Doors into Dachau gas chamber
"Several newspaper people arrived about that time and wanted to go through the camp so we took them through with a guide furnished by the prisoners. The first thing we came to were piles of clothing, shoes, pants, shirts, coats, etc. Then we went into a room with a table with flowers on it and some soap and towels. Another door with the word showers lead off of this and upon going through this room it appeared to be a shower room but instead of water, gas came out." From a letter to his parents, written by Lt. William J. Cowling, III after the liberation of Dachau.
The photograph above shows the door leading from the undressing room into the gas chamber disguised as a shower room. A sign on the wall above the door says "Brausebad" which is the German word for shower bath. American soldiers who toured the crematorium in the first few days after the liberation of the camp described the undressing room where this door is located as being furnished with a table holding a vase of fresh flowers, along with soap and clean towels. Notice the window in the undressing room and the oak floor.
In the photograph, you can see that the door is the kind that was used for protection in air raid shelters, as well as for homicidal gas chambers in the Nazi camps. The photograph below shows the same door taken from the other side. Note that there is no door handle on the interior side of the door. In the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC there is a casting of a door to a homicidal gas chamber in the Majdanek death camp in Poland which is exactly like this door, except that the Dachau gas chamber door has no peephole.
The two photographs below show the door which leads from the gas chamber disguised as a shower room into the mortuary room next to the oven room. Note that the interior side of the door has no handle to open the door. The first photograph shows the groove around the edge of the door which can be used for a rubber gasket to make the door air tight in order to keep the poison gas from leaking out of the room. Notice that both photographs show that the lower half of the wall in the mortuary is unfinished and unpainted.
This page was last updated on April 30, 2008