The Holocaust Historiography Project
Auschwitz, by J.-C. Pressac
Comments on Drawing 2036(r.b)
2036(r.b) was found by the Russians in 1945 in the files of the camp administration (manuscript note “Verwaltung / administration” upper left). As the figures in the identification block were difficult to read, somebody inked them over and made two mistakes: 2030 instead of 2036 for the drawing number and 11.4.43 instead of 11.1.43 for the date.

This is the simplest known version of 2036. It does not show the sewer pipes, water supply system or electric lighting. However, it seems to have been used during the construction of Krematorium V, for there is a pencil line extending the right hand side of the roof on Section C-D, representing the roof over the coke store, an arrangement applying to Krematorium V only.

Despite the apparently good quality of the photograph, it is too light, which makes it only just possible to see that two inscriptions have been scratched out and replaced by hand written ones. There are also two additional hand written inscriptions. These four changes are to be found: above and below “Kohle"; below “Arztzimmer"; beside the westernmost window of the north elevation. Who made these changes: the Germans in 1943 or the Russians after the Liberation? The only one legible, above “Kohle” reads “Haarzuber”, meaning “hair tub”. In the author’s opinion, this should be “Haarstube / Hair room”, i.e. the place where the hair shorn from the gassed victims was stored. That under “Arztzimmer” is scarcely perceptible. The corrections in “Kohle” and “Arztzimmer” would appear to have been made after the war by a member of the Soviet Commission or a Sonderkommando survivor. The other two additions, which cannot be deciphered, are in gothic script, unlike the first two. The corrections correspond to a modification in the function of the rooms, pointed out by somebody who had lived in the Krematorium when it was in service. These additions concern changes made in the building after completion and confirmed by contemporary photographs. The window was filled in: two openings were made in the end of the coke store through which new deliveries were poured. Historically, the two corrections cannot be exploited and the two additions are already known through SS photos of the Krematorium.

The interest of this drawing lies in the modification in the number of openings illuminating the western corridor. There were two initially, then a third was added (visible on the ground floor plan). Then they were all filled in, as can be seen on the north elevation. Of the seven small external windows visible on Drawing 2036(p), there remain only five. However, if they are considered to be not windows to illuminate the interior but openings for the introduction of Zyklon-B (the two rooms in this western part being gas chambers), it appears that each of the two rooms had THREE such openings (three opening on the exterior in the westernmost room, two on the exterior and one on the corridor in the other room).

Drawing 2036(r.b) shows that Krematorium IV (and hence V) underwent several modifications, especially in the western part. Drawing 2036 was not immutable and the different prints, all bearing the same number, are proof that there was some evolution. After undergoing changes, the total number of openings in the western part was SIX, and the initial orders were for SIX gastight windows, thus proving that ONLY THE TWO WESTERNMOST ROOMS (without the corridor) were intended to be used as gas chambers, at least at this stage of the project.