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

exact number of Jews of other origin gassed at Auschwitz (except for 70,000 Greek Jews burned in 1943). I think the total number gassed in the two Bunkers and the four Krematorien exceeded 4 million. The American historian Raul Hilberg, one of the rare true specialists of The Destruction of the European Jews (Quadrangle Books, Chicago 1961), estimates, on the basis of the number of trains arriving at Auschwitz, that there were ONE million Jewish victims.]

This figure includes various transports from different European countries, both Jews and Aryans, as well as prisoners registered in the camp and sent for gassing after selection.

The dismantling of the Auschwitz Krematorien began in autumn 1944 [in October for Kr IV and at the end of November for Kr II and III]. The parts were taken to the goods platform and loaded onto trains. Part of the material was left in Auschwitz, where it is still to be found [in 1945] in the place where building materials were stored, known as the “Bauhof” (builder’s yard) in Auschwitz I [about 1 km northwest of the main camp]. The Germans did not succeed in shipping everything, being in such a hurry to flee. To be found there are the trolley I have already described, the components of the ventilation system [of the undressing rooms of Krematorien II and III : PMO neg. nos 893, 894, 895 and 896], the frames of the cremation furnaces of Krematorien IV and V [see Document 47, the doors of these same furnaces [see Document 48], the ash bins [Document 26], fire bars [Document 27], the iron grids from the windows [Document 49]. Despite the context, they are indeed grids for protecting the windows, not grills for roasting corpses out of doors], the fire irons from the furnaces [Document 37], a gas-tight door from a gas chamber [Documents 11,12 and 13], clothes hooks and benches from the undressing rooms [of Krematorien II and III, [Document 10] and other metal and wooden items.

[In fact these parts are from Kr IV, those from V having remained in its ruins, twisted by the explosions that destroyed it at the end of January 1945. In the centre of the shadow of an observer on the right, it is possible to see a dozen or so covers from the upper ventilation holes of the gas chambers of Krematorium [II or III, on which subsequent toxicological analysis was to find traces of cyanides]

With this, the deposition being completed, the hearing was closed.
The witness
Henryk Tauber
Public Prosecutor Edward Pechalski

Examining Judge Jan Sehn

Clerk of the Court Stefania Setmajer
Round stamp of the “Cracow Regional Commission for the investigation of German Crimes”, with in manuscript “Certified a true copy”, signed by Jan Sehn.

In 1985, Henryk Tauber’s deposition brings nothing new regarding the existence of homicidal gas chambers at Birkenau, a historic fact known to all except those who refuse to accept it. The proof of the exceptional validity of his testimony is how well it corresponds with the historical material available now that was not available in May 1945. The main criticism that can be made of his account is the relative weakness of his descriptions of Krematorien IV and V. Just as his accounts of Krematorien II and III are so detailed as to be almost tedious at times, though they are necessary, he becomes almost vague on Krematorien IV and V. But the fault hardly lies with Tauber, who must have been exhausted by the end of his deposition.

It is unfortunate that Judge Jan Sehn did not call him back for a second hearing to deal more specifically with Krematorien IV and V. After a few days' break, many details that escaped him would have returned to his memory. This is a serious omission, because, for example, neither Tauber nor Dragan, both members of the Sonderkommando and “stokers” in Krematorien IV and V describe the way in which the doors of the 8-muffle furnace, which they handled every day, were opened and closed. In so doing, they would have been led to describe the appearance of the furnace, which can now be reconstituted, due the lack of contemporary photographs, only by means of a laborious process of comparison and cross-checking. Obviously the discovery of more Bauleitung photographs showing the internal installations of Krematorien IV and V, or of Topf drawings of these furnaces would make this criticism irrelevant.