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Auschwitz – Letter regarding the crematorium from Werner Jothann to Rudolf Höss

This letter was sent on February 12, 1943 from SS-Sturmbahnführer Werner Jothann to the SS camp commander of Auschwitz SS-Obersturmbahnführer Rudolf Höss.

Subject: Krematorium VI

‘’To the camp commandant SS-Obersturmbahnführer Höss

Auschwitz O / S!

With reference to the conversation between the undersigned and the engineer Prüfer from the Topf and Söhne company on January 29, 1943, the planning of a 6th crematorium (an open combustion chamber measuring 48.73 x 3.76 m) was considered.

The central construction management then commissioned the company Topf and Söhne to prepare a design for this open incineration site, which is attached to the annex.

If the construction of this 6th Crematorium is to be carried out, we ask that Office Group D submit a corresponding application to Office Group C.

In the event that this facility is carried out, in addition to the workers currently in use, new workers must be made available by the commandant’s office.

The following are required for this: 150 prisoner masons and 200 prisoner construction workers.

The head and central construction management of the Waffen-SS and Police Auschwitz.’’


Werner Johann 

Werner Jothann was born on May 18, 1907 in Eldenburg and took technical studies just before World War II in Neustadt and became an architect.
In 1933 he became a member of the SS and in 1937 he became a member of the NSDAP.
In early 1941 Jothann was assigned to the construction management of the SS construction department KL Auschwitz / Upper Silesia.

In December 1941 this was integrated into the central construction management of the Waffen SS and Police Auschwitz under the direction of Karl Bischoff .

In March 1942 he attained the rank of SS-Sturmmann but, at the insistence of his superior, he was promoted to SS-Obersturmführer.

Jothann commissioned the Topf and Söhne company to overhaul the ovens in the crematoria at Auschwitz-Birkenau and, when the Hungarian Jews arrived in May 1944, had a ventilation system installed in a gas chamber.

After the war, Jothann lives in Wiesbaden and was questioned about the Auschwitz lawsuits. He denied having participated in the construction of the gassing plants , saying that he ‘only saw them from a distance’.