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The 'Gas Chambers' of Auschwitz and Majdanek

By Germar Rudolf



1. Introduction

Prior to the Leuchter Report1 no scientific studies of any significance had ever been conducted about the 'gas chambers' of Auschwitz and Majdanek, which is astonishing in view of the importance of the topic. Even in the great Auschwitz Trial in Frankfurt in the mid-1960s, the expert reports that were commissioned had an exclusively historical focus, and not even the defense thought to request a report on the alleged 'murder weapons', which have partly survived to this day. In its verdict the Court stated that it lacked "almost all the means of evidence available in a normal murder trial," including "the bodies of the victims, autopsy reports, expert reports on the cause and time of death, (...) evidence as to the criminals, murder weapons, etc.",2 and after a detailed analysis of the course of the trial one cannot help but note that this Court, just like all those which dealt with the topic before and since, never made even the slightest effort to locate any such evidence or to commission any subject experts. The same goes no less for the great Majdanek Trial in Düsseldorf in the late 1970s.3

It was not until 1988, 45 years after the alleged crime(!), that Ernst Zündel, a German-Canadian charged by a Canadian court with knowingly disseminating false news about the Holocaust,4 commissioned the American gas chamber expert Leuchter to draw up a report about the evidence for the supposed 'murder weapon'. The idea for such a report had been suggested to Zündel by R. Faurisson. In the resultant, hastily drawn up report, Leuchter concluded that the "alleged gas chambers" of the facilities he examined could not have been used as such. Analyses of brick samples from the alleged 'gas chambers' showed that these contain no traces of hydrocyanic acid poison from Zyklon B, whereas the walls of the delousing chambers where the inmates' clothing was deloused with Zyklon B contain great quantities of such residue.

It is not surprising that this report caused considerable uproar, which resulted in a number of publications.5-6 On the suggestion of the Leuchter Report, the Rudolf Report - drawn up in spring 1992, and expanded and revised several times - focused on engineering and chemical aspects of the alleged 'gas chambers' in Auschwitz, and shall be summarized and supplemented in the following. The alleged gas chambers of the concentration camp Majdanek, which were also a subject of the Leuchter Report, will be briefly discussed. We shall dispense with an account of the ongoing debate about the interpretation of the documents found to date with respect to the issue of gas chambers in Auschwitz; interested readers are referred to the relevant literature.7

2. Design of the Fumigation Facilities in Auschwitz

2.1 The Camp Complex of Auschwitz

According to Pressac7 the facilities of Auschwitz I/Main Camp were originally part of a barracks under the Dual Monarchy (later Poland) and were converted into a concentration camp after the war against Poland. After the start of the Russian Campaign, Auschwitz II/Birkenau was rebuilt as a prisoner-of-war camp of the Waffen-SS, to accommodate Russian prisoners-of-war. Later it increasingly served to house Jews, who were deported there from all German-occupied parts of Europe. The arrival of great numbers of people made for severe health-related problems in all camps. For this reason all the camps had extensive disinfection and delousing facilities. Since the end of the First World War, the general fumigant of choice for pest control (lice, bedbugs, fleas, beetles etc.) had been the product Zyklon B (hydrocyanic acid adsorbed onto diatomaceous earth). In Compounds 1a/b of Birkenau, Buildings 5a and 5b each had a wing where one room was reserved for the delousing of material objects with hydrocyanic acid.

On the whole, historians today assume that the large cremation facilities in the camps did not serve only the purpose they had originally been intended for, namely the removal of victims of epidemics, which did occur quite frequently despite intensive efforts at disinfection. Later, it is claimed, these facilities were used instead for mass extermination, including that of the Jews. For this purpose, some rooms of the respective cremation facilities were slightly renovated; people were then killed ('gassed') there with Zyklon B.

According to eyewitness testimony, there was at that time a 'gas chamber' in Crematorium I of the Main Camp, Auschwitz I. In Birkenau (Auschwitz II), approximately 1.5 miles away, there are said to have been 4 more 'gas chambers' in Crematoria II through V, as well as two farm houses, located outside the camp itself and renovated for gassing purposes.

The individual facilities are discussed in the following.

2.2 Delousing Chambers for Material Objects

Rooms where material objects were deloused with Zyklon B still exist intact today in the West and East wings of Buildings 5a and 5b of Compounds B1a and b respectively. The building plans identify these rooms as gas chambers, the term commonly used in those days for disinfestation facilities.8 These delousing rooms, equipped with airlocks, had two round openings approximately 20 inches in diameter in their ceiling gables, fitted with an air intake and an exhaust ventilator. The roof had three ventilation chimneys; three furnaces were installed in these rooms during the time they were in use.9 This set-up, with heating and ventilation, must have been considered the minimum requirement for a facility to be used as fumigation chamber for disinfesting material objects.

2.3 The 'Gas Chamber' in Main Camp Auschwitz I

According to Pressac, there is no material or documentary evidence for the existence of the gas chamber in the crematorium of the Main Camp; there are, however, numerous eyewitness accounts.10 Pressac states that the foremost characteristics of these accounts are their numerous contradictions, technical impossibilities, and generally unbelievable nature.11 In his latest work, Pressac suggests that this gas chamber was in operation only from January to April 1942, and he calls eyewitness statements alleging a longer time of operation 'exaggerations'.12

In considering this crematorium we shall concentrate on the Zyklon B input hatches and the ventilation holes of the 'gas chamber'.13 Illustration 1 shows the floor plan of the building at the start of the War, designed and constructed as an ordinary crematorium with a mortuary.14 The mortuary is said to have been renovated later to serve as 'gas chamber'. For purposes of introducing the Zyklon B into the room to effect the gassing of the victims, 3 or 4 hatches are also said to have been cut into the roof later on, as well as 1 or 2 others to accommodate powerful ventilators.15 In autumn of 1944 the crematorium was renovated to serve as air-raid shelter,16 while the Zyklon B input hatches were already sealed up in late April or early May 1942.17

Illustration 2 shows the floor plan of the crematorium as it exists today.18 After the War, it is claimed the roof was re-covered with roofing felt, which concealed the Zyklon B hatches of this 'gas chamber'. The input hatches visible today were installed after the War by the Polish Auschwitz Museum - not, according to Pressac, at their original location, but rather in a way that was considered more effective for tourist viewing purposes.19

The ceiling, outside walls and pillars as well as the building foundation are in their original state. If openings for input hatches and ventilation facilities had existed in the reinforced concrete roof, damage to the concrete structure would have to be visible at the appropriate spots on the unplastered inside ceiling, since such structures cannot be removed without leaving visible traces.

Ill. 1: Floor plan of Crematorium 1 in Main Camp Auschwitz I in its original design. Allegedly the mortuary was later used as a 'gas chamber'. 1: vestibule; 2: morgue; 3: wash-room; 4: mortuary ('gas chamber'); 5: furnace room; 6: coke storage room; 7: urn room.

At one location the ceiling clearly shows signs of disintegration caused by water seeping in. Attempts have been made - in vain - to check the decay by plastering over the area affected. There are two other places where the ceiling is plastered over, in the middle of the room and towards the outside wall. Whether these patches cover up former holes or whether they are also the result of repairs is something that yet needs to be investigated. In any case they are not input openings distributed evenly throughout the room. Other than those that were added after the War, there are no such breaches in the ceiling.

Might the Auschwitz Museum have been mistaken, and used the old openings as the locations of the newly installed ones after all? The former Director of the Museum recently commented to this effect.20 We shall take a closer look at his revised opinion.

The breaches visible in the concrete today are not plastered, nor have the remnants of the severed iron reinforcement bars been properly removed. The holes are fitted with a makeshift wooden frame, and sealed with tar. Such sloppy work does not reflect the care required in handling poison gas, nor is it typical of German workmanship. If the SS had indeed cut these holes through the concrete, one might expect not only a proper removal of the reinforcing bars, but also a uniform arrangement of the 4 hatches over the ceiling of the original mortuary to allow for the even distribution of Zyklon B in the room. The hatches present today, however, are spread evenly over the ceiling only if one regards the washroom, which was not added to this room until after the War, as being part of the mortuary ('gas chamber'); see Illustration 2. The configuration of the input hatches, therefore, makes sense only if they were added specifically for the facilities as they exist today as 'museum reconstructions' of incorrect dimensions, ie. if they were added after the War.

Ill. 2: Floor plan of Crematorium I in Auschwitz I (Main Camp) today, after the post-War alterations: 1: gas chamber; 2: fake Zyklon-B input hatches; 3: toilet plumbing; 4: former dividing wall between mortuary and wash-room; 5: bomb shelter ventilation chimney; 6: bomb shelter airlock, today called 'entrance for the victims'; 7: urns; 8: coke fuel; 9: reconstructed ovens; 10: new doorway to furnace room; dashed lines indicate location of original doorway; 11: ruins of old furnace; 12: fake chimney.

In his new book Pressac states that temporary ventilation facilities were installed in the Mortuary of Crematorium I in March 1941, that these were never replaced with permanent fixtures, and that it is not known how they worked.21 To support this claim Pressac cites Pery Broad,22 whose statements he had dismissed as implausible in his first book23 and which, furthermore, tell of a ventilator installed in one of the concrete chimneys. But just as the Zyklon B input hatches, this ventilator would have had to leave detectable traces in the ceiling. It is also possible, however, that the ventilation pipe was laid through breaches in the walls, into the oven room and on from there, for example to the chimney. But since the dividing wall between the oven room and the mortuary were extensively rebuilt when the facilities were renovated as air-raid shelter, no traces remain to be found today.

One can conclude from all this that in all likelihood there were no hatches for the input of Zyklon B to allow these facilities to be used as 'gas chamber' at the time of their alleged use as such.

2.4 The 'Gas Chambers' of Birkenau

2.4.1 Crematoria II and III

Ill. 3: Floor plan of Mortuaries I ('gas chambers') of Crematoria II and III (latter, mirror image) in the camp Auschwitz II (Birkenau). a: Mortuary I / 'gas chamber', 30x7x2.41m b: Mortuary II / 'Undressing room', 49.5x7.9x2.3m c: Mortuary III, subsequently subdivided d: Lift for transport of the bodies to the furnace room, ground floor e: Ventilation shaft f: Concrete supporting pillars g: Concrete beam h: Entrance to cellar, added later 1-3: Sites from which Samples 1-3 for the Rudolf Report were taken

In terms of size, fittings and construction, these crematoria are comparable with other facilities built in the Reich at that time, as well as with modern ones.24 Details of the construction of Mortuary I, allegedly used as 'gas chamber', have already been discussed elsewhere.7,15,16,18,25 We shall again focus on the Zyklon B input hatches ie. holes in this basement room, which was equipped with ventilation but no heating facilities.

Ill. 3 shows the floor plan of Mortuary I (the 'gas chamber') of Crematorium II and also represents the mirror image of Mortuary I of Crematorium III; Ill. 4 shows the cross-section.26 According to eyewitnesses, there were also three or four hatches in the ceiling here, through which the Zyklon B was introduced.27

Regarding the evidence provided by Allied air photos, the reader is referred to the chapter by J.C. Ball in the present volume. Clearly this information suggests that either there were no input hatches on the roofs, or that these were so small that they did not show up on the air photos, so that someone deemed it necessary to resort to photo retouching in order to falsify the air photos accordingly.

Today the roofs of Mortuaries I (the 'gas chambers') of both crematoria are broken and collapsed. There are no signs of shell impacts. It is assumed that these rooms were blasted.28 The ceiling of Mortuary I ('gas chamber') of Crematorium II is still more or less intact and stillrests partially on the concrete supporting pillars. Large parts of the walls and concrete ceiling still accessible in the interior of the cellar remain in their original state, protected from weathering. There are no visible signs of any erosion or corrosion.

