Documents from Moscow Archives describe building of air-raid shelters in Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1943-44
The imperfect translations prepared by Samuel Crowell which follow convey clearly enough the meaning of three documents recently forwarded by an anonymous source from Russian archives of captured German WWII documents to Samuel Crowell. They give details of logistical problems encountered in the building of hundreds of air-raid shelters at Auschwitz-Birkenau in April through November of 1944. This effort being expended on the slave laborers at Auschwitz at this stage of the war, when German field operations had faltered and the supply situation was in increasingly desperate straits, the Russian Army less than 90 days away from overrunning the camp, is quite at odds with allegations of a death camp whose sole purpose was the murder of those held there. To the contrary, Germany needed arms workers to survive and camp commanders were responding to central orders to take greater measures to insure the health of those workers.
David Thomas, 3/21/98
Auschwitz, October 25, 1943
[Bftgb. Nr.] 39289 [?] 43/Dej/Go
Report for Record
[Betr.]: Luftschutzdeckungsgräben [Air-Raid Shelter Trench-Covers]
On Oct. 19, 1943 ZBL was informed by GB-Construction, Kattowitz, through Herrn Ing.Andre, via telephone call as I understand, that when the group of 7 carloads of the air-raid shelter trench-covers arrived, 60% showed cracking or fracturing.
On the side ZBL learned it was recorded that on Oct. 11 the first 3 carloads and on the following days the remaining carloads with altogether 176 (curved covers), per ZBL, came in normally and without damage to the (routing official, switching official) at Kattowitz, where they were then stored according to standard procedures. This was also Mr. Ing. Andre's information from some other of the GB-Construction reports.
On his following visit to ZBL on Oct. 23, Mr. Ing. Andre stated otherwise and feels that the breakage of the (curved covers) was due to storage/handling by other than normal procedures at Kattowitz.
There's a problem about the unpaid bills and there's a written contract/job outline that needs to be discussed with GB but there wasn't any gas to send someone to the "possession" (worksite or materials storage location). Plus again somebody is asking about the written work instruction, and ZBL wants the matter to be discussed by Dr. Fiebingel of GB-Construction and SS Ustuf. (F) Kiruchneck.
Auschwitz, November 5, 1943
Bftgb. Nr. 39499[1 or ,] 43
Report for Record
[Betr.]: Luftschutzdeckungsgraben [Air-raid shelter trench covers]
On November 4 1943, in the department of ZBL, a cleanup meeting was held between Ing.Andre from GB-Construction, Kattowitz, and SS-Ustuf. (F) Dejaco of ZBL, concerning all open questions about the previous manufacture of the L. S. Trench-Covers. Seitens of ZBL. was made aware that as of today, still:
1. the written report is missing,
ZBL pointed out that the delivery of L.S. Trench-Covers can only happen if the prior purchase of concrete, gravel and cement, plus Diesel oil or gas or motor oil requisite to the apparent needs are received at the required location. For the first 500 lfdm L.S. Trench-Covers, per the ZBL letter of August 9 1943, Brtgb.Nr.3587o/ 43/ [Jäg]/ [Go] and the GB-Construction [estimates]: 450 liters gasoline, 40 liters oil; or 350 kg diesel and 40 liters of oil are required. ZBL has gotten for GB-Construction Kattowitz up to now 150 kg diesel power substance assigns. Since only a little more than 250 lfdm good prefabricated L.S. Trench-Covers are held by ZBL the fuel allotment is spent for a long time. For ZBL to get the upper hand it must make Ing.Andre aware of how urgent and necessary a gas or diesel allotment is, otherwise the manufacture of the L.S. Trench Covers will have to close down.
On November 4, 1943 at ZBL more molds came in and to be sure a form for half bow, 2 for foundation-stones and 2 for floor plates.
Mister Ing. Andre viewed the concrete workshops of ZBL and was convinced that taking the works to the site would allow successful parts to be made there. Furthermore he received a concrete-piece with manufacturing (capability?).
Copy of Transcription 1
[Enclosed]: 1 Construction Proposal, 3 Copies
To: Construction Supervision, Waffen-SS and Police "[Schlesien]"
Based on the submitted records I hereby give the order for the construction of air-raid-shelter/covered-trenches in KGL-Auschwitz-BW 14 K.
The transfer for the recipient is on record at the foregoing construction order number for notification.
The Head of the Office C V