The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1994/07/05

Date: Fri, 1 Jul 1994 8:28:52 -0500 (CDT)
From: WILLENA@HBFULLER.COM
To: kmcvay@oneb.almanac.bc.ca
Message-ID: <940701082852.60200222@HBFULLER.COM>
Subject: Holocaust Denial Research Paper


                          _Vergasungskeller_
 
             _The Case Against the Auschwitz Gas Chambers_

                                  by
                          Andrew Willenbring

     Five and a half decades ago the first of millions of "social 
undesirables" were being shipped east from Germany and other occupied 
territories to camps in the east of Poland.  By the end of the Second 
World War millions of them would be dead - by starvation, disease, or 
execution.  Every history course dealing with World War Two has a 
section on the Holocaust, this attempted genocide of the European 
Jews.  The Holocaust spawned organizations world wide devoted to 
making sure that this kind of disgusting manifestation of racial 
hatred never happens again.  However, there is a movement in this 
country and others that maintains that the whole thing is a 
fabrication, a lie told by the "International Jewish Community" to 
create revenue, in the form of reparations payments from Germany, and 
immunity from criticism for the State of Israel.  For those who 
believe in the reality of the Holocaust, Revisionism, as it is called, 
represents some of the worst atrocities committed in relation to the 
genocide since the event itself; not merely because it is the denial 
of the reality of it, although that is a part of it, but because 
Revisionist hate and lies are clothed in the guise of scholarly 
research.  However, to those who support them, the Revisionists are 
the last best hope for truth, freedom, and peace for the future.
 
                   I.  The Gas Chambers in History
 
     During World War Two, the Nazi government in Germany operated 
concentration camps, to which were sent those persons who, for reasons 
of race, religion, ethnic background, or political views were deemed 
of lesser value than the Aryan "Master Race" in order to separate 
them and keep that Aryan race pure.  However, for a few of those races 
and ethnicities, separation wasn't enough.  The Nazi philosophy held 
such races as Gypsies and Jews so low that only extermination was 
acceptable.  So certain of the camps, Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka, and 
Auschwitz being the most notable, were built as or converted to 
Extermination Camps.  The camp that has perhaps been the focus of the 
greatest amount of study of any of the Death Camps, as they were 
known, was Auschwitz.
 
     The concentration camp known as Auschwitz took its name from the 
small town about forty miles west of Krakow, in Eastern Poland, near 
which it was constructed shortly after the annexation of Poland by 
Germany.  It held about ten thousand prisoners.  In March of 1941 a 
second camp was constructed about one and one half miles away, known 
as Auschwitz II, or Birkenau (McVay, "Auschwitz", page 2).  While the 
first camp housed mostly prisoners who were fit for work, Birkenau's 
residents were for the most part the very old, very young, and the 
ill.

     However, gassing did not start at Auschwitz until the fall of 
1941 (McVay, "Auschwitz", introduction) while the Kommandant of the 
camp, Rudolf Hoess, was away on business. Hauptsturmfuehrer Fritsch, one 
of Hoess' subordinates, made the conclusion that if the insecticide 
Zyklon B killed lice it could kill people just as well, and the first 
experimental gassing with that gas took place with a group of 
condemned Russian POWs as guinea pigs (McVay, "Auschwitz", page 3).  
 
That experimental first gassing took place in the Main camp, in a 
building known today as Krema I ("Krema" is a contraction of the 
German word for "crematorium").  Later, four more Krema (II, III, IV, 
V) were built at Birkenau, where most of the gassings took place.  
Krema I was used for a very short period and then converted to an air 
raid shelter (McVay, "Auschwitz", page 3).  The best estimates of the 
number of Jews, Gypsies, and other prisoners who died at Auschwitz 
indicate the total to be between one and one and a half million 
persons (McVay, "Auschwitz", page 12).
 
