Dachau gas chamber Exterior
"Inside as well as outside were gas chambers with adjacent crematory ovens. Sid Olsen of Time Magazine, Walter Riddler of the St. Paul Dispatch and I followed a fresh trail of blood into the brick building with a huge smokestack. Almost 100 naked bodies were stacked neatly in the barren room with cement floors. They had come from a room on the left marked "brausebad" for "shower bath." From the story in the News York Times, April 30, 1945 by Associated Press War Writer, Howard Cowan
The new crematorium building, called Baracke X, contains four crematory ovens, a homicidal gas chamber disguised as a shower room, and four disinfection gas chambers used for delousing clothing. In the photograph above, the outside wall of the gas chamber is in the section of the building directly behind the recently-added round white table, which has a commemorative plaque on the top of it.
The gas chamber is the only room in the building which has no windows. To the right of the gas chamber is a mortuary room where bodies were customarily stored, awaiting cremation. The single door to the right of the mortuary room leads to a small vestibule between the mortuary and the crematorium. The wheel chair ramp in front of this door was added at a later time. The double doors open into the crematory room where there are four ovens for burning corpses. The windows on either side of the double doors are the windows of the crematory room. The last room on the right is another morgue room.
The photo above shows the bins on the outside wall of the Dachau gas chamber; Zyklon-B gas pellets were poured onto the floor of the gas chamber through these bins. The openings for the bins were centered on the inside wall of the gas chamber. Notice the sloppy construction work on the outside wall; the drain pipe from the roof is not centered between the bins and the peephole, which has been closed up, is also not centered. There is no opening for the peephole on the inside of this wall, but there is a peephole inside on the opposite wall.
The photograph below shows the south end of the crematorium building which is the area to the left of the gas chamber in the photograph at the top of this page. The double doors, shown on the right in the photograph below, open into a small vestibule. To the right of the vestibule is the door into the waiting room. Behind the vestibule wall is another small room which has an interior window that looks into the waiting room. The room next to the waiting room is the undressing room which has a door into the gas chamber.
On the far left in the photograph above is the open-air hallway where the doors to the 4 disinfection chambers are located.
The photograph below shows the vent pipes on the roof of Baracke X. There is one vent pipe directly over the gas chamber which is the room right behind the white table. Another vent pipe is over the vestibule next to the oven room. The next photograph below was taken in May 1945; it shows the same vent pipe directly over the gas chamber and the same small vent pipe near the edge of the roof.
The tall chimney of the crematorium can be seen in the photograph below. Note that the crematorium has 2 large attic vents over it.
Baracke X was located outside the prison enclosure and separated from it by the Würm river which runs through a concrete canal. The outside wall of the gas chamber was hidden from the view of the inmates by a screen of closely-planted poplar trees in front of it. After the war, a ten-foot wall was built to hide the crematoria area from the camp area.
The first photograph of the building taken by the American Army shows a wooden screen that had been placed by the Nazis in front of the bins in order to hide the activity of the SS in pouring the Zyklon-B pellets onto the floor of the gas chamber. In the museum, there are no photographs of this building taken by the Nazis during construction or just after it was finished.
At the south end of the building, there is a display board which shows a photograph of the exterior of the building with bodies piled up against it. The display is shown in the photograph below. The caption reads: "The dead on the grounds of the crematorium, end of April/beginning of May 1945." Note the wooden screen which is hiding the bins on the gas chamber wall.
The photograph in the display above was taken by a Yugoslavian resistance fighter who was a prisoner at Dachau.
This page was last updated on June 2, 2007