DThomas' Diesel Retreat

Part 2 of 4

This is an article posted on January 2, 1997 to alt.revisionism by DvdThomas.

Jamie wrote:

Mr. Moran, we've been told by Fritz Berg and a handful of other Holocaust-deniers, in this forum, that gassing with engine exhaust was incredibly wasteful -- that there was a fuel shortage, that it took precious oil to keep the engines running. They say why on earth would precious diesel fuel be used to kill people when German trucks were parked on the streets for lack of gas?

Therefore, they say, the Holocaust never happened.

I'll take your word that Berg said that (and also take exception to your description of him as a "Holocaust-denier"), but it isn't and never was a factor in the main points he makes. Diesel engines are an extremely inefficient way to generate carbon monoxide. Their normal operating characteristics just aren't conducive to its formation at lethal levels. A diesel engine would have to be operated at such a rich air/fuel ratio that there would be rapid buildup of solids in the cylinders which would ruin the engine. It isn't a lengthy process, it would occur within hours, or at most, days. In addition, the engine would have to be run at 80% to 100% of full load, rather a difficult thing to do for a stationary mounted unit. A dynamometer type loading device would have to be installed. There is again no record or mention of the presence of this large, expensive, and highly specialized item in any supply records, statements or testimonies.

Gasoline engines, on the other hand, are excellent sources of carbon monoxide, as evidenced by the frequency of suicides using automobile exhaust. Gasoline was also in short supply in wartime Germany, a fact that caused them to invent and build a half-million or more "producer gas generators" which were small add-on modules that could be mounted on vehicles to provide fuel for their modified engines. This was done in great numbers to solve the problem of petroleum shortages. Producer gas powered vans, trucks and buses were a standard mode of transportation throughout Germany and occupied Europe and Russia.

Wood chips were burned in a converter chamber whose output was a flammable mix of gases that contained high levels of carbon monoxide, 25% on the average (carbon monoxide is also flammable). This gas mix was lethal in its produced state and found limited use as a fumigant, probably for rats, not insects. The drawback of course is that it's also highly flammable, and in quantity, explosive. However, it is a simple matter to set such an engine so that its exhaust emits carbon monoxide in reduced but still deadly levels that would kill quickly without the risk of explosion.

Given the ready availability of the producer gas vehicles and the fact that their operation required only ordinary wood chips, they would have been an obviously more practical choice than either of the other two types of engines or, for that matter, Zyklon-B. Yet, aside from stories of field use of "killing vans" in which the alleged victims were placed in the back of such trucks for gassing in a limited area of the Eastern Front and one or two other locations, there is absolutely no mention of their use in camps for this purpose in the historical record. No mention in German records, and no claims by purported witnesses. (The former, by the way, would naturally be the case if there were no gassing chambers.) All you have is the diesel claim, which I understand is beginning to be revised to gasoline by some of the sanctioned historians, no doubt in quiet reaction to the improbability of a diesel being able to do what has been claimed.

And, yes, I know of the report from a British medical journal in the fifties in which several animals were killed with diesel exhaust in a scantily documented experiment. All that proves is that it is, as stated earlier here and elsewhere by Berg, marginally possible to push a diesel to its limits and achieve lethal levels of CO in its exhaust for a very short period of time, something I do not recall the report addressing.

David Thomas

(Emphasis in original.)

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