Holocaust Denial on Trial, Trial Judgment: Electronic Edition, by Charles Gray

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Evidence gathered by the investigation under the aegis of the Soviet State Extraordinary Commission

7.18 The early reports referred to above tallied with the findings of a joint Polish-Soviet commission set up to investigate events at Majdanek, another extermination camp at Lublin in the General Government which had fallen into Russian hands in July 1944. Auschwitz itself was liberated on 27th January 1945 by the advancing Russian army. The Russians found a total of 7,500 inmates. Some 60,000 inmates had been forced to march west a week earlier. Large quantities of shoes, suits, clothes, toothbrushes, glasses, false teeth, hair and other personal effects were found in storage barracks.
7.19 A Soviet State Extraordinary Commission was set up to investigate what had occurred at the camp. On 6 May 1945 it issued its findings. It concluded, on the basis of evidence from inmates, Nazi documents found at the camp and an inspection of the remains of the crematoria, that more than four million people had been annihilated at the camp. The Commission concluded that gas chambers had been used to kill people at the camp and their remains had been incinerated in crematoria. The Commission also reported that the zinc covers used in connection with the ventilation system had been tested in a forensic laboratory. Hydrocyanide was found to be present.
 
7.20 Although the archive of the camp Kommandantur had been destroyed by the Nazis, the archive of the Central Construction Office survived, apparently by an oversight, and was recovered by the Russians. Basing himself on the blueprints for the construction and adaptation of the crematoria and morgues and on visits made to the site, a Polish specialist in combustion technology named Davidowski compiled a report on the technology of mass extermination employed at Auschwitz. He noted that terms such as Spezialeinrichtungen (special installations) were used in the documents to describe the crematoria and that there was a reference to a Vergasungskeller (gassing cellar).
7.21 In his evidence van Pelt did, however, concede that the evidential value of the Russian report is limited.
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