Looking Back upon the Memorial and Liberation Ceremonies 2019


Looking Back upon the Memorial and Liberation Ceremonies 2019
(Photo credits: Mauthausen Memorial / Stephan Matyus)

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On 5 May, 2019, people from all over the world commemorates the liberation of the Mauthausen concentration camp. ‘Never a number. Forever human’ was the motto of this year’s Commemoration and Liberation Ceremony, which was organised by the Mauthausen Komitee Österreich (MKÖ) in close collaboration with the Österreichischen Lagergemeinschaft Mauthausen (ÖLM) and the Comité International de Mauthausen (CIM).

Commemoration and Liberation Ceremonies at the Sites of Former Subcamps and Nazi Terror

In addition to Europe’s biggest international liberation ceremony in Mauthausen, a large number of memorial events also took place at the sites of former subcamps of the Mauthausen concentration camp, such as Gusen, Ebensee, Melk, Ried in der Riedmark, Steyr and Weißkirchen. Most of these memorial events were organised by local associations and initiatives in close cooperation with the Mauthausen Komitee Österreich. They were attended by large numbers of people from the surrounding region as well as visitors from several European countries.

‘Bergkristall’ Tunnel Complex

Before the liberation ceremonies in Mauthausen and Gusen, visitors had the chance to view the underground site of the ‘Bergkristall – KZ Gusen II’ tunnel system. Many local residents also took this opportunity to engage with the history of their home town.

The tours began with an introduction to the National Socialists’ politics of persecution, the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp system, and to those who profited from the use of forced labour. During guided tours of the tunnel complex, witness testimonies were used to discuss the conditions under which prisoners lived and worked.