An article in the online Telegraph, which you can read here, includes a photo that allegedly shows the ruins of one of the gas chambers at Auschwitz II, aka Birkenau. It is an old black and white photo, taken in 1979. I enhanced the photo, using Photoshop and reproduced it below.
Here is the caption on the photo, copied from the Telegraph:
FILE – In this undated file photo from 1979, a former inmate of the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau, Poland sometime in 1979, gazes down at ruins of gas chambers where hundreds of people were exterminated during World War II. The oldest known survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp, a teacher who gave lessons in defiance of his native Poland’s Nazi occupiers has died at the age of 108, an official said Monday, Oct. 22, 2012. Antoni Dobrowolski died Sunday in the northwestern Polish town of Debno, according to Jaroslaw Mensfelt, a spokesman at the Auschwitz-Birkenau state museum.
In the color photo above, note the steps of the International Monument on the right hand side. Note the guard tower in the background on the right. My 2005 photo matches the 1979 black and white photo above, indicating that the man is not looking at the ruins of a gas chamber, but at the ruins of the undressing room of Krema II.
Again, note the guard tower and the steps of the International Monument on the right in the photo above. In the foreground, you can some of the ruins of the oven room, which was at ground level. The undressing room was 5 feet underground.
My 2005 photo of the ruins of the Krema II gas chamber shows the International Monument in the background, slightly to the left.
Now look at the old black and white photo again. It appears that some reconstruction of the ruins was done between 1979 and 2005. Also, look at the background of the photo. It looks like wide open countryside, with no trees hiding the view of the Jews walking into the undressing room. Shouldn’t there have been a fence or a row of trees to hide the “mass murder” that was going on in the camp?
My 2005 photo above shows that the undressing room has been reconstructed, and a row of trees has been planted to hide the prisoners entering the undressing room from onlookers outside the camp. The path, that the prisoners walked, up to the undressing room entrance should also have been reconstructed.
I am not convinced that there was an entrance to the undressing room in this location. A model of Krema II and the blueprint for the Krema II building are shown below.
In the photo above, notice that there is a door into the gas chamber building shown on the wall of the building on the left side. There was an exterior entrance with a staircase on the north side of the Krema II building, which led to the Vorraum of Krema II so that the SS men could enter Leichenkeller 1, the gas chamber, without going through Leichenkeller 2, which was the undressing room. In case of emergency, the gas chamber could be used as a bomb shelter for the SS men working in the area, since it had a gas-tight air raid shelter door.
On the blueprint shown in the photo above, the undressing room is on the right hand side. To the left of the undressing room is the above-ground oven room with the ovens designated by 5 squares. There were 5 ovens with 3 openings in each oven. The gas chamber was perpendicular to the undressing room. On the blueprint, the gas chamber is labeled L-keller which is an abbreviation for Leichenkeller, which means corpse cellar in English. The undressing room was also called a Leichenkeller on the blueprint. Note that the length of the undressing room is two or three times as long as the length of the gas chamber.
Now that we see that there was a way to get into the undressing room without going around the building to enter from the end of the room, why didn’t the prisoners enter the undressing room through the door into the Vorraum?
Was the undressing room reconstructed to show an entrance down some steps that weren’t actually there before the reconstruction?
Update, 5:22 p.m.
A reader has alerted me to the website of The Daily Mail which shows a photo Wilhelm Brasse standing beside the ruins of the undressing room in Krema II at Auschwitz in 1979. In The Daily Mail photo, it looks like there are steps at the far end of the undressing room. However, when I converted the photo to 300 dpi, from the 63 dpi in the original, it looks more like a brick wall. I did not enhance the photo in any way.
The photographer who took this photo in 1979 focused on Brasse in the foreground of the picture. The background, which shows the end of the undressing room, is not in sharp focus, so it is hard to tell if there are really steps in the photo.