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May 9, 2011

The concrete bathtub at the Majdanek death camp

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 9:28 am

Bathtub inside the Crematorium at Majdanek death camp Photo Credit: PickledPru

This morning, I was reading an excellent article on the PickledPru blog here when I saw the photo above. This quote is from the blog post:

In Majdanek, there is a bathtub.  It was most likely used by the head of the crematorium.  After all, in a building where fires are constantly roaring is the easiest place to get hot water.  It sickened me to see this, and hear this, from the tour guide.  We all walked right up to it.  We all touched it.  We could smell the smells of the room, empty for the last sixty years, thinking of what had occurred there.

Once back in the states, at the Holocaust Memorial Museum, there is a replica of this bathtub.  It sits behind glass.

I saw this bathtub when I visited Majdanek in 1998.  Note that the photo shows that the tub is in an alcove, or a little room that is open on one side. The bathtub is made out of concrete and it is not covered in porcelain. The tub would have been impervious to strong disinfection chemicals.

I was told by my tour guide that this concrete tub was used by the SS man in charge of the ovens.  Why would anyone take a bath in a concrete tub, especially a tub that has no water faucets?

On my visit to Majdanek, I was having a problem with my camera and I didn’t take lots of photos, as I usually do.  So I copied the photo on the PickledPru blog and enlarged it so that viewers can see clearly that this bathtub has no faucets; it is obviously a concrete tub that was intended to be used for disinfection before going into the shower that is nearby.  There are four gas chambers in another building at the other end of the camp, so there was no need for another gas chamber in the crematorium building. (The Majdanek Museum currently gives 59,000 as the number of Jewish deaths at Majdanek.)

The so-called gas chamber in the Majdanek crematorium is very small and it looked to me like a shower room. There is a hole in the ceiling, allegedly for pouring in the Zyklon-B gas pellets, but there is a floor drain directly below the hole. Keep in mind that this gas chamber is a reconstruction done by the Soviet Union.

Reconstructed Crematorium at the Majdanek death camp Photo Credit: Simon Robertson

On the day before Majdanek was liberated by Soviet troops, the wooden crematorium building was set on fire, allegedly by the Germans, but there were also Soviet soldiers in the city of Lublin on that day.  It was reconstructed by the Soviet Union, allegedly according to the original blueprints of the building.

According to what I was told by my private tour guide, the Majdanek crematorium was set on fire by the SS men in order to burn the bodies of Polish political prisoners who had been brought from the Gestapo prison at the Castle in Lublin and executed the day before the camp was liberated.

Cremation ovens and charred bodies in front of the ovens at Majdanek

The charred remains of the political prisoners are shown in the foreground in the photo above. In the background are the brick ovens with iron doors which were not damaged in the fire.

A building at the other end of the camp, which has a sign that reads “Bath and Disinfection,” was not burned.  There are four gas chambers in that building, along with a concrete bathtub with no faucets, and a shower room.  I was told by my tour guide that incoming prisoners were dipped into a disinfectant in the concrete tub before they took a shower. A sign in the building tells visitors that the prisoners were given a shower before going into the gas chambers in order to warm up their bodies so that the gas would work faster.  This doesn’t make much sense because the gas chamber building had  a way to blow hot air into the building to heat the Zyklon-B pellets to the proper temperature.

The custom of having incoming prisoners take a quick dip in a bathtub full of disinfectant before taking a shower was also used at Auschwitz, but this procedure was used in the Sauna, not the gas chambers.  The Sauna was where the prisoners who had been selected to work were processed.

Sign over disinfection bathtub at Auschwitz

The photo above shows the sign over the disinfection bathtub in the Sauna at Auschwitz.  The incoming prisoners were dipped into a disinfection wash before going into the shower room.  The sign that directed prisoners to the shower is shown below.  The disinfection tub at the Sauna in Auschwitz was right next to the shower, just like it was in two different buildings in the Majdanek camp.

