In a post yesterday (1/28), we made reference to the Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria, where thousands of Spanish Civil War refugees were imprisoned and exterminated. Several folks in our facebook community asked for more information on the camp.
Mauthausen was a labor camp (located at a granite quarry) and death camp which received so many refugees from the Spanish Civil War that it became known as as “the Spanish Camp.”
When Cataluña fell to the Francoists at the end of the Spanish Civil War (1939), almost half a million Spanish refugees tried to flee into France by walking across the Pyrenees. Many of them were rounded up in rudimentary concentration camps in places like Argeles sur le mer. Eventually, when the Germans occupied France, roughly 8,000 of these Spanish refugees were captured by the Germans and sent to the Mauthausen camps.
As can be seen in the photo, taken on 6 May 1945 by US Army Corporal Donald R. Ornitz, when the camp was liberated by the 11th Armored Division of the US Army, the American soldiers were greeted with a banner, in Spanish and Russian, that proclaimed: “Spanish Antifascists Salute the Liberating Forces.”