This booklet was written by a man who himself had to spend many years in a concentration camp, who was spared nothing and who is now a cripple in life.
[...] Perhaps you will be disappointed when you have read this booklet. It is not dripping with blood, and beating scenes are completely missing. [...] But please, open your eyes and open your ears and read between the lines and listen to the voices that resonate from the dialogues."
This is what Arthur Alexander Becker wrote in the preface to his drama "Mauthausen!". It was premiered at the Salzburg Landestheater on May 16, 1946, under the title "Der Weg ins Leben" ("The Way to Life") and was subsequently published by the Ried-Verlag in Salzburg. As a play in classic drama form, this early text stands unique in literature about the Mauthausen concentration camp. In addition to the fictional main character Fritz Steiff, a political prisoner, "criminal" prisoners and SS men appear, often under their historically authenticated names.
The new edition of this unusual memoir is accompanied by a detailed afterword. It traces the colorful life of Arthur Becker, on whom Nazi courts imposed "preventive detention" before he was a "criminal" concentration camp inmate in Mauthausen as well as in the Schwechat subcamp, and sheds light on the historical, sociological and literary references of his stage play.
The Austrian actors August Schmölzer and Franz Buchrieser will read excerpts from the play during the book presentation. The two editors of the book, Christian Angerer and Andreas Kranebitter, will discuss the historical and literary background of the play with Katharina Kniefacz. The event takes place in cooperation with the Mauthausen Concentration Camp Memorial and the Archive for the History of Sociology in Austria at the University of Graz.