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Shofar FTP Archive File: camps/auschwitz/documents/pressac/bau-0932-commentary

Pressac, Jean-Claude.  _Auschwitz:  Technique and operation of the gas
chambers._  The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation, New York, 1989.
pp. 284-286:


The first drawing, 932(p) (Polish) comes from the PMO Archives, BW
30/01, neg. nos. 17079 and 20818/3 [this is the image available at

The second drawing, 932(r) (Russian) comes from the "October Revolution"
Central State Archives in Moscow.

Krematorium (Birkenau Krematorium II, BW 30), scale 1:100
Entwurf fuer das Krematorium / Project for the Krematorium
Schnitte / Cross-sections
GrundriB vom UntergeschoB / Basement plan
Drawn on 23/1/42 by SS Sergeant Ulmer,
checked on 28/1/42 by SS Second Lieutenant Dejaco and
approved on 28/1/42 by SS Captain Bischoff.

(The date 7/7/42 followed by unknown initials above the identification block
on 932(p) would appear to be of civilian origin (the Huta civil engineering
firm perhaps))

   Translation of inscriptions:
   (from left to right and top to bottom)
   [Inscriptions visible in bau-0932-detail.jpg are marked with "+";
   those cropped out of that image are marked with "-" -Nizkor]
   + Betonboden / concrete floor
   + Siphon / Siphon
   - Pfeilerfundamente / Pillar foundation
   - Isolierung / Damp-proofing
   - Absetzgrube / drainage ditch
   + 13 Steigungen / 13 steps
   - Zum Kanal / To sewer
   - Entlueftungskanal / air extraction duct
   + Rutsche / (Corpse) chute
   + Aufzug / Corpse lift
   - Entlueftungsschacht / Air extraction shaft
   - Entlueftungskanal / air extraction duct
   - Nicht unterkellert / Without basement
   - Nach stat. Berechnung / According to static calculations
   - Schornstein / Chimney
   - Rauchkanal / (Underfloor) smoke flue
   - Ofenfundamente / Furnace foundations
   - Kontrollschacht / Inspection manhole
   - Klaergrube / Cesspit

Drawing 932 is now the best known of all the Krematorium II drawings.
Widely published by both the traditional historians (Georges Wellers)
and the revisionists (Robert Faurisson), it is presented as evidence of
counterevidence, depending on the thesis supported, without any valid
comment or serious study.  In fact, drawing 932 contains no "criminal
traces" indicating the final purpose of Krematorium II, whose apparent
"normality" here would seem to support the revisionist argument.

Drawing 932 is made up of three parts:

   - in the centre, the foundations, with no basements, of the
     furnace room and the north wing containing the waste incinerator;
   - on the right (east), the foundations, with no basements, of the
     fuel store and other anciliary [sic -Nizkor] rooms;
   - on the left (west), the basement or "cellar" part of the
     Krematorium, with the corpse chute serving the three underground
     morgues originally planned.

The date of 23/1/42 is that of the original version, but cannot be
accepted for this version, for the semi-basements, Leichenkeller 1 and 2,
as shown here could not be built on the site in the main camp for
lack of space.

This drawing is therefore most probably a _second version_ of the
basement area of the planned Krematorium, redrawn to suit the new site
in Birkenau, no doubt in April 1942.  The only differences between this
and the original version of January 1942 drawn for the main camp would be:

   1. An increase in the area of the two Leichenkeller orignially
      [sic -Nizkor] planned (letter of 22nd October 1941, no. 715?/41
      Ho), explicable by the camp originally planned for 10-30,000
      prisoners being increased to take a planned 100-150,000 or even
   2. Leichenkeller 1 and 2 now planned as semi-basements instead of
      full basements, because of the high water table in Birkenau;
   3. creation of a third underground morgue, Leichenkeller 3.

