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The Nuremberg Trials: Testimony of Engineer Karl Schultze on Crematorium Design

(March 1946)

Q. What was your personal part in these "Krema" building operation and what was Prufer's part?

A. Prufer was an expert. he designed and constructed these crematoriums and led the building operations in the concentration camps. I was responsible for the ventilation systems and for its air injection into the muffles. In specific instances, I led the installation operations personally. I personally led the installation work in Auschwitz crematoriums and gas chambers. For this purpose, I traveled to Auschwitz three times in 1943.


I did not know that in the crematoriums in Auschwitz-Birkenau innocent human beings were being liquidated. I thought criminals were being killed there who who had partly been sentenced to death because of the crimes they had committed against the German army in Poland and other occupied territories. I am a German and supported and am supporting the Government in Germany and the laws of our Government. Whoever opposes our laws is an enemy of the State, because our laws establish him a such. I did not act on personal initiative but as directed by Ludwig Topf. I was afraid of losing my position and of possible arrest.

Q. Your views do not really differ from the views of a Nazi.

A. No, I was not a member of the NSDAP [National Socialist German Workers Party]. I only respected and acted according to the laws of my country.

Sources: Quoted from the interrogation transcripts by Prof. Gerald Fleming from the University of Surrey, New York Times, (July 18 1993). The Nizkor Project