The Holocaust Historiography Project
Auschwitz, by J.-C. Pressac
The only criticism that can be levelled at this evidence is the fact that it was disseminated after the war in the form of a copy authenticated by the examining judge Jan Sehn. He is responsible for having “certified as conforming” with the original a text that was not an exact copy, or to put it more crudely, to having given legal status to an untrue copy.

But what could “three gas-tight TOWERS” mean? Apparently nothing in the context of either the normal or the criminal use of Krematorien IV and V. In the known Bauleitung correspondence about these Krematorien the word “Turm” is never used. In relation to the existing documents concerning Krematorium IV it does not fit in with any aspect of the shell or of the roofing or of the internal arrangements. Furthermore, the person who typed this letter was not its author. The error results from the copying of a written draught or dictation notes. There was a lapsus calami. Jan Sehn was quite right to replace “Türme” by “Türe[n]”, particularly as Order 109 of 18th January 1943 fully confirms this correction. Without wishing to criticize Jan Sehn in any way, I consider that, though he could perhaps not have foreseen the importance that this document would one day have as “material evidence”. he should have indicated the reasons for making the change before signing at the bottom of the copy. However, in the years 1945-47 during which evidence was collected for the Hoess trial, all the witnesses, SS and prisoners, were still alive, their memories intact and the facts so obvious that Jan Sehn would not be able to understand my remarks about these two pieces of evidence.

Lastly, we do not know who corrected “Türme” to “Türen”. If the document was found thus corrected, this should have been explicitly stated and legally noted, since otherwise doubt inevitably remains regarding this hand-written change.

These two “original documents” are in fact but carbon copies of the real original which has not been found. This may explain why only one of the four occurences of “Türme” has been corrected, the carbons being kept simply for the files.
26. Flacheisen für (4)/5 Stück Gastürbeschläge / iron bar for (4)/5 sets of gas[tight] door fittings
[File BW 30/31, “Schlosserei” order of 16th April 1943]
[Photos 14 and 15]
Mention of the order of 16th April 1943 (see point 13), requesting the iron bar needed to produce the fittings for 5 gas[tight] doors for worksites 30a and 30b [Krematorien II and IV]. Four of these doors were for Krematorium IV. The discrepancy between the 3 doors of the order of 18th January 1943 and the 4 of 16th April 1943 is only apparent and is explained according to the premises to be made gastight: i.e the entire western part of Krematorium IV (3 doors), or the two main rooms, excluding the corridor (4 doors) or the entire western part with an additional door giving direct access to the corridor from outside [photographic evidence: page 205 of L' Album d'Auschwitz published by Seuil) (4 doors). The following order is the logical counterpart of this one for it concerns the gas-tight door fittings to be made with this iron.
27. für 4 gasdichte Türen / for 4 gas-tight doors: “WL Schlosserei liefert für 4 gasdichte Türen: Die beschlüge vie bereits schon einmal geliefert /
WL metalworking shop to supply for 4 gas-tight doors: fittings as already once supplied”

[Annex 15 to volume 11 of the Hoess trial, or report of 24th July 1945 on the “Schlosserei WL”, Order 323 of 16th April 1943]
[Photo 16]

16/4/43 No 323 KGL BW30b [POW camp (Birkenau) Krematorium IV]
Subject: The WI. metalworking shop to supply for 4 gas-tight doors: fittings as already once supplied. The doors will be made in Hall II and the fittings are to he delivered there.
Operative: Mirek. Completed: 20/4/43.

Krematorium IV having been officially handed over on 22nd March 1944, it would appear that the gas chamber doors were delivered and no doubt fitted almost a month after acceptance. Similarly, the gas-tight doors for Krematorium V were fitted twelve days after official completion.
28. 24 Ankerschrauben für gasdu[i]chte Türen It. Skizze / 24 anchor bolts for gas tight doors as per sketch
[Annex 15 to Volume 11 of the Hoess Trial, “Schlosserei WI” Order 280 of 6th April 1943]
[Photo 36]

6/4/43 No 280. Central Construction Management, POW camp Krematorium 4 [IV] and 5 [V] BW 30b and 30e. Subject: 24 anchor bolts for gas-tight doors as per sketch. On order. Manufacture and delivery. Delivery date: 10/ 4/43. Construction Management Order No 149 of 3rd April 1943.
Operative Wrobel. Completed: 9/4/43.

As the file for this order cannot be consulted, we do not know the location of the anchoring points or the number per door. It is in fact doubtful whether this would be shown on the sketch, which is more likely to show a single fixing bolt.
29. Gastüren einsetzen / fit gas[tight] doors [2 mentions]
[File BW _30/26, page 27]
[Photo 37]
On Friday 16th and Saturday 17th April 1943, foreman Zettelmann. employed by the civilian firm HUTA of Kaltowitz, entered on his timesheets/daily reports 167 and 168 the fitting of “Gastüren / gas doors” in Krematorium V, although the latter had been officially accepted on 4th April. The precise text describing the work done by six men (including SS sergeant Lugert. in charge of the worksite) during the two days was:
“Fenstergittern einsetzen, Entwasserung(sarbeiteu) und Gastüren einsetzen / Fit window bars, drainage (work) and fit gas doors”
These handwritten daily reports, despite their brevity, constitute the only material evidence of the installation of gas chambers in Krematorium V and give an exact date for the beginning of their existence: 18th April 1943.
[Supplementary traces (Krematorien II and III)]:
30. Der [Leichen]Keller 1 mit der Abluft aus den Räumen der 3 Saugzuganlagen vorgewärmt wird /
The [corpse) cellar I will be preheated with the exhaust air from the room with the 3 forced draft installations

[File BW 30/25. page 7]
[Photo 4]
31. Die Warmluftzuführungsanlage für den Leichenkeller I /
The hot air supply installation for Leichenkeller I

[File BW 30/25, page 8: for Photo see Document 39 Part II, Chapter 5], See Page 230.
Heating a mortuary is nonsensical. The extracts from these two letters are criminal traces of capital importance.