Ruins of Krema II

View of Krema II ruins, looking east

The photo above shows what is left of the ground floor of Krema II, one of the four crematory buildings at Birkenau. In the foreground, you can see the holes where the cremation ovens were removed in November 1944, although the building was not blown up until January 20, 1945, two days after the last prisoners were marched out of the camp. In the background of the photo above, you can see the women's barracks on the right. In the middle of the photo, on the far right-hand side, you can see the small, shallow pond where the ashes of the victims were thrown. Each of the four crematorium buildings had a similar small ash pit nearby.

Note the tracks that are on the left-hand side of the photo above, which shows the ruins of the Krema II oven room. These tracks, running east and west, were for the trolleys that were used to shove the bodies into the hot ovens. Visitors have left candles and flowers in honor of the Jews who were burned in the ovens of Krema II. The thick concrete roof of the building has collapsed down onto the spot where the cremation ovens once stood.

Krema II was constructed by the Huta Corporation, according to a design by Architect Georg Werkmann, which was modified by Walter Dejaco. In 1972, Walter Dejaco was tried in a German court on a charge of aiding and abetting mass murder; he was acquitted of this charge. He claimed that he did not know that the morgue room, called Leichenkeller 1 on the building blueprint, was actually intended to be used as a gas chamber. The undressing room was called Leichenkeller 2 on the blueprint of the building. Leichenkeller is the German word for Corpse Cellar. On the blueprints of Krema IV and Krema V, also designed by Walter Dejaco, the gas chambers are called shower rooms.

The photo below shows another view of the ash pit. Black markers tell visitors in four languages that this is where the ashes of the Jews, who were cremated in Krema II, were thrown.

Four black markers identify the ash pit at Krema II

The photo below shows the ruins of the above-ground oven room and, on the left, the concrete roof of the vestibule or Vorraum which opened into the underground gas chamber on the south side of the building. Note the twisted iron bars of the reinforced concrete roof.

View of Krema II ruins with roof of Vorraum in the foreground

Ruins of Krema II have been propped up to prevent further collapse

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This page was last updated on November 22, 2009