What happened during the liberation of the concentration camps. Austria 1945 (Tin !!!)
Original taken fromoper_1974at
From that day, the committee decided to organize night duty in blocks. The SS men, anticipating their end, were preparing to break into the camp with machine guns. They no longer had any other means of destroying the camp - the front was swallowed up.
In the rooms where the SS guards were stationed, the whole party was drinking all night. Wild cries, shouts and songs were heard from there until the morning.
The committee has learned that they have not had connections with Himmler for a long time and are trying to decide their own fate. Most of the SS leadership was very determined.
But not all of them thought the same. After being released they were toldthat the deputy commandant of Gusen, SS Haupschturmführer, Jan Beck, during a rampage of another drunken orgy, stood at the gate of the gate and declared that the others would go to the camp only through his corpse.
It was so or not - it's hard to say now, but the little that we knew about Beck - he himself sat under Hitler - allowed him to believe.
As a result, the committee made a rather passive and not the best decision - in the event of a mass execution threat, there was no other alternative for us than to rush the world at machine guns. Someone will have to die while others will remain alive. Otherwise, all will die.
The organized uprising in Gusen was impossible. The committee understood this well: the Polish officers' league never coordinated their actions with a small international committee, and more often acted on the contrary, precisely in the rigid narrow national interests.
All this threatened last minute civil strife. The Polish league was simply afraid of the uprising of the prisoners and would never have allowed it. This was confirmed by further events.
In addition, the Poles worked on the economic security of the SS barracks in other camp services and knew well where the weapons were stored.
They kept a sharp eye to ensure that no one in the camp, except for the Poles, could get a weapon in the day and time “X”. This was the tragedy of Gusen.
In Mauthausen, the nationalist Poles were opposed by a more united international fraternity, and there were more supporters of the new popular Poland.
The main purpose of the concentration camps Gusen I, II and III was "destruction through labor". Karl Hmelevsky, the Hauptsturmführer SS (in the picture he to the right), was the most brutal. At one time he was the commandant of the Herzogenbusch concentration camp.
After the war, a long time hiding. In 1961, for the murder of 282 people was sentenced to life imprisonment. In 1979 he was released for health reasons. He died in 1991.
Everything was different for us, and therefore every night until the morning we stood by the windows wide open - each on its own block - without moving, sensitively listening to all sounds from the brahma, waiting for everything.
We caught every drunken cry, random teams, all slamming, crackling, ringing from broken bottles, single shots.At any moment we are ready to rush to the machine guns - we have no choice! The whole camp did not sleep. Everyone expected any, but - the outcome.
The SS did not lose time: at night they drank, and during the day they covered up the traces of their criminal activity. Documents, Books of the Dead (“Totenbücher”), correspondence, reports, files of files, orders of command, instructions and various brochures were feverishly burned.
Soviet prisoners of war. Gusen, October 1941
Finally, on May 2, the day of the final fall of Berlin, our fate was decided: the leadership of Mauthausen handed over camp guards to other structures, and the SS men were to march to the front against the Red Army.
On the Ens River, the SS Division "Dead Head" was trying to keep the defense, or rather, what was left of it. On the night of May 2/3, the SS men left the camp.
So, on May 2, Kern officer from the Vienna security police became the new commandant of Mauthausen, and at the same time Gusen, while paramilitary police units of Vienna firefighters began guarding the camps.
They were mobilized elderly people dressed in blue uniforms, and it immediately became clear to us that these “warriors” were not going to shoot us.
Central "Brahma" (entrance) in the concentration camp Gusen.
In connection with the changed situation, the committee also made a decision: we came in contact with each of these peace-loving elders and entered into a gentlemen's agreement with them - we pledge to sit in the camp as quietly as mice to them, our guards, served calmly.
Instead, they promised to fulfill our request, so that not a single “mouse” would disappear from the camp, to which they immediately agreed.
There were still many accomplices of the SS in the camp, and they should not have escaped from the camp - they were awaited trial. By the way, dressed in yellow uniform, the third battalion of folk art in a hurry to send to the front did not have time, and he was stuck in the camp. The “volunteers” didn’t rush to the front, but they also felt uncomfortable in the camp.
