Scrapbookpages Blog

May 15, 2010

Manhole and floor drain inside the Krema I gas chamber at Auschwitz

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , , , , — furtherglory @ 11:15 am

This morning, I was reading an interesting article on the Ironlight wordpress blog, and I came across this paragraph:

In 1992 I ran my manhole question past Dr. Franciszek Piper, Senior Curator of the Auschwitz State Museum, and he had no answer. When I ran it by Pressac, he thought I was trying to put one over on him; he didn’t believe there WAS a manhole in Krema 1! I was floored that he had never seen it. We argued about this for some time until I had to go through his files and find a picture of Krema 1 and POINT OUT the damn manhole. Now HE was floored. “Over the last ten years I’ve been to Krema 1 more times than I can possibly count,” he said (in French, of course), ” and I’ve never noticed the manhole!”

The quote from the Ironlight blog was written by David Cole some years ago.  David Cole is a Holocaust denier, and even worse, he is a Jewish Holocaust denier.  He has long since retired from denying the Holocaust, after threats on his life were made.  I want to make it clear that I don’t deny anything, certainly not the gas chamber in Krema I, which I have visited twice, once in 1998 and again in 2005.

On my visit to the Krema I gas chamber in 2005, I stumbled upon the manhole, literally.  I was standing inside the gas chamber, taking photos when I stepped on the manhole cover and it moved slightly.  It is easy to miss the manhole cover and I probably wouldn’t have noticed it if I had not stepped on it.

Manhole can be seen in the center of the photo, near the wall

In the photo above, there is a large white spot on the left side; the manhole is located to the right of this spot, close to the wall in the background. On the extreme right are two drains for two toilets back to back.

Close-up of the manhole cover with toilet drains in the background

I was standing in the Krema I gas chamber, taking the photo above when I stepped on the manhole cover.  Notice that you can see the outline of two toilets, placed back to back, in the photo above.  There is also the outline of a wall around the toilets which has been removed.

Were there actually two toilets in the Auschwitz I gas chamber?  It is well known that, when a person dies, their bowels are emptied. Did the Nazis force the victims to go to the toilet before they were gassed?  Did the victims actually have the opportunity to lift up a manhole cover and escape through the sewer?  No, of course not.  There is a simple explanation for the manhole and the toilets.

Original blueprint shows two small rooms to the left of the gas chamber

On the original blue print for Krema I, you can see the gas chamber on the right side on the bottom of the drawing.  To the left of the gas chamber, on the drawing, can been seen a washroom and another small room. Notice that there were originally two doors into the gas chamber, one door from the washroom and the other door from the oven room.  There was also a second door into the washroom from the hallway entrance to the oven room; that door is no longer there today.

Chart showing how Krema I was changed into an air raid shelter

When I visited Auschwitz in 1998, the Auschwitz Museum was still telling visitors that Krema I was original; in 2005, it was finally being admitted that Krema I was modified in 1943 and turned into an air raid shelter.  The photo above shows a chart that is outside Krema I.  On the left is the gas chamber as it was originally built, and on the right is the way it looks now.  Note that the door from the entrance hallway into the washroom, which is shown on the blueprint, is not included in the drawing of how the gas chamber building was originally laid out.

The red arrow shows where visitors enter Krema I, then go through the “laying out room” where autopsies were done, and then through the washroom.  The dotted line shows where the wall of the washroom used to be, but the wall has been removed and the former washroom space is now included in the gas chamber.

The toilets and the manhole are in what used to be the washroom but, with the wall now removed, the toilets and the manhole are in the gas chamber.  Visitors who take time to study the chart outside the building know that the washroom was never part of the gas chamber.  However, most tourists today are rushed through the building and not allowed to actually examine the gas chamber.  Tour guides do not point out the manhole and the toilet drains.

This view of Krema I is what visitors first saw in 1998; washroom  door is  in the background

In 1998, tourists were told that this was the original door into gas chamber

The photo above shows a door that was cut into Krema I when the room was converted into an air raid shelter in 1943,  This door is now locked and tourists enter through the wash room door which is shown in the photo below.

Tourists now enter Krema I through this door into the former washroom

Close-up of air raid shelter door and wooden door into gas chamber

The original door into Krema I is now the tourist entrance

Close-up of original door into gas chamber building

Prisoners, who were brought to Krema I to be gassed, entered through the door shown above and the first thing they saw was the brick cremation ovens right in front of them.  The view from the entrance door is shown in the photo below. After they were inside the short hallway, the prisoners were directed to turn right and go through the autopsy room, then through the washroom into the gas chamber room.  As many as 900 Jews would be packed into the gas chamber, and then the Zyklon-B pellets were poured onto their heads through holes in the roof.  The pellets had to be heated to 78.3 degrees before the gas was released, so it took awhile before the body heat of the prisoners activated the gas.

The victims could see the ovens when they entered Krema I

In 1998 tourists were told that this was the back door of the gas chamber

The door shown in the photo above is the door into the wash room that was right next to the gas chamber.  When I visited Auschwitz in 1998, the door was locked and I was told that this was the back door of the gas chamber.  There is a glass panel in the door, but this was not the door into the gas chamber. The wash room has now been included in the former gas chamber, but this is not adequately explained to visitors today.

View of Krema I as seen by tourists today

The photo above shows the actual Krema I gas chamber, not including the washroom, as seen by tourists today as they enter through the washroom door.  As you can see there is no manhole or floor drain in the gas chamber itself.  These openings were in the former washroom, which was not originally included in the gas chamber.

However, Fred Leuchter wrote the following in his infamous Report, after examining the gas chamber in Februrary 1988:

“We had, by this time, obtained blueprints of the alleged gas-chamber facility and were able to follow the structural changes back to the dates in question. We also verified the existence of the floor drain for the periods of alleged gas chamber usage.”

What floor drain?  I spent at least an hour inside the gas chamber in 2005, taking photos and walking through the gas chamber.  I did not see a floor drain.  Just so we are clear, what I call a floor drain would be something like the six floor drains in the Dachau gas chamber, one of which is shown in the photo below.

One of the six floor drains in the Dachau gas chamber, now closed up

The photo above shows a floor drain in the Dachau gas chamber.  Some people have claimed that this is a fake drain, meant to fool the victims into thinking that they were in a shower room, not a gas chamber.  If all six of the drains in the Dachau gas chamber were fake, how did they clean the room after gassing?  There is nothing like this in the Krema I gas chamber, which brings up the question: How did they clean the room after the prisoners were gassed?  Maybe I missed the floor drain in Krema I, just like Pressac missed the manhole. Or, maybe Fred was referring to the toilet drains when he wrote about the “floor drain.”


  1. […] I have enlarged my 2005 photo above to show that there is no floor drain in this part of Auschwitz gas chamber.  I blogged about the floor drains and manhole cover in the alleged gas chamber in the main Auschwitz camp at… […]

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  2. […] previously blogged about the Auschwitz gas chamber floor drain here.  I also blogged about the 6 floor drains in the Dachau gas chamber here.  According to Fred, a […]

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