Ever so often, there are stories about the holocaust that happened under Hitler’s Reich. The brutality of it all, from small children to old men and women left a deep mark on everyone who have survived it and who has listened to the stories of the old. Concentration camps were camps in which prisoners of war were sent to, either to die by force labor or through gas chambers.
Many of you may not have heard about the “Mauthausen Stairs of Death” in the Mauthausen Concentration Camp. The camp is located some 20 kilometers east of the city of Linz in upper Austria. The camp was one of the biggest concentration camps during the war, with a central camp in Mauthausen and many subcamps located throughout Austria and southern Germany.
A side by side picture the stairs of death at a time of the holocaust was and a time of peace.
The Mauthausen camp was located near a granite quarry wherein many of the prisoners were forced to do hard labor. There were infamous steps in the Mauthausen Camp, the stairs came to be named as the “Mauthausen Stairs of Death” because it has caused so many of the lives of the prisoners in the camp.
The Mauthausen Concentration Camp was classified as a Grade III prison camp during the holocaust.
The prisoners of war in Mauthausen would quarry stones for Hitler's plans of building a city.
Prisoners would climb up the 186 steps of the stairs in Mauthausen carrying extremely heavy stones from the quarry. Stones that weighed up to 50 kg, due to exhaustion and sometimes the heat, many of the prisoners would succumb to the rigorous labor and faint, leading the stone they carry falling at their backs to the other prisoners. It would create a domino effect as the stone tumbles down, crushing body parts of the prisoners in its wake.
SS officers would strike fear in the hearts of many of the prisoners of war as Hitler’s power grew and grew.
The SS called Mauthausen, Knochenmühle, or the bone grinder, as many prisoners would be crush from the heavy stones.
A prisoner of war from Mauthausen wrote a book about his experiences there and described the grueling conditions of the camp.
The Mauthausen Stairs of Death is now a landmark and a tourist attraction. The stairs have been fixed to be easily climbed compared to the time during the war where it was muddy and slippery. It is a reminder of the brutality that happened in Germany a long time ago, when the people were divided by a man who sought power through his evil ways.