The orthodox history of the plan for the extermination of the jews that was allegedly implemented at Auschwitz between 1942 and 1944 begins, as is well known, with an impalpable event: the first homicidal gassing in the basement of Block 11 of Auschwitz. This deed is said to have taken place between September 3 and 5, 1941, and to have led to the death of 250 sick detainees and 600 Soviet prisoners of war. I dedicated an in-depth study to this alleged event in 1992 – published in English and German in a revised, corrected, and enlarged edition – in which I demonstrated that this event has no historical foundation.
Orthodox historiography affirms that, because the basement of Block 11 caused too much time to be lost in ventilation, the homicidal gassings were subsequently moved to the morgue (Leichenhalle) of Crematorium I, the old crematorium (altes Krematorium) at Auschwitz, and that this space was then equipped with a ventilation device to make it suitable for such a purpose. There is, however, no trace in the documents of any such criminal use of this facility.
Initially at least, the homicidal activity, which allegedly went on in this morgue, is said to have been of an experimental nature aiming at a refinement of the method used. As in the case of the “first gassing,” this activity rests entirely on testimony. In view of the total absence of documentary confirmation, this alleged milestone of the orthodox narrative of the camp was for decades relegated to the murky sidelines of historical research, generally dealt with in a few pages, if not a few lines of text.
In the present study, which is the logical sequel to Auschwitz: The First Gassing, I shall examine the topic of the alleged gassings in the morgue of Crematorium I from three converging viewpoints: the origin of the account and its development in the testimonies; the ventilation projects for Crematorium I and their implementation; and the material and documentary evidence.
The conclusions of this three-pronged approach, as we shall see in the chapters that follow, squarely contradict the assertions of orthodox historiography and lay bare the true nature of their shaky conjectures, which have no objective backing.
From April 1941 onwards, various resistance groups that had sprung up among the detainees regularly sent out detailed reports on the events in the camp, which were then collected and disseminated by the Polish government in exile in London. These reports, published by the Auschwitz Museum as a book of nearly 200 pages refer several times to rumors relating to the first alleged gassing in the basement of Block 11 – which, however, is never mentioned – as well as to the alleged homicidal activity in the two provisional gas chambers at Birkenau, the so-called “Bunkers” – likewise never referred to by that name.
The story of homicidal gassings in the morgue of Crematorium I attracted no particular interest from the various underground resistance groups at Auschwitz. They used it only once in their propaganda reports, and rather late at that.
The testimonies on alleged gassings are meager and mutually contradictory. The most detailed ones, and thus those that can be checked most easily, are notoriously and demonstrably false. In this category we find primarily the accounts by Filip Müller and Pery Broad. Notoriously and demonstrably false is also the claim about the only alleged homicidal gassing for which we have verifiable data (date, number, nationality, origin, and serial numbers of the victims): the gassing of the so-called “Sonderkommando” of December 1942.
The “reconstructions” by the orthodox historians are purely conjectural and fictitious. Having no documentary basis, they rely entirely on “accounts collected at the spur of the moment, adjusted to produce arbitrary truths,” according to the well-known practice, which Pressac ascribes to all previous historiography, but which applies to him as well.
An examination of the archives of Neubauleitung (later Bauleitung and finally Zentralbauleitung, Central Construction Office) of Auschwitz allows us to retrace the history of the ventilation projects for the crematorium elaborated by the Topf firm, and to establish with sufficient precision how the various temporary systems installed there were set up and how they worked. These projects and their realizations were carried out in line with the needs of a normal morgue and not a “homicidal gas chamber” as hypothesized without the least documentary evidence.
Finally, an analysis of the alleged Zyklon B introduction openings in the roof of the morgue demonstrates that the openings installed by the Poles in the immediate post-war period are necessarily in keeping with the architectural structure at that time, which was different from the structure the crematorium had in 1942. For this reason, they cannot have any relationship with the alleged original openings. In any case, there is no material or documentary trace of the latter.
Summary and Conclusion
1) There is no proof that the alleged openings for the introduction of Zyklon B ever existed in the morgue of Crematorium I.
2) There is no proof that the morgue was ever equipped with two gas-tight doors.
3) In contradiction to any kind of logical planning, these alleged gas chamber doors are said to have later been removed by the SS, when the crematorium was converted to a gas-tight air-raid shelter, and replaced by one normal door and one standard gas-tight door.
4) The traces of cyanides present in the walls of the morgue do not prove that the room was used as a homicidal gas chamber.
5) The number of openings made by the Poles after the war (four) is at variance with all available testimonies. This also goes for the figure adopted by the members of the Holocaust History Project (five).
6) The Polish “reconstruction” of both the location of the openings and the structure and dimensions of the Zyklon B introduction shafts has no basis in documents or in witness statements. In fact, there are no documents, and no witness has furnished any detailed information on these.
7) There is no proof that the four dark spots visible on the roof of Crematorium I in the photograph published by Pressac are traces of former openings that were later sealed; on the contrary, the location of no former hole in the morgue’s ceiling corresponds to the location of any of these dark spots.
8) The remaining traces of former openings in the ceiling are circular and are no doubt connected to the transformation of the crematorium into an air-raid shelter.
9) The openings created by the Poles make sense, geometrically speaking, only in the context of the present state of the room, but are totally asymmetric and irrational when seen in the context of its original state – which is further proof that they have nothing whatsoever to do with any alleged original openings.
The alleged use of the morgue of Crematorium I at Auschwitz as a gas chamber has therefore no historical foundation. It is not history but historical propaganda, laboriously reworked over the decades.