The first German translation of the literary masterpiece Mauthausen (“Die Freiheit kam im Mai” in German) by Greek poet, author and academic Iakovos Kambanellis has been awarded the “2010 Translation Prize” by the Austrian Ministry of Education and Arts. The translation was made by Elena Strubakis and was published last spring by Ephelant publishing house. Ephelant publishing organization specializes in the publication of books of political and social content. The award committee especially praised the author on the successful adaptation of the original book in German, written by Iakovos Kambanellis in 1965 which has so far been published in thirty editions in Greek.
The Greek translator and Austrian publisher, Franz Richard Reiter, had a series of meetings and long discussions in Athens with Iakovos Kambanellis who Mr. Reiter had met 25 years ago, when he was gathering testimonies by survivors of the former concentration camp, Mauthausen, in order to publish a collective volume.
Elena Strubakis was raised in Greek and Austria where she studied Architecture in Vienna Polytechnic University, later on focusing on the social aspects of architecture. In her book translation in German, the author represents in the best possible manner, the descriptive form of writing and lyricism of the great Greek author, Iakovos Kambanellis.
The German edition is also accompanied by an album, featuring four songs by Mikis Theodorakis’ “Mauthausen”, performed in Greek and Hebrew by Maria Farantouri and Elinoar Moav Veniadi.
The novel, which contains 37 chapters, is based on the experiences of Iakovos Kambanelis from the tragic conditions at Mauthauzen concentration camp, where he was held prisoner since the summer of 1943 until the end of the war.
Narration begins with his liberation from Mauthauzen on May 5th 1945 and through recollections in the past, the author revives the days he experienced at the concentration camp of death, but also follows the liberated – survivors of the camp, until the day they followed the path towards their new life in post-war Europe and as the author notes, this is a “true” story, as he relived it through the hours he went through old notes, trying to “recall”.
Mauthausen concentration camp was created by Nazis in August 1938 and until liberation took place on May 5th 1945, over 206.000 inmates from all over Europe experienced the cruelest conditions one could imagine. For 122.797 of them, among them 3.700 Greeks, liberation came late, as they had left their last breath in Mauthausen crematoria. It wasn’t until 1949 that the camp was declared a national memorial site and 30 years after the camp’s liberation, in 1975, the Mauthausen Museum was officially opened.
Source: ANA – MPA