The crimes did not come to a halt with the liberation of Auschwitz

27.01.2017

​On 27 January 1945 the Auschwitz concentration camp and Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp were liberated by the Soviet Army. In 2005 the United Nations declared this date an international day of commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust.

The crimes did not come to a halt with the liberation of Auschwitz
(photo credits: Mauthausen Memorial / Stephan Matyus)

In the years since 1945, Auschwitz has gradually become the universal symbol not only of the mass murder of Jews and Roma and Sinti, but of all the crimes of National Socialism. Yet these crimes were not limited to Auschwitz. They were committed across large parts of Europe, including several locations in Austria. Many of these sites have all but been forgotten today.

The crimes did not come to a halt with the liberation of Auschwitz. Before 27 January 1945, some 60,000 prisoners from the camp had already been sent away on transports and death marches. This led to the arrival of several thousand people at the Mauthausen concentration camp. There, overcrowding, a severe shortage of provisions and the systematic murder of the sick and of inmates who had first-hand knowledge of the crimes resulted in mass death. In April 1945 alone, over 11,000 deaths were recorded at the Mauthausen concentration camp. On 5 May 1945, Mauthausen became the last of the concentration camp main camps to be liberated. Over 90,000 prisoners had been murdered there.

Christian Dürr for the Mauthausen Memorial