Mauthausen Memorial: Each name matters
With a special focus and an impressive video projection entitled "#eachnamematters", from 4-6 May 2021 the Mauthausen Concentration Camp Memorial will give the thousands of victims a face and contrast the sheer number of 90,000 with actual names and individual life stories. The projection, which will also be shown via livestream on the internet, will be accompanied by a social media campaign under the hashtag of the same name "eachnamematters".
The liberation of the former Mauthausen concentration camp by the US army on 5 May 1945 is a key date and the final point of the many years of Nazi terror that cost the lives of 90,000 people in the Mauthausen concentration camp system.
In collaboration with Ars Electronica Linz, and with the support of the Federal Ministry of the Interior, all names known of the dead from the Mauthausen concentration camp system to date will be projected onto the outer wall of the former Mauthausen concentration camp and read out in an elaborate video projection shown from 4-6 May 2021, from 8 pm to midnight each day. “We want to give the victims, who were nameless at the time, their identity and dignity back – that is an incredibly vital component of our remembrance work at the memorial site. At the same time, we want to enable people all over the world to silently commemorate them by using a social media campaign entitled #eachnamematters, and inviting people to share their thoughts and memories with us," says Barbara Glück, Director of the Mauthausen Memorial.
16.6 million pixels cover the 120-metre-long outer wall and transform it into a digital projection surface. The names of the dead are formed from a continuously bubbling source of letters and flow in groups, unceasingly, like endless waves, down the outer wall. It takes a full 12 hours for all the names of the victims of the Mauthausen concentration camp recorded in the "Room of Names" to appear.
“The objective when designing it was not only to make the names visible in terms of their statistical size, but to give each name an individuality, its own space within which it could move, in order to remember the people behind each individual name and not just the inconceivable number of victims. It was very important to us to make every single name visible", explains Gerfried Stocker, Artistic Director of Ars Electronica Linz.
Room fo Names
The starting point for the collaboration with Ars Electronica Linz was the “Room of Names” at the Mauthausen concentration camp memorial, where all known names of the victims are displayed in a striking yet at the same time dignified way. In addition to this, there is the "Virtual Room of Names". Relatives and interested persons can search for biographies in the digital book of remembrance of the Mauthausen Concentration Camp Memorial.
The "Room of Names" project was presented to the public for the first time in 2013 during the opening of the two permanent exhibitions. Several Austrian and international institutions and individuals were involved in an extraordinary international collaboration on it. In this way, it became possible to reconstruct a large part of the names in their original spelling – despite the destruction of numerous sources by the SS during the last days of the war. The biographies are continually being added to. Every year another approximately 200 biographies are added.
Around the date of liberation on 5 May, all people are called upon to share their memories, thoughts and impressions of individual biographies on social media under the hashtag "#eachnamematters".
Simply search for a biography (enter first name and/or surname in the search field) in the digital “Room of Names” at https://raumdernamen.mauthausen- memorial.org. The selected biography, along with personal words and thoughts if desired, should then be posted on Facebook and/or Instagram under the hashtag "eachnamematters". With this campaign we also want to send a signal that every single name is important and must not be forgotten.