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In 1937 Dachau concentration camp asked the firm W Muller of Allach an industrial furnace manufacturer to design a crematorium for the camp. The firm had previuosly delivered to the SS indutrial ovens for the SS porcelain factory in Allach. Given Muller originally proposed a gas supplied crematorium but subsequently discovered Dachau had no gas supply. They therefore proposed a coke fired oven in June 1937. It seems they did not win the contract as in November 1939 (summer of 1940 according to Benz and Distel) Topf installed in Dachau a double muffle cremation furnance costing DM 8,750. According to Pressac Page 95 this was of a design not found elsewhere.

Pressac hypothesises that this two muffle "one off" design can be explained in one of two ways:

Theory 1: "This model might have been a prototype designed by Prufer, experience with which led to the development of the conventional Topf double muffle furnace as it appears in drawings D56,570 [or 576] of 21st December 1939 and D57,253 of 10 th June 1940. However the delay of only one month between the installation of the Dachau furnace and the drawing for the Buchenwald furnace would seem to rule out the possibility that it could have been used as a test installation."

Theory 2:"That the Dachau furnace was reconstructed using original components after the war. The revisionists would have it that US General Unrein stated in 1960 that the Dachau furnaces had been built after the liberation by former SS members under the direction of Americans. KL Dachau had in fact been equipped with one Topf double-muffle furnace and four Kori single muffle furnaces (the two in the centre being built as a unit.) Comparing the Dachau Kori furnaces with others of the same type found in other camps reveals that they are of the "Reform" model, costing DM 4500 each and are in their original state. As for the Topf furnace it could be that it had been dismantled then reconstructed after the war using the metal parts found in the camp(as was the case with two double muffle ovens furnaces in Auschwitz Krematorium I) and since no drawings were available it was  rebuilt from memory ith some of th components being arranged differently from how they were originally. This would explain General Unreins remarks. Be that as t may, the presence  thisurace of mtalparts tyical o Topfoes provesthatrcostructd ornot a Top furnace hdeenprsent inthe camp before it was liberby the Americans." 

The second of these hypotheses is completely wrong. The second is actually correct:

a) The drawing for Buchenwald mentioned above is for the Topf standard mobile oil fuelled oven which had been available for sometime for use by farmers in cremating carcasses. A photograph of this type of mobile oven exists in the Erfurt Municipal Archives. (see attached photograph).

b) We believe this mobile oven was loaned to Buchenwald prior to it getting its permanent crematorium

c) The Dachau double muffle oven is exactly the same as the one in Gusen which also survived and was installed in December 1940.

d) The Dachau double muffle and Gusen double muffle use a metal casing which can only come from a mobile oven.

e) We believe the Dachau and Gusen are adapted versions of the Topf mobile oven. They have been adapted to use coke rather than oil as fuel. This makes sense as even in 1939 oil was expensive and the Germans were going to war.

f) Topf did not have a permanent coke fired oven for the camps ready until late 1940. The first were installed in 1940 in Auschwitz I. This was a double muffle oven. Buchenwald got the first Topf triple muffle in August 1942.

g) It is ridiculous that the Americans would have the double muffle rebuilt after the liberation. No American, German or Topf plan seems to exist for this adapted double muffle in Dachau.

h) Apart from the 1960 statement from the American general there is no other evidence that the oven in Dachau was rebuilt. The SS didnt build the original oven. It was built by Topf engineers. The SS had no ability to build these ovens especially with no plans. What experinece did the Americans have of building crematorium ovens for concentration camps.?

i) What are the chances that they managed to rebuild ovens in Dachau and Gusen at the same time and to the same specification without Topf engineers. This would also suggest all the parts existed and could be rebuilt.

j) There are many photos of Dachau at around the time of Liberation. It was common for American soldiers to take photographs in Dachau as keepsakes as most had cameras. We have some in our collection. These quite clearly show the double muffle Topf existing in May 1945. There are also photos from the time of liberation of the oven in Gusen. This also is the one that still exists today.

k) Building a crematorium is a technical and skilled business for engineers. It also takes time. Foundations have to be built, chimneys erected etc. This takes minimum 1 month. This is wholly inconsistent with j).

l) Why would the Americans rebuild the crematorium if it were dismantled as the four Kori ovens were existing anyway? To prove what?

m) Why would the American general say that the ovens had been rebuilt. Who knows maybe he had become a denier or was confused. Who knows?

Our hypothesis is as follows:

a) No design existed in 1939 for a permanent coke fuelled permanent oven for the camps at the cost and efficiency requested.

b) In order to complete the order in 1939 they took what they had which was a metal cased double muffle mobile and adapted it to be permanent and use coke as fuel. This was done frequently with mobile Koris. Why not with Topf?

c) The adapted mobile crematorium was a precursor to the permanent double muffle Topf oven.


Pressac is inaccurate in his assertion that: " At Mauthausen a conventional double muffle furnace was delievered in 1940 for the Gusen annex camp at a cost of DM 9003. " The oven installed at Gusen was an adapted Topf mobile oven. In actual fact the same type as at Dachau.



Pressac, Jean-Claude: Auschwitz. Technique and Operation of the Gas Chambers. Beate Klarsfeld. 1989

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