Scrapbookpages Blog

April 16, 2016

“the steps leading down into those gas chambers…”

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 8:24 am
Model of the Krema II gas chamber at Auschwitz-Birkenau

Model of the Krema II undressing room and gas chamber at Auschwitz-Birkenau

The title of my blog post today is a quote from a newspaper opinion article which you can read in full at http://www.cincinnati.com/story/opinion/contributors/2016/04/15/teacher-auschwitz-reminds-why-we-must-reject-hate/82984092/

The following quote is from the newspaper opinion piece:

Recently, Werner Coppel, a 91-year-old survivor of Auschwitz, passed away peacefully as I [an American school teacher] held his hand whispering words of gratitude and love. His death, a reminder of our ephemeral nature, has caused immense reflection.

[…]

I challenge each [presidential] candidate to listen to a Holocaust survival story as a reminder of the ideals on which this country was founded. Absorb wisdom gained from the darkness of hatred, evils of divisiveness, stripped dignity of dehumanization. Traverse the paths of Auschwitz-Birkenau, see the steps leading down into those gas chambers, …

End quote

It has been awhile since my last visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau in 2007 and I had forgotten that the alleged gas chambers at Birkenau were underground; the Holocaust victims had to walk down steps into the undressing room and then proceed into the underground gas chamber, which was at a right angle to the undressing room.

Would it have killed the Nazis to put the gas chambers above ground, so as not to frighten the victims, who had to descend down the steps? I would have died of fright, just by going down those steps. I am surprised that the victims did not revolt and refuse to descend the steps to their death. There were 2,000 Jews who were gassed, each time, so it would have been easy for them to revolt. But no! Each batch of Jews went quietly to their deaths.

The photo, at the top of my blog post, shows a model of the Krema II gas chamber at Auschwitz-Birkenau, which is an exhibit in the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC.

On the left, in the photo, is the underground room where the victims were forced to undress. The gas chamber is shown on the right side of the photo. A small elevator was used to lift the dead bodies up to the cremation ovens, which were on the ground floor of the building. The prisoners who worked in the crematorium lived in the attic space above the ovens.

My photo of the ruins at Auschwitz-Birkenau

My photo of the ruins at Birkenau

The photo above shows the ruins of the undressing room on the right, only a few feet from the steps of the International Monument at Birkenau. In the foreground is the floor of the oven room where the bodies were burned after the Jews were gassed. In the background is the grove of trees that marks the western boundary of the Birkenau camp, with a guard tower in the right hand corner of the photo.

After descending into the undressing room, the prisoners were instructed to take off all their clothes and hang them on hooks on the wall; they were told that they were going to take a shower. Then the naked victims, men, women and children all together, allegedly walked to the end of the undressing room where there was a door into a small vestibule, called the Vorraum.

A door on the south wall of the Vorraum led into the gas chamber, which was at right angles to the undressing room. The gas chamber was allegedly disguised as a shower room with fake shower heads, which are now gone; the hooks in the undressing room have also never been found.

The victims soon learned, to their horror, that they had been duped. The shower room was actually a gas chamber where Zyklon-B gas pellets were thrown in through four holes on the roof.

According to a book entitled, The Bombing of Auschwitz: Should the Allies Have Attempted It? by Michael J. Neufeld and Michael Berenbaum, the gas chambers in Krema II and Krema III were 99 feet long by 23 feet wide. The undressing rooms in both buildings were 162 feet long by 26 feet wide. The section of these T-shaped buildings, which was above ground, was 99 feet long by 37 feet wide, and the overall size of the long part of the buildings was 352 feet by 41 feet.

Ruins of the oven room at Birkenau with undressing room in the background

Ruins of the oven room at Birkenau and undressing room in the background

On the far right in the photo above, you can see the white steps of the International Monument, which are only three or four feet from the entrance to the undressing room of Krema II where 500,000 Jews descended to their death. In the foreground of the photo above is the remains of the ground-floor furnace room.

The Krema II gas chamber and the undressing room were both about five feet underground, but not directly underneath the brick one-story building which housed the cremation ovens.

My photo of the ruins of the steps down into the undresssing room

My photo of the ruins of the steps down into an undressing room at Birkenau

The photo above shows another view of the steps down into the undressing room, which was a bit larger than the gas chamber. Note that the undressing room does not appear deep enough to be an underground room. The concrete roof of this room was 3 feet above ground.

Note in the photo above that there is no path leading to the steps down into the undressing room. Krema II and Krema III were both enclosed by an interior barbed wire fence, which you can see in the background of the photo above.

To access the undressing rooms at Krema II and Krema III, the prisoners had to walk down the main camp road and enter the gas chamber enclosure through a gate that faced the main camp road, then walk around the building to the west side where the steps down into the undressing rooms were located. The location of the gates into the Krema II and Krema III enclosures are now covered by the International Monument.

The photo below, taken with the camera pointing north, shows the collapsed roof of the gas chamber in Krema II, which is at right angles to the undressing room; the International monument is in the background.

Ruins of Krema II with international monument in the background

Ruins of Krema II with international monument in the background

Approximately in the middle of the photo above, you can see the opening of a small hole, through which both Fred Leuchter and Germar Rudolf descended into the alleged Krema II gas chamber. They were expecting to see blue stains left by the Zyklon-B that was allegedly used in this alleged gas chamber, but neither of them saw any blue stains. What!!! Were both of them blind?

The gassing of the Jews at Birkenau stopped on the first of November 1944; the roof of the Krema II brick building was taken off and the cremation ovens were lifted out with cranes. The alleged fake shower fixtures on the ceiling of the gas chamber were removed and all traces of them are now gone. Then the alleged wire-mesh columns inside Krema II, into which the poison gas pellets had been poured, were removed.

During the David Irving libel case, Robert Jan van Pelt testified as an expert witness that the holes in the roof were closed up and cemented over so skillfully that no trace of them can be seen today. Only then were the gas chamber buildings allegedly blown up by the Germans to destroy any remaining evidence.

Yes, yes, I know! Some of my readers are going to tell me that the Soviet liberators of the camp blew up the alleged gas chambers.  But why would they do that? It was the Germans, who destroyed the evidence of gassing before they left the camp, leading the survivors to safety.

You can see more of my photos of the ruins of the Krema II gas chamber at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/AuschwitzScrapbook/Tour/Birkenau/RuinsII02.html