Photo Gallery
Crematoria II, West View

When the Germans destroyed crematorium I in Auschwitz-Birkenau, the walls blew out, leaving the roof to fall onto the foundation. The victims selected for death approached from the east, having walked from their train down a long street known at the lagerstrasse. Although the smell of burning flesh permeated the camp and flames could often be seen rising from the chimneys of the crematoria, the Nazis were usually succesful in deceiving the victims as to their immediate peril. Crematorium II stood next to Crematorium III, two brick buildings with squat, square chimneys. The victims were told to descend by stairway into the cellar which served as the undressing room. Signs in several languages said "To the Baths and Disinfecting Rooms," "Cleanliness brings freedom" and "One louse may kill you." Clothes were put on numbered hooks. The victims were then were sent to small vestibules where someone pointed to to the doors of a white-washed room resembling the one they had just left--in this room the showerheads were fake and several of the pillars were hollow with perforations to let out the gas.

Photo Credit: John Menszer

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