The last day of Mauthausen and Gusen has arrived - May 5, 1945! He was sunny, bright. In the morning, everyone felt that it was today that something should happen.
The artillery cannonade roared very close, but only to the east. In the west, American troops advanced without a fight. Whose troops will liberate the camp? Many people care about it: some of us were waiting for the Americans, others for the Russians.
By noon, everyone who could, climbed onto the roofs of the blocks and lay there, hoping to be the first to see their liberators.Kostya and I were on the roof of Block 29.
No conversations were heard. All lay silently. Not only we waited. The Poles waited, the greens, capos, blocs who remained in the camp waited, the Folkushturm fighters waited, and the guards waited - everyone waited.
Who could practically survive in a concentration camp? The general opinion of eyewitnesses and participants in the events described above is as follows:
1. Individual prisoners from among Germans and Austrians, who were fortunate enough to survive one or two months of camp existence, could survive and during this time achieve any privileged positions among camp staff or get into the working team under the roof, which gave chances for survival.
2. Anyone who directly participated in the extermination of prisoners could survive, being involved in the camp administration within the framework of self-government.
3. Those prisoners whose professional competence turned out to be necessary could survive: those who owned various languages, knew typing, draftsmen, doctors, paramedics, artists, watchmakers, carpenters, mechanics, mechanics, construction workers and others. They were involved in the implementation of various works on servicing the SS and economic services of the camp.
four.From among the prisoners of non-German nationality in the period of 1940-1942, only a few had a chance to survive this time: either they were very good specialists, or were especially beautiful and young.
Then they got a job under the roof and there they hid during the working day from constant observation by the SS and the capos. Basically in those years it could only be Poles and Spaniards.
5. As part of national solidarity, the surviving Poles and Spaniards, in every opportunity, helped to improve the situation of their compatriots, and thereby expanded the circle of prisoners who would later be able to survive the camp.
6. Individual Russian prisoners had chances, which, beginning in 1943, the Austrian and German communists began to actively help, involving the anti-fascist resistance in the camp in their daily activities. If any of us survived, it was only thanks to these wonderful comrades who risked their lives helping us.
7. Finally, it should include those prisoners who arrived in Gusen shortly before their release. They survived because the camp was set free. This category accounted for the largest percentage among those released.
These are the participants of the Warsaw Uprising, the Yugoslav partisans who were evacuated from Auschwitz, who were lucky to get to Guzena alive, and many others.
From personal observations of many former prisoners who were fortunate enough to be released, the following conclusions suggest themselves:
1. The Russians, the Poles and the Spaniards turned out to be the most enduring in the moral and physical difficulties of existence in a concentration camp. They have a highly developed national spike.
They always tried to encourage and support each other. They knew where and who their enemy was, and never compromised with the enemy. I'm talking about the majority, whose life position was firm, unshakable.
In addition, the Russians and Spaniards represented together a single whole by their political convictions. The physical difficulties of the climate - the climate - the Spaniards compensated for their persistent moral qualities acquired in the course of a fierce fight with fascism in 1936-1939.
To the Poles, the whole case was spoiled by the officer league, which divided them into a privileged class and ordinary people - in a concentration camp, this was not the best solution. Many Poles were helped by parcels from home, despite the plundering of them by the camp authorities.
2. Hungarians, Czechs and Slovaks were slightly weaker. The Greeks and Italians lived in the camp for a short time because of the harsh, in their concepts, climate. Gusen is located on the latitude of Dnepropetrovsk - for us, Russians, this is the south. The French and the Belgians were difficult to tolerate camp conditions and died from boils and general dystrophy.
3. It is more difficult to judge the Germans. The Greens were still Aryans, and no one ever destroyed them on purpose. The Reds were harder for the Germans, the Nazis destroyed them, but it was their land, their language, countrymen and relatives could be next to them - almost everyone who lived until 1943 had a hope of survival, and before that they did not live much better than and the rest.
An example of high morale was the majority of our commanders and political workers, communists and Komsomol members, as if this statement did not cut off the rumor today - do not throw words out of the song!
A lonely, confused man could not survive in the most difficult conditions of the Nazi concentration camp. Better than others, the conditions of the camp were maintained by those who knew how to live in a team, obey him and participate in the common struggle.
