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Holocaust Denial and The Big Lie
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This file contains answers to some common claims of those who deny the Holocaust, Holocaust Denial and The Big Lie. Comments can be sent to Daniel Keren, email@example.com.
Some of the images (GIF files) in the images directory are referred to by their names.
1.00 Introduction & Editorial Notes…………………….
1.10 Copyright Notice……………………………….
2.00 Point, Counterpoint – Denial Claims Addressed……….
2.01 Disparities in Hydrocyanic compound levels………..
2.02 Explosive property of Zyklon B & furnace proximity…
2.03 Gas chambers could not have been opened safely…….
2.04 The extermination chambers were actually morgues…..
2.05 Impossible to kill 6 million people at Auschwitz…..
2.06 Doors of gas chambers too weak to prevent escape…..
2.07 They would not have used Zyklon-B for gassing……..
2.08 The gas chambers were never sealed, or……………
2.09 The gas would have killed everyone outside when ventilated
2.10 Where did all the ashes from the cremations go…….
2.11 People who dropped the gas into the gas chamber would have been killed by it ………………………….
2.12 The Auschwitz death list doesn’t show all those people were killed
2.13 Why would there be a swimming pool at a death camp…
2.14 The high water table made it impossible to burn bodies in ditches
2.15 How did witnesses to the gassings survive…………
2.16 Toxicity of fumes from a diesel engine……………
2.17 The doors of the gas chambers which used engine exhaust would not stand the pressure of the gas accumulating inside and would burst……………..
2.18 There were not enough Jews in Europe to account for six million victims
2.19 There are no documents about gas chambers or mass murder of Jews and others, and no evidence there was a plan to carry out mass extermination.
2.20 The Anne Frank diary is a hoax…………………
3.00 Leuchter’s perjury in Canadian court……………….
4.00 Research Sources & Other Useful Appendices………….
4.10 Recommended Reading…………………………….
4.30 Works Cited……………………………………
1.00 Introduction & Editorial Notes
This document provides a counterpoint to assertions commonly made by those who deny that anyone was gassed at the Auschwitz-Birkenau and other death camps during World War II; who, in fact, deny that the gas chambers even existed.
The most prestigious source in Germany regarding the crimes of the Nazis during WW2, the “Institute for Contemporary History” in Munich, sums up the facts in a recent publication, mentioning 13 camps in which gassing took place; here are the entries on Auschwitz and Treblinka.
Treblinka (district Warschau, general government) from the end of July 1942 on had three gas chambers and received at the start of
September 1942 furthermore ten larger gas chambers. Up to the dissolution of the camp in November 1943 altogether 700,000 Jews were killed here by carbon monoxide.
Auschwitz-Birkenau (in the formerly Polish, in 1939 adjoined to the “Reich” upper eastern Silesian area, south eastern of Kattowitz): The extermination camp in Birkenau, established in the second half of 1941, was joined to the concentration camp Auschwitz, existing since May 1940. From January 1942 on in five gas chambers and from the end of June 1943 in four additional large gassing-rooms gassings with Zyklon B have been undertaken. Up until November 1944 more than one million Jews and at least 4000 gypsies have been murdered by gas.
(Note that these numbers include only people gassed – many were murdered using more “conventional” means. See picture EG1.gif, EG2.gif, EG3.gif, EG4.gif and file of Nazi documents about mass shootings).
This is by no means a replacement for serious research – just an expose of common frauds like the “Leuchter report”, and a guide to scholarly sources.
This document was prepared by Daniel Keren and Jamie McCarthy, and edited to its present form by Ken McVay. Comments, corrections, and additions are welcome.
The appearance of a quotation mark within a proper name indicates that the previous letter should be read as an umlaut, although some quoted material appends a trailing `e’ instead. (I.e. Hoess and Ho”ss reference the same name.)
This post, as a collection of information, is Copyright 1993 Ken McVay and Daniel Keren as a work of literature. Distribution by any electronic means is granted with the understanding that the article not be altered in any way. Permission to distribute in printed form must be obtained in writing. The removal of this copyright notice is forbidden.
Fred Leuchter is a man with no formal training in either chemistry or toxicology (he obtained a BA in history in 1964), and yet he claims to be a professional engineer – an assertion that has landed him in hot water in his home state. In 1988, at the request of Canada’s Ernst Zundel, Mr. Leuchter went to Poland and visited the site of the Auschwitz extermination camp; (Mr. Zundel financed Leuchter’s trip to Poland.) The result of this journey was the “Leuchter Report.” Here’s what Mr. Leuchter had to say about his “investigation:
The purpose [of the investigation and subsequent report] does not include a determination of any numbers of persons who died or were killed by means other than gassing or as to whether an actual Holocaust occurred. It, further, is not the intent of this author to redefine Holocaust in historical terms, but simply to supply scientific evidence and information obtained at the actual sites and to render an opinion based on all available scientific, engineering and quantitative data as to the purpose and usages of the alleged execution gas chambers and crematory facilities at the investigated locations. (Foner)
You will note, as we will demonstrate using Leuchter’s own sworn testimony, that Mr. Leuchter failed to demonstrate any concern for the truth, even while under oath.
While testifying at Mr. Zundel’s trial in Canada, Leuchter gave false evidence concerning his professional relationship with the administration of two American prisons regarding gas chambers, and proved himself to be unfamiliar with the most basic facts about the lethal gas Hydrogen Cyanide, including its flammability and the concentrations and duration required for delousing purposes.
The “Leuchter Report” purports to “scientifically demonstrate” that people were not killed by Zyklon-B at Auschwitz. It is composed of old claims made by the French Holocaust denier Faurisson, as well as some new ones. Many of the claims appear in the Institute for Historical Review’s “66 Q&A on the Holocaust” pamphlet, and also in arguments offered by others who deny the Holocaust.
