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December 22, 2011

The Dachau gas chamber re-examined

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 10:23 am

The Inconvenient History blog has a new article entitled Reexamining the “gas chamber” of Dachau. The article, which was written by Thomas Dalton, can be read in full here.  In the article, Dalton points out several things about the Dachau “gas chamber” that I never noticed, but he also missed a couple of things that I saw on several visits to Dachau.

One thing that I noticed in the Dachau “gas chamber” is shown in the photo below, taken by Thomas Dalton, and included in his article.

Photo of the east wall of Dachau "gas chamber" Photo Credit: Thomas Dalton

On the far right in the photo above, you can see the faint outline of what looks like a column that is about one foot wide and extends about six inches from the wall.  I have no idea what is inside this brick column, but it could have something to do with the “compressor” which was mentioned in the Chavez Report.  I had been inside the Dachau gas chamber several times before I noticed the column; unfortunately, I didn’t take a photo of it.

Wooden screen on the East wall of the Dachau "gas chamber" Photo taken in May, 1945 Photo Credit: Donald Jackson

On April 30, 1945, the day after the Dachau concentration camp was liberated, the 40th Combat Engineer Regiment, which was supporting the 45th Thunderbird Division, arrived to take over. The photo above shows Eldon Patterson of E Company, 40th Combat Engineers standing in front of Baracke X. The door into the “wooden shed” was blocked by a pile of corpses and it may even have been nailed shut which would have discouraged anyone from looking behind it.

Before the first proceedings of the American Military Tribunal at Dachau began in November 1945, a War Crimes Investigation Team had summarized its findings in the Report of the Atrocities Committed at Dachau Concentration Camp, signed by JAGD Col. David Chavez Jr. on 7 May 1945.

The Chavez Report stated on page 56 that the wooden structure, shown against the east wall of the crematorium in the photo above, was a “Wooden shed believed to contain a pump or compressor.”  The wording of the Report implies that no one went into the “wooden shed” to see if the pump or compressor “believed” to be hidden there was actually there.   (more…)