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Shofar FTP Archive File: camps/auschwitz/deathcamp.03

Newsgroups: alt.revisionism
Subject: Holocaust Almanac: Filip Muller's Testimony (Auschwitz)
Followup-To: alt.revisionism
Organization: The Nizkor Project, Vancouver Island, CANADA
Keywords: Blobel,Muller,Auschwitz

Archive/File: camps/auschwitz deathcamp.03
Last-modified: 1993/03/26

From the testimony of Filip Muller, an Auschwitz survivor, Konnilyn Feig
reports the following account: 

"Filip Muller, a young Slovakian, arrived early in Auschwitz -- April
1942 -- and survived!  He did so, however, because of his forced work
assignment as a stoker in the Auschwitz crematorium and then as a jack-of-
all-trades in the Birkenau extermination plant squad, the Sonderkommando.
His descriptions of the facilities and of the process are the most precise
and chilling accounts we have.  In the antiquated Auschwitz crematorium
the procedure was remindful of the Stone Age.  The stokers dragged the
bodies across the floor to the ovens.  A main rail track ran across the
room, with six branch tracks leading to the six ovens:

     On the main track was a turn-table which enabled a truck to be
     moved onto the branch tracks.  The cast-iron truck had a box-
     shaped superstructure made of sheet metal, with an overall
     height and width of just under 1 metre.  It was about 80
     centimetres long.  An iron hand-rail went right across it's
     entire width at the back.  A loading platform made of strong
     sheet metal and not quite 2 metres long jutted out in the front;
     its side walls were 12 to 15 centimetres high.  Open at the
     front, the platform was not quite as wide as the mouth of the
     oven so that it fitted easily into the muffle.  On the platform
     there was also a box-shaped pusher made of sheet metal, higher
     than the side walls of the platform and rounded off at the top.

The stokers brought a truck to the branch rail, poured water on the
truck to keep it cool, and loaded three corpses on it.

     Now the time had come to open the oven door.  Immediately one
     was overcome by the fierce heat which rushed out.  When the
     wooden prop had been removed, two men took hold of the front end
     of the platform on either side pulling it right up to the oven.
     Simultaneously two men pushed the truck from behind, thus
     forcing the platform into the oven.  The two who had been doing
     the carrying in front, having menwhile stepped back a few steps,
     now braced themselves against the hand-rail while giving the
     pusher a vigorous shove with one leg.  In this way they helped
     complete the job of getting the corpses inside the oven.

While the corpses burned, the stokers stripped the waiting bodies.  At
the most fifty-four bodies could be cremated in one hour.  The continuous
overloading and operation of the ovens caused the inner fire bricks to
crumble.  The staff built a new modern chimney in the summer of 1942.  But
it soon evidenced crumbling; and the extermination process, never very
effective, began to disintegrate.  Himmler soon became dissatisfied.  The
process moved too slowly; the stench contaminated the surrounding
countyside at night; and the red sky over Auschwitz could be seen for

The gassing process generated enormous piles of corpses, and the number
grew daily.  The small crematorium could not cope, so the squads buried
the corpses in mass graves at Birkenau woods.  Although the corpses were
covered with chlorine, lime, and earth, after a few months the inevitable
decomposition began to poison the air, causing an intolerable stench
throughout the entire neighborhood.  Doctors found deadly bacteria in
springs and wells, and predicted serious epidemics.  Experts at the
fisheries began to complain that the fish in the ponds in the vicinity
were dying, which they attributed to the pollution of the ground water
through cadaveric poison.  The bodies, rotting under the summer sun,
swelled up and a brownish red mass began to seep through the cracksto the
surface.  Quick action had to be taken.

  Colonel Blobel arrived from Eichmann's office with Himmler's orders that
all bodies be exhumed and burned and the ashes removed.  Working in two
shifts, the prisoners dug up the 50,000 decaying corpses, took them away
on trucks, and burned them -- first on wooden pyres, 2,000 at a time, and
later in pits.  The fires raged day and night until December 1942 when the
anti-aircraft defence service protested because the fires could be seen
for great distances.  Himmler also found fault with the process because
open-pyre burning could hardly be kept a secret.  therefore the top SS
bureaucracy became awary of the vital need in the future for an efficient
process of final body disposal." (Feig)

[11]Filip Muller, Eyewitness Auschwitz, New York: Stein and Day, 1979, 14-15

                             Work Cited

Feig, Konnilyn. Hitler's Death Camps. LOC D810.J4 F36 1981

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