Scrapbookpages Blog

July 16, 2012

Wooden enclosure found at Dachau Baracke X by American liberators

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 10:11 am

Photo taken by American soldier at the liberation of Dachau Photo Credit:

(Click on the photo above to enlarge)  Note the wooden enclosure on the far left side of the photo.

Photo taken on April 30, 1945 at Dachau shows wooden enclosure  Photo Credit: Donald E. Jackson

I have enhanced the two old photos above, using Photoshop, so as to show as much detail as possible. The building shown in the photos is Baracke X which was the building where the gas chamber and crematory ovens were located. In the photo immediately above, it appears that the wooden enclosure has a door into it. The door that is leaning against the structure appears to have been removed from some place else and put there.

Note what appears to be two German civilians on the left in the photo above. According to Donald E. Jackson, who took this photo in May 1945, “We used civilian wagons to haul the bodies and you can see them in other photos. The civilians loaded the bodies and unloaded them into the trench [at Leitenberg].”

Photo of Baracke X taken on April 30, 1945 after Dachau was liberated

Note that the wooden enclosure is shown in the old photo above, taken one day after Dachau was liberated. My  2007 photo below shows Baracke X as it looks today.

Baracke X at Dachau — the wall that was hidden behind the wooden structure is on the far left

Close-up of the section of the Baracke X wall that was hidden by the wooden enclosure

A discussion about the first photo shown above, written by a family member of the person who took the photo, can be read here.  The photo was sent to the Dachau Memorial Site, where a person who works there identified the photo and wrote this description:

Bodies in a farmer’s cart or wagon in front of Barack X (the crematorium), It’s possible they had been brought there by the other prisoners after liberation as part of the clean up. This could also be part of the clean up itself and the bodies are on their way to the Leitenburg mass graves. The chimney position shows us that the picture has been flipped. In the background, one can see the wooden enclosure that was used to hide the viewing port and pellet chutes for the camp’s small gas chamber. The door is broken and ajar, as it is in pictures of [it] in the museum.

Note the misspelling of the words Baracke and Leitenberg by a person who works at Dachau.

The second old photo above shows that the first photo, which this person is analyzing, has not been “flipped,” a term which I understand to mean “reversed.”  But forget all that.  The important point here is that someone who works at the Dachau Memorial Site says that the wooden enclosure at Baracke X was used to hide the viewing port (peephole) and the pellet chutes for the gas chamber.

So the official story of Dachau now is that the chutes and the peephole were there when the camp was liberated?  That’s not what a War Crimes Investigation Team said in 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, was a “Wooden shed believed to contain a pump or compressor.”

 The Chavez Report, written by a US Army officer, was entered into the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal as Documents 159L and 2430-PS.

The wording of the Chavez Report indicates that no one actually went into the wooden shed, so no one saw the chutes for pouring in the Zyklon-B pellets and the peephole for the SS men to watch the victims die.

An undated addendum, which mentioned the bins, was added to the Chavez Report at a later date.

So when did someone finally see the bins and the peephole? Apparently, not for a long time.  On my website, I have a page on which I have compiled all the descriptions of the gas chamber that I could find.  Not one person who entered the Dachau gas chamber immediately after the liberation of the camp mentioned the chutes on the wall or the screened openings inside the gas chamber.

The former Dachau concentration camp is now a big tourist attraction since is is only about 10 miles from Munich.  Tourists want to have the complete Holocaust experience when they go to Dachau.   The folks at the Memorial Site don’t want to begrudge the tourists the ultimate horror of standing inside a real gas chamber, so the sign that was there when I first visited in May 1997 is now gone.

Sign that was inside Dachau gas chamber from 1965 to 2002

I took the photo of the sign in the Dachau gas chamber in May 2001, but when I returned in May 2003, the sign had been removed.