Question to the revisionists

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oscar
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Question to the revisionists

Post by oscar » 14 Aug 2002 08:57

If mentaly handicaped people were killed with gas (noone dubts that I suppose). Why couldn´t others also be killed with gas?

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Scott Smith
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Re: Question to the revisionists

Post by Scott Smith » 14 Aug 2002 10:29

oscar wrote:If mentaly handicaped people were killed with gas (noone dubts that I suppose). Why couldn´t others also be killed with gas?

As a skeptic, I'll give you my opinions. I don't know if gas was really used in euthanasia or not but I don't doubt the euthanasia. As far as the Holocaust, that is an order of magnitude higher in numbers; and some of the claims like diesel exhaust, probably gas-vans, and maybe insecticide, are absurd, IMHO. You can kill somebody with gas a few times, but to make an industrialized mass-murder operation out of it begs for extensive technical and engineering proof, AFAIC.
:)

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Roberto
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Re: Question to the revisionists

Post by Roberto » 14 Aug 2002 19:34

Scott Smith wrote:
oscar wrote:If mentaly handicaped people were killed with gas (noone dubts that I suppose). Why couldn´t others also be killed with gas?

As a skeptic, I'll give you my opinions. I don't know if gas was really used in euthanasia or not but I don't doubt the euthanasia. As far as the Holocaust, that is an order of magnitude higher in numbers; and some of the claims like diesel exhaust, probably gas-vans, and maybe insecticide, are absurd, IMHO. You can kill somebody with gas a few times, but to make an industrialized mass-murder operation out of it begs for extensive technical and engineering proof, AFAIC.
:)


I strongly doubt that any "technical and engineering proof", whatver is meant by that, would satisfy a True Believer like the Reverend when one of his articles of faith is at stake.

Which doesn't get him any further, of course, because his contentions against the technical accuracy of eyewitness descriptions of given killing devices, if pertinent, would still not matter a damn thing as long as he cannot tell us e.g. what, if not murder, happened to the 713,555 Jews from the Polish General Government who, according to Höfle's report to Heim of 11 January 1943, were taken to Treblinka extermination camp until 31.12.1942.

If pertinent.

The True Believers have never been able to explain what would have been so absurd about using for mass murder a standard insecticide that happened to consist of one of the deadliest poisons known to man.

Or why gassing with the exhaust of a huge diesel engine would have been impracticable, despite the obvious link between the fuel-air ratio of the exhaust and its toxicity and the resulting possibility to enhance that toxicity by increasing the fuel supply, restricting the air intake or doing both.

Or why the impracticability of gassing with diesel exhaust would mean anything other than the witnesses or those who assessed their depositions having been mistaken about the type of engine used.

Oscar's question seems to be based on the assumption that "Revisionists" are skeptics who have honest doubts about the occurrence of certain events.

That's the last thing these fellows are, of course.

"Revisionists" are fanatical adherents of a quasi-religious faith who desperately try to find arguments that may help them protect that faith against the onslaught of evidence.

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Scott Smith
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Re: Question to the revisionists

Post by Scott Smith » 15 Aug 2002 00:16

Roberto wrote:
Scott Smith wrote:
oscar wrote:If mentaly handicaped people were killed with gas (noone dubts that I suppose). Why couldn´t others also be killed with gas?

As a skeptic, I'll give you my opinions. I don't know if gas was really used in euthanasia or not but I don't doubt the euthanasia. As far as the Holocaust, that is an order of magnitude higher in numbers; and some of the claims like diesel exhaust, probably gas-vans, and maybe insecticide, are absurd, IMHO. You can kill somebody with gas a few times, but to make an industrialized mass-murder operation out of it begs for extensive technical and engineering proof, AFAIC.
:)

I strongly doubt that any "technical and engineering proof", whatver is meant by that, would satisfy a True Believer like the Reverend when one of his articles of faith is at stake.

Well, Roberto, I've already come around quite a bit to the Zyklon way of thinking based on some of the arguments that I've had and read with Hans, Mark, and Xanthro. I am still quite skeptical of course, but I am sure that yours and Chuck's kneejerk responses will never convince me of anything. :P

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AirborneAllTheWay
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Post by AirborneAllTheWay » 15 Aug 2002 00:20

Did I read this right that you are skeptical of the use of Zyklon-B and the Holocaust and of the use of Gas vans? :?

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Scott Smith
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Post by Scott Smith » 15 Aug 2002 00:30

AirborneAllTheWay wrote:Did I read this right that you are skeptical of the use of Zyklon-B and the Holocaust and of the use of Gas vans? :?

Yes, but I don't "deny" it. Skepticism is proper, AFAIC. And I don't doubt that millions (5 million according to Hilberg) were killed. The only thing I actually DENY is diesel exhaust as a murder weapon.
:)

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Post by AirborneAllTheWay » 15 Aug 2002 00:48

Ok. was looking at pictures of the gas vans at the imperial war museum in london today in their new holocaust display.

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Gas-Van

Post by Scott Smith » 15 Aug 2002 01:00

AirborneAllTheWay wrote:Ok. was looking at pictures of the gas vans at the imperial war museum in london today in their new holocaust display.

This is the only picture that I have ever found of a Gas-Van and it is a Magirus diesel (i.e., a fraud). If you have pictures of any others I would appreciate seeing them.
:)

Image

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AirborneAllTheWay
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Post by AirborneAllTheWay » 15 Aug 2002 01:53

Hi scott, looking for pictures but came across some over info...

A few days later an experiment with poison gas was carried out by Nebe and Dr. Widmann in Mogilev. In the local lunatic asylum, a room with twenty to thirty of the insane was closed hermetically, and two pipes were driven into the wall. A car was parked outside, and one of the metal pipes that Dr. Widmann had brought connected the exhaust of the car to the pipe in the wall. The car engine was turned on and the carbon monoxide began seeping into the room. After eight minutes, the people in the room were still alive. A second car was connected to the other pipe in the wall. The two cars were operated simultaneously, and a few minutes later all those in the room were dead.

