Auschwitz-Birkenau

Crematoria & Gas Chambers

In Auschwitz, the crematorium was built in 1940, just 1 year before mass killings in gas chambers using the poison gas Zyklon B. The SS soldiers told the prisoners that they were going to a work camp and had to shower first. Once they were in the showers they then locked the doors shut and poured a small amount of Zyklon B poison gas in from above. After everyone was dead, they would drag the bodies out. Cutting off the females hair, and taking all metal dental work and jewelry. Then they burned the bodies in pits or the crematoria furnaces. Left over bones were ground up and used as fertilizer, or dumped into rivers and ponds along with the ashes. There were many different gas chambers and crematoriums, all were destroyed by 1945 to eliminate evidence of their existence.
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Zyklon B, also known as Hydrogen cyanide (HCN), fumigates at room temperature (boiling point of 78.8 degrees fahrenheit). It is a powerful insecticide that is extremely poisonous to humans. It comes in the from of pellets or disks. Dropped from 4 openings in the top of the chambers, it was capable of killing hundreds in minutes.
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The crematoria's ran 24/7 from 1941 to the end of 1944. They burned bodies constantly, except when they shoveled out the ashes. The dead were thrown in, put into the fire through a stretcher or dumped in by a conveyer belt like system. It is estimated that it took just over an hour to burn one body, but there were 19 different crematoria ovens that burned multiple bodies at once.
Auschwitz Concentration Camp Gas Chamber
This clip shows the inside of Auschwitz. It is a present day tour of the gas chambers and crematories. The music also helps you imagine what happened in every room as the video moves through it.

Death toll at Auschwitz

An estimated 1.5 million people were killed at Auschwitz. At least 1 million were Jews. The rest were Poles, Gypsies and prisoners from many other European countries including Russia.

Works Cited

  • "Auschwitz-Birkenau: Crematoria & Gas Chambers." Crematoria & Gas Chambers at Auschwitz-Birkenau. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2014.
  • "Auschwitz: Zyklon B." Auschwitz: Zyklon B. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2014.
  • "Auschwitz-Birkenau - Auschwitz and Shoah." Auschwitz-Birkenau - Auschwitz and Shoah. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2014.

  • "Google Images - Google Search." Google Images - Google Search. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2014.