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February 1944 – April 1945, Subcamp Linz II, Märzenkeller

Around 250 prisoners from the Mauthausen subcamp Linz II are employed in building air-raid shelters and defusing unexploded bombs after air raids.

During the final years of the war, building air-raid shelters was made more difficult due to the lack of workers and building material. For this reason around 380 prisoners were transferred from Mauthausen concentration camp to subcamp Linz II on the 21st of February 1944 to work building underground shelters.

The building of the air-raid shelters was supervised by the Central Department of Works of the Waffen SS that hired concentration camp prisoners out to private companies (Schwarz, Pöchtrager, Asdag, Hödl and others). The prisoners were housed in the underground shelters and guarded by 50 SS men.

The SS treatment of the prisoners was extremely brutal, especially after bouts of drinking. Two prisoners were shot “trying to escape”. Work was organised in two shifts and continued round the clock. Most of the prisoners never saw the light of day. The work on the underground shelters was exhausting and dangerous and at least five of the prisoners were killed in accidents.

The combination of bad food and hard work led to physical collapse. Prisoners who were too weak to work were taken back to the infirmaries in the concentration camps in Gusen or Mauthausen and probably killed there.