The Holocaust Historiography Project

Auschwitz Krema I

A detailed study of the officially alleged execution gas chamber at Krema I and a detailed analysis of the existing blueprints acquired from the museum officials indicates that the alleged gas chamber was, at the time of the alleged gassings, a morgue and later an air raid shelter. The drawing supplied by the author of this report of Krema I has been reconstructed for the time period from September 25, 1941 through September 21, 1944. It shows a morgue of some 7680 cu. ft. with two doorways, neither door opening externally. One doorway opened into the crematory and the other into the washroom. Apparently neither opening had a door, but this was not verifiable since one wall had been removed and one opening had been moved. It should be noted that the official Auschwitz State Museum guidebook says that the building physically remains in the same condition as it was on liberation day on January 27, 1945.

There are 4 roof vents and 1 heater flue in the morgue area. The flue is open, showing no evidence of ever having been closed. The roof vents were not gasketed and new wood indicated they had recently been rebuilt. The walls and ceiling are stucco and the floor is poured concrete. the floor area is 844 sq. ft. The ceiling is beamed and on the floor one can see where the air raid shelter walls were removed. The lighting was not, and is not now, explosion-proof. There are floor drains in the floor of the chamber which connect into the main camp drain and sewer system. Assuming a 9 sq. ft. area per person to allow for gas circulation, which is nevertheless very tight, a maximum of 94 people could fit into this room at one time. It has been reported that this room could hold up to 600 persons.

The alleged execution gas chamber is, as stated earlier, not designed to be used in such a manner. There is no evidence of an exhaust system or fan of any type in this structure. The venting system for the alleged gas chamber consisted simply of four (4) square roof vents exhausting less than two (2) feet from the surface of the roof. Ventilating HCN gas in this manner would undoubtedly result in the poison gas reaching the confines of the SS hospital a short distance across the road, with patients and support personnel being killed. Because of the fact that the building has no sealant to prevent leakage, no gasketed doors to prevent gas reaching the crematory, drains that would permit gas to reach every building in the camp, no heating system, no circulatory system, no exhaust system or venting stack, no gas distribution system, constant dampness, no circulation due to the number of people in the chamber, and no way of satisfactorily introducing the Zyklon B material, it would be sheer suicide to attempt to utilize this morgue as an execution gas chamber. The results would be an explosion, or leaks gassing the entire camp.

Further, if the chamber were used thus, (based on DEGESCH figures of 4 oz. or 0.25 lbs. per 100 cu. ft.), 30.4 oz. or 1.9 lbs. of Zyklon B gas (gross weight of Zyklon B is three times that of Zyklon B gas; all figures are for Zyklon b gas only) would be used each time for 16 hours at 41 degrees Fahrenheit (based on German government fumigation figures). Ventilation must take at least 20 hours and tests must be made to determine if the chamber is safe. It is doubtful whether the gas would clear in a week without an exhaust system. This clearly is contradictory of the chamber's alleged usage of several gassings per day.

Computed theoretical and real-time usage rates of Krema I and alleged execution gas chamber at maximum capacity are set out in Table IV.

Table IV — Hypothetical Execution and Crematory Usage Rates of Krema I
Execution rate
94 people/week (hypothetical)
Cremation rate
286 people/week (theoretical)
126 people/week (real-time)