– Mauthausen and its suspicious burning smell –
By: Acacio Luis Friera
In 1999 a friend and I took a short trip to Austria to visit the Mauthausen concentration-detention camp – Konzentrationslager. After our visit and while we were leaving the parking area we were astounded to see some individuals that were stoking some kind of herbs into a fire, which was creating a cloud of rising smoke.
I then remembered that on entering the camp there was a pervasive smell, a kind of “scent” wafting about. And I also recall that a woman just behind us said to her companion: ‘You wouldn’t believe it, even with so much time passing there still remains the smell of the crematorium!’
Of course, the comment was nonsensical because outdoor “scents” are just ephemeral and would never last for weeks, let alone for decades.
We returned to the individuals and I got out of the car to take some pictures of them. They soon realized what I was doing and stared at us, then suddenly in a rage one of them started running towards us. We did not wish a confrontation and immediately left the area.
What had caused so much outrage? That’s an obvious question. They knew we knew that what they were doing was not making hay! They were in the business of fuelling a myth of concentration camp murder by creating for the unsuspecting visitors an appropriate, conducive atmosphere’.
Above left in the photograph is the tractor and fire creating the smoke wafting in the direction of the camp.
The three men at the fire creating a specific scent that reminds visitors of the Mauthausen crematorium smell…