Zyklon-B is a powerful insecticide. It releases HCN, Hydrocyanic acid, a gas – Zyklon-B is the carrier, a material soaked with the gas; usually it comes in the shape of small pellets or disks. HCN is what causes death. While interacting with iron and concrete, it creates compounds (“Hydrocyanic compounds”). Leuchter concedes that these compounds were found in the ruins of the gas chambers in Auschwitz (as reaffirmed by the findings of the Polish government institute, which completely rejects Leuchter’s conclusions – see Section 2.01).
HCN is extremely poisonous to humans. It is used in execution gas chambers in the US; the first such was built in Arizona in 1920. It is absurd to claim (as the deniers do), that Germany in the 1940’s could not handle “technical difficulties” in using HCN for execution – “difficulties” that were easily solved in 1920. Moreover, the Germans had a lot of experience with HCN, as it was extensively used for delousing.
There were two types of gas chambers in Auschwitz: those used for delousing clothes (“delousing gas chambers”) and those used for killing people on a massive scale (“extermination gas chambers”). The delousing gas chambers were a standard feature, and were left intact by the SS (as opposed to the extermination gas chambers, which were dynamited in an effort to conceal criminal activity from the rapidly approaching Soviet Army). The deniers try to confuse the issue by mixing the two types of chambers. For instance, they show pictures of the doors for the delousing chambers, and note that they are too weak to withstand the pressure of people trying to escape. Of course, the doors for the extermination chambers were completely different, but that fact is quietly overlooked (see 2.06).
2.00 Point, Counterpoint
Holocaust denial often involves the same assertions, repeated endlessly, regardless of response. We present many of them for consideration here, along with our response.
The photographs we refer to can be found in Pressac, and many are
available from our archives in GIF format.
2.01 Disparities in Hydrocyanic Compound Levels
Holocaust deniers often claim that since more hydrocyanic compounds were found in the delousing chambers than in the ruins of the so-called “extermination” chambers at Auschwitz, and the reverse would be true if people were actually gassed there, it is clear that no mass gassings occurred.
But – HCN is far more effective on warm-blooded animals (including humans) than on insects, so the period of exposure to HCN is far longer for delousing clothes than that required for homicidal gassings, and a much lower concentration is necessary to kill people as compared to lice.
A concentration of up to 16,000 ppm (parts per million) is sometimes used, with exposure times of up to 72 hours, to kill insects, but as little as 300 ppm will cause death in humans within fifteen minutes or so.
Breitman offers background information about the development of Zyklon B as a killing device, and provides clear evidence that the Nazis determined the effective Zyklon B concentration through a process of trial and error.
When the difference in the concentration of gas required to kill insects and humans was mentioned in Leuchter’s cross-examination in the Zundel trial, Leuchter responded: “I’ve never killed beetles. I, you know, I don’t know. I haven’t made computations for killing beetles” – Hardly the response one would expect from an “expert” on the subject…
Because of the relatively small concentrations required to exterminate humans as opposed to lice, and because of the far shorter exposure time required, the HCN in the gas chambers used to kill humans hardly had time to form chemical compounds on the walls.
The gas chambers were not very large (those in Kremas II and III were about 210 square meters), and the Zyklon B was dropped through four openings in the roof, spreading the gas very quickly. These openings are still visible in the ruins of the gas chambers, and rare photographs of them, taken while the camp was in operation, exist, and copies are readily available (Brugioni et al) from the sources noted in Section 6.1, below. Since the concentration used was higher than the lethal one, death was swift. (See picture Krema4.gif Krema IV was above-ground, and the Zyklon B was introduced through clearly visible slits in the walls. See also picture Krema401.gif, which provides a close-up of the wall openings.)
Leuchter’s data is further suspect because the delousing chambers where he obtained his samples were left intact by the SS, while the extermination chambers were destroyed. Clearly, their walls were exposed to the elements for forty-five years, which would certainly influence the validity of the samples taken. (The ruins of Krema II are covered with about three feet of water during certain periods of the year, and HCN compounds would eventually dissolve under such conditions. Nonetheless, so many gassings occurred there that someof the compound did remain).
Summarizing, the walls of the extermination gas chambers were in contact with HCN for a much shorter time then those of the delousing chambers, and for the last 45 years were exposed to surroundings which dissolve the compounds, while the delousing rooms were not. Therefore it is obvious that less traces of compounds would remain in them. This debunks the major “amazing discovery” in Leuchter’s report, which, in retrospect, wasn’t “amazing” at all.
This fact – that all, or most, of the compounds would vanish during 45 years of exposure – is quite clearly stated in the report written by the experts at the Cracow Institute of Forensic Research:
INSTITUTE OF FORENSIC RESEARCH
In the name of Prof. Dr. Jan Sehn, Krakow
Division of Forensic Toxicology
Krakow, 24 Sept. 1990 Westerplatte 9 / Code 31-033 Tel. 505-44, 592-24, 287-50 Telex 0325213 eksad …
The hydrocyanic acid (HCN) that is released from the Zyklon B preparation is a liquid with a boiling point of about 27 degrees Celsius. It has an acidic character, and therefore forms compounds with metallic salts, which are known as cyanides. The salts of alkaline metals (such as sodium and potassium) are water soluble.
Hydrocyanic acid is a very weak acid, and accordingly its salts dissolve easily in stronger acids. Even carbonic acid, which is formed as a reaction of carbon dioxide with water, will dissolve ferro-cyanide.
Stronger acids, such as sulfuric acids, easily dissolve the cyanides. The compounds of cyanide ions with heavy metals are longer lasting. This includes the already mentioned Prussian blue, although this will also slowly dissolve in an acidic environment.
