At the time, the investigation at Belzec by leading archaeologists was historically unique, as no similar investigations had been carried out at the other two designated pure death camps of Sobibór and Treblinka. The magnitude of what occurred in Belzec has never been fully described in the historical literature until now. According to previous studies, which have always been inhibited by lack of eye-witness evidence, several hundred thousand Jews perished in Belzec. The archaeological investigations confirm by overwhelming evidence that mass murder was committed here on an unprecedented scale and that there was a determined attempt to conceal the enormity of the crime. The material unearthed at Belzec not only confirmed the crime but enabled the historians, by scientific analysis, to reconstruct for the first time the probable layout of the camp in the first and second phases.
Initially, the archaeological investigations at Belzec were handled under an agreement among the Council for the Protection of Memory of Combat and Martyrdom (Rada Ochrony Pamieci Walk I Meczenstwa ROPWiM) in Warsaw in association with the United States Holocaust Memorial Council and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. The administration of the Belzec Memorial project was later taken over by The American Jewish Committee.
How Belzec was to be commemorated was the subject of a wide-ranging competition among artists who placed their suggestions before a selecting committee. The successful contributors was a team of architects and artists led by Marcin Roszczyk, who intended to honor the earth that harbored the ashes of the victims. The Memorial site was finally completed and dedicated on June 3, 2004. It was within this definition that the archaeological investigations were started, the purpose being to examine the topography of the former camp and locate mass grave areas before the erection of a suitable memorial commemorating the victims murdered in Belzec.
As a result of the work carried out by the archaeological team from Torun University and an historical assessment of the findings by the author, a clearer picture emerged of how the camp was constructed and organized and how it functioned in both phases of its existence. Before looking at the most recent survey, some background to previous investigations may be helpful.
In view of the findings at Belzec, the Investigation Commission published a report on April 11, 1946, which concluded that Belzec was the second death camp to have been built or adapted by the Nazis for the specific purpose of murdering Jews. The report cites the first camp in which the mass murder took place as Chelmno, which operated between December 1941 and early 1943. The Investigation Commission relied on the testimonies of eyewitnesses who had been employed in the construction of these camps, or who lived locally and had observed what was taking place. One of the Belzc witnesses, Chaim Herszman (mentioned earlier), had escaped from the transport taking the last few members of Jewish 'death brigade' from Belzec to Sobibór, where they were shot. He testified before a Lublin Court on March 19,1946 and was due to continue his testimony in court the following day, when he was murdered, either by Polish anti-Semites, or because of his connections to the NKVD ( predecessor of the Russian Secret Service KGB) Political enemies.
The Investigation Commission drew attention to the systematic destruction of the ghettos and the 'resettlement' transports to the transit ghettos in Izbica and Piaski from towns within the Nazi-occupied territory of Poland then known as the General Government. The Commission further noted 'resettlement' transports from Western Europe to Belzec and the inclusion in these transports of Polish Christians who had been engaged either in anti-Nazi activities or accused of assisting or hiding Jews. The Commission concluded that 1,000-1,500 Polish Christians were murdered in Belzec. The final part of the Report by the Belzec Investigation Commission dealt with winding-down activities: cremations, destruction of evidence, dismantling of the gas chambers, removal of fences, ground being ploughed-up and planted with fir trees and lupins. The Commission verified from the evidence that a final inspection had been carried out at Belzec by a special SS Commission to ensure that everything had been done to cover up the enormity of the crimes perpetrated in the name of Reinhardt.
The methodology for all these recent investigations was similar: marking out the area to be examined to a fixed grid system at 5 m. intervals (knots). Exploratory boreholes to depth of 6 m were made, obtaining core samples of the geological strata. 2,001 archaeological exploratory drillings were done and were instrumental in locating 33 mass graves of varying sizes. From these exploratory drillings, many graves were found to contain naked bodies in wax-fat transformation (complete) and carbonized human remains and ashes were identified. The investigating personnel were divided into three teams, each working at a table to record data as soil samples were withdrawn and examined. Using a map of the area to a scale of 1: 1,000 prepared by the District Cartographic Office in Zamosc, a Central Bench Mark (BM 2007) was used as the reference point from which the archaeologists worked. Positive data and negative findings were recorded before replacing the soil samples in the boreholes. The most significant and unexpected facts to emerge as a result of the 1997-99 investigations are the large number of mass graves located and the large number of camp structures found scattered throughout the area of the former death camp.
