Gas chambers and crematoria at Birkenau

Summary of interview with Dr Bendel, a doctor in the crematoria of Birkenau camp (catalogue reference WO 309/625)


Summary of examination of:


Charles Sigismund BENDEL           Occupation: Doctor

Address: 2 Rue Meilhao, PARIS.

Duly sworn, states:–

I am 30 years of age, of Roumanian nationality, born at PIATRA.

My permanent home address is as above and I am at present living there.

I first came to AUSSCHWITZ on 10th. December 1943 and remained until 18th. January 1945. At Camp TZIGANE I was employed as a doctor. That lasted 3 months. From June 1944 until the evacuation I was at the crematorium in BIRKENAW.

The crematorium for AUSCHWITZ is actually at BIRKENAW and there my job was to look after medically the 900 men who worked at the crematorium. These 900 men were not allowed any contact with other prisoners.

There were two gas chambers, underground, roughly 10 metres long, 5 metres wide and 1 1/2 metres high, each one. These two gas chambers supplied corpses to crematorium 1 and 2.

For crematoriums 3 and 4 there were two other gas chambers measuring each one 6 metres long and 3 metres wide and 1 1/2 metres high.

In the case of the gas chambers for crematoriums 1 and 2 the gas was poured in through the roof. In the case of the gas for crematoriums 3 and 4 the gas was put in through small windows in the wall.

I do not know who constructed the gas chambers, but I know they were built in 1942. They were made of reinforced concrete and were very strong. The hermetic doors were very strongly made of wood.

I want to say now that I was at BIRKENAW from 27th. February 1944 until 18th January 1945.

At BIRKENAW the disinfecting of clothes was done by boiling them; there was no disinfestation by gas. I know that disinfecting of clothes at AUSCHWITZ itself was done by use of a gas chambers which was also used for killing people.

At BIRKENAW the gas used for killing people was prussic acid, also called ZYKLON B.

The quantities of gas ZYKLON B used were as follows. For the two large gas chambers attached to crematoriums 1 and 2 it required two tins for each chamber. For the smaller gas chambers attached to crematoriums 3 and 4 it required one tin for each chamber. The tins were cylindrical with a diameter of 20-30 centimetres and about 50 centimetres tall. To kill a chamber full of people required 3-5 minutes.

The gas used to be delivered to the crematoriums by an ambulance of the Red Cross. It used to arrive about 5 minutes after a transport of prisoners had arrived for extermination at the crematorium. I do not know where it was stored.

In the two large gas chambers it was usual to put in each one 1,000 people, and the two small ones 500 people each.

The tins of gas were always brought to BIRKENAW from AUSCHWITZ.

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