Therefore, one can hardly assume that traces of cyanic compounds could still be detected in construction materials (plaster, brick) after 45 years, after being subjected to the weather and the elements (rain, acid oxides, especially sulfuric and nitrogen oxides). More reliable would be the analysis of wall plaster [samples] from closed rooms which were not subject to weather and the elements (including acid rain).
The discovery of hydrocyanic acid compounds in samples of material which had been subject to the elements can only be accidental.
The deniers often claim that the gas chamber in Krema I was left intact, and therefore its walls were not exposed to the elements. Curiously, they also make great issue of the fact that Krema I was converted into an air-raid shelter, and then rebuilt by the Soviet Army, after the liberation of the camp, to reproduce its original shape, saying that it has been used to mislead the public, who were told that people were gassed in the building. (The logic of their holding both views when it seems advantageous to do so will perhaps escape you, but then logic has not been a demonstrated asset when it comes to Holocaust denial. See Section 3.0.)
The modification consisted of essentially removing some partitioning walls inside the gas chamber, which were added as a common feature of bomb shelters. Nonetheless, this is the room in which people were gassed; there are still traces of cyanide on its walls, as Leuchter admits (he found traces in 6 of 7 samples).
But – the gas chamber of Krema I was used only for a short time, before the conversion. This, and the fact that “only” about ten thousand people were murdered inside it, compared to three-hundred-fifty-thousand and four-hundred-thousand in Kremas II and III, explains why relatively small amounts of cyanide compounds remain. The other Kremas were destroyed by the SS prior to the Soviet liberation.
Finally, cyanide compounds were found on the ventilation grills of the extermination chambers, proving beyond doubt that gassing did take place within.
2.02 The Explosive Property of Zyklon B & Furnace Proximity
Holocaust denial often asserts that Zyklon B could not have been used for killing in the gas chambers, because it is explosive, and the furnaces were nearby.
They overlook, however the fact that the concentration of HCN necessary to cause death is nearly 200 times lower than that necessary to cause an explosion. Although the SS used a concentration higher than the lethal one, it was far less than what would be required to cause an explosion.
As a reference, one can look at “The Merck Index” and the “CRC handbook of Chemistry and Physics”, or consult any manual dealing with toxicity and flammability of chemicals. For HCN, a concentration of 300 ppm (parts per million) kills humans within a
few minutes (Merck, 632, entry 4688), while the minimal concentration that can result in an explosion is 56,000 ppm.
2.03 Gas Chambers Could Not Have Been Opened Safely in 20-30 Minutes
The claim is often heard that it takes 20 hours to air a room which was disinfected with Zyklon-B, and therefore the eyewitness accounts giving a time of 20-30 minutes from when the gassing started to when the bodies where carried out is impossible, because the people carrying out the bodies would perish.
It is true that if one disinfects a building in ordinary commercial use, it should not be reentered within 20 hours. That figure, however, has no meaning relative to the extermination chambers, which were forcibly ventilated. Fifteen minutes was ample time to replace the air after a gassing. When ventilation was not used, the Sonderkommando (prisoners used as forced labor) who removed the bodies wore gas masks. The Germans had plenty of experience with gas, especially HCN, which was widely used for delousing. They knew how to work with it safely. It is absurd to use the 20 hour figure in this context, as it does not assume forced ventilation and takes a huge safety factor into account. The SS didn’t care much for the safety of the Sonderkommando who had to enter the gas chambers to take the corpses out in any event. In some cases, these people did suffer from the remaining gas (see, for instance, Pressac, p. 473)
Furthermore, what makes ventilation difficult and lengthy is the presence of rugs, furniture, curtains, etc. Needless to say, these were not present in the gas chambers – there was just bare concrete, making ventilation very fast and efficient.
If the “20 hours ventilation period” above was true, this would mean that the corpses of people executed using cyanide gas in US prisons would remain tied to the chair 20 hours after they were killed… clearly nonsense, as Fred Leuchter, who claims expertise in gas chamber operation, would hopefully know.
2.04 The “Extermination” Chambers Were Actually Morgues
Holocaust denial often claims that the “alleged” extermination chambers were actually morgues, and that Zyklon-B was used in them as a disinfectant.
This claim stems from the fact that Hydrocyanic compounds were found on the ventilation grills of the gas chambers in Krema II and III (the chemical analysis was carried out by Dr. Jan Robel of the Cracow Forensic Institute in December 1945, and was part of the evidence in the trial of Auschwitz commander Ho”ss). This proves that gassing did take place in that chamber – but since this runs contrary to the deniers claims that it was an underground morgue, they claimed “a morgue is disinfected with Zyklon-B.”
Unfortunately for the people offering this assertion as truth, Zyklon-B is useless for disinfecting corpses, as it does not kill anaerobic bacteria – it kills only aerobic organisms.
The absurdity, typical in arguments Holocaust deniers make, is clear. They keep claiming using Zyklon-B in the gas chambers of the Kremas would have been dangerous. Then they say it was used in the very same chambers for delousing.
Finally, the “morgue” is specifically referred to as a “gassing cellar” in a letter from the Auschwitz construction department to SS General Kammler, January 29, 1943. Why call a morgue “gassing cellar?” And why is the other underground room called “undressing cellar?” (see Pressac, p. 221; also The Final Solution: The Attempt to Exterminate the Jews of Europe, 1939-1945 – G. Reitlinger, South Brunswick, T. Yosellof, 1968, p. 158.
The following correspondence between an SS officer and the firm which manufactured the crematoriums shows that the underground cellars in Kremas II and III were to be preheated. Needless to say, this proves that they were not designed to serve as morgues; it does not make much sense to heat a morgue. It does make sense to heat a homicidal gas chamber, to facilitate the evaporation of the Zyklon-B.
