Defending Against the Allied Bombing Campaign
Air Raid Shelters and Gas Protection in Germany
Published: 1997-07-01

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Three documents should be kept in mind when we try to evaluate the role of civil defense in the concentration camp administration. The first is the LS-Führerprogramm of November, 1940, which stipulated that all existing structures had to be modified for air raid shelter use and that all new structures, particularly in the armaments industry, had to have bomb shelters.

The second document is an order from Oswald Pohl, head of the SS economic administration, dated October 25, 1943, and marked Secret (Geheim!) to 19 concentration camp commandants, including Rudolf Höß at Auschwitz, concerning the care and feeding of prisoners. The importance of this document for our purposes lies not in the fact that Pohl goes into pedantic detail about how the prisoners should be clothed and fed, even to the point of emphasizing that hot meals should not be overcooked[7], but the reasons given for the document. Pohl begins:

In the past two years the labor in the concentration camps on behalf of the armaments industry has become a factor of decisive importance for the war.

Im Rahmen der deutschen Rustungsproduktion stellen die KL. dank der Aufbau-Arbeit, die in den vergangenen 2 Jahren geleistet wurde einen Faktor von kriegentschiedender Bedeutung dar.

The claim is specific; the prisoners are, and have long been, necessary for the armaments industry. Therefore it is not only natural that they would eventually fall under the rubric of the Führerprogramm but also that the camps would eventually be targeted for air attack, as indeed they were. Thus raids on the Buchenwald complex (including Nordhausen) killed thousands of internees, but in the immediate aftermath of the war the deaths were incorrectly understood. [Z222, 223, n13]

The final document, whose existence could be inferred from the above, is an order issued by Heinrich Himmler on February 8, 1943. The order enumerates a number of measures that are to be carried out in the concentration camp system to prevent mass escapes in the event of air raids.[8] Thus, no later than early February, 1943, there was a heightened awareness at the highest ranks of the SS that the concentration camp system was vulnerable to air attack. It should also be noted that it was precisely at this time that the construction office of Auschwitz Birkenau began to receive a flurry of work orders for gas-tight fixtures. The conclusion, absent presuppositions, would seem to be obvious.

Developing the idea of bomb shelters in the concentration camp system is not easily achieved today. Many of the records for the camps are not widely available and most records for the Eastern camps are still in Russian or Polish archives. But there are still a variety of ways in which we can uncover clues to the existence of bomb shelters in the concentration camp system, above and beyond the documentation already noted.

In the first place, we can inspect the documents that are available and look for objects and descriptions of objects that correspond to materials in the civil defense literature. For example, references to "gas-tight doors" or "gas-tight windows" as well as "Blenden" or "Holzblenden" correspond to common civil air defense terms. Jean Claude Pressac, at the very least, should be credited with unearthing no less than 39 documents that provide strong documentary evidence that each of the Birkenau crematoria was equipped with a gas-tight bomb shelter.[9]

A second method would be to inspect the physical evidence, most often through photographs. For example, a number of the small "gas-tight" doors for Crematoria IV and V were photographed, and there is no doubt that these are identical to the wooden shutters that are discussed extensively in such periodicals as Gasschutz und Luftschutz. [ATO426ff, Ibid.]

A Blende, or protective window for Krema IV or V
Graphic 1: A Blende, or protective window for Krema IV or V

Perhaps the strongest example of such correspondence concerns a steel door to a medium sized room at Majdanek concentration camp. Equipped with the characteristic round peephole with perforated steel cover, this is unambiguously a bomb shelter door, although it has never been recognized as such. Instead, it is usually claimed as the door to a delousing chamber [ATO557], and yet, in spite of this, a replica of this door was later made and is currently [was, ed.] on display at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, where it sits as a representation of a door to an extermination gas chamber.

The same method can be applied to still other gas-tight fixtures. For example, a number of photographs of gas-tight doors with peepholes from Auschwitz-Birkenau have survived, these closely match diagrams for such doors in the contemporary literature, although, here again, such doors are usually said to have functioned as delousing chambers[10]. Pressac has argued that the doors to the crematoria morgues were identical, but there is no proof of this.


Graphic 2: The personal residence of Auschwitz camp commander Rudolf Höß. Note small gas-proof shutter (Blende) to the right of the door.

Another way in which photographs can be analyzed involves looking for tell-tale fixtures and features outside of a building. For example, a photograph of Höß' residence at Auschwitz clearly shows a gas tight shutter affixed to the right of the entrance, with a narrow Lüftungsrohre  just to its left, from which we may safely conclude that the cellar to this building had been converted to air raid use.

