The Holocaust Historiography Project
Auschwitz, by J.-C. Pressac
19. betonieren im Gas[s]kammer [1st mention] / concrete in gas chamber
[File BW 30/28, page 68]
[Photos 24 and 25]
On Tuesday 2nd March 1943, the Riedel foreman who, two days earlier had fitted the gas-tight windows in rooms whose function was unspecified, was again working there. and sensibly deduced that he was in a “gas chamber”. His daily report mentions under point 5 (in the room with the windows): “Fußboden Aufschüttung auffülen, stampfen und Fußboden betonieren im Gasskammer / ground covered with hard fill, tamped down and floor concreted in gas chamber”. Of all the timesheets and reports filled in during the construction of Krematorien IV and V, this is the only one containing this term. On following days, only general terms were used, such as: “in beiden Kammern” or “im Zweiten Kammern” ["in both chambers”, “in the second chamber"]. According to the timesheets of 3rd, 4th and 5th March 1943, these two rooms were located in the western part of Krematorium IV.

Until 1982. we had no material evidence of the location of gas chambers in Krematorien IV and V. This “civilian slip”, went unnoticed for 37 years and then, when it had at last been found in the PMO Archives, it was revealed for the first time in July 1982 at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales during the Colloqium on NAZI GERMANY AND THE JEWISH GENOCIDE [whose proceedings were not published until November 1985] then published in my article LES KREMATORIEN IV et V de BIRKENAU in the journal of the Centre de Documentation Juive Contemporaine (Le Monde juif") No 107 of July- September 1982. I then ensured that this document again appeared in L'ALBUM D'AUSCHWITZ published by Seuil in November 1983, page 218 and it was recently taken up again by G Wellers in his chapter on Auschwitz inLes chambres à gaz, Secret d'Etat published by Editions de Minuit in September 1984, page 200 and page XI of the illustrations and facsimiles. The high initial value of the word “Gas[s]kammer”, which had not been found before, and that others besides myself considered decisive, is now reduced to being simply one more piece of historical evidence, Document 19 in the recapitulatory list of known “criminal traces” for the four Birkenau Krematorien.

Photo 24 Photo 24

Photo 25 Photo 25