Samuel Crowell's Letter to the Director of the USHMM

Published: 1997-09-01

Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust
Post Office Box 439016 / MCD P-111
San Diego CA 92143
Tel (San Diego): 619.687.1950
On the Internet:

28 August 1997

Walter Reich, Director
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Washington D.C. 20024

Dear Dr. Reich:

Some months ago I came across materials that showed a remarkable connection between German civil defense literature and the World War Two Nazi gas chambers. I have found that the replica of the "gas chamber" door with peephole you have on display at your Museum appears to be, in fact, a replica of a common, mass produced German air raid shelter door.

I have never seen any reference to the use of air raid shelter doors in the gas chamber literature. With regard to this matter, I would like to ask the following questions:

  1. Does the Museum wish to suggest that air raid shelter doors were used as homicidal gas chamber doors?
  2. If the Museum holds that such air raid shelter doors were used during gassings, how does the Museum explain the fact that such doors were equipped with latches to both open and close them, both inside and outside, and the fact that even today the doors at Majdanek (from which the Museum's casting has come) can be opened from either inside or outside?
  3. Finally, if it is the position of the Museum that air raid shelter doors were used during homicidal gassings, will the Museum please comment on why this fact has not been made plain by historians who specialize in Holocaust studies?

For your reference: I have published my own views on these matters in some detail on the Internet at

While I understand these questions might appear to be provocative, I would like to assure you that it is not my intention to belittle the suffering of Jews during World War Two. Nor is it my intention to somehow excuse the National Socialist system or its leadership for its inexcusable treatment of the Jewish people during that period.

I do, however, want to understand the significance of what I have discovered about the casting of the "gas chamber" door from Majdanek that you display at the Museum.

I await your expeditious reply.

Very respectfully,

(signed) Samuel Crowell

Additional information about this document
Property Value
Author(s): Samuel Crowell
Title: Samuel Crowell's Letter to the Director of the USHMM
Published: 1997-09-01
First posted on CODOH: April 29, 2012, 7 p.m.
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