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Database on female prisoners in Mauthausen

Dr. Brigitte Halbmayr and Dr. Helga Amesberger of the Institute for Conflict Research (IKF) in Vienna visited the International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen in early October to do research for their study of former female prisoners at Mauthausen and its satellite concentration camp. They also wanted to safeguard current database records on the women and add further biographical information. “The ITS is an important source for our work because of its documents and correspondence files,” said both Austrians.

The existing database uses information from the Mauthausen memorial and contains data on roughly 4000 women. Little is known about these female prisoners as a large number of them came to Mauthausen with evacuation transports from other concentration camps near the end of the Second World War. There is little existing documentation. “We are assuming that around 8000 females were imprisoned in Mauthausen,” said Amesberger.

“We are following every trace and have been able to find many details on the women through our research at the ITS,” reported Halbmayr. One example is the fate of Helene Abraham. “We learned from the ITS´s correspondence files that Helene Abraham died at Mauthausen,” said Amesberger. Both women also researched transport, hospital and emigration lists at the ITS. “We were able to learn a lot in the week at Arolsen and even found new names. However, we would need an additional three months to check all names and fates,” said the women.

Their project is being financed by the Austrian Interior Ministry and is scheduled to be finished in May 2010. One part of the project involves the reorganization of the database. Scientific analysis of certain data collected along with the presentation of around 100 exemplary biographies is another.