Hannover wrote: There is no indication that the 'cellar' was the morgue room that is absurdly said to have been a 'gas chamber'.
True. My opinion also.
So the question is: Which cellar did Bischoff refer to in his letter?
Because of the frost, it has not yet been possible to remove the formwork from the ceiling of the corpse cellar. This is of no consequence, however, as the gassing cellar can be used to this end.
Mattogno thinks, that it was Leichenkeller 2 which could not be used. This he based on:
- A »Bericht Nr.1« from Bischoff to Kammler dated Jan. 23, 1943:
»Keller 2. Eisenbetondecke fertig betoniert (Ausschalung von Witterungsverhältnissen abhängig).«
(Cellar 2. Concrete pouring of steel reinforced concrete ceiling finished. (Removing the form works depends on the wheather).
- Engineer Kurt Prüfer wrote in his progress report on January 29, 1943:
»Decke des Leichenkellers 2 kann wegen Frost noch nicht ausgeschalt werden.«
(The form work of the ceiling of morgue cellar 2 cannot be removed because of frost)
- SS-Obersturmführer Kirschnek wrote on the same day in a “note to file”:
»Der Leichenkeller 2 ist soweit fertiggestellt, bis auf die Ausschalung der Decke, welche Arbeiten von frostfreien Tagen abhängig sind.«
(Morgue cellar 2 is sofar finished, except the removal of the form works for the ceiling, the work of which depends on frost-free days.)
The only other cellar at that time would be morgue cellar 1, which apparently could be used as a morgue, even without the ventilation. The outside temperatures were at that time quite low, between –1 and –8ºC.
Morgue cellar 2 was`referred to by construction workers as a »Auskleide Keller« (disrobing cellar). It was at that time customary to disrobe all corpses prior to the cremation. According to SS-Hauptsturmführer Kramer, the clothes of the registered dead inmates were cleaned and reused, unless the dead had an infectious disease. In that case the clothes were incinerated.
As an aside:
It is interesting to observe, that the morgue cellar 2, the “disrobing cellar”, could not be used prior to March 31, 1943 (the supporting members of the ceiling form works would prevent this), but still Danuta Czech maintains in her “Kalendarium”, that on March 20, 1943 2,191 Greek Jews were gassed. She gives no proof for this.
At the time when Bischoff wrote the letter to Kammler on January 29, 1943, the epidemic was in no way over, with over 4500 dead per month. On top the camp administration was expecting a large inflow of new inmates.
In the beginning of January 1943 Bischoff listed in a report to Kammler the total number of installations for disinfestation and delousing: five in the main camp Auschwitz and four in Birkenau.
Shortly after, three of these installations failed because of a fire: the hot air apparatus in Block 1 in Auschwitz, the hot air apparatus in Birkenau in BW 5a & b, and finally the hot air disinfestation equipment of the “Truppenenwesungsanlage”.
The hygienic-sanitary situation was at that time in Auschwitz/Birkenau not satisfactory. Bischoff reported in a »Hausverfügung Nr.86« on January 25, 1943:
»Auf Grund einer Anordnung des SS-Standortarztes KL. Auschwitz wird ab sofort über sämtliche SS-Angehörigen der Zentralbauleitung, welche in der Bauleitungsunterkunftsbaracke wohnen, eine 3-wöchentliche Quarantäne verhängt.«
(Because of the instructions by the SS-Standortarzt (camp medical doctor) of the camp Auschwitz is immediately on all SS-members of the Zentralbauleitung, who are living in the construction administration barrack, a 3-week quarantine imposed.)
And later Bischoff wrote in a letter to Kammler on February 12, 1943 about the »increase of the spotted fever deseases«:
»Infolge starken Ansteigens von Fleckfiebererkrankungen bei der Wachtruppe wurde am 9. Februar 1943 durch SS-Brigadeführer und Generalmajor der Waffen-SS Glücks die totale Lagersperre über das K.L. Auschwitz verhängt. Jm Zusammenhang damit werden seit dem 11.2.43 sämtliche Häftlinge entwest und dürfen das Lager nicht verlassen, was zu Folge hat, daß die Bauwerke, an denen vorwiegend Häftlinge eingesetzt waren, stillgelegt werden mußten. Die Wiederaufnahme der Arbeiten wird durch die Zentralbauleitung gemeldet.«
(Because of the strong increase of spotted fever disease among the guards, SS-Brigadeführer and Generalmajor of the Waffen-SS Glücks imposed a total ban on the camp Auschwitz. In connection with this are all inmates since 2/11/43 to be disinfested and are not permitted to leave the camp. As a consequence, all building projects, where predominantly inmates are employed, had to be shut down. The Zentralbauleitung will report the resumption of the work.)
In view of this situation it is reasonable to assume, that the SS-administration planned because of the failure due to the fire a temporary Zyklon-B fumigation chamber in morgue cellar 1 of Krema II. It was evidently called “Vergasungskeller” similar to the prussian acid chamber in BW5a & B, which was called “Vergasungsraum”.
See also Mattogno: “Die Leichenkeller der Krematorien von Birkenau im Lichte der Dokumente” (The morgues of the crematoria of Birkenau in the light of the documents) http://vho.org/VffG/2003/3/Mattogno357-365.html