Newsgroups: alt.revisionism Subject: Holocaust Almanac - I.G. Farben removed 'indicator' from gas Summary: S.S. orders Degesch (controlled by Farben, Degesch manufactured Zyklon B) to remove the warning odor added to Zyklon B. Degesch balks, then complies. The use to which the S.S. was putting the gas was now clear to those who made it, if they had harboured doubts before. Reply-To: email@example.com Followup-To: alt.revisionism Organization: The Nizkor Project, Toronto Keywords: Degesch,Farben Archive/File: orgs/german/farben.ig farben.001 Last-modified: 1995/06/21 XRef: holocaust hilberg.02 Borkin discusses the Wannsee Conference, at which the "Final Solution of the Jewish Question" was adopted, and then notes that the SS began to increase their purchases of Zyklon B substantially. This citation was the first I have seen that mentions the indicator irritant added to the gas under compulsion of law. (Much like the odor added to propane.) In the past the S.S. had bought moderate amounts of Zyklon B from Degesch as a vermin control in its concentration camps. When the Final Solution added Jews to the S.S. extermination plans, Degesch profits reflected the new prosperity. I.G.'s dividends on its Degesch investment for the years 1942, 1943, and 1944 were double those of 1940 and 1941.
At least one top official of Degesch, Gerhard Peters, the managing director, definitely knew about the new use of Zyklon B. He had been specifically informed of the details of the Final Solution by Kurt Gerstein, the chief disinfection officer of the S.S., who did the purchasing of Zyklon B. There was still another episode that gave the officials of Degesch more than a hint of the dread purpose to which their Zyklon B was being put by the S.S. When manufactured as a pesticide Zyklon B contained a special odor, or 'indicator,' to warn human beings of its lethal presence. The inclusion of such a warning odor was required by German law. When the S.S. demanded that the new, large order of Zyklon B omit the 'indicator,' no one familiar with the workings of the S.S. could have failed to realize the purpose behind the strange request. The Degesch executives at first were unwilling to comply. But compassion was not behind their refusal. What troubled them was the fact that the S.S. request endangered Degesch's monopoly position. The patent on Zyklon B had long since expired. However, Degesch retained its monopoly by a patent on the warning odor. To remove the 'indicator' was bad business, opening up the possibility of unwelcome competition. The S.S. made short shrift of this objection and the company removed the warning odor. Now the doomed would not even know it was Degesch's Zyklon B. (Borkin, 122-123) Note that the "special odor" to which Borkin refers was not merely an offensive odor, but an irritant. When used for delousing, this served two purposes. The first was to ensure that anyone accidentally exposed to the gas, even if they did not know what was happening, would leave the area immediately to relieve the symptoms of burning eyes and throat. The second purpose was to increase the respiration of insects and thus to cause them to die more quickly. This is clear upon examination of document number NI-9912, commonly known as the "Degesch manual" for the use of Zyklon. On page one, the manual states explicitly: ZYKLON is the absorption of a mixture of prussic acid and an irritant by a carrier. Wood fibre discs, a reddish brown granular mass (Diagriess - Dia gravel) or small blue cubes (Erco) are used as carriers. Apart from serving its purpose as indicator, this irritant also had the advantage of stimulating the respiration of insects. Prussic acid and the irritant are generated through simple evaporation. If, as the denial set maintains, the S.S. had only wanted Zyklon B for insect control, they would most certainly not have wished to remove not only the warning device, but also the chemical that made the prussic acid more effective. That would have been not only counterproductive but also quite dangerous. It also seems clear that the only conceivable reason to remove the indicator odor would be to disguise the killing agent from the victims - hydrocyanic acid has only a weak odor described sometimes as like "bitter almonds," or, as in the Degesch manual, "peculiar, repulsively sweet." In short, it shows clear intent, thus refuting yet another denial myth - that there was no organized plan to exterminate anyone. Work Cited Borkin, Joseph. The Crime and Punishment of I.G. Farben. New York: The Free Press, 1978, and London: Macmillan Publishing Company.
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