The Holocaust Historiography Project
Auschwitz, by J.-C. Pressac
7. “1 Gasdichtetür / 1 gas-tight door”
[File BW 30/43, page 34, verso of the Krematorium II handover document dated 3lst March 1943, the recto being BW 30/43, page 9]
[Photos 9 and 10]
This document, considered promising. was thought to prove the material reality of homicidal gas chambers. Officially revealed for the first time in the afternoon of 30th June 1980 at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales during the Colloquium on “NAZI GERMANY AND THE JEWISH GENOCIDE” held at the Sorbonne. it was one of the high points if not the high point of the paper, announced as most important, on “Die Gaskammern / the gas chambers” by Professor Dr Wolfgang SCHEFFLER of West Berlin. After recalling the main “abnormal” functions of Krematorien II and III, followed by mention of the possible preheating of Leichenkeller I (cf the letter of 6/3/43, file BW 30/25, page 7. [Part II, chapter 6,]), a sign of its use as its gas chamber since a temperature of 26°C is necessary for the hydrocyanic acid to evaporate, Schleffler cited a description of the building on its official handover, mentioning “1 gas-tight door”. The Colloquium was shown only an extract of five lines (lines 4 to 8 on Photo 10), without mention of the source, or presentation of a reproduction of the original document. Questioned on its origin. he said that he had obtained it in Moscow. Later on, he told me that it could not be communicated as it could not be either photographed or photocopied, which is difficult to believe. This unknown extract, presented totally without context, brought nothing new or “definitive”, other than confirmation that the entrance to one of the Leichenkeller 1 was fitted with a gas-tight door, which was already explicitly stated in the letter of 31st March 1943 [Photo 8]. The traditional nature, not to say the mediocrity, of his paper was such that it was not reproduced in the published proceedings of the Colloquium and was replaced by one by Uwe Dietrich ADAM (University of Tübingen), a recognized specialist in the “gassing trucks”, rather than the problems raised by the gas chambers proper. The fact is that this document came from the OCTOBER REVOLUTION Central State Archives in Moscow. Transmitted to the Warsaw Central Commission, then sent to Vienna, where it was produced at the beginning of 1972, with others of the same type, at the trial of the “crematorium architects” former SS officers Walter Dejaco and Fritz Ertl, it formally indicates that the entrance door to Leichenkeller 1 of KREMATORIUM II was gas-tight. It forms part of a series of “criminal traces” demonstrating that certain rooms in Krematorien II, III, IV and V were made gas-tight. It would appear that W Scheffler had a copy of only about 8 pages concerning the acceptance of the Birkenau Krematorien. The total would he greater than this.

Photo 9 is page 9 of BW 30/43, recto of the handover document for Krematorium II, stating that the building was constructed in a workman like manner. using both prisoners and outside civilians. Only the main firms involved are mentioned. though there were others.

Photo 10 is page 34 of BW 30/43, verso of the handover document for Krematorium II. The only real significance of this document is that, while it may have been possible to quibble about the meaning of “Gastür”, this is no longer the case with “Gasdichtetür”.
8. 4 Drahtnetzeinschiebvorrichtung /
4 wire mesh introduction devices
[Photo 11]
9. 4 Holzblenden / 4 wooden covers
[File BW 30/43, page 12 for both]
Inventory annexed to the Krematorium II handover document of 31st March 1943 [Photo 9] concerning the basement. The clerk who filled in the form made a mistake, putting some of the entries on the wrong lines: the “4 wire mesh introduction devices” and the “4 wooden covers” were installed in Leichenkeller 1 of Krematorium II, not in Leichenkeller 2 as indicated (for the demonstration of this inversion see the end of “One proof, one single proof"). The four devices and their covers were used to introduce Zyklon-B into Leichenkeller 1 / the gas chamber of Krematorium II. According to the American aerial photograph of 24th August 1944, the four introduction points were located along a line running the length of the room in the EASTERN half. In the present ruins, two of these openings are still visible at the southern end but in the WESTERN half. Nobody up to now seems to have been concerned by this contradiction, nor to have explained it. This document is important evidence of the use of Leichenkeller 1 of Krematorium II as a homicidal gas chamber

Photo 8 Photo 8