Letter from SS-Sturmbannfuehrer Jahrling to Topf & Sons, March 6 1943 [Pressac, p. 221]
Subject: KL Auschwitz Krematorien II and III
In accordance with your suggestion, the service agrees that cellar 1should be preheated with the air coming from the rooms of the 3 forced draught installations. The supply and installation of the ductwork and blowers necessary to this end are to be effected as soon as possible. As you point out in your above-mentioned letter, execution should commence this week. We would ask you to send in triplicate detailed quote for supply and installation.
At the same time, we would ask you to send an additional quotation for the modification of the air-extraction installation in the undressing room.
2.05 It Was Impossible to Kill 6 Million People at Auschwitz
“Judging by the amount and area of the gas chambers, and the number of the Kremas, it was impossible to kill 6 million people in the time interval in which the concentration camps existed.”
No one claims that 6 million people died at Auschwitz. Many died in other death camps, in the ghettos and in occupied Soviet territory. Estimates of the number of people who were gassed to death in Auschwitz vary, but the lowest is 900,000, and the highest about 1,600,000. It is obvious that the extermination and cremation facilities in Auschwitz could take care of such a number.
Just look at the photographs of the furnaces of Krema II (Pressac, 367; see picture Furnace.gif to view these installations). There were five Kremas in Auschwitz. Number II, for instance, had 15 huge furnaces, especially designed to burn efficiently and quickly. Each could consume 3 to 4 bodies at once (remember that many children were present, and many of the people were emaciated), and do so in a maximum of 45 minutes. The SS experimented with different combinations of corpse types and coke to determine which would provide the most cost-efficient results! (Müller, 60-61; Klarsfeld, 99-100).
The figure Leuchter gives as the maximum number of people that could be executed in a week – 1693 – is absurd, as is demonstrated by the following calculation for a single Krema, number II:
One gas chamber, about 210 square meters (2220 square feet) in area, easily accommodated a few hundred people, who were crammed into it.
Fifteen furnaces, each capable of incinerating at least 3 bodies in 45 minutes, could dispose of at least 720 bodies in a 12-hour day.
In a single year, Krema II could incinerate over a quarter-million bodies. Add that to the capabilities of Kremas III, IV, and V, and you begin to get the picture. In addition, bodies were also burned in massive pits. Two gruesome photographs of these “burning pits”, taken in secrecy in Auschwitz-Birkenau, have survived. They are of reasonable quality, and show men standing inside a pile of naked bodies, with the smoking pit in front of them. Some bodies are being dragged into the pit. The photographs are reproduced in Pressac, (422), see picture Pit.gif.
As a reference, one can look at a letter dated June 20 1943, sent to SS General Kammler in Berlin, citing the number of bodies that can be disposed of in 24 working hours as 4,756. A photograph of the letter and its serial number in German archives appears in Pressac (247). (This is lower than 5 x 1440 = 7,200 because some of the Kremas had fewer furnaces than II and III. The exact breakdown, specified in the letter from Jahrling to Kammler, is 340 corpses for Krema I, 768 for IV and V, 1440 for II and III. See picture Furn_cap.gif).
It is naive at best, and contemptuously dishonest, to claim that sucha number of crematoriums were provided for anything other than the disposal of bodies created by the mass murder of helpless victims.
Leuchter arrives at his figures assuming that the people could occupy the gas chambers at a density of maximum 1 person per 9 square feet (!!) and that it would take a week (!!) to ventilate the gas chambers before they could be used for another mass execution. These assumptions are absurd.
Lastly, two other gassing installation existed in Auschwitz – the so-called “Bunker I” and “Bunker II”. They were also demolished by the fleeing SS.
2.06 Doors of Gas Chambers Too Weak to Prevent Escape
Holocaust denial asserts that the doors of the “alleged” gas chambers were much too weak to withstand the pressure of people trying to escape death from inside the chambers.
Since none of the Kremas remained in their original state (Bunker I & II and Kremas II,III,IV and V destroyed, and Krema I modified) there is no physical evidence as to how the doors of the extermination gas chambers looked like. However, a door which probably belonged to an extermination gas chamber was discovered in the camp’s building yard; it is massive, and reinforced with iron bars. Furthermore, the small peephole is protected from the inside with a strong metal grid, probably installed so the victims would not break the glass in the peephole.
Those making this claim present pictures of doors for the delousing chambers, which were not fortified, presumably on the assumption that viewers are too inept to notice the switch. For a photograph of a door probably used in an extermination gas chamber, see Pressac (486). (See picture Door.gif). Pressac also includes photographs of a door discovered in the ruins of Krema IV.
2.07 They would not have used Zyklon-B for gassing
Holocaust denial often claims that if the Nazis had intended to kill people by lethal gassing, they would have used something other than Zyklon B.
Zyklon-B was in use at Auschwitz as a delousing agent, and was thus readily available. The Nazis had experience in its safe use as well, which made it even more attractive. It is easy to transport, store and use.
In addition, Zyklon B was easy to ship and to store, which also made it attractive to the SS, who ordered enough of it, as Ho”ss pointed out in his testimony, to kill two million people. Yitzhak Arad mentions Christian Wirth’s rejection of Zyklon-B for use in exterminations: Wirth developed his own ideas on the basis of the experiences he had gained in the Euthanasia program. Thus, in Belzec he decided to supply the fixed gas chamber with gas produced by the internal-combustion engine of a motorcar. [He] rejected Cyanide B which was later used at Auschwitz. This gas was produced by private firms and its extensive use in Belzec might have aroused suspicion and led to problems of supply. He therefore preferred a system of extermination based on ordinary, universally available gasoline and diesel fuel. (YVS XVI, 211)
In a letter requesting for a truck to bring Zyklon-B to Auschwitz, the standard camouflage term “resettlement of Jews” is used to refer to extermination. Another such document asks for “material for special treatment” – another term used to disguise extermination (See picture Resttl1.gif; also Pressac, 557. For more examples of the camouflage terms noted, see file of Nazi documents).
