Rudolf Burger, St.Georgen/Gusen
In 1995 this local artist living in St.Georgen/Gusen created a set of
several drawings to commemorate the thousands of KZ Gusen I, II & III Victims.
The drawings were originally made as illustrations for the documentation
to the video "Lass fallen den Stein" (Drop the Stone).
Rudolf Burger also provided the logo of Plattform 75 JAHRE REPUBLIK
as you can find on each of this Web-Pages.
This logo shall symbolizes two things:
- The Human Eye
That reminds us to look at history - and not to denie -
even when it is difficult
- A Human Being seen from above
That reminds us to the many tens of thousands
of forgotten KZ Gusen Victims and to the fact that
we all are responsible ourselves for our attitudes
concerning history, presence and future
Stephan Hilge, Student of Prof. Hrdlicka
Due to his historical studies along with the KZ Gusen Commemoration-Path Project,
Stephan Hilge was inspired by the remnants of the KZ Gusen II Bergkristall Tunnels
to make a etching showing a corpse laying on an altar in one of this
KZ Gusen Tunnels.
This drawing named "BERGKRISTALL" won the first prize of
an international arts-competition sponsored by the Austrian Federal Ministry
of the Interior in regard to the KZ Mauthausen Complex.
During the recent years, the Austrian Mauthausen Society used this
KZ Gusen II "Bergkristall" Drawing as one of the official gifts to
the numerous Embassies that take part in the International Commemorations
at KZ Mauthausen Memorial Museum each year.
at the Academy of Applied Arts, Vienna
Prof. Alfred Hrdlicka, Vienna
Encouraged by Wolfgang Bandion, the world-renowned Austrian sculptor
Prof. Alfred Hrdlicka created a set of 14 etchings to commemorate
life and death of Dr. Johann (Papa) Gruber - the "Saint of KZ Gusen" -
at KZ Gusen.
Dr. Johann Gruber, an Austrian priest, offended NAZI-politics after
the "Anschluss" and was first deported to KZ Dachau Camp. After a
few months there he (like hundreds of other priests!) was transferred to
KZ Gusen Camp to be exterminated there. All that priests belonged to the
lowest-level group of inmates in that KZ Gusen Camp and were treated there
the same brutal way as their Jewish comrades. So, hundreds of that German,
Austrian and Polish priests died in the years 1940 and 1941 at that KZ Gusen Camp.
When the Vatican could arrange general improvements for that priests in the
concentration camps, the surviving priests of KZ Gusen were re-transfered
to the "more better" KZ Dachau Camp in 1941 but the Austrian
Dr. Gruber remained in that most horrible KZ Gusen Camp as a volunteer to
help hundreds of Polish and Spanish comrades to survive.
"Papa" Gruber was able to help them, because of his prominent position
with the KZ Gusen Archeological Excavations he was
able to get in contact with friends from outside the KZ Gusen Concentration Camp.
So, on one hand, he forwarded information about the crimes within that KZ Gusen Camp
out to his friends and, on the other hand, he received money from his friends
to bribe SS-men and Kapos at the KZ Gusen Camp.
With the remaining money he organised food within the KZ Gusen Camp and gave
it to the starving comrades. Since he was a teacher too, he also educated
Polish, Spanish and Jewish children in an "illegal" school he also
operated due to his prominent position within this most horrible concentration
Unfortunately, in early 1944, "Grubers Organization" was
betrayed and Dr. Gruber was tortured for three days by GeStaPo-men that
came from Berlin to the KZ Gusen "BUNKER" prison.
Then - since he was a priest - he was killed personally after 3 days of
torture by the commander of KZ Gusen Camp, SS-Hauptsturmfueher Seidler,
on Holy Friday at 3 p.m. with the words: "Like your teacher (Jesus),
you also shall die at the 3rd hour!". Prior to killing him, he was
opened his belly and hanged on his back to a hook in one cell of the
KZ Gusen "Bunker" Prison in the KZ Gusen "Jourhaus" Main
Entrance Gate that is a private house now.
After Grubers "ritual execution" more KZ Gusen inmates died by
starvation, because they lacked the food that Dr. Gruber has organized
for them for years at KZ Gusen Camp.
Due to Dr. Grubers activities in KZ Gusen Camp, SS-Obergrupenfuehrer Oswald Pohl
also ordered at Berlin that all the priest in any concentration camp all
over the 3rd Reich have to be removed from any administrative position
Up to now, for many KZ Gusen Survivors, Dr. Johann (Papa) Gruber
is considered as their personal Saviour within the "Hell of Hells"
at KZ Gusen.
In 1988 a few of them also requested his Beatification at the Pope of Rome
but did not receive any answer up to now from the Vatican.
Just Wolfgang Bandion and Alfred Hrdlicka dedicated much of their time
in 1994 and 1995 to commemorate that very important Austrian Resistance Fighter
that postulated to his dieing comrads: "Surviving is the only form of resistance in a concentration camp!"
with a set of etchings and the related publication as referenced below.
Together with Plattform 75 JAHRE REPUBLIK and Galerie Hilger, in March 1995,
they also presented this set of etchings the first time at Langenstein Parish Center
(just a few hundred meters besides the former KZ Gusen I Camp)
to a broader public.
Along with the first Local-International Commemoration a commemoraton plate
dedicated to Dr. Johann Gruber and Marcel Callo was inaugurated together
by survivors and the local Parish on May 5, 1995 at the KZ Gusen Memorial.
- Bandion Wolfgang, Johann Gruber: Mauthausen-Gusen 7.April 1944 mit 14 Radierungen von Alfred Hrdlicka, WUV-Universitätsverlag, Wien 1995
- Burger Rudolf, Christoph Freudenthaler, Andrea Wall, et al, Lass fallen den Stein - Begleitheft zum Video ueber die Zeit des Nationalsozialismus in St.Georgen und Gusen, Plattform 75 Jahre Republik, St.Georgen/Gusen 1995
- Hilge Stephan, Ghisetti Michaela, Hanf-Dressler Martin und Mueller Joerg, Katalog zur Ausstellung in der Gedenkstätte KZ Mauthausen, 29. August bis 26.Oktober 1996
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For additional information, comments or suggestions, please contact:
KZ GUSEN Memorial Committee
Most recent updates of this page were made on
2006-10-21 by Rudolf A. HAUNSCHMIED,
Martha GAMMER, Siegi WITZANY-DURDA and