Technique and Operation
                            of the Gas Chambers ©
Previous Page Back  Contents  Contents Page 27 Home Page Home Page  Forward Next Page 
Photo 10
Photo 11
 Photos 10 and 11
The southeast side of Block 3, seen from the birch alley
  showing the ventilation hole of the second gas chamber.  
Translation: (Document 12)    
Column headings: 
Zn. Nr / drawing number 
Haus / house [!]  
Mappe / file 
A.I. Schuzhaftlager - Gebäude Nr. 15-16, Block 1, BW 20L. / A.1 preventive detention camp building No. 15-16. Block I- BW 20 L  
Massstab / scale 
Aufstockung-Erdgeschoss-Obergeschoss / additional story, ground floor, upper floor 
Erdgeschoss / ground floor  
Querschnitt, Ansicht / cross section elevation  
Aufstockung, Querschnitt. Ansicht / additional story, cross-section. elevation 
Bestandplan des Gebäudes N.15 (Block 1) / inventory drawing of building No. 15 (Block 1) 
GAS U. ENTLAUSUNGSKAMMER / gas and delousing chamber 
Bestandplan des Gebäudes BW 20L. Block 1 / inventory drawing of building BW 20L Block 1 
Document 12
 Document 12:
[PMO file 1/4, page 11]
On the ground of the western corner of Block I [Photos 14, 15 and 19] there was a delousing gas chamber. The Bauleitung gave the number 1685 to its modification drawing ("Gas and delousing chamber") for Block I [Document 12], a number that dates the project at about 15-20 August 1942, in the midst of a typhus epidemic [cf the diary of Johann-Paul Kremer, reservist doctor, note of 20/8/42], probably as an additional drastic means to delouse effects using Zyklon-B. The transformation was carried out in very primitive fashion by bricking in the existing inflows, but the date on which this was done is not known. With a volume of 65 to 70m (approximately 5.5m long, 3.25m wide and 3.8m high), two 200g cans of Zyklon-B were more than enough to eliminate the lice in 2 to 6 hours (recommended concentration: 5g/m³). The only remaining opening, a small fanlight, was installed to permit natural ventilation once the door was open. It would appear that the present gas-tight door [Photos 16, 17 and 18] with which the gas chamber is fitted was not installed until June 1943. Before this there was another door, not gas-tight, and considerably higher [Photo 16]. On 28th May 1943 Order 459 [Document 13] issued by the SS Administration (Section "V4" also responsible for the Krematorien) was sent to the DAW metalworking shop requesting the fabrication of a gas-tight door for the disinfestation chamber in the Stammlager. Only the gas chamber of Block 1 has such a door, which would appear to prove that Order 459 was for this chamber. However, there is a contradiction between the terms of this Order, which requests a gas-tight door for a gas chamber (hence using Zyklon-B) but destined for a disinfestation chamber (using hot air). This contradiction is only apparent, for it seems that subsequently hydrocyanic acid delousing was abandoned in favour of hot air, supplied by a boiler installed in the yard between Blocks 1 and 2. This modification would explain the juxtaposition of the terms "Gaskammer" and "Entwesungskammer" for the same room. 
Technique and operation
of the gas chambers

Jean-Claude Pressac
© 1989, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
Previous Page  Back Page 27 Forward  Next Page