The Seventh Gas Chamber of Majdanek

Published: 2023-04-03

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Shortly after the Red Army conquered the Lublin-Majdanek Concentration Camp on 22 July 1944, Polish and Soviet “experts” formed a “Commission for Investigating the Crimes Committed by the Germans in the Majdanek Extermination Camp in Lublin.” They issued a report on 23 August 1944 in which they described in detail, among other things, the alleged seven homicidal gas chambers of the Majdanek Camp.1 Two of these chambers were supposedly located next to the camp’s laundry facility, one was a room next to the inmate shower room of Barracks 41, also often referred to as “Bath and Disinfection I,” and three more were supposedly located right next to Barracks 41 in a detached, dedicated building. All of these are described in great detail. However, the seventh gas chamber, the one allegedly located inside the crematorium building, is treated rather neglectfully by the commission. It is mentioned only in passing:

“The concrete gas chamber, with reinforced-concrete roofing and two small observation windows on the side of the mortuary. […]

Gas Chamber: 6.10 x 5.62 m, 34.28m².”

For decades, this particular room has been the biggest embarrassment for the Majdanek Museum in particular, and for orthodox Holocaust historiography in general. The alleged gas chamber inside the crematorium is a windowless room in the center of that building. Anyone with a little critical sense can see that no toxic gasses could have been used in this room for whatever purposes: it had no windows, no ventilation system, two wall openings to a neighboring room that could not be closed, and two doors opening into other rooms of the building. Therefore, this room could neither be closed nor ventilated. In the room's ceiling, we find a crudely broken-through hole in the concrete ceiling, with reinforcement bars left in place, yet without any means to close it. To make matters worse, this hole is located right over a floor drain. Any Zyklon B pellets thrown through that hole would have fallen into that drain to a large degree.

In the early 2000s, the Majdanek Museum finally mustered the courage to agree with that assessment and removed all Museum tour signs claiming that this was a homicidal gas chamber. This came in the wake of a 2005 article authored by Majdanek Museum’s director Tomasz Kranz, with which he lowered the camp’s official death toll to 78,000 (down from 235,000), and ditched five of the originally claimed seven homicidal gas chambers.1a Around that time, the former “homicidal gas chamber” inside the crematorium was silently rebranded as a simple morgue, which is what the building’s original blueprints have stated all along.

The question is: Who came up with the asinine idea to declare this a homicidal gas chamber to begin with, and why?

Graf and Mattogno think that this happened out of desperation on part of the Polish-Soviet commission:2

“The Commission was determined to find an execution gas chamber in the new crematorium at any cost, for if the camp administration had indeed planned a mass extermination of inmates, the sequence ‘gas chamber – mortuary – furnace room’ would have been the most logical. Even though the new crematorium was constructed at a time when the gassings were allegedly already in full swing, the administration did not plan for any gas chamber for this building at all, neither for murder nor for disinfestation.”

There is a second possibility: The commission, which doubtlessly interviewed many former inmates, may have heard claims about a gas chamber operating inside the crematorium, and therefore decided that there must have been one. They (or any witness) picked a room that seemed convenient to them, following the logic described by Graf and Mattogno.

I have not been able so far to locate interrogation protocols of that commission, if any exist. However, there are witness statements from later dates that point in the right direction.

During the Polish investigations in preparation of the show trial against former staff member of the Auschwitz Camp, the Polish authorities looked for witnesses who could incriminate the future defendants. Among them was also Erich Mußfeldt.3 From the summer of 1942 until May 1944, he oversaw cremations at the Majdanek Camp. As such, he first supervised the old crematorium with two mobile oil-fired cremation furnaces until late 1942. Then he was allegedly in charge of outdoor cremations occurring while no other cremation options existed. Finally, since early 1944, he responsibly operated Majdanek’s new crematorium. In May 1944, he was transferred to the Auschwitz Camp, where he was head of operations of Crematoria II and III. As such, he came into the crosshairs of the Polish judiciary preparing the aforementioned trial.

As the Holocaust orthodox narrative has it, Crematoria II and III were the epicenters of mass murder at Auschwitz-Birkenau. The highest, in fact, most-frenzied extermination activities at these facilities occurred during the alleged annihilation of the Hungarian Jews between mid-May 1944 and early July 1944, when some 400,000 Jews are said to have been killed, probably about half of them in these two buildings. This is the dogma with which the Polish judiciary and its witnesses approached the man who oversaw operations at these buildings. Within this propaganda framework, it was inevitable that Mußfeldt was portrayed as a veritable monster capable of all kind of atrocities imaginable.