In his book Pressac shows pictures of ventilation pipe openings in the roof of Mortuary II of Crematorium II as well as in the concrete ceiling of the oven room of Crematorium III.29 Ill. 5 shows one of the five openings into the oven room. In contrast to these cleanly cut holes, the only two alleged Zyklon B input hatches to be found in the roof of Mortuary I ('gas chamber') of Crematorium II are clearly openings that were broken through the reinforced-concrete roof later (see Ills. 6 and 7). Pressac concedes that these are the only holes visible today.30

Without exception the openings visible today in the roofs of Mortuaries I ('gas chambers') of Crematoria II and III are holes that were broken through the concrete after completion of the roofs. If any of these holes had served as Zyklon B input hatches, then they would have to have been added after the roofs were completed. Since the roofs of these facilities were poured in the winter of 1942/43,31 any additional openings could have been added to the roofs of both crematoria in spring 1943 at the earliest. But the mass extermination in the facilities of Crematorium II is said to have been in full swing by then. This would imply an inconceivably stupid error in planning.

Also, given such an opening broken through the roof of one of the Mortuaries I ('gas chambers') after construction, ie. causing damage to the concrete and the iron reinforcementstructure, it would have been inevitable for the ceiling breaks and cracks resulting from a subsequent blasting of the building to run primarily through these holes. The reason for this is that blasting represents an abnormal force, that material tension reaches very high peak levels around the corners of inserted openings (notch or fatigue effect), and that cracks proceed preferentially from weak points. Therefore, particularly such openings whose belated addition has already damaged the structure of the surrounding concrete represent points where cracks and breaks are not only likely, but inevitable. This is demonstrated by Illustrations 5 and 8. Even though, in Illustration 5, the explosion pressure in the ground-level oven room was able to escape in every direction and the ceiling connecting to the upper floor remained almost fully intact, three of the five oven room air vent holes, which had been neatly cast into the concrete ceiling and reinforced, were completely destroyed. Clearly visible cracks formed at the corners of two other holes, shown in the photos reproduced by Pressac. Ill. 8 shows the consequences of a rockfall on a house wall with a window. The only crack in the wall proceeds from the window.

In the mortuaries of Crematoria II and III the pressure from the explosion could only escape upward, which is why their ceilings were much more severely damaged than the ceiling of the oven room or the wall of the house hit by a rockfall. The alleged Zyklon B input hatches in the roof of Mortuary I ('gas chamber') of Crematorium II, however, are conspicuous for their relatively undamaged condition; all the cracks and breaks in the ceiling center on the hole shown in Illustration 7. An on-site examination reveals the random arrangement of openings in places where the mortuary ceiling is undamaged! As John C. Ball shows in this volume, in terms of size or location these holes also do not correspond at all with the patches apparent on the air photos - something which even Pressac has realized.32

What is more, at the opening shown in Illustration 7 the reinforcement bars were only cut through once and then bent back. They are still full length. It would be quite possible to bendthem back down and weld them to the protruding stubs at left (covered in snow). Remnants of the reinforcement bars are also still visible at the edge of the hole in Illustration 6. No devices for the introduction of gas could ever have been securely installed, much less sealed to the outside, in such crudely cut and unfinished holes from which not even the reinforcement bars had been removed. Any attempt to do so would have endangered the entire vicinity, including the alleged perpetrators, with the poison gas that would have escaped in enormous quantities. What is more, only brute force could have stopped the supposed victims from escaping through these holes or even throwing the poison gas carrier out, since after all these holes could never have served as input hatches - they were never finished.

One can therefore conclude with absolute certainty that the alleged input hatches were not added until after the buildings had been blown up, ie. after the German retreat.33

2.4.2 Crematoria IV and V

All that exists for these facilities34 are a few documents and contradictory, partly unbelievable eyewitness statements.35 According to Pressac, the two western, heated, unidentified rooms, as well as their anterooms, served as 'gas chambers'. There is no evidence for any ventilation facility for these rooms prior to May 1944. For this reason Pressac suggests that up to that date ventilation was achieved by means of natural draft. In Crematorium IV, but not in Crematorium V, a ventilation facility is said to have been installed in May 1944, when the extermination of the Hungarian Jews allegedly began.36 Pressac shows a blueprint for this, but fails to cite a source for it. According to his blueprint, the ventilation shaft would have opened into an additional chimney of Crematorium IV. However, such a chimney is not visible on the air photos of May, June and September 1944.37 As well, and strangely enough, the rooms described as 'gas chambers', beside the coke fuel and the physician's rooms, lack any ventilation chimneys - unlike all the other rooms in the two crematoria. Pressac himself points out that the lack of ventilation of the chambers would have resulted in the gas spreading through the entire rest of the building, so that all work would have had to cease for many hours.38 He adds further that due to the technical inadequacies the gassings in these rooms must have been a ludicrous procedure resembling a circus act.39

Unfortunately one must deal with such witness stories and try to keep a straight face in the process.

2.4.3 Farm Houses ('Bunkers') I and II

The location and design of the renovated farm houses ('bunkers') and undressing barracks, allegedly situated west to northwest of the Birkenau camp, are not precisely known.40 Pressacdescribes the eyewitness testimony in this respect as contradictory.41 The building called Farm House (or Bunker) II is sometimes visible on air photos, whereas there is never any trace of Farm House I.42 Since the gassings attested to for these facilities resemble those for Crematoria IV and V (input chutes at the side, no ventilation, but no heating either), our remarks in Section 2.3 apply all the more strongly in this case. In his new book Pressac even goes one better: he shows43 that, due to a paper authored by G. Peters,44 the Camp Administration had been aware of the advanced delousing technique using Zyklon B since 1941. Without documenting his reasoning(!), he interprets the Camp Administration's interest in this paper to the effect that this new technique of killing human beings was to have been implemented in Bunker II, which was due for renovation. In the end, however, according to Pressac, they refrained from doing so because the suppliers allegedly had difficulties in keeping up with the demand, and so Bunker II, like Bunker I, was operated without heating or ventilation.

A nugget of absurdity truly worth savoring: the Camp Administration, while being fully aware of the advanced methods available, allegedly resorted to sledgehammer methods to gas people not only in Bunkers I and II, but later on in all other crematoria as well, while at the same time there were no noteworthy production delays to interfere with the construction of hundreds of advanced delousing chambers throughout the Third Reich and in the war zone and even in the new central sauna of Auschwitz-Birkenau!

2.5 Engineering Conclusions

Even the most primitive and temporary delousing facilities - whether in the early days of Auschwitz, or elsewhere - were always equipped with an exhaust ventilator and a heating system, of which the latter is helpful but not absolutely necessary (for details see Section 4.1). No room, however, which lacked a ventilation system need be seriously considered as a facility for fumigation with poison gas, whether for killing lice or human beings. For execution gas chambers, there must further be a way to introduce the poison gas substance from outside, which is not absolutely necessary, but also helpful, in the case of delousing chambers for material objects. The salient point, therefore, is that a room that had either no means for introducing the poison gas from outside, or no ventilation facilities, cannot be seriously considered as execution gas chamber. An overview of the rooms discussed here is reflected in Table 1.

Table 1: Facilities and Suitability of Fumigation Chambers

Fumigation Chamber

Poison Gas Input



Suitable as Delousing Chamber

Suitable as Execution Chamber

Chambers 2






Crematorium I






Crematoria II & III






Crematoria IV & V






Farm Houses I & II






2 = present; 1 = possibly present; X = not present

This does not even consider, among other things, that a hypothetical execution gas chamber would need to be proof against victims attempting to break out, and that the ventilation system would have to be powerful enough for its task.

Even though the literature largely agrees on the outfitting of the rooms of Crematoria IV and V as well as of the Farm Houses, the matter is nevertheless somewhat speculative due to a lack of documentation and material evidence. Pressac's recent discovery regarding Crematorium IV's alleged ventilation system of unknown properties pertains only to the time after May 1944 and strikes us as no less speculative.

Fortunately, precisely that so-called gas chamber in which the most people were allegedly killed with poison gas during the Third Reich has survived to the present in an almost perfectly intact state: Mortuary I of Crematorium II. It is an engineering certainty that, contrary to all eyewitness testimony, these facilities had no Zyklon B input openings in their ceiling during the time of their alleged operation. And if this is so, then this room cannot have been used as site for mass murder with poison gas.

Until and unless the question of how the poison gas substance should have been introduced into this putative gas chamber is answered, all further speculations as to the nature of the killings and the possible chemical evidence for them are merely academic exercises without substance. Therefore the discussion of Auschwitz could well end right here. The following, however, discusses some of the questions of a chemical nature that have been raised by Leuchter.

3. Zyklon B and Its Effects

3.1 The Poison Gas Hydrocyanic Acid (HCN)

Hydrocyanic acid (HCN) blocks the oxygen supply to the cells, preventing the oxidation processes vital for cell life.45 Due to the brain's great sensitivity to lack of oxygen, a person who has inhaled high concentrations of HCN passes out before the onset of muscle cramps. Thisis the reason why the painless method of HCN execution is used in some states in the USA. A dose of 1 mg HCN per kg body weight is generally considered fatal, whereas non-lethal doses of HCN are quickly eliminated by the body without aftereffects. The bright red color of the blood and of the cadaveric lividities are typical post-mortem findings in HCN-related deaths.46

It is generally advisable to avoid perspiring when dealing with HCN, since damp skin absorbs HCN most readily. Concentrations of 0.6%/vol. are then hazardous, and a few minutes' exposure to 1%/vol. may be fatal.47

Table 2 shows which concentration of HCN in air is rapidly fatal to humans. Naturally these values are not the results of experiments on humans, but projections based, for safety reasons, on the lower safety limit. To demonstrate: a stout person weighing 100 kg (roughly 220 lbs.) must absorb approximately 100 mg HCN for this to be fatal. The respiration rate of a person at rest is about 15 liters of air per minute.48 Given a HCN concentration of 0.02% (approximately 0.24 mg/liter), the victim must breathe in about 416 liters of air before he has absorbed the fatal dose of HCN. At 15 liters per minute, this would take just under half an hour. If he has a robust constitution, he may survive even this exposure time. If, however, one postulates a sensitive person of only 50 kg (approximately 110 lbs.) body weight, whose respiration rate hard work or excitement has increased to 40 liters per minute, then the fatal 208 liters of air will have been breathed in by this person within 5 minutes. These mathematical examples show that safety guidelines are always set in such a way as to protect even the smallest and weakest persons from harm under the worst possible conditions. Also, the specifications given in the literature, 'immediately' and 'rapidly fatal', are so indefinite as to be unsatisfactory.

Table 2: Rapidly Fatal Concentrations of Hydrocyanic Acid in Air




DuPont, Hydrogen Cyanide


rapidly fatal

F. Flury, F. Zernik,


fatal after 5-10 mins. inhalation

Schädliche Gase


immediately fatal

The limiting values look very different when the requirement is that even the most robust among the hypothetical victims must be dead after a few minutes.4950 Naturally the concentration required for this greatly exceeds the values cited in Table 2. It could be determined accurately only by mass screening, which of course is not an option. The only data available here are those that have been collected in the course of executions with HCN that have been performed in the United States. F. A. Leuchter, the expert in this respect, reports that, depending on their constitution, the victims are clinically dead after 4 to 10 minutes of exposure to concentrations of 0.32%, in other words, concentrations more than ten times greater than that cited as 'immediately fatal' in Table 2.5152 From cases of accidental poisoning we also know that even victims who were exposed to great overdoses die only after a surprisingly long period of unconsciousness and subsequent respiratory arrest.5354

3.2 The Fumigant Zyklon B

Insects and especially their eggs are considerably less sensitive to HCN. For the most part it is necessary to expose them for several hours to rather high concentrations (0.3 to 2%) before their death is certain. Right until the end of World War Two, 'Zyklon B', a substance produced and licensed by the company DEGESCH of Frankfurt/Main, was of paramount importance in combating insects and rodents in food storerooms, large-capacity transports (trains, ships), public buildings, barracks, prisoner-of-war camps, concentration camps, and of course for hygiene and for disease control in general in many countries around the world.55 The Zyklon B allegedly used for gassing human beings consisted of lumps of diatomaceous earth(kieselguhr) 1/5" to 2/5" in diameter and soaked with hydrocyanic acid.56 The evaporation of the poison gas from its carrier proceeds rather slowly. The characteristics of HCN evaporating from the carrier substance have been provided by Detia Freyberg GmbH, successor company of DEGESCH, which had been the chief supplier of hydrocyanic acid products until the end of the War. Since the release of the gas depends on temperature and air movement, Detia Freyberg GmbH gives a rule of thumb only, stating that at a temperature of greater than 20C, and given an even distribution of the substance, the carrier releases 80% to 90% of its hydrocyanic acid within 120 minutes; see Graph 1.

