Ruins of Krema II

View of collapsed roof of Krema II oven room

The photo above shows the collapsed roof of the above-ground crematorium in Krema II at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Two braces have been put against the ruins on the south side to keep the roof from further collapsing. Efforts to preserve the ruins for posterity are ongoing.

Another view of the collapsed roof of Krema II

According to Holocaust historians, the crematory ovens in Krema II at Birkenau were first put into operation on March 13, 1943 when 1,492 women, children and elderly people from the Podgorze ghetto in Krakow were put to death in the Krema II gas chamber immediately after their arrival, and their bodies were then burned. The final liquidation of the Podgorze ghetto on May 13, 1943 was shown in the film Schindler's List; around 6,000 Jews in the ghetto, who were able to work, were sent to the Plaszow forced labor camp, while those unfit for work were sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau to be gassed and burned that same day.

Ruins of Krema II oven room, looking east towards the women's camp

The photo above was not taken with a telephoto lens which would make the building in the background look closer than it is. The red brick building in the background is one of the barracks in the women's camp and it really is that close to the gas chamber building, separated only by a barbed wire fence. Because of the proximity of the gas chambers to the barracks at Birkenau, all the prisoners were aware of the gassing of those who were unable to work. When periodic selections for the gas chamber were made, they would bite their lips and pinch their cheeks in order to attain the rosy glow of health that would save them from a horrible death.

Closer view of the photo above

View of the ruins underneath the fallen roof of Krema II

The photo below shows the ovens in Krema II; these ovens were removed before the building was blown up by the Germans.

The cremation ovens in Krema II

YouTube video of Krema II

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This page was last updated on June 25, 2010