     The gassing of prisoners often followed a standard pattern.  The 
victims would be led into a room were they were told to undress, hang 
their clothes on hooks on the wall, and remember the number of the 
hook.  They were promised food and work to do after the "shower" they 
were about to receive.  Then, with soap and towels, they were rushed 
into the gas chambers and gassed (McVay, "Auschwitz", page 8).  After 
about a half hour, _Sonderkommandos_, groups of prisoners forced to work 
at the gas chambers, would go in with gas masks, carry out all the 
dead bodies, and take them to be cremated (McVay, "Auschwitz", page 
8).
 
     Much of the evidence corroborating the existence of the Auschwitz 
gas chambers comes from testimony, affidavits, and documentary 
evidence at the Nuremberg trials after the Second World War.  Many of 
the officers and men who worked at Auschwitz testified about the 
genocidal policies of the Nazi regime, and to the murderous operations 
at Auschwitz.  The gas chambers themselves were destroyed by the Nazis 
when they evacuated the camp, so they were not available  for 
examination (Krema I was reconstructed to its form as a gas chamber by 
the Soviets soon after the War, however).  Kommandant Hoess himself 
provided very important information to the prosecutors during and 
after that trial.
 
     After almost five decades, the truth about the Holocaust of 
European Jews is still being sought.  Exactly how many Jews, Gypsies, 
Russians, and others deemed undesirable by Hitler's Nazi regime were 
killed may never be known.  However, estimates can be made, and one of 
those estimates is given here:
 
   Eichmann's interrogation regarding the total number of victims
   supports Fleming's figure of about five million killed (Request
   eichmann eichmann.005), while figures compiled by Yehuda Bauer,
   of Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, are somewhat higher.  Bauer's figures
   are in the right-most column:

       German Reich (boundaries of 1938)       130,000   125,000
       Austria                                  58,000    65,000
       Belgium                                  26,000
       Belgium & Luxembourg                               24,700 
       Bulgaria                                  7,000
       Czechoslovakia (boundaries of 1938)     245,000   277,000
       France                                   64,000    83,000
       Greece                                   58,000    65,000
       Hungary & Carpatho-Ukraine              300,000   402,000*
       Italy                                     8,000     7,500*
       Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia              200,000
       Luxembourg                                3,000
       Netherlands                             101,800   106,000
       Norway                                      677       760
       Poland (boundaries of 1939)           2,700,000
       Polish-Soviet area                              4,565,000
       Romania (boundaries prior to 1940)      220,000    40,000
       USSR (boundaries prior to 1939)         800,000
       Yugoslavia                               54,000    60,000*
                                               -----------------
                                             4,975,477 5,820,960
                                          * May be underestimated
 
                                        (McVay, "Auschwitz", page 11)
 
     Other estimates also exist, some based on differences in prewar 
and postwar populations, or compiled from records kept by the Nazis 
about how many were killed where, how many were sent from where, how 
many were gassed right away, and how many were left when the camps 
were liberated.
 
                 II.  Revisionism and the Gas Chamber
 
     Revisionists present several bases for their arguments against 
the Nazi gas chambers.  One is the basic disbelief that the Nazis had 
a genocidal policy in any way.  Some believe that while Hitler's 
government was actively anti-Semitic, and that many Jews died in the 
concentration camps, the deaths were not intentional, and not very 
many Jews died even accidentally or from disease (this is the argument 
that comprises most of the beginning premise of _Hoax of the Twentieth 
Century_, by Arthur R. Butz); not anywhere near six million, anyway 
(Butz).
 
     Another argument against the use of gas chambers for 
extermination is that the gas chambers never existed, that the 
buildings and rooms so long designated as killing areas were more 
innocent things, such as morgues for prisoners who died of old age or 
disease, disinfection rooms for the delousing of new inmates, or even 
rooms containing fuel preparation equipment for the nearby cremation 
ovens.  This argument is supported by Revisionists who cite that much 
of the Nuremberg Trial testimony was obtained under conditions that 
would have denied it admissibility in any American court; a very great 
deal was gained under duress or after promises of leniency in 
sentencing, promises that seldom were made good (Butz, chapter I).  
This testimony was extremely important to the conclusion that 
destroyed buildings contained gas chambers or that cryptic language in 
documents concerning "special treatment", "_Sonderbehandlung_", really 
meant genocide, so any reason to mistrust this evidence throws doubt 
on the whole extermination conclusion.
 