Radio message 13 SS Garrison Radio Station Auschwitz Origin WVHA [SS economic administration head office]
Received 2nd October 1942 in the Kommandantur of Auschwitz Concentration camp
The movement authorization for one 5 Ton truck with trailer to Dessau and back in order to pick up material for the resettlement of the Jews, is hereby accorded.
The authorization is to be given to the driver.
SS Lieutenant Colonel
Permanent representative of the head of the service
with the rank of Waffen SS
For file Head of the radio station
When camp adjutant R. Mulka was asked by Judge Hofmeyer what “material for the resettlement of the Jews” meant, he answered “well, sure. Zyklon-B” (The Auschwitz trial in Frankfurt, 11 Sep. 1964).
2.08 The gas chambers were never sealed… or there was no provision to exhaust the gas from them… or there was no way for the guards to release the pellets into them, or….
As stated earlier, the extermination chambers were dynamited by the SS when they deserted the camp. There is therefore no direct evidence of what they looked like when they were in operation other than a few photographs taken by the Allies and the SS during the war (See Brugioni; see picture Krema3.gif for view of Krema III taken during the war, from the air). The construction plans do include the air extraction systems, as one readily sees (picture Plan01.gif for example) and the air extraction system is mentioned in many documents. Some of the ventilation openings are still visible in the ruins of the gas chambers. The plans even include the shower heads that were placed in the gas chamber to mislead the victims (see picture Invntry.gif).
It is a sad reflection on Leuchter’s integrity and ability to use logic to see that he admits the Kremas were demolished, yet continues to claim he can deduce from their current state how they looked in 1944, before they were blown up! The following is a verbatim excerpt from his cross-examination by Mr. Pearson, in the Zundel trial:
Q. Crematoria III has been demolished.
A. Um, there are still parts of Crematorium III there, but for the most part, the roof of the alleged gas chamber has crumbled and is all lying in bits and pieces in the basement of what would have been the alleged gas chamber.
Q. So, it’s no longer subterranean?
A. That’s correct. There’s a hole in the ground.
Q. With respect to the gas chambers at Crematorium IV and V, those are totally demolished.
A. With the exception of the foundation, yes.
Q. So, all that was there for you to examine was the foundation of the building. Is that right?
A. That is correct.
Leuchter admits that the roof of the gas chamber of Krema III was all blown up and collapsed, and that Krema IV and V are gone except for the foundation! As for Krema II, his testimony is also intriguing:
Q. So, the gas chamber facility itself is presently underground?
A. Parts of it are and parts aren’t.
Q. All right. And the parts that are underground, I take it that the roof is no longer whole; is that right?
A. Um, one of the roofs is broken into several pieces but it’s essentially whole.
Q. It’s broken in several pieces but it’s essentially whole?
A. I mean it’s not fragmented.
Q. How many pieces?
A. Three, I believe. I say that only to indicate that it’s not fragmented. There are large slabs left of the roof.
Q. Right. And it’s collapsed.
A. It’s dropped several feet. It’s partially collapsed.
Q. Is there dirt over it? Is it subterranean?
A. In some places there are dirt over it and some places there’s no dirt.
Q. All right. And that’s with respect to Crematorium II?
A. That’s correct.
Even more incredible is to see what Leuchter writes in his report:
“In Birkenau, Kremas II,III,IV and V are collapsed, or razed to the ground. Bunker I (the red house) is gone.”
“Evidence as to Krema function is non-existent since Krema’s I oven has been completely rebuilt, Kremas II and III are partially destroyed with components missing, and Kremas IV and V are gone”.
“Are gone”! Yet, he can still conjecture about how they functioned
before being destroyed…
The pictures of the gas chambers in their current state appear in Pressac. They are totally demolished and there is no way a reasonable person would claim to be able to conclude anything about how they functioned before they were destroyed. See picture Chambr01.gif and elsewhere in Pressac’s book.
Leuchter further ridicules himself by stating that the gas chambers were never sealed and that using cyanide gas inside them would be dangerous. But, he admits that the gas was used in them (for delousing purposes, as he claims). This is absurd, of course; if they were not sealed, introducing the gas into them would be dangerous no matter what the purpose was. This obvious contradiction alone is reason enough to discard the “Leuchter report”.
2.09 If the gas chambers were ventilated, the gas would kill people outside.
Nonsense; it is all a question of concentration. Once the gas is released into the atmosphere, its concentration drops and it is no longer dangerous. Also, HCN dissipates quickly. The execution gas chambers in US prisons are also ventilated directly into the atmosphere. Furthermore, if this argument would hold for the extermination chambers, it would hold for the delousing chambers as well, and one would have to conclude that no delousing chambers existed either.
2.10 If so many people were actually killed and cremated, where is all the ash?
After a person is cremated, quite a small amount of ash remains – it fits in a small urn, or a box. This means that ashes of thousands of people fit into one truck. The ash was either scattered around in fields, buried, or – in Auschwitz, for instance – dumped into a river. Also, piles of ash were discovered at some camps (Maidanek, Sobibor).
2.11 The people who dropped the Zyklon-B into the chambers would have died from the gas themselves.
Utter nonsense. Like those who used the Zyklon-B in the delousing chambers, the SS men who carried out the gassings utilized gas masks. (The mind boggles at the realization that a “gas chamber expert” could not figure this out.)
2.12 The death lists from Auschwitz do not show that any people were gassed, and point to a smaller number of victims.
This is because those lists refer only to those who where assigned serial numbers. The majority of people transferred to the camp were classified as “unfit for work” and gassed immediately. This fact is noted, for instance, in a report written by top SS officer Franke-Gricksch to Himmler (this report is included in our file of Nazi documents, in this archive). These people were not registered nywhere, and no one recorded their names. (Testimony of Polish prisoner Aloiz Oskar Kleta, Shelly, p. 284; Fertig, 12; Fleming, 174. Also, see testimony of Henryk Tauber, Pressac, page 488, as to how the SS routinely burned documents regarding the number of victims).