Let's return to May 5, 1945.By 1.30 pm, most of the prisoners gathered at Appel-parade. By this time, those who were on the roofs had already noticed the American armored car approaching the camp.
The liberation of the camp took place in an unusually simple, quite prosaic and purely American way: an armored car drove into the Appello, and either a soldier or another lower rank jumped out of it, shouted: "You are free!" made the corresponding gesture with his right hand and drove away.
True, the soldiers did one good deed by ordering the blue uniforms of our symbolic guards to go down, throw their carbines into the ditch and go home, which they willingly did.
After a couple of minutes, none of them was already there - such agility among the old men appeared, that it was only a pleasure!
Major Ivan Antonovich Golubev addressed us with a solemn speech. He congratulated everyone on their release that they lived to this bright day, said that fascism is tenacious and will not be on our way more than once.
We all shouted happily in response to Golubev's greeting, when one of ours reported the latest news: the Poles sent a machine gun to the camp, closed the exit from the camp, setting their armed posts around Guzen.
As it turned out, they quickly managed to pick up carbines, thrown by the guards into the ditch, but they had other weapons.
Our euphoria was instantly over - the eternal question arose: "What to do?" Having built a marching column led by Major Golubev, we resolutely moved to Appell Platz and there we stopped at a decent distance from the gate.
Memorial to the victims of the concentration camp Gusen.
Golubev, taking with him two or three people, went to the Poles to find out the situation: you need to get in touch - there was nothing else to do.
Ivan Antonovich was not long. Finally, the parliamentarians returned. We closely surrounded them, happily noting for ourselves that they were not excited and kept calm. “It's all right,” we thought, but Golubev, without haste, began to tell:
- The Poles accepted us quite friendly and explained the situation in this way. While in the camp a booze continues, it is better to keep the brama closed, at least today.
The machine gun was set "for baldies", so that people would not be silly with joy and - who knows what they want, but it won't be long to deploy it.
We consulted with the French, the Spaniards and made a joint decision - tomorrow everyone who wants will leave the camp in an organized column. This was already stated by the French, the Belgians, the Spaniards.
You, the Russians, also offer to go with us to Linz: the Americans said that you will all be transferred for repatriation. The Soviets do not let anyone through the demarcation line to their side, since the Vlasovites were the first to rush, posing as former prisoners.
Memorial to the victims of the concentration camp Gusen.
After the national anthems and rallies thundered on Appeltsu, groups of young Russians and Polish prisoners who arrived with the latest transports from other concentration camps, supported by many Guzen’s old-timers, suddenly began a targeted action of revenge.
For many of us who did not participate in this action, it was unexpected, and disgusting, and terrible. All that had accumulated in the prisoners during their stay in the camp, it all spilled out, and people lost all control over themselves.
A wave of horrible mob, swept through the camp, falling mainly on the German and Austrian criminal camp staff - against all who served as the SS, against capos and blocs.
They were dragged from where they hid, and literally tore to pieces. At the same time, some of the German-speaking prisoners, as well as the "fighters" of the third battalion of the Volkssturm, who were stuck in the camp, suffered.
They feverishly threw off their yellow uniforms and tried to hide even in cesspools, in sewage and other similar places, but they were found everywhere and killed in the most ruthless manner.
Memorial to the victims of the concentration camp Gusen.
Groups of former prisoners, who could barely stand on their own feet, brutalized themselves. It came to monstrous scenes, when everyone tried to reach at least one of the victim's guts and pull it out of the womb, after which he himself fell from exhaustion.
God forbid to see what was happening in Guzen: it was not for nothing that Polish officers installed a machine gun on a brahm. In the evening it became known that in Guzen-2, where there was no such machine gun, the Russians had cut along with the Germans and part of the Poles who had guilty before them in other concentration camps.
Until the night the Poles were cut in Gusen-2, they were carried and carried to Guzen-1 by a revier. At the same time, more practical people engaged in something completely different: they broke blocks, made fires, dragged potatoes from underground hooves and cooked them ... "- from the memories of the sergeant of the 150th rifle division, DK Levinsky.
Former prisoners of the Gusen concentration camp and soldiers of the 11th US armored division near the body of a dead warder.
Soviet prisoners of war in the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp. Austria.