The "Gas Chamber" in Auschwitz I is a fake for tourists
Holocaust Deniers Say:
Auschwitz Museum officials have confirmed that the alleged gas chamber in Auschwitz I (the Main Camp) is a fake
Holocaust deniers argue:
- In January 1995, L'Express, a French news magazine, marked the fiftieth anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau with an article about preservation challenges at both Auschwitz I (now the Museum) and Birkenau.1
- Eric Conan, the author, noted that the current crematorium building in Auschwitz I (the Main Camp) had been restored after the war to the appearance it had had when it was used as a gas chamber in 1941/1942.
- David Irving hailed the article as a breakthrough, adding ". . . L'Express has admitted that the gas chamber shown to tourists at Auschwitz is a fake—built by the Polish Communists three years after the War."2
Crema/Gas Chamber 1 During the War:
- Originally Crema 1 was equipped with three ovens with a morgue room behind them. In late 1941 the morgue room in Crema 1 was sealed up, five holes were punched in the roof and capped with small chimneys through which the Zyklon-B was dropped, a large fan was installed, and the doors were made gas tight.3
- On February 15, 1942, the first transport of Jews from Upper Silesia was gassed in Crema 1. The gas chamber had been in use since the fall of 1941 when it was used to murder Soviet prisoners-of-war. The gassings continued until the fall of 1942 when the murder operation was moved out to Birkenau.4
- When the building was transformed into an air raid shelter in 1944, the ovens were dismantled and the holes in the ceiling were filled in. The rooms were subdivided with strong walls to support the ceiling and contain the effects of a direct hit by a bomb.
Crema I After the War
- After the war, when the Main Camp was turned into a museum, the authorities felt that a crematorium was required at the end of the memorial journey for visitors. Since the four cremas/gas chambers where most of the mass murder of the Jews took place lay in Birkenau two miles away, they couldn't be used for that purpose.
- Crema 1 was restored using eyewitness testimony and blueprints dated September 25, 1941 to speak for the history of all the cremas/gas chambers at Birkenau.5
- The chimney, the gas chamber room, the doors, and four of the openings in the roof which had been used to pour in the Zyklon-B were restored. Two of the three ovens were rebuilt. The ovens were not hooked up to the chimney as it was not an operating facility.6
Crema 1 Was a Gas Chamber Say Nazis, Survivors and Historians:
- Pery Broad, who was a member of the camp Gestapo, was captured by the British after the war. Broad wrote a detailed report on Auschwitz in which he described the first gassing in the Main Camp.
- Broad detailed how Jews from one transport were herded into the former morgue room where they expected to get showers: ". . . the covers had been removed from the six holes in the ceiling . . . With a chisel and hammer they [the SS] opened a few innocuous looking tins . . . [they] were filled to the brim with blue granules the size of peas. Immediately after opening the tins they were thrown into the holes which were quickly covered." 7
- Hans Stark, also a member of the camp Gestapo, gave evidence at the Auschwitz trial in Frankfurt in 1963. He testified that gassings were carried out "in a room in the small crematorium which had been prepared for this purpose."
- Stark recalled that the roof above the gas chamber room was flat with openings through which "Zyklon B in granular form" was poured. On at least one occasion Stark himself poured the Zyklon-B in the holes. Stark recalled after the war that the Zyklon-B, "trickled down over the people as it was being poured in. They then started to cry out terribly for they now knew what was happening to them . . . After a few minutes there was silence. After some time had passed, it may have been ten or fifteen minutes, the gas-chamber was opened. The dead lay higgledy-piggledy all over the place. It was a dreadful sight." 8
- Filip Müller, a Slovak Jew who arrived in Auschwitz in April 1942, was put to work as an oven stoker in Crema 1. Müller's job was to drag the corpses from the morgue-turned-gas chamber to the ovens and sort and remove valuables from the abandoned clothing. Later, he was transferred to Birkenau to work in the crematoria and burning pits there.
- Müller gave a detailed description of the process of murder in both the Main Camp and Birkenau. He recalled one such gassing in Crema 1: "When the last one had crossed the threshold, two SS leaders slammed shut the heavy iron-studded door which was fitted with a rubber seal, and bolted it . . . the Unterfü;hrers on duty had gone onto the crematorium roof . . . They removed the covers from the six camouflaged openings. There, protected by gas-masks, they poured the green-blue crystals of the deadly gas into the gas chamber." 9
- Finally, a rigorously conducted and authorized forensic study of the gas chambers done in 2000 unearthed a photograph of the roof of Crema I that clearly shows five holes in the roof which had been resealed after the building was abandoned as a gas chamber and turned into an air raid shelter in late 1944.10
- Adam Zlobnicki recalls the restoration of the holes in the roof: "Those who reconstructed them had an easy task because the erstwhile introduction holes and had distinct traces . . . Thus, they constructed in the same places again the openings for the little chimneys." 11 The fifth hole was not reopened.
Crema 1 in Auschwitz I (the Main Camp) is not a "fake" but a restored space meant to be a memorial and symbolic representation of all the gas chambers and crematoria in the Auschwitz complex.
1. Eric Conan, "Auschwitz: La mémoire du mal," L'Express, 19 janvier 1995 at www.fpp.co.uk/Auschwitz/docs/Conan.html. See also Robert Jan van Pelt, The Case for Auschwitz: Evidence from the Irving Trial (Indiana University Press, 2002): pp. 57, 58 and Robert Jan van Pelt, Expert Witness Report for the 2000 trial: pp. 679-682 at www.hdot.org ("Evidence.")
2. David Irving, "L'Express: 'Tout y est faux"—Everything About it is Fake. French Make a Clean Breast: Admit Forty-seven Year Auschwitz 'Gas chamber' Fraud," Action Report #9, May 1995. See also van Pelt, The Case for Auschwitz pp. 58 and van Pelt, Expert Witness Report: pp. 682, 683.
4. Robert Jan van Pelt, "A Site in Search of a Mission," in Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death Camp: p. 145; Danuta Czech, Auschwitz Chronicle 1939-1945 (Henry Holt, 1989): p. 135.
5. Deborah Dwork and Robert Jan van Pelt, Auschwitz: 1270 to the Present (W.W. Norton, 1994): pp. 363, 364.
6. van Pelt, The Case for Auschwitz: p. 58.
7. Ibid., pp. 224-226; KL Auschwitz Seen by the SS (Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, 1995): p. 130.
8. van Pelt, Expert Witness Report for 2000 trial: pp. 514, 515.
9. Filip Müller, Eyewitness Auschwitz: Three Years in the Gas Chamber (Ivan R. Dee, 1979): p. 38
10. Daniel Keren, Jamie McCarthy, and Harry W. Mazal, "The Ruins of the Gas Chambers: A Forensic Investigation of Crematoriums at Auschwitz I and Auschwitz-Birkenau," Holocaust and Genocide Studies, 18(1), Spring 2004: pp. 68-103. For the discussion on Crema 1 see pp. 97-99 and photographs in center section.
11. Ibid., p. 98.