In the years 1940-1945, Gusen, a complex of Nazi concentration camps with the camps Gusen I, II and III was situated on the territory of the townships Langenstein, St. Georgen an der Gusen, Luftenberg and Katsdorf (district of Perg, Upper Austria). Under the name „Concentration Camp Mauthausen / Quarter Gusen“, it was separated only by a few kilometers from the concentration camp Mauthausen and in respect to size as well as number of victims, it was definitely comparable to the camp mauthausen. Both camps shared an adminstrative center in St. Georgen/Gusen.

Overlapping aerial views of the concentration camp Gusen and today’s Gusen respectively. © christoph mayer chm. Using aerial views of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Washington, D.C and those of the digital upper Austrian space information system (DORIS)

As a part of the Nazi extermination machinery within today’s Austrian borders, Gusen I and II had an extremly high death toll and were known as a „camps of no return“. About 37,000 of the approximately 120,000 camp victims who perished within present-day Austrian territory had to die in and around the camps Gusen I, II & III: mainly political opponents of the Nazi regime from all over Europe and during the last two years of the war also many Jews who had been deported from concentration camps like Auschwitz, among them many children. They all died of the “work” and camp conditions, of malnourishment, diseases or were the victims of SS-members and their capos: being bathed to death, from freezing to death, being drowned, beaten to death or through poisonous gas.

Gusen is probably the only Nazi concentration camp of this dimension whose area and remaining buildings do not serve as a memorial. Apart from the Memorial built in the sixties by B.B.P.R., an Italian group of architects, and the exhibition space / visitor center that opened in 2004, there are few reminders of the atrocities committed on Gusen soil. Since the end of the war, those former camp buildings that are still in existence have been used either by companies or privately, they are being remodeled or demolished.
The grounds were dedicated as building sites for homes.