The SS used so-called »functional prisoners« for internal administrative and control jobs. To improve their situation, various political and national prisoners' groups tried to place their own people into positions that were of some significance within the camp hierarchy. In doing so, they became subjected to severe SS-pressure for the latter tried to prevent any infiltration of their system.
Organized solidarity, resistance, and any kind of opposition to the system led to execution by the SS. Faced with the constant struggle for survival in the concen-tration camp, only extremely few prisoners were physically and psychologically in a condition to contemplate solidarity and resistance.
After political prisoners had assumed central functions in the camp’s typists’ office in early 1944, some political prisoners were able to gain some (modest) leeway. All in all, the efforts of some national committees as well as of the international committee that was formed in spring 1945 were limited to sporadic actions. The escape of 500 mainly Soviet POWs from block 20 was a singular event and Mauthausen’s most significant act of resistance. Almost all of the escapees were murdered by the local population and the Nazi-authorities during the so-called »Mühlviertler Hasenjagd« (Mühlviertel district rabbit hunt).