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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/k/kremer.johann/kremer.diary-annoted


"September 2, 1942"

"Was present for first time at special action [FN 49] at 3 a.m. In comparison
with it Dante's Inferno seems to be almost a comedy, [FN 50]  Auschwitz is
justly called an extermination camp!"    [There is no mention of "outside" 
here, but  FN-50 offers a very powerful explanation of what happened on that
morning of September 2. -- HWM]

FN-49  "957 Jews from the camp at Francy (France) were brought that day
to KL Auschwitz.  Only 12 men and 27 women out of that number were sent
to the camp, the rest were gassed in gas-chambers." 

FN-50  "Kremer was one of the defendants at the trial of the Auschwitz camp
garrison. The trial took place at the sittings of the Supreme Nationa Tribunal
in Cracow in the time from November 24 till December 22, 1947.  During the
interrogatory Kremer had been repeatedly questioned. It was then that he
proferred detailed information on the subject of the meaning of some of the
entries in his diary.  Excerpts from his explanations are quoted in this publication
under respective dates.  In the official record of the interrogatory of August
18, 1947, Cracow, Kremer stated as follows: 'On September 2, 1942 at 3 a.m.
I was already assigned to take part in the action of gassing people. These mass
murders took place in small cottages situated outside the Birkenau camp in a
wood.  These cottages were called *bunkers*  (_Bunker_) in the SS men's
slang.  All SS surgeons, on duty in the camp, took turns to participate in the
gassings, which were called *Sonderaktion*  (special action -- editor's nore).
My part as a surgeon at the gassing consisted in remaining in readiness near
the bunker. I was brough there in a car. I sat in front with the driver and an
SS hospital orderly (*SDG*) sat in the back of the car with an oxygen 
apparatus to revive SS men, emplotyed at gassing, in case any of them
should succumb to the poisonous fumes. When the transport with people, 
who were destined for gassing, arrived at the railway ramp, the SS officers
selected from among the arrivals persons fit to work and the rest  -- old
people, all children, women with children in arms and other persons not
deemed fir for work -- were loaded upon lorries and driven to the gas-chambers.
I used to follow behind the transport till we reached the bunker. There
people were first driven    to barracks where the victims undressed and
then went naked to the gas-chambers.  Very often no incidents ocurred, as the 
SS men kept people quiet, maintaining that they were to bathe and be deloused.
After driving all of them into the gas-chamber the door was closed and 
an SS man in a gas mask threw the contents of a Cyclon tin through an
opening in the side wall.  Shouting and screaming of the victims could be
heard through that opening and it was clear that they fought for their
lives (*Lebenskampf*).  These shouts were heard for a very short time.
I should say for some minutes but I am unable to give the exact span of

There are many excerpts from the Cracow Trial in this book on precisely
Kremer's explanations regarding the rather succint entries in his diary. I will be happy to search out more if you wish.


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