Several of the structures correspond approximately in position with known buildings in the camp area: the undressing and barbers' barracks, workshops, warehouse, and bunker for the electricity generator; and in Camp II, barracks and kitchen for the Jewish 'death brigade.' The first priority of the archaeologists was to locate and map the mass graves.
During its first phase, Belzec was a temporary and experimental camp in which the procedures and logistics of mass extermination by gas and the burial of corpses were tried and tested. The camp structures and mass graves of the first phase in Belzec were concentrated along the northern fence, leaving the majority of the camp area unused but ready for use and expansion at a later date. The primitive experimental gassing barrack and undressing barracks were also temporary structures replaced later by bigger and more solidly constructed buildings to accommodate the increased number of victims for the second and final phase in August 1942.
The two phases of the gassing operations may be identified by the arrangement of the mass graves and camp structures between the graves. Thus, the apparent proliferation of small wooden structures between the graves of the first phase may have been temporary barracks for the Jews of the 'death brigade' employed in digging the mass graves and shelters for the guards. Three of the smallest wooden structures arranged at intervals around the west and south part of the grave field from the first period suggest watchtowers overlooking the grave-digging area. The structures in the southern half of the camp area date from the second period.
Graves 12 and 14 20, situated along the north fence, are in accordance with statements by witnesses for the period February May 1942. These graves probably contain the remains of the Jews from the Lublin and Lvov Districts deported to Belzec camp between mid-March and mid-April 1942, and the remains of early transports from the Lvov ghetto and transit ghettos at Izbica and Piaski. It is also very probable that the remains of German Jews deported from the Reich in April/May 1942 are located here.
Graves 10, 25, 27, 28, 32, and 33, all contain a layer of lime covering decomposed human remains. It is probable that these graves also date from these early transports when the local authorities complained about the health hazard caused by smell of decomposing corpses in open graves. Chloride of lime was spread over the six still open mass graves identified above in an effort to avoid epidemics breaking out. Evidence of the subsequent failed attempt at cremating corpses in graves may be found in the small graves near the north fence-- 27, 28 and 32-- in each of which a layer of burnt human remains and pieces of carbonized wood were found. The bottom of each of these graves is lined with a layer of burnt human fat.
The preparation and digging of these graves would appear to have been made on an ad hoc basis with the early graves located in the northeastern part of the camp. Many graves were close together and when the exhumation and cremation work commenced, the sides of the graves would have collapsed, thereby rendering any accurate record of grave sizes difficult. This suggests a hurried sealing of the ground and destruction of any identifiable border, which in turn made the archaeologist's work more difficult and their findings less precise. In addition, a mechanical excavator was used to remove the top layer of soil and remove the corpses, and then refill the pits with the cremated human remains and ash.
It has been suggested that some of the smallest graves (e.g., Numbers 13, 27, 28, 32, and 33) could have been the execution pits in which the old, sick and infirm Jews were shot during the first phase, while graves 2, 21 and 23 could be the execution pits from the second phase. The smaller graves correspond with sketches and written descriptions of the camp layout during the second phase (July December 1942) by members of the former SS garrison.
From the evidence uncovered by these recent investigations it was clear that the camp SS were not able to destroy all traces of mass murder. The purpose of the SS was to disguise the enormity of the crime: the numbers buried in Belzec. In the clear-up operation after burning the corpses, the cremated human remains, as well as the remnants of the burnt-down wooden barracks and demolished solid structures, were simply dumped into the pits and covered over. Solidly constructed cellars beneath certain buildings were also used as refuse pits into which were thrown glass and metal objects, which could not be completely destroyed by fire. The cellars, just like the graves, were filled-in with soil.
Mass graves are numbered 1-33 in the order of their discovery.
Grave pit No. 1: Located in northwestern part of the camp. Dimensions of the grave determined as 40 m x 12 m and over 4.80 m deep, filled with bodies in wax-fat transformation and a mixture of burnt human bones and charcoal. Under this deep strata lay a several centimeters-thick layer of foul-smelling water, beneath which were found unburned corpses compressed by the weight of soil to a layer 20 cm thick. The drill core brought to the surface putrid pieces of human remains, including pieces of skull with skin and tufts of hair attached, and unidentifiable lumps of greyish, fatty, human tissue. The bottom of the grave was lined with a layer of evil smelling black (burnt) human fat, resembling black soap. As no evidence of fabric was brought to the surface, it may be assumed that the corpses were naked. The conclusion was drawn that the preservation of the corpses was due to the fact that they lay virtually hermetically sealed between the layer of the water above and the layer of solidified fat below, underneath which the natural, dry and compressed sand, through which no air could penetrate, resulted in their partial mummification. Area: 1,500 sq. m.
