Liberation

"A Flood of Images"

The "discovery" of the Gusen concentration camp by American troops on 5 May 1945 finally brought freedom to more than 20,000 prisoners, many of whom were so weakened by sickness and undernourishment by then that nearly 2,000 died in the period after 5 May at the US Military Hospital or in other hospitals of the area. For the remainder, a period of slow physical regeneration began before the majority could be repatriated to their respective home countries. 

After liberation, the Allies initiated an all-out information campaign which aimed to inform the public about the crimes committed in the National Socialist concentration camps. Efforts were put into systematically documenting the situation in the liberated camps, and the crimes committed there. The information about them was to be published throughout the mass media, while film and photography were used to convey first-hand impressions of the liberated camps directly to the public in Germany and the Allied home countries. 

This created a true flood of images from the concentration camps, including Gusen, which still dominates people’s perception of concentration camps and their iconography today.