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Shofar FTP Archive File: camps/chelmno/gas-wagons//sonderdruck-p3

Newsgroups: alt.revisionism
Followup-To: alt.revisionism
Subject: Holocaust Almanac: Chelmno's Gas Wagons (3 of 5)


Archive/File: camps/chelmno/gas-wagons/sonderdruck.0387
Last-Modified: 1996/03/08

Page nine, p.411

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

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 [54].

Following Krausnick/Wilhelm, he was in Kiew on about  X[?]th
November  [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

     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." [56]

Heess  reported the success of the experimental gassing  not
only  to  Pradel [57], but he wrote a report  together  with
Widmann,  which  was supposedly delivered to Heydrich  [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 [59].

Page ten, p.412

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.   [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.[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 [62] and the time to  bring
the  vans  to  the  locations of  operations  [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_   [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 [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." [66]

The  usage  of gas-vans by the already known _Sonderkommando
Lange_ is testified for the 8th December in Chelmno [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." [68]

Page eleven, p.413

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

In the operation area of _Einsatzgruppe D_ [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 [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

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  [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

So  it  is assured/certain that gas-vans were used beginning
with the end of November or beginning December 1941 [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."[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 [78].

Page twelve, p.414

The  vans were smaller, 3-tons-trucks, with a superstructure
of  about  4m  in  length, in which 30-50 persons  could  be
carried [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 [80].

According to Rauff and Wentritt, firstly five or six chassis
had  been  purchased and delivered to the Gaubschat  factory
[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"[82]  with at least two different types  of  chassis,
"Daimond" [83] and "Opel-Blitz" [84].

That  one used vans with different types is related  to  the
difficulties  with  the  purchase  of  the  chassis  in  the
beginning [85]. The sources and testimonies report  as  well
that  larger  vans, type "Saurer" were rebuilt/altered  into
gas-vans  [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 [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." [88]

Conforming with the high number of vans ordered,  the  order
must have been given late in 1941 [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   [90].  The  sketches/blueprints  enjoined  show  that
"proposals  for  a  fast  discharge  equipment@  were   only
provided for the Saurer vans.

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