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April 15, 2010

Glass window in Majdanek gas chamber

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 11:38 am

Update: March 28, 2013

I am pleased to report that the gas chamber with the glass window is now officially called a disinfection chamber where clothing was deloused with Zyklon-B, the same gas that was used to exterminate the Jews.  Now the official Holocaust story is that only two of the gas chambers in Building #41 were used as homicidal gas chambers.  The other gas chambers in the building were used to disinfect the clothing in an attempt to save the lives of the prisoners by killing the lice that spreads typhus.  The number of Jewish deaths at Majdanek has recently been officially reduced from 1.5 million down to 59,000.

This means that anyone, who is serving a 5-year prison term for denying that 1.5 million Jews were killed at Majdanek, or denying that there was a homicidal gas chamber with a window at Majdanek, can now be released.

Continue reading my original post.

Someone mentioned in a comment on my blog that there was a glass window in the gas chamber at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp in Germany.  I don’t know anything about that, but there is a glass window in the Majdanek gas chamber. I visited Majdanek in October 1998 and went inside the gas chamber building where I saw the window with my own eyes.

Plate glass window inside the Majdanek gas chamber

The window inside the gas chamber at Majdanek is too high up on the wall for an observation window, so it must have been just for the purpose of letting in some light.  It would have been too cruel to shove prisoners inside a dark chamber and gas them to death. Notice the stains on the ceiling, which were caused by heavy use of Zyklon-B, the poison gas used to kill the prisoners, and also to disinfect the clothing of the prisoners. (Not at the same time, of course.)

That brings up the question of whether or not the prisoners ever tried to break the window to escape before they were overcome by gas fumes.  There are no bars on the window, so the prisoners could have escaped, but there were probably guards outside the building, ready to shoot anyone who tried to jump out of the window.

Barrack No. 41, the gas chamber building at Majdanek

The photo above shows Barrack Number 41, the gas chamber building at Majdanek.  A sign on the outside of the building says “Bad und Desinfektion” (Bath and Disinfection), which the Museum guidebook says was “to lull the vigilance of those condemned to death.”

The square in front of the building, in the photo above, was nicknamed Rosenfeld, which in German means field of roses.  This was a joke because Rosenfeld was a common Jewish name. The Nazis called our President Franklin D. Roosevelt by the name Rosenfeld because they thought that he was Jewish.  According to my tour guide, this square was where prisoners were lined up for selection; some prisoners were selected to work and some were selected to be gassed. (And you thought the Germans have no sense of humor.)

There are actually two identical buildings at Majdanek, where Zyklon-B was used. Only the building used for gassing people was shown on the tour; the other building is barrack Number 42 which was used for delousing clothing with the same Zyklon-B when the camp was in operation. Barrack Number 42 is off limits to visitors.

There were large clothing warehouses at Majdanek and in the town of Lublin; the clothes from the three Operation Reinhart camps (Treblinka, Belzec, and Sobibor) were brought to Majdanek for disinfection and sorting before being sent back to Germany to be given to German civilians.

Gas chamber at Majdanek shows heavy stains from Zyklon-B use

Upon entering Barrack No. 41,  the gas chamber building, you first come to an unfurnished room which has narrow wooden boards over the concrete floor; this is the undressing room. Then you enter the shower room, a large room with rows of exposed water pipes and sprinkler-type shower heads on the ceiling; this room also has a wooden floor over concrete. At one end of the shower room, there are two large concrete bathtubs. The tour guide explained that the prisoners were not allowed to stay very long in the bathtub; they had to get in and out in a few seconds. The bathtubs were probably filled with disinfectant, as was the case at other camps such as Buchenwald.

This shower room was also used by incoming prisoners who were selected to work at Majdanek, which was a labor camp as well as a death camp for Jews.

According to the latest figures given at the Majdanek Museum, there were 78,000 deaths of all causes at Majdanek, which included 59,000 Jews.

