The Holocaust Historiography Project
Auschwitz, by J.-C. Pressac
Document 63
[PMO file BW 30/43, page 19]
Document 63

Translation of letter from Messrs J A Topf & Sons:
[manuscript] BW 30
Auschwitz Waffen SS and Police
Central Construction Management
Auschwitz. Eastern Upper Silesia
7th June 43
[initialed by Bischoff and Kirschneck]
ERFURT. 2/6/43
hes. 30554/43
Our Division D IV R,
Krematorium II

We acknowledge receipt of your telegrams:
Of 29:5.43 [Saturday]
"Construction drawings for Krematorium for chimney promised by Herr Prüfer for Messrs Köhler not yet arrived. Request immediate dispatch as work has had to cease.”
of 1/6/1943 [Tuesday]
"Send immediately drawing requested by telegram for Messrs Köhler concerning chimney Krematorium chimney II [.] Chief engineer Prüfer fully aware of the purpose of this request [.] Delay therefore inexcusable [.] Telegraph whether the drawings have been sent [.] Chimney constructor had to stop work today due to absence of drawing."”
To which replied today:
“Requested Köhler by telegram Saturday [29th May] supply original drawing of chimney enable us produce construction drawing as we do not know dimensions of the chimney.”
Replied in writing
[Friday] 16/7/1943 Correspondence register no.
[initialed] Kirschneck

[The author discovered this letter, which the Auschwitz Museum subsequently archived in the BW 30/34 file, in 1984 in the investigation service of the Warsaw Central Commission for research into the Hitlerian crimes in Poland. It had been transmitted to the Warsaw Central Commission by the Moscow Prosecutor as part of the incriminating evidence in the trial of the “cremation architects”, Dejaco and Ertl, held in Vienna at the beginning of 1972. THIS LETTER FROM TOPF HAS NOTHING WHATEVER TO DO WITH DEJACO AND ERTL, since when it was written the only members of the Bauleitung concerned with the chimneys were SS Second Lieutenant Kirschneck and the civilian employee Jährling. Among the fifty or so German documents sent by the Soviets to the Poles to be passed on to the Austrians, this letter has no relation with the others (and the communication of part of a drawing of one of the Topf disinfestation ovens installed in the Zentral Sauna is even less comprehensible). This Topf letter makes sense only when compared with the telegrams in PMO file, BW 30/34. It then becomes very useful, as it enables us to give a precise date, 29th May 1943, to the undated telegram 29684/43/Ki/Schul and helps us to follow the process of repairing the chimney of Krematorium II. The letter is obviously incomplete, as the abbreviation “b.w.” [bitte wenden! / please turn over] shows that it was continued on the verso. It is part of a file of about one hundred documents (bearing the two numbers 82 and 87) held by the Soviets, and only about forty of which are known. It is possible that in 1945, the Soviet Commission, having seized this letter at Auschwitz, forgot in the heat of the moment to photograph the verso, and it is also likely that the Moscow Prosecutor, having chosen this document for reasons known only to him, also omitted to communicate the verso].