At lower temperatures this process slows down at a rate proportional to the decreasing vapor pressure of the HCN. At 20C, therefore, one may expect 50% of the HCN to have evaporated after 40 to 45 minutes. For future reference we shall point out here that at a temperature of 20C a maximum of 10% of the HCN will be released by the carrier substance during the first five, probably even ten minutes.

3.3 Hydrocyanic Acid Residue

3.3.1 Formation

If the hydrocyanic acid from the Zyklon B had bonded with the brickwork only through the process of adsorption, then due to the volatility of hydrocyanic acid (boiling point: 25.7C) it would no longer be possible today to detect any hydrocyanic acid residues in the remaining walls. But even a brief glance into the clothing disinfestation chambers of Buildings 5a and 5b of Birkenau (Ills. 10 and 11) immediately shows a chemist that what he is in fact dealing with is a very common substance: iron berlinate,57 an extremely stable compound formed by the interaction of hydrocyanic acid with iron (ferrous cyanide58).

Iron is an element almost ubiquitous in nature, occurring most commonly as ferric oxide ('rust'). The sand used for concrete and mortar, for example, contains up to 4% iron, while Portland cement contains between 2 to 5% iron.59 In general, the iron - in the form of rust - is the reason why building and similar materials (concrete, mortar, plaster, but loam and clay as well) take on an ochre to red color with time.

So how does the iron berlinate pigment form? First the hydrocyanic acid must accumulate in the brickwork. A cool and therefore damp wall is conducive to this process, since hydrocyanic acid is most readily soluble in water. Accordingly, cool (10C) basement walls with a moisture content some ten times greater than that of warm, dry rooms (20C) also have an approximately ten times greater tendency to become enriched with hydrocyanic acid.60

A damp environment (ie. wall) is also of prime importance for the further steps involved in the chemical conversion into iron berlinate, and in fact all other factors are secondary.61

3.3.2 Stability

The relevant literature consistently describes iron berlinate as an extremely stable pigment. It is insoluble in water,62 resistant to acid rain63 and also surprisingly resistant to sunlight.64 When exposed to weathering, other compounds of hydrocyanic acid will even convert preferentially into iron berlinate.

Three examples will demonstrate the environmentally resistant nature of iron berlinate. First, the outside walls of the Birkenau delousing building, which are stained blue by iron berlinate, have lost none of their color despite 50 years of exposure to the adverse environmental conditions of the industrial region of Upper Silesia (Ill. 10). One might now object that the soluble compounds of hydrocyanic acid in the interior of the walls gradually migrate to the surface, thereby making up for any loss caused by surface erosion and thus only "simulating" long-term stability. However, a long-term test begun in the 1950s to ascertain the environmental resistance of paints has clarified this matter. In this test, many pigments including iron berlinate and iron oxide (ie. 'rust') were tested by applying them only superficially and without protective coating onto a piece of aluminum. After more than 20 years' exposure to the air of a western industrial suburb of London, two pigments exhibited the least (barely noticeable)changes: iron berlinate and iron oxide.65 Even scattered on the ground, iron berlinate remains stable and fixed for decades, as tests in gas works shut down decades ago have shown. In this case the iron berlinate obtained in the city's gas works was used as a herbicide, and is still present today in virtually undiminished quantities.66 Therefore, if iron berlinate has formed on and in a wall, one may expect to find a long-term stability similar to that of the iron oxide from which it formed.

Thus, once noticeable quantities of hydrocyanic acid salts have accumulated in brickwork, and once damp conditions have allowed these to convert into iron berlinate, then no appreciable reduction in hydrocyanic acid content is to be expected after 50 years.

A typical example of the way the media deal with these facts is the report that was issued by the press agency dpa and carried on March 29, 1993 in almost all major daily newspapers and even in some radio news broadcasts, in which it was claimed that, according to one expert, the hydrocyanic acid salts at issue here have a life of only a few months.67 Inquiries at the Stuttgart dpa office responsible for this press release revealed that the editor in charge, Albert Meinecke, had invented this 'expert opinion' out of thin air. Evidently even the dpa press agency does not shy back from issuing false reports.68

4. Fumigation

4.1 Disinfestation of Material Objects

Initially, ordinary rooms were turned into disinfestation facilities for material objects by means of makeshift renovations intended to render the windows and doors as gas-proof as possible and to provide adequate heating and ventilation systems for the rooms. Workers wearing protective masks distributed the Zyklon B evenly on the floor of the room, which had been previously stocked with the items to be fumigated. This procedure was similar to that used at the time for the fumigation of ordinary rooms for purposes of disinfestation.

Later, special facilities were constructed, and outfitted with heating, ventilation and air turnover ('circulation system') facilities. These facilities had a relatively small volume to avoid any dead space, ie. to conserve the rather costly insecticide.

Depending on the facilities and on the kind of vermin to be exterminated, the concentrations of hydrocyanic acid varied from 0.5 to 2%, while the duration of use ranged from less than 2 hours to 10 hours and more.

The delousing chambers of Buildings 5a and 5b in Birkenau had been constructed especially for delousing purposes (with ventilation facilities, heating, aeration chimneys), but their size made them very expensive to operate. They had an area of approximately 130m2 and a volume of at least 400m3. Using the entire room as delousing chamber would require quantities of Zyklon B containing at least 4 to 5 kg (10g/m3) hydrocyanic acid.69 Assuming onefumigation cycle per day, these facilities alone used up 3.6 tons of Zyklon B a year, which corresponds to almost 50% of the entire quantity of Zyklon B delivered to Auschwitz in 1942, where the total amount delivered was 7.5 tons.70

If one considers that Birkenau also had other hydrocyanic acid delousing facilities of various size71 and that inmates' barracks were also fumigated with this insecticide on occasion,72 then it becomes apparent that the quantities of Zyklon B supplied to Auschwitz can be explained by the normal disinfestation operations, which is in fact generally accepted. Pressac, for example, suggests that 95 to 98% of all the Zyklon B supplied to the camp was used for its original purpose, namely to delouse clothing and facilities,73 and he cites findings of the Nuremberg Tribunal in support of this.74 And in fact, relative to the numbers of people in the Auschwitz camp, the quantities of Zyklon B supplied to this camp did not exceed the quantities supplied to other concentration camps where it is known that no exterminations took place. Clearly, the annual quantity supplied to Auschwitz was not even enough, since the typhus epidemics could never be entirely prevented. These considerations show that the disinfestation chambers of Buildings 5a and 5b could not have been used more than once a day.

4.2 The Gassing of Human Beings

4.2.1 Eyewitness Testimony

Where the trustworthiness and credibility of eyewitness testimony are concerned, Pressac himself judges at times quite harshly.75 He attempts to explain the untruths, impossibilities and exaggerations, and in many cases corrects them. For example, Pressac estimates the numbers of victims per gassing as considerably less than do the eyewitnesses, who frequently tell of several thousand victims per cycle.76 Since the number of victims in Auschwitz has been officially reduced from 4 million to approximately 1 million77 since spring 1990, Pressac,drawing primarily on a work by D. Czech,78 has manipulated the claims of the witnesses to reflect these new figures. The following describes the procedures of the alleged homicidal gassings for the individual facilities, as Pressac feels he can reconstruct them following his correction of the eyewitness testimony:

Crematorium I:
500 to 700 victims undress out of doors; the 'gas chamber' (mortuary) is entered via the furnace room; Zyklon B is introduced through input shafts; after the victims have died (some 5 minutes later) the ventilators are turned on; after 15 to 20 minutes of ventilation, the door to the furnace room is opened, the chamber is cleared - sometimes without the use of gas masks on the part of the workers - and the victims are cremated.79 According to Pressac only a few gassings took place here, with a total of less than 10,000 victims.80

Crematoria II & III:
800 to 1,200 victims undress in Mortuary II; they enter Mortuary I (the 'gas chamber'); Zyklon B is introduced via input shafts; after the victims have died (5 minutes) the ventilators are turned on; after approximately 20 minutes the doors are opened; the bodies, covered with blood, vomit and faeces, are hosed off; the bodies are removed, usually without the use of gas masks on the part of the workers; cremation takes place on the ground floor.81 According to Pressac the total number of victims for Crematorium II was some 400,000 (one gassing per day on average), 350,000 for Crematorium III.82

Crematoria IV & V:
Several hundred victims undress out of doors when the weather permitted, otherwise in the Mortuary; victims walk to the 'gas chamber', Zyklon B is thrown in through input hatches, from a ladder; after 15 to 20 minutes the doors are opened; bodies are removed to the mortuary or outside to the burning pits behind Crematorium V, while the workers sometimes do and sometimes do not wear gas masks. According to Pressac, the number of victims is difficult to estimate, presumably approximately 100,000 each.83 The same goes for Bunkers I and II.

Pressac repeatedly mentions concentrations of 12g hydrocyanic acid per m3, or 1% by volume. To support this claim he cites many eyewitness accounts which allege that 4 to 6 1-kg-tins of Zyklon B were emptied into the 'gas chambers' (mortuaries) of Crematoria II and III, which indeed corresponds to a concentration of 1% by volume.84

Another indirect and surely the most conclusive source to determine the quantities of hydrocyanic acid used are the gassing times attested to by the witnesses. These times are consistently a matter of minutes,85 and it is no doubt justified to wonder how the witnesses could possibly know this, since according to the conventional accounts the gas chamber doors had at most one peephole, which SS physicians allegedly availed themselves of to supervise the proceedings. Such witnesses would thus be the only ones not reporting from hearsay. In his 1992 report Professor G. Jagschitz quotes one such qualified witness.86 The Auschwitz camp physician he quotes - Dr. Horst Fischer, who claims to have frequently supervised 'gas chamber executions' himself - reports of gassing times of 2 to 3 minutes, which agrees with the claims of the vast majority of all other witnesses. The former Camp Commandant R. H"á also spoke of 3 to, in exceptional cases, 15 minutes.87 Such a relatively quick execution would require the use of correspondingly large quantities of Zyklon B. The approximate quantity shall be determined in the following.

4.2.2 Criticism of Eyewitness Testimony

In order to assess the degree to which official eyewitness testimony and other accounts of the alleged gassing procedures approximate reality, one must consider the following factors.

1. Is the gassing procedure attested to physically possible, and if so, under what conditions?

2. What time would have been required to ventilate the facilities crowded with bodies? or: were the clean-up operations attested to in the chambers possible? Poisoning or Suffocation?

If one assumes an execution time roughly commensurate to that in American gas chambers (4 to 10 minutes, with approximately 0.3% hydrocyanic acid per m3), then the concentration of 0.3% by volume (3.6 g/m3) must have prevailed in even the hindmost corner of the gas chamber by the end of the execution process at the latest, ie. after 10 minutes. Given a volumeof 413 m3 of the Mortuaries I of Crematoria II and III,88 this corresponds to approximately 1.5 kg of hydrocyanic acid. Since after 5 to 10 minutes the carrier substance has released only 10% of its hydrocyanic acid, then an execution that takes only a few minutes would require the use of 10 times this quantity, ie. at least 15 kg Zyklon B. Of course this would work only on the condition that the hydrocyanic acid that is released would reach the victims right away, which one cannot expect in large and overcrowded rooms. We note, therefore that for the gassing procedures attested to, at least 20 kg of Zyklon B would have had to be used per gassing. The quantities actually attested to by witnesses - 5 to 12 kg - thus correspond at best to the absolute minimum required.