     The last of the three possible functions of the rooms called gas 
chambers that have been stated above, that the gas chambers were rooms 
full of equipment for the preparation of fuel for the crematoria, is 
based in the German language itself.  The word _Vergasungskeller_, found 
in the Nuremberg Military Tribunal Document NO-4473, a memo from "the 
chief of the Auschwitz construction management to the head of the SS 
engineering group" (Butz, pg121) has been translated as "gas chamber".  
However, that is only one of the meanings.  The root, _Vergasung_, was 
used in World War One to indicate the military use of poison gas 
against the enemy.  However, in a technical context, such as that 
presumably present in a letter of the type in question, _Vergasung_ 
indicates carburetion or gasification.  The type of crematoria in use 
at Auschwitz used coke, a form of coal, as a fuel to keep the bodies 
burning.  This coke needed to be prepared by carburating it so that it 
would burn correctly.  Therefore, _Vergasungskeller_ could mean 
"carburetion cellar" (Butz, page 120-121).
 
     Others argue that the eye witness testimony is either inaccurate 
or outright false, either because the buildings were not ventilated 
well enough for the _Sonderkommando_ to remove the corpses as quickly as 
witnesses have claimed, or because the gases would have exploded with 
all the guards smoking, another claim made fairly consistently by 
witnesses.  The best known proponent of the lack of ventilation 
argument is a man named Frank Leuchter.  Mr. Leuchter published a 
report, known as the "Leuchter Report", in which he claims to be an 
engineer, and proceeds to show that for various reasons the places 
designated as gas chambers were unfit for that use because of less 
than adequate ventilation, sealing, and volume of the chamber itself, 
as well as that the chambers did not provide for safe exhausting of 
the cyanide gas after gassing (McVay, "Leuchter").
 
     The other part of the argument, related to the first, is that 
smoking guards would have ignited the gases used for extermination.  
Zyklon B, the material used by Germans to delouse buildings, and 
allegedly exterminate Jews, gives off the gas HCN, hydrocyanic acid, 
which at sufficient concentrations is extremely explosive (McCarthy).  
Revisionists make the argument that because the "alleged" chambers 
were not ventilated, or not ventilated well enough, the burning 
cigarettes and the gas would have come in contact and caused an 
explosion (McCarthy).
 
                      III.  Denying Revisionism
 
     Let us begin with the argument against a Nazi genocidal policy.  
It is hard to give credence to any assertion that the Nazi government 
did not have a genocidal policy.  Events like the liquidation of the 
Warsaw Ghetto, along with the descriptions of the treatment and living 
conditions of the prisoners and the extermination procedure itself 
given by eyewitnesses would seem to directly oppose this view.  Also, 
the histories of the era, as well as Nazi tomes such as Hitler's own 
_Mein Kampf_, definitely indicate not only a systematic "dehumanization" 
of Jews and others, but a violent attitude, which on many occasions 
did manifest itself in actual physical violence on the part of men in 
the field, with no obvious discouragement from government officials.  
So, it would appear that any idea that the Nazis had no genocidal 
intentions toward the "social undesirables" is false at best.
 
     The argument that the rooms designated as gas chambers were 
technologically not able to perform that task is founded on a piece of 
work by Frank Leuchter, the Leuchter Report, based on "scientific" 
work done by Mr. Leuchter after a visit to the Auschwitz site.  Mr. 
Leuchter has admitted that the basis of credibility on his part, his 
status as an engineer, is pure fabrication.  He has claimed that 
status on several occasions, most notably in his "Report" and at the 
Canadian trial of a man named Ernst Zundel, at which he claims to be 
not only an engineer, but an expert on means of execution.  At the 
Zundel trial, he testified that he had contracted with two prisons, 
San Quentin in California, and a prison in North Carolina, to sell 
services and equipment to both institutions.  However, when contacted, 
officials at both places denied any contract.  Also, at a later trial 
in which he was the defendant, he admitted that he is "not and [has] 
never been registered as a professional engineer".
 