Grave pit No. 2: Located in northeastern part of the camp. Dimensions of the grave determined as 14 m x 6 m x 2 m deep, containing a layer of unburned corpses and a mixture of cremated substances. Area: 170 sq m.
Grave pit No. 3: Located in southern part of the camp. This was the first mass grave the location of which was positively identified from a Luftwaffe aerial photograph taken in 1944, where it appears as a T-shaped white patch and is seemingly the largest grave in the camp. Dimensions of the grave determined as 16 m x 15 m x 5 m deep. Contained a mixture of carbonized wood, fragments of burnt human bones, pieces of skulls with skin and tufts of hair still attached, lumps of greyish human fat, and fragments of unburned human bones. The bottom layer consisted of putrid, waxy human fat. Area: 960 sq. m.
Grave pit No. 4: Located immediately to the south of the camp. Dimensions of the grave determined as 16 m x 6 m. At a depth of 2.30 m drilling was suspended due to contact with bodies in wax-fat transformation. Contained cremated remains. From below the water layer, the drill core brought to the surface pieces of unburned human bones, including pieces of skulls with skin and hair still adhering and lumps of foul smelling greasy fat, indicating the presence of unburned corpses. Area: 250 sq. m.
Grave pit No. 5: Located in the southwestern part of the camp and formed from the left-hand bar of the T-shaped arrangement of graves 3, 5 and 6. Dimensions of the grave determined as 32 m x 10 m x 4.50 m deep. Contained pieces of burnt human bones so densely packed together that the drill could not penetrate further. Area: 1,350 sq. m.
Grave pit No. 6: Located in south-central part of the camp. Dimensions determined as 30 m x 10 m x 4 m deep. Containing carbonized wood and fragments of burnt human bones. At the east end of the grave, the ground is covered with grey sand containing a mixture of crushed pieces of burnt and unburned pieces of human bones. Area: 1,200 sq. m.
2. Located 15 m northwest of excavation No. 1, measured 14 m. x 1 m. and 1 m. deep. There were positive findings: traces of a standard gauge railway track-bed and a layer of crushed brick and cinders (ballast) covered with black grease. A second track-bed was found running parallel and to the east of the first. Six samples of oil were taken for analysis.
3. Excavations were carried out parallel to excavations 1 and 2, and 30 m northwest of excavation 2. Further indications of track-beds in parallel were found. (These findings are crucial to our understanding of the modus operandi during the second phase of the camp, from August 1942.)
4. The fourth excavation was located 15 m northwest of excavation 3 and measured 8.5 m. x 1 m. x 2 m. deep. Further evidence of the twin track system was found.
The location and number of graves found corroborate both the testimonies and plans made by Rudolf Reder in 1945, Chaim Hirszman in 1946, and the Report of the Polish War Crimes Investigation Commission of 1945-46
In Tel Aviv the author interviewed Joseph Bau, a survivor from the Plaszów concentration camp. Belzec was of secondary interest at that time but during the interview, Bau related to the author how he he [Bau] drafted plans of Belzec showing the location of mass graves, gas chambers, and other buildings.
Even before work started, a cursory examination beyond the outer perimeter of the northeastern part of the camp showed the presence of human bone fragments on an exposed sand escarpment.
At the conclusion of the investigations, it was established that the camp was one large patchwork of mass graves and camp structures. By determining the size, position, and soil content of these graves, the investigators were able to establish the probable configuration of the camp buildings in both phases of the camps' operations. Graves numbered 12 and 14, which appear to be the largest and probably those identified by the Polish War Crimes Investigation Commission in 1945, enabled the historians to pinpoint details of the early transports into the camp during phase one. There is no way of determining with certainty exactly where the first victims had come from, only that they were probably from the transit ghettos in Piaski, Izbica, Lvov, and Lublin. It was also difficult to determine where exactly the first graves were dug in the first phase of the camp's existence, only that they were in the north- western part of the camp. Max Munk from Vienna probably lays here.