2.13 There was a swimming pool in Auschwitz, hence it could not have been an extermination camp.
Indeed, a water reservoir in Auschwitz I (the main camp) was converted to a swimming pool which was used by the camp’s staff. Other means of entertainment for the SS personnel existed – a band composed of prisoners, and a brothel. How this “proves” that Auschwitz was not an extermination center is beyond the author of this text.
2.14 Much of the area of Auschwitz has a high water table, therefore corpses could not be burned in ditches.
There are pictures of these ditches with corpses burning in them (see picture Pit.gif) . During the period in which Auschwitz was active, the SS had the area drained; as can be seen today, the drainage, which has not been maintained since 1945, has deteriorated and the water level had risen. Furthermore, the ditches were not used all the time, but only when there were not enough furnaces to cremate the victims or during the extermination of the Hungarian Jews, when so many people were murdered daily that the furnaces could not handle the amount of corpses. The “incineration ditches” are known to have been active in October-November 1942 and the summer of 1944, which do not coincide with the period the snow melts and the water level rises.
2.15: How come eye witnesses to the gassings survived? Why didn’t the Nazis kill them?
The answer is rather simple – the SS did kill almost all of them. After the war, for instance, there were about 70 survivors from Treblinka (more than 700,000 victims, see also file with excerpts from ruling of German courts in this archive). These survivors escaped from the camp, mostly during the rebellion they carried out. Same for Auschwitz: nearly all the members of the “Special Commando” who saw the gassings and had to carry out and cremate the victims, were killed by the SS, but a small number of them escaped, mostly during the rebellion of October 1944. Another factor is the fact that in the end of the war Auschwitz was in total chaos – the Soviets were approaching fast, and they even bombed the camp. Thus there was no time to kill all the occupants, and some were transferred to camps within Germany. Many of them died in those forced “death marches”.
2.16: Fumes from a diesel engine are not toxic enough to kill people.
(This claim is made with regard to the death camp of Treblinka – see file with ruling of German courts on this. In other death camps, gasoline engines were used. The method of killing was simple – people were crammed into the gas chambers, and the exhaust of powerful engines was pumped into them).
Nonsense. In a closed chamber, of course diesel fumes will kill. There was actually a study on this, and its results are reported in “The Toxicity of Fumes from a Diesel Engine Under Four Different Running Conditions”, by Pattle et al., British Journal of Industrial Medicine, 1957, Vol 14, p. 47-55. These researchers ran a few experiments in which various animals were exposed to diesel fumes, and studied the results.
In the experiments, the exhaust of a small diesel engine (568 cc, 6 BHP) was connected to a chamber 10 cubic meters (340 cubic feet) in volume, and the animals were put inside it. In all cases, the animals died. Death was swifter when the intake of air to the engine was restricted, as this causes a large increase in the amount of carbon monoxide (CO) that is emitted. (See, for instance, “diesel Engine Reference Book”, by Lilly, 1985, p. 18/8, where it is stated that at a high air/fuel ratio the concentration of CO is only a few parts per million but for lower ratios (25:1) the concentration of CO can rise up to 3,000 ppm. It is very easy to restrict the air intake; the British researchers did so by partially covering the air intake opening with a piece of metal.)
Even in cases where the CO output was low, the animals still died from other toxic components – mainly irritants and nitrogen dioxide.
Now, the diesel engines used in Treblinka were much larger – they belonged to captured Soviet T-34 tanks. These tanks weighed 26-31 tons (depending on the model) and had a 500 BHP engine (compared to a mere 6 BHP in the British experiments). The volume of the extermination chambers in Treblinka is, of course, a factor. But the chambers’ volume was about 60 cubic meters (2040 cubic feet); this is 6 times more than those in the British experiments, but the difference in the size of the engines is much larger than a factor of 6.
It should be remembered that what matters in CO poisoning is not the concentration of CO, but the ratio of CO to oxygen. In a small room, crammed full of people, oxygen levels drop quickly, thus making death by CO poisoning faster. As noted, other toxic components in the fumes further accelerate mortality.
The SS was aware of the fact that cramming as many people as possible into the gas chamber, thus leaving no empty spaces, would accelerate mortality. This is evident, for instance, from a letter regarding “gassing vans” (used in the Chelmno extermination camp and other locations) sent to SS-Obersturmbannfuehrer Walter Rauff, 5 June 1942. The letter is quite long (more of it is reproduced in the file of original Nazi documents), but here is the relevant part (Nazism, document 913).
“2) The vans are normally loaded with 9-10 people per square meter. With the large Saurer special vans this is not possible because although they do not become overloaded their maneuverability is much impaired. A reduction in the load area appears desirable. It can be achieved by reducing the size of the van by c. 1 meter. The difficulty referred to cannot be overcome by reducing the size of the load. For a reduction in the numbers will necessitate longer period of operation because the free spaces will have to be filled with CO. By contrast, a smaller load area which is completely full requires a much shorter period of operation since there are no free spaces.”
Another gruesome testimony to the “science of gassing” developed by the SS is the letter from Dr August Becker to SS-Obersturmbannfuehrer Rauff, 16 May 1942 (Nazi Conspiracy, 418)
“The application of the gas is not undertaken correctly. In order to come to an end as fast as possible, the driver presses the accelerator to the fullest extent. By doing that the persons to be executed suffer death from suffocation and not death by dozing off as was planned. My directions have now proved that by correct adjustment of the levers death comes faster and the prisoners fall asleep peacefully. Distorted faces and excretions, such as could be seen before, are no longer noticed”.
