Liberation of The Mauthausen Concentration Camp

In the face of the advancing Allied troops, in April 1945 the SS began to destroy the traces of its crimes. It had the installations for mass killing dismantled, ordered incriminating documents to be burned and murdered concentration camp prisoners who, due to having witnessed systematic mass murder first hand, would have been able to testify against the perpetrators in court.

On 3 May 1945 the last members of the SS fled the Mauthausen and Gusen concentration camps. On 5 May a reconnaissance unit of the US Army arrived in Gusen and Mauthausen. On the following day, units of the 3rd US Army finally liberated around 40,000 prisoners in these camps. In both camps they found the bodies of hundreds of concentration camp prisoners who had died in the days before liberation. Thousands more were so weak and their health so frail that they died in the weeks and months following liberation, despite the medical care provided by the US Army medical units. Over 3,000 were buried in ‘Camp Cemeteries’ next to the former concentration camps.

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