The finding of lime in the sample soil cores extracted from graves 9, 12, 14, 15, 17, 22, 24, 25, 29, 31, 3,2 and 33, located towards the top left corner (i.e., NW corner) may corroborate the description by Franz Stangl when the pits were overflowing with corpses. The unusually warm spring of 1942 necessitated lorry loads of lime being brought into the camp to avoid a possible epidemic.
The sizes of graves, particularly in the northwestern corner, indicate hurriedly excavated pits to deal with dug-up corpses during the second phase where extensive attempts were made to destroy the evidence. In graves 13, 27, 28, 32, and 33 this was particularly evident. It was also seen that some graves had not been opened and the contents burned. Here, the team found evidence of unburned, mummified bodies. It was established that six graves probably from the first phase and three graves probably from the second phase had not been emptied. It was concluded that the nature of this task was so gruesome, and had become so unacceptable, that collusion to cover up and not complete the task as ordered was probably (without authorization) agreed to by both the SS and members of the Jewish 'death brigade' engaged in this task.
Grave pit No. 8: located at the southwestern part of the camp. Dimensions were determined as 28 m x 10 m x 4 m. and contained burnt pieces of human bones and fragments of carbonized wood. Area: 850 sq. m.
Grave pit No. 9: located immediately behind symbolic tomb No. 1, next to the northeast fence. Dimensions determined as 10 m x 8 m x 3, 80 m. and contained burnt human remains and pieces of carbonized wood mixed with grey sand. Area: 280 sq. m.
(Surface soil/s in the vicinity of graves 7, 8 and 9 grey, suggesting large quantities of crushed pieces of human bone)
Grave pit No. 10: one of the biggest graves; located in the north-central part of the camp. Dimension determined as 24 m x 18 m x 5 m. Contained a thick layer of human fat, unburned human remains, and pieces of large unburned human bones. The drill core brought to the surface several lumps of foul smelling fatty tissue still in a state of decomposition, mixed with greasy lime. Area: 2,100 sq. m.
Grave pit No. 11: located at northeastern corner of the camp. Dimension determined as 9 m x 5 m x 1 90 m; contained a few fragments of burnt human bones mixed with innumerable small pieces of carbonized wood. Area: 80 sq. m.
Grave pit No. 12: located immediately to the north of grave No. 10; an L-shaped grave with the foot measuring 20 m lying to the west. The stem was 28 m in length, pointing north. A small number of pieces of unburned human bones were found at a depth of 3 m, mixed with grey sand and innumerable small fragments of carbonized wood. This layer extended to a depth of 4.40 m. Area: 400 sq. m
Grave pit No. 13: located next to the western fence. Dimensions of the trapezoid-shaped grave determined as 12.50 m x 11.00 m x at a height of 17 m, 4.80 m. deep. Contained a mixture of burnt human remains and pieces of carbonized wood mixed with grey sand. Area: 920 sq. m.
Grave pit No. 14: the largest grave basin in the camp that extended beyond the north fence into the area of the adjacent timber yard. The section within the fence is an irregular zigzag on the south side, measuring 37 m x 10 m at its widest point east to west, and 8 m at its narrowest, and 5 m deep. It contained burnt pieces of human bones and fragments of carbonized wood mixed with grey, sandy soil to a depth of 5 m. Originally grave No. 14 could have measured about 70 m. x 30 m. Area: 1,850 sq. m.
According to witnesses, the first and largest mass grave,No. 14, was dug by members of the Soviet guard unit while the camp was under construction. It took six weeks to complete the task).
Grave pit No. 15: another small grave measuring 13.50 m x 6.50 m, with a depth of 4.50 m, it was situated adjacent to the south side of grave No. 14, and contained a mixture of pieces of burnt human bones fragments of carbonized wood and grey sand. Area: 400 sq. m.
Grave pit No. 16: located adjacent to grave No. 14 and immediately east of grave No. 15. Measuring 18.50 m x 9.50 m, it contained a mixture of burnt fragments of human bones and carbonized wood to a depth of 4.00 m. Area: 700 sq. m.
Grave pit No. 17: situated next to and south of graves 12 and 16, measures 17 m x 7 m 50 m x 4 m. Contained a mixture of pieces of burnt human bones, carbonized wood, and grey sand. Area: 500 sq. m.