On the basis of detailed calculations, Rudolf has demonstrated that the victims could not possibly have breathed the available air volume of the chamber (400 m3) more than once within the 5 to 10 minutes for which the people locked into the gas chamber allegedly still lived following the introduction of the poison gas.89 This shows that the respiration of the victims could not have reduced the poison gas content of the air significantly below 50% of its hypothetical maximum initial concentration. But since the Zyklon B still contains 90% of its original content after the first 5 to 10 minutes following its distribution, ie. after the death of the victims, the poison gas content of the air will continue to rise. This shows that under the conditions attested to by the witnesses, the victims could have breathed in only a small fraction of the poison used.

The theory occasionally advanced, that the victims had absorbed all of the poison gas,90 would require that only very small quantities of poison gas were used, so that the people could have acted as living filters for the entire duration of outgassing, ie. the time for which the Zyklon B released the poison (2 hours). This means that the doses of poison were too small to kill them, ie. the concentrations were below 0.01% by volume - meaning that less than 500 g of Zyklon B was used. However, Rudolf has pointed out that the victims in the airtight chamber would probably have suffocated after only one hour and without any poison gas, so that even under these conditions the victims' complete absorption of the hydrocyanic acid would have failed due to the slow rate of outgassing of the Zyklon B. Thus, this theory not only contradicts the eyewitness statements with respect to quantities of Zyklon B and speed of execution, but is also technically utterly nonsensical, since if the victims had been killed by suffocation there would have been no need to expend the costly Zyklon B, which was in short enough supply even without being wasted. Speed of Ventilation of the 'Gas Chambers'

The following shall help explain a somewhat complex mathematical concept. Imagine, if you will, that someone is given a bucket containing 100 blue balls. Each time he reaches into the bucket, he puts in one red ball, briefly mixes the contents and, without looking, takes out one randomly selected ball. How often will he have to do this until only 50 blue balls are left in the bucket and all the others are red? Clue: assuming that he has already replaced half of all the blue balls with red ones, what is the chance that in blindly taking out another ball he will take out a red one instead of a blue one, thus defeating his purpose, ie. the intended exchange? This is the sort of problem that arises in ventilating a room, when stale and freshair mix. It means that it takes considerably longer to successfully ventilate a room than is generally assumed. In the case described above, it takes an average of 70 exchanges before half the blue balls have been replaced by red ones.

Calculations have shown that the ventilation facilities in the alleged gas chambers of Crematoria II and III in Birkenau - facilities designed only for ventilation of ordinary mortuaries - could have performed at most 6 to 8 air exchanges per hour.91 Due to the poor system configuration (inlet right above outlet) and the overcrowding of the room with bodies, half an hour would never have sufficed to achieve harmless levels of hydrocyanic acid following a gassing, even if there had been no Zyklon B still releasing gas for hours on end. The eyewitness testimony claiming adequate ventilation after 20 to 30 minutes in Mortuaries I of Crematoria II and III are thus not credible.

This goes all the more for Crematoria IV and V as well as for the sinister Farm Houses (Bunkers) which could have been aired out only via one or two doors. Since they are said to have been equally crammed full of bodies, with the Zyklon B scattered among them, the ventilation time would have been at least one day, the same as was required for ordinary room disinfestations.92 What is more, ordinary rooms would allow for the removal of the Zyklon B, and generally have windows to facilitate ventilation and are not packed with bodies. Eyewitness testimony telling of work performed without the benefit of gas masks in these 'gas chambers' immediately or shortly after the gassing is thus utterly unbelievable. And even if the workers had worn gas masks - carrying the corpses would have been hard work (causing perspiration! cf. Section 3.1), and in these rooms high in hydrocyanic acid any such work would have been extremely risky due to the potential for poisoning via the skin.

4.2.3 Evaluation of Eyewitness Testimony

We will ignore for the moment the problem of the Zyklon B input hatches, which demonstrably were not present in the ceilings of Mortuaries I of Crematoria II and III, and pretend that they were in fact there.

Under the given technical conditions, the executions with Zyklon B as recounted by the witnesses would not under any circumstances have been possible as rapidly as some allege ("a few moments", "immediately"), and "within a few minutes" only if horrendous quantities of Zyklon B had been used - which would have been nonsensical (too costly), dangerous and awkward at once. As well, the walls of the chambers would have been exposed to high concentrations of hydrocyanic acid for long periods of time.

The alleged entering of the 'gas chambers' without safety measures, the hard work performed in them - sometimes done bare-chested and while eating and smoking - and thesimultaneous claim that great quantities of poison gas were used, combine to prove these witnesses guilty of making false statements.

No less false are the times alleged for the ventilation of Mortuaries I (the 'gas chambers') of Crematoria II and III, since the witnesses proceeded on the mistaken assumption that a single air exchange would remove all the poison gas. The delay in the reduction of the remaining concentration of hydrocyanic acid means that in a realistic scenario the required ventilation time would exceed that recounted by the witnesses by a factor of 10 or more (diminished circulation due to the bodies, 'short-circuit' of air, aftergeneration of gas from the Zyklon B). As well, the problem of continued aftergeneration of gas from the remaining Zyklon B, which would have made it impossible to enter the chambers in anything less than 2 hours even with ongoing ventilation, also prove that the witnesses have not told the truth.

The 'gas chambers' of Crematoria IV and V as well as of Bunkers I and II would have had to be designed and built as instruments of mass murder if the mass gassings alleged to have been planned and in progress during the construction of these facilities had really taken place, yet even Pressac admits that the gassing procedures attested to were illogical and ridiculous, and highly dangerous to the Sonderkommandos in particular; in the face of all this, anyone approaching this issue from a scientific and technical perspective cannot but conclude that the alleged murderers went to great lengths to devise the most expensive, complicated, dangerous and problematic way to kill people en masse. For example, the coal-refining BUNA works of I.G. Farben AG, only a few miles away, could easily have provided a cheap supply of coal gas high in carbon monoxide for poisoning, or bottled nitrogen for asphyxiation. But in Auschwitz, of all places, it had to be the expensive, scarce and awkward-to-use Zyklon B that was used, even though it was badly needed everywhere else for pest control. Yet in other alleged extermination camps far distant from the BUNA plant, carbon monoxide is said to have been used to kill people, and to have been generated for this purpose with diesel engines from captured Russian tanks, whose exhaust fumes, however, contain only non-lethal quantities of carbon monoxide when operated in neutral gear (as they would have to have been).93

One must realize that near the alleged 'homicidal gas chambers' in Auschwitz there were highly efficient delousing facilities, with airlocks, heating, powerful ventilators etc., and all of them had been constructed prior to the alleged 'homicidal gas chambers'. Further, at the time of construction of these alleged 'gas chambers' the technology for fumigating material objects had advanced greatly and the production of such facilities was in full swing. From everyday practical experience in delousing, the difference in time and material (Zyklon B) requirements between fumigations with and without air circulation will have been well-known. One might therefore expect the application of at least similar technological standards for the alleged homicidal gassing facilities, but clearly nothing even remotely approaching such standards was in fact used.

For propagandistic reasons it would have been the obvious thing to present such facilities as the delousing chambers of Buildings 5a and 5b as homicidal gas chambers. But no attempts were ever made to do so, and there are also no eyewitness statements alleging such a use of these rooms. Further, the doors of the delousing room of Building 5b - both as shown on the construction plans and as they actually exist there today - open inward, which means that in any mass gassing the bodies lying by the doors would have kept these from being opened afterwards. These rooms, therefore, were certainly never used as 'execution gas chambers'.

We will just comment briefly on the widely-held belief that the poison gas entered the alleged 'execution gas chambers' via showerheads, particularly since there are also some instances of eyewitness testimony to this effect. In 'Zyklon B' the active substance hydrocyanicacid is adsorbed on the solid carrier substance, diatomaceous earth, and is released only gradually. Since the poison is neither a liquid nor a gas under pressure, the hydrocyanic acid from this product could never have been channelled through narrow water pipes and showerheads. Any showers, real or fake, could thus only have served to deceive the victims, but never to introduce the poison gas. Even with all the arguing and dissension that characterizes the overall subject, there is a general consensus on this particular point.

5. Valuation of Chemical Analyses

5.1 The Samples

Before taking sample material from the Auschwitz 'gas chambers' one ought to verify that the material is in fact original, and to investigate its post-War history. The foundations and foundation walls of Crematoria IV and V visible today were constructed after the War by the Museum Administration.94 Since the origin of the material used is uncertain, it makes no sense to take samples here. By incredible good luck, however, the 'gas chamber' (Mortuary I) of Crematorium II has largely survived intact. Aside from the holes in the ceiling, the building materials are not only indisputably original and unaltered, but are also largely protected from weathering by the ceiling. Further, according to Pressac, this room was allegedly the central site, as it were, of the mass murder. This is where most of the gassings are said to have occurred. Taking samples here is thus appropriate not only by virtue of the original nature and the history of the material, but also due to the results which an analysis may be expected to return. If iron berlinate residue is to be expected in 'homicidal gas chambers', then here is where one should strike paydirt. To date there have been three samplings worth mentioning:95 by Leuchter,1 Rudolf16 and Ball.96 The reader is referred to these sources for details on sample removal and characterization.

5.2 Results of the Analyses

Table 3: Cyanide Concentrations in the Walls of 'Gas Chambers' and Delousing Chambers of Auschwitz & Birkenau0.3 0.1Concentrations are in mg of cyanide (CN-) per kg of building material (brick, mortar, concrete, plaster). Cyanide values of less than 10 mg/kg are uncertain, samples returning values of less than 1-2 mg are considered cyanide-free.

Table 3 summarizes the most important results of the analyses of material samples for cyanide content (cyanides = hydrocyanic acid compounds). The first part of the Table reflects samples taken from alleged 'gas chambers'. The second section pertains to samples from delousing chambers. The third shows the results of analyses of samples relating neither to 'gas chambers' nor to delousing chambers. This would actually also be the proper category for all samples taken from the reconstructed foundations and foundation walls of Crematoria IV and V as well as from the Farm Houses ('Bunkers'), whose building materials are of unknown origin. On the basis of control samples Rudolf has shown that due to the nature of the sample material, concentrations of less than 10 mg/kg are unreliable and hence must be considered null.97 One can thus observe that the alleged 'gas chambers' exhibit the same concentrationsof hydrocyanic acid residue as any building selected at random - namely, none that are great enough to be reliably interpreted. In contrast, the residual quantities in the delousing barracks range from 1,000 to 10,000 mg/kg, meaning that 0.1 to 1% of the brickwork in fact consists of cyanides. These findings are not only not questioned by the Director of the Auschwitz Museum, but are in fact expressly confirmed. Since the results are no longer subject to doubt, we would urge that no further samples be removed without official sanction, lest these facilities suffer the same fate as did the Berlin Wall.

5.3 Interpreting the Results

In view of these perfectly clear results and of the fact that they cannot be explained away by any disintegration processes of iron berlinate, which remains stable for great periods of time, the question which needs to be addressed is how these results are to be interpreted correctly.

The first attempt at explanation which the advocates of prevailing opinion advanced was the consideration that perhaps the murders had been committed by means of a different poison gas. Since such an explanation would have required jettisoning all the eyewitness testimony, this approach was rejected.

Bailer has claimed that no iron berlinate could form in brickwork merely as consequence of hydrocyanic acid fumigation,12 which has been sufficiently disproved.98 He explains the blue color of the delousing chamber walls as paint that was applied during or after the War. However, this second escape attempt fails to explain

  • why the blue discoloration on the inside of the walls of delousing building 5a and on the bricks of the outside walls of both buildings is irregular and patchy (unless the painters painted the inside as well as the outside by throwing brushes and other paint-bearing objects at the walls instead of painting normally);
  • why the inside dividing walls that were added to Building 5a after this facility was discontinued as hydrocyanic acid fumigation center are white, and free of hydrocyanic acid compounds (unless someone decreed that these walls should not be 'painted' to match the splotchy appearance of the other walls);
  • why the southern dividing wall of Building 5a, which is located entirely within the building, exhibits only a pale blue color despite a high cyanide content, and why the plaster of Building 5b, while containing similar concentrations of cyanide, is even plain white (unless what was used to paint these walls was not Prussian Blue, ie. iron berlinate, but Cyanide White - which has yet to be invented);
  • why the deeper, subsurface(!) layers of the walls of the delousing chamber in Building 5b are a greenish blue, and saturated with cyanide compounds (unless for some inexplicable reason the mortar used for these walls was dyed blue before being used).

