The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: camps/auschwitz/

Report entitled "Resettlement of Jews" written by SS-Sturmbannfuehrer
Gricksch for SS-Col. von Herff and Reichsfuehrer-SS Himmler, after
inspection of Auschwitz camp on 14-16 May 1943.
[Fleming, p. 142]
The Auschwitz camp plays a special role in the resolution of the
Jewish question. The most advance methods permit the execution of
the Fuehrer-order in the shortest possible time and without arousing
much attention. The so-called "resettlement action" runs the following
course: The Jews arrive in special trains (freight cars) toward evening
and are driven on special tracks to areas of the camp specifically set
aside for this purpose. There the Jews are unloaded and examined for
their fitness to work by a team of doctors, in the presence of the camp
commandant and several SS officers. At this point anyone who can somehow
be incorporated into the work program is put in a special camp. The
curably ill are sent straight to a medical camp and are restored to
health through a special diet. The basic principle behind everything
is: conserve all manpower for work. The previous type of "resettlement
action" has been thoroughly rejected, since it is too costly to destroy
precious work energy on a continual basis.

The unfit go to cellars in a large house which are entered
from outside.  They go down five or six steps into a fairly long,
well-constructed and well-ventilated cellar area, which is lined
with benches to the left and right. It is brightly lit, and
the benches are numbered.  The prisoners are told that they are to
be cleansed and disinfected for their new assignments.  They must
therefore completely undress to be bathed. To avoid panic and to
prevent disturbances of any kind, they are instructed to arrange
their clothing neatly under their respective numbers, so that they
will be able to find their things again after their bath.
Everything proceeds in a perfectly orderly fashion.  Then they
pass through a small corridor and enter a large cellar room which
resembles a shower bath.  In this room are three large pillars,
into which certain materials can be lowered from outside the cellar
room. When three- to four-hundred people have been herded into this
room, the doors are shut, and containers filled with the substances
are dropped down into the pillars.  As soon as the containers touch
the base of the pillars, they release particular substances that put
the people to sleep in one minute. A few minutes later, the door opens
on the other side, where the elevator is located. The hair of the
corpses is cut off, and their teeth are extracted (gold-filled
teeth) by specialists (Jews). It has been discovered that Jews
were hiding pieces of Jewelry, gold, platinum etc., in hollow
teeth. Then the corpses are loaded into elevators and brought up to
the first floor, where ten large crematoria are located. (Because
fresh corpses burn particularly well, only 50-100 lbs. of coke are
needed for the whole process.)  The job itself is performed by Jewish
prisoners, who never step outside this camp again.

The results of this "resettlement action" to date: 500,000 Jews.
Current capacity of the "resettlement action" ovens: 10,000 in
24 hours.

Letter from SS-Obersturmbannfuherer Rodl to the inspector of
concentration camps, SS-Obersturmbannfuehrer Liebehenschel, 14
November 1941
[Fleming, p. 99]
The Commandant's office has submitted to date two lists recommending
the conferment of the Kreigverdienstkreuz [war service cross]. In
both of these appear SS personnel who participated in executions. We
herewith request confirmation as to whether these names should be
listed once again in the roll currently under preparation. Further
requested is information as to whether in the recommendation lists
under "reasons and comments of immediate superior" there should be
specified "execution, i.e., special action" or whether a general,
routine reason should be given.

Letter from Bischoff, head of construction management at Auschwitz, to
the SS economic and administrative head office in Berlin, regarding
construction at Auschwitz, 13 October 1942
[Pressac, p. 198]
As regards the construction of the new crematorium building, it was
necessary to start immediately in July 1942 because of the situation
caused by the special actions.

Letter from SS-Sturmbannfuehrer Bischoff, of the Auschwitz construction
department, to SS General Kammler, January 29, 1943
[REIT, p. 158]
Crematorium No. 2. The completed furnaces have been started up in
the presence of Engineer Prufer from Messers. Topf (of Erfurt). The
planks cannot yet be moved from the ceiling of the mortuary cellar
on account of frost, but this is not important, as the gassing
cellar can be used for that purpose. The ventilation plant has
been held up by restrictions on rail transport, but the installation
should be ready by February 20th.

Letter from SS-Sturmbannfuehrer Jahrling to SS-General Kammler
estimating the number of corpses that can be disposed off in 24 hours
in the Auschwitz crematoriums, June 20 1943
[Pressac, p. 247]
1.) Crematorium I
  3 x 2 muffles             340 persons

2.) Crematorium II
  5 x 3 muffles             1440 persons

3.) Crematorium III
  5 x 3 muffles             1440 persons

4.) Crematorium IV
  8 muffles                  768 persons

5.) Crematorium V
  8 muffles                  768 persons

Letter from SS-Sturmbannfuehrer Jahrling to Topf & Sons, March 6 1943
[Pressac, p. 221]
Subject: KL Auschwitz Krematorien II and III

In accordance with your suggestion, the service agrees that cellar 1
should be preheated with the air coming from the rooms of the 3
forced draught installations. The supply and installation of the
ductwork and blowers necessary to this end are to be effected as soon
as possible. As you point out in your above-mentiond letter,
execution should commence this week. We would ask you to send in
triplicate detailed quote for supply and installation.

At the same time, we would ask you to send an additional quotation
for the modification of the air-extraction installation in the
undressing room.

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