Nazi guards offered starving workers a break from hauling heavy stones up a stairway - only to shoot them dead if they said 'yes', it has been revealed. Inmates at Mauthausen, Austria's largest concentration camp, were made to carry granite blocks up the steps of the 'Stairway of Death' in brutal hour shifts.
According to one survivor, Males bone in a camp guard would ask prisoners if they wanted to rest for a minute on a ledge - but would execute anyone who accepted the offer.
Scroll down for video. Austrian Holocaust survivor Aba Lewit pictured revealed how Nazi guards offered starving workers a chance to sit down while they were hauling stones up a stairway - only to shoot them dead if they said 'yes'.
Inmates at Mauthausen picturedAustria's largest concentration camp, were made to carry granite blocks up the steps of the 'Stairway of Death' in brutal hour shifts.
Former inmate Aba Lewitt recalled the brutal practice as Austria marked the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Mauthausen - a camp known by Nazis as the 'Bone Mill'. He said the inmate tried to escape the camp.
That happened umpteen times every day. More than 20, people attended the anniversary which feautured somber speeches by dignitaries and funeral marches by scores of flag-carrying delegations from Europe and beyond.
One of the longest-existing concentration camps in Hitler's Reich, Mauthausen received its first railway wagon of inmates in Max Garcia pictured revealed the moment American soldiers liberated the camp on May 5 Members Males bone in a camp a delegation from Israel arrive for a ceremony to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camp in Mauthausen, Austria.
By the time it and its nearly 50 satellite camps were liberated by American troops in Maymore thanpeople had died, most in the main camp.
That main camp was designated 'Category III' — which meant its inmates were slated for death through labor. Many of the hundreds of thousands at the Mauthausen complex - Jews as well as prisoners of war, political prisoners, conscientious objectors and other opponents of Hitler's Nazi regime - built war planes and other military equipment in deep tunnels they dug at the auxiliary camps. But the most unfortunate landed in its huge granite pit.
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Those assigned to hour days of trying to climb the stairs - uneven slabs, some half a metre high - died from exhaustion, being shot or after being transferred to barracks for the sick, where lack of care and epidemics decimated the horribly weakened inmates. Aba Lewit said inmates were shot for taking a break from hauling huge granite blocks up the so-called 'Stairway of Death'.
US citizen Max Garcia revealed how he was rescued from the camp before being moved to a comfortable hotel and helping the Americans interrogate his former tormentors and their backers. Invoking the memory of 'one of the most horrible chapters in our history,' Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann on Sunday urged his countrymen 'to never forget and to elevate values such as tolerance, democracy, Males bone in a camp and solidarity.
Earlier, scores of delegations from countries whose citizens died at the Mauthausen complex made their way to the podium.
A survivor with the Israeli delegation wore a set of the original striped uniforms issued to inmates. Mauthausen was the last concentration camp to be liberated by the allies, with U.
S armoured troops rolling into the compound on May 5, A survivor with the Israeli delegation wore the black-and-white uniforms originally issued to inmates. Austrian soldiers with wreaths arrive for a ceremony to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camp. Within hours, Garcia was ensconced in a comfortable hotel and helping the Americans interrogate his former tormentors and their backers.
But for Lewitt, 92, of Vienna, the day of liberation was bitter. With nowhere to go, he and fellow Males bone in a camp spent their first free night still in the camp. Transferred to Linz, the nearest big city, and then left on their own, they wandered the streets dressed in their camp stripes, hungry, penniless, and lonely as the rest of Austria started picking up from the ruins of war. After the liberation, many survivors were transferred to Linz, and then left on their own to wander the streets dressed in their camp stripes, Males bone in a camp, penniless.
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The children ranged in age from 5–12 years on entry into CAMP.