The Holocaust Historiography Project
Auschwitz, by J.-C. Pressac
given to dismantle Krematorien II and III [IV had already been demolished and V continued in service for “normal” cremations]. The destruction of the “murder weapon” started at the beginning of December 1944. Because of bureaucratic delays, the Bauleitung’s request for Huta’s drawings was also made at the beginning of December 19. The Huta drawings presented here were not found among the Bauleitung documents recovered after the Liberation, but in a search of the Huta offices in Kattowitz ordered by the Examining Judge Jan Sehn in 1945 or 1946.

In conclusion, the Huta drawings do not contain “criminal traces”, but they do make it possible to better understand some of the Bauleitung drawings and they also show that the “secrecy” that was thought after the war to have surrounded the Krematorien could not have existed during their planning and construction. However, once the “special actions” were over, there is no doubt that the SS tried, without completely succeeding, to get rid of all the evidence. They destroyed their archives (but not completely). At Birkenau, they dismantled Krematorien II and III, but were unable to finish the job and ended up having to dynamite what remained. Lastly, in addition to such measures they desperately tried to find and liquidate any surviving members of the Sonderkommando, right up to May 1945.

Drawing of the chimney for Krematorien II and III
[PMO file BW 30/40, page 47]
Translation of inscriptions:
Chimney Drawing KII and KIII · Fuge / Joint
· Eigengewicht / Static weight
· Winddruck / Wind pressure
· Kippmoment / Turning moment

This drawing is extracted from the first set of static calculations produced by the Huta engineer Dziubany, referring to items 1 to 25 of the original estimate.

Despite the letter of 2nd August 1942 [Document 1] telling Huta not to concern themselves with the static calculations for the chimney, they nevertheless did carry out such a study in conjunction with the Bauleitung drawing 1434 “Errichtung eines Schornsteines am Krematorium / Construction of the Krematorium”, drawn on 3rd June 1942, though this did not stop Messrs Topf & Sons, responsible for the furnaces, from producing their own drawings. In the end the two identical chimneys of Krematorien II and III were built by Messrs Robert Koehler of Myslowitz. Despite all the calculations and the care taken with the actual building, serious problems were encountered with the chimney of Krematorium II as early as May-June 1943, and part of the lining even collapsed. After much discussion, which went on until mid-September 1943, between Kurt Prüfer, chief engineer at Topf, Robert Koehler and the Bauleitung, during which each blamed the other for the defects, the three parties finally agreed that the cost of relining the Krematorium II chimney should be equally shared between them [PMO file BW 30/25, pages 11 and 12, Aktenvermerk Ki/lei no. 316132/43 of 13/9/43].