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President Martha Gammer and the Gusen Memorial Committee (GMC) received a “Straznik Pamieci” diploma endowed by the important Polish political magazine Do Rzeczy on November 7, 2016 in the halls of the Warsaw royal castle under the patronage of the President of the Republic of Poland, Andrzej Duda.

The Polish political magazine Do Rzeczy honors special achievements to commemorate the painful history of Poland in different categories once a year.

The GMC was nominated because it takes pains for more than three decades to remember the Gusen concentration camps in which thousands of members of the Polish intellectual elite, Jews and political resistance fighters were murdered during World War II. Thus Gusen is classified by Polish historians as the “Tomb of the Polish” and stands in a row with the Polish victims of Katyn.

President Martha Gammer was accompanied by her husband Hannes, the local historian and GMC co-founder Rudolf A. Haunschmied, as well as Mr. Bernhard Mühleder. Along with that invitation of the Republic of Poland, the delegation also visited related museums and research facilities.

After a reception in the Polish Ministry of Culture, the visit found its worthy conclusion with a touching reunion with the last Polish survivors of the former concentration camps of Gusen and Mauthausen.

The GMC serves survivors like them and their relatives for many decades along with their visits to the former Mauthausen-Gusen complex. It is also successfully dedicated to the research and teaching of the history of the former concentration camp complex St. Georgen-Gusen-Mauthausen.

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On September 13, 2014, KZ Gusen II survivor Modesto Melis from Carbonia in Sardinia (former inmate No. 82441) was allowed to visit the underground world of the former concentration camp KZ Gusen II at St. Georgen/Gusen with a special permission of the Austrian Federal Real Estate Company (BIG) for the first time since the end of World War II nearly 70 years ago.

Although Mr. Melis served as a paratrooper in the war, he was arrested by the Gestapo with only 24 years of age on February 4, 1944 and then sent after a short stay in the quarantine of Camp Mauthausen on August 13, 1944 as a political prisoner and as an electrician to Concentration Camp Gusen II. There he was housed in block 6 and had to wire the cockpits of the Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighters under cruel conditions in the underground “Bergkristall” aircraft factory at St. Georgen on the assembly line.

Just because he was a specialist, he survived concentration camp KZ Gusen II, which was regarded as the most terrible camp in the former. KZ Mauthausen-Gusen complex.

The memories of Modesto Melis were edited in Italian language in 2013 in Iglesias, Sardinia with the help of the City of Carbonia and the Italian province Carbonia Iglesias by Giuseppe Mura at Giampaolo Cirronis Editore under the title “L’animo degli offesi” (The Soul of the Injured). The book has 201 pages and contains many illustrations.

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Klub Mauthausen-Gusen Poland thanked the Gusen Memorial Committee (GMC) along with the local-international commemoration 2013 at the KZ Gusen Memorial for yearlong commemoration and research endeavors on the former KZ Gusen I, II and III concentration camps.

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