New concrete tower in the middle of the historic structure of the Mauthausen CC Memorial
Severe interference includes encumbering access to many monuments, the complete closure of the Stairway of Death, and the insensitive construction of a concrete tower in the middle of the concentration camp memorial.
At Mauthausen Concentration Camp Memorial, in 2018 numerous areas that had been open for over 70 years for memorial visitors were either closed temporarily (national monuments, have meanwhile been re-opened) or permanently withdrawn from public access (the Stairway of Death will remain closed because it fails to meet Austrian construction standards, ÖNORM). In addition, in the middle of the historic structure of the former garage yard, a massive concrete tower was erected to serve for operation of an elevator (‘lift’) facility. This amounts to an attack on the huge historic granite structure that had remained nearly unchanged since 1945. Until the construction of the tower, the annual memorial service was held annually for the US liberators.
Concentration camp survivors are impeded by the above restrictions in their commemoration. They transmitted their indignation to Mauthausen Committee Austria (MKÖ). Mauthausen Concentration Camp Memorial must ensure that commemoration is not impeded as by the closure of the Stairway of Death. “Outrageous”, “monstrous”, “a scandal” were the first reactions to the concrete block from national and international representatives. Regarding such severe interference as impeding access to numerous monuments, the complete closure of the Stairway of Death, and the insensitive construction of a concrete tower in the middle of the memorial, it is indispensable that the management of the concentration camp memorial conduct serious discourse already in the planning phase with all stakeholders, e.g., survivor organizations, International Mauthausen Committee (CIM), Austrian Association of Mauthausen Survivors (ÖLM) and Mauthausen Committee Austria (MKÖ).
In a joint position statement, Mauthausen Committee Austria and International Mauthausen Committee therefore demand:
Immediate halt in construction and if necessary the removal of the concrete tower and immediate restoration of the previous condition. This is the only possible response to such a shameful undertaking!
Immediate measures to make the Stairway of Death accessible again for visitors to the concentration camp memorial. The Stairway of Death is an integral part of the history of Mauthausen CC and absolutely indispensable for the memorial and educational work there.