After these experimental executions, Nebe came up with the idea of constructing a car with a hermitically sealed cabin for killing purposes. The carbon monoxide from the car's exhaust would be channeled into the sealed cabin, in which the victims stood. Nebe discussed the technical aspects of the idea with Dr. Heess and together they brought the proposal before Heydrich, who adopted it.

The Technical Department of the Reich Security Main Office, headed by SS Obersturmbannfuhrer Walter Rauff, developed a special vehicle for killing purposes. This vehicle resembled an ambulance or refrigerator truck and contained a hermetically sealed rear cabin. The victims were placed in the cabin and carbon monoxide was introduced by means of a pipe. The gassing process took between fifteen and thirty minutes. During this time the van was driven from the loading site to prepared graves.

Two types of gas vans were built: a larger one, 5.8 meters in length, and a smaller one, measuring 4.5 meters. Both were about 2.5 meters wide and 1.7 meters high. The bigger one could accommodate between 130 and 150 people, when densely packed inside, and the smaller one from 80 to 100.

The first gas vans were supplied to the Einsatzgruppen and to the Chelmno death camps in November-December 1941. The killing in Chelmno began on December 8, 1941. By the middle of 1942, about thirty gas vans had been produced by a private car manufacturer, the Gabschat Farengewerke GMBH, Will-Walter Strasse 32-38, Berlin.

AND...

Letter from Dr August Becker to SS-Obersturmbannfuehrer Rauff
16 May 1942
Source:
Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression - Washington, US Government Printing Office, 1946, Vol III, p. 418.

I ordered the vans of group D to be camouflaged as house trailers by putting one set of window shutters on each side of the small van and two on each side of the large vans, such as one often sees on farm houses in the country. The vans became so well known, that not only the authorities but also the civilian population called the van "death van", as soon as one of these vehicles appeared. It is my opinion the van cannot be kept secret for any length of time, not even camouflaged... Besides that, I ordered that during application of gas all the men were to be kept as far away from the vans as possible, so they should not suffer damage to their health by the gas which eventually would escape.

I should like to take this opportunity to bring the following to your attention: several commands have had the unloading after the application of gas done by their own men. I brought to the attention of those S.K [Special Kommando] concerned the immense psychological injuries and damages involved to their health that this work can have for those men, even if not immediately, at least later on. The men complained to me about headaches which appeared after each unloading. Nevertheless they don't want to change the orders, because they are afraid prisoners called for that work could use an opportune moment to flee. To protect the men from these damages, I request orders to be issued accordingly. The application of the gas is not undertaken correctly. In order to come to an end as fast as possible, the driver presses the accelerator to the fullest extent. By doing that the persons to be executed suffer death from suffocation and not death by dozing off as was planned. My directions have now proved that by correct adjustment of the levers death comes faster and the prisoners fall asleep peacefully. Distorted faces and excretions, such as could be seen before, are no longer noticed.

and...

Quoted from:
Claude Lanzmann, Shoah: The Complete Text of the Film. New York: Pantheon, 1985, pp 103-105.

Original Source:
Nazism: A History in Documents and Eye Witness Accounts, 1941-1945, Volume 2, Document 913

(Geheime Reichssache - Secret Reich Business)

Berlin, June 5 1942

Re: Changes for special vehicles now in service at Kulmhof (Chelmno) and for those now being built.

Since December 1941, ninety-seven thousand have been processed ("verarbeit" in German) by the three vehicles in service, with no major incidents. In the light of observations made so far, however, the following technical changes are needed:

1. The vans' normal load is usually nine per square yard. In Saurer vehicles, which are very spacious, maximum use of space is impossible, not because of any possible overload, but because loading to full capacity would affect the vehicle's stability. So reduction of the load space seems necessary. It must absolutely be reduced by a yard, instead of trying to solve the problem, as hitherto, by redudcing the number of pieces loaded. Besides, this extends the operating time, as the empty void must be filled with carbon monoxide. On the other hand, if the load space is reduced, and the vehicle is packed solid, the operating time can be considerably shortened. The manufacturers told us during a discussion that reducing the size of the van's rear would throw it badly off balance. The front axle, they claim, would be overloaded. In fact, the balance is automatically restored, because the merchandise aboard displays during the operation a natural tendency to rush to the rear doors, an is mainly found lying there at the end of the operation. So the front axle is not overloaded.

2. The lighting must be better protected than now. The lamps must be enclosed in a steel grid to prevent their being damaged. Lights could be eliminated, since they apparently are never used. However, it has been observed that when the doors are shut, the load always presses hard against them [the doors] as soon as darkness sets in. This is because the load naturally rushes toward the light when darkness sets in, which makes closing the doors difficult. Also, because of the alarming nature of darkness, screaming always occurs when the doors are closed. It would therefore be useful to light the lamp before and during the first moments of the operation.

3. For easy cleaning of the vehicle, there must be a sealed drain in the middle of the floor. The drainage hole's cover, eight to twelve inches in diameter, would be equipped with a slanting trap, so that fluid liquids can drain off during the operation. During cleaning, the drain can be used to evacuate large pieces of dirt.

The aforementioned technical changes are to be made to vehicles in service only when they come in for repairs. As for the ten vehicles ordered from Saurer, they must be equipped with all innovations and changes shown by use and experience to be necessary.

Submitted for decision to Gruppenleiter II D, SS-Obersturmbannfuhrer Walter Rauff.