Grave pit No. 18: situated next to the southern edge of grave No. 15 and measuring 16 m x 9 m x 4 m. Contained the same mixture of burnt pieces of human bones, carbonized wood, and grey sand. Area: 570 sq. m.
Grave pit No. 19: located within the area formed by graves 14, 15, 18 and 20, and close to the southwestern corner of grave 14, measuring 12 m x 12 m and containing a mixture of grey sand, burnt pieces of human bones, and carbonized wood to a depth of 4 m. Area: 500 sq. m.
Grave pit No. 20: in the form of a long trench at the western end of grave No. 14, it is the last one at the northern end of the group of 18 graves along the north fence. Like its neighbor, grave No. 14, it also extends beyond the north fence into the area of the adjacent timber yard. The section within the fence measures 26 m. x 11 m x 5 m. At a depth of 4 m. a dental bridge with four false teeth was found. Area: 1,150 sq. m.
Grave pit No. 21: located centrally. Dimensions determined as 5 m sq and situated in the forested southern part of the memorial area, midway between graves 5 and 7. It is also unexpectedly shallow, being only 1.70 m deep and containing pieces of burnt human bones and fragments of carbonized wood mixed with grey sand. Area: 35 sq. m.
Grave pit No. 22: located in the eastern part of the camp in the shape of an inverted 'L,' close to grave No. 6. Measuring 27 m on the long (east) side and 10 m on the south side, containing pieces of burnt human bones and fragments of carbonized wood mixed with grey sand to a depth of 3.50 m. Area: 200 sq. m.
Grave pit No. 23: one of the smaller graves, measuring 16 m x 8 50 m x 4 20 m and located between graves 6 and 21. Contained burnt human remains. Area: 550 sq. m.
Grave pit No. 24: a narrow trench measuring 20 m x 5 50 m x 5 m., located at the north fence and next to the eastern corner of grave No. 14. Contained burnt human remains. Area: 520 sq. m.
Grave pit No. 25: located immediately to the east of graves 12 and 14. Dimension determined as 12 m x 5 m. Contained a mixture of burnt human remains, including corpses and skeletons, to a depth of 4 m. Below this level, there was a 1 m deep layer of waxy fat and greasy lime. A foul odor was released when the drill penetrated the layer of corpses and the drill core withdrew lumps of decaying fatty tissue and large pieces of bone. Area: 250 sq. m.
Grave pit No. 26: another small grave, measuring 13 m x 7 m x 4.20 m, and located immediately next to the eastern edge of grave No. 25. Contained a mixture of burnt human remains. Area: 320 sq. m.
(Note: The soil above and around graves 25 and 26 was covered with a layer of innumerable small fragments of burnt human bones and small pieces of carbonized wood)
Grave pit No. 27: measuring 18.50 m x 6 m x 6 m, and situated close to the north end of grave No. 25. Contained burnt and unburned human remain: the top layer consists of burnt human bones and carbonized wood beneath which there is a layer of grey, waxy lime. The bottom of the grave contains completely decomposed human remains mixed with putrid smelling greasy human fat. Area: 450 sq. m.
Grave pit No. 28: one of the smallest graves measuring 6 m x 6 m x 5 m, located between grave 27 and the north fence. Containing burnt human remains beneath which there is a layer of grey greasy lime. The bottom of the grave is lined with putrid smelling, greasy human fat. Area: 70 sq. m.
Grave pit No. 29: measuring 25 m x 9 m x 4.50 in the form of a long trench and located just to the northeast of grave 26; its eastern corner is immediately in front of symbolic tomb No. 1. Contained pieces of burnt human bones mixed with fragments of carbonized wood and grey sand. Area: 900 sq. m.
Grave pit No. 30: located in the north angle between graves 26 and 29, it measured 5 m x 6 m. Contained pieces of burnt human bones and fragments of carbonized wood mixed with grey sand to a depth of 2 70 m. Area: 75 sq. m.
Grave pit No. 31: similar in size to grave No. 30, measuring 9 m x 4 m x 2 60 m. Situated next to the north fence between graves 28 and 29, this grave also contained a mixture of burnt pieces of human bones, fragments of carbonized wood, and grey sand. Area: 90 sq. m.
