The Holocaust Historiography Project

The 'Gas Chamber' of Auschwitz I

Robert Faurisson

Since 1948, the year of the founding by Polish Communist authorities of the Auschwitz State Museum, millions of tourists -- 500,000 visitors per year in the early 1990s -- have visited the crematory building of the main camp (Auschwitz I) with its "gas chamber" room.

Museum guides present this crematory structure (Krema) and its "gas chamber" as genuine, but skeptical visitors who ask impertinent questions are told, since my own visits of 1975 and 1976, that this is, in fact, a "reconstruction," which we are further informed is an identical replica of the original. In reality, the whole is neither authentic nor an identical replica of the original. In 1941-42, the Krema was a very conventional crematory facility with, notably, a cool morgue room for temporary storage of corpses, and an incineration block with six ovens. In 1943-44, the six ovens were done away with and the morgue room, along with other parts of the building, were transformed into an air-raid shelter with a surgical operating room serving the nearby SS hospital.

I made these discoveries in 1975-76, and published the results between 1978 and 1980.

Eric Conan

Fifteen years later, a reporter-historian named Eric Conan, although quite hostile to revisionism, published in the January 19-25, 1995, issue of the large-circulation French weekly news magazine L'Express a lengthy essay, "Auschwitz: the Memory of Evil" ("Auschwitz: la mémoire du mal"), in which he denounced the falsifications of the crematory and its "gas chamber." [See "Major French Magazine Acknowledges Auschwitz Gas Chamber Fraud," in the Jan.-Feb. 1995 Journal, pp. 23-24.]

On this point, here are the findings of his inquiry (p. 68), to which I have added emphasis to certain words:

In 1948, when the Museum was created, Crematory I was reconstructed [reconstitué] in its supposed original state. Everything in it is false [Tout y est faux]: the dimensions of the gas chamber, the locations of the doors, the openings for the pouring in of Zyklon B, the ovens (rebuilt according to the recollections of some survivors), the height of the chimney. In the late 1970s, Robert Faurisson exploited these falsifications all the better as the Museum officials balked then at acknowledging them.

Conan questioned a Museum official about what he calls a "misrepresentation" and about what, he reports, Théo Klein, former president of the CRIF, the "representative council of Jewish organizations of France," calls an "artifice." As Conan writes (p. 68):

Krystyna Oleksy, whose director's office, which occupies the former SS hospital, looks straight out on to Crematory [building] I, has not resigned herself [to telling the truth about the "gas chamber"]: "For the time being we're going to leave it in its present state, and not give any specifics to visitors. It's too complicated. We'll see later on."

This person's reply amounts to saying: "We have lied. We are lying. We shall continue to lie … until further notice."

Debórah Dwork and Robert-Jan van Pelt

In 1996 a 443-page study of the history of Auschwitz, from the year of the town's founding to the present, was published by W.W. Norton (New York). Auschwitz: 1270 to the Present was written by two historians of Jewish origin, the American Debórah Dwork and the Canadian Robert-Jan van Pelt. They report that Auschwitz State Museum authorities have made alterations, transformations, and falsifications of the Auschwitz I camp site, with regard both to the detainees' reception building and to Crematory I with its "gas chamber." The authors use the following words: "postwar obfuscation," "additions," "deletions," "suppression," "reconstruction," "largely a postwar reconstruction" (p. 363), "reconstructed," "usurpation," "re-created" (p. 364), "falsified" (p. 367), and "falsifying" (p. 369).

On the subject of the "gas chamber" they write (p. 364): "[After the war] four hatched openings in the roof, as if for pouring Zyklon B into the gas chamber below, were installed."

As they further point out (p. 364), there is no sign or plaque to call the public's attention to any changes, about which "… the guides remain silent … when they take the visitors through this building that is presumed by the tourist to be the place where it happened."

Appeal to UNESCO

The entire Auschwitz complex is registered as a protected world heritage site by UNESCO -- the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Some Islamic countries, where there has been considerable indignation over the February 1998 punishment by a Paris court of French scholar Roger Garaudy for having questioned the "gas chambers," could bring an action at UNESCO regarding the emblematic "gas chamber" at Auschwitz.

They might, on this occasion, demand an impartial forensic examination of the remains of the "gas chamber" at Auschwitz-Birkenau's crematory building (Krema) II. The caved-in roof of this supposed mass extermination "gas chamber" has visibly never had any of the four special holes (25 by 25 cm, or 9 7/8 sq. in.) through which, we are told, Zyklon B pellets were poured in.

This being the case, how, simply, could an execution gassing operation have even begun here at Birkenau, the core of the so-called "Holocaust"?


About the author:

Robert Faurisson is Europe's foremost Holocaust revisionist scholar. Born in 1929, he was educated at the Paris Sorbonne, and served as a professor at the University of Lyon in France from 1974 until 1990. He was a specialist of text and document analysis. His writings on the Holocaust issue have appeared in several books and numerous scholarly articles, many of which have been published in this Journal. A four-volume collection of many of his revisionist writings, Écrits Révisionnistes (1974-1998), was published in 1999.

This essay is translated and adapted from a version that first appeared in the French periodical National Hebdo, February 19, 1998, under the title "Aveux Méritoires" ("Commendable Admissions").