Signed: Just

and...
Translation of:
Mathias Beer, "Die Entwicklung der Gaswagen beim Mord an den Juden," Vierteljahreshefte fuer Zeitgeschichte, 37 (3), pp. 403-417.

The gas-van is a special product of the Third Reich, it is a van with a gas-tight cabin/container-box/superstructure mounted on its chassis/understructure used to kill people by the motor-exhausts led into that cabin. The designation was coined only later: "Gaswagen [Gas-van] - that was the common word only afterwards/later". [footnote 1].

In the contemporaneous documents the designation doesn't arise. There the words Sonder-Wagen [footnote 2], Sonderfahrzeug [footnote 3], Spezialwagen [footnote 4] and S-Wagen [footnote 5] [Special van, special vehicle] are used. In a letter dating from April 11th 1942 with hindsight to camouflage the word Entlausungswagen [delousing-van] is used [footnote 6].

There are in all fourteen documents related to that complex, allowing to assess which types of vans were transformed/rebuilt into gas-vans and providing technical data on the container/cabin/superstructure. The documents give informations about the producers/vendors of the vans, about technical improvements due to practical experience, about the operation and the operating locations of different vans, moreover the responsible official services and individuals in charge of the employment of gas-vans are named. Hence a rather detailed picture emerges which is, however, not exhaustive/complete as documents are available only for the timespan/period starting in 1942 when gas-vans were already in use for the killings of human beings [footnote 7].

Based only on the written records not much can be said about the period when the gas-vans were under development. So the route of decisions leading to the construction and the operation/usage of these vans remains unclear/obscure. This state of things may be amended by the results of the multitude of trials held since 1945.

In the Federal Republic mainly since 1958 the installation of the Central Agency [Zentrale Stelle der Landesjustizverwaltungen =ZSL] for the prosecution of national-socialist crimes in Ludwigsburg and the investigations started by that agency have enlarged our knowledge about the crimes of the NS-regime[8]. However, the historian cannot adopt results of trials without probing them, as jurisdiction and historiographic science are directed by different purposes [footnote 9].

With the historian, witness-testimonies are of formost importance as they assist in closing gaps left by documents. But due to their pecularities witness-testimonies may be used as equals to documents and appraised by the historic research with valid results only if certain principles are obeyed [footnote 10].

The basic principle requires that the link between testimony and critically validated documents shouldn't be abandoned whenever possible, that is, the most probable fact must be linked to the certified fact [footnote 11].

There will remain questions which can't be answered satisfactorily by this method. There are witness testimonies reporting that during the cleansing/purging of mentally insane in the hospitals in Poland 1939/40 a hermetic sealed trailer with the label "Kaisers-Kaffee-Geschaeft" [about: Kaiser's coffee shop], with a tractive unit/tractor/towing vehicle in front was used.

In the trailer, insane persons were killed allegedly by the introduction of pure carbon-monoxide (CO) from (steel) cylinders [footnote 12]. The origin/source of these vehicles cannot be traced back as documents are lacking. However, there are hints that there is a link between "Kaisers-Kaffee"-vans and the gas-vans. Therefore we first investigate the few testimonies related to "Kaisers-Kaffee"-vans and then the development of the gas-vans.

In a letter dated 1st september 1939, Hitler entitles/orders his personal/assisting medecin Dr.Karl Brandt and the Reichsleiter Philipp Bouhler of the Fuehrer's chancellery to carry out the Euthanasie -program [footnote 13]. The Kriminaltechnisches Institut [KTI] in the Reichssicherheitshauptamt [RSHA] was ordered to test/explore appropriate killing procedures/agencies, and reported that the best method to kill would be the use of CO [footnote 14].

Following first experimental gassings in the prison of Brandenburg/havel in January 1940 - in a hermetic sealed room mentally insane had been killed with pure CO -, the method was used in all other "Euthanasie" set-ups/centers. The necessary CO was acquired by the Fuehrer's chancellery under cover-up/camouflage indirectly via the KTI, this being based on an agreement between the head of the Euthanasie -agency, Brack, and Widmann, head of the Referat V D2 (Chemistry and Biology) [footnote 16].

On order by Nebe, head of Amt V [department] (counter- criminality) in the RSHA, SS-Sturmfuehrer Becker got the (steel) cylinders at the IG Farben [factory] in Ludwigshafen and delivered them to the different installations [footnote 17]. SS-Sturmbannfuehrer Heess, head of the KTI, was knowledgeable/knew about the close relation/collaboration beteen the Fuehrer's chancellery and the KTI [footnote 18].

The "Kaisers-Kaffe"-van operated through the same principle as the gas-chambers of the "Euthanasie"- installations. CO was guided into a trailer through hoses from a cylinder which was fixed to the tractor. This was, hence, a gas-chamber on wheels [footnote 19]. Witnesses report that since september 1939 the Sonderkommando Lange [Special commnad/task force] killed mentally insane people in such vans in pommeranian, eastern-prussian and polish hospitals [footnote 20].

The name of that command is derived from the name of its head, SS-Sturmfuehrer and Kriminalrat Herbert Lange. The letter from the Higher SS- and Police leader Koppen to the SS-Gruppenfuehrer Sporrenberg elucidates the operationing/work of that command in Soldau:

"The special command being under my command for particular tasks was sent to Soldau during the time from 21.5 to 8.6.1940 in accord with the RSHA and has evacuated 1588 insane persons from the transition-camp during that time" [footnote 21].

A vehicle of that kind was brought with Lange either from the RSHA [the testimonies by Gustav Sorge, footnote 22; and evidence on the important role of the Gruppe II D technical matters in the RSHA in the later development of the gas-van, footnote 23; back this assumption], or he organized its production in collaboration with the RSHA [footnote 24].

