Little Grey Rabbit's Historical Skepticism Blog

The Stairs/Chute of Krema II and III

Posted in Auschwitz, Essential Postings by littlegreyrabbit on January 4, 2011

The presence on the blueprints of Krema II and III of a stairway from an external door has lead to claims that this demonstrates that these two buildings must have had a homicidal function.  This argument, chiefly run by JC Pressac and later Professor Robert van Pelt goes somewhat along the lines that the original design had a chute to be implemented at this location which would be consistent with a normal morgue but the later addition of a stairway in this location implies that victims were intended to walk down this structure into a lethal gas chamber.

From the Judgement of Justice Grey at the trial of Deboral Lipstadt, the significance was summed up as follows:

Meanwhile, Professor van Pelt also explained that when the plans of crematoria II and III were redesigned in late 1942 and early 1943, the corpse-slides or chutes appearing on the original plans were removed, and the entrance to the basement moved to the other side of the building. Thus, if the re-design was intended to facilitate the gassing of corpses, people who are already dead, it had only succeeded in compelling those who were carrying the corpses to negotiate a series of small rooms, narrow passages, and staircases to reach the gassing-space.”

At best it is a fairly weak argument, and rather a side issue because Krema Denial holds that these two buildings were most likely bakeries – and hence by definition these blueprints cannot be genuine – but lets examine what we can find out about this feature in more detail.

Krema III - View of "Staircase/Chute" door

Above is a 1943 photo of Krema III (mysteriously with the partially underground undressing chamber and gas chamber not visible…), the door that is alleged to lead to the stairway/chute is circled in red.  From the external appearance one would expect it would simply lead into a corridor on the ground floor and neither to a corpse chute or a stairway; and according to Krema Denial, that is exactly what it does.  The alleged chute or stairway through such a door would be an extra-ordinary design.

Blueprint 1173 - Cross section of staircase

Above we see a blueprint of Krema II (Krema III blueprints are very few), with staircase in cross-sectioned circled in red.

Blueprint of Krema II - basement level

Above we see another blueprint of the floor plan of the basement level of Krema II (covered in Cyrillic characters).  The disputed stairway is circled in red, in yellow I have circled the legitimate external stairway down to the basement level entry door.  Apparantly the supposed design called for a superfluous door in close proximity.

Drawing 2003 - missing staircase/chute (storeroom)

This is a still later plan of Krema II of the ground floor level.  For reasons unknown, the stairway and door does not appear on this plan (and is replaced by a storage room), this is just one of the many anomalies that appear on these peculiar blueprints.  The legitimate external door is circled in yellow.

Krema III - looking at the doorway supposedly leading to the staircase/chute

Above is a photo of the current state of the ruins of Krema III (the state of Krema II is too broken to inspect in this area).  The yellow arrow points out the disputed door, alleged to lead to a staircase or chute.  In fact, if you look beneath the collapsed concrete roof you can see nothing but unbroken floor.  To the left are the covers of some structures that are built into the ground against the wall.  I did not try to lift the covers, but at a guess they might be cisterns.

Close up of top of underground structure


 Above is a close-up of these possible cisterns – it is possible to look under the collapsed roof and see concrete floor.  Part of the roof has collapsed into the exposed elevator shaft.

Around the other side of the building it is possible to see the remains of the external legitimate stairway and basement entrance door (circled yellow on the blueprints above)

Outside staircase - sealed off

The entire stairwell appears to have been cleared of rubble and the basement investigated by museum staff.  It has now been covered with an impenetrable grill and it is impossible to see into the cellar.  It is, however, possible to lie down on top of this grill and dangling ones digital camera, outstretched with the arm hanging downwards, use it as a kind of periscope and gain the following pictures:

Krema III Basement - angled forwards

The picture above represents the camera angled forward (ie, the alleged oven room is above the righthand wall).  The light you can see coming through at the opposite wall is likely to be that coming through the opening of the elevator shaft.

Krema III Basement - angled backwards

The photo above is with the camera angled in the other direction (ie the wall of the underground undressing chamber is on the left hand side).  There appears to be no evidence of any connection to an underground undressing chamber or any door or entrance through which 2000 Jewish victims could stream through to the gas chamber.  There may be a small doorway concealed in the back corner behind the wooden support – unfortunately only the camera can descend into this space – the visitor can not view it directly.

Krema III Basement – centre.

The final image is the camera in the centre.  At the opposite wall is supposed to be found the large double doors into the gas chamber – through which 2000 Jewish victims daily streamed in and their corpses were dragged out to be loaded on the elevator.  There is absolutely no sign of this door.

Equally, there is no sign of either a stairway or chute (although we already knew inspections above that the floor behind that external door was unbroken), what there does seem are the underground walls of the cistern like structure that was spotted above.
From this cursory, illicit inspection there appears no way that either a gas chamber or stairs or chutes could have existed or functioned as has been extensively described.  Moreover this space has been extensively cleared and evacuated recently by museum staff and they also must be aware of the absence of both staircase and gas chamber door.  These blueprints are frauds and the external underground structures known as “gas chamber” and “undressing chamber” are clumsy post-liberation constructions.

One Response

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  1. Keith Roberts said, on September 30, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    Are you sure the quotation from Grey’s Judjement is correct. “the gassing of corpses”???].

    What I have is..from the summing up////..

    7 61 The next feature identified by van Pelt relates to the entrance to
    crematorium 2 and the means of which access was gained to the morgue
    below. In its original design, the entrance was situated to one side of
    the building. Inside the entrance there was a slide down which corpses
    would be tipped to reach the level of the morgue. But the drawing shows
    that this design was changed in late 1942 so as to move the entrance to
    the crematorium to the street side of the building. At the same time a
    new stairway to the morgue was designed to replace the pre-existing
    slide. Van Pelt pointed out that the original design apparently
    contemplated that only corpses would need to be transported down to the
    morgue. The new design on the other hand is consistent with a wish to
    enable people transported to Auschwitz to proceed from the railway
    station through the new entrance, then to walk downstairs into what is
    alleged to have been the undressing room and thence into the supposed
    gas chamber. The stairway has been redesigned in such a way that it
    would be extremely awkward to carry corpses down to the morgue on
    stretchers. Van Pelt concludes that the object of the redesign of the
    stairway was to enable living people to walk downstairs rather than for
    corpses to be carried down. summing up evidence

    from the judgement:
    ….“ the evidence of van Pelt that the redesign of crematorium 2 in late 1942 was intended to cater for live human beings to walk down to an undressing room before being led into the chamber and to do away with the corpse-slide previously used to convey dead bodies downstairs…… from the –Judgment]

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