The gas chamber building at Majdanek has three separate homicidal gassing rooms. When I was there in 1998, visitors entered through an air raid shelter door that opened into the three gas chamber rooms from the shower room. A sign in the shower room said that the prisoners were given a shower before gassing to “quite (sic) them down.” The tour guide explained that the victims were given a hot shower so they would die more quickly in the gas chamber because the Nazis had found that the heat of the bodies caused the gas to work faster. Zyklon-B comes in crystal form, like tiny ice-blue rocks, and the pellets must be heated before they release the poison gas which kills lice or people.

The Majdanek gas chamber building has a heating unit outside the chambers which could blow hot air into the chamber to activate the poison gas, so a hot shower, before the victims entered the gas chamber, was not really necessary.

The first room in the gas chamber building is a large room with what I would call an alcove.  In other words, the first room that visitors enter from the shower room is shaped like the letter L.  There is another door into the alcove, which is shown in the photo below.

Door into Majdanek gas chamber

The gas chamber building is a wooden horse barn with a brick and concrete building inside of it.  The door, shown in the photo above, opens into what I call an alcove that is part of the first large room that you enter from the shower room.

Inside the gas chamber building at Majdanek

There are two holes in the ceiling of the gas chamber through which the Zyklon-B pellets could be dropped into the room and openings in the wall through which hot air was blown in. The largest gas chamber room has a wooden floor over concrete; the walls are covered with stucco.

At Majdanek, there are a total of four gas chambers, according to the Museum guidebook which says that the gas chamber right next to the shower room was “a makeshift chamber which presumably had begun functioning before the other three were opened.”

The fourth gas chamber, which is disguised as a shower room, is in the reconstructed crematorium. The Germans allegedly burned down the crematorium building to destroy the evidence of their crimes.

In the second gas chamber in Barracks No. 41, there is a small interior room which has a small barred window, about 6 by 10 inches, on one of the walls. This window had no glass and no window frame when I saw it. Through this window, the killing process could be observed by an SS guard standing in the small interior observation room, according to my tour guide. Of course, the guard would have been wearing a gas mask, but he would have had no protection from the victims who would have undoubtedly tried to kill him; the entrance to the small observation room is inside the gas chamber and there is no door.

Inside the interior observation room were cans of carbon monoxide, which was also used in this chamber, according to the guidebook.

So there were a total of three gas chamber rooms in Barrack No. 41, not including the small interior room used for observation. Some observers have referred to the first room with the alcove as two separate chambers. All the rooms are connected, with each room opening into the next one. The last gas chamber room in this building is smaller than the others and has no heavy blue stains.

Here is a description of the gas chambers in “Bath and Disinfection” Building Number One (barrack #41) at Majdanek, quoted from a guidebook which I purchased in 1998 at the Visitor’s Center:

“The gas chambers were built of ceramic brick, covered with a ferro-concrete roof, and provided with a cement floor. The installation comprised three chambers: a large one (10 m x 5.5 m x 2 m) and two smaller ones (4.80 m x 3.60 x 2 m) as well as a cabin for the SS man who pumped doses of gas from steel cylinders into the chambers and watched through a small grated window (25 x 15 cm), the behavior of the victims. Two chambers, the large one and the southern smaller one, were equipped with devices for the use of carbon monoxide (CO). In the smaller one, there was a metal pipe, 40 mm in diameter, running along the walls above the floor. The gas got into the chamber through holes in the pipe. Cyclone B was poured into a special opening in the concrete roof.

“The large chamber also had a metal pipe, 25 mm in diameter, fastened to one of the walls above the floor. As in the smaller chamber, the carbon monoxide from a steel cylinder got in through this pipe. In addition, there were two openings in the western wall, through which hot air (120 degrees C) was blown in by a ventilator from a stove placed on the outside of the chamber, which alone killed the victims and, at the same time, intensified the action of Cyclone B, since the lethal effect of the gas increased at a temperature of over 27 degrees C. The other small chamber, on the southern side, had only an opening in the roof to pour in Cyclone B. The massive metal doors to the chambers were air-tight, fastened by two bolts and iron bars.”

