The Holocaust Historiography Project
Auschwitz, by J.-C. Pressac
On 6th April, Vedag informed Huta that they could not give the usual two year guarantee because the floors (probably the basements of Krematorium Ill) had been sealed with only one layer of damp proofing material. The firm had been warned of this by their foreman at Birkenau, who said it was BECAUSE THESE BUILDINGS [Krematorien II and III] WERE BUILT TO BE ONLY TEMPORARY “weil diese Bauten nur als Vorübergehend ausgeführt werden") [Document 53].

[This statement about the future of the Krematorien goes considerably further than does Camp Commandant Hoess in his “Commandant of Auschwitz”:

“The crematoria were erected at the end of the two main thoroughfares in the Birkenau camp, firstly in order not to increase the area of the camp and consequently the safety precautions required, and secondly so that they would not be too far from the camp, since it was planned to use the gas chamber, and undressing rooms as bath houses when the extermination actions came to an end”.

So Hoess envisaged that once the extermination was over, i.e. when there were no more Jews left in Europe, the gas chambers and undressing rooms would be converted into baths and showers. It was already with this in mind that Bischoff, through the intermediary of Jährling, requested Topf on 15th May 1943 to draw up the plans for 100 showers using water heated by the waste incinerator of Krematorium III (this system was found in the crematorium of KL Natzweiler (Struthof), where the incinerator supplied the heat for the hot water tank for the showers next door to the incinerator room). Traditional historians have [wrongly] interpreted Hoess' remark as proof that the Leichenkeller 1 of the Krematorien could be used both as showers AND as gas chambers, because they did not know exactly how a homicidal gas chamber functioned at Birkenau. They thought they were they were equipped with REAL SHOWERS with the associated pipework and imagined that the SS could deliver toxic gas or harmless water, as they wished. A precise knowledge of the operation of the gas chambers makes it possible to confirm that Hoess was indeed thinking of the FUTURE of the Krematorien, AFTER the extermination, In the author’s opinion, this idea probably applied to 1942 and would have been the first stage in the “white washing” of the Birkenau Krematorien. For even if the war had ended later than it did, in 1946 or 1947, with the victory or defeat of the Germans, i.e. in either case permitting the “round up” and “removal” of the Jews, it is certain that at least three of the Birkenau Krematorien. having fulfilled their “mission” and in view of their excess number, would have been destroyed, the remaining one being converted to appear simply a normal cremation installation for health reasons, with or without a shower installation. What is more, the projected later use of the Krematorien for the annihilation of the Slav peoples is pure myth, based on no document.]

Messing, after having worked on 5th April on the air on extraction system of the Krematorium III furnace the room, worked from 6th to 11th on Leichenkeller 1, where he installed the ventilator fan [in fact the extractor fan].

[The ventilation system of Leichenkeller 1 in Kr III was “improved” as compared with that of Kr II, by having an increased number of fresh air inlets. On 18th February, 50 perforated galvanized plates, 7 × 18 cm, had been ordered for Leichenkeller 1 of Kr II (for the air inlets near the ceiling, spaced at intervals of 120 cm) and on 19th an unknown number of protection “grills” of 10 mm diameter iron rod (for the air extraction ducts, near the floor). These two orders were completed on 15th March (the absence of these parts in no way affecting the operation of the gas chamber). Still on 15th March, an March, an order was issued for Leichenkeller I of Kr III for 95 perforated zinc plates. 7 × 18 cm, (for the upper air inlets, here spaced at 60 cm intervals) and for 45 10 mm iron rod protection “grills” (for the lower, air extraction ducts and spaced about every 150 cm). The order was completed on 23rd March. Some of the perforated zinc plates [Document 54] were found after the Liberation in the “Bauhof” (lying under the iron supports for the brickwork of the 8-muffle furnace of Krematorium IV). Scrapings from the surface of some of them were subjected to toxicological analysis which revealed THE PRESENCE OF CYANIDES, The protection “grills”, whose form was not known (there was a sketch in the order book of the DAW “WL” metalworking shop, but the original is not in the possession of the PMO and is thought to be in the Soviet Union), were brought to light during the excavations carried out in 1968 in the ruins of the northern part of Leichenkeller 1 of Krematorium III, along the eastern wall [Document 55] and makes it possible to show their configuration (see sketches in the French text: left, face view; center, side view; right, oblique view).].

Document 55 Document 55
[PMO neg. no. 14500]
Excavations carried out on 14th August 1968 by a group of Germans from the “Sühnezeichen” organization in the northern part of the ruins of the Krematorium III gas chamber. It was possible to clear, at the base of the eastern wall, three “grills” covering the air extraction vents in the lower part of Leichenkeller 1. Unfortunately the walls of the excavation were not consolidated and landslips caused the brick walls to collapse, leaving a scarcely identifiable mass.

Document 55 bis
Document 55 bis