Of all the former Nazi concentration camps that I have visited, the creepiest one, by far, is the Majdanek camp in Poland. Majdanek was a “death camp” where Jews were gassed with Zyklon-B, but carbon monoxide was also used for gassing — in the same building. There was also a gas chamber, disguised as a shower, in the crematorium building which the Nazis allegedly burned down before they fled the scene. The gas chamber room in the reconstructed crematorium is very small; it has a hole in the ceiling for pouring in the poison gas crystals, and there is a floor drain directly below the hole. The door to this gas chamber is missing, and may have been taken to another museum for display.
It is hard to figure out just how many gas chambers there were at Majdanek: there are a number of gas chamber rooms, all in one building, along with a small room within a room where an SS man could watch the victims die. (I assume that the observer was protected by a gas-proof suit and a gas mask, and that he was compensated with extra pay.)
Now Jürgen Graf has written an article on the Inconvenient History blog entitled Defending the Faith: Tomasz Kranz’s “Mass Killings by Means of Toxic Gases in the Majdanek Concentration Camp.” You can read the article in full here.
I am quoting this paragraph from Jürgen Graf’s article:
[Tomasz] Kranz, who is the head of the research department of the Majdanek Memorial Institution, caused a minor sensation in late 2005 when he set the number of victims of the [Majdanek] camp at 78,000—something that amounted to a major reduction of previous figures: shortly after the Soviet capture of the Majdanek camp, a Polish-Soviet commission spoke of 1.5 million people who allegedly died there; later on, official Polish history brought this figure down to 360,000 in 1948 and to 235,000 in 1992. As I have shown in an article published in 2008, Kranz’s figure is still too high by at least 28,000 deaths.
Wow! Jürgen Graf is now saying that there were only 50,000 deaths at Majdanek?
Out of the 78,000 deaths claimed by Kranz in 2005, there were only 59,000 Jewish deaths. Assuming that some people died from disease, starvation and over-work, how many Jews were actually gassed at Majdanek?
Why so many gas chambers for so few deaths at Majdanek? In fact, why were there any gas chambers at all at Majdanek when the Belzec and Sobibor death camps were very close to Lublin where the former Majdanek death camp is now located within the city limits?