Mauthausen was at the center of a group of German concentration camps, operating from 1938 to the end of World War II in 1945. Starting with a single camp at Mauthausen, the complex eventually expanded to be one of the largest labor camps in the German-controlled part of Europe. Prisoners forced to work in quarries, munitions factories, mines, arms factories and plants assembling aircraft. The last concentration camp to be liberated by the Allies, it is estimated that up to 300,000 people died at Mauthausen.
The main camp at Mauthausen has served as a museum since 1975. While much of the site is still intact, information and photographs provide background about buildings that no longer exist. An audio guide provides information about history of Mauthausen, conditions of prisoners and general structures of the concentration camp. Explanations are supplemented by quotes from former inmates.
Located 20 kilometers from the city of Linz, Austria, Mauthausen is accessible by bus to the Mauthausen Linzerstraße/Hauptschule station or the Mauthausen Linzerstraße/Wasserwerk station, both 1-2 kilometers from the site. Visitors might also take the train to the Mauthausen OO station, from where they can continue by bus or taxi. Mauthausen is open March 1 to July 10, daily 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m; July 11 to October 31, Tuesday to Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; and November 1 to February 28, Tuesday to Sunday, 9 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. It is closed December 24-26, December 31 and January 1. Admission is free, but visits are not recommended for those under 14 years of age.