According to the guidebook that I purchased at the Visitor’s Center:

Construction of the gas chambers at Majdanek started in August 1942 and was completed in October 1942. By October 1942, the Germans had conquered most of Europe and the Eastern front extended well into the Soviet Union; they were in the midst of their plan to get rid of all the Jews in Europe. Using the pretense of “transportation to the East,” the Nazis maintained strict secrecy about their “Final Solution,” even on the blueprints for the Majdanek gas chamber building, by naming the gas chambers “Entlausungsanlage,” which means “delousing station” in English.

Strangely, the gas chamber building at Majdanek is located at the bottom of a slope, and the crematorium is at the top of the slope.  The bodies of the Jews who were gassed had to be hauled up the hill, past the barracks where all the prisoners could observe what was going on.  The gas chamber building was also in plain view of everyone who was traveling on the road past the camp, which was a major road back then.

According to Wikipedia, one of the Jews who was gassed at Majdanek in 1942 was 9-year-old Henio Zytomirski.  Henio has his own Facebook page.  I was born the same year as Henio, and I never thought I would live to see dead Holocaust victims social networking.

20 Comments

  1. […] As everyone knows, children under the age of 15 were immediately selected for the gas chamber.  Majdanek had 5 gas chambers, which have now been downgraded to 2, because so many people made fun of the so-called gas chambers, but that’s another story. […]

    Pingback by Fragments — The fake memoirs of Binjamin Wilkomirski | Scrapbookpages Blog — September 15, 2013 @ 11:36 am

  2. approximately when was the window bricked up?

    you can see a pic of it with the EXIF data intact here…
    http://rachelonyearcourse.wordpress.com/author/rachelonyearcourse/
    it is dated 2013-03-12 14:40:36 (no TZ)

    Comment by 12b — July 28, 2013 @ 9:30 am

    • The window in the gas chamber at Majdanek has NOT been “bricked up.” Instead, the room that has a window in it is no longer called a gas chamber. Originally, there were four rooms at Majdanek which were called “gas chambers” but two of those rooms are no longer called gas chambers. Too many people made fun of the gas chamber with a plate glass window, so it is no longer claimed to be a gas chamber. You can see photos of Majdanek, including a photo of the window, on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Poland/Majdanek/Majdanek02.html

      There was also a small room, with a window that had no glass, inside one of the gas chambers. That room was not called a gas chamber. It was allegedly a room inside one of the gas chambers, where an SS man, wearing a gas mask, could stand and watch the prisoners die.

      Comment by furtherglory — July 28, 2013 @ 2:22 pm

      • thanks for the reply
        just to make sure i’m clear here, referring to your post (scrapbookpages.com/Poland/Majdanek/Majdanek02.html)

        the first 3 pix are all of the same chamber, correct?
        and the light seen in the first behind the sign is artificial (electric)?
        but the 4th pic (gaschamberwindow.jpg) is not from the same room as the first 3 then?

        Comment by 12b — July 28, 2013 @ 5:36 pm

        • That is correct. The first three photos show the same room, which is the gas chamber room that has the heaviest stains from Zyklon-B. The lights are electric. There is no window in the room shown in the first three pictures. The room with the window is another room which is behind you as you are looking into the first room.

          Comment by furtherglory — July 28, 2013 @ 6:39 pm

          • ah! thank you very much for that!
            that clears up the confusion on my end 🙂

            Comment by 12b — July 28, 2013 @ 6:54 pm

    • I read part of the blog post, to which you linked.

      I read this about the Majdanek Memorial Site: “We walked through many parts of the camp and ended our tour in the crematorium, where the dead bodies were burned. Many parts of the camp had to be reconstructed after the war, but the original crematorium still stands.”

      The ovens in the crematorium are original, but the building is not. The building was burned down when the camp was liberated by Soviet soldiers. I have a photo of the burned building on this page of my website: http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Poland/Majdanek/Majdanek05.html

      I also read this on the blog post written by Rachel: “The whole first camp [Auschwitz main camp] was turned into a museum, and it is a law that you have to go through it with a guide so that all of the information presented is interpreted correctly.”

