LinzLinz is the third largest city in Austria, and is the capital of the state of Upper Austria (German: Oberösterreich). It is located approximately 30 km south of the Czech border, on both sides of the river Danube (German: Donau), the longest river in the European Union.

Linz is located on one of the most popular segments of the Donauradweg (in English, the Danube Bike Trail), an international bicycle trail that runs the length of the Danube, from its source in Germany’s Black Forest to the Black Sea. It is easy to connect from LInz to the Prague-Vienna Greenways trail system.

Route Distance Links  
Český Krumlov to Bad Leonfelden 45 km map/GPX cue sheet
Bad Leonfelden to Linz 34 km map/GPX cue sheet

MauthausenMauthausen, a town east of Linz on the Danube, was the site of Austria’s largest concentration camp. The town and the memorial site associated with the camp are located about 20 km east of Linz on the Danube Bicycle Trail. They are also accessible by the city’s public transportation system. The location was chosen because of its proximity to the transport hub of Linz, but also because the area was sparsely populated.

On August 7, 1938, prisoners from the Dachau concentration camp near Munich were sent to Mauthausen to begin the construction of a new camp. Mauthausen-Gusan was a labor camp, not an extermination camp like Auschwitz, but its inmates were literally worked to death. By the time of the camp’s liberation on May 6, 1945, at least 320,000 inmates had passed through the Mauthausen system, which included more than 100 subcamps. Fewer than 80,000 of them survived. Although the camp was, from the beginning of its existence, controlled by the German state, it was founded by a private company as an economic enterprise. The owner of the Wiener-Graben quarry (the Marbacher-Bruch, and Bettelberg quarries), which was located in and around Mauthausen, was a DEST Company: an acronym for Deutsche Erd- und Steinwerke GmbH. The company, led by Oswald Pohl, who was also a high-ranking official of the SS, bought the quarries from the city of Vienna and started the construction of the Mauthausen camp.A year later, the company ordered the construction of the first camp at Gusen. Granite mined in the quarries had previously been used to pave the streets of Vienna, but the Nazi authorities envisioned a complete reconstruction of major German towns in accordance with the plans of Albert Speer and other architects of Nazi architecture, for which large quantities of granite would be needed.

Photo credits

  1. Linz © Sigrid Kleinecke and Kurt Tutschek, 2007.
  2. Mauthausen © Javier Leiva, 2007.
%d bloggers like this: