My photo of the ruins of the Krema III gas chamber at Auschwitz-Birkenau
The gas chambers at Auschwitz Birkenau were not a secret; all the prisoners in the camp were allegedly aware of what was going on. Why didn’t the prisoners do something about this horror? Who knows?
According to Tadeusz Borowski, a Polish political prisoner at Auschwitz-Birkenau, who wrote a book entitled “This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen,” a soccer field was built at Birkenau in the Spring of 1944 “on the broad clearing behind the hospital barracks.”
By this time, the railroad tracks had been extended all the way to the gas chambers at the western end of the camp, and the men who were playing soccer nearby were able to see the victims arrive on the trains and then walk to their deaths in Krema III, which was “right by the fence” that separated the gas chambers from the barracks in the camp.
Borowski wrote that he was the goalkeeper in a game on a beautiful Sunday afternoon and “Between two throw-ins in a soccer game, right behind my back, three thousand people had been put to death.” Three thousand was the number of Jews that typically arrived on each train transport. However, during the extermination of the Hungarian Jews in 1944, an entire transport would allegedly be gassed without going through a selection process, in spite of the fact that the Nazis were desperate for workers in their munitions factories.
The photo at the top of my blog post shows the entrance to the ground floor oven room in the Krema III gas chamber building at Auschwitz Birkenau.
My photo of the other side of the ruins of Krema III at Auschwitz-Birkenau
The photo immediately above shows the ruins of the entrance to Krema III. The construction of the building was completed in 1943. Note the fence which enclosed the area around the building.
The alleged gassing of the Jews stopped at the end of October 1944 and the cremation ovens were removed in November 1944. The buildings were not blown up with dynamite until January 20, 1945, two days after the Germans had abandoned Auschwitz-Birkenau. Did the Germans come back to blow up the buildings, or was this done by the Russian liberators? Who knows?
My early morning photo of the Krema III building at Auschwitz-Birkenau
My photo above shows the ruins of the Krema III undressing room for the gas chamber at Auschwitz-Birkenau. The gas chamber, which is shown on the left, at right angles to the undressing room, was below ground but not directly underneath the brick building which housed the furnace room.
The reinforced concrete roof was six inches thick, with four holes, in a zig-zag pattern, where the Zyklon-B gas pellets were poured into the room. These holes were shown on aerial photos taken by the US military in 1944, but they cannot be seen today because the entire roof of Krema III was destroyed when the Nazis blew up the building on January 20, 1945, two days after they had abandoned the camp.
According to the book entitled “Auschwitz: A Doctor’s Eyewitness Account” by Dr. Miklos Nyiszli, a Hungarian Jew who allegedly worked at Auschwitz as the chief pathologist under Dr. Josef Mengele, the three-foot high roofs of the gas chambers in Krema III and Krema II were covered with dirt and planted with grass.
On the blueprint of Krema III, the gas chamber was called Leichenkeller 1 (Corpse Cellar # 1). In the photo above, one can see the solid concrete columns that once supported the roof of the gas chamber. When the gas chamber was in use, it had holes in the roof through which the Zyklon-B gas pellets were poured into wire columns, which can no longer be seen today. The holes were closed up by the Germans before they blew up Krema III and the wire columns were removed, so that no evidence that this was once a gas chamber can be seen today.
The SS entrance into the Krema III gas chamber
The location of the SS entrance, shown in the center in my photo above, was not on the original blueprints. Krema III was originally planned to be built at Auschwitz I, the main camp.
The original blueprints for Krema II and Krema III called for corpse cellars that were completely underground and included a corpse slide which ended in front of the Leichenkeller doors, but this slide was never built. The SS entrance was built instead, but not in the same location as the originally planned corpse slide.
Krema III was located on the right-hand side of the east-west main camp road, while Krema II was on the left side of the road, as you enter the camp. A short road, perpendicular to the main camp road, connected the two barbed-wire enclosures of the Krema buildings. Directly opposite the gate into the Krema III barbed-wire enclosure was an identical gate into the Krema II enclosure.
Today there are millions of tourists who take guided tours of the former Birkenau camp. The first time that I went to see the Birkenau camp, my tour guide and I were the only people there.
The whole camp was grown up in weeds, and there were signs warning visitors not to get off the road because there were snakes in the grass — literally. There are still “snakes in the grass” at Birkenau, but they are humans, not real snakes.