Design and production of the permanent exhibition, 2011-2013
Mauthausen Concentration Camp 1938–1945
The exhibition “Mauthausen Concentration Camp 1938–1945” tells the story of Mauthausen concentration camp and its network of satellite camps from the arrival of the first prisoners on 8 August 1938 to the liberation of the camp by the U.S. Army on 5 May 1945.
The exhibition is housed in one of the original camp buildings, the former infirmary, which was partially completed and taken into use as a hospital for prisoners in summer 1944. In the 1960s, the building was adapted for the first time for use as a museum and refurbished again in 2010/11. The original structure of the building was largely preserved and incorporated into both the exhibition and the architectural concept. Markings on the floor, ceiling and walls were used to show post-war alterations to the original building fabric.
The exhibition tells the story of the concentration camps in Mauthausen and Gusen in four chronological blocks and on three thematic levels. The exhibition in the hall offers a historic framework narrative that considers the rise and evolution of National Socialism. The rooms to the left show the most important events and stages in the camp’s history from 1938 to 1945, while those to the right depict the personal experiences of the prisoners and their daily struggle to survive. The prologue and epilogue examine the legacy effects of Mauthausen concentration camp on Austrian and European post-war history.
Over 100 original objects are displayed to vividly communicate the history of the camp. In addition, camp survivors and also people who lived in the immediate vicinity of the camp give eye-witness testimonies in some 30 video and audio interviews. Four graphic animations show key stages in the camp’s development – from its expansion, the increasing number of deportees and construction of the satellite camps to the evacuation transports and death marches at the end of the war.