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                        Technique and Operation
                            of the Gas Chambers ©
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A complete list of the “criminal traces” or “slips” found in the archives of the Auschwitz State Museum and the Warsaw Central Commission concerning the homicidal gas chambers in Birkenau Krematorien II, III, IV and V, presented together with original documents and two recapitulatory drawings by the author. 
[Request formulated by Robert Faurisson in an article on page 13 of the newspaper Le Monde of 16th January 1979, then used as a title for his letter of 29th February 1979 addressed in right of reply to the same newspaper, which refused to publish it. and which its author nevertheless published in his Mémoire en défense [statement for the defence], La Vieille Taupe, 1980, pages 96 to 100.]  

Faurisson asked for “one proof... one single proof” of the existence of homicidal gas chambers. The “traditional” historians provided him with an “abundance of proofs” which were virtually all based on human testimony, from SS and surviving former prisoners and Sonderkommando men. But human testimony is fallible. It is unreliable and Faurisson wanted a CONCRETE historical proof, that is proof based on incontestable and irrefutable documents. Four types of historical document would meet these stringent criteria:
photographs and
films made between 1942 and the end of 1944 in KL Auschwitz.
German letters and documents,
original drawings concerned with the camp.
So far as we know at present, no film was made recording the extermination of a transport. On the other hand, there is no lack of photographs of Krematorien under construction or completed (in the Bauleitung Album not yet published) and of the arrival of four convoys of Hungarian Jews and selections of two of them (in L’Album d’Auschwitz by S. Klarsfeld and Seuil). The main obstacle to using these last photographs as evidence is that, except for three of them, they present only views of “peaceful country scenes” against a background of barbed wire. The SS photographers did actually go inside some of the Krematorien, but they did not record the final act, extermination in gas chambers. Some members of the Sonderkommando, according to the deposition by one of them, Henryk Tauber, took photographs showing corpses in the gas chambers, but after being buried near Krematorien II and III, these vital photographs have never been found, and if by chance they should be discovered now, they will be irretrievably damaged after over 40 years in the ground. We also have the three photographs known as the “Polish Resistance” photographs recording the incineration of bodies in a ditch behind Krematorium V in the summer of 1944 and of naked women with their backs to this same Krematorium. They are certainly of exemplary value, but are difficult to use in view of their small number and, like those of the L’Album d’Auschwitz, cannot be presented as definitive proof.  

As for the technical drawings of the Krematorien, cited in legal actions and described as proving that they were planned for large scale assassination by gas (which is in fact incorrect). NOT ONE explicitly mentions in so many words anything like: Blausaüre (prussic acid) Vergasungs- or Gaskammer or -keller [gassing or gas chamber or cellar]. This is not because the drawings were “camouflaged” in any way, but is simply because the buildings concerned were converted from their original function, cremation pure and simple, and transformed for criminal use, so that the compromising words could not have been written on the original drawings of Krematorien II and III, and were probably left out on those of IV and V.

In the final analysis, there remain only the various items of correspondence and offical documents of German origin. Through the “slips” that can be found in them, they form a convincing body of presumptive evidence and clearly indicate the presence in the four Birkenau Krematorien (II, III, IV and V) of gas chambers using a prussic acid disinfestation agent sold under the name of “Zyklon-B”. In 1979-80, it was impossible to go any further than this, i.e. to demonstrate with the aid of “concrete” documents that these gas chambers had been used to execute human beings. At the end of the “Faurisson trial”, nobody had yet managed to produce “one proof ... one single proof” of the existence of  “homicidal gas chambers” in Auschwitz-Birkenau.

In the absence of any “direct”, i.e. palpable, indisputable and evident proof (lacking so far as we know at present) such as a photograph of people killed by a toxic gas in an enclosed space that can be perfectly located and identified, or of a label on a Krematorium drawing of a “Gaskammer um Juden zu vergiften / gas chamber for poisoning Jews” an “indirect” proof may suffice and be valid. By “ndirect”, proof, I mean a German document that does not state in black and white that a gas chamber is for HOMICIDAL purposes, but one containing evidence that logically it is impossible for it to be anything else.

The first document [Document A] presented here is an inventory of equipment installed in Krematorium III and formed part of the file of documents compiled for the official handover of the new building to the camp administration.