Sign over the door to the shower at Auschwitz

Shower room at Auschwitz-Birkenau


  1. I’ve read the comments regarding my photos taken at Majdanek, and after returning to Majdanek this year, I confirmed what I wrote to be true. The bath belonged to SS Eric Muhsfeldt, who was ultimately transferred to Auschwitz and reached the rank of Oberscharfuhrer. The bath also had a toilet when it functioned, as confirmed by scholarship and our guide. Muhsfeldt ultimately was transferred to Auschwitz, and after the war was tried and hanged for his crimes there.

    Comment by PickledPru — July 7, 2014 @ 4:28 am

  2. Majdanek Waltz “Cranes”


    I sometimes think that warriors brave

    Who met their death in body fight

    Were never buried in a grave

    But rose as cranes with plumage white.

    Since then unto this very day

    They pass high overhead and cry.

    Is that not why we often gaze

    In silence as the cranes go by?

    In far-off foreign lands I see

    The cranes in evening’s dying glow

    Fly quickly past in company,

    As once on horseback they would go.

    And as they fly far out of reach

    I hear them calling someone’s name.

    Is that not why our Avar speech

    Recalls the clamour of a crane?

    Across the weary sky they rise

    Who friend and kinsman used to be,

    And in their ranks I see a space –

    Perhaps they’re keeping it for me?

    One day I’ll join the flock of cranes,

    With them I shall go winging by,

    And you who here on earth remain

    Will listen to my strident cry.

    -Rasul Gamzatov

    Comment by who+dares+wings — May 9, 2011 @ 8:34 pm

  3. You don’t have or know of a photo of the sign that used to be on the bathtub? I think it was something like “here was where ?????fuehrer Mussfeldt took his bath”

    I think that the bath is there for no other reason that the ovens have an enormous tangle of water heating installed at the back, but the heated water was not sent outside the crematorium.
    So the bath is there to say “look, here is where all that hot water went to”

    Comment by littlegreyrabbit — May 9, 2011 @ 2:36 pm

    • When I visited Majdanek in 1998, there was no sign on the bathtub. It must have been put there later. There was also no sign on the bathtub in the building that has the four gas chambers. The Commandant’s house is very close to the building with the four gas chambers. Why would he have gone to the crematorium to take a bath? Didn’t he have a nice porcelain tub in his house?

      Comment by furtherglory — May 9, 2011 @ 5:51 pm

      • Mussfeldt was only head of the crematorium, not the entire camp. Of course he wouldn’t have taken a bath and it is all nonsense. But having all that nice looking plumbing I guess the museum thought it would look silly if it didnt at least appear to be used.

        Comment by Grey — May 9, 2011 @ 8:19 pm

  4. You write ”There are four gas chambers in another building at the other end of the camp….”

    Hmmmm…….., have anyone of you heard of the name Jürgen Graf?
    That is a man which is very well educated in the subject “Ho£o€au$t” and he really know what he is talking/writing about – he has just recently written an article about Majdanek Camp.
    My advice to anyone who wants to know FACTS is:
    Read it at

    Majdanek – a “death camp”?
    Forget it. It is as always – just fairytales and for ever never ending repeated lies!!!

    Comment by Königsberg — May 9, 2011 @ 11:49 am

    • I read the article by Jürgen Graf.

      He wrote:

      (begin quote)
      According to the report of the Polish-Soviet commission of August 1944, there were six such chambers:

      “Three gas chambers (Nos. I, II and III), located at the northeastern end wall of the bath; one gas chamber (No. IV) immediately adjoining the bath and forming an entire building unit, as seen from the exterior. […] Two gas chambers (Nos. V and VI), located on the area between compounds 1 and 2.” [7]

      The official Majdanek version had yet another gas chamber, not mentioned by the Polish-Soviet commission, besides the six referred to above. It is said to have been a room in the new crematorium.

      – Chamber IV has a window which the victims would have smashed immediately (the blue stains prove that this window existed at the time in question);
      (end quote)

      He was referring to the building near the entrance to the camp, which has a sign that reads “Bath and Disinfection.” He mentions that gas chamber number IV has a glass window. So he is referring to the first gas chamber that you see when you enter the gas chamber section of the building through the door of the room where there is a concrete bath tub and a shower. That room is L shaped and has another door to the outside of the building. There are three other rooms besides this L shaped room, but one of the three does not have any Zyklon-B stains.