Grave pit No. 32: situated close to the north corner of the memorial site between graves 9 and 13, measuring 15 m x 5 m. Contained a mixture of burnt human bones and carbonized wood mixed with grey sand, beneath which there is a layer of grey, greasy lime and a foul smelling layer of human fat containing decomposing human remains. The drill core brought to the surface pieces of skull with skin and tufts of hair still attached. At the bottom of the grave at a depth of 4.10 m. lay a large number of unburned human bones. The path to the small gate near the north corner of the memorial area passes over the southern end of the grave. Area: 400 sq. m.
Grave pit No. 33: a small, shallow grave measuring only 9 m x 5 m x 3 m, located in the extreme northeastern corner of the memorial site. Contained tiny fragments of burnt human bones mixed with small pieces of carbonized wood and grey sand: 120 sq. m.
The total surface of the mass graves is estimated at 21,000 square meters. At least a dozen graves still contain today unburned, partially mummified or decomposing corpses. Exactly why the SS did not empty all the graves and destroy their contents is not known; they were in no hurry to leave the area as the entire SS garrison was redistributed to other camps in the Lublin District for at least five months after the liquidation of Belzec.
Carried out by the author, it produced a miscellaneous collection of enamel kitchenware and assorted scrap metal. Further sweeps of the area located a metal door to a kitchen stove and assorted pre-war Polish coins. The only item of interest was another silver cigarette case with no inscription.
Continued investigations at the Ramp were carried over from the 1997 investigation. Analyzing the1940 and 1944 aerial maps, the two rail tracks are clearly shown entering the death camp.These tracks were not built specifically for operations within the camp but were there because the area on which the camp was built ha been a pre-war logging area. This was undoubtedly one of the main reasons why the death camp was built at this location. This evidence also confirms that the 'Otto line' was built subsequent to May 1940, as there is no photographic evidence to show its existence before that date.
In the first phase of Belzec only a limited number of wagons (20) at a time could be accommodated because the uneven ground rises steeply at the southern end, which made any further extension of the tracks impossible. The second ramp, constructed initially to handle the bigger transports from Kraków, which started on June 3, was the same length and could also only accommodate only 20 wagons at a time.
Close examination of the 1944 aerial photograph and the ground scarring clearly indicate this. The Luftwaffe aerial photo taken in May 1944 shows that the spur line had been partly removed, probably when the camp was decommissioned and destroyed. The archaeologists corroborate the extent and termination of the rail tracks into the camp but came to their conclusions from a different direction.
Examination of the 1944 aerial photographs indicate the presence of freight wagons on a siding just outside the former camp entrance. Further examination and measurement show that it was possible to accommodate 20 wagons plus the locomotive on Ramp 'A' (first phase) and at least 20 wagons on the secon ramp (constructed for phase 2 in August 1942). This confirms that it was possible to accommodate at least 40 wagons inside the camp: 20 on Ramp A' with another 20 on Ramp 'B,' waiting while the victims on Ramp 'A' were being dealt with.
By August 1942, the handling of 'goods' (Jews) was a well-organized killing machine. Thus, I would suggest, the reason Belzec in its short life span -compared with Treblinka and Sobibór - managed to murder so many people is that a maximum number of wagons could be accommodated simultaneously on the ramps with less shunting back and forth between station and camp, as in the other two death camps.
The number of watchtowers around the camp perimeter was probably larger than claimed by witnesses. The original number of three towers at the corners (with the exception of the northwest corner by the main gate) and one in the camp itself, must have been increased during the reorganization/rebuilding of the camp in June July 1942, prior to the increased extermination activity which began on August 1 and the employment of 1,000 'work Jews' in the camp. Evidence of three small wooden structures at 55 m. intervals along the eastern fence indicates the probable position of such additional watchtowers.
The location of the gas chamber building during the second phase was probably in the central-eastern part of the former camp where exploratory drillings failed to locate evidence of any mass graves. Reder reports that on either side of the unloading platforms which extended along the length of the building there were burial pits filled with corpses, or empty graves prepared to receive them. The bodies were transported from the platform manually, which indicates the pits were in close proximity to the gas chambers. The investigators were unable to identify totally this structure as the second phase gas chamber: the traces of a wooden building in the central part of the camp can be hypothetically regarded as the remains of the 2nd stage gas chamber.
However, the author and other camp experts have concluded that findings were in all probability traces of the second phase gas chambers. The tarpaper mentioned by Reder, which covered the flat roof of the gas chamber building in the second phase is archaeologically proved by substances found on-site, corroborating Reder's testimony.
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