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Double-sided casting of a gas chamber door from Majdanek concentration camp


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    Brief Narrative
    Fiberglass casting of a metal gas chamber door at Majdanek killing center, commissioned by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum for installation in the museum’s permanent exhibition. Construction on the gas chambers began in August 1942, and they were located just behind Barrack No. 41, which contained an undressing room and a main shower room. Off the main shower room were three smaller chambers, two of which were reconfigured for the use of Zyklon-B gas. In nearby Barrack No. 42 was another gas chamber, where Zyklon-B was used to delouse clothing. The construction of Majdanek, in German-occupied Poland, began in the fall of 1941, following SS chief Heinrich Himmler’s July 1941 order to establish a concentration camp in Lublin to provide forced labor for SS projects. From spring 1942 to February 1943, Majdanek was used as a forced-labor camp and storage facility for stolen personal items under Operation Reinhard (Aktion Reinhard). Operation Reinhard was a code name for the plan to kill the two million Jews who resided in specific areas of German-occupied Poland. Majdanek also served as a killing site, after the gas chambers were completed in October 1942. In response to Jewish resistance and uprisings at other ghettos and camps, SS and police units shot 18,000 Jewish prisoners and forced laborers outside of Majdanek on November 3, 1943. This was the largest single-day, single-location killing, known as “Aktion Erntefest" (Operation Harvest Festival) of the Holocaust. Majdanek continued operations until spring 1944, when the camp was evacuated ahead of the arrival of Soviet troops in July 1944. Majdanek was the first major camp to be liberated, but Germany continued to occupy Poland until January 1945.
    manufacture:  after 1989 August 15-before 1991 March 18
    representation: Majdanek (Concentration camp); Lublin (Poland)
    manufacture: West Sussex (England)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
    front, peephole, embossed : AUERT / BERLIN
    Manufacturer: Edward Lawrence Associates (Export) Limited

    Physical Details

    Architectural Elements
    Object Type
    Door (lcsh)
    Physical Description
    Double-sided fiberglass casting of a tall, rectangular, metal, gas chamber door. On the front, there are three oblong barrel hinges along the left side, one on the bottom and two near the top. Each is attached to the door by a rectangular plate, which would have been welded on the original door. Near the top and bottom right corners are two long, narrow levers, attached to the door by a bolt. In the center of the door, near eye-level, is a small viewing hole capped with a disc perforated by two concentric circles of small drainage holes, and an embossed manufacturer’s mark on the perimeter. On the back of the door, the viewing hole is covered be a semi-transparent sheet, held in place by a ring with a hexagonal perimeter that is screwed over it. Corresponding with the levers on the opposite side are short, rectangular, L-shaped latches, near the top and bottom left corners, held in place by large nuts. Between the latches is a C-shaped, inwardly bent, vertical handle which would have been welded to the door. In the bottom right corner is a wide, L-shaped doorstop, which would have been welded to the door. The casting is painted in various shades of gray and brown to resemble the rusting metal of the original door.
    overall: Height: 79.000 inches (200.66 cm) | Width: 41.250 inches (104.775 cm) | Depth: 5.750 inches (14.605 cm)
    overall : fiberglass, paint

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Geographic Name
    Lublin (Poland)

    Administrative Notes

    The door casting was acquired by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1991.
    Primary Number
    Record last modified:
    2022-07-28 17:51:37
    This page:

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