     The problem with the argument that Zyklon B is too explosive is 
one of concentration.  The minimum concentration of Zyklon B required 
for an explosion is around fifty-six thousand parts per million (ppm).  
This is almost two hundred times the concentration necessary to kill 
humans in just a few minutes, three hundred ppm.  While this argument 
is sometimes continued with the stipulation that because HCN gas, the 
active agent in Zyklon B, is slightly lighter than air (twenty-seven 
grams per mole for HCN as opposed to twenty-eight and eight tenths 
grams per mole for air) it would form dense pockets given time, that 
is obviously not an accurate statement.  For instance, if gases were 
that easily separated, the entire atmosphere, made up of about seventy 
percent nitrogen and thirty percent oxygen, would be entirely oxygen 
near the surface and entirely nitrogen at altitude, and not fairly 
well mixed together, as we know it is (McCarthy).
 
                           VI.  Conclusion
 
     For decades, historians have told us that the Nazi regime under 
Adolf Hitler was responsible for the deaths of millions of Jews and 
Gypsies, Russians, homosexuals, the insane, and political prisoners.  
Historians have told us that the Nazis used poison gas chambers to 
murder most of them.  They have told us that when the Jews and Gypsies 
weren't being killed they were being forced to live in terrible 
conditions in which disease was rampant, perform backbreaking labor 
for the benefit of German industry and the German state.  And they 
have told us that all of this was done in the name of a "master race" 
which Hitler believed in to the point of attempting to exterminate the 
other races.  But now, in the United States, Canada, France, Germany, 
and all over the world, there are people who call themselves 
Revisionists saying that all those historians are wrong, that history 
has been consciously altered for someone's gain.  And the gain is 
going to the very people who were supposedly so severely persecuted.  
It can be quite a distressing and overwhelming situation for those who 
have lived with the standard history for so long.
 
     The arguments used by these Revisionists seem to center around 
attacks on the evidence for the Holocaust.  "The guards couldn't have 
smoked like witnesses said" and "'_Vergasung_' doesn't necessarily mean 
gassing someone" are two examples discussed above of this Revisionist 
tactic of disproving something by doubting the evidence presented.  
However, in this authors opinion, it is not enough to merely cast some 
vague suspicion on the veracity and credibility of the evidence.  
There must be some evidence to the contrary.  If they could find a Jew 
who was at Auschwitz and would testify that no one was ever killed 
there intentionally, or if the few existing pictures of the equipment 
believed to have been used in the genocide of the Jews showed 
something that could prove beyond a doubt that people were not gassed, 
then that would be something concrete in favor of Revisionist 
arguments.
 
     But there is nothing of the kind.  Pictures and plans show what 
must be gas chambers.  Witnesses tell of atrocities and killings.  
Even the perpetrators of these acts, the guards and officers of the 
camps and the high officials of the government, have admitted, under 
oath and in signed affidavits, that these things that the Revisionists 
seek to discount did in fact happen, that they, as guards and officers 
did do these things, and that they, as officers of the armed forces 
and officials, did attempt to cover it up.
 
     One gets the feeling that perhaps Revisionists are trying redeem 
a racial pride, or strengthen a racial prejudice, with these 
arguments.  Some arguments, like the assertion that because HCN is a 
different density than normal air it will collect in dense pockets, 
seem logical when first presented, but don't stand up to scrutiny.  An 
argument like that requires blind faith, which is what Revisionists 
are trying to get away from in the first place.
 
     Admittedly, there are arguments that are difficult to refute.  
For example, without a fluency in 1940s German, this author cannot 
make a conclusion about the accuracy of the definitions given for the 
German word _Vergasung_.  However, the vast preponderance of real, 
concrete evidence that can be found supports the unfortunate reality 
of the Holocaust.

