Because far more than 90% of the victims of Mauthausen were neither German nor Austrian, remembering the victims of Concentration Camp Mauthausen and its satellite camps is of international importance. The International Memorial and Liberation Ceremony in Mauthausen is by far the largest such ceremony in the world. Again this year, the Ceremony will begin with the reading of the Mauthausen Oath in various languages. The climax of the festivities is the joint departure of all participants at the end of the ceremony – similar to the very first liberation ceremony of concentration camp survivors.
In addition to the International Memorial and Liberation Ceremony in Mauthausen, many ceremonies will be held at the sites of former satellite camps of Concentration Camp Mauthausen. Most of these events are organized by local associations and initiatives in close cooperation with Mauthausen Committee Austria (MKÖ).
Survivors of Mauthausen concentration camp and sub-camps were liberated by US troops at the beginning of May 1945. Since 1947 there have been annual commemoration events have been held on the site of the former concentration camp with participants from all over Europe. The events serve as an act of memorial for the victims of Nazi terror and persecution, as well as a rallying call against all kinds of intolerance, dictatorship, xenophobia and anti-Semitism: a moment of solidarity with victims of the past and present.
The Austrian Mauthausen Committee organise the events together with his partner organisation Comité International de Mauthausen and other organisations. Events take place at a number of the sites where the 49 sub-camps of Mauthausen could be found, with the main commemorations taking place at the main site of Mauthausen. Annually between 10,000 and 15,000 people take part, travelling from all over Europe to do so.
The distribution of memorial and cultural events throughout the region is particularly appropriate to highlight how comprehensive the concentration camp system was and to avoid a focus solely on the Mauthausen site. The history of the sub-camps is closely tied to European history – in these camps thousands of people were worked to death through forced labour in the production of armaments.