the Gas Chambers ©
|Document E |
|over the victims. 3kg [1 kg per opening] were required to kill the 500
to 700 people that the morgue could hold. It would appear that one or two
extractor fans were installed in the ceiling [according to the testimonies
of Fajnzylberg, Müller and Broad]. |
The first experimental gassing took place on
3rd September 1941. using Zyklon B in the basement of Block 11, the
openings of which had been crudely sealed with earth. The victims were 250
sick prisoners and 600 Russians. The next day, an SS man wearing a gas
mask went to see the results and saw that some of the guinea pigs were
still alive. More Zyklon B was introduced. On the evening of the 5th
nobody moved any more. The corpses were then transported by a group of
prisoners to Krematorium I to be incinerated. Shortly afterwards 900
Russian prisoners according to former camp Kommandant Hoess [in fact
between 500 and 700], were gassed directly in the morgue of Krematorium I,
which avoided the need to transport the bodies. Then, in January 1942,
operations began at Birkenau Bunker 1, which had two small gas chambers
for the extermination of Jews.
During the gassings, a certain area
around Krematorium I was sealed off. Furthermore, it was forbidden to look
at the roof of the Krematorium which was visible from the windows of the
SS hospital located on the first floor of the building nearest to the
Krematorium, separated from it only by the “Kasernenstrasse”. The
Krematorium forecourt was closed off and served as an undressing place for
the victims who were then pushed into the morgue. The two gas tight doors
were closed and Zyklon B was injected through three openings in the roof.
Outside, a truck kept its engine running during the whole operation to
drown the cries.
It is not known how many deaths were caused by
this gas chamber, which was used only occasionally and not continuously.
The number is probably not more than 10,000.
functioned as a cremation installation from November 1940 to July 1943.
Its gas chamber was used sporadically from the end of 1941 to 1942, but
precise dates are not known. The installation was abandoned in 1943, its
three furnaces dismantled and the chimney demolished.
Conversion to an air raid shelter
the American bombing (the first raids on the IG Farben Buna factory at
Monowitz and on Auschwitz I were on 13th September 1944), the “old”
Krematorium, unused since the construction of the four “new” Krematorien
at Birkenau, was converted into an air raid shelter for the patients of
the SS hospital. Two similar Auschwitz Bauleitung drawings of 21st
September 1944 [4287a and b] show the interior arrangement designated
Bauwerk 14. The modifications concerned only the entrance vestibule. the
laying out room, the washing room and the morgue. This last was divided
into four rooms.
of the gas chambers
© 1989, The
Beate Klarsfeld Foundation