The Holocaust Historiography Project
Auschwitz, by J.-C. Pressac
Photo 17
Photo 17

Photo 17a
Photo 17a

Photo 17 and 17a:
[PMO neg. no. 20995/494, Kamann series. This photo is also in the Archives of the Warsaw Central Commission for research into Hitlerian crimes in Poland, but as it was never identified or communicated to the Auschwitz Museum, it remained unexploited until it was rediscovered in the Bauleitung Album.]
South/north view of the greater part of the south side of Krematorium II and its Leichenkeller 1 (gas chamber), not yet covered with earth, taken on the same day as Photo 15 and 16, probably between 9th and 11th February 1943.

Photo 17a, with the explanatory inscriptions by the author, is taken from the Auschwitz Album (Editions de Seuil, page 211). This photo provides the following information:
· The height of the ventilation chimneys of Krematorium II has been increased above that of Photo 13;
· The furnaces had not yet been working at full capacity because there are no soot stains on the collective chimney.
· Leichenkeller 1 has only 3 of the 4 openings for pouring Zyklon-B with which it was finally fitted. Rising about 55 or 60 cm above the roof, they were later covered to a depth of about 45 cm with gravel and earth, so that only 10 to 15 cm remained visible. This would explain why they did not stand out much when the grass grew and why they are so indistinct on the next Photo, though this seems to be in contradiction with aerial photos taken by the Americans in 1944 which shows them to be higher.

[The latest interpretation of these openings by Robert Faurisson should be mentioned: they are simply ventilation chimneys. In that case what was wrong with the ventilation and air extraction system installed in Leichenkeller 1? What is more, he does not take into account that the SS designated them in writing as “wire mesh introduction devices” closed by “wooden lids”. What ventilation can there be if they are closed by lids?]
· In the foreground is a narrow-gauge locomotive belonging to Messrs Carl Brandt of Magdeburg, for which an order for the repair of a condensation valve has been found in the correspondence concerning the construction of Krematorien II and III. This firm worked at Birkenau on the drainage and sewerage ditches and the laying of narrow-gauge railways to facilitate the transport of the materials required for enlarging the camp (for example, work on B.A.III, according to Brandt drawing 6158 of 15.3.43).

Photo 17a:
Translation of inscriptions:
· Façade sud du Krematorium II ou BW 30 / South side of Kr II or BW 30
· En janvier 1943 (livré en état de marche par la Bauleitung le 31 mars 1943 / in January 1943 (handed over in working order by the Bauleitung on 31st March 1943)
· Vestiaire ou Leichenkeller 2 du Kr II / Undressing room or Leichenkeller 2 of Kr II
· Cheminée collective du Kr III en construction / Collective chimney of Kr III under construction
· Krematorium III
· Cheminées des ventilations / Ventilation chimneys
· Cheminée collective du Kr III(sans suie) / Collective chimney of Kr II (with no soot stains)
· 3 ouvertures de versement du Zyklon-B / 3 openings for pouring Zyklon-B
· Chambre à gaz ou Leichenkeller 1 du Kr II / Gas chamber or Leichenkeller 1 of Kr II
· Inscription “Carl Brandt”