Witness testimonies recorded by the Polish judiciary with regard to alleged crimes by the German occupational forces during World War Two are today in the archives of the Polish Institute for National Remembrance (IPN). Many if not most of them are accessible only at the internet presence of the Withold Pilecki Institute, located online at

Searching this database for testimonies on Majdanek, I found a few mentioning gassings or gas chambers, but most of them say nothing specific about it. Evidently, most if not all these witnesses were only reporting hearsay stories, or rather mere rumors. A few among them are a little more specific, though, in particular those geared toward incriminating Erich Mußfeldt. As expected, Mußfeldt is described in these testimonies in the worst possible way, having abused, tormented and murdered inmates out of sadism with any means imaginable.

Here is one example of such a testimony by a certain Piotr Denisow, who was an engineer collaborating with the Germans to build the camp. Hence, he had a good reason to slather it on thickly in order to avoid the accusation of having aided and abetted in the mass murder of Polish patriots at Majdanek. Here are his words: 4

“I met the defendant Erich Muhsfeldt in 1942. He served as head of the crematorium in the Majdanek concentration camp. I used to see Muhsfeld as I worked as a civilian engineer building the sewage system in the camp near the crematorium in fields V and VI. Having learned from the former prisoners about his cruelty, I avoided any contact with him. Quartered beside the crematorium, he remained insensitive to the groans of the dying people. His task was to oversee those who worked in the crematorium. The work involved carrying corpses, undressing the victims, pulling out golden teeth, pulling jewelry and rings off the corpses, etc. These prisoners, known as crematorium men, were often replaced. On Muhsfeld’s orders, they were sent to the gas chambers and new people were placed in their stead. Muhsfeld often took part in carrying out ‘selections’, that is, the elimination of those who were ill, weak and unable to work and who were sent to the gas chambers to be exterminated. Muhsfeld’s very name sent chills down the spine of every prisoner, and everyone tried to keep out of his sight.

Since gold, diamonds and jewelry passed through his hands, he derived much profit from his position. His cruelty served to preserve the function he exercised and to ingratiate himself with his boss, Thumann (the former deputy of the camp commandant) known for spreading terror throughout the camp. Other prisoners told me that on Thumann’s order he had thrown a Polish woman, still alive, into the fire for refusing to strip naked before the execution as other women had done.

I was also told that he had once insidiously lured five crematorium men (a Jew and four Soviet prisoners) into the gas chamber on the pretext that he wanted them to take off the clothes of Jewish children. When the men entered the crematorium, he bolted the door shut and let the gas in. He did this to eliminate those who had provided him with gold and who then threatened to reveal his theft. [They complained to] the commandant Thumann who was very displeased [with what he had learned]. As a result of their complaint, Muhsfeld’s apartment was searched. During the search, 8 kilos of gold were found, which filled Thumann with anger and led to Muhsfeld’s removal first from his position and then, in May 1944, from the camp.

He even treated his favorite dog with great cruelty. Before moving out of Lublin he threw the dog alive into the crematorium furnace since he didn’t want to give it to anyone else.

I have learned what I have just said from former prisoners.”

Therefore, none of it he knew from his own experience. He was merely regurgitating what he heard elsewhere and what he knew was expected of him.

Note that according to this witness the described gassing happened inside the crematorium: Mußfeldt lured the Jews into the Crematorium, locked the door behind them, and let the gas in. We know that there was no gas chamber inside that crematorium, so we know this part of the hearsay tale is false. We can also be certain that the head of the crematorium would not have been allowed to step way out of his area of competence and start selecting inmates for whatever fate. This was the camp physicians’ prerogative.

Another Polish collaborator in need of expiation was Stanisław Wolniak, a Polish civilian who lent his horse-carriage services to the SS to meet the camp’s transportation needs. He, too, implicated Mußfeldt in gassings:5

“One time I saw a prisoner and a group of officers standing near a barrack, and Mussfeldt was with them. He took a spade and hit the prisoner in the head so hard that the man fell and the handle broke. Mussfeldt forced the broken handle deep into the prisoner’s throat. Later I saw him dump Zyklon[-B] into a gas chamber.

Also in 1940 there was a mass execution by shooting. Some 18,000 prisoners were shot then. My house was quite close to Majdanek. I went into the attic, and I could then see various Germans, including Mussfeldt. Naked people would go into pits, and one of the sentries shot them.”