The fact is that the walls of the delousing buildings are saturated through and through with hydrocyanic acid compounds, of which only a part becomes visible as iron berlinate, predominantly in damp areas.

The third attempt at explaining the paradox was somewhat more complicated. As mentioned before, humans are more sensitive to HCN than are insects. Holocaust advocates now argue that the execution gassings were performed using only very little hydrocyanic acid, and that they did not take nearly as long as the delousing fumigations of material objects, which often took hours.99 These two factors - low concentrations of HCN and shorter fumigation times - resulted in a lack of residue formation.8,10,12 This argument may be tested by some rough calculations:

  • First, as mentioned before, one must note that the homicidal gassings attested to in Crematorium II as well as the fumigations of material objects in Buildings 5a/b took place once a day on average, and that the time for which the facilities were in use is similar (approximately 1.5 years for Building 5a and Crematorium II).
  • The unheated basements ('gas chambers') of Crematoria II and III had damp walls, unlike the heated delousing rooms on the first floor. As set out previously, the tendency of damp walls to accumulate hydrocyanic acid is about ten times as great as that of dry walls such as those in the delousing chambers.
  • Even in the event that the average time for which the gas was in contact with the walls of the delousing chamber had been 12 hours a day, but only 12 minutes a day (ie. one-sixtieth of the time) for the walls of the alleged execution gas chambers, then if all other conditions remained equal, the HCN concentration in the walls of the 'execution gas chambers' would level off at about one-tenth of the concentration to be found in the walls of the delousing chambers. The reason for this is that walls which are constantly exposedto the gas contain concentrations near the saturation point, and can hardly absorb any more HCN, whereas walls which are exposed to the gas only infrequently and for brief periods of time absorb great quantities during this time and release it only gradually afterwards. In the above scenario, therefore, the concentration of HCN in the 'gas chamber walls' would be greater by a factor of 6 than would be expected based on the incorrect assumption of a linear increase of the concentration of HCN in the walls, given the average daily exposure time. The greater the difference between the fumigation times in the delousing facilities and the hypothetical execution gas chambers, the greater this "sponge factor" becomes.100
  • To explain the differences in cyanide content of 'gas chamber' and delousing chamber walls (a factor of 100 to 1,000), then for the homicidal gassings the product of the concentration and fumigation-time and "sponge" factors must have been lower by at least a factor of 1,000 to 10,000 in order to make up for the greater absorptivity of the damp basement walls. Therefore, even if only a tenth of the quantity of HCN normally used for delousing had been used for the homicidal gassings, the duration of the gassing process could nevertheless not have exceeded one-sixhundredth to one-sixthousandth of the time allowed for delousing. Even if the time for delousing is generously set at 12 hours, this means that the execution gassings could have taken from just over 0.1, to 1 minute at most. And what is more, no residual poison gas could have remained in the chamber after this time, in other words, the facilities would also have had to be fully aired out within this time.

If one recalls our previous findings regarding the quantities allegedly used (similar to those for delousing fumigations) and the problems of ventilation, which would have taken hours, if not days, then any comment is superfluous. The results of the chemical analyses can therefore not be explained in this way.

G. Wellers was the first to advance the theory that the victims had absorbed all the hydrocyanic acid by respiration.13 This theory has already been clearly refuted in Section

A further attempt at explanation hinges on those eyewitness statements which report that the bodies were hosed down after the gassings.101 It would thus be possible that the walls were also hosed down in the process, and cleansed of the HCN. We note:

  • At least one hour goes by until the chamber has been ventilated.
  • According to witnesses, clearing the chamber took several more hours.
  • This means that the HCN could have diffused into the brickwork unhindered for many hours, particularly towards the rear of the chamber.
  • Hosing down would have rinsed off only the hydrocyanic acid clinging to the surface. An oxidizing additive would have been necessary for any deeper cleansing action.
  • With this scenario one should expect a concentration gradient in the chamber. Viewed from the doorway, the concentration of HCN would increase from front to rear and from the floor to the ceiling.
  • The cyanide content on or very near the ceiling in the hindmost corner of the chamber should be undiminished.

The latter two points, however, are demonstrably not the case. There are no significant amounts of cyanide to be found anywhere! One must also consider that the additionalmoistening of the chamber walls would have dramatically increased their absorption of hydrocyanic acid during subsequent gassings, and would have greatly accelerated the conversion into the stable compound iron berlinate. To conduct HCN fumigations in such wet, cold basement rooms with untiled floors and walls would have been madness.

The last explanatory attempt of which we are aware is the claim that today's ruin of the alleged gas chamber is entirely flooded by ground water for long periods of time and especially in spring, so that the cyanides were completely washed away in the first years after the War. We note:

  • The corrosive effect of running water on the components of concrete-based brickwork is generally overestimated by far. While the brickwork is indeed damaged and destroyed over time, its composition hardly changes at all.102 Even readily soluble components persist for decades. Any home owner who has ever tried to remove a supposedly soluble stain from his house wall has realized this.
  • The ground water in the mortuary of Birkenau would be standing (not running) water, meaning that any washing-out effect would be very minor indeed.
  • By virtue of the drainage system of the Birkenau camp, which is functional to this day, the normal ground water level in the ruin of Crematorium II never rises above 3 ft. below ground level, since there are relatively deep drainage ditches right nearby.
  • In fact the ground water does not rise above the rubble lying on the floor of Mortuary I of Crematorium II even during the spring thaw. The upper areas of the walls and the ceiling itself are therefore never under water.
  • This theory thus fails to explain why no cyanides can be found even in these spots that are always out of reach of the ground water.

5.4 The Limits of the Chemical Method

The latest trend in the official school of thought is towards altering various factors relating to the homicidal gassings, even if this is in crass contradiction to the eyewitness testimony or the technical facts.

Only a few years ago it was still the norm to speak of daily, even of continual gassings,103 but the recent, drastic reductions in the numbers of victims, down to at most 630,000 or even only 470,000 to 550,000 gassing victims,104 have resulted in the revised assumption of considerably fewer gassings per 'gas chamber' - and in fact some estimates have been reduced to only a few ten-thousand victims per chamber.105

Further, there is a trend, demonstrated above, to noticeably reduce the quantities of hydrocyanic acid allegedly used, contrary to what witnesses claim.

But there are also physical factors that may influence the interpretation of the findings. For example, the 1926 patent for Zyklon B claims that the product releases practically all its hydrocyanic acid content within ten minutes.106 Recent findings not yet published have shownthat in about 1930, on the initiative of the Materials Testing Lab in Berlin, DEGESCH replaced the carrier substance with one high in gypsum, since it had been found that pure diatomaceous earth already released its hydrocyanic acid content in the can, after only a few days. Due to this modification of the carrier, the evaporation time required by the HCN increased sharply in the early 1930s.107 According to a publication by G. Peters, the Zyklon B expert with DEGESCH, in the early 1930s Zyklon B released 50% of its HCN in about 30 minutes.108 Therefore it is likely that the substance used in Auschwitz had an evaporation time roughly between the values given in 1933 by G. Peters and in 1991 by the firm Detia Freyberg, in other words, between 30 and 50 minutes.109

And finally, Mattogno points out that the delousing chambers may also have been hosed down with water after each disinfestation process, thus rendering these rooms no less damp than the mortuaries of Crematoria II and III.110 Since this would inevitably have resulted in a gradient of cyanide concentration in the walls, decreasing from the damp floor towards the dry ceiling, this theory is open to empirical verification.

Taking all these hypothetically conceivable marginal requirements into consideration, it would be possible to arrive at a point where the duration for which the hydrocyanic acid was in contact with the cool and damp walls of Mortuaries I of Crematoria II and III was in fact so short that a definite prediction of the results yielded by chemical analyses is no longer possible.

By this process the historians of the Establishment in fact declare the eyewitness statements regarding the number of victims and the execution conditions to be unbelievable, and they ignore the circumstance that Crematoria II and III had no holes through which the Zyklon B could have been introduced. But what do most historians care about factual arguments - they evidently have their ironclad opinion, and that's all there is to it.

6. Conclusions for Auschwitz

Examination of the construction of the facilities allegedly used for the mass gassings has shown that the alleged main gas chambers of Auschwitz - the mortuary of the Main Camp crematorium, and the Mortuaries I (the 'gas chambers') of Crematoria II and III - had no contrivances for the introduction of the poison gas substance. The holes visible in the ceilings today were added after the War. If these findings remain unrefuted, this alone renders any mass gassings, as these have been attested to, entirely impossible.

The examination of the formation and long-term stability of hydrocyanic acid residue in the walls of the facilities in question ('gas chambers' and delousing chambers for material objects), as well as the interpretation of the results of analysis of brick samples from these facilities in Auschwitz, have shown:

1. Hydrocyanic acid which reacts to form iron berlinate in the brick walls etc. remains stable for many centuries. Its disintegration requires a time frame similar to that of the brick itself. Therefore, cyanide residue ought still to be present in virtually undiminished quantities today, regardless of weathering effects. The outside walls of the delousing buildings BW5a/b in Birkenau, which are still blue on the outer surface today, as well as high in cyanide content, serve to prove this.

2. Under such conditions as would actually be possible, the attested-to mass execution gassings with hydrocyanic acid would result in the rooms in question exhibiting cyanide residue on the same scale as is the case in the disinfestation chambers for material objects, including the resultant blue discoloration of the walls.

3. In fact, however, the alleged 'gas chambers' exhibit only insignificant traces of cyanide residue, on the same order of magnitude as may be found in any other building.

Therefore, it is our conviction that the only conclusion which can explain all factors involved is that in the facilities alleged, no mass gassings with Zyklon B can have occurred under the conditions attested to.

7. The Gas Chambers of Majdanek111

7.1 Constructional and Alleged Operational Characteristics

Ill. 13: Floor plan of Bath and Disinfection II of the concentration camp Lublin-Majdanek.

The alleged gas chambers of the concentration camp Lublin-Majdanek have been discussed by F. A. Leuchter. Illustration 13 shows a floor plan of the building "Bath and Disinfection II" of this camp,112 as it was accepted by the Düsseldorf Jury Court in the Majdanek Trial.113 Three gas chambers intended for execution purposes were allegedly located in the far-right wing of the building, as well as another one adjacent to the bath room; it is marked on the plan as 'A'. A further gas chamber is said to have been in the crematorium, but we shall confine ourselves here to those in the building "Bath and Disinfection II".

