Contemporary drawings or paintings about the KZ Gusen Complex were provided by:

  • Rudolf Burger, St.Georgen/Gusen: This local artist living in St. Georgen/Gusen created a set of several drawings in 1995 to commemorate the thousands of KZ Gusen I, II & III victims. These drawings were originally made as illustrations for the documentation to the video “Lass fallen den Stein” (drop the stone).Rudolf Burger also provided the logo of Plattform 75 JAHRE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 see below:

    This logo shall symbolize two things: The human eye, that reminds us to look at history – and not to deny – even when it is difficult, and: 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. Alfred Hrdlicka at the Academy of Applied Arts, Vienna
    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 an 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 State Memorial each year.
  • 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 camp. 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 immediately.

    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 they presented this set of etchings the first time at Langenstein Parish Center in March 1995 (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.

See also

  • 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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