The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Auschwitz: Krema I

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Auschwitz: The Experimental Gas Chamber

David Cole has produced a videotape which filmed the director of the Auschwitz State Museum [ Dr. Piper] "admitting" that the gas-chamber known Krema I was constructed after the war ended, on the direct order of Stalin.

Foner (Foner, Samuel P. "Major Historical Fact Uncovered" SPOTLIGHT Vol. XIX, Number 2, January 11, 1993) tells us:

The videotape on which Piper makes his revelations was taken in mid-1992 by a young Jewish investigator, David Cole. It has just been released, on January 1, 1993, although Cole announced his project at the 11th International Revisionist Conference at Irvine, California last October.

The small gas chamber of Krema I was used for gassing for a short time, and then converted into an air-raid shelter; after the war, it was reconstructed to look as it did when it was used for gassing, as Dr. Piper notes in his letter of response to the Cole video. The text of Piper's letter is a bit stilted, as Polish is his native language, but his intent, and the facts, are quite clear:

Cole maintains that I first time admitted the allegedly unknown fact the Nazis adapted the crematorium in question in which the gas chamber were located for air-raid shelter, the fact allegedly unknown even for Museum guides. It is un truth. See enclosed copies of pages from the books which constitute the fundamental reading for Auschwitz guides. In book by T-an Sehn "Concentrat Camp Ogwiqcim-Brzezinka (Auschwitz-Birkenau) Warsaw 1957, You may read on the page 152-" In May 1944 the old Crematorium I in the base camp was adapted for use as an air raid shelter.

The Fact is also confirmed in the book by Jean Claude Pressac "Auschwitz: Technique and operation of the gas chambers, published by The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation, New York 1989 515 Madison Avenue. On the page 157 you may read: "With part of the building converted to an air raid shelter, this is the state in which the SS abandoned Krematorium I in January 1945." Repeating what Pressac had written I told what was the nature of the adaptation works carried out by the Nazis and what one had to do to remove those changes in order to regain the previous appearance.

They are all " Piper's revelations. In spite of the fact that such secondary restoration works had to be done, there is an undisputable reality that the gas chamber in question is housed in the same builldin which has been existed from prewar times till now.

[(See people/p/piper.franciszek/press/daily.texan.1093) for the entire letter from Dr. Piper to the Daily Texan regarding the Cole video.]

Breitman offers the following as background information to the development of Zyklon B as a killing device, and (more specifically) to the early use to which Block 11 was put:

Auschwitz had been receiving trainloads of Soviet commissars and other POW's who were subject to liquidation. Höss's men had shot previous shipments of Russian prisoners, but on September 3 Höss's enterprising subordinate Hauptsturmführer Fritsch thought of an expedient new method based on the camp's own experience.

The buildings, many of them former Polish army barracks, were full of insects, and the camp administration had previously brought in the Hamburg pesticide firm of Tesch and Stabenow to get rid of them. Two experts had fumigated particular buildings with a patented insecticide, Zyklon B, a crystalline form of hydrogen cyanide that turned gaseous when exposed to the air. (Höss, "Commandant of Auschwitz," 175. Interrogation of Höss, 14 May 1946, NA RG 238, M-1019/R 28/63)

On September 3 Fritsch decided to experiment. First he crammed five or six hundred Russians and another 250 sick prisoners from the camp hospital into an underground detention cell. Then the windows were covered with earth. SS men wearing gas masks opened the Zyklon-B canisters to remove what looked like blue chalk pellets about the size of peas, creating a cloud of poison gas. After they left, the doors were sealed. (Höss, Commandant at Auschwitz, 173. See also Yehuda Bauer, "Auschwitz," in Jäckel and Rohwere, eds., Der Mord an den Juden, 167-68)

Höss wrote later that death was instantaneous. Perhaps that was what he was told. But he was not present to witness the event; he was away on a business trip. Other sources indicate that even the next day not everyone was dead, and the SS men had to release more insecticide. Eventually all the prisoners died. When Höss returned to Auschwitz, he heard about the successful experiment. On Eichmann's next visit to Auschwitz, Höss told him about the possibilities of Zyklon-B, and, according to Höss, the two decided to use the pesticide and the peasant farmstead for extermination.

(Höss, Commandant, 175. From the History of KL Auschwitz, New York, 1982, I, 190)(Breitman, 203)

SS-Unterscharführer Pery Broad described a gassing in Krema I while giving testimony (Museum, 176):

".... The 'disinfectors' were at work. One of them was SS-Unterscharfuehrer Teuer, decorated with the Cross of War Merit. With a chisel and a hammer they opened a few innocuously looking tins which bore the inscription 'Cyclon, to be used against vermin. Attention, poison! to be opened by trained personnel only!'.

The tins were filled to the brim with blue granules the size of peas. Immediately after opening the tins, their contents were thrown into the holes which were then quickly covered. Meanwhile Grabner gave a sign to the driver of a lorry, which had stopped close to the crematorium.

The driver started the motor and its deafening noise was louder than the death cries of the hundreds of people inside, being gassed to death."

Müllers eyewitness account of gassings in Krema I, in April, 1942, is recounted in Hilberg's "The Destruction of the European Jews":
The Auschwitz procedure evolved in stages. In April 1942, Slovak Jews were gassed in Crematorium I, apparently with their clothes on. Later, deportees from nearby Sosnowiec were told to undress in the yard. The victims, faced by the peremptory order to remove their clothes, men in front of women and women in front of men, became apprehensive. The SS men, shouting at them, then drove the naked men, women and children into the gas chamber.
In The Encyclopedia of the Holocaust, Jozef Buszko (Jagiellonian University, Krakow) writes:

"The first, relatively small gas chamber was built in Auschwitz I. Here the experimental gassing using Zyklon B gas first took place, on September 3, 1941. The victims were 600 Soviet prisoners of war and 250 other prisoners. After that experiment, the firm J. A. Topf and Sons received a contract to build much larger, permanent gas chambers connected with very large crematoria in Auschwitz-Birkenau, where the mass exterminations were mainly carried out. Altogether four such installations -- II, III, IV, and V -- were built in Birkenau." (Encyclopedia, Vol. I, 113)

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