Alfred Trenker, deputy head of the Stapo bureau (state police) in Posen testified that Lange had told him in summer 1940, he, Lange, had to travel to Berlin and the RSHA several times because of "conferences/meetings about the suitable type of gassing-vans" [footnote 25].

These testimonies let suppose that the operationing of the "Kaisers-Kaffee"-vans was optimized for the purpose of the Sonderkommando Lange, which had probably the taks to practically test these vehicles. Apparently, they didn;t operate adequately (Lange mentioned something to that extent against Trenker [footnote 26]) and the Sonderkommando Lange was disbanded/ got leave soon after their task in Soldau. Starting from that time, there aren't found any reports about the operations/usage of that kind of vehicles.

The exchange of letters/correspondence about the still due payments in connection with the Sonderkommando Lange, which lasted till february 1941, shows that as well Himmler knew about the whole affair. In a letter by Koppe to Karl Wolff, head of the personal staff of the Reichsfuehrer SS, dated 22. February 1941, it is mentioned, "that you by order of the Reichsfuehrer SS would decide about the payments of the transportation costs" [footnote 27].

From the date of the first usage, we may infer that "Kaisers-Kaffee"-vans were prepared beginning in the end of 1939 till midyear 1940 with assistance of the Fuehrer's chancellery and the RSHA.

On 15 and 16th August 1941 Himmler was in Baranowitschi [English spelling?] and Minsk [footnote 28] And inspected an action of [liquidation/execution] by shooting in the area of Einsatzgruppe B [footnote 29].

The attending Higher SS- and Police-Leader in Center Russia ["Russland Mitte"] von dem Bach-Zelewski reported later, Himmler was moved/shaken apparently by this action [footnote 30].

After that, Himmler had visited a hospital/sanatorium for mentally insane people and afterwards ordered the Leader of Einsatzgruppe B, Nebe, to search/investigate means, fit to shorten the suffering of the people as far as possible [footnote 31], as he had concluded from the experience with the execution by shooting "that shooting wasn't yet the most human way" [footnote 32].

He [i.e. Nebe] should send "a report" about those investigations. Himmler addressed Nebe, as the KTI, subordinated to the 'Amt V', had excelled in the investigation/development of killing procedures during the "Euthanasia" program, so that their experiences could be employed now. Nebe was simultaneously head of that 'Amt V' [department] in the RSHA. Relying on this position, in beginning September he ordered Widmann to come to Minsk with explosives and two metal-hoses/tubes [footnote 33].

Widmann had had discussed this order with his immediate boss/superior Heess. This elucidates that apart of the stress for the execution squads/commands, a further reason was given for the following experiments:

"It was discussed with Heess also about the usage of [poisonous] gas in the killing of mentally insane persons, especially about the impossibility to transport the CO-cylinders in Russia" [footnote 34].

The CO-cylinders would have been necessary, if one was intending to use "Kaisers-Kaffe"-vans or gas-chambers as they were used in the "Euthanasia" program.

When the blasting/explosion of a bunker in Minsk, into which mentally insane persons had been brought, didn't show the intended result/success, an experiment with the metal hoses, which Widmann had carried with him, was undertaken in the sanatorium for mentally insanes/asylum of Mogilew, which Himmler had visited also [footnote 35]. About this, Widmann testified on 11th January 1960:

"Nebe has ordered to close the windows with brick-work and to leave two openings for the gas-pipes on that afternoon ... When we arrived, first one of the hoses, which had been with me in the car, was fixed/connected. The connection was made to a passenger vehicle. In the openings of the wall, there were pieces of pipes/tubes were situated, where/onto which one could easily affix the hoses ... After five minutes, Nebe came out and said, there wasn't any effect yet.

Also after eight minutes, he couldn't observe any effect and asked, what had to be done now. Nebe and I convinced ourselves, that the car was too weak. Hence, Nebe ordered/caused/made the second hose to be fixed to the van [to transport troops] of the Ordnungspolizei . Then it took only a few minutes, Till the people lost consciousness. One left [the motors of] both cars running for about another ten minutes [footnote 36].

The incident just described is also reported in the deposition by the Russian doctor N.N.Akimova of 18th November 1946, who gives as date of the experiment the 186h September [footnote 37]. Hence/therefor, Widmann and his aides must have been in Minsk and Mogilev from 13th to 21st September [footnote 38]. The relation between these experiments and Himmler's visit and order is revealed/given/elucidated in another deposition by Widmann: "Nebe wanted to discuss the matter with me, as he said, that he had to report it to Himmler" [footnote 39].

Nebe must have learned by these two experiments, that only the idea to kill with exhaust gases, which most probably was his own, was feasible [footnote 40].

But the Einsatzgruppen, for the usage of which the new more "humane" killing method was searched/investigated, couldn't use/handle a gas-chamber with fixed location, in which people were killed by exhaust-gases. They had to be mobile, to fulfill their task [footnote 41]. Based on these considerations and the past experience, a plan/project emerged the KTI to build gas-vans. Nebe and Heess proposed this to their commander Heydrich, head of the security police and the SD [footnote 42].

Widmann testified about this:

"I was informed by Heess shortly about the result of his report in the Prinz-Albrecht -street [Heydrich's head-quarter]. He told me, that vans would be built/constructed, into which exhaust- gases would be led/introduced, instead of the recent application of CO-cylinders" [footnote 43].

It becomes apparent, that "Kaisers Kaffe"-vans, which were known in the KTI, had been the model for the gas-vans - mobile, gas-tightly sealed, close boxes. However, because of the technical difficulties, the pure CO couldn't simply be replaced by exhaust-gases. A new construction was necessary which unified traction unit, trailer and the source of the poisonous gas.

Heydrich's immediate superior/boss was Himmler since the decree of 27th September 1939. Therewith the circle is closed.

