The Mauthausen Concentration Camp is a testament to Nazi Austria history and a sobering reminder of what Adolf Hitler's terrifying regime was capable of. Found about fifteen miles southeast of Linz, this concentration camp Austria does not try to hide. Instead, it is very much an open subject, often a destination for school children who come to learn about the atrocities associated with the Third Reich. The town of Mauthausen itself is rather pretty, boasting some attractive and interesting medieval architecture. In addition to learning about Nazi Austria at the concentration camp, visitors are encouraged to give the town a look too.

The Mauthausen Concentration Camp Austria site first underwent construction in 1938, and prisoners from the German Dachau concentration camp were enlisted to build it. The Dachau camp was the first Nazi concentration camp to be built in Germany, and new camps were needed to house the growing amount of Nazi prisoners. As the story goes, funds from Nazi prisoners themselves were used to build the Holocaust Mauthausen complex. Upon their arrest, the prisoners' assets, whatever they might be, were assumed by the Third Reich. Stealing from prisoners was just one way of raising money for the prison camp, however. The Escompte Bank, which was based in Prague, awarded commercial loans to the camp's private builders, as did Dresdner Bank, which is based in Frankfurt, Germany. Originally, Mauthausen was reserved for common criminals, and was more of a prison camp. This changed in 1939, when it became a concentration and labor camp. Thousands of Austrian Jews were killed at Mauthausen, and also included among the condemned were Gypsies and homosexuals, whom the Third Reich also saw as undesirable.

The Holocaust Mauthausen complex is definitely not an upbeat Austrian attraction, but it is an important one. Nazi Austria was much different than modern-day Austria. At the time, Austrian citizens could do little, if anything, to get in the way of the Nazis. During your Mauthausen Concentration Camp Austria visit, you can see the rooms, or huts, where condemned criminals were kept. In addition to these huts, there is the Stairway of Death, which is just as somber. It was the last walk that condemned prisoners made, and one can imagine the helplessness and hopelessness that these prisoners felt as they traversed it. Though it can be quite disturbing to tour the grounds here, the Holocaust Mauthausen experience is a valuable one, depicting a part of history that mankind will never forget.

To get to Mauthausen for a glimpse into Nazi Austria history, you can rent a car and make the short drive, or hop on a bus for the hour-long trip. You will need about two hours to appropriately tour the Holocaust Mauthausen complex, and there is a small admission fee to enter. Hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. from October to December, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from May to October.

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