2.17 The doors of the gas chambers which used engine exhaust would not stand the pressure of the gas accumulating inside and would burst.
Actually, this might have been a problem, as a letter about the “gassing vans” (from Willy Just to SS-Obersturmbannfuehrer Walter Rauff, 5 June 1942; see Nazism: A History in Documents and Eye Witness Accounts, 1941-1945″ vol. 2, document 913) contains the following excerpt:
“RE: Technical alterations to the special vehicles already in operation and those in production.
Since December 1941, for example, 97,000 have been processed using three vans without any faults developing in the vehicles. The well-known explosion in Kulmhof (Chelmno) must be treated as a special case. It was caused by faulty practice. Special instructions have been given to the relevant offices in order to avoid such accidents”.
It might be that the letter refers to an explosion caused by the buildup of gas; however, it does note that technical alterations were made to take care of this problem. A technological superpower that built submarines and rockets could easily handle such a problem (for instance, by using valves to release some of the gas if the pressure became too high).
2.18 There were not enough Jews in Europe to account for the number of 6 million victims.
This claim is ridiculous, as attested to by all population statistics of that time, including the numbers of Jews appearing in many original Nazi documents… for instance:
Extracts from the minutes of the Wannsee conference, January 20 1942, regarding the “Final Solution of the Jewish Question” [Trials of War Criminals Before the Nuremberg Military Tribunals – Washington, U.S Govt. Print. Off., 1949-1953., Vol. XIII, p. 210]
II. At the beginning of the meeting the Chief of the Security Police and the SD, SS Lieutenant General Heydrich, reported his appointment by the Reich Marshal [Goering] to service as Commissioner for the preparation of the Final Solution of the European Jewish Problem….
In the course of this final solution of the European Jewish Problem, approximately 11 million Jews are involved. They are distributed among individual countries as follows:
A. Original Reich Territory [Altreich] 131,800
Eastern territories 420,000
Government General [Nazi occupied Poland] 2,284,000
The Netherlands 160,800
Rumania, including Bessarabia 342,000
White Russia, excluding Bialystok 446,484
[Many countries deleted for brevity] TOTAL over 11,000,000
Under proper direction the Jews should now in the course of the Final Solution be brought to the East in a suitable way for use as labor. In big labor gangs, with separation of the sexes, the Jews capable of work are brought to these areas and employed in road building, in which task undoubtedly a great part will fall out through natural diminution.
The remnant that finally is able to survive all this – since this is undoubtedly the part with the strongest resistance – must be treated accordingly since these people, representing a natural selection, are to be regarded as the germ cell of a new Jewish development. (See the experience of history).
In the program of the practical execution of the Final Solution, Europe is combed through from the West to the East.
The claims often made by Holocaust deniers about emigration of Jews after the war are preposterous. For instance, there were 370,000 Jews in Palestine in 1937, and 600,000 in 1948. The numbers arrived at by the Anglo-American committee for studying the Holocaust are the following:
(Conclusions of the Anglo-American committee for studying the Nazi genocide inflicted on the Jews of Europe, with exact breakdown, country by country.)
Numbers of missing Jews (post-war minus pre-war):
Less dispersed refugees (308,000)
Total number of Jews that were exterminated 5,721,500
Some estimates are lower, and some are higher, but these are the magnitudes in question. Recent evidence shows that the number of ex-USSR victims was actually underestimated.
About 6 million non-Jewish civilians were killed by the Nazis – mostly in Poland and Yugoslavia.
2.19 There are no documents about gas chambers or mass murder of Jews and others, and no evidence there was a plan to carry out mass extermination
This is the most absurd claim Holocaust deniers make – there are numerous such documents. A small sample is gathered in our file of “original Nazi documents”.
2.20 The Anne Frank diary is a hoax which was written by someone else.
For an excellent treatment of this subject, see “Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory”, by Deborah Lipstadt, published by the Free Press, ISBN 0-02-919235-8.
In 1981, the Netherlands State Institute for War Documentation submitted Anne Frank’s handwritten diaries to the Dutch State Forensic Science Laboratory of the Ministry of Justice to determine their authenticity. The State Forensic Science Laboratory examined the materials used-the ink, paper, glue, etc.-and the handwriting and issued a report of some 270 pages.
“The report of the State Forensic Science Laboratory has convincingly demonstrated that both versions of the diary of Anne Frank were written by her in the years 1942 to 1944. The allegations that the diary was the work of someone else (after the war or otherwise) are thus conclusively refuted.” Furthermore, that “despite corrections and omissions.. _The_Diary_of_Anne_Frank_ [i.e., the published version of the diaries] does indeed contain `the essence’ of Anne’s writings, and that there are no grounds on which the term `forgery’ can be applied to the work of the editors or publishers of the book.”
1. Anne Frank, _The_Diary_of_Anne_Frank:_The_Critical_Edition_, Prepared by the Netherlands State Institute for War Documentation, edited by David Barnouw and Gerrold Van Der Stroom, (New York, Doubleday, 1989) p. 166.
3.00 Leuchter’s claims during his Zundel testimony, and the reality of his perjury.
In his article of January 11, (Spotlight, “Major Historical Fact Uncovered,” January 11, 1993), Foner discusses the Canadian trial of Ernst Zundel, and tells us…
Zundel went looking for an expert on executions, particularly gassings. He found Leuchter, who specializes in the design and fabrication of execution hardware used in prisons throughout the United States. (Foner, 3)
Although Leuchter is touted by Neo-Nazi publications and Holocaust deniers as an “expert,” Mr. Leuchter’s own testimony at the Zundel trial made it clear that he was neither an expert nor a credible witness.
