He’s joking, right?
Summary: the gas chambers were really shelters to protect the Germans from
poison gas attacks. That’s why they were sealed so carefully (confidential
to Leuchter and others: better change your story about their not being
sealed). Butz doesn’t attempt to explain why the only place you find these
gas shelters is in concentration camps.
http://pubweb.acns.nwu.edu/~abutz/di/dau/vk.html (Page doesn`t exist)
by Arthur R. Butz
Veteran revisionists recognize that an outstanding small problem has
been the “Vergasungskeller” that was evidently in or near Crematorium
II at Auschwitz.
Crematorium II (and its mirror image Crematorium III) had two huge
underground morgues, Leichenkeller 1 (LK 1) and LK 2, and a smaller
morgue LK 3. LK 1 and LK 2 were simple concrete morgues in which
bodies were simply laid on the floor. A letter from the Auschwitz
construction department dated 29 January 1943, when the construction
of Crematorium II was nearing completion, reports that frost prohibits
removal of the formwork for the ceiling of the “Leichenkeller”
(without specifying which of the three is meant) but that this is
unimportant, since the “Vergasungskeller” can be used for that
purpose, i.e. as a morgue. The document had the number NO-4473 at the
When NO-4473 is interpreted with the help of some documents reproduced
by Pressac , it is shown that the “Leichenkeller” is LK 2. Pressac
believes that the Vergasungskeller is LK 1 and that a “slip”, indeed
“enormous gaff” (sic), caused the author of the document to betray the
true purpose of LK 1, referring to it as a “gassing cellar” (although
the usual German word for such a concept is “Gaskammer”). On no known
set of engineering drawings is a “Vergasungskeller” indicated .
Many of those who would have us believe that there were homicidal gas
chambers at Auschwitz insist on this interpretation.
In my 1976 book The Hoax of the Twentieth Century I offered that this
was a part of the crematorium building devoted to generating a
combustible gas for the ovens . This interpretation was
linguistically correct and could be technically correct, depending on
the design of the ovens. The primary meaning of “Vergasung” is gas
generation or carburetion, i.e. turning something into a gas. A
secondary meaning is application of a gas as in fumigation or in gas
warfare. It is also the word Germans use to refer to the alleged
gassing of Jews; however, they use “Gaskammer” rather than
“Vergasungskammer” or “Vergasungskeller” for the facility imagined to
have accomplished this. Such usage also applies in the literature on
By 1989 Robert Faurisson realized that my original interpretation was
wrong and later in 1989 Pressac  conclusively showed that it was
wrong, based on the design of the cremation ovens. In 1991 Faurisson
offered a theory  that the Vergasungskeller was a storage area, for
fumigation supplies, within LK 3.
In 1992 I showed that there were many ways “Vergasung” can come up in
sewage treatment technology, and offered that the Vergasungskeller
might be found in the sewage treatment plant next to the crematorium.
However I favored the interpretation that the Vergasungskeller was
simply a facility for generating fuel gas for the camp . NO-4473
suggests, but does not require, that the Vergasungskeller was located
within the crematorium building.
The purpose of this note is to offer another interpretation which I
now believe is more plausible than any earlier offered by me or
anybody else. Before I do that I should remark that the problem here
is what the Vergasungskeller was, not whether it was a homicidal gas
chamber. Those who claim it was a homicidal gas chamber focus their
attention entirely on that one word in the document. If they would
instead focus on what the document says, they would realize that it is
impossible to make that interpretation work. The document shows that
in January 1943 the Germans were in a great rush to use the building
as an ordinary crematorium.
As Faurisson discussed earlier , during World War II the combatants
paid great heed that new structures be considered, if possible, as air
raid shelters. There were two principal dangers that such shelters
were to provide protection against: bombs and gas attacks. On account
of World War I experiences, the possibilities of the latter were taken
very seriously. Indeed many simply assumed that gas would be used,
despite treaties outlawing its use. Typically, a gas shelter was
conceived of as a bomb shelter, preferably underground and very strong
structurally, with some features added to make it secure against gas;
a gas shelter had to be gas tight but allow people to breathe .
Since in many cases it was not economic to provide such structures for
at most only occasional use, it was recognized that such shelters
could exist in the form of embellishments to structures that exist for
other purposes. However the number of suitable such structures was
limited. For example, the typical underground cellar belongs to a
building with several stories; the collapse of these in an air raid
could prevent people from leaving the cellar.
My hypothesis is that the Vergasungskeller was a gas shelter. It need
not have been located within Crematorium II but I believe it most
likely was, on account of the fact that Crematoria II and III, with
their large concrete cellars, were obviously ideal for adaptation as
air raid shelters. Indeed when this problem is looked at from the
point of view of defense against air raids it seems there was no
better choice at Auschwitz. The German authorities responsible for
providing air raid shelters would have insisted that the necessary
embellishments be made to these structures. My reading of some of the
relevant chemical warfare literature convinces me that Crematoria II
and III were conceived of by the Germans as having this additional
I have never seen the word “Vergasungskeller” in a lexicon; indeed I
have seen it only in discussions of NO-4473! However I have seen a
German-Russian military dictionary that says “Gaskeller” means the
same thing as “Gasschutzraum” (gas shelter) . However we should
not consider ourselves bound to dictionaries on this. If one asks the
question, “In a World War II military context, what might
“Vergasungskeller” and/or “Gaskeller” mean?”, I think that “gas
shelter” is the answer that comes naturally to mind, and that other
meanings are somewhat strained.
