Remembering in Silence
As soon as our group got to the entrance gate it was clear this would be unlike any other place that we had been before. Everything was quiet . When people had to speak they whispered. We went to Mauthausen on a very warm sunny day but it didn’t seem like any of that warmth reached the inside of those gates.
On our tour we walked the same paths that the prisoners walked. We first stopped at a place they called the wailing wall. The prisoners would stand along this wall without food or water for days waiting to find out what would happen to them. They were then stripped of their dignity when they were made to hand over everything they had including the clothes they were wearing. This was done in public where everyone could see so that the Nazis could prove how powerful they were.
Next we went to the barracks where they would have slept and congregated. T here were four small windows on each side of the building. As we walked in we had this urge to quickly walk out because of how stifling the heat made it. We saw the beds that were big enough for one person but were supposed to fit three. I asked the tour guide how that worked and she said that the average prisoner there weighed 88 pounds.
The hospital, gas chamber, and crematoriums were all connected. We simply from where the prisoners thought they were getting treatment to where they were killed and tortured. Then it was 10 steps later and you stood by the place where they finally rested. They still had most of the things in the places where they were so it was easy to imagine how it would have been like in that day.