These facilities are brick constructs, with a concrete ceiling at a height of approximately 6 ft. Metal pipes lead from Room E and open into Rooms B and C; there is also a crudely barred 10"x6" opening into Room C. In a remote corner Room A has a wooden-framed hole in the ceiling, while Room B has two ceiling holes and Rooms C and D have one each. Outside Rooms A and B there is a boiler room each, where hot air (250F) was generated and blown into the chambers. According to J. Marszalek, these facilities were officially constructed as delousing chambers.114

Marszalek repeats the generally held opinion that carbon monoxide (CO) in pressure cylinders was piped from Room E through the metal pipes and into Rooms B and C to gas the people there. Zyklon B was thrown in through the openings in the ceilings to kill the victims. The hot air from the boiler rooms itself allegedly sufficed to cause the death of the victims,while also speeding up the action of the hydrocyanic acid.115 According to statements by witnesses, the Zyklon B supplied to the Lublin camp (approximately 7.7 tons116) was used entirely for killing purposes,117 and the killing process was identical to that of Auschwitz. The number of victims alleged for Majdanek varies between 2 million and less than 100,000.118

7.2 Critique of These Accounts

  • It seems implausible that a room where people were to be killed against their will would be outfitted with a window (Room A). The victims would have smashed it to escape.
  • It is clearly apparent that the holes in the ceilings of Rooms B, C and D were forcibly broken through later, and the reinforcing iron bars were not even properly removed (cf. Ill. 14).
  • Two facts prove that the ceiling hole in Room A was added after the War: the damage done to the concrete by the breach was plastered over, but unlike the concrete, which has been visibly discolored a patchy blue by the accumulation of cyanide, the plaster is white - see Illustration 15. Further, the wood of the casing shows no traces of iron berlinate, whereas the wooden frame of the window in Room C is patchy-blue in places. Furthermore, for killing purposes the hole would have been located near the center of the room, not in a corner.
  • Even if these holes had been present during the War, they could not have been sealed. Escaping poison gas would have endangered anyone in the vicinity.
  • In piping the poisonous CO gas from Room E into Room C, the poison gas would have entered Room E through the unsealed opening (Illustration 16), endangering the operator of the gas cylinder.
  • Like all pressure cylinders, the allegedly original carbon monoxide cylinder on display in Room E is impressed with a label: CO2 - harmless carbon dioxide. In other words, this is a hoax.
  • Carbon monoxide gas in pressure cylinders is very expensive. According to information provided by the company Messer Griesheim, bottled CO (DM 250.00 for 6 kg CO) costs roughly one hundred times as much today as gas from the mains does. At the time in question the difference was perhaps even greater, since town gas was relatively cheaper and the production of gas in pressure cylinders relatively more expensive than today. While individual killings with bottled CO are perhaps not inconceivable, exhaust gas from internal combustion engines, or producer gas, would no doubt have been the preferred substance for mass killings.119
  • J. Marszalek recounts the Lublin Town Council's unsuccessful attempt to prevent the Majdanek Camp Administration from connecting the concentration camp to the town gas mains of Lublin.120 Thus, the camp had access to the highly toxic and CO-rich town gas, at a price of only a few pfennig per cubic meter. Under these conditions, mass gassings with costly bottled CO are not believable.
  • The installation of hot-air blowers which allegedly blew hot air of 250F into the chambers indicates that Rooms A and B were hot-air delousing chambers.121 Nobody would outfit an execution gas chamber with CO ducts for murder with carbon monoxide and hot-air blowers for murder with hot air and Zyklon B input holes for murder with hydrocyanic acid, to inflict upon his victims three kinds of death at once.
  • There were in fact some delousing methods where the gas was introduced via pressure cylinders (eg. SO2122). What is more, in a delousing chamber a window would not have been a problem.
  • The doors of the alleged 'gas chambers' in Majdanek open inwards. If there had been attempts to kill people with poison gas in these rooms, these people would have died primarily by the doors, since suffocating persons tend to head for doors and windows. Clearing the chamber would have been next to impossible, as the bodies would have blocked the doors from inside.
  • Finally, one must ask what might be the explanation for the high levels of cyanide present in the walls of Rooms A and B (Ill. 12), which are also readily apparent visually, from the blue staining we have already encountered in the delousing chambers of Birkenau. There are two possible explanations:

    a) The residue is the result of the few execution gassings with Zyklon B which are postulated for these chambers today. If this is the case, then the only explanation for the absence of any such residue in Auschwitz would be that no gassings took place there. All eyewitness testimony telling of homicidal gassings in these rooms in Auschwitz would therefore be false. This begs the question why the identical eyewitness testimony regarding Majdanek should then be true.
    b) The residue is the result of disinfestations with Zyklon B. Therefore these rooms are not execution gas chambers for human beings, but rather delousing chambers. In other words, the witnesses for Majdanek did not tell the truth. This in turn begs the reciprocal question, why the witnesses should then have told the truth for Auschwitz.

8. Conclusions for Majdanek and Auschwitz

If the execution gas chambers of Majdanek existed, then those of Auschwitz cannot have existed, for the iron berlinate which one finds in Majdanek is absent in Auschwitz. But if there were no homicidal gas chambers in Auschwitz, in other words if all the eyewitness testimony affirming them is false, then who or what is there to prove the homicidal gas chambers of Majdanek?

And vice versa! If the execution gas chambers of Auschwitz existed, then those of Majdanek cannot have existed, for the iron berlinate which one finds in Majdanek could then only be explained by delousing chambers. But if there were no homicidal gas chambers in Auschwitz, in other words if all the eyewitness testimony affirming them is false, then what is there to prove the homicidal gas chambers of Auschwitz?

Technical and toxicological impossibility and the chemical and engineering evidence are not the only things to suggest that the witnesses have not told the truth about Auschwitz or about Majdanek. Logic as well shows that the witnesses have become hopelessly entangled in their own conflicting claims, and it seems as though the contradictory findings for Auschwitzand Majdanek will themselves ultimately take the witness tales of homicidal gassings ad absurdum.

1 F. A. Leuchter, An Engineering Report on the Alleged Execution Gas Chambers at Auschwitz, Birkenau and Majdanek, Poland, Toronto: Samisdat Publishers Ltd., 1988, 195 pp.; German ed.: Der erste Leuchter-Report, ibid., 1988; British ed.: The Leuchter Report, London: Focal Point Publications, 1989, 67 pp.

2 Verdict of the Frankfurt Auschwitz Trial, Ref. 50/4 Ks 2/63; cf. I. Sagel-Grande, H. H. Fuchs, C. F. Rüter (eds.), Justiz und NS-Verbrechen, v. XXI, Amsterdam: University Press, 1979, p. 434.

3 District Court Düsseldorf, Ref. 8 Ks 1/75.

4 Re. the trials cf. R. Faurisson, Journal of Historical Review (JHR) 8(4) (1988): 417-431. The law under which E. Zündel was charged was quashed by the Supreme Court of Canada in spring 1993 as being in violation of human rights. The reason: no-one other than the accused himself could possibly know whether the accused had knowingly told untruths (in other words, had lied or denied). Everyone must be granted the right to be wrong. This antediluvian law required the Court to be able to read minds, and was an elastic, ambiguous paragraph posing a dire threat to the free expression of opinion. The Court rejected subsequent motions to re-charge Zündel under other paragraphs. Zündel was thus acquitted of all charges.

5 F. Finke, Deutschland in Geschichte und Gegenwart (DGG) 37(3) (1989): 1-4.

6 J.-C. Pressac, Jour J, December 12, 1988, pp. I-X; also in: S. Z. Shapiro (ed.), Truth Prevails: Demolishing Holocaust Denial: The End of the Leuchter Report, New York: Beate Klarsfeld Foundation, 1990.

7 J.-C. Pressac, Auschwitz: Technique and Operation of the Gas Chambers, New York: Beate Klarsfeld Foundation, 1989.

8 H. Auerbach, Institut für Zeitgeschichte, letter to the Bundesprüfstelle, Munich, Oct. 30, 1989; H. Auerbach, November 1989, published resp. in: U. Walendy, Historische Tatsachen (HT) No. 42, Vlotho: Verlag für Volkstum und Zeitgeschichtsforschung, 1990, pp. 32 and 34.

9 J. Markiewicz, W. Gubala, J. Labedz, B. Trzcinska, Gutachten, Prof. Dr. Jan Sehn Institute for Court Expert Reports, Dep't. of Forensic Toxicology, Cracow, Sept. 24, 1990; published without the sampling protocol in: DGG 39(2) (1991): 18f.; also: J. Markiewicz, W. Gubala, J. Labedz, Z Zagadnien Nauk Sadowych, Z. XXX (1994): 17-27; and the critique: G. Rudolf, DGG 43(1) (1995): 22-26; J. Markiewicz, W. Gubala, J. Labedz, G. Rudolf: correspondence, in: Sleipnir (Verlag der Freunde, Postfach 35 02 64, D-10211 Berlin) 1(3) (1995): 29-33.

10 W. Wegner, in: U. Backes, E. Jesse, R. Zitelmann (eds.), Die Schatten der Vergangenheit, Frankfurt/Main: Propyläen, 1990, pp. 450ff.

11 Critiques of Jean-Claude Pressac, op. cit. (Note 7), by: M. Weber, JHR 10(2) (1990): 231-237; C. Mattogno, JHR 10(4) (1990): 461-485; R. Faurisson, Revue d'Histoire Révisionniste 3 (1990): 65-154; Eng.: JHR 11(1) (1991): 25-66; JHR 11(2) (1991): 133-175; E. Aynat, JHR 11(2) (1991): 177-206; A. R. Butz, JHR 13(3) (1993): 23-37; W. Häberle, DGG 39(2) (1991): 9-13; W. Schuster, ibid., pp. 13-17; U. Walendy, HT No. 50, Vlotho: Verlag für Volkstum und Zeitgeschichtsforschung, 1991; Walendy, HT No. 52, ibid., 1992; Walendy, HT No. 60, ibid., 1993.

12 J. Bailer, in: Dokumentationszentrum des "sterreichischen Widerstandes, Bundesministerium für Unterricht und Kultur (ed.), Amoklauf gegen die Wirklichkeit, Vienna, 1991, pp. 47-52.

13 G. Wellers, Dachauer Hefte 7(7) (1991): 230.

14 M. Weber, JHR 12(4) (1992-93): 421ff.; P. Grubach, ibid., pp. 445ff.

15 E. Gauss, DGG 41(2) (1993): 16; Gauss, Vorlesungen über Zeitgeschichte, Tübingen: Grabert, 1993.

16 R. Kammerer, A. Solms, Das Rudolf-Gutachten, London: Cromwell, 1993.

17 Aside from S. Z. Shapiro (ed.), op. cit. (Note 6), other mostly polemical accounts of Revisionist arguments have been published by the Establishment: D. Lipstadt, Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory, New York: Free Press, 1993; K. S. Stern, Holocaust Denial, New York: American Jewish Committee, 1993; A. M. Schwartz, Hitler's Apologists: The Antisemitic Propaganda of Holocaust 'Revisionism', New York: The Anti-Defamation-League, 1993; re. the latter three titles, cf. T. J. O'Keefe, JHR 13(6) (1993): 28-36.

18 J.-C. Pressac, Les Crématoires d'Auschwitz, la Machinerie du meurtre de masse, Paris: CNRS, 1993; German: Die Krematorien von Auschwitz: Die Technik des Massenmordes, Munich: Piper, 1994.

19 Critiques of Pressac, op. cit. (Note 18): A.N.E.C., R. Faurisson, S. Thion, P. Costa, Nouvelle Vision 31 (1993): 11-79; cf. R. Faurisson, JHR 14(1) (1994): 23f.; R. Faurisson, "Réponse ... Jean-Claude Pressac", R.H.R., BoOEte Postale 122, 92704 Colombes Cedex, 1994; H. Verbeke (ed.), Auschwitz: Nackte Fakten, Vrij Historisch Onderzoek, Postbus 60, B-2600 Berchem 2, 1995.

20 Dr. J. Bailer, in: B. Bailer-Galanda, W. Benz, W. Neugebauer (eds.), Wahrheit und Auschwitzlüge, Vienna: Deuticke, 1995, pp. 111-118; cf. G. Rudolf, Zur Kritik an "Wahrheit und Auschwitzlüge", in: Vrij Historisch Onderzoek (ed.), Standpunkte eines Aufrechten, B-2600 Berchem 2, 1996.

6 Re. critique of J. Bailer (Note 20), cf. G. Rudolf, in: Vrij Historisch Onderzoek (ed.), Zur Kritik an >Wahrheit und Auschwitzlüge<, Postbus 60, D-2600 Berchem, 1996.

7 cf. J.-C. Pressac, op. cit. (Notes 7 & 18), R. Faurisson (Note 11), H. Verbeke (Note 19), as well as the chapter by C. Mattogno and F. Deana, this volume.

8 Blueprints of Buildings 5a/b: J.-C. Pressac, op. cit. (Note 7), pp. 55-8; photos of the exterior, pp. 59f.; in 1943 Building 5a was renovated to serve as hot-air delousing facility. Cf. E. Gauss, Vorlesungen, op. cit. (Note 15), pp. 124f.

