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The Holocaust History Project.
The Holocaust History Project.

The Ruins of the Gas Chambers: A Forensic Investigation of Crematoriums at Auschwitz I and Auschwitz-Birkenau

Daniel Keren, Jamie McCarthy, and Harry W. Mazal


  1. The "logic" suggests that if there were no holes, then the structures were not gas chambers; if the structures were not gas chambers, then Auschwitz was not used as an extermination camp; if Auschwitz was not used as an extermination camp then the Holocaust did not happen. See Robert Jan van Pelt, The Case for Auschwitz: Evidence from the Irving Trial (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2002), pp. 3ff., 24ff., and 458ff.

  2. The Holocaust History Project http://www.holocaust-history.org is a volunteer-based organization dedicated to making available documents and other materials related to the history of the Holocaust.

  3. Much basic information about the camp can be found in Yisrael Gutman and Michael Berenbaum, eds., Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death Camp (Bloomington: Indiana University Press in association with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 1994).

  4. Gideon Greif, We Wept Without Tears (in Hebrew) (Jerusalem; Tel Aviv: Yad Vashem; Sifre hemed, 1999 and Wir weinten tränenlos (Frankfurt: Fischer Taschenbuch, 1999); Jean-Claude Pressac, Auschwitz: Technique and Operation of the Gas Chambers (New York: The Beate Klarsfield Foundation, 1989); van Pelt, op. cit.; Jan Markiewicz, Wojciech Gubala, and Jerzy Labedz, A Study of the Cyanide Compounds Content in the Walls of the Gas Chambers in the Former Auschwitz and Birkenau Concentration Camps (reproduced with permission of the Institute of Forensic Research in Cracow (originally Z Zagadnien Sqdowych z. XXX [1994], pp. 17-27) in http://www.holocaust-history.org/auschwitz/chemistry/iffr/report.shtml, with introduction by Dr. Richard J. Green .

  5. Gerald Fleming. Hitler and the Final Solution (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984), pp. 187-88.

  6. Pressac, p. 232.

  7. Divided into two shifts of 110 and working around the clock. Labor deployment reports quoted in Danuta Czech's Auschwitz Chronicles, 1939-1945 (London: Tauris, 1990). Some are reproduced in http://www.holocaust-history.org/auschwitz/labor-force/ and http://www.holocaust-history.org/auschwitz/labor-force/19440802/

  8. Pressac, p. 327.

  9. Claim by David Irving in the Irving vs. Penguin & Lipstadt trial. Report in The Guardian, January 27, 2000, and in the trial transcripts.

  10. Op. cit., pp. 268-327, 490-91.

  11. At several points the authors have relied on Olivier Faugeras's standard volume, Three-Dimensional Computer Vision: A Geometric Viewpoint (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press 1993).

  12. See lengthy report in John C. Zimmerman, Holocaust Denial: Demographics, Testimonies, and Ideologies (Lanham, MD: University Press of America), 2000, p. 292.

  13. Pressac, p. 484.

  14. Op. cit.

  15. Fleming, p. 188.

  16. Pressac, pp. 355-78.

  17. See letter from contractor, reproduced in Jean-Claude Pressac with Robert-Jan van Pelt, "The Machinery of Mass Murder at Auschwitz," in Gutman and Berenbaum, p. 231. We thank Professor William Samuelson for translation.

  18. Auschwitz Birkenau State Museum, File BW 30/43, p. 34.

  19. See Renata Boguslawsk-Swiebocka and Teresa Ceglowska, eds., KL Auschwitz: Documentary Photos (Warsaw: Krajowa Agencia, 1980).

  20. Mr. Lucas served in the United States Army Air Force between 1943 and 1946. From 1946 to 1956 he worked for the U.S. Geological Service, and between 1956 and 1981 the Central Intelligence Agency. Between 1968 and 1982 he held several positions within the CIA and NPIC (National Photographic Interpretation Center), including that of Executive Officer, NPIC. He was later manager of the Imagery Exploitation Division and senior analyst/consulting scientist for the Advanced Applications Division at the CIA, among other positions. We thank Prof. John Zimmerman of the University of Nevada (op. cit.) for contacting Lucas for us.

  21. As per Faugeras, op. cit.

  22. Brian A. Wandell. Foundations of Vision (Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates, 1995)

  23. Greif, p. 131.

  24. Bernd Naumann, Auschwitz: A Report on the Proceedings against Robert Karl Ludwig Mulka and Others Before the Court at Frankfurt (Westport, CT: Praeger, 1966), pp. 45-46 (Stark's testimony); Yadwiga Bezwinska and Danuta Czech, KL Auschwitz Seen by the SS (Oswie√Āim: The Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, 1997), pp. 129-30 (Broad's testimony) and p. 71 (Höss's testimony); Filip Müller, Auschwitz Inferno: The Testimony of a Sonderkommando (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1979), pp. 32-39 (Müller's testimony); Pressac, pp. 124 and 131.

  25. Markiewicz et al., op. cit.

  26. Pressac, pp. 156-57.

  27. Cited from Franciszek Piper, "Gas Chambers and Crematoria," in Gutman and Berenbaum, p. 177, n. 16.

  28. Pressac, pp. 124 and 131.

  29. As per Faugeras, op. cit.

  30. As per Faugeras, op. cit. Discussion of this topic took up several hours at the trial.

  31. Available on our website at http://www.holocaust-history.org/irving-david/vanpelt/zucchi-review-comments.shtml

  32. Speaking for the Court on July 20, 2001, Lord Justice Pill said, in part, ". . . there were before the Court two applications to call fresh evidence in support of the application. The first, made well before the hearing, was to call evidence from Mr. Germar Scheerer (born Rudolf), who holds a diploma in chemistry, and Mrs. Zoe Polanska-Palmer, who was detained in Birkenau Camp . . . In the event, that application to call fresh evidence was not pursued. We express our dismay at this combination of events [which required] the preparation of very detailed evidence (exposing the respondents to great expense in preparing a reply and the members of the Court to considerable pre-hearing reading) and the withdrawal of the application." See discussion in van Pelt, pp. 494-506.

© Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Oxford University Press, Volume 18, Number 1, Spring 2004, pages 68-103. Used with permission.

© Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Oxford University Press, Volume 18, Number 1, Spring 2004, pages 68-103. Used with permission.

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