Here, too, we see Mußfeldt, head of the crematorium, active in homicidal gassings, probably carried out in the only building that was in his area of competence: the crematorium. Regarding the mass execution of 18,000 Jews, Wolniak got the year wrong. The orthodoxy insists that this event, the so-called “Operation Harvest Festival,” took place on 3 November 1943, not in 1940, as Wolniak stated. Since the Majdanek Camp did not yet exist in 1940, this is a simple mistake. Note the correct observation, however, that everything happening at that camp was easily visible by hundreds of Polish civilians living nearby.

Another witness interrogated in preparation of the Auschwitz Garrison Trial was Alina Paradowska, who had been incarcerated at Majdanek from January 1943 to April 1944. In her deposition, she stated:6

“Among the names of the former crew members included in the list shown to me, I know Erich Muhsfeldt [who] was the head of the crematorium.

I know that Muhsfeldt played an active role in leading the Jews to the gas chambers; he took away their valuables, clothes, etc. I myself witnessed him leading a Jewish family to the crematorium. There were shots that I heard. Muhsfeldt also actively participated in the gassing of young Jewish children who, after the arrival of the transport, were taken away from their parents and sent to the gas chambers after three or four days. In 1944, I saw Muhsfeldt on the road playing an active role in the selection of Jewish Greeks brought to the camp and destined for execution.”

Here we have Mußfeldt leading Jews to the gas chamber, in fact, leading them to the crematorium. Hence, for this witness as well, the gas chamber was located inside the crematorium.

Stanisław Znój was incarcerated at the Majdanek Camp from January 1943 until April 1944. He placed the gas chamber right next to the inmate bath, which newly arriving prisoners had to pass through:7

“In another instance, I saw the arrival of a transport of women and children; they were immediately herded into the bath, and from there to the gas chamber. After two days the bodies were carted off to the crematorium and incinerated. Muhsfeldt was an active participant of this action, making sure that everyone entered the bath. The Germans stood guard all around and issued orders to others of the prisoners, who in turn told the newly arrived women and children to go into the bath, through which a passage led to the gas chamber. The prisoners in Majdanek knew what this meant, for if a transport was at once sent to the bath, then these people were doomed. I think that this group was made up of Jewesses and their children, but I do not know where they had come from.”

This reference to “the gas chamber” (note the singular) clearly refers to the inmate bathing facility inside Barracks 41 (“Bath and Disinfection I”), which was indeed located next to the camp’s main entry. The Zyklon-B disinfestation facility right next to the shower room has been presented as a homicidal gas chamber ever since the camp’s Soviet occupation, yet it is today acknowledged to have been a mere fumigation chamber. Moreover, the disinfestation facility close to that building did not have a passageway connecting it to Barracks 41/“Bath and Disinfection I.” There is a passageway today, but it was only added by the Polish Museum authorities when they rigged the camp to feature, as the climax of their Holocaust Horror Show, this alleged homicidal gas-chamber complex, ready to impress millions of future visitors. Without this passageway, inmates who undressed inside Barracks 41 and were meant to enter one of the gas chambers in that detached facility, would have had to be led outdoors, in plain view of the entire camp and the surrounding civilian world, and ready to run away and scatter all over the camp.

It is unknown when exactly this Polish post-war forgery was done, but this testimony of late 1947 may be an indication that it happened before that date.

It is also worth mentioning that all inmates arriving at this (and any other) camp had to take a shower. This was standard admission procedure. Therefore, “if a transport was at once sent to the bath,” this did not mean they were gassed, but they got showered and clothed in clean, disinfested prison clothes.

Another inmate also locating “the gas chamber” next to the bath was Eugeniusz Malanowski, who was interned at the Majdanek Camp from January 1943 until April 1944. Here is the relevant passage of his testimony:8

“Loaded onto the car, the prisoners were transported to the gas chamber, where all of them were gassed, and their bodies were burned in the crematorium. […]

The prisoners who worked near the bath, next to which the gas chamber was situated, recounted that they saw the prisoners from our block being let into the gas chamber, 50 at a time.”

Note that repeatedly the inmates speak of “the” gas chamber, although at that time the orthodox narrative claimed that there had been seven of them. In the eyes of these inmates, however, they seem to have been aware only of one.

The former Majdanek inmate Kazimierz Wdzięczny would have been a very promising witness, as can be gleaned from the relevant passage of his testimony:9

“The field was under quarantine. Barracks 17 and 19 were full of people suffering from typhus, out of whom a quota was regularly selected for gas chambers. Those who once had not believed in these atrocities could witness the terrible reality first-hand. […]

Thanks to his help, having recovered from typhus, I went up from 27 kilograms of body weight to 55 kilograms.

