The Holocaust Historiography Project
Auschwitz, by J.-C. Pressac
Sundry letters, notes and telegrams exchanged between the Auschwitz Bauleitung, the Camp Commandant, the WVHA-SS in Berlin and Messrs Topf & Sons of Erfurt on the subject of Krematorien II and III. Pages 1-5: Josef Kluge timesheets for work on Krematorium III.
Pages 6-11: Robert Koehler timesheets for the relining of the Krematorium II chimney. Before 1980 it was this file that contained most of the incriminating evidence against the SS regarding the installation of homicidal gas chambers in Krematorien II and III ["Vergasungskeller / Gassing cellar” “Gasdichte Tür / Gas-tight door,” etc.]. Additional proof is now available from other sources.
BW 30/34A: [For memory. File containing 14 blueprints of Bauleitung and Huta drawings of the Birkenau Krematorien made after the war for the Soviet and Polish Commissions]
BW 30/35: 103 pages.
Book of Bauleitung orders to the materials administration concerning the four Krematorien. Covers the period from 12th October 1942 (Order No. 9613) to 13th January 1943 (Order No. 9699).
BW 30/36: [Microfilm 1673] 105 pages.
Timesheets for work done by Huta on Krematorien III, IV and V and by Industrie-Bau AG of Bielitz on Krematorium IV.
The first two Huta reports (pages 1 and 2) are separate. They are dated 5th and 6th October 1942 and concern Krematorium II, making it possible to estimate when construction work started.
The other Huta timesheets concern:
25th January to 27th February: Krematorium III;
22nd March to 30th April: Krematorium V;
3rd to 8th May: Krematorium IV.
The Industrie-Bau timesheets, dated 4th January to 8th March 1943, concern BW 30b, Krematorium IV.
BW 30/37: [Microfilm 15871 115 pages.
Huta timesheets for work on the shell of Krematorium II, dated from 17th November 1942 to 7th January 1943, concerning the construction of Leichenkeller 1 and 2 and showing the number of men employed and the hours worked per day.
BW 30/38: 81 pages
Huta timesheets for work on Krematorien II, IV and V; Riedel & Son and Robert Koehler timesheets for work on Krematorien IV and V.
Pages 1-21: Huta work on Krematorien III and IV from 9th November 1942 to 7th January 1943. Also Koehler timesheets for the construction of chimneys, confirming the use of prison labor by this firm.
Pages 22-42: Huta work on Krematorium 11 from 8th January to 21st February 1943.
Pages 43-81 comprise the “green ink” manuscript recording the work done by Riedel & Son and Robert Koehler (chimneys) on Krematorien IV and V from 23rd January to 10th April 1943.
This manuscript corresponds exactly with and uses the same terms as file B W 30 / 28,but is not a slavish copy.
Reference is made on 28th February to “Gassdichienfenster / Gas-tight shutter” and on 2nd March 1943 to “Gasskammer / Gas chamber” in Krematorium IV.
BW 30/39: 75 pages
Timesheets for drainage work done by Messrs Karl Falck of Gleiwitz for Krematorien II, III and IV. The order for the work to be done on Krematorium II was signed by the Bauleitung on 27th August 1942 (page 68). Work on the three Krematorien proceeded as follows:
9th to 19th November 1942 and 13th January to 31st March 1943: work on Krematorium II:
1st April to 13th May 1943: Krematorium III; 26th to 31st May 1943: Krematorium IV.
BW 30/40: 64 pages
Huta static calculations for Krematorien II, III and IV.
These calculations were made between 29th August and 23rd December 1942 for Krematorium II (and III) and for Krematorium IV, with supplementary calculations for the roof and chimneys.
BW 30/41: 52 pages
Timesheets filled in on a weekly basis by the Topf & Sons foremen working on Krematorien II and III. Four Topf employees worked on the construction of the furnaces and the installation of the ventilation systems: Martin Holick, Willi (Wilhelm?) Koch, Messing and Seyffarth.
From 7th September 1942, Martin Holick and Willi Koch worked on the foundations and underfloor flues of the five 3-muffle furnaces of Krematorium II. Holick finished on 13th October and Koch continued until 22nd November.
From 4th January to 11th June 1943, Messing worked on fitting the furnace blowers and motors, the forced draught installation in the chimney of Krematorium II, the ventilation systems of the different rooms in the two buildings, and their corpse lifts.
From 1st to 14th February 1943, Seyffarth worked on the furnace foundations and underfloor flues of Krematorium III.
Messing’s “diary” formally proves that Messrs Topf were wittingly involved in converting the Leichenkelter 1 of Krematorien II and III into homicidal gas chambers.
Furthermore, as from mid-March 1943, Messing referred to the Leichenkcller 2 of these two Krematorien as “Auskleidekeller / undressing cellars”.
BW 30/42: 2 pages
Letter of 28th June 1943 from the Auschwitz Bauleitung to the WVHA-SS in Berlin concerning the cremation capacity of the five Krematorien at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Photocopy transmitted on 15th May 1981 to the Curator of the Auschwitz Museum by the Committee of Anti-Fascist Resistants of the German Democratic Republic.
Except for Krematorium 1, the figures given are entirely theoretical, obtained by calculation, then increased by about one third.
BW 30/43: 34 pages
Documents communicated by the Moscow Prosecutor to the Warsaw Central Commission for the investigation of Hitlerian crimes in Poland for the trial of the “Krematorium architects”, Walter Dejaco and Fritz Ertl, held in Vienna at the beginning of 1972.
This file contains essentially the handover documents for Krematorien II, III and IV. with the inventory drawings of Krematorien II and IV in annex.
Conserved in the “October Revolution” Central State Archives in Moscow, these documents confirm the conversion of the underground morgues into gas chambers and prove that there was a homicidal gas chamber in Leichenkeller I of Krematorium III.
In fact, the Moscow Prosecutor communicated about sixty documents to Warsaw, those not being handed onto the Auschwitz Museum being concerned with the organization of the Auschwitz Bauleitung, giving the names and functions of those in responsible positions.
[56 of these documents were supplied to the author by the Warsaw Central Commission under the reference II 839].
BW 30/44: [Microfilm 1612]
26 pages Patent for a “continuous corpse cremation furnace” applied for on 4th November 1942 by Fritz Sander, a Topf engineer, and a patent for “air-cooled grate plates for mechanical grate firing” applied for on 16th November 1942.
These documents were received by the Auschwitz Museum on 17th January 1985 and came from the Justice Ministry in Bonn.
The patent applications have nothing to do with the Birkenau Krematorien but are very relevant to a study of the firm of Topf & Sons of Erfurt.
BW 30/45: 37 pages
Documents concerning Messrs Topf & Sons of Erfurt, and the head of their Krematorium Division, the engineer Kurt Prüfer. Conserved in the Weimar State Archives (GDR).
BW 30/46: [Microfilm 1674] 23 pages
More documents concerning Messrs Topf & Sons of Erfurt.
Only part of these come from the Weimar State Archives.
There are some pages from the personal file of Kurt Prüfer, two Bauleitung letters concerning him (of 29th January and 12th February 1943, from file BW 30/34), the first patent application by Fritz Sander (of 26th October 1942) for a continuous corpse cremation furnace [cf BW 30/44] and extracts from the Topf balance sheet as at 31st December 1941 drawn up by the accountant Dr Zerban of Erfurt.