Among the few extant documents from Auschwitz, an important piece is the "Bunkerbuch," the ledger of the camp prison (Kommandanturarrest
) that was in the basement of Block 11. For September 5, 1941, it records three "intakes":
[Camp no.] 11179 - Renner, Fritz - [born] 21.12.99 [in] Breslau - Maschinenarb[eiter] - Bl[ock] 14 - ver[storben] 5.9.41
15083 - Grosmann, Bruno - 17.1.81 - Breslau - Schuhmacher - Bl. 14 - ver. 5.9.41
10992 - Drost, Roman - 10.12.99 - Slupno - Landwirt - Bl. 18a - vers. 5.9.41.
Renner had arrived at Auschwitz on April 4, Grosmann on April 11, 1941, with a prisoner transport from the Reich (Sammeltransport
) (Source: Czech, Auschwitz Chronicle). Both were German nationals, and their names even seem to point to Jewish descent. Drost must have been a Polish national.
They all died the same day when the first mass gassing was carried out in the basement of Block 11 (date Sep 5, 1941, according to reports that, shortly after the event, reached the Polish Government-in-Exile in London).
This "action" was observed by dozens of prisoners who were involved in preparing the basement of Block 11 for gassing, in the evacuation of the prison, in the transport of sick prisoners from the camp hospital to the cells of Block 11, who saw the arrival of the Soviet POWs to be killed, and who transported the corpses from the cells in the basement to the small crematorium (Krema I) for disposal. One of those involved in this "action" was the German electricians' kapo Alfred Rögner. He remembered in U.S. captivity in 1946:
Es befanden sich im Arrest aber immer noch 2 Deutsche, diese kamen nicht heraus ... es wurde ihnen vom 1. Lagerarzt erklärt, sie sollten vorzeitig entlassen werden, wenn sie sich bereit erklären, dass sie eine kurze Kur mitmachen wollten. (In the prison, there were still 2 Germans, they were not released ... The 1st Camp Physician had told them they would be released early if they agreed to participate in a short treatment.)
Rögner could not have known the prison ledger, his testimony is therefore an independent corroboration.