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Casting of a double-muffle oven from the crematorium at Mauthausen concentration camp

Object

Painted fiberglass casting of a brick and iron, double-muffle crematorium oven at Mauthausen concentration camp in German-occupied Austria, commissioned by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum for installation in the museum’s permanent exhibition. In March 1938, Germany annexed Austria, and established a concentration camp roughly three miles from the town of Mauthausen the following August. It originally functioned as a forced-labor camp with a granite quarry. Additionally, in 1941, the camp began to carry out mass killings using gas and several other methods. The systematic killings necessitated the construction of a crematorium facility at the camp, and the dehumanization of prisoners’ deaths was compounded by the high-volume and industrialized body disposal methods. The prisoners loading the ovens were ordered to stack the bodies in arrangements that allowed them to burn as efficiently and quickly as possible. In a double-muffle oven, a single source of fire fueled two incineration chambers through gaps in the dividing wall. The rear of the furnaces had coke-fired hearths, and the sides had forced air vents with electric motors. This type of oven was more efficient, but necessitated mixing of ashes, which was illegal under German law. The ashes were removed from the small doors at the bottom of the front side, and six small rectangular hinged flaps on the sides and front functioned as secondary air intakes, helping to regulate and adjust airflow. The oven and cremation tools at Mauthausen—and most of those used in crematoriums throughout Europe at the time—were supplied by the German-based engineering and manufacturing company, J.A. Topf & Sons. The metal components of Mauthausen’s furnace—including the stretcher—were shipped to Mauthausen at the end of September 1942. The last mass murder in the Mauthausen gas chamber occurred on April 28, 1945. The SS abandoned the camp on May 3 and US troops arrived within days.

Date
manufacture:  after 1989 August 15-before 1991 March 18
Geography
representation: Mauthausen (Concentration Camp); Mauthausen (Austria)
manufacture: West Sussex (England)
Classification
Tools and Equipment
Category
Equipment
Object Type
Incinerators (lcsh)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
 
Record last modified: 2020-06-30 09:24:46
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn14208