Another example concerns the so-called delousing chamber to Block 1. The bricked in window with a smaller bricked in aperture is very similar to the outside window indentations of ordinary above ground shelters, and the gas-tight door parallels the kind found in the literature. On the other hand, the fact that this space has been described as a delousing intallation makes us cautious about identifying this space as a bomb shelter, and reminds us that photographic analysis on its own is not always conclusive.

A side view of Block 1
Graphic 3: A side view of Block 1

On the other hand, there are a handful of work orders, which, in their abstracts from Jan Sehn's court, make reference to gas-tight fixtures, and these not only appear to cover the additions to Block 1 but make other references to materials which, while adequately explained in a bomb shelter context, are inexplicable in an extermination context. [ATO456f, ATO27ff]

For example, work order #516 for June 17, 1943 makes reference to the fittings for a gas tight door, which was completed 10/6/43 [sic!]. But under either date the door makes no sense in terms of the claimed operation of the extermination gas chambers.

Another work order, dated July 12, 1943, contains a number of misspellings. Again, in the Polish transcript it reads: " 1 Schlüssel. für Gaskammer/Melden bei H.stuf der Apotheke im 44-Revier" Pressac has made the assumption that the "44" is a misspelling for "SS" in its runic form, and therefore translates it as follows: "1 key. for gas chamber. Report to SS captain of the SS-hospital [i.e., SS-Revier] pharmacy." But this translation seems inadequate. In the first place, Revier does not mean hospital, normally it means district or area (although in a military sense it can mean dispensary.) "SS-Revier" therefore makes little sense, but if we are going to interpolate spellings for "44-Revier" we could just as easily interpolate "LS-Revier" which makes perfect sense, this being a common term for a civil defense district. "Gaskammer", by the same token, could be a bracket form for "Gas[schutz]kammer" a common civil defense term. Furthermore, neither delousing chambers nor "gas chambers" have keys: but gas-tight bomb shelter doors, if and when they were locked from the outside, were supposed to have a key inside of a locked glass box nearby [CD153f]. It is perhaps also relevant that medical supplies in air raid shelters were usually kept in a small cabinet called a "Schutzraumapotheke."

Gas-tight door, Block 1
Graphic 4: Gas-tight door, Block 1

The final work order appears to be directly relevant to Block 1. It reads, again in the Polish transcript, "Entwesungskamer [sic!] Die Beschläge zu 1 Tür, luftdicht mit Spion für Gaskammer, 2/1 Lattentür" (i.e., "Disinfection Chamber. Fittings for 1 door, airtight with peephole, for Gaskammer, 2/1 lath door") The first thing we note is that Entwesungskammer has been misspelled: this is chronic in the Polish transcripts. Now it is supposed that Block 1 was at one time a disinfection chamber (Entwesungskammer) yet the order refers to an air tight door with peephole for a Gaskammer. But why the use of two distinct terms for what was supposedly the same operation? It is true that Gaskammer can also be used to describe disinfestation facilities, the drawings for BW 5A and 5B are very clear about this, and we stress that no one has ever claimed homicidal gassings in any of these locations, and therefore there is nothing sinister about the word "Gaskammer" per se. But one possible explanation would be that the Entwesungskammer, superseded in its use by other facilities, was being converted to a gas tight air raid shelter, i.e., Gas[schutz]kammer. In this respect the bricked in window and the smaller shutter-sized aperture inside to serve for emergency exit or ventilation, along with the gas-tight door with a peephole which required bricking in below the old door's lintel, tend to support the bomb shelter thesis. As to the opposite interpretation, there has still been no convincing explanation for the need of a peephole in the gas-tight door of a delousing facility.


Graphic 5: Probable bomb shelters at Birkenau


Graphic 6: Plans for simple underground shelter

To sum up the issue with respect to Block 1, the inference that it was converted to bomb shelter use has significant corroboration but not proof. To put it another way, the bomb shelter thesis explains Block 1, its physical features and its relevant work orders. The gas chamber thesis, which holds that references to gas-tight fixtures usually have a sinister connotation, does not. And that underlines another characteristic of the bomb shelter thesis versus the gas chamber thesis: the bomb shelter thesis explains where the gas chamber thesis is left with strange clues that cannot be made to fit the model. All three of the documents noted above fit easily into an explanatory model keyed to bomb shelter construction. None of them can be made to fit the extermination model. Of course, one could ask where the original documents are today, since they were obviously in the hands of the Polish authorities at the time of the Höß trials, and their emergence would help resolve these ambiguities. But in this case we have an unprecedented situation where the original documents have not yet been made available to Western scholars more than 50 years after their discovery.

