Newsgroups: alt.revisionism Subject: Holocaust Almanac - Eyewitness Auschwitz: Birkenau's crematoria Summary: Birkenau's new cremation facilities discussed by survivor Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Followup-To: alt.revisionism Organization: The Old Frog's Almanac, Vancouver Island, CANADA Keywords: Auschwitz,Birkenau Archive/File: holocaust/poland/auschwitz muller.008 Last-Modified: 1993/09/20 "In the lunch break I ran across a mate of mine whom I had first met at the beginning of 1943, during his 'training' as a stoker in the old crematorium at Auschwitz. Through a wooden door in the left wing of the building he took me into the coke store. From there we went along a narrow semi-dark corridor, past three doors (one of which led into the Kommandofu"hrers room) into the cremation plant. Five ovens, each with three combustion chambers, were installed here. Outwardly the fifteen arched openings did not significantly differ from those at the Auschwitz crematorium. The one important innovation consisted of two rollers, each with a diameter of 15 centimetres, fixed to the edge of each oven. This made it easier for the metal platform to be pushed inside the oven. The process of cremating corpses was similar to that in Auschwitz. The only way in which this death factory differed from the one in Auschwitz was its size. Its fifteen huge ovens, working non-stop, could cremate more than 3,000 corpses daily. Bearing in mind that scarcely more than 100 metres away there was another crematorium with the same capacity, and still another 400 metres further on the two smaller crematoria 4 and 5, with eight ovens each, one was forced to conclude that civilization had come to an end. And yet, whoever wanted to stay alive had to ignore the detestable reality and the conditions under which he was forced to live, however violently he loathed them. ... Using the lift which brought the corpses up we descended into the basement. The sight of the rooms down there made me shudder. Every detail had been devised with the sole aim of cramming up to 3000 people into one room in order to kill them with poison gas. When we entered the morgue we found lying in a heap some 200 emaciated corpses, all of whom had obviously died of hunger, disease or exhaustion. They had been thrown down the concrete chute from the yard into the mortuary basement. ... We left the mortuary and came to a huge iron-mounted wooden door; it was not locked. We entered a place which was in total darkness. As we switched on the light, the room was lit by bulbs enclosed in a protective wire cage. We were standing in a large oblong room measuring about 250 square metres. Its unusually low ceiling and walls were whitewashed. Down the length of the room concrete pillars supported the ceiling. However, not all the pillars served this purpose: for there were others, too. The Zyclon B gas crystals were inserted through openings into hollow pillars made of sheet metal. They were perforated at regular intervals and inside them a spiral ran from top to bottom in order to ensure as even a distribution of the granular crystals as possible. Mounted on the ceiling was a large number of dummy showers made of metal . These were intended to delude the suspicious on entering the gas chamber into believing that they were in a shower-room. A ventilating plant was installed in the wall; this was switched on immediately after each gassing to disperse the gas and thus to expedite the removal of corpses. At right angles to the gas chamber was the largest room in the extermination complex, the so-called changing room. Measuring over 300 square metres, this underground room could accommodate more than l,000 people. They entered from the yard down wide concrete steps. At the entrance to the basement was a signboard, and written on it in several languages the direction: To the baths and disinfecting rooms. The ceiling of the changing room was supported by concrete pillars to which many more notices were fixed, once again with the aim of making the unsuspecting people believe that the imminent process of disinfection was of vital importance for their health. Slogans like Cleanliness brings freedom or One louse may kill you were intended to hoodwink, as were numbered clothes hooks fixed at a height of 1.50 metres. Along the walls stood wooden benches, creating the impression that they were placed there to make people more comfortable while undressing. There were other multi-lingual notices inviting them to hang up their clothes as well as their shoes, tied together by their laces, and admonishing them to remember the number of their hook so that they might easily retrieve their clothes after their showers. There were further notices on the way from the changing room to the gas chamber, directing people to the baths and disinfecting room. The whole get-up of these subterranean rooms, cunning camouflage and clumsy deception at one and the same time, was horrifying I began to fear that what I had experienced so far was child's play to what awaited me. Every single detail was carefully aimed at allaying the victims' suspicions and calculated to take them quickly and without trouble into the gas chamber. The number of ovens had been increased almost eightfold; the number of prisoners in the Sonderkommando was forty times its former strength. After initial problems had been dealt with, it was now possible in the course of twenty-four hours to cremate up to l0,000 corpses. These were, of course, not modern or technically advanced crematoria. Their operation depended entirely on slave labourers capable of doing very heavy physical work under extreme conditions." (Mu"ller, 59-61) Work Cited Mu"ller, Filip. Eyewitness Auschwitz: Three Years in the Gas Chambers. New York: Stein and Day, 1979
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