9 J.-C. Pressac, op. cit. (Note 7), p. 53.

10 ibid., p. 123.

11 ibid., pp. 126-128; Pressac, op. cit. (Note 18), p. 2.

12 ibid., pp. 34f.

13 First discussed by D. Felderer, JHR 1(3) (1980): 255-266.

14 J.-C. Pressac, op. cit. (Note 7), pp. 151ff.

15 ibid., pp. 131f.

16 ibid., p. 156.

17 J.-C. Pressac, op. cit. (Note 18), p. 39.

18 J.-C. Pressac, op. cit. (Note 7), p. 159.

19 ibid., p. 133; J.-C. Pressac, op. cit. (Note 18), p. 34.

20 F. Piper, in an interview with D. Cole, B. Smith, Visalia, CA, 1992; cf. JHR 14(2) (1993): 11ff.

21 J.-C. Pressac, op. cit. (Note 18), pp. 18, 60f.

22 ibid., p. 18. Broad's report has been published in, for ex., B. Naumann, Auschwitz, Frankfurt/Main: Athenäum, 1968, pp. 200ff.

23 J.-C. Pressac, op. cit. (Note 7), pp. 126ff.

24 For a comparison, consider the construction of modern crematoria: H.-K. Boehlke, Friedhofsbauten, Munich: Callwey Verlag, 1974, p. 117; E. Neufert, Bauentwurfslehre, Frankfurt: Ullstein Fachverlag, 1962, pp. 423f.

25 cf. also Lüftl's critique of the Jagschitz Report in the chapter by W. Rademacher, this volume.

26 J.-C. Pressac, op. cit. (Note 7), pp. 319-329. Building plans for Crematoria II and III.

27 For the most graphic description, cf. the testimony of Schultze, engineer with the firm Topf & S"hne, in a KGB interrogation; cf. G. Fleming in The New York Times, July 18, 1993, p. E19; Der Spiegel 40/1993, p. 154.

28 Oddly enough, in the basement of Crematorium II, in the vestibule leading to the mortuaries, one finds a good number of gardening tools (shovels, spades etc.) partly covered by rubble. One would expect that in an orderly evacuation and subsequent demolition of the building the Germans would have taken these tools with them.

29 J.-C. Pressac, op. cit. (Note 7), pp. 365f.

30 ibid., p. 354. It is significant that in his new book, op. cit. (Note 18), Pressac simply ignores the problem of the Zyklon B input hatches and the indispensable, but missing, holes in the concrete ceiling.

31 J.-C. Pressac, op. cit. (Note 7), pp. 338f. In his new book, op. cit. (Note 18), Pressac reproduces a large photo showing an outside view of the ceiling of Mortuary I of Crematorium II, taken in winter 1943 (Document 27) - without any trace of an input hole.

47 Kurier, Aug. 30, 1992, p. 20: "Wenn Felsen fallen".

32 J.-C. Pressac, op. cit. (Note 7), p. 436.

49 We would like to thank Carlo Mattogno for providing this photo.

33 Currently funds are being raised for intended conservation work to be performed on the buildings of the concentration camp Auschwitz: "Neue Inschrift im KZ Auschwitz, 60 Millionen für die Erhaltung", Allgemeine Jüdische Wochenzeitung, June 6, 1992, p. 1. If this project should really be carried out, it would represent a destruction of evidence before any extensive international forensic investigations of the site have ever been carried out.

34 For blueprints of these facilities, see E. Gauss, Vorlesungen, op. cit. (Note 15), p. 120.

35 J.-C. Pressac, op. cit. (Note 7), pp. 379ff., section about Crematoria IV and V.

36 J.-C. Pressac, op. cit. (Note 18), pp. 89f.

37 J. C. Ball, Air Photo Evidence, Delta, B.C., Canada: Ball Resource Services Ltd., 1992, pp. 69ff.

38 J.-C. Pressac, op. cit. (Note 18), pp. 67, 89.

39 J.-C. Pressac, op. cit. (Note 7), p. 386.

40 Alleged ruins of the foundations of Farm House II are the only traces remaining today, J.-C. Pressac, op. cit. (Note 7), p. 176.

41 ibid., pp. 161ff.

42 See the chapter by J. C. Ball, this volume.

43 J.-C. Pressac, op. cit. (Note 18), pp. 41f.

44 G. Peters, E. Wüstinger, "Entlausung mit Zyklon Blausäure in Kreislauf-Begasungsanlagen", Zeitschrift für hygienische Zoologie und Schädlingsbekämpfung 10/11 (1941).

45 More specifically: the cyanide. To avoid confusing the reader with specialized terminology we shall use the term "hydrocyanic acid" wherever possible in the following, and ask the experts to kindly pardon the generalization.

46 W. Wirth, C. Gloxhuber, Toxikologie, Stuttgart: Georg Thieme Verlag, 1985, pp. 159f.; W. Forth, D. Henschler, W. Rummel, Allgemeine und spezielle Pharmakologie und Toxikologie, Mannheim: Wissenschaftsverlag, 1987, pp. 751f.; S. Moeschlin, Klinik und Therapie der Vergiftung, Stuttgart: Georg Thieme Verlag, 1986, p. 300; H.-H. Wellh"ner, Allgemeine und systematische Pharmakologie und Toxikologie, Berlin: Springer Verlag, 1988, pp. 445f.

47 F. Flury, F. Zernik, Schädliche Gase, Dämpfe, Nebel, Rauch- und Staubarten, Berlin, 1931, p. 405.

48 Robert F. Schmidt, Biomaschine Mensch, Munich: Piper, 1979, p. 124.


50 Known among toxicologists as the lethal dose for 100% of the victims, LD100.


52 F. A. Leuchter, Boston, April 20, 1992 fax message to H. Herrmann, as well as verbal communication by Mr. Leuchter.


54 M. Daunderer, op. cit. (Note ), p. 15.

55 Aside from Peters, op. cit. (Note ), cf. also F. Puntigam, H. Breymesser, E. Bernfus, Blausäuregaskammern zur Fleckfieberabwehr, Berlin: Sonderver"ffentlichung des Reichsarbeitsblattes, 1943, pp. 35ff.; O. Hecht, "Blausäuredurchgasungen zur Schädlingsbekämpfung", Die Naturwissenschaften 16(2) (1928): 17-23; G. Peters, Blausäure zur Schädlingsbekämpfung, Stuttgart: Ferdinand Enke Verlag, 1933; G. Peters, W. Ganter, "Zur Frage der Abt"tung des Kornkäfers mit Blausäure", Zeitschrift für angewandte Entomologie 21(4) (1935): 547-559; F. E. Haag, Lagerhygiene, Taschenbuch des Truppenarztes, v. VI, Munich: F. Lehmanns Verlag, 1943; W. D"tzer, "Entkeimung, Entwesung und Entseuchung", in: J. Mrugowsky (ed.), Arbeitsanweisungen für Klinik und Laboratorium des Hygiene-Instituts der Waffen-SS, issue 3, Berlin: Urban & Schwarzenberg, 1944; F. Puntigam, "Die Durchgangslager der Arbeitseinsatzverwaltung als Einrichtungen der Gesundheitsvorsorge", Gesundheitsingenieur 67(2) (1944): 47-56; O. von Schjerning, Handbuch der ärztlichen Erfahrungen im Weltkrieg 1914/1918, v. VII, Hygiene, Leipzig: J. A. Barth, 1922, esp. pp. 266ff: "Sanierungsanstalten an der Reichsgrenze"; R. Wohlrab, "Flecktyphusbekämpfung im Generalgouvernement", Münchner Medizinische Wochenschrift 89(22) (1942): 483-488; W. Hagen, "Krieg, Hunger und Pestilenz in Warschau 1939-1943", Gesundheitswesen und Desinfektion 65(8) (1973): 115-127; ibid., 65(9) (1973): 129-143; G. Peters, Die hochwirksamen Gase und Dämpfe in der Schädlingsbekämpfung, Stuttgart: F. Enke Verlag, 1942; DEGESCH, Acht Vorträge aus dem Arbeitsgebiet der DEGESCH, 1942, p. 47; Document NI-9098, Nuremberg Trial, a table of properties of the gaseous insecticides / rotticides used by the DEGESCH; H. Kruse, Leitfaden für die Ausbildung in der Desinfektion und Schädlingsbekämpfung, G"ttingen: Muster-Schmidt, 1948; H. Kliewe, Leitfaden der Entseuchung und Entwesung, Stuttgart: F. Enke Verlag, 1951; more recent discussions of the topic: F. P. Berg, "The German Delousing Chambers", JHR 7(1) (1986): 73-94; F. P. Berg, "Typhus and the Jews", JHR 8(4) (1988): 433-481; R. C. Lang, "Zur Frage der Fleckfieberepidemien im Zweiten Weltkrieg", DGG 36 (2,3) (1988): 7-10, 8-13.

56 See the illustrations in: J.-C. Pressac, op. cit. (Note 7), p. 17, and F. A. Leuchter, op. cit. (Note ), p. 148, each taken from product information issued by DEGESCH (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Schädlingsbekämpfung), as well as: A. Moog, W. Kapp, letter from Detia Freyberg GmbH to the author (Laudenbach, Sept. 11, 1991.)

74 ibid.; also letter from the firm ARED GmbH to G. Rudolf, Linz, Ref. 1991-12-30/Mag.AS-hj.

57 Iron berlinate is the DIN name for ferrous cyanide blue pigments of various compositions which are also known as: Berlin Blue, Turnbull's Blue, Prussian Blue, Vossen Blueu, Milori Blue, Parisian Blue, French Blue, China Blue, Bronze Blue, Steel Blue, Ink Blue, etc.

58 Cyanides (CN--compounds) are hydrocyanic acid (hydrogen cyanide, HCN) salts. In this case, specifically: ferro(III)-ferri(II)-cyanide.

59 Cf. eg. K. Wesche, Baustoffe für tragende Bauteile, 2 vols., Wiesbaden: Bauverlag, 1977, esp. v. 1 p. 37, v. 2 pp. 51f.

60 L. Schwarz, W. Deckert, Zeitschrift für Hygiene und Infektionskrankheiten 107 (1927): 798-813; ibid., 109 (1929): 201-212.

61 We shall spare the reader a discussion of the minor effects of other properties of the brick on cyanide accumulation and the speed of chemical conversion, and refer instead to: Gauss, op. cit. (Note 15), and Rudolf, op. cit. (Note 16).

62 The literature frequently gives only the rather unsatisfactory term "insoluble". For more details see the Rudolf Report: R. Kammerer, A. Solms, op. cit. (Note 16), pp. 45ff.

63 Iron berlinate is considered an acid-resistant pigment; cf. eg. B. J. A. Sistino, in: Pigment Handbook, v. 1, New York: Wiley, 1974, pp. 401-407; no appreciable decomposition occurs until the pH drops below 1. The pH of iron berlinate suspensions, for ex., is around 4-5; H. Ferch, H. Schäfer, Schriftenreihe Pigmente, 77, Frankfurt: Degussa AG, 1990.

64 Ullmanns Encyklopädie der technischen Chemie, v. 13, Munich: Urban & Schwarzenberg, 1962, p. 794; ibid., v. 18, Weinheim: Verlag Chemie, 1979, pp. 623ff.; L. Müller-Focken, Farbe und Lack 84 (1987): 489-492.

65 J. M. Kape, E. C. Mills, Transactions of the Institute of Metal Finishing 35 (1958): 353-384; ibid., 59 (1981): 35-39.

66 D. Maier, K. Czurda, G. Gudehus, Das Gas- und Wasserfach, Gas Erdgas 130 (1989): 474-484.

67 cf. Süddeutsche Zeitung, Die Welt, Stuttgarter Zeitung, and Südwest Presse, all of March 29, 1994.

68 cf. W. Schlesinger, Der Fall Rudolf, Cromwell, 20 Madeira Place, Brighton/Sussex BN2 1TN, England, 1994; G. Rudolf, DGG 42(2) (1994): 25f.