Heydrich had supposedly heard about the experiments in advance, and was therefore in the "secret", otherwise it couldn't be understood, why Nebe and Heess contacted/approached him. Heydrich was also in a position to lend the necessary technical support to the KTI. He approached SS-Obersturmfuehrer Rauff, head of group/department II D3 (technical matters), with its subgroup/sub-department being led by SS-Hauptsturmfuehrer Pradel. He [Pradel] testified in his trial that Rauff had told him: "This is an order by Heydrich which has to be carried out" [footnote 44].

In this sense, we may also understand Rauff's deposition on 28th June 1972 in Santiago de Chile:"I think, it is impossible that Pradel undertook the development of the gas- vans on his own. He must have had an order either by me or someone with a higher position" [footnote 45].

Wentritt, head of the repairing-shop/park in Referat II D3a testified concerning this:

"Still in 1941, I was summoned to the head of the group/department, Major Pradel. He declared/told me, that the execution squads in action suffered often from nervous break-down (respectively were close to it), so that a more humane killing method should be used. We needed therefore - as Pradel stated closed/sealed vans/motor vehicles" [footnote 46].

Pradel ordered Wentritt to test/investigate whether it was possible to lead motor-exhausts in the closed/sealed superstructure of a van. When Wentritt answered this in the affirmative, Pradel communicated the positive/affirmative answer to Rauff and got back with the order to contact Heess. Heess detailed, how such a van had to be constructed and how it should operate.

On Rauff's order, Pradel and Wentritt visited the Gaubschat -factory/company in Berlin-Neukoelln, which was specialized in the production of sealed/closed box- superstructures [footnote 47] where they pretended, that they needed the vans to transport the dead victims/corpses of a spotted fever epidemic.

They made an agreement that the RSHA should deliver the chassis to the factory "which had to put a box- superstructure on top of them" [footnote 48].

The order was given directly by Rauff, probably in a letter/in-written form [footnote 49]. But Pradel's attempt to purchase chassis was a failure, so that an intervention by Rauff was necessary. He testified on 19th October 1945: "In so far as I can recall I only supplied 5 or 6 chassis" [footnote 50].

When the chassis had been delivered to the Gaubschatt company, Wentritt informed himself several times about the on-going construction work and fetched the first van himself. He provided this van with the following alterations in the workshop of Referat II D 3a, as the matter was classified as "geheime Reichssache" [highest level of secrecy]:

"At the exhaust-pipe an exhaust-hose was fixed which was led from the exterior to the bottom of the van. In this van we drilled a hole with diameter of about 58-60 mm, the diameter of the exhaust-pipe. Into the interior of the van, above the hole, we welded a metal pipe (exhaust pipe), which was connected or could be connected to the exhaust-hose. Upon starting the motor, the exhaust went into the exhaust-pipe and from there into the exhaust-pipe in the interior of the van, where the [exhaust-]gas was spread" [footnote 51].

On Pradel's order, Wentritt brought this van, so prepared, to the KTI, where gaseous samples were taken in the box- superstructure. The chemist Leiding, collaborator in the KTI, testified:

"I once entered that van with a gas-mask. I had the order/task to take air-samples. Those air- samples were hence analyzed in the laboratory."

Why these analyses were necessary may be understood from Widmann's deposition on 12th January 1960:

"The objective of that analysis was, by the way, to find out how long it took to reach a CO- concentration of 1% in the van. At this CO- contents, deep unconsciousness and then death occur in a short time (3rd stage of CO poisoning). One intended to prevent the first and second stage of CO-poisoning. The first stage is numbness and nausea, the second stage is marked by states of agitation/irritation" [footnote 53].

Short time late, an experimental gassing took place in the concentration camp Sachsenhausen ( the KTI had there a workshop/atelier). At the gassing, Heess, the two chemists Leiding and Hoffmann, and beyond some SS-officers attended. Widmann wasn't present [footnote 54].

Following Krausnick/Wilhelm, he was in Kiew on about X[?]th November [footnote 55]. The experimental gassing in Sachsenhausen must have taken place on that date. Regarding the events in Sachsenhausen, Leiding testified:

"I understood only later the intended purpose of the van, in which I had taken an air sample. One day, I was summoned to travel to Sachsenhausen ... and there was a van, which was equal or like that, which I had seen in the yard of the Reichskriminalpolizeiamt. The number of men, which entered into the van, may have been around/about 30... The corpses had, as we chemists found out/observed the typical pink outlook of men, who had died of a CO-poisoning" [footnote 56].

Heess reported the success of the experimental gassing not only to Pradel [footnote 57], but he wrote a report together with Widmann, which was supposedly delivered to Heydrich [footnote 57]. Hence the prototype of the gas-vans was developed/ready and tested. The remaining vans, ordered at the Gaubschat factory, were as well altered into gas-vans now [footnote 59].

The course of events described here is corroborated by the analogous proceedings/activities in 1942. Since April there were plans/schemes in Reerat II D 3a, how to improve the gas-vans, how to expand/augment the killing capacity and how to facilitate their operationing/handling [footnote 60]. The proceeding was analogous to the development of the prototype. The matter was debated first internally, then Rauff gave an order for a van with the planned alterations to the Gaubschat factory. This one should be tested practically and only after that a decision should be taken on the vans to be altered further [footnote 61].

When starting with the date of the experimental gassing at Sachsenhausen and considering the time necessary to rebuild the vans to be about 8-14 days [footnote 62] and the time to bring the vans to the locations of operations [footnote 63], we may conclude, that the first gas-vans could be used only in the end of November of beginning December 1941.

