Scrapbookpages Blog

October 25, 2016

How many holes on the roof of a gas chamber does it take to gas a room full of Jews?

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , , — furtherglory @ 8:33 am

Today, I am writing, in an answer to a comment, made by a guy named Denying-History, one of the new readers of my blog.

I am quoting his comment:

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Hans stark talks about the pouring of Zyklon though the room of two holes, then the holes being closed. Morgue 1 (based on HC’s view) had three holes, but they say that Stark could have mistaken the number of holes in use. This again fits broads model of two cans of 1kg, though we don’t have a size record from Stark.

End Quote

My 1998 photo of the roof of Krema 1 gas chamber

My 1998 photo of roof of the Krema 1 gas chamber in Auschwitz main camp

In September 1998, I climbed up on the roof of the gas chamber in the main Auschwitz camp and photographed the holes, through which the Zyklon-B poison gas was allegedly poured. My photo above shows the holes, which are covered with wooden lids.

My 1998 photo of SS hospital and the roof of the gas chamber

My 1998 photo of SS hospital and the roof of the Auschwitz 1 gas chamber

The photo above shows the hospital for wounded or sick SS soldiers in the German Army. Stupid Germans!!! Didn’t they realize that some gas fumes might have wafted over to the hospital on a hot summer day?

No, actually it was perfectly safe because the holes on the roof were covered with wooden lids. One SS man would lift up the lid, while another SS man would quickly pour the poison pellets into the gas chamber room below.

Gas chamber in foreground and SS hospital in the background

Gas chamber in foreground and SS hospital for wounded soldiers in the background

The famous photo above, which I did not take, shows that there was only a narrow street between the gas chamber and the hospital. The SS men in the hospital could have just dashed across the street, and into the gas chamber, if they decided to commit suicide.

Front entrance into gas chamber in main camp

My 1998 photo of the front entrance into gas chamber in the Auschwitz I camp

My photograph above shows one of the entrances into the reconstructed Krema I gas chamber in the Auschwitz main camp. This door was added by the Nazis in the fall of 1944 when the gas chamber was converted into an air raid shelter.

When I visited Auschwitz in 2005, this door was locked and the tourist entrance was through the original door on the other side of the building. In 1998, my tour guide and I entered through the metal door.

The gas chamber room at Auschwitz, which was actually a morgue for dead bodies, was designed to be used by the SS men for shelter in case of an air raid attack.

In my 2005 photo below, notice the peephole in the metal door. This peephole was for SS soldiers to look out to see if all was clear after a bombing raid. Anyone looking in, through this peephole, would only have seen the black wall behind the door.

Air raid shelter door has peephole to look out

My 2005 photo of the air raid shelter door

Wooden door inside gas chamber

My 2005 photo of wooden door into the gas chamber room

Robert Jan van Pelt & Deborah Dwork wrote in their book entitled “Auschwitz 1270 to the Present,” that the routine gassing of humans was inaugurated at the Auschwitz I camp on September 16, 1941 when 900 Soviet Prisoners of War were killed in the mortuary room of the crematorium which had just been converted into a gas chamber.

According to these two historians, shortly before that, the mortuary room had been put into service as an execution chamber where Polish political prisoners were shot because the Black Wall, formerly used for executions, proved to be too far away from the crematorium for an efficient system.

Sadly, the bullet holes, made by the shooting of the Polish prisoners, have been plastered over and can no longer be seen.

My photo of the washroom door, which opens into the gas chamber, is shown below. Note that there is a glass window in the door.

My photo of the washroom door into the gas chamber

My 1998 photo of the washroom door into the gas chamber

On my visit to the gas chamber in 1998, I asked my tour guide what kept the prisoners from breaking the door and letting in fresh air. She told me that an SS man was posted behind the door, ready to shoot anyone who tried to break the glass.

After Auschwitz Commandant Rudolf Höss had been beaten half to death by his British captors, he described the 1941 gassing of the Soviet Prisoners of War in the following quote from his memoirs:

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I have a clearer recollection of the gassing of 900 Russians that took place shortly afterwards in the old crematorium, since the use of block 11 for this purpose caused too much trouble. While the transport was detraining, holes were pierced in the earth and concrete ceiling of the mortuary. The Russians were ordered to undress in an anteroom; they then quietly entered the mortuary, for they had been told they were to be deloused. The whole transport exactly filled the mortuary to capacity. The doors were then sealed and the gas shaken down through the holes in the roof. I do not know how long this killing took. For a little while a humming sound could be heard. When the powder was thrown in, there were cries of “Gas!” then a great bellowing, and the trapped prisoners hurled themselves against both doors. But the doors held. They were opened several hours later so that the place might be aired.

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