Life Hanging on a Spider Web

Cover Life Hanging
KL Gusen II survivor Karl Littner

These touching memoirs of Karl Littner, a KZ Gusen II survivor, were edited by GMC founding member Rudolf A. Haunschmied in 2011.

Karl Littner – a Jewish boy from Auschwitz-Zasole – gives insight into Jewish life and anti-Semitism in his hometown Oswiecim – Oshpitzin – Auschwitz, Poland before the Second World War.

Along with his odyssey, he gives details about some not so well known German forced labor camps like ZAL Raupenau-Kotzenau, Hermannsdorf, Gross Masselwitz, or Gruenberg which he passed through in the years 1941 to 1943 via Transfer Camp Sosnowitz (Sosnowiec).

He offers his very personal experiences about the difficult life and the systematic terror of the SS and its helpers against Jewish families in Ghetto Sosnowitz/Srodula before he managed to survive Concentration Camp Auschwitz-Birkenau and Gross-Rosen-Fuenfteichen by being sent to Concentration Camp Mauthausen-Gusen II, where he was near his end in the huge underground aircraft plant “Bergkristall” at St. Georgen/Gusen, Austria.

Although his new life began with the liberation from Nazi terror in Concentration Camp Gusen II, Karl Littner describes also the difficult way back into ordinary life.

His path to success led him with his German wife Miriam via Straubing and Tel Aviv to Chicago and finally Los Angeles.

Karl Littner´s memoirs are supplemented by numerous illustrations that were provided by the editor and the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, the Jewish Center of Oswiecim, the Museum of Sosnowiec, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, and Yad Vashem for example.

These memoirs were also reflected in 2021 in the documentary "Surviving Gusen" by Gerald Harringer and Johannes Pröll which also contains the last video interview with Karl Littner that was recorded in 2014 by Johannes Pröll in Los Angeles, California. 


Karl Littner * Rudolf A. Haunschmied (ed.)
LIFE HANGING ON A SPIDER WEB – From Auschwitz-Zasole to Gusen II
Books on Demand, Norderstedt, 2011
456 Pages, 83 Illustrations (including maps),
Paperback, EUR 32,50 [D]
ISBN: 978-3-8423-9840-5

Watch a summary of Karl Littners life on Youtube.

Find more details about this GMC-publication on the BoD-Website.