Entrance to Crematorium I, Auschwitz I
|The Commandant of Auschwitz, Rudolf Hoss, was hung just outside of this crematorium on April 16, 1947. The building was originaly an ammunition depot. It was adapted for use as a crematorium, but only to burn the bodies of prisoners who had died in confinement. Later it was re-adapted into a gas chamber and crematorium combination.
The victims would enter this door, which would be hermetically sealed. The victims would then be in the gas chamber. There was no undressing room, and the victims had to be paraded in sight of the whole camp, which had a demoralizing effect. These defects would be corrected in crematoria II, III, IV and V, which were located in remote areas of Birkenau camp.
After the war this building was partially reconstruted--including rebuilding the chimney and installing 3 ovens that were built for another camp. The SS headquarters building can be seen to the left.
Photo Credit: John Menszer