The following is taken from Leuchter’s testimony at the Zundel trial (Douglas Christie, Zundel’s attorney is the questioner) – following the testimony are verbatim quotes from two American prison officials,
which were obtained after Leuchter’s testimony at the trial. We believe you will have no difficulty in determining the value of Mr. Leuchter’s credentials after considering both:
Q: And what is your relationship with the operation of those facilities [i.e. gas chambers] in those two States [California and North Carolina]?
A: We consulted with both States, California primarily on a heart monitoring system to replace the older type mechanical diagraph stethoscope that’s presently in use. We will be shipping to them shortly and installing a new heart monitor for both chairs in their gas chamber.
Q: You are consulted by the State, I understand?
A: Yes, Juan Vasquez.
Q: I see. And in North Carolina?
A: North Carolina. My discussions and work was with one Nathan Reise, and he had some work done by their maintenance personnel on their gas chamber two years ago, and they had a problem with the gasket on a door leaking. At which point, we discussed it with him and recommended remedial procedures to change the gas chamber.
Q: And he consults you in regard to those matters?
A: He does.
What do those two facilities have to say about the matter? First, the warden at San Quentin (California) responds:
“I can inform you, however, that San Quentin has not contracted with Fred A. Leuchter, Jr. for the installation of a heart monitoring system or for any other work.” Signed: DANIEL B. Vasquez, Warden (California)
Next, we offer the comments from North Carolina prison officials:
“I discussed your request with Mr. Nathan A. RICE, Former Warden, and he stated that he vaguely recalled a telephone conversation between him and a gentleman professing to be an expert on execution chambers. Mr. Rice further states that the gentleman called him for the purpose of selling a lethal injection machine…
Also, our records do not support that Mr. Leuchter performed either consulting or any service…I can attest that the planning and work was performed by the Department of Correction Engineering Section and our institution maintenance department.” Signed: Gary T. Dixon, Warden (North Carolina)
We discover, then, that neither California nor North Carolina have consulted with Leuchter regarding their gas chambers. Leuchter was incapable of even getting the names of the wardens right, and clearly lying about his “professional” relationships with them.
The only other state with which Leuchter has alleged consulted regarding gas chambers is Missouri. Yet, even thought Leuchter has allegedly “designed” a gas chamber for the state, we have to take his word for it since that gas chamber was never built nor installed and, in fact, Missouri does not have an operational gas chamber to this day even though Leuchter had allegedly designed one for them over 4 years ago. We would like to hear from anyone who has contacted authorities in the State of Missouri regarding this matter.
4.0 Research Materials & Sources
Vera Laska provided an extensive list of assets for those interested in Holocaust research, which was included in the Auschwitz FAQ. I recommend it as an excellent starting point for anyone wishing to do serious research into the Reinhard camps.
In addition, you may obtain our 8-part Holocaust bibliography by sending a message to firstname.lastname@example.org, and simply putting the word BIBLIO in the Subject: field of your message. All eight parts will be mailed to you immediately.
4.1 Recommended Reading
Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory, by Deborah Lipstadt, published by the Free Press, ISBN 0-02-919235-8.
Truth Prevails: Demolishing Holocaust Denial, published by the Beate Klarsfeld foundation and Holocaust Survivors and Friends. ISBN 1-879437-00-7.
For a thorough survey of the Holocaust, see Raul Hilberg’s “Destruction of the European Jews”.
An excellent book about Auschwitz is Pressac, J.C. Auschwitz: Technique
and Operation of the Gas Chambers. New York: Beate Klarsfeld Foundation, 1989
Krema: a unit containing a homicidal gas chamber and furnaces for disposing of the bodies. Auschwitz had five such installations. (See pictures krema4.gif, Krema3.gif, Furnace.gif.)
4.3 Works Cited
Borkin, Joseph. The Crime and Punishment of I.G. Farbin. London &
New York: Collier Macmillan Publishers (London) and The Free Press, a division of Macmillan Publishing, 1978.
Brugioni, Dino A., and Robert G. Poirier. The Holocaust Revisited: A Retrospective Analysis of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Extermination Complex. (Central Intelligence Agency, Washington, D.C.) February 1979.
The paper includes aerial photographs of the Auschwitz-Birkenau complex in operation during WWII. A summary of their analysis is included in the paper. These photos corroborate eyewitness accounts/Nazi documentation on camp operations.
You can obtain a copy from the US gov’t through the following sources:
National Technical Information Service
5285 Port Royal Road
Springfield, VA 22161
Library of Congress
Washington, D.C. 20540
Use the report number(#st 79-10001) and the document number (NTISUBE28002) to speed service along. The document # is particularly important.
Feig, Konnilyn G. Hitler’s Death Camps. LOC D810.J4 F36, 1981
Foner, Samuel P. “Major Historical Fact Uncovered” SPOTLIGHT Vol. XIX, Number 2, January 11, 1993)
Klarsfeld, Serge. The Holocaust and Neo-Nazi Mythomania, as quoted in Feig.
Shelly, “Secretaries of Death”, Edited and Translated by Lore Shelly, Shengold Publishers INC., NY 1986
Fertig, Howard. The History of KL-Auschwitz. New York: 1982
Fleming, Gerald. Hitler and the Final Solution. University of California Press, 1984 Merck Index. Ninth Edition, 1976.
Müller, Filip. “Eyewitness Auschwitz: Three Years in the Gas Chambers”, as cited by both Feig and Hilberg. Museum w Oswiecimu.
“KL Auschwitz seen by the SS Hoess, Broad, Kremer,” 2nd. ed., 1978 Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression, Vol. III. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1946
Nazism: A History in Documents and Eye Witness Accounts, Vol.2
Pressac, J.C. Auschwitz: Technique and Operation of the Gas Chambers. New York: Beate Klarsfeld Foundation, 1989
YVS XVI. Yad Vashem Studies, XVI. “Operation Reinhard”: Extermination Camps of Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka. Jerusalem: Yad Vashem, 1984
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