on the bus, have a rest and leave. It is then that I stopped and thought of the hundreds before me that had no bus waiting. No water. No snacks. No real hope of survival.
I have spoken a lot about the war on this blog. If you have an opportunity to visit one of these camps, I recommend that you do so. I can think of no better way to respect those who lost their lives in concentration camps than to see them, learn about them, and learn from them.
Never be a person that refuses to acknowledge the mistakes of those before us. Never forget the importance of each individual that climbed those stairs.
Till next time.