Blueprints for Auschwitz camp found in Germany

Sat Nov 8, 2008 10:12am EST
 
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By Erik Kirschbaum

BERLIN (Reuters) - The original construction plans believed used for a major expansion of the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz in 1941 have been found in a Berlin flat, Germany's Bild newspaper reported on Saturday.

The daily printed three architect's drawings on yellowing paper from the batch of 28 pages of blueprints it obtained. One has an 11.66 meter by 11.20 meter room marked "Gaskammer" (gas chamber) that was part of a "delousing facility."

No one from the federal government's archives was immediately available for comment on the authenticity or importance of the documents.

The plans, published ahead of the 70th anniversary of the "Kristallnacht" or the Nazi pogrom that was a harbinger of the Holocaust, also include a crematorium and a "L. Keller" -- an abbreviation for "Leichenkeller" or corpse cellar.

A drawing of the building for Auschwitz's main gate was also found in the documents that Bild said were believed to have been discovered when a Berlin flat was cleaned out.

The mass-circulation newspaper quoted Hans-Dieter Kreikamp, head of the federal archives office in Berlin, as saying the blueprints offered "authentic evidence of the systematically planned genocide of European Jews."

There were mass killings of about one million Jews before the Nazi's "Final Solution" was formulated in late 1941. The decision to kill Europe's 11 million Jews was made at the Wannsee Conference in January 1942.

A copy of the minutes, known as the "Wannsee Protocol," is one of the most important documents from the war.   Continued...

 
<p>Hair which belonged to prisoners is seen in the former Nazi death camp Auschwitz in Oswiecim, Poland, January 12, 2007. REUTERS/Katarina Stoltz</p>