As a personal example, I can report that I have been unable to find
the term “control lab” (or “control laboratory”, “controls lab”,
“controls laboratory”) in my IEEE Standard Dictionary of Electrical
and Electronics Terms (edition of 1972), although every university
Dept. of Electrical Engineering in the USA has a “control lab” and
that is how we normally refer to such a place. I have also been unable
to find the term in an unabridged Webster’s, in an on-line version of
the Oxford English Dictionary, and in several other dictionaries I
If this theory is correct then we should view all three cellars in
Crematorium II as air raid shelters, with only one being provided with
the additional measures to make it effective as a gas shelter. That
could only be LK 1, since NO-4473 implies it is not LK 2, LK 3 was
very small and, conclusively, because LK 1 was the only one of the
three provided with a gas-tight door . Moreover while all parts of
the building had motor driven air extraction systems, it appears that
only LK 1 had a motor driven air intake system .
Pressac also believes the Vergasungskeller was LK 1; under my
hypothesis he is then right on location but wrong on function. LK 1
had the basic features of a gas shelter. Pressac admits that the air
exhaust (at the bottom) and air intake (near the top) systems of LK 1
were misplaced for a gas chamber employing HCN . Although HCN is
only slightly lighter than air, there are various practical reasons
why gas chambers employing it normally expel the gas from the top when
the gassing process is completed . Carbon dioxide, by contrast, is
much heavier than air and is most naturally expelled from the bottom
of the relevant space.
Why would the author of NO-4473 not refer to a Leichenkeller as a
Leichenkeller? I don’t think a slip is involved. We normally do not
consider ourselves bound to use only formal designations. More
commonly, we refer to things according to their function or in any
case the function that happens to be in mind at the time. The gas
shelter features of LK 1 were its principal structural distinction
from LK 2 and those features were being taken into account in the
construction at the time. It was natural that LK 1 might be referred
to as the gas shelter.
As another example of a use of terminology suggested by function, the
engineer Messing referred to LK 2 of Crematorium II, during
construction, as an “Auskleidekeller” (undressing cellar), another one
of what Pressac considers “slips” . This has been another point
raised by those who would put a homicidal interpretation on
Crematorium II; the victims would according to this theory undress
themselves in LK 2 and then be gassed in LK 1.
It is much more prosaic. Pressac believes that, when the Germans
viewed Crematorium II as an ordinary crematorium, then the sequence of
processing bodies was originally contemplated to be LK 3 to LK 2 to LK
1, but that LK 3 was eventually eliminated from the regular sequence
. However that may be, if the dead bodies were contemplated to
start in LK 2 they would then be undressed there. They would be stored
in LK 1 while awaiting cremation. Presumably LK 3 was only used when a
body needed some sort of special processing, e.g. dissection or the
famous extraction of gold fillings from teeth.
I am struck by the humorous simplicity of the theory offered here.
1. J.-C. Pressac, Auschwitz: Technique and Operation of the Gas
Chambers, Beate Klarsfeld Foundation, NY, 1989, p 548. The reader
should understand that the title of this book is misleading, as
the only real “gas chambers” whose “technique and operation” are
discussed are fumigation gas chambers. The homicidal gas chambers
are only imagined, based on alleged “criminal traces”, two of
which are dealt with here. It is common to refer to this book in
discussion of Auschwitz because it is the greatest single
published source of reproductions of original documents and
photographs for the camp.
2. Pressac (1989) pp. 211,217,432,548.
3. A.R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century, 1976, pp.
4. F. Puntigam et. al., Blausäuregaskammern zur Fleckfieberabwehr,
5. Pressac (1989) pp. 106-113,222-225,548.
6. R. Faurisson, Journal of Historical Review, vol. 11, no. 1,
Spring 1991, pp. 55ff.
7. A.R. Butz, Journal of Historical Review, vol. 13, no. 3, May/June
1993, pp. 27-31.
8. Faurisson, op. cit., pp. 52f.
9. A.M. Prentiss, Chemicals in War, Mc-Graw-Hill, NY, 1937. G. Woker,
Der kommende Gift- und Brandkrieg, Oldenburg, Leipzig, 1932.
10. L.F. Parparov, ed., Nemetsko-Russkii Voennyi Slovar, Moscow, 1964.
11. Pressac (1989), 223,231.
12. Pressac (1989), 284ff,355-374.
13. Pressac (1989), 224,274.
14. Puntigam, op. cit..
15. Pressac (1989), pp. 223,373.
16. Pressac (1989) 284ff.
created: 6 August 1996.
last modified: 7 August 1996.
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From rich[email protected] Mon Aug 12 08:48:17 PDT 1996
Article: 56775 of alt.revisionism
From: [email protected] (Rich quoting Arthur Butz)
Subject: Revisionist Breakthrough on “Vergasungskeller” from Arthur Butz
Date: 11 Aug 1996 20:24:55 -0700
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