Testimony of Engineer Kurt Prufer
on Crematorium Design
(March 5, 1946)
Q. Who apart from you participated in the
construction of the furnaces?
A. From 1941-2, I constructed the furnaces. The
technical drawings were done by Mr. Keller. The ventilation systems
of the "Kremas" [crematoriums] were constructed by senior
engineer Karl Schultze.
Q. How often and with what aim did you visit
A. Five times. The first time at the beginning
of 1943, to receive orders of the SS Command where the Kremas were to
be built. The second time in spring 1943 to inspect the building
site. The third time was in autumn 1943 to inspect a fault in the
construction of a Krema chimney. The forth time at the beginning of
1944, to inspect the repaired chimney. the fifth time in
September-October 1944, when I visited Auschwitz with the intended
relocation [from Auschwitz] of the crematoriums, since the front was
getting nearer. The crematoriums were not relocated, because there
were not enough workers.
Q. Were you the sole Topf engineer in Auschwitz in
A. No, [senior engineer Karl] Schultze was with
me in Auschwitz at the time. I saw personally about 60 corpses of
women and men of different ages, which were being prepared for
incineration. That was at 10 in the morning. I witnessed the
incineration of six corpses and and came to the conclusion that the
furnaces were working well.
Q. Did you see a gas chamber next to the
A. Yes, I did see one next to the crematorium.
Between the gas chamber and the crematorium there was a connecting
Q. Did you know that in the gas chamber and in the
crematoriums there took place the liquidation of innocent human
A. I have known since spring 1943 that innocent
human beings were being liquidated in Auschwitz gas chambers and that
their corpses were subsequently incinerated in the crematoriums.
Q. Who is the designer of the ventilation systems
for the gas chambers?
A. Schultze was the designer of the ventilation
systems in the gas chambers; and he installed them.
Q. Why was the brick lining of the muffles so
A. The bricks were damaged after six months
because the strain on the furnaces was colossal.
Source: Kurt Prufer, senior engineer of Topf and
Sohne, testifying in Erfurt, Germany. Quoted from the interrogation
transcripts by Prof. Gerald Fleming from the University of Surrey, New
York Times, (July 18 1993). The