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Shofar FTP Archive File: camps/auschwitz/cyanide/hcn-use-pressac

         "A hydrocyanic gas concentration of 0.3 g/m3 (lethal 
      dose) is immediately fatal for man, while in order to 
      destroy lice a concentration of 5 g/m3 applied for at least 
      two hours is necessary.  If this concentration is maintained 
      for 6 hours, all insects are destroyed [source: Degesch].  
      In Birkenau, the quantity poured into the homicidal gas 
      chambers was forty times the lethal dose (12 g/m3) which 
      killed without fail one thousand people in less than five 
      minutes. [..] The contact time for the hydrocyanic acid with 
      the walls of the homicidal gas chambers never exceeded about 
      ten minutes per day at a temperature below 30 degrees Celsius.  

         In the clothing delousing gas chambers a minimum 
      concentration of 5 g/m3 was used during several cycles per 
      day, the duration of the cycle varying according to the 
      contact time chosen.  This hydrocyanic saturation for 12 to 
      18 hours a day was reinforced by the heat given off by 
      stoves (situated in the chamber) providing a temperature of
      30 degrees Celsius.  The walls were impregnated with warm 
      hydrocyanic acid for at least 12 hours a day, which was to 
      bring about in situ the formation of a dye, "Prussian blue" 
      or potassium iron (III) hexacyanoferrate (II), whose 
      composition varied according to the conditions of 

   19) Pressac, Jean-Claude.  _Auschwitz: Techniques and Operation of 
       the Gas Chambers_ (English edition) (New York: Beate Klarsfeld 
       Foundation) c. 1989, p 53.  

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