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

But I still wanted to see everything. The plan of Krematorium IV [drawing 2036 of 11/1 /43, correction sheet to 1678] arrived before me. Again I felt slight doubts about the logical sequence of operations [justified doubts, for Krematorien IV and V underwent so many modifications that their functioning became an “industrial” farce]. I called Iwaszko, who reassured me. Rapidly. And being too much of a neophyte to stand up to a “specialist” [for that is what he was in my eyes]. I accepted his explanation. Meekly enough, but still with inner reservations about the destructive capacity of the four installations.

[Which is perfectly acceptable as far as the curator of the Museum, Kasimierz Smolen is concerned, or so he told me later, provided, of course, that proof can be produced. On the other hand, the existence of the gas chambers cannot be called into question. I listened to this and said nothing. Despite this dangerous lack of psychology, no doubt involuntary on the part of a former prisoner, my opinion came to be established otherwise, freely, partly thanks to the understanding of Tadeusz Iwaszko who, during my later visits, refused me nothing, acceding to my requests whether they were justified or not].

The number of victims destroyed by the “mills” of Auschwitz, originally stated to be 4 million, is now considered to be between 1 and 1.5 million.

[Raul Hilberg, Professor in the Political Science Department of the University of Vermont, calculated the number of Jews sent to Auschwitz from the number of trains heading there, cross-checking with the count of the number of wagons arriving as recorded by the resistance organizations. The number of Jews arriving amounted to between 1.05 and 1.1 million. Georges Welters, in his study published in Le Monde Juif No. 112 (1983) entitled Essai de détermination du nombre de morts du camp d'Auschwitz arrives at a total of 1,471,595 dead, of whom 1,334,000 gassed. For my part, I obtained a result close to Hilberg’s using a subjective method based on a comparison between the claimed and actual throughputs of the Krematorium furnaces and the statements of witnesses again compared with factual evidence.]

Since I was getting on good terms with Tadeuszko Iwaszko, I suggested that excavations in the area of Leichenkeller 1 of Krematorien II and III should solve some of the problems. He replied that now they would be of no value because, whatever the result, the Poles would be accused of having had 35 years to “arrange” the site. I went on to ask: “Why not publish all the drawings of the Krematorien without superfluous comment?” Sceptical and evasive answer.

[In November 1979, this idea did not appeal to Iwaszko. But later on, he and Smolen encouraged me to do so: “Do it yourself and in a neutral spirit.” It was in last exactly the same idea that was put forward at the same time by Faurisson, but for a different reason, that of gathering a maximum of information to support his nihilist thesis]

The exchange of confidences continued. Iwaszko told me about one of my compatriots who had preceded me by a few years [early March 1976].

Photo 13
Photo 13:
Enlargement (3×) of Krematorien II and III, part of an overall plan of Birkenau, extract from the Soviet film Chronicles of the liberation of the camp, 1945
Photo 14
Photo 14:
(Photo by the author)
Part view, looking north-south of the “Rutsche” or corpse chute in the ruins of Krematorium III
Photo 15
Photo 15:
(Photograph and inscription by the author)

Translation of inscriptions:

  • Leichenkeller 1 (chambre à gaz) / [gas chamber]
  • Salle des fours / Furnace room
  • Emplacement de la glissoire / Location of the corpse chute
  • Monte-charge / Corpse lift
  • Leichenkeller 2 / [undressing room]
  • Escalier d'accès / Access stairway
  • Plafond de la salle des fours / Furnace room roof