Camps in Austria

The 20th century has rightly been called the century of camps. There were also a number of different camp systems on Austrian territory. They differed from one another in terms of which authorities were responsible for them, who guarded them and above all by the extreme diversity of living and working conditions, whereby conditions were worst at the camps for Hungarian Jews.
The map to the right shows five camp systems. The system of camps for Austrian Jews sometimes had guards and sometimes did not; inmates were Austrian Jews. The "Gypsy Camps" were organized and guarded by the police. Mauthausen (and in some cases Dachau concentration camp) with over 40 satellite camps came under the jurisdiction of the Inspectorate of Concentration Camps or the SS-Wirtschafts- und Verwaltungshauptamt (the economic and administrative department of the SS); they were guarded by members of the SS and the Wehrmacht. Prisoners came from almost all European countries. A camp system for Hungarian Jews was only established in 1944 in order to exploit their labor for the construction of fortifications and entrenchments near the Hungarian border. This system was controlled by the Gestapo and the prisoners were guarded by local auxiliary staff. The system of Work Training Camps in which mainly foreign civilian workers were detained, was under the jurisdiction of the Gestapo while the police supplied the guards. The camp system for prisoners of war is not shown. This extensive network of camps was run and guarded by the Wehrmacht. Given the current state of research it is not yet possible to show the geographic extent of the camp system for civilian foreign workers. With hundreds of camps, both large and small, it was not only the largest network in terms of prisoner numbers, but also in terms of its geographic distribution throughout Austria. Almost all enterprises, from the small trades and farms to large industry employed civilian forced laborers. Guarded camps were especially common at large companies in Austrian industrial centers.