Students Visit Mauthausen


University of Redlands students carry urns to the Mauthausen burial site.

On Nov. 11, University of Redlands students studying in Salzburg visited the Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria to bury the ashes of unknown victims.

Students Emma Haas ’15, Samantha Ochoa ‘15, Lauren Caldera ‘15, Margo Macready ‘15, Violet Miehle ’15, Deandra Van Houten ’15, Chandler Inglis, Jessica Klar, Alex McDonald and Sarah Williams carried the urns into the Mauthausen graveyard, and were followed by the remaining members of the 2013 Salzburg group, faculty and staff, and Mauthausen Memorial staff.

Magister Teres Stockinger, education coordinator at the Mauthausen Memorial, spoke before the burial ceremony, and explained that about 100,000 people were killed at Mauthausen and its satellite camps.

“The dead were usually burned in incinerators, and the ashes were either tossed on an ash heap, used as filling materials in the construction of the camp’s buildings of simply dispersed,” Stockinger said. “Recently in the course of maintenance work excavations have become necessary…in these excavations, the ashes were found. They were analyzed and it was found that they are indeed human ashes.”

Nothing is known about the victims, including their names, nationalities, or ages at the time of death.

“One thing I know, and as an Austrian citizen I want to say it here,” Stockinger said. “My country must take full responsibility for what it has done to these people, and also before all the others who are buried in this cemetery. What has happened here hurts me in my deepest soul.”

Salzburg Director Bill Lowman thanked Stockinger for allowing the group to be part of the ceremony.

“We are honored to be here to join you in making sure that these ashes and those they represent are buried with dignity,” he said.

The University of Redlands students were joined by Italian students, and all lit candles in remembrance. Jackie Starks ‘15 and Paige Valenzuela ‘15 read an English translation of the Kaddish in honor of Jewish victims, while Nida Karnani ’15 read the Duaa in honor of Muslim victims. Cami Garecht ’15 read a poem by Rabindranath Tangore for those who were atheist or had no religious conviction, and Kevin Bailey recited the Lord’s Prayer for Christians, representing Roman Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant beliefs.

During the ceremony, students placed the urns into the prepared burial place, and were encouraged to spread earth on the top. After a moment of silence, the candles were blown out.

Posted: Dec. 4, 2013

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