Ministers commemorate 7,500 Spanish Nazi victims in Mauthausen

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Mauthausen victims commemoration

On May 5, the day the Allies entered the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp in 1945, a commemoration ceremony took place again this year. On this date, Spain commemorates its more than 7,500 compatriots and Nazi victims who were imprisoned in this camp.

The horrors they endured are not forgotten, helped by the images of emaciated survivors who remain a powerful reminder of the brutality they endured.

Spanish ministerial representation

This year there was special attention from the Spanish government. Two ministers travelled to Austria: the Minister of Social Rights and Agenda 2030, Pablo Bustinduy, the Minister of Territorial Politics and Democratic Memory and the State Secretary for Democratic Memory were present.

In his speech, Bustinduy emphasised the importance of remembering and preventing the return of fascism in Europe. He also criticised recent proposals from the PP and Vox parties and some autonomous regions, describing them as “laws of false appeasement” that he said would glorify the memory of the dictatorship.

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An emphasis on justice and truth

The ministers stressed the need for truth, justice and reparation between perpetrators and victims. According to them, that principle should be central and should not be replaced by what they see as an attempt to erase painful memories. The events at Mauthausen serve as a stark example of why these values are so essential in contemporary politics and society.

Dedication to freedom and the fight against discrimination

Bustinduy’s speech also included a tribute to other groups who suffered under the Nazis, such as Jews and Roma. He emphasised the importance of integrating these memories into the collective consciousness of Spain. We must also strive for a country that is unwaveringly committed to freedom, solidarity and the fight against all forms of discrimination and intolerance.

Spaniards in Mauthausen-Gusen

The deportation of more than 7,500 Spaniards to the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp made it one of the most important camps for Spanish prisoners under the Nazi regime. These Spanish prisoners were mainly republican soldiers and sympathisers who had fled to France after the Spanish Civil War and were subsequently captured by the Nazis when France fell. According to Spanish survivors, approximately 23,400 Spaniards were shipped to Mauthausen in closed wagons; 16,310 died and 9,200 survived the ordeal of forced labour. Many of the Spaniards died from disease, from on-the-spot executions and from starvation. Nearly 450 Spaniards were gassed.

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