Another particularly striking example of photographic evidence concerns the existence of long low mounds in front of the barracks in Birkenau, which appear in both aerial photographs and ground shots. These correspond to the Splittergrabe that are described in other concentration camps, for example, in Buchenwald, and which were designed for internees.

The United States Strategic Bombing Survey describes them as follows:

The trench shelter was slightly below ground and usually covered by a concrete slab from one foot to three feet thick on which one foot to five feet of earth had been placed. The trench was usually about seven feet high on the inside and about six feet wide. The walls were of either concrete or wood. The length of the trench varied seemingly with the available space, but sections or off-sets usually divided it into galleries for some 50 persons each, and minimized a longitudinal blast. At each end of the trench there was an entrance usually through a wooden door, although some had steel. With few exceptions, wooden benches had been provided for each side of the trench. Forced ventilation, toilet facilities, and running water were not available. Little if any protection could be had from a direct hit of the smallest bomb although they were, in most cases, splinter-proof. The advantages of the trench type were rapidity of construction and low cost. This type of protection was standard for slave labor or foreigners but was used by others in emergencies. [CD156]

Details of bomb shelter emergency exit
Graphic 7: Details of bomb shelter emergency exit

Still another category of evidence to be evaluated concerns the design drawings for facilities. The Central Sauna at Birkenau, for example, which was constructed after the four crematoria and which stood to the West of Crematoria IV and V, was equipped with a basement which also clearly shows the typical configuration of an emergency exit. [ATO70, Schnitt C-D]

Another characteristic of bomb shelters which is commonly shown in the drawings are the presence of small rooms that lead into larger rooms, that is, gas locks that are sealed with gastight doors (e.g., Vorraum, Gasschleuse) . The floorplan to the Auschwitz Crematorium I, in drawings from its role as an air raid shelter clearly show these squarish closetlike entries. [Z253] The drawings for BW 5A and 5B in some versions have clearly marked "Gasschleuse"(gas locks), [ATO57] and the intact Bath and Disinfection Center at Majdanek has three such entries, whose doors are clearly air raid shelter doors. [Z 276]

The entry space 6 is the gas lock for this layout of Krema I
Graphic 8: The entry space 6 is the gas lock for this layout of Krema I.

Some further remarks concerning Majdanek seem appropriate. Most of the alleged gas chambers in that camp were supposed to have been part of the Bath and Disinfection Complex II, whose floor plan is reproduced above. There is no doubt that this structure originally served the purpose of showering arrivals in its still operable shower room, and delousing clothing in other rooms, by a variety of methods, including the use of Zyklon B. [Z 276, and n125 referencing Marszalek] Thus the question concerns the nature of further adaptations.


Graphic 9: Disinfection Bldg. Lublin-Majdanek

Room "A" noted above, has occasionally been cited as an extermination gas chamber, but it has a plate glass window with some blue staining around it, which means that the window must have been in place at the same time as any Zyklon usage. But Room "A" also has extensive wooden strutting, as well as a square wooden opening in the ceiling that leads into the roof crawl space. It should be emphasized that this opening was plastered after construction: but this plaster, unlike that around the window, shows no blue staining. [Z 277] Therefore it would apparently not have been exposed to ambient cyanide. The characterization of this room as a homicidal gas chamber is difficult to substantiate in view of the window, the nature of the two inward opening doors, and other characteristics that have been commented on in David Cole's "46 Unanswered Questions About the Gas Chambers". However, the strutting accords with typical expedient adapatations for bomb shelter use, and the wooden opening looks very much like a typical emergency exit. Moreover, the absence of iron berlinate on the plaster around the ceiling opening would accord with the concept that this room, once used for delousing, was converted later to an air raid shelter.

It should be noted that Room "A" and Room "B" are both equipped with boiler rooms, which, in their original configuration, would have been equipped with fans for blowing hot air. However, under bomb shelter adaptation, the removal of these fans would convert these rooms into instant gas locks. Further, on the far left of the diagram, we can see another gas lock [Vorraum] in a part of the building with no known sinister connotations.

