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1944 – 1945, Hessenplatz

After air raids the clean-up squads left from here. They consisted of forced labourers, civilian workers and concentration camp prisoners.

Not all bombs that the Allies dropped on Linz and other cities detonated on impact. These unexploded bombs represented a great danger to the clearing-up operations. Defusing them was the responsibility of the Luftwaffe demolition squads who used prisoners of war and concentration camp inmates as assistants. Even before the air raids, the City of Linz signed an agreement with Mauthausen concentration camp for up to 1000 prisoners to be used for clearing-up operations after air raids.

In 1942 Franz Tschaff, who was responsible for the deployment of workers in the Department of Works, worked out a plan for clearing up after air raids. The plan envisaged that civilian workers, forced labourers and concentration camp inmates from camps in and around Linz would collect at five points in the city. The prisoners came from Mauthausen and were housed in the subcamp Linz III.

The prisoners called these work parties “kamikaze squads”. There is no exact list of those prisoners who were killed during this work. An undated document in the archive of the Mauthausen Memorial, for example, mentions 7 dead and 4 injured prisoners alone from a group of 48 prisoners deployed in “bomb squads”.