The first usage of a gas-van may be traced down in the operation area of Einsatzgruppe C [footnote 64] with the Sonderkommando 4a in Poltawa. Eye-witnesses report that a gas-van was used there in November 1941 in the killings of the Jews [footnote 65]. The van is described as follows:

"The gas-van was used in the same place [i.e. there were also shootings]. Each time about 30 people were carried in them. As far I know, the passengers were killed by exhaust-gases led into it" [footnote 66].

The usage of gas-vans by the already known Sonderkommando Lange is testified for the 8th December in Chelmno [footnote 67].

Hence, not only in the experimental phase, but as well in the operationing, experienced staff was employed. In Chelmno, two smaller vans were operationing first. Gustav Laabs, the driver of one of the vans, testified:

"Later I found out, that the vans were American 3- tons-trucks. ... The interior of their box- container was, as I later saw 4m in length to 2m in width. ... In the gas-van, I drove, ... about 50 people were gassed" [footnote 68].

Still before Christmas 1941 two smaller gas-vans were brought from Berlin to Riga [footnote 69]. These were the smaller "Daimond"-vans, which were named/mentioned in a letter by SS-Hauptsturmfuehrer Truehe to Rauff on 15th July 1942 [footnote 70].

In the operation area of Einsatzgruppe D [footnote 71] the presence of a gas-van, which could carry about 50 persons, is testified/assured by testimony for the end of 1941.

This date may be certified by the deposition of SS- Untersturmfuehrer Becker. He was transferred to the RSHA in December 1941 after a conference/consultation between Himmler and Brack [footnote 73].

Hence, Himmler observed/had in mind/supervised the operations of the gas-vans further. In the RSHA, Ruff ordered him (Becker) to travel to the East to investigate/observe the operationing of the gas-vans. Becker testified about this:

"He (Rauff) said, that gas-vans were already in place or sent to the different Einsatzgruppen" [footnote 47].

This must have taken place shortly before 14th December, as Becker couldn't begin his travel, intended for that day, because of an accident; so his travel was postponed until in beginning 1942 [footnote 73]. The projected date of Becker's inspection travel may have been meaningful only if the gas- vans had been sent to the Einsatzgruppen shortly before it.

So it is assured/certain that gas-vans were used beginning with the end of November or beginning December 1941 [footnote 76].

The Higher SS- and Police-Leader Jeckeln testified in 1945:

"In December 1941, when I reported orally the completion of Himmler's order to execute by shooting the Jews of the Ghetto in Riga to him, Himmler told me that shooting was too complicated an action. In the shootings, one needed troops who were able to shoot, and that it had a bad influence on the men. So, said Himmler further, it would be best to destroy/liquidate/kill the people with gas-vans, which upon his order had been built in Germany" [footnote 77].

The six gas-vans, described so far, (one with Einsatzgruppe C, two in Chelmno, two in Riga, one with Einsatzgruppe D- ), which were operating until end of 1941, Had two features in common, the exterior appearance and the number of people they could carry [footnote 78].

The vans were smaller, 3-tons-trucks, with a superstructure of about 4m in length, in which 30-50 persons could be carried [footnote 79].

The same description fits on the vans, in which air-samples were taken in the yard of the KTI, and which were later tested in Sachsenhausen. Leiding and Hoffmann testify unanimously, that the vans were 3-tons transporters in which thirty men were killed [footnote 80].

According to Rauff and Wentritt, firstly five or six chassis had been purchased and delivered to the Gaubschat factory [footnote 81]. Hence, in 1941, first six vans with 3-tons weight have been prepared/built and were operating starting in November or December. These are the vans of the "first series" [footnote 82] with at least two different types of chassis, "Daimond" [footnote 83] and "Opel-Blitz" [footnote 84].

That one used vans with different types is related to the difficulties with the purchase of the chassis in the beginning [footnote 85]. The sources and testimonies report as well that larger vans, type "Saurer" were rebuilt/altered into gas-vans [footnote 86]. These were trucks with 8 tons with a box- superstructure with 5.8m length and 1.7m height, which could carry up to one hundred people [footnote 87]. In a note in the files of Referat II D3a on 23th June 1942 is remarked: "According to transaction/proceeding II D3a - 1737/41, an order on 30 special superstructures for chassis delivered was given to Gaubschat company. 20 vehicles are already finished and have been delivered" [footnote 88].

Conforming with the high number of vans ordered, the order must have been given late in 1941 [footnote 89]. That the whole order was related only to Saurer-vans is certified by a note on 27th April 1942, which relates to the transaction-number 1737 [footnote 90]. The sketches/blueprints enjoined show that "proposals for a fast discharge equipment@ were only provided for the Saurer vans.

As construction plans for such an equipment were provided only for this type of van - they should be added/built into the vans already in operation subsequently - we may conclude, that the whole order for thirty chassis consisted of Saurer-vans. This consideration is corroborated by a letter from Becker to Rauff on 16th May 1942:

"While the vans of the first series can be used in not too bad weather, the vans of the second series (Saurer) are completely immobile in rainy weather" [footnote 92].

It becomes apparent, that Becker distinguishes between two series of vans; moreover, the description "Saurer" for the vans of the second series is only meaningful, if all vans in this series were of them same type. Hence, the Referat II D 3a issued an order and delivered the Saurer-chassis to equip them with the superstructures/boxes/containers in the end 1941 and in April 1942 already 20 of them had been delivered [footnote 93].

The sources and witnesses say that gas-vans of the Saurer- type were operating only in January 1942 [footnote 94], i.e. later than the smaller vans.

Considering the necessary time for the construction works [footnote 95], the order 1737 cannot be issued before December 1941. Becker's distinction relates therefore not only to the size of the vans, but as well to the date of their construction and of their operationing. This means that for starting six smaller vans had been built and were used, but already since December 1941, one only built larger vans of the Saurer- type, firstly, as one intended to provide each Sonderkommando of the different Einsatzgruppen with at least one van, and secondly to expand and extend the gassing- capacity.