Still feeble, I was allotted to the corpse carriers’ kommando, whose task was to move bodies to the old crematorium. In the event of a significant number of the gassed, we also helped unload the gas chambers. I worked in this capacity for six weeks. This is where I had an opportunity to witness the greatest atrocities perpetrated by the SS men.”

This sounds like the introduction to a detailed description of these gassing atrocities, but we are terrible misled, because that is all he had to say about it.

Adam Panasiewicz, a Majdanek inmate from 17 January 1943 until 22 July 1944, gives us a clue where these inmates knowledge really comes from:10

“It was commonly known at the camp that Muhsfeldt shot the prisoners himself, and he himself threw Jewish children into the gas chamber and performed selections among the chosen prisoners, sending them to the gas chamber.

Working at the administrative office, I knew that Muhsfeldt wasn’t obligated to commit these murders due to his function, as the [duties] of his kommando only included burning the corpses. Up until the fall of 1943, in the old crematorium and then in the new one with five furnaces, Muhsfeldt murdered people in person.

Muhsfeldt directed the extermination of 18,200 or 18,300 Jews from Majdanek and the surrounding camps, performed on 3 November 1943 on the sixth field. Two weeks before the extermination, trenches were dug in the sixth field. One day before the execution, loudspeakers were installed and extremely loud tractors were brought to the fifth field. On 3 November 1943, after the morning roll call, the Jews were led to the sixth field, near the crematorium. They were told to lay their clothes on a pile, then – naked – they were herded to the trenches, where they were told to lie down. They were shot and then showered with hand grenades [sic!]. The next groups walked onto the corpses lying in blood, and the next groups carried the corpses onto a pile and then lay down to die. For two days before the massacre of the Jews, Muhsfeldt didn’t show himself at the camp, making preparations. After the execution, his kommando burned the corpses for two weeks.

In March or April 1943, Muhsfeldt, along with several SS officers, performed a selection, choosing over a hundred Polish prisoners from Block 19 that were to go to the gas chamber. That was the first and the only batch of Poles sent to the gas chambers, because, as I suppose, Berlin forbade further selections among Poles.”

As a pencil pusher in the administration office, he knew, because “It was commonly known.” He, too, knew only of “the gas chamber,” and the weather described by him was rather peculiar: Cloudy, with a chance of hand-grenade showers.

Here is another inmate who knew, because that was just the kind of stuff that was known: Stefan Wyglądała, who was on a round trip through several camps throughout the war: Auschwitz, Majdanek, Flossenbürg and Groß-Rosen. About his experience at Majdanek, where he was digging drainage trenches, he stated:11

“People were also exterminated in a treacherous manner, for instance in the morning, a senior worker (usually a Jew) would come to draw up a list of prisoners who wanted to see a doctor. They never saw a doctor: instead, they were sent to a gas chamber, where they were murdered. Judge Tadeusz Dyzmański and Łomnicki from Warsaw, friends of mine, died this way.”

But how does he know that? Here is how:

“Now it is clear to me that each concentration camp had almost identical features: 1) crematoria, 2) gas chambers, 3) mass executions on orders from higher authorities, 4) starvation rations, 5) no medical assistance, 6) murderous treatment of prisoners, 7) attempts to render the prisoner utterly depraved.”

So, if we follow that logic, there were gas chambers even at Flossenbürg and at Groß-Rosen…

There is one deposition that is crucial in order to understand, in which atmosphere these testimonies were made. In contrast to most other testimonies, this one has not been translated into English by the Institute for National Remembrance or the Withold Pilecki Institute. It is by Marcin Gryta, and it is actually an 18-page essay he wrote rather than a witness testimony or an affidavit. Here are a few appetizers of this hysterical anti-German hate fest titled "Memories of Majdanek":12

“The very word Majdanek is something very terrible, monstrous. Majdanek in the whole sense of the word is a reflection of the soul of the German people. The German nation, with all its methods of exterminating other peoples, surpassed all previously known ways of ancient, as well as medieval, torture used by the wildest nations inhabiting all parts of the world. Each German had its own way and its own methods of murdering people.

Majdanek is built southeast of Lublin, and only three kilometers away. The gentle hills reigning over the area, four kilometers long and three kilometers wide, all fenced in with barbed wire, became a gothic place for millions of people, imprisoned by the German executioners just for not being German.

