American officers/POWs in Mauthausen
- Event Date
- May 7-8, 1945
- Accessed at US Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of National Archives & Records Administration
(LIB 6495) Concentration Camp, Mauthasen, Austria, May 7-8, 1945. Sound interview with Lt Jack H Taylor, US Navy, who tells of his work in the German-occupied countries of Europe, his capture, and his treatment as a prisoner. Sound interview with Sgt Louis Riagioni, US Army, who tells of his service behind the lines serving with Italian partisans in the the northeast section of Italy. The Sgt relates his capture by the Gestapo and treatment while in the prison camp.
Jack H. Taylor U.S. Navy, CA. "Interview with American Officer in Austria, October 44. Captured in December by Gestapo in prison for four months. Lived on potatoes, seen and heard terrible stories, condemned to death. Naval officer executed here. Huge pit to bury dead, killed in six different ways. Naked in the snow, conditions too extreme to mention." Talks about uniform, laughs, then says "God Bless America." "Working in Balkans German-occupied country for 18 months...to find partisans and resistance movement. Taken to concentration camp, not considered a POW. Worst concentration, bring people merely to kill them. I've seen terrible things here. 400,000 people have died of starvation or been executed. Severely beaten, even in office...When Russians neared Vienna, I was taken to Mauthausen Concentration an extermination camp, where we have been starving and beaten and killed. Fortunately, my turn hadn't come. Two American officers, at least, have been executed here. Here is insignia and dog tags. Executed by gas." Question: "How many ways executed them?" "By gas, shooting, beating with clubs, exposure, that is: standing out in snow, naked, 38 hours and having cold water thrown on them in mid-winter, starvation, dogs, and pushing over 100 foot cliff. This is all true and has been seen and is now being recorded. I came in uniform [which was] taken away. This was substituted (points to striped inmate uniform.) I was condemned to death, like another American here, but fortunately 11th Army Division has come through and saved us in time. "God Bless America."
"Sgt. Louis Biagioni from Brooklyn, NY, that's in the US...came to Europe in 1943. In 1944, April 1st, dropped in Northern Italy with partisans. May 19, taken by Gestapo and roughly beaten. Two months later, taken here to camp and four months later, taken to ? and sentenced to death. I was brought back here and awaited my execution but the Americans came here first. Now we're saved. God Bless 'em." CU of Sgt. Biagioni.
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