Rooms "B", "C" and "D" are also alleged to have been gas chambers. But interestingly, all three are equipped with steel doors with peepholes covered with perforated steel plate – in other words, typical German bomb shelter doors – and the glass of these peepholes is exposed to potential breakage from inside. Finally, these steel doors can be opened from inside or outside [Cole, op. cit.], and appear to have latching mechanisms both inside and outside [ATO, 557]: Michael Berenbaum's The World Must Know (p. 138) provides a reverse image of one of these chambers (Room "B"), and there is apparent smudging precisely at the points on the door where the latching mechanisms would be visible.

Finally, and returning now to Birkenau, there is a further characteristic of Morgue #1 for both Crematoria II and III which is significant. Morgue #1 of Crematorium II has a vertical passageway along its western wall which features a concrete lid and metal rungs.

Steps to manhole cover, Morgue 1
Graphic 10: Steps to manhole cover, Morgue 1

While Pressac describes this as a sewer, it is unclear why a sewer entrance that would allow people to climb in and out would be necessary next to Morgue #1.[ATO228,229] According to the bomb shelter thesis, this would be an emergency exit. It should be noted that Crematorium III's remains are similarly equipped.

There is also oral testimony and other records. Numerous testimonies describe air raids at the Auschwitz complex, including testimonies concerning seeking shelter in below ground spaces. Danuta Czech's Auschwitz Chronicle[11] enumerates several raids on the Auschwitz complex, including a raid that ended up dropping bombs on Birkenau by mistake (this destroyed a "dugout" in Czech's words, clearly a reference to a trench shelter.) The testimony of Dr. Nyiszli specifically describes the use of Morgue #1 of Crematorium II as a bomb shelter, although he also claims the same space was used for a gas chamber.[12] Other testimonies from Buchenwald, for example, describe trench shelters, while some subcamps of Buchenwald (i.e., Nordhausen) clearly describe Stollen.

To sum up, we can reconstruct the existence of bomb shelter facilities from a number of different sources. The two most prominent are words that correspond to the civil defense literature, and photographs or drawings that depict ordinary civil defense features, such as gas tight doors, shutters, wire screens or other protected apertures, emergency exits, ventilation ducts, camouflage, bricked in windows, ventilation chimneys, and cellar spaces that suggest adaptations or are equipped with the characteristic zigzag construction of emergency exits.

It should be stressed that the identification of features in photographs does not prove bomb shelter use. However, the photographic evidence, supplemented by the documentary evidence and drawings, seems fairly conclusive – the crematoria at Birkenau were adapted to added bomb shelter use at a time when several other locations in that camp were also being adapted for that purpose. Keeping in mind the stipulations of the LS-Führerprogramm, which mandated that all buildings old and new should provide bomb and gas protection, the claim that the Birkenau crematoria contained gas tight bomb shelters should arouse no further controversy. The question, why would there be bomb shelters in crematoria is incorrectly framed: the crematoria were buildings, buildings were supposed to have bomb shelters, and therefore they had them. The real question is that, given that the crematoria had bomb shelters, why has this fact never been recognized?

Conclusions

The primary impetus for this article arose out of the desire to explore the claim that the Birkenau crematoria were equipped with gastight bomb shelters. But in the course of exploring this issue we found out much about the experience of the German people in the air war. Therefore it seems fitting that our conclusions begin and end with remarks on the bombing campaign, and the defense against it, among the civilian population.

We have found that the civil defense establishment in Germany was huge. With a 1939 enrollment in the RLB of 12 million, we are describing a body that embraced about 1/7 of the population: it seems likely that there were as many people involved in civil air defense at least part-time as in all three branches of the Wehrmacht.

At a cost that would project to billions of marks, we have found that tremendous sums were expended on shelters of all types, including what we would conservatively estimate to be hundreds of above and below ground public shelters of reinforced concrete, thousands of public access shelters (ÖLSR), and tens of thousands of air raid cellars (LS-Keller) and home shelters. The regulations stipulated that all of these shelters were to be equipped for chemical warfare defense, and the references to gas or air tight steel doors in the literature and testimony are so frequent as to scarcely deserve further comment.

Supporting these structures was the clearly articulated supporting staffs of the SHD, numbering thousands, which included decontamination crews especially equipped for chemical warfare, and specially designated locations (laundries, public baths) that in the event of gas attack would have their normal function subordinated to the role of chemical warfare decontamination. The decontamination crews, in addition, were specially trained and equipped, which soon led to their involvement in corpse handling and other sanitation procedures. The sanitation service was in turn engaged in all kinds of sanitation prophylaxis including disinfection, pest control, and delousing of citizens to prevent the spread of infectious diseases including typhus. The fundamental identity of the decontamination, disinfection, and delousing paradigms could hardly be more clear.