      Gas Chambers V & VI no longer exist. The gas chamber in the crematorium would be number VII or number V, depending on how you count them.

      That’s a lot of gas chambers, considering that only 59,000 Jews died at Majdanek, according to the latest figures given by the Museum.

      Comment by furtherglory — May 9, 2011 @ 12:13 pm

      • I am not sure of how to interpret your comment Mr FG….
        ….but, Yes, it is a lot of “gas chambers”.
        One should have in mind that Mr Jürgen Graf in this article is referring to alleged (not proven!) information from “eye witnesses” and the so called “Polish-Soviet commission of August 1944” of which no information is even near to be considered as forensic or scientific acceptable facts/evidence.

        The honourable Mr Jürgen Graf summarizes his article with:
        – “From whichever point of view one looks at the story of homicidal gassings at Majdanek – whether from a historical, a technical or a logical one – it always turns out to be absurd. Only two types of readers will thus be impressed by Thomas Kranz’ kind of deceptive “evidence”:
        the uninformed ones who, naïvely believe to be reading the study of a serious historian, and the fanatical believers in the
        Holocaust, who say “my mind is made up, don’t confuse me with the facts”.

        It is essential that one reads the whole article by Jürgen Graf – not just selected parts of it….

        Comment by Königsberg — May 10, 2011 @ 10:25 am

        • Here’s how to interpret my comment: The first report about the Majdanek camp was that 1.5 million people had been killed there. The first report said that there were two identical gas chamber buildings in Barrack No. 41 and Barrack No. 42. Later, when it was learned that the clothing from the 3 Aktion Reinhard camps was sent to Majdanek to be disinfected, it was assumed that one of the two barrack buildings had been used to disinfect the clothes and one had been used to gas the Jews.

          Now the latest information on the number of Jews who died at Majdanek is 59,000. In view of this new information, the number of gas chambers should be downgraded again.

          I have read the whole article by Jürgen Graf and I have come to a “logical” conclusion: the current story of Majdanek has too many gas chambers for the number of Jews who died in the camp.

          Comment by furtherglory — May 10, 2011 @ 12:50 pm

          • There existed only one form of gas chambers during WW2 in the by Germany occupied areas: Gas chambers for disinfection!
            These chambers cleaned clothes/shoes/personal belongings/mattresses/etc – which killed much more than six million of the typhoid spreading lice.

            You and everybody else can forget about “homicidal gas chambers” — those chambers only exist in dreams and fantasies…. 😉

            There is to this day (2011 May 11) not ONE single forensic and/or scientific accepted evidence/proof for ONE single homicidal gas chamber — not ONE!!

            On the other hand are there MANY forensic and/or scientific accepted evidence/proof for chambers for disinfection.
            There where also chambers so big that whole trains fitted into them. Yes, whole trains where cleaned/disinfected — and NO one has ever come forward with the “more logical” allegation that these trains where “filled with jews”….

            Comment by Königsberg — May 11, 2011 @ 12:22 am

  5. “There are four gas chambers in another building at the other end of the camp so there was no need for another gas chamber in the crematorium building.”

    So, there were a total of five gas chambers at Majdanek. Is that a record?

    Comment by who+dares+wings — May 9, 2011 @ 11:31 am

    • There were seven gas chambers at the three Auschwitz camps. There was one gas chamber at the Auschwitz I main camp, two old farmhouses at Auschwitz II which were converted into gas chambers, and four gas chambers in the crematorium buildings at Auschwitz II.

      In the building near the entrance at the Majdanek camp, there are 4 gas chambers if you count the first one as two chambers. It is L shaped and sometimes the two parts are counted as two gas chambers. The Majdanek Museum says that there are three gas chambers in the building near the entrance and one gas chamber in the crematorium, so technically, there are only four gas chambers at Majdanek.

      Comment by furtherglory — May 9, 2011 @ 11:51 am

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