[Auschwitz State Museum Archives reference BW 30/43, page 24. This document, held in theOctober Revolution Central State Archives in Moscow was sent by this body in 1964-65 to the Warsaw Central Commission for the investigation of Hitlerite crimes in Poland, which sent it under a covering letter of 30th October 1968 to the Vienna assize court to be part of the evidence in the trial of the Auschwitz Krematorium “architects”, former SS officers Walter DEJACO and Fritz ERTL. This trial was held from 18th January to 10th March 1972 and ended with the acquittal of the accused. The documents sent by the Poles to the Austrians were scarcely used by the “experts”, which explains the astonishing verdict of not guilty, in particular for Dejaco.]

This inventory indicates that the equipment installed for “Leichenkeller 1 / Corpse cellar [morgue] 1” included:
·     “1 gasdichte Tür / 1 gas-tight door,” AND
·     “14 Brausen / 14 showers”,
two items that are strictly INCOMPATIBLE with one another. This incompatibility constitutes the fundamental proof, for it is clear that:  
Proposition A:  A gas-tight door can be intended only for a gas chamber. 
Question A:   Why does a gas chamber have showers in it? 
Reply A:  Incomprehensible. Proposition A must be formulated differently for a logical reply. 
Proposition B:  A room fitted with showers is a place where people wash themselves. 
Question B:  Why does the only entrance to the shower room have a gas-tight door? 
Reply B:   Incomprehensible, Proposition B must be formulated differently for a logical reply. 
Which sends us back to proposition A, question A, reply A, proposition B, etc. The reasoning is in a vicious circle which cannot be broken. The only way to escape the illogicality is to bring complementary proof demonstrating that one of the propositions IS INCORRECT. This can he done by means of the following arguments: 
· The average area covered by a shower head, calculated on the basis of the drawings for the two shower installations at the Stammlager, the reception building (BW 160) and Block 26. and for those at Birkenau, BW 5a, 5b. and the Zentral Sauna (BW 32), works out at 1.83m² 
· On this basis. Leichenkeller 1 of Krematorium III, with a floor area of 210m2, should have 115 shower heads.  
· In fact only 14 were planned and we know that they were FITTED, because seven wooden bases to which similar shower heads were fitted are still visible in the ruins of the ceiling of L-keller 1 of Krema II. 
· On one of the copies of the Krematorium II/III inventory drawing 2197, that from the Soviet October Revolution central state archives, water pipes are shown supplying the 3 taps of Leichenkeller 1 and the 5 of Leichenkeller 2, but none are connected to the “showers”, This is paradoxical because on this version of drawing 2197 even the lamps are drawn and on various other drawings showing shower installations the shower heads are necessarily shown and the associated pipework usually appears also. 
· It can only be concluded that these are DUMMY SHOWERS, made of wood or other materialls, and painted, as stated by several former memhers of the Sonderkommando  
This inventory is absolute and irrefutable proof of the existence of a gas chamber fitted with dummy showers in Krematorium III.

These dummy showers were not placed there by chance, or for purposes of decoration, but with a very precise purpose: to mislead the people entering Leichenkeller 1 / gas chamber l, a misrepresentation implying the deliberate intention to cause them to die by inhaling a deadly gas.

These Krematorium inventories. drawn up when the buildings were completed, also provide an almost incredible supplementary proof: mention of the device for introducing Zyklon-B into a Leichenkeller. The second document [Documents B and B'] [Auschwitz State Museum Archive reference BW 30/43, page 12, also from a Soviet source] contains a flagrant error on the part of the SS man who filled in the form.

The first line indicates that in the basement of Krematorium II, "Raum I, Leichenkeller / Room I, corpse cellar" was fitted with: 
 · “16 Lamp o. Kug, u. Tel. Feuchtsicher / 16 lamps other than globes, waterproof” and
· “5 Zapfhühne / 5 taps”. 
The second line shows that “Raum 2 / room 2”, idem. [Leichenkeller] was fitted with:  
· “10 Lamp o. Kug. u. Tel. Feuchtsicher / 10 lamps other than globes. waterproof”
· “3 Zapfhühne / 3 taps”,  
· “4 Drahtnetzeinschiebvorrichtung / 4 wire mesh introduction devices” and 
· “4 Holzblenden / 4 wooden covers.”  
Technique and operation
of the gas chambers

Jean-Claude Pressac
© 1989, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
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