Walter Beck, Honorary President of the Mauthausen Committee Died

26 Aug

Walter Beck was born in Olomouc, Czechoslovakia, on February 8, 1921. In his childhood, in search for employment, his family has moved to Vienna, where the young Walter started his schools. He has learned German as a second mother-tongue, which later proved to be crucial for his survival of the Nazi Mauthausen camp.

In the mid-thirties the Beck family was back in Czechoslovakia, where Walter has finished his education in a German secondary school and started to work in 1938. At the same time, he joined the youth organization of the Social Democratic Party.

Until the breakup of Czechoslovakia in 1939 he made efforts mobilizing the population against the Nazis. After the German occupation he continued his activities in the Czech resistance movement and finally got arrested in September 1941. After tough interrogations and two weeks spent in the Pankrac prison in Prague, he was transferred by train to Mauthausen in October. Here he was registered as prisoner 984 and received a red triangle on his camp uniform indicating that he was political prisoner.

Due to his perfect knowledge of German and administrative skills he was engaged as a clerk of the camp and remained in this position until the end of the war.

After the war, during the Communist dictatorship in Czechoslovakia, as a consequence of his Social-Democrat background he was forced to physical labor in a factory. Following the establishment of the Comité International de Mauthausen he has joined the initiative and was eventually elected a long-term president and successively honorary president of the Committee.