The Holocaust Revisited: A Retrospective Analysis of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Extermination Complex


World War II aerial photography, use of,
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The Holocaust Revisited
The Gas Chambers and Crematoria
Background: The gas chambers and crematoria at Birkenau were designed to process some 12,000 people a day. The prisoners sent "to the left" were deceived into thinking they were going to be showered and disinfected. After undressing in an anteroom, they were herded into the shower/gas chamber and put to death by means of Zyklon-B gas crystals introduced into the chamber through exterior vents. The bodies were then moved to the crematoria or external burning pits for disposal.
Photo Evidence: The photography of the gas chambers and crematoria in the southern section of Birkenau appear to be historically unique (Photo 6). As far as we have been able to determine, no other photography of these facilities exists. The Birkenau gas chambers were special access facilities, even for most Nazis, and all photography was forbidden. The extermination facilities at the camp were destroyed by the Nazis prior to the camp's being liberated by the Red Army in January 1945.'°
We can identify the undressing rooms, gas chambers and crematoria sections as well as the chimneys. On the roof of the sub-surface gas chambers, we can see the
'° Kraus and Kulka, The Death Factory, pp. 134-140.

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Posted: May 08, 2007 08:59 AM
Last Updated: Aug 03, 2011 03:14 PM