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Crematoriaum II, North View

Crematoriaum II, North View

Crematorium II in Auschwitz-Birkenau was based on a design by Architect Georg Werkmann as modified by Walter Dejaco. The central part of the building contained furnaces with a capacity of 1440 corpses per day. The gas chambers and undressing rooms were underground; the bodies were brought up by elevator. On Saturday, March 13, 1943, 1,492 women, children and elderly people from the CracowCracow: (Krakow), one of the oldest and largest cities in Poland, and the location of one of the most important Jewish communities in Europe.

On March 20, 1941 the ghetto was sealed off. It was confined to a small area and heavily overcrowded. By the end of October 1942 after the second deportation (Aktion)the ghetto was split into two parts. On March 13, 1943 the residents of part “A” were sent to the Plaszow labor camp and on March 14 the residents of part “B” were transferred to Auschwitz-Birkenau and gassed there.

There was a resistance movement in the ghetto. Their most famous operation was an attack on the Cygeneria cafe in which 11 Germans were killed and 13 wounded. Attempts were made to join in partisan activities in the surrounding area but the resistance encountered problems because of their isolation and because of the hostile attitude of units of the AK (Armia Krajowa Polish Home Army) which did not take kindly to Jewish partisan operations. Source: Encyclopedia of the Holocaust.
ghetto were gassed and burned here in its inagural run. It was blown up by the Germans as they prepared to evacuate the camp in January 1945. The 4 crematoria in Auschwitz-Birkenau are examples of the application of industrial technology to the problem of mass murder.

Photo Credit: John Menszer