      It is unfortunate that visitors to Auschwitz must go through the main camp with a guide. I was able to go through the camp without a guide, in October 2005, and spend a lot of time in the gas chamber in the early morning before the guided tours reached it. You can see the photos that I took of the gas chamber on this page of my website: http://www.scrapbookpages.com/AuschwitzScrapbook/Tour/Auschwitz1/Auschwitz08.html It would be very difficult to get these photos now, so I am glad that I got in before guides were mandatory.

      Comment by furtherglory — July 28, 2013 @ 3:38 pm

      • yeah, well, not only is she a believer, but she’s an Israeli believer — what do you expect 🙂
        it really bugs me that young kids are brainwashed by these SOB’s and the Jews are victims just as the rest of the world is.

        as for the content on your site, i’m a little familiar with it – been here allot during my own research.

        Comment by 12b — July 28, 2013 @ 6:45 pm

  3. […] I blogged about the glass window in the Majdanek gas chamber here. […]

    Pingback by The US Holocaust Memorial Museum has downgraded Majdanek “killing center” « Scrapbookpages Blog — December 11, 2012 @ 6:51 am

  4. most people are stupid for killing people. it is so sad for those men women and thier children to suffer in the gas.i would not put those people in slow death.it is not funny it is very sad to see the people to die in the gas two litte boy in was in the gas chamber long time ago………………………. i just want to cry because it is so sad………………………. love RACHEL MAE ALEXANDER

    Comment by amy lora — September 20, 2012 @ 2:22 pm

  5. как всегда на высоте

    Comment by kikus — June 16, 2010 @ 11:11 pm

  6. There are very very few documents on any of the AR camps.

    There are a couple of german documents that refer to a Durchgangslager Malkinia.

    As for JP Kremer, he was most likely an ideological enemy of the Nazi regime (which raises the question of why he joined the SS). He attempted to bring Larmarckism back into genetics, which at that point in time was a symptom of sympathy with Marxism (or as the Nazis put it “Jewish science”).
    David Irving also has an interesting little snippet in this regard
    “March 1, 1943, with evident consternation, ‘Went today to shoemaker Grevsmühl to be registered, and saw there a leaflet sent him from Kattowitz by the Socialist Party of Germany [an underground opposition party]. The leaflet informed that we had already liquidated two million Jews by shooting or gassing.’ This was pretty sensitive stuff to confide to a private diary, and it makes it all the more remarkable that Kremer had not been more specific in its pages about what he witnessed while at the camp. ”

    http://www.fpp.co.uk/Auschwitz/Kremer/

    Not only is it interesting that he did not expand on this as he had supposedly been involved in this gassing, it is interesting that the shoemaker was confident enough to show him the leaflet and that Kremer, the supposedly loyal SS officer, did not report this incident

    Comment by littlegreyrabbit — April 19, 2010 @ 6:22 pm

  7. I apologize that this discussion has gone so far off topic, but we do substantially disagree on this area.

    The position you are taking is very odd. On April 17, you stated that, “Several of the accused at the Nuremberg IMT said that they were hearing the term Vernichtungslager for the first time at the proceedings.” Here you rely on the defendants testimony (why would they confess to knowing such things, which would add to their legal troubles?). Indeed, you later write that the Nazis would not have used such a term for their camps, given the problems it inevitably would raise.

    Then, the next day, April 18, you write, “Testimony of the accused at tribunals is not reliable, as for example, the testimony of Rudolf Hoess. Why should we believe anything that Kremer said his testimony?”

    IMO, these two positions cannot co-exist. One cannot rely on what defendants state that they did not know, and accept their alleged lack of knowledge as fact, but then discount everything that is the viewing of a homicidal gassing.

    Final point, re: the ‘transit camps’. The only AR camp actually referred to as a ‘transit camp’ in a document was Sobibor (not Belzec or Treblinka) in mid-1943, and with no other information given on its purpose.

