Ruins of Krema V

Ruins of Krema V, looking south

Krema V was a one-story building with no basement

The remains of a crematory oven are in the center of the photo

Krema V was built on the north side of the Birkenau camp, on the right side of a road that begins at the SS administration building that is now a Catholic Church. On the left side of this road is Krema IV. North of Krema V was the location of the little red house, called Bunker 1, which was used as a gas chamber before Krema IV and Krema V were built.

The road that ends at Krema IV and Krema V is parallel to the main camp road, which ends at Krema II and Krema III on the south side of the camp.

The ruins of Krema V gas chamber building

Gassing in Krema V began in the summer of 1943. The crematory ovens in Krema IV and Krema V broke down almost immediately and the bodies had to be burned in pits, located north of the Krema V building.

The gas chamber in Krema V was disguised as a shower room, just like the gas chamber in Krema IV. There was only one real shower room for the prisoners in this section of the Birkenau camp; it was in the Central Sauna building, which was across the road from Krema IV. A display board near the water treatment plant, close to Krema III, says that there were 90,000 prisoners at Birkenau. With so few shower rooms for 90,000 people, the prisoners had to wait for weeks for a shower.

The photo directly above is looking northwest. The location of the little red house and the mass graves of the victims who died during the typhus epidemic in 1942 is on the right side of the photo in the area now covered with trees.

I observed that the ground on the west side of the Krema V ruins was muddy, although it had not rained for several days. A display board on the west side tells about burning corpses in pits when the ovens were not functioning. It is implied that the burning was done on the west side of the building, although survivors say that the burning pits were on the north side. A few yards south of the Sauna building, there are several deep drainage ditches that were filled with water when I was there. The drainage ditches run from east to west.


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This page was last updated on June 3, 2009