Nazi law ordered them to murder the people living in the Polish lands as unnecessary ballast, in order to create living space for themselves. They carried this out with all ruthlessness and severity, thus trying to implement Hitler's order to the smallest detail, and thus achieve the main goal of the current war unleashed by the Nazi party. The German methods of creating living space for themselves by slaughtering the entire populations of Polish cities and villages is not new, because back in the dawn of our history it was very well known.

Why is it that today the population of Gdansk is predominantly German, and the German language is heard in homes and on the streets? Or was it founded and built by Germans? No! The original inhabitants of Gdansk, Pomerania, Warmia and Masuria were exclusively Poles. The Germans, taking advantage of the internal discord of the Polish princes, murdered the Polish population of Gdansk, Pomerania and Warmia, and later sent their colonists and settled them in the area. In this way, the indigenous Polish lands became German. That's what they did in the past, that's what they still do today. […]

Despicable, like every German and German servant.”

For those who aren't familiar with German history: The historical charges of mass murder during the German colonization of the East is completely invented. Unfortunately, the text contains nothing of essence which could be used to either substantiate or verify any of the genocidal accusations made against the German authorities running the Majdanek Camp either. Like most witness testimonies about Majdanek, they are mostly based on hearsay and are absolutely vapid. But they are sure filled with plenty of hatred and lust for revenge. As much as that is understandable after all that has transpired in the German wartime camps, it is not helpful to shed light on what really happened in these places.

In summary, it seems evident that one of the reasons in the eyes of the witnesses why there had to be a gas chamber in the Majdanek crematorium is that it was run by Erich Mußfeld, who later became the master villain of the large crematoria and (alleged) gas chambers at Auschwitz. Claims to that effect were made during investigations trying to frame Mußfeld for his alleged role in the mass gassing of several hundred thousand Jews at Auschwitz. It was only “logical” to make similar claims about him for his activities at Majdanek. And so it happened.


1 Gosudarstvenni Archiv Rossiiskoi Federatsii (State Archive of the Russian Federation, Moscow), 7021-107-9, pp. 229-243; for an English translation, see Jürgen Graf, Carlo Mattogno, Majdanek Concentration Camp: A Historical and Technical Study, 3rd ed., The Barnes Review, Washington, D.C., 2011, pp. 117-126.

1a Tomasz Kranz, “Ewidencja zgonów i śmiertelność więźniów KL Lublin” (“Records on deaths and mortality of prisoners of the Lublin Concentration Camp”). Zeszyty Majdanka, No. 25 (2005), pp. 7-53.

2 Graf/Mattogno, ibid., p. 152.

3 In the old German handwriting Sütterlin, the sharp s (ß) looks like an h follows by an s, which is why many sources misspell Mußfeldt’s name as Muhsfeldt.

4 IPN GK 196/144, pp. 246-248 (files of the Auschwitz Garrison Trial), interrogation dated 27 September 1947 by Judge I. Kamiński.

5 IPN GK 196/163, pp. 316-319, transcript of the Auschwitz Garrison Trial, 9th day; 3 December 1947.

6 IPN GK 196/151, pp. 88f. (files of the Auschwitz Garrison Trial), interrogation dated 30 September 1947 by Judge S. Krzyżanowska.

7 IPN GK 196/153 cz. 1, pp. 79-82 (files of the Auschwitz Garrison Trial), interrogation dated 5 November 1947 by prosecutor Mieczysław Nowakowski.

8 IPN GK 182/154, pp. 49f. (Investigation material on Auschwitz Concentration Camp by the District Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes, Warsaw), interrogation dated 26 August 1947 by Halina Wereńko.

9 IPN GK 196/144, pp. 39-48 (files of the Auschwitz Garrison Trial), interrogation dated 26 March 1946 by Bronisław Hoffman.

10 IPN GK 182/154, pp. 46f. (Investigation material on Auschwitz Concentration Camp by the District Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes, Warsaw). Interrogation dated 26 August 1947 by Halina Wereńko.

11 IPN GK 182/159, no page number given; deposition of 30 March 1945.

12 IPN GK 182/151, pp. 10-27.

Additional information about this document
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Author(s): Santiago Alvarez
Title: The Seventh Gas Chamber of Majdanek
Sources: Inconvenient History, Vol. 15, No. 1 (2023)
Published: 2023-04-03
First posted on CODOH: April 3, 2023, 2:02 p.m.
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