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Technicians of the Final Solution

Topf & Söhne - The Oven Builders for Auschwitz

capsule for ashes

Capsule for ashes, found on the grounds of the concentration camp at Buchenwald, 2003
© Sammlung Gedenkstätte Buchenwald

Topf & Söhne was a perfectly normal German industrial enterprise - until it became a business partner to the SS. Initially for Buchenwald and then also for other concentration camps, the company produced ovens specifically for burning corpses tailored to the requirements of the SS. Company engineers designed the ventilation system for the Auschwitz gas chambers and otherwise strove to give the SS the best advice on the construction of the death factories.

How could such a respectable company - which otherwise showed no signs of having radical Nazi leanings - support the SS in the industrial extinguishing of human life?


"Ovens for Crematoria", advertisement for Topf & Söhne, undated
© Thüringisches Hauptstaatsarchiv Weimar

The exhibition follows the works management, the engineers and fitters from the quite normal world of the Erfurt company into the concentration camps. The initial departure from societal norms down to the outright break with the unspoken rules of civilized behavior is followed step by step.

The exhibition was developed by the Stiftung Gedenkstätten Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora in collaboration with the Jewish Museum Berlin and the Auschwitz Museum and sponsored by the Kulturstiftung des Bundes. It is founded on a research project spanning several years, in the framework of which the company archive of Topf & Söhne was analyzed for the first time.


19 June 2005 - 18 September 2005


Old Building, 1st floor


There is no extra charge for this exhibition; the regular entrance fee applies.

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