The numbering of the three Leichenkeller, 1, 2, and 3 is not explained
in any known German document.  Judging by their arrangement around their
source of supply, the corpse chute, and the ventilation shown on
drawing 932, it is reasonable to suppose that:

   a) Leichenkeller 3 was to be the reception morgue, where the
      prison numbers of the corpses would be recorded;
   b) Leichenkeller 2 was to be temporary storage for newly arrived
      and recorded corpses awaiting cremation (delay of 3 or 4 days);
   c) Leichenkeller 1 was to take corpses several days old, beginning
      to decompose and thus requiring the room to be well-ventilated,
      to be incinerated as soon as possible.

There is nothing on this drawing that indicates the future "special"
use of this Krematorium.  Quite the contrary, it looks a perfectly
"normal," though very high capacity, incineration facility.  The arguments
against Krematorium II having been planned from the outset as an instrument
of extermination are as follows:

   1. No access stairway from the exterior to the future undressing
      room (Leichenkeller 2) (this absence is particularly visible on
      932(r), where the Soviets have tried to rectify the defect by
      adding some steps in the centre of the west wall, which is
      incorrect, the actual location being more to the north).  What
      is more, the Krematorium was actually built _without_ this
      stairway (photos neg. nos 286 and 20995/493 for Krematorium
      III) which was added later;
   2. The direction in which the double doors of the three
      Leichenkeller opened is shown as being from the outside
      (corridor and vestibule) to the inside (see sketch).  If large
      numbers of people were gasseed in Leichenkeller 1 with such an
      arrangement it would have been virtually impossible to open the
      doors, which would be blocked by corpses;
   3. A single door is easier to make gas tight than a double door
      like that planned for Leichenkeller 1;
   4. The drains of Leichenkeller 1, being connected to the others in
      the western part of the building, run directly into the common
      sewer (Absetzgrube), so that if gas were used in Leichenkeller
      1, there would be a chance of toxic gas penetrating rooms on
      the ground floor (see drawing 932(r), where the trace of the
      frains of Leichenkeller 1 is underlined in blue);
   5. The ventilation and air extraction system of Leichenkeller 1
      was designed for a morgue, not a gas chamber, though in the end
      it was used without modification;
   6. The central location of the corpse chute, with the bottom end
      advancing well into the vestibule between the three
      Leichenkeller would be in the way of people going from the
      undressing room (Leichenkeller 2) to the gas chamber
      (Leichenkeller 1).

The following modifications were made to adapt the Leichenkeller of
Krematorium II to suit the new role of "special treatment":

   1. An access stairway from the exterior to the undressing room
      (Leichenkeller 2) was built.  In the meantime a hut erected in
      the Krematorium yard was used as a temporary undressing room in
      the second half of March 1943;
   2. The direction in which the double door of Leichenkeller 1
      opened was reversed (Drawing 2003 of 19/12/42, drawn by
   3. This double door was subsequently reduced to a single,
      _gas-tight_ door;
   4. The drainage system of Leichenkeller 1 was separated from the
      other drains in the west of the building and run direct to a
      sewer outside the building (drainage drawing, 1300, of
   5. The efficiency of the Leichenkeller 1 ventilation system was
      tested after introducing Zyclon-B in March 1943;
   6. A wooden wall was built in front of the corpse chute, which
      caused problems with passage from Leichenkeller 2 to
      Leichenkeller 1 (order 204 of 18/3/43 for Krematorium II, sent
      to the DAW workshops);
   7. 4 heavy wire mesh columns with lidded chimneys above the roof
      for pouring Zyclon-B were installed in Leichenkeller 1 (PMO
      file BW 30/43, page 12);
   8. 24 wooden dummy showers were installed in the ceiling of
      Leichenkeller 1 (PMO file BW 30/43, page 24 for the Krematorium
   9. The 3 water taps in Leichenkeller 1 were removed (drawing
   10. Benches with clothes hooks on the wall above them were
       installed in Leichenkeller 2;
   11. The area of Leichenkeller 3 was reduced (drawing 1311 of
       14/5/42) then this morgue was eliminated altogether, having no
       use in the criminal context of Krematorium II (drawing 2003 of

for more on drawing 2003. -Nizkor]

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