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


former member of the Sonderkommando
of Krematorien I, II, IV and V
The testimony by Henryk TAUBER [Documents 1, 2, 3, and 4] is the best that exists on the Birkenau Krematorien. Being 95% historically reliable, it stands head and shoulders above the rest. Though without the benefit of higher education, Henryk Tauber, a modest man with no desire to seek the limelight, remembers perfectly. He was the only one to give a precise and detailed description of the equipment and working of the Krematorien. His extremely accurate account has been used little if at all by the historians, quite simply because they could not understand it. Tauber’s name was not as much as mentioned during the “Faurisson trial”. The reason for this is that in order to be able to understand and above all to appreciate the quality of Tauber’s account, one must have firmly in mind the arrangement of the premises.

When Mrs Dorota Ryszka, a PMO interpreter, translated it orally for me, I closed my eyes and was able to follow Tauber, despite the deadpan style of his deposition, as he guided me through the different parts of Krematorium II, Of the many accounts, testimonies and confessions with which I was familiar, none had the accuracy of Tauber’s account. I felt that it should be presented in its entirety and in a form as close as possible to the original. I used two translations of the Polish text, one by Mrs Dorota Ryszka and the other by Mr Adam Rutkowski, translations that I have adapted by including my own remarks and references so that the reader, too, can let himself be guided by Henryk Tauber.

Some people may reproach him for his attitude, accuse him of having taken his work as a “stoker” too much to heart, and to have masked the sordid reality of the cremations by speaking in such a technical fashion. For my part, I refuse to level the slightest criticism at this exceptional witness. His neutral tone, free from grandiloquent opprobrium or political references, is at the limit of the bearable and is exactly suited to the historical detatchment necessary for a factual and dispassionate study of the 'murder weapon'.

Henryk Tauber’s deposition enabled me at the last moment to authenticate the testimony of Dr Paul Bendel that I was on the point of invalidating.

Document 1 Document 1

Documents 1 and 2:
PMO photos, neg. nos 21334/64 and /65
Henryk TAUBER in civilian clothes in May or June 1945 at the time of his testimony to the Polish judge Jan Sehn. His face gives us a subjective idea of the value of his testimony. which was for Jan Sehn, a vital element in his research into the crimes perpetrated in the former KL Auschwitz- Birkenau.

Document 2 Document 2

Document 3 Document 3

Documents 3 and 4:
PMO photos neg Nos 21334/123 and /122
Henryk TAUBER in May or June 1945 having put on his old zebra suit over his new civilian clothes for the benefit of the photgraphers. On his chest is his prison number 90142, with the red triangle of the political prisoner surmounted by a yellow bar indicating that he is a Jew. It appears that Tauber probably owed his survival to his very specialized function of “stoker”, which made him too indispensible and precious for the SS to be able to liquidate him before January 1945.

Document 4 Document 4