That the latter aim was foremost is shown by the note of 27th April 1942, which discusses several possibilities ("tip- up equipment for the box-superstructure", "facility to tip- up the bottom-grate", "facility to move in and out the bottom-grate") to achieve a quicker discharge of the 'cargo' (=gassed people) [footnote 97]. Even when it turned out that the large vans couldn't be used in the open ground in all weather it wasn't thought of using smaller vans as in the beginning, only the box-superstructure should be slightly shortened [footnote 98].

Referat II D 3a was not only responsible for technical matters but as well for the operationing/handling of the vans/transportation park of the security police and consequently for the gas-vans.

This is elucidated not only by the official tasks of the Referat, but as well by the work of SS-Untersturmfuehrer Becker [footnote 99]. On Rauff's order he travelled to the Einsatzgruppen to supervise the operationing/handling of the gas-vans and to mend occurring faults/difficulties [footnote 100].

According to his own statements, he was thus travelling from mid January to September 1942 [footnote 101]. During this time, he was in perpetual connection with Rauff, and reported continuously about his supervising/observations and his actions/work [footnote 102]. His reports provided basis of "technical alterations/improvements" which should be applied in the construction of vehicles which were still to be built [footnote 103].

Becker's intervening wouldn't have been necessary if the group Rauff had been responsible only for the production/construction/preparation of the vans. Becker's task shows that the group II D3 was as well responsible for the operationing/maintenance/handling of the vans. This is as well certified by the sources.

On 15th June 1942, the Commanding Leader of the Security Police and of the SD in Ostland [administrative district in occupied SU, comprising parts of Lithuania, Poland, Byelorussia - around Vilna, Baranowicze, Minks, Sluzk] addressed a request to Rauff for an additional van of Saurer-type [footnote 104].

In the same place, he ordered "another 20 exhaust-hoses to be send along, as the existing were already untight". From Becker's report we may infer that the failure of a van had to be reported by wireless telegraph to the Amt II D and that the vans had to be sent to Berlin in the case of more involved repairs [footnote 105]. The note in the file on 5th June 1942 reports that a gas-van was exploded in Chelmno. This incident caused Rauff to order new experiments on gas-samples by the KTI.

In the same place, the "services affected by this [got] special instructions" and smaller alterations to the vans were undertaken to prevent [the building-up] of high pressures in the box-superstructures [footnote 106].

SS-Gruppenfuehrer Harald Turner, head of the administration staff with the military commander in Serbia, had requested and got a gas-van in April 1942 for the killing of the Jews of Belgrad [footnote 107].

On 9th June this Saurer-van was sent back to Belin after completed "special task" [footnote 108]. After due repair, it was sent to Riga conforming to the request on 15th June [footnote 109].

Often the gas-vans have been seen on intermediate stops on their way to the East, e.g. in Breslau or Krakau [footnote 110].

The Leader of Einsatzgruppe D, Ohlendorf, testified that the gas-vans didn't belong to the transportation- park/rolling stock of the Einsatzgruppe, but were commissioned/leased to them from Berlin [footnote 111].

With the gas-vans, the drivers, who had got a training to the handling of the vans [footnote 112] were sent along. Gas-vans drivers testified that on order of the operative leader of group II D 3a they had fetched/got the vans in Berlin and brought them to their operation location/area [footnote 113].

This means, that Amt II D 3a was not only responsible for the construction of the gas-vans, but it directed/orchestrated centrally from/in the RSHA the operations of the gas-vans [footnote 114], providing the vans, drivers, and exchange parts/equipment; it controlled/supervised and coordinated the operationing of the vehicles.

For finishing, a conclusion of the results:

In the period of four months, on order by Himmler, a new killing method, the gas-van, was developed in the following sequence of actions/events:

- 15./16.8.1941 Himmler's order

- 16./18.9. Experiments in Minsk and Mogilev

- Early October, order given to Amt II D 3a

- 3.11. experimental gassing in Sachsenhausen

- Late November and in December first usage of the vans

In this the RSHA cooperated closely with the following services:

- the KTI; here emerged the idea to build gas-vans; and it was responsible for the "chemistry part" of the experiments

- Referat II D 3a ; it prepared two series of vans, six smaller ones (Daimond and Opel-Blitz) and the thirty Saurer- vans; it directed and supervised the operationing of the vans, centrally from Berlin

In the development of the gas-vans, the experience gathered during the "Euthanasia", which was stopped officially in 1941 was purposively applied/used in technical matters ("Kaisers Kaffee"-vans) as well as with the staff employed (KTI, Becker, Lange). Unlike the case of "Kaisers Kaffee"- vans, a participation of Fuehrer's chancellery cannot be stated/found here. This staff worked during that time on the development of another method which was used in the destruction centers since 1942.

"Technical developments" were a precondition for the perpetration of the premeditated/intended crimes. The step- wise perfectioning of the killing-methods were the development of the gas-van was only one step in the sequel of national-socialist killing methods, result in the killing of ever more people, mainly Jews.

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AirborneAllTheWay
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Post by AirborneAllTheWay » 15 Aug 2002 02:01

Sorry, got into the internet after a day at the museum... Found this article answering denial comments about gas vans...

2.16: Fumes from a diesel engine are not toxic enough to kill
people. (This claim is made with regard to the death camp of
Treblinka - see file with ruling of German courts on this. In
other death camps, gasoline engines were used. The method of
killing was simple - people were crammed into the gas chambers,
and the exhaust of powerful engines was pumped into them).

Nonsense. In a closed chamber, of course diesel fumes will kill.
There was actually a study on this, and its results are reported in
"The Toxicity of Fumes from a diesel Engine Under Four Different
Running Conditions", by Pattle et al., British Journal of Industrial
Medicine, 1957, Vol 14, p. 47-55. These researchers ran a few
experiments in which various animals were exposed to diesel fumes,
and studied the results.