Running throughout this service and its wartime operation was an intense awareness of the possibilities of gas warfare. Not merely the decontamination squads are evidence of this, but also the gas testing centers, the locations earmarked for decontaminating belongings, the special trucks loaded with decontamination equipment, the 12 million gas masks issued, the demands for gas tight doors, and ventilation systems that could filter poison gas. And, as we have seen, the fear of poison gas even entered the popular mind, such that the grotesque appearance of the victims would lead many to rashly assume that the enemy had decided to use this terrible weapon.

It would take a philosopher or a psychologist to appreciate what happened next. For the documentary, forensic, and photographic evidence clearly shows that the majority of the hundreds of thousands of German men, women, and children indiscriminately killed in the air war perished from the inhalation of poisonous carbon monoxide gas and were in many cases at least partially cremated. Yet their plight was totally submerged in the postwar period by even more horrifying claims of gassing and burning made against them. One begins to wonder whether the suffering of the German people was forgotten, or whether it was simply inverted.

Contrasting the situation among the civilian population with that in the concentration camps, we find ample reason to expect analogous levels of bomb and gas protection. The camps were important to the war effort. Himmler expressed concerns about prisoners escaping from the system during air raids, including Auschwitz Birkenau, at precisely the time when Auschwitz Birkenau began to make numerous requests for gas tight doors and other gas tight fixtures such as were common for civil defense in other parts of Germany.

In addition to the morgues in the Crematoria, which show evidence of having been converted from morgues to also serve as anti-gas shelters and decontamination centers in the event of gas attack, we find that the dormant morgue in Crematorium I in Auschwitz was in fact converted to a bomb shelter. And, given what we have found out about the need for cleanliness in the handling of corpses when discussing the bombing victims, the original presence of showers for corpse handlers in any crematoria should not surprise us.

The blueprints for the Central Sauna also show evidence of dual purpose, and the characteristic aperture of an emergency exit can be clearly seen in its cellar. The disinfestation blocks BW 5A and BW 5B, which were no longer used for that purpose after late 1943, are equipped with gas locks and thus could have been easily converted, if, indeed, they were not built with a dual purpose in mind. Block 1 at Auschwitz provides visual evidence of having been converted to a bomb shelter in late 1943. The Commandant's house was clearly converted for bomb shelter use. Finally, it appears that the prisoners themselves were equipped with splinter trenches in front of every barrack. Apparently there were dozens, if not hundreds, of air raid shelters at Auschwitz Birkenau; and again, bomb protection in the German scheme of things also meant gas protection.

Turning now to Majdanek, we find that the Bath and Disinfection Complex II was equipped with no less than three gas lock entries as well as standard steel bomb shelter doors with peepholes. In addition, the interior rooms had added wooden strutting for reinforcing the roof, and at least one wooden emergency exit. In the context of the documents, the contemporary civil defense literature, and the photographic evidence, it should be obvious that the Bath and Disinfection complex at Majdanek was converted at some point in its career to also provide bomb and gas protection, and that its showers were meant to serve as a decontamination center for gassing victims.

We should note here that this same complex was claimed by the Soviets in a Special Commission report from 1944 as having been the site where 1.5 Million people were gassed with Zyklon B. Yet, while no one claims more than 1/10 of that number of victims for Majdanek today [Z 277, n129 surveys contemporary downward revisions], neither has anyone explained how these manifest bomb shelter features could have been misunderstood or misinterpreted for so many years.

The nature of the German people's plight in the air war has also been misunderstood. Although doubtless thousands perished in utter helplessness, hundreds of thousands more survived, thanks to the skillful preparations of the people and the RLB, and due to the courage and resourcefulness of the sergeant majors, fire wardens, and countless others. We recall that the twin objectives of the air war were the destruction of German industry and the breaking of German morale. But neither of these twin objectives was achieved, and it is tragic that more than 50,000 brave British airmen perished in a fruitless venture that left a blot on Britain's conduct of the war. Far from being mere passive martyrs, the German people won the air war because they, too, did not "flag or fail." Even so, their sacrifice remains unmourned and unremembered.

