Little Grey Rabbit's Historical Skepticism Blog

No Footage of Krema II and III in the Soviet 1945 documentary “The Liberation of Auschwitz”

Posted in Auschwitz, Essential Postings by littlegreyrabbit on January 5, 2011

Immediately after the liberation of Auschwitz, the Soviets sent a film crew in to make an extensive newsreel documentary.  This documentary was later shown at the Nuremberg Trials.  In the last few years it has been released on DVD (and can be downloaded in various places on the Internet by googling the terms “The Liberation of Auschwitz” avi).  Curiously, although there was extensive coverage of clearing away the ruins of Krema V, it appears on first viewing to contain no images of Krema II and III (allegedly the main gassing facilities) or Krema IV at all.

The thought occurs that given Krema II and III were supposedly the epicenter of the extermination program, perhaps the reason they did not appear on film is because they were not ready yet to be shown to the public.

Curiously, shortly after I made this claim regarding the lack of Krema II and III images in the Liberation footage,  the following still from the DVD was pointed out to me which was claimed to represent either Krema II or III.  It is footage that appears for a few seconds only, immediately after the Krema V section is shown, so the suggestion that it represents Krema II or Krema III is quite reasonable.  However it represents a view of Krema II or III that it is impossible to find today at the memorial site.  In the background there is a building that is obviously in ruins – limiting the number of sites it could be at Auschwitz-Birkenau to one of the demolished crematoriums.


Mystery liberation image

 The Soviet investigating committee seems to be standing around an entrance that does underground and which is the center of the shot.  Having visited the Imperial War Museum in London and looked through there collection of old archival newsreels, there seems to be no further footage than is available on the commercially availalbe DVD.  Quite possibly there may be more available in some Russian archive, but that would be unlikely ever to see the light of day.
My best interpretation of this still is that it represents a demolished Krema II or Krema III and the it is presented to the camera and the viewer as being the entrance to a homicidal gas chamber.  The fits with both the context it appears and the lack of any modern identifiable structure it relates to which can be found presently at the site.  It looks somewhat like the entrance to a bomb shelter that might have been near these buildings.  What is certain is that it looks nothing like the present day structures of the partially underground gassing or undressing chambers – and it is an entrance which is far too close to the main building, in any case.  Even if people dispute that this shown as a proto-type gas chamber, the question remains why is nothing remotely identifiable to the modern structures of the Krema II and III gas chambers shown in the Liberation documentary.

It is worth revisiting why Krema Denial first came about, which is aerial photographs of Krema II seem to show the gas chamber of Krema II having been drawn on the images and appearing in distinctly different locations in August 1944 and May 1944.  This strongly suggests that the underground structures were not present when the photos were taken and were added later by the CIA prior to release.  This receives confirmation from the lack of any moving footage of these facilities in the Liberation newsreels. 

Continuity Gap between main building and underground chamber


Above we see a modern photo of the junction between the undressing chamber and the main building of Krema III.  There seems to be a distinct continuity gap, suggesting that the two halves of the building were not built as a single structure, but that the undressing chamber was added on later.

Undamaged walls and collapsed roof

Above is the undressing chamber of Krema III, with the collapsed roof lying between the two intact walls.  There is a distinct kink in the left hand wall that appears to have been constructed to accommodate an already collapsed roof.  It is also somewhat of a mystery about how a roof, which presumably was supposed to have rested originally on top of the walls, could after explosion fit so neatly between them.  The walls seem both surprisingly undamaged by the explosion and also completely lacking any of the surface stucco concealing the brickwork that is normal for interior brick walls in Auschwitz-Birkenau.  Again, suggesting this was a quick post-war add on.

UPDATE: Another possible explanation for this image can be found here .  I highly recommend reading it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: