Little Grey Rabbit's Historical Skepticism Blog

Knut Baecker and the interior shots of Krema II

Posted in Auschwitz, Essential Postings by littlegreyrabbit on June 12, 2010

Back in 1999 a Holocaust Denier using the pseudonymous name of Knud Baecker cast doubt on some of the materials used to evidence the crematoria of Auschwitz-Birkenau.  He was particularly skeptical of some of the interior construction shots which he suggested may have originally been paintings which were then photographed to give a suitable patina. See here

I thought it might be worth revisiting this claim which encompasses 3 or 4 photos of the so-call Bau Album of Auschwitz, allegedly buried by the camp resistance and dug up in the presence of the Polish investigative commission in 1946 [needs fact check].

All photos are somewhat blurry, the best and most widely reproduced is this one.

Interior: Construction of Krema II

Interestingly, most of the images found on the internet have the left hand side cropped.  The left hand side seems to be showing a square sided gutter for a low trolley, like what can be seen today, reconstructed at Auschwitz, Krema I.

Auschwitz I: Reconstructed Trolley System

So it would seem there is nothing unusual about the Krema II image, EXCEPT when you examine the state of Krema II ruins today.

Krema II ruins and guttering today

Here we see nothing more than a normal shallow guttering, inconsistent with the Interior Krema II photo – perhaps suggesting why it is normally cropped.

Curiously, David Olere’s famous series of drawings, allegedly made in 1946 but not appearing in public until the 1970s also seem more consistent with this disputed photo than the physical state of the ruins.

Suggesting the Olere used the Bau Album collection as his model for drawing, not uncontaminated memory.

But could, for reasons unknown, the floor have been altered either during operation or after liberation by the Auschwitz Museum?  Fortunately we have another yardstick for assessing the genuineness of this photo.

To return to the original image

Krema II: Ceiling vents

We can observe the presence of ceiling vents evenly spaced across the ceiling (5 in number).  These ceiling vents are still visible today in the ruins of Krema III, which has not been interfered with by the Museum:

Krema III: Ceiling vent

Personally I think the ceiling vents in the interior construction photo are simply patches of paint of the wrong dimensions, and at least one of the “ceiling vents” of Krema III in the ruins today has a pillar sticking up through it – difficult to reconcile will its supposed interior layout.

Fortunately one of the interior photos of the Bau Album of lower resolution removes all doubt and shows a ceiling without holes.

Krema II interior: no holes

Given the well formed edge of the ceiling holes in the ruins, it is impossible to imagine these holes not being introduced when the concrete of the roof was being poured.  From the oversight in this photo alone we can be certain that the interior shots of Krema II are not genuine and that Knud Baecker’s suggestion of a painted interior subsequently converted to a photo is likely correct.

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