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The Hell of Mauthausen - testimony of an Italian prisoner in the Mauthausen camp. Turin, 1945 - first edition

Opening price: $150

Commission: 23%

Sold: $280
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04.08.2024 07:00pm

L'INFERNO DI MAUTHAUSEN - The Hell of Mauthausen (How 5000 Deportees Died) - The chilling story of the Italian prisoner of war and Resistance fighter Gino Valenzano about what befell him and his friends in the Mauthausen camp - published immediately after the war. Published by S.A.N. Turin (Italy), 1945 - First edition.

Before the war Gino was an air force officer in the Italian army. On October 20th he learned that the Republican police in Rome had received orders to arrest all suspected anti-fascists and that his name was also on the list. He hurried to leave Rome and joined a partisan group briefly. On his way to Naples he was arrested by the SS together with his brother. He was taken for questioning at a local prison, after a month and a half he was taken together with his brother and other prisoners in cattle cars to the Dachau camp in Germany. After a short time in Dachau he was transferred to Mauthausen. There he first encountered the horrifying sight of emaciated prisoners. "They looked like walking skeletons, their faces were no more than skulls covered with dark skin... When we asked who these prisoners were, they told us they were Italians like us deported from the homeland after September 8th". He concealed his past as an air force officer from the Nazis because he knew he might undergo severe torture if it became known to the Nazis. From here he describes at length the ordeal of torture he underwent in the camp - the daily whip lashes he suffered in forced labor, the mass murders he witnessed, the countless times he cheated death, the suffering of the Jews in the camp how they were "thrown naked in the snow, beaten in blood, in agonies of hunger...". At one point the Nazis transferred him to work in the infamous quarry in the camp. After almost a month in the quarry he collapsed and was taken to the hospital. Gino describes in his book the horrors of torture he and his fellow prisoners underwent in the quarry. After a brief treatment in the hospital he was returned to work in the quarry for a period of four months! While other prisoners collapsed under torture after a few days in the quarry. "We climbed one hundred and eighty-six steps, and then another eight hundred meters of tiring climbing, and that was about twenty times a day!" he describes - "In four months I lost all my muscles from extreme thinness... We worked barefoot... Those who fell from the pains in the soles of their feet had to get up from lethal beating...". After four months in the quarry he received the status of a "permanent worker" in the camp and was transferred to regular work in an aircraft factory located a few kilometers from the camp. Gino managed to survive in the camp until liberation by Allied forces. He describes how as the Allies approached, the Nazis increased the gassings and shootings of prisoners. Out of around 6000 Italians brought to Mauthausen, only 340 survived, and of them only a hundred were able to walk. On liberation days Gino entered the Nazi camp headquarters, checked the notebooks in which they recorded the names of prisoners and found many details about how many Italians he knew before the war were murdered. On May 21 he was transferred by a Red Cross truck to Switzerland.

The book is accompanied by difficult to view photos of prisoners in horrifying physical condition, deceased prisoners, and scenes from the camp.

Rare. Only three listings in the world cat library catalog.

118 [1] p. Original cover with original illustrated dust jacket. Very good condition.

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180. The Hell of Mauthausen - testimony of an Italian prisoner in the Mauthausen camp. Turin, 1945 - first edition