April 1945, Donaulände
During the death marches thousands of concentration camp prisoners arrive in Linz on barges to be force-marched on to the Ebensee concentration camp. Many die on the way.
In the final phases of the war thousands of camp inmates from the extermination and concentration camps in the east are driven westwards before the advancing Red Army. Countless people fell victim to these death marches. Exhausted, ill and weak people were killed by accompanying SS men, but also by local territorial army units and Hitler Youths.
Many of these death marches had Linz as their goal, although Linz here was a euphemism for Mauthausen or one of its subcamps. A survivor of one of these death marches wrote in his report: “I didn’t want to go to Linz because we had heard that at the time people there were starving”.
In Mauthausen the main camp and more especially the subcamps were completely overcrowded. This encouraged epidemics and the death rate rose rapidly. Every day more than 200 people died. Some groups of prisoners were loaded onto freight barges on the Danube and shipped to Linz to be force-marched on to Mauthausen or Ebensee.
The weak or sick who could go no further were killed. Thus on the 19th of April 1945, five prisoners were thrown into the Danube by the guards because they were too weak to begin the march to Ebensee.