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Title: The lives and afterlives of the Mauthausen subcamp communities
Author: Kropiunigg, Rafael Milan
ISNI:       0000 0004 6057 0654
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2017
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Concentration camp scholarship has been impacted by an ‘island syndrome’: most research limits itself to one site, focuses either on its life or afterlife, and overlooks interactions among functionaries, inmates, and local people. Central themes connected to the camps thus remain shrouded in popular misconceptions. This study breaks with historiographical orthodoxies and addresses common confusions through a new framework. Drawing on Ebensee and the Loiblpass, two forced labour outposts of the Mauthausen complex, it presents the first integrated account of the divergent factors that shaped the legacies of these sites and the fates of their subjects. A focus on Ebensee shows how gravely the local bureaucracy, relief workers, and US Army impacted on the early postwar lives of former camp inmates. Victim groups were marginalised by local and Allied actors precisely because of a broad awareness and continued survivor presence. The Loiblpass figured less prominently in the postwar lives of its surrounding communities. At the core of postwar views lay pre-1945 experiences. Living in an epicentre of territorial struggles, Loibl Valley inhabitants did not externalise a strong political agenda and instead communicated a binary ‘selective association process’. The memory of the camp prompted a positive association in socioeconomic terms; political allusions provoked a relativizing of brutality and a claim to personal victimhood. The local context and postwar dimension constitute a missing link in our understanding of these sites, their neighbouring communities, and the early postwar period more broadly. While the causal relationship between a social reintegration of Nazis and a re-marginalisation of genuine victims has thus far been viewed chiefly through the lens of federal politics, this development was already long under way—aided by all local actors—when amnesty laws encouraging the rehabilitation of former National Socialists came into effect; national and Allied policy decisions in the wake of the burgeoning Cold War only further catalysed this development from 1947 onwards.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: German History ; Holocaust ; Concentration Camps ; Mauthausen ; Austrian History ; Ebensee ; Loiblpass ; Carinthia ; Kärnten ; Upper Austria ; Oberösterreich ; Ferlach ; Subcamps ; Forced Labour ; Sub-Camps ; National Socialism ; Postwar