Unremembered and unmourned: except for a curious and ironic artifact. If you travel to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, you will find many reminders of the terrible ordeal of the Jewish people in the course of their persecution by the German National Socialists. These objects serve as memorials to the many Jews who suffered, died, and were killed in what has come to be known as the Holocaust. But in another part of the building, alone, and dimly lit, we find a silent sentinel, who, by its presence, serves as an admonishment to those who insist on the most narrow interpretation of history, an Eulenspiegel-ish reminder that remembrance is irrepressible, and a memorial to those German women and children who perished in the gas and flames of the air war holocaust: a steel door, with handles, a peephole, with a perforated steel cover – a German bomb shelter door.

USHMM replica displayed as gas chamber doorGerman ad for bomb shelter doors

Left: USHMM replica displayed as "gas chamber" door (once at http://www.ushmm.org/misc-bin/add_goback/outreach/892-1.htm).
Right: German ad for bomb shelter doors.

© 1997, Samuel Crowell


Key to Sources Used:

A
= Astor, Gerald, A Blood-Dimmed Tide, (NY:1992)
ATO
= Pressac, Jean Claude, Auschwitz: Technique and Operation of the Gas Chambers, (NY:1989)
B
= Vogt, Helmut, Das 5. Luftschutzrevier von Bonn, (Bonn:1994)
CD
= United States Strategic Bombing Survey, Civilian Defense Division Final Report, 2nd edition (n.p.:1947)
D
= Irving, David, The Destruction of Dresden, (NY:1964)
DD
= Höß, Rudolf, Death Dealer: The Memoirs of the SS Kommandant at Auschwitz (ed. Steven Paskuly), (NY:1996)
G
= Musgrove, Gordon, Operation Gomorrah: The Hamburg Firestorm Raids, (London:1981)
H
= Hastings, Max, Bomber Command, (NY:1989)
I
= Iserson, Kenneth V., Death to Dust: What Happens to Dead Bodies? (Tucson,AZ:1994)
N
= Schramm, Georg Wolfgang, Der zivile Luftschutz in Nürnberg, 1933-1945 (Nürnberg:1983)
P
= Steiner, Walter, Die Parkhöhle von Weimar: Abwasserstollen, Luftschutzkeller, Untertagmuseum (Bremen:1996)
S
= Stahl, Joachim, Bunker und Stollen für den Luftschutz im Raum Siegen (Kreuztal:1980)
SF
= Vonnegut, Kurt, Slaughterhouse Five, (NY:1993)
US
= United States Strategic Bombing Survey, The Effect of Bombing on Health and Medical Care in Germany, (Washington, DC:1945)
V
= Steinhoff, Johannes, et al., eds., Voices From the Third Reich, (NY:1994)
Z
= Gauss, Ernst [Rudolf, Germar], Grundlagen zur Zeitgeschichte, (Tübingen:1994)

Endnotes:

[7]Friedlander, H. and Milton, S., Archives of the Holocaust, vol. 20, Document 169, p. 462ff, 463.
[8]Hilberg, Raul, The Destruction of the European Jews, (NY:1960), p. 584
[9]See the extensive discussion of the "Criminal Traces" in "Technique and Operation of German Anti-Gas Shelters"
[10]Ibid.
[11]Czech, Danuta, Auschwitz Chronicle: 1939-1945, (NY:1997), p. 692, 697n, p. 708. These entries fairly well explode the claim that Auschwitz was never bombed. My thanks to Richard Widmann for these references, and for other editorial suggestions.
[12]Nyiszli, M. Auschwitz (NY:1993), p. 128
[13][JHR footnote] It should be stressed that the arguments set forth here in 1997 have undergone significant elaboration. Part of this has been due to strong critiques from both Carlo Mattogno and Robert Jan van Pelt, and part is due to a number of documents obtained in 2000 and published in "Bomb Shelters in Birkenau"(http://codoh.com/node/904). The documents in that article prove that civil defense concerns, and thus gastight fixtures, were common at Auschwitz Birkenau, but, at the same time, there are ongoing disputes concerning the appropriateness of the Bomb Shelter Thesis in explaining such gastight fixtures for the crematoria.

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Author(s): Samuel Crowell
Title: Defending Against the Allied Bombing Campaign, Air Raid Shelters and Gas Protection in Germany
Sources: The Journal of Historical Review, vol. 20, no. 4 (July/August 2001), pp. 15-41
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Published: 1997-07-01
First posted on CODOH: July 30, 1997, 7 p.m.
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Comments: A version of this paper with less illustrations appeared in the "The Journal of Historical Review," vol. 20, no. 4 (July/August 2001), pp. 15-41, with a footnote added at the end (no. 13).
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