69 Quantities always refer to the net HCN content of the substance.

70 Office of Chief of Counsel for War Crimes, affidavit of A. Zaun, Hamburg, Oct. 24, 1945, Document No. NI-11,396, quoted according to U. Walendy, Auschwitz im IG-Farben-Prozeá, Vlotho: Verlag für Volkstum und Zeitgeschichtsforschung, 1981, p. 62.

71 According to J.-C. Pressac, op. cit. (Note 7), p. 550, there were a total of 25 chambers in the camp in which material objects were deloused with Zyklon B, but no doubt not already in 1942.

72 The documentary and witness accounts of such fumigations are numerous, eg. the order issued on Aug. 12, 1942 by Camp Commandant H"á re. accidents during the fumigation of barracks; J.-C. Pressac, ibid., p. 201.

73 ibid., pp. 15, 188.

74 Office of Chief of Counsel for War Crimes, British Military Court, trial of B. Tesch, Hamburg, March 1-8, 1946, Document No. NI-12,207, quoted according to: U. Walendy, op. cit. (Note ), p. 83.

75 J.-C. Pressac, op. cit. (Note 7), pp. 124f., 162, 174, 177, 181, 229, 239, 379f., 459-502; more succinctly in: J.-C. Pressac, op. cit. (Note 18); cf. the critiques by H. Verbeke, op. cit. (Note 19) and A.N.E.C., op. cit. (Note 19).

76 2,000 according to C. S. Bendel, 3,000 according to M. Nyiszli, cf. J.-C. Pressac, op. cit. (Note 7), pp. 469ff.

77 cf. eg. Jüdische Allgemeine Wochenzeitung, July 26, 1990; Hamburger Abendblatt, July 25, 1990; Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung, July 18, 1990; Der Spiegel 30/91, p. 111; Süddeutsche Zeitung, Sept. 21, 1990; Die Tageszeitung, July 18 and 19, 1990; Vorarlberger Nachrichten, Aug. 22 and 29, 1990.

78 D. Czech, Auschwitz Chronicle, 1939-1945, New York: Henry Holt, 1989.

79 J.-C. Pressac, op. cit. (Note 7), p. 125.

80 ibid., pp. 131f.; J.-C. Pressac, op. cit. (Note 18), pp. 34f.

81 J.-C. Pressac, op. cit. (Note 7), p. 253.

82 ibid., p. 183. Since in his latest work he assumes some 500,000 victims of the gas chambers (op. cit., Note 18, German ed. p. 202), the corresponding figures for the individual facilities ought to be reduced further.

83 J.-C. Pressac, op. cit. (Note 7), pp. 384-390.

84 ibid., pp. 16, 18, 253; J.-C. Pressac, op. cit. (Note 18), p. 71; cf. also J. Buszko (ed.), Auschwitz, Nazi Extermination Camp, Warsaw: Interpress Pub., 1985, p. 118, who mentions 6 to 12 kg.

85 A compilation of many witness statements on this point may be found in E. Gauss, Vorlesungen, op. cit. (Note 15), pp. 221, 295f., according to which the time required would be less than 10 mins. Cf. also: testimony of C. Vaillant-Couturier, Trial of the Major War Criminals (IMT), v. VI, p. 216 (5-7 mins.); M. Nyiszli, in: G. Schoenberger (ed.), Wir haben es gesehen, Wiesbaden: Fourier, 1981, p. 250 (5 mins.); C. S. Bendel in: H. Langbein, Menschen in Auschwitz, Vienna: Europaverlag, 1987, p. 221 (victims stopped screaming after 2 mins.); P. Broad in: B. Naumann, op. cit. (Note ), p. 217 (4 mins.); doors being opened after 10-15 mins.: A. Rückerl, NS-Verbrechen vor Gericht, Heidelberg: C. F. Müller, 1984, pp. 58f.; K. H"lbinger in: H. Langbein, Der Auschwitz-Prozeá, Frankfurt/Main: Europäische Verlagsanstalt, 1965, p. 73 (1 min.); R. B"ck, ibid., p. 74 (victims screamed for 10 mins. after door was closed, door was then opened); H. Stark, ibid., p. 439 (victims screamed for 10-15 mins.); F. Müller, ibid., p. 463 (8-10 mins.); E. Pys, ibid., p. 748 (ventilator was turned on after a few mins.); K. Lill, ibid., p. 750 (a few seconds after Zyklon B was thrown in there was a scream, a few minutes later smoke billowed from the chimney).

86 Transcript of the report by Prof. Dr. G. Jagschitz, days 3-5 of the trial of Honsik, April 29, April 30, May 4, 1992, Ref. 20e Vr 14184 and Hv 5720/90, District Court Vienna; re. the credibility of this testimony, cf. the chapter by W. Rademacher, this volume.

87 Document 3868-PS, IMT v. XXXIII pp. 277ff., quoted according to L. Rosenthal, 'Endl"sung der Judenfrage', Massenmord oder 'Gaskammerlüge'?, Darmstadt: Verlag Darmstädter Blätter, 1979.

88 30m x 7m x 2.3m (vol. of room) - 1,000 x 0.070m3 (vol. of victims).

89 R. Kammerer, A. Solms, op. cit. (Note 16), pp. 68f.

90 J. Bailer, op. cit. (Note 12); G. Wellers, op. cit. (Note 13), as well as M. Dragan and H. G. von Schnering, pers. comm.

91 According to the documents, Mortuaries I of Crematoria II and III (approx. 480m3, or 16,950 cu.ft.) had a ventilator for 4,800m3 (169,500 cu.ft.) of air per hour at 40 cm water-column. According to W. Zwerenz (Landshut: unpub., 1991) and identical findings by W. Lüftl, the difference in pressure that was to be overcome was considerably greater than 40 cm water-column. J.-C. Pressac, op. cit. (Note 18), p. 38, claims that a much more powerful ventilator with a capacity of 8,000 m3/h (282,500 cu.ft./h) had been installed. However, according to C. Mattogno there is no evidence to support this claim, since Pressac's source also cites the old capacity of 4,800m3/h.

92 Entseuchungs- und Entwesungsvorschrift für die Wehrmacht, H. Dv. 194, M. Dv. 277, L. Dv. 416, Berlin: Reichsdruckerei, 1939; Richtlinien für die Anwendung von Blausäure (Zyklon) zur Ungeziefervertilgung (Entwesung), Prague: Gesundheitsanstalt des Protektorats B"hmen und Mühren, n.d.; Doc. NI-9912 (1) in the Nuremberg Trial; Technische Regeln für Gefahrstoffe, TRGS 512, Begasungen, BArbBl. No. 10/1989, 72, in: Köhn, Brett, Merkblätter Gefährlicher Arbeitsstoffe, Landsberg: ecomed, 1990.

93 cf. the chapter by F. P. Berg, this volume.

94 Aside from the statements of J. Markiewicz, op. cit. (Note 9), cf. also J.-C. Pressac, op. cit. (Note 7), p. 390.

95 We are deliberately ignoring the results of the Cracow Report, op. cit. (Note 9), since improper analytical methodology renders them useless; cf. the Rudolf Report, op. cit. (Note 16), pp. 82f., as well as G. Rudolf, op. cit. (Note 9).

96 J. C. Ball, The Ball Report, Ball Resource Services Ltd., Delta, BC, Canada, 1993.

97 R. Kammerer, A. Solms, op. cit. (Note 16), pp. 86f.

98 E. Gauss, Vorlesungen, op. cit. (Note 15), pp. 290ff.

99 A. Breitwieser, Head of the Inmate Clothing Depot in Auschwitz, tells of round-the-clock fumigations at the German supply depot, H. Langbein, Der Auschwitz-Prozeá, op. cit. (Note ), p. 786.

100 cf. the findings in the new edition of the Rudolf Report, in preparation and on the Internet:

101 Testimony of M. Nyiszli, op. cit. (Note ), p. 251; H. Langbein, op. cit. (Note ), p. 93; F. Müller, Sonderbehandlung, Munich: Steinhausen, 1979, p. 185.

102 cf. also eg. the findings of H. A. El-Sayed, Cement and Concrete Research 11 (1981): 351-362.

103 eg. the testimony of M. Buki in the Frankfurt Auschwitz Trial, H. Langbein, op. cit. (Note ), p. 96.

104 J.-C. Pressac, op. cit. (Note ), p. 202.

105 pers. comm., I. Semyda, Greenwich, CT, USA.

106 Patent No. 438818 (D 41941 IV/451, Dec. 27, 1926), kindly provided by C. Mattogno.

107 pers. comm. by H. Leipprand.

108 G. Peters, Blausäure zur Schädlingsbekämpfung, Stuttgart: F. Enke, 1933, pp. 64f.

109 A hypothetical gassing scenario would proceed very differently if it could actually involve something that is occasionally alleged, namely that the Zyklon B was lowered into the gas chambers of Crematoria II and III in nets, so that it could be quickly removed again after the victims had expired. This would have allowed for a more rapid ventilation of the chamber. But since this theory founders on the nonexistence of the Zyklon B input hatches, we shall ignore it.

110 Pers. comm., C. Mattogno, based on the fact that the delousing chamber of Building 5b has a water faucet and drainage grooves.

111 The essential construction and engineering information for this section, including all pictures, were kindly provided by C. Mattogno, whom we wish to thank for his assistance.

112 From Z. Pawlak, "Ich habe Überlebt...", Hamburg: Hoffmann und Campe, 1979, p. 268.

113 op. cit. (Note ); cf. H. Lichtenstein, Majdanek, Reportage eines Prozesses, Frankfurt/Main: Europäische Verlagsanstalt, 1979; cf. J. G. Burg, Zionnazi Zensur in der BRD, Munich: Ederer, 1980. In a trial pertaining to the Sobibor camp, the District Court Berlin had determined that there had been no gassing facilities in Majdanek (Ref. PKs 3/50); cf. C. F. Rüter, Justiz und NS-Verbrechen, Amsterdam: University Press, 1971, p. 547.

114 J. Marszalek, Majdanek, Geschichte und Wirklichkeit eines Vernichtungslagers, Reinbek: Rowohlt, 1982, p. 39; one of the accused in the Majdanek Trial testified that the facilities were not used for anything else either, and drew the wrath of the Judge in the process: I. Müller-Münch, Die Frauen von Majdanek, Reinbek: Rowohlt, 1982, pp. 107f.

115 J. Marszalek, op. cit. (Note ), pp. 39f.

116 VVN - Bund der Antifaschisten, Konzentrationslager der Waffen-SS Majdanek, Frankfurt/Main: self-pub., n.d., p. 5; J. Marszalek, op. cit. (Note ), p. 148.

117 Aside from the VVN, op. cit. (Note ), cf. also H. Lichtenstein, op. cit. (Note ), p. 67.

118 cf. VVN, op. cit. (Note ). In his book Der SS-Staat, Stuttgart: Europäische Verlagsanstalt, 1959, E. Kogon states 1.5 to 2 million; J. Marszalek, op. cit. (Note ), p. 149, states 360,000; A. Rückerl, op. cit. (Note ), p. 52, speaks of 250,000; R. Henkys, Die NS-Gewaltverbrechen, Stuttgart: Kreuz, 1964, p. 111, mentions 200,000; W. Benz, Dimension des V"lkermords, Munich: Oldenbourg, 1991, p. 17, speaks of 60,000 to 80,000 Jewish victims.

119 cf. the chapter by F. P. Berg, this volume.

120 J. Marszalek, op. cit. (Note ), p. 35.

121 The blower could also have been used for ventilation after fumigation with the hydrocyanic acid.

122 cf. G. Peters, Die hochwirksamen Gase und Dämpfe in der Schädlingsbekämpfung, op. cit. (Note ).

The Rudolf Report - Expert Report on Chemical and Technical Aspects of the ‘Gas Chambers’ of Auschwitz (PDF)  
By Germar Rudolf. Holocaust Handbooks, Volume 2.

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