Beginning with the liberation of Mauthausen concentration camp by the Americans and continuing through the months that followed before the prisoners were repatriated, lakovos Kambanellis' Mauthausen tells the story of a remarkable love affair between two former prisoners. The events of the story are all true, but they read like a strange fairy-tale. The euphoria of the first days of the Liberation, the slow awakening of the inmates to the possibilities of love and normalcy, the beauty of the spring landscape in which the lovers walk hand-in-hand make the atrocities that preceded them seem inconceivable. And like the lovers who walk through the camp exorcizing its demons, we are spared no detail of the savagery perpetuated in the years of its operation.
Kambanellis' account is based on the notes he made just after he was liberated. In the twenty years that passed between his experiences and the publishing of his memoir in Greek, he became a mature writer and Greece's best known playwright. Like Primo Levi's writing about his experience in Auschwitz, Kambanellis' Mauthausen is both a literary masterpiece and a testament to the extraordinary resilience of the human spirit.