Morgues, also called mortuaries, serve to temporarily store human corpses awaiting identification, autopsies and burial or cremation. To slow decay, they are usually chilled to temperatures close to the freezing point, and they are equipped with efficient ventilation systems to remove gases resulting from decomposition.
In the context of the Holocaust, it is worthwhile knowing that German architectural expert literature prior to and during World War Two recommended that morgues be equipped both with a cooling and a heating system. The later served during winter times to prevent any freezing temperature, which could lead to the corpses bursting open. Ventilation systems are recommended to carry out some five air exchanges per hour, but up to ten air exchanges in cases of intensive use. (See Mattogno 2019, pp. 46, 105.)
The only morgues of interest in connection with Holocaust mass-murder claims are the morgues of the old crematorium at the Auschwitz Main Camp and the underground morgues of Crematoria II and III at Auschwitz-Birkenau.
The morgue of the old crematorium was located right next to the furnace room, from which it was separated by a double-layered wall for insulation purposes. The room always worked with only a make-shift ventilation equipment. A properly designed powerful ventilation system was delivered in late 1941, but it was never installed.
Crematoria II and III at Birkenau had two large basement morgues each. In blueprints, these rooms are labelled as such (Leichenkeller = corpse cellar). The buildings were planned for a PoW camp with an expected high mortality rate due to infectious diseases, as they were quite common in these type of camps during wartime. The rooms were equipped with ventilation systems with a capacity of some ten air exchanges per hour, as would be expected for intensely used morgues. (See the section “Morgues” in the entry on ventilation for more details.)
Due to their underground construction, these morgues were kept naturally cool throughout the year. A heating system was not provided, although during construction it was contemplated to add one for Crematorium II, but that project did not come to pass. As a result, there are witness statements reporting about problems with corpses stored in those morgues having frozen together.
Since these rooms were the only large basement rooms in the entire Birkenau Camp, German building code required that they be built in such a way as to serve as auxiliary bomb shelters. Hence, they were built with massive reinforced concrete ceilings and sturdy support columns. Weakening those ceilings by later jack-hammering crude holes through the roof – allegedly for inserting Zyklon B, as the orthodoxy insists (see the entry on Zyklon-B introduction devices) – would not have been permitted by the responsible architects and engineers. (See Lüftl 2003.)
The Auschwitz Camp did not just suffer from a persistent typhus epidemic spread by lice. The camp was also infested with fleas, and rats multiplied throughout the camp. Among other things, they feasted on the bodies of inmates who had died in one of the camp’s many inmate infirmaries, or in other places, and whose bodies had not yet been removed to solidly built morgues (inside the crematoria). Fearing that the plague might also break out, Auschwitz garrison physician Eduard Wirths lobbied from July 1943 until May 1944 for the construction of brick-built mortuaries in each camp sector, or at least in each infirmary, where bodies could be stored safely before getting removed to the crematoria. His request was repeatedly rejected by his superiors with the argument that, by regulation, corpses had to be picked up twice a day in the entire camp and brought to the crematoria morgues for storage. In other words, those crematoria morgues were available 24/7 for the storage of corpses, which is what they were built for. There was neither time nor space to use any of these morgues as homicidal gas chambers. (For more details on this, see Mattogno 2004c; 2016b, pp. 93f.)