"Mauthausen was less horrifying." - Comment - Israel News | Haaretz Daily Newspaper
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    • Fortuna Benmayor
    • 18.10.10 | 07:21 (IST)

    I profoundly admire Simon Wiesenthal. He's a giant for me. Now, there is a difference between an extermination camp and a concentration camp. Auschwitz II (Auschwitz-Birkenau) was the largest extermination camp. However, Mauthausen was the concentration camp with most deaths of all of them: 120.000.- Not only that, it was an NN (Nacht und Nebel) Lager where "Vernichtung durch Arbeit" (extermination through work) left inmates with the shortest life expectancy. Hypotermia by showers in deep winter, drowning, lethal injections in the heart every two weeks, hanging, and the dragging of prisoners over the sharp stones of the roads were among the horrors that surpassed imagination. If that isn't enough, in march 1944, an SS depot was turned into Gusen II, Bergkristall, concentration camp. All of the prisoners who had been in other camps, narrate that compared to Gusen II, other camps were "paradise". In Gusen II -satellite of Mauthausen- a third of inmates were Jews, many of them from Hungary. They were the lowest in the hierarchy, and their survival expectancy was not weeks, but days ! Auschwitz I, the concentration camp, was preferable than the "hell of hells" that survivors like Rabbi Harfenes describe Gusen II to have been. There, there were often no rations of food or water at all, sadism was at its highest, and the work, was only comparable to Dora-Mittelbau. In Mauthausen, the 182 death stair, stained in blood, was the place were inmates were thrown off the upper part of the quarry. SS sadist murderers called it "parachuting". Some were so tormented, that they jumped by their own volition to end their tormented existances. If Wiesenthal survived Mauthausen, -or even worse, Gusen II- he had an even more horrendous experience and miraculous survival than were he in Auschwitz I or Auschwizt III (Monowitz-Buna). Finally, many inmates were taken to Auschwitz I or Auschwitz II, "laid on ice" and then taken to Buchenwald or other camps, after spending two weeks or a few days in Auschwitz. So he may have had that experience, then be sent to work, starve and suffer in the other five camps he survived, to our fortune.

    from the article: He didn't become a macher
    First published 12:09 15.10.10 | Last updated 12:09 15.10.10
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