    Comment by Wahrheit — April 19, 2010 @ 9:45 am

    • The testimony of Rudolf Hoess, which was basically what he said in his “confession,” has been shown to contain numerous errors. The testimony of the accused at Nürnberg, regarding the term Vernichtungslager, was accompanied by the stunned look of disbelief on their faces. That’s why I believe their testimony and not the testimony of Rudolf Hoess.

      Regarding the AR camps, I think all three were referred to as a Durchgangslager which would be a transit camp in American terms. According to the minutes of the Wannsee conference, the Jews were being “transported to the East,” not killed, so why would they call an AR camp a Vernichtungslager?

      Comment by furtherglory — April 19, 2010 @ 10:11 am

  8. I find such an approach to be very flawed.

    On 2.9.42, Johann Kremer wrote in his diary that, “Umsonst wird Auschwitz nicht das Lager der Vernichtung genannt!”

    Clearly there was not much of a leap from “das Lager der Vernichtung” to ‘Vernichtungslager’.

    Comment by Wahrheit — April 17, 2010 @ 1:23 pm

    • Johann Kremer was a doctor at Auschwitz. He might have used the word Vernichtung in his diary to describe the nature of the Auschwitz camp, but that doesn’t mean that the Nazis used this terminology in the classification of their camps. Several of the accused at the Nuremberg IMT said that they were hearing the term Vernichtungslager for the first time at the proceedings.

      Comment by furtherglory — April 17, 2010 @ 3:47 pm

      • Kremer used the term immediately after witnessing a gassing, which is also recorded in his diary. Indeed, many other German officials had no problem with using the term (or Todeslager) to describe the camps, such as Dr. Morgen.

        The Nazis may not have officially called the camps as such (why in the heck would they?), but their purpose and function was clear.

        Comment by Wahrheit — April 18, 2010 @ 9:37 am

        • Kremer wrote in his diary that he had witnessed a “special action.” The term Sonderbehandlung which is translated as “special treatment” is believed to be a code word for gassing. The abbreviation SB was used on the Hollerith cards, and SB is believed to be a code for death by Sonderbehandlung or gassing. However, the Nazis did not provide a dictionary for their code words, so it is only an assumption that “special action” or “special treatment” meant gassing.

          At his trial in Poland, Kremer used the term “gassing” in reference to his diary entry. Testimony of the accused at tribunals is not reliable, as for example, the testimony of Rudolf Hoess. Why should we believe anything that Kremer said in his testimony? He was only at Birkenau for three months. He witnessed these special actions during the night in 1942. That was at the time that “the little white house,” aka Bunker No. 2 was being used as a gas chamber. The bunker was torn down, so all the evidence of gassing has been destroyed. In any case, the Nazis would not have advertised their murder of the Jews by calling certain camps Vernichtungslager. For example, the Nazis called the three Operation Reinhard camps “transit camps” in an effort to hide their real purpose.

          Comment by furtherglory — April 18, 2010 @ 11:40 am

  9. So Barbara Schwindt wrote a book in which the title included the word Vernichtunslager? She is writing in German, but the Nazis never used the word Vernichtunslager to describe any of their camps. That terminology was introduced by the Allies who used the term “extermination camp,” which was translated into German as Vernightunslager. That means that Barbara was writing from the viewpoint of the Allies and she is not objective. We can’t trust anything that she writes.

    Comment by furtherglory — April 15, 2010 @ 11:31 pm

  10. The so-called gas chambers of the desinfektion block, even the room after the shower, was in the german documentation described as entwesungsanlage – desinfection of clothing.

    Barbara Schwindt in her Das Konzentrations- und Vernichtungslager Majdanek. pages 167-168

    “Aus der bestehenden Entwesungsbaracke ist die Blausaeurevergasung aus dem Ankleideraum des Ostfluegels auszubauen, um eine groessere Leistung zu erzielen. Fuer die Blausaeurevergasung wird eine besondere Kammer unter dem Flugdach errichtet [10.5.1943]”

    full quote and discussion, sort of, here
    http://rodohforum.yuku.com/topic/10180/t/The-Holo-leap-of-faith.html

    Comment by little grey rabbit — April 15, 2010 @ 5:55 pm


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