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Himmler Orders Demolition of Auschwitz Gas Chambers and Crematoria

View of one of the destroyed crematoria at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Photographed immediately after the liberation of the camp.

View of one of the destroyed crematoria at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Photographed immediately after the liberation of the camp. —US Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Mark Chrzanowski

November 25, 1944

As Soviet forces continue to approach, SS chief Heinrich Himmler orders the destruction of the Auschwitz-Birkenau gas chambers and crematoria.

During this SS attempt to destroy the evidence of mass killings, prisoners were forced to dismantle and dynamite the structures.