                             Works Cited


McVay, Kenneth N.  (1994) "HOLOCAUST FAQ: Auschwitz-Birkenau: Layman's
     Guide" Usenet news.answers.  Available via anonymous ftp from
     rtfm.mit.edu in pub/usenet/news.answers/holocaust/auschwitz/
     part01 (and ~/part02). 24 pages.

Kotsikonas, Anastasios.  (1992) "The Leuchter Report: A Laymnan's
     Guide: Holocaust Denial & The Big Lie.  Available via E-Mail from
     The Old Frog's Almanac (ListServ) archive site at
     listserv@oneb.almanac.bc.ca, Archive Leuchter, files
     Leuchter.faq1 and Leuchter.faq2. 27 pages.

McCarthy, Jamie R. (1992) "Gannon.gas."  Available via E-Mail from The
     Old Frog's Almanac (ListServ) archive site at
     listserv@oneb.almanac.bc.ca, Archive B-CPU, file Gannon.gas.

Butz, Arthur R.  _The Hoax of the Twentieth Century: The Case Against
     the Presumed Extermination of European Jewry_.  Torrance, CA:
     Institute for Historical Review, c. 1976, 1983 printing.

Hitler, Adolf.  _Mein Kampf_.  Boston, MA.  Houghton Mifflin Co., c.
     1971.

                            _Bibliography_

Butz, Arthur R.  _The Hoax of the Twentieth Century: The Case Against
     the Presumed Extermination of European Jewry_.  Torrance, CA:
     Institute for Historical Review, c. 1976, 1983 printing.

Hitler, Adolf.  _Mein Kampf_.  Boston, MA.  Houghton Mifflin Co., c.
     1971.

McVay, Kenneth N.  (1994) "HOLOCAUST FAQ: Auschwitz-Birkenau: Layman's
     Guide" Usenet news.answers.  Available via anonymous ftp from
     rtfm.mit.edu in pub/usenet/news.answers/holocaust/auschwitz/
     part01 (and ~/part02). 24 pages.

Oertelt, Henry.  "A Holocaust Survivor's Testimony."  St John's
     University, 17 April, 1994, 7:00 PM.

Old Frog's Almanac Archive Site.  A large archive of files about the
     Holocaust is available via E-Mail from the Old Frog's Almanac
     listserver.  E-Mail to listserv@oneb.almanac.bc.ca with a blank
     subject line, and in the body, "get archive_name filename". A
     list of those files available at the Old Frog's Almanac that were
     consulted in relation to this paper follows:

    Archive           File              Archive           File
     Auschwitz       Deathcamp.03        Auschwitz     Glossary
     B-CPU           B-CPU.anti-sem      B-CPU         Gannon.gas
                     B-CPU.faq                         Gannon.words
                     B-CPU.files                       Liar
                     B-CPU.001                         Liberators
                     Blasted.001                       Lie.04
                     Christian.news                    Lie.06
                     Cmelon.001                        Lie.07
                     Gannon                            Newyorker.net
                     Gannon.001                        Nexus.001
                     Gannon.002                        Pfaust-bcpu
                     Gannon.0708                       Players.faq
                     Gannon.0714                       Scrolls.refute
                     Gannon.0730                       Winston.refute
     CODOH           Arno.1              CODOH         MSU.001
                     Arno.book                         MSU.002
                     CODOH.museum                      MSU.003
                     CODOH.oregonian                   NWU.001
                     Duke.001                          Oregonian.net
                     Harvard.001
     Irving          Hitlers.war
     Reinhard        Appendix.arad       Reinhard      Reinhard.faq2
                     Prolog.arad
     Holocaust       Hoess.intro.01      Holocaust     JIN.intro
      /bibliography  Holocaust.oed        /IHR         IFZ.001
     Leuchter        Leuchter.faq2
     Netherlands     Holland.003
     IHR             IHR.faq2            IHR           IHR.intro.text
     Poland          YVS16.01            Poland        YVS16.index

Vidal-Naquet, Pierre.  _Assassins of Memory: Essays on the Denial of
     the Holocaust_.  New York, Columbia University Press, c. 1992.


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