In the experiments, the exhaust of a small diesel engine (568 cc, 6
BHP) was connected to a chamber 10 cubic meters (340 cubic feet) in
volume, and the animals were put inside it. In all cases, the
animals died. Death was swifter when the intake of air to the engine
was restricted, as this causes a large increase in the amount of
carbon monoxide (CO) that is emitted. (See, for instance, "diesel
Engine Reference Book", by Lilly, 1985, p. 18/8, where it is stated
that at a high air/fuel ratio the concentration of CO is only a few
parts per million but for lower ratios (25:1) the concentration of CO
can rise up to 3,000 ppm. It is very easy to restrict the air intake
- the British researchers did so by partially covering the air intake
opening with a piece of metal.)

Even in cases where the CO output was low, the animals still died
from other toxic components - mainly irritants and nitrogen dioxide.

Now, the diesel engines used in Treblinka were much larger - they
belonged to captured Soviet T-34 tanks. These tanks weighed 26-31
tons (depending on the model) and had a 500 BHP engine (compared to a

[Leuchter] [Page 17]

mere 6 BHP in the British experiments). The volume of the
extermination chambers in Treblinka is, of course, a factor. But the
chambers' volume was about 60 cubic meters (2040 cubic feet); this is
6 times more than those in the British experiments, but the
difference in the size of the engines is much larger than a factor of
6.

It should be remembered that what matters in CO poisoning is not the
concentration of CO, but the ratio of CO to oxygen. In a small,
gas-tight room, crammed full of people, oxygen levels drop quickly,
thus making death by CO poisoning faster. As noted, other toxic
components in the fumes further accelerate mortality.

The SS was aware of the fact that cramming as many people as possible
into the gas chamber, thus leaving no empty spaces, would accelerate
mortality. This is evident, for instance, from a letter regarding
"gassing vans" (used in the Chelmno extermination camp and other
locations) sent to SS-Obersturmbannfuehrer Walter Rauff, 5 June 1942.
The letter is quite long (more of it is reproduced in the file of
original Nazi documents), but here is the relevant part (Nazism,
document 913).

"2) The vans are normally loaded with 9-10 people per square meter.
With the large Saurer special vans this is not possible because
although they do not become overloaded their maneuverability is much
impaired. A reduction in the load area appears desirable. It can be
achieved by reducing the size of the van by c. 1 meter. The
difficulty referred to cannot be overcome by reducing the size of the
load. For a reduction in the numbers will necessitate longer period
of operation because the free spaces will have to be filled with CO.
By contrast, a smaller load area which is completely full requires a
much shorter period of operation since there are no free spaces."

Another gruesome testimony to the "science of gassing" developed by
the SS is the letter from Dr August Becker to SS-Obersturmbannfuehrer
Rauff, 16 May 1942 (Nazi Conspiracy, 418)

The application of the gas is not undertaken correctly. In
order to come to an end as fast as possible, the driver presses
the accelerator to the fullest extent. By doing that the
persons to be executed suffer death from suffocation and not
death by dozing off as was planned. My directions have now
proved that by correct adjustment of the levers death comes
faster and the prisoners fall asleep peacefully. Distorted
faces and excretions, such as could be seen before, are no
longer noticed.

[Leuchter] [Page 18]

Additional information was published to several UseNet newsgroups in
November of 1993, in which smullins@ecn.purdue.edu quotes Holtz (see
Recommended Reading section) and Elliot. A quick scan of the data
clearly shows the difference in oxygen and carbon monoxide levels
found in diesel exhaust under different fuel-air mixture conditions:

Exhaust gas composition of a diesel engine, running at the correct
fuel-air ratios (% by volume):

O2: 1.5%
CO2: 13.5%
CO: 0.5%

Exhaust gas composition of a diesel engine running at a fuel-air
ratio of 0.094 (% by volume):

O2: 0.3%
CO2: 10.2%
CO: 6.0%

The data clearly demonstrates that simply restricting the air intake
of the engine, any diesel engine will produce sufficient CO to be
clearly and rapidly fatal (6% CO represents roughly 60,000 ppm). This
data (Holtz & Elliot) appeared in "Transactions of the ASME" in early
1941, and was probably known to the Nazis.

Mr. Mullins has also published an article to UseNet which deals with
Berg's "The Diesel Gas Chambers: Myth Within a Myth," (Get pub/
orgs/american/ihr/jhr/jhr.v5n1), and which demonstrates not only how
diesel engines can quickly produce highly toxic levels of gasses,
but which uses Berg's own references to do so. (Get
pub/orgs/american/ihr/diesel.001 for the full article.)

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Post by Dan » 15 Aug 2002 02:19

The bigger question is whether a sophisticated nation like Germany would use a totally ineffecient method when a better alternative was readily available.

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Post by AirborneAllTheWay » 15 Aug 2002 02:21

I get the feeling they used this method till the 'next step' was ready for operation.

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Post by Dan » 15 Aug 2002 02:28

Every medium sized town in Germany had better method regularly used by the fumigation industry.

Bad argument.

(No offence :D )

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Post by AirborneAllTheWay » 15 Aug 2002 02:32

didnt say it was an arguement, i dont have much knowledge of the holocaust, but the vans would be useful to mobile squads surely?

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Post by Dan » 15 Aug 2002 02:38

Scott Smith has done much research on the subject, and much can be found in the archives of this very site. I have been convinced by Smith, Michael Mills, and a few others that the Nazi's killed off many hospitalized people in the Soviet areas that they invaded, which to me is pure and unadulterated murder.

But I've come to believe that the gas van story is a hoax.

Best

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