University of Austria

‘Sightseeing’ at Holocaust sites in Germany and Austria (Part 2)

The infamous stairs of death at Mauthausen quarryMauthausen concentration camp was a very brutal camp (even prisoners from Auschwitz I camp feared being transferred there). Estimates suggest up to 100-120, 000 people lost their lives there between its construction in 1938 and its liberation in May 1945. I had heard and read a lot about what life was like within this camp, and the varied (and often sadistic) methods of murder there. Again I will talk more about the history of the camp and give more details about my visit there in future blogs. But for me this was a site of special interest, and it did make much more of a psychological and affective impact upon me.Memorial to Italian victims of Mauthausen KZ There are a number of reasons as to why this may be the case – I felt more personally invested in the place having watched hours and hours of documentary footage. As I wandered around parts of the site I could remember watching specific survivors retell their (often harrowing) accounts of the place whilst revisiting these places again. It was also a more difficult site to get to (with no convenient buses to the site) and a rather grim day to be visiting with gale-force winds and torrential rains throughout the day. The awful weather, location, and the fact that it was a regional Bank Holiday in Austria had the knock-on effect that there were far fewer visitors.Mauthausen guard house and barracks You had to be pretty determined to see the site to visit under these conditions and there were none of the family groups taking snapshots that, for me, characterised our visit to Dachau.

Before the rain began we took the pathway down the ‘Stairs of Death’ to the infamous quarry. We spent an hour or so down there alone, and I was overwhelmed with sadness there. There were numerous occasions at Mauthausen where the enormity of what had happened in this cold fortress-like place really got to me emotionally. With no visitors around there was the time to reflect, and I was less self-conscious of my reactions to the site. The Memorial Park was quite affecting.Residential streets on the site of former Gusen I and II camps As the rain began, I wandered around the individual memorials undisturbed by other visitors. A solitary guided tour of schoolchildren bypassed me as I was leaving to enter the main camp. Inside the gates of the camp there were more visitors but there was not the frenzy to take pictures as I had witnessed at Dachau. And certainly no queues waiting to photograph or even touch ‘landmarks’ of the site (the gate, the shower-heads, etc.). It seemed less tourist-dominated, and the visitors seemed much more subdued and respectful of the site. Mauthausen seems a very authentic site – with so much of the original camp remaining intact and far more personal historic relics being incorporated into the exhibitions and installations. I was also very moved by the memorials and in particular the personal messages, photos, flags and wreaths which had been left by people from all over the world who had come to remember a specific family member or a group of individual prisoners who had perished here.

Researchers at the University of Bath say on ave

by -

Researchers at the University of Bath say on average the NHS has less than four dentists for every 10,000 people.
This compares to five dentists per 10,000 in Austria, Italy and Poland and six per 10,000 in the United States.For instance, there are eight dentists for every 10,000 people in Westminster but just two for every 10,000 in central Suffolk.Dentists tend to be concentrated in major cities and urban centres and away from some of the deprived or less populated urban and rural communities," the researchers said.
They suggested that in the short-term the situation could be remedied by reallocating dentists from areas with a surplus to neighbouring areas with shortages, where their traffic light map could prove useful

Victims of their own success

by GreenEyedUziGirl

By Tom Segev
"Laboratory for World Destruction: Germans and Jews in Central Europe" by Robert S. Wistrich, forthcoming in May, 2007, University of Nebraska Press, 416 pages, $55
In one of the main squares of Vienna there is a large lump of metal which belongs to the Memorial Against War and Fascism. The words on the monument were chosen carefully, and state that the country of Austria considers itself a victim of the Nazi occupation. For many years, like East Germany, it avoided acknowledging its own culpability.

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