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|others, and its population was exclusively Polish. In
1942 this camp, later called "Auschwitz I," was divided in two parts by the
construction of a new center three kilometers from the first and which soon
took on size, becoming Birkenau or "Auschwitz II." In 1943 a third camp was
built eight kilometers away from the first and took the name of "Buna-Monowitz
or Auschwitz III." Parallel to this, thirty nine smaller camps or "commandos"
swarmed out in the region occupying a territory of a radius of nearly thirty
five kilometers. |
Beginning in the spring of 1942, the convoys of Jewish deportees coming from all of the occupied countries and disembarking at Birkenau resulted in the fact that among the internees the number of Jews soon became heavily dominant.
From the first period on, the mother camp, "Auschwitz I," was provided with a crematorium, whereas until the spring of 1943 no other camp nor commando had one. In autumn 1941, during the first experiments of gassing, a cellar of Block 11 at Auschwitz I was fitted out as a temporary gas chamber and the bodies of the victims of these experiments were burnt in the crematory oven. Following these tests, in 1942 two houses abandoned by peasants and situated in a wood at Birkenau were transformed by the camp's own means into gas chambers and known as "bunkers." A dependency of the crematorium of Auschwitz I was, also occasionally used as a gas chamber. There was still no crematorium at Birkenau, and the bodies of the gassed were at first buried in the vicinity of the gas chambers and later burnt in vast open trenches. In the spring of 1943, on the territory of Birkenau, the construction of four modern and perfected plants designated by the vague terms of "Crematoriums I, II, III and IV", was completed. they were built by industrial enterprises exterior to the camp, and each was composed of three parts: an area for the crematory ovens, an area for the undressing of the victims and a gas chamber. Henceforth, the "bunkers" were used only in case of necessity, as were the trenches for incinerating bodies. Neither the camp of Buna Monowitz nor any of the thirty nine commandos of Auschwitz ever possessed crematory ovens or gas chambers.
The "selection" of the victims was effected in two manners: on the one hand, upon arrival of the trains and without even enrolment and on the other hand following periodical selections among the registered internees of the camps and the commandos brought to Birkenau for execution.
On October 7, 1944, Crematory III was out of order following a bloody revolt of the prisoners of the "Sonderkommando" responsible for its cleaning and maintenance. In January 1945, with the approach of the Russian army, the four plants were dynamited by the SS.
Further on, we shall see the foundations of our knowledge, but let us say immediately that since 1973 it is denied by constant reference to the "testimony" of Christophersen who speculates on the fact that he had personally known the "camp of Auschwitz" where, he says, he
|The Holocaust and the Neo-Nazi Mythomania|
© 1978, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation