The Auschwitz Museum has produced a new publication, "The Beginnings of the Extermination of Jews in KL Auschwitz in the Light of Source Materials." Analyzing 74 archival documents, most of them previously unpublished, the publication describes preparation for the mass extermination of Jews in gas chambers and the process of turning Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp into a center of mass extermination. The authors of the analysis are historians Igor Bartosik, Łukasz Martyniak and Piotr Setkiewicz of the museum's research center.
Every document presented in the book is accompanied with a historical comment and the publication has also a detailed preface. Dr. Setkiewicz, who heads the research center explained, “Only with the declassification of the records of the SS Central Construction Board that had been held until then in Moscow, did it become possible to access German documentation making it possible to fill into a considerable degree the historical knowledge about the functioning of the first gas chambers. These documents make it possible significantly to clarify the chronology of events and to confirm facts known until now only through witness accounts. It should nevertheless be noted that the documents do not usually refer directly to killings in the gas chamber, and interpreting the entries sometimes requires a detailed familiarity not only with other documents, but also with the reality of the camp.”