The Holocaust Historiography Project

The Holocaust according to Jean-Claude Pressac

According to popular accounts, Auschwitz: Technique and operation of the gas chambers, by Jean-Claude Pressac (New York: Beate Klarsfeld Foundation; 1989. 564 pages), presents what Pressac himself calls "a scientific rebuttal to those who deny the gas chambers." However, it is far from that, and in many ways it is the most convincing argument yet that the revisionists have been right all along about Holocaust extermination stories. Here are a few examples, with pages number references for any who can locate a copy of this elusive "proof:"

Out with the old

Rather than contenting himself merely with adding his voice to the side of the anti-revisionists (those who believe the Holocaust myth), Pressac sets himself up as being one of very few true experts on the Holocaust. Pressac writes (page 264):

This study already demonstrates the complete bankruptcy of the traditional (Holocaust) history ... a history based for the most part on testimonies, assembled according to the need of the moment, truncated to ft an arbitrary truth and sprinkled with a few German documents of uneven value and without any connection with one another.

For example, the often quoted autobiography of Rudolf Höss (former commandant at Auschwitz) is riddled with errors. What is more, the handwritten manuscript of Höss' diary contains not a single correction or crossing out in several hundred pages, suggesting that it was copied. (pages 127-128, 551) [More information here]

As for physical evidence, Pressac points out there is no conclusive or documentary evidence for the widely claimed homicidal gassings in the Auschwitz main camp crematory building. The entire building was drastically restructured and reconstituted after the war, and the crematory chimney there is a phony. (pages 123, 131-133, 144-146, 551) A 1945 Soviet film that documents extermination gassings in the Kanada I section of Birkenau is a completely put up job. No homicidal gassings were ever carried out there. (pages 46, 47, 49, 264)

Commenting on the Holocaust myth in general, Pressac informs one and all that cremation is much more problematical and time-consuming than Holocaust historians have claimed, and the widely repeated stories about cremating 10,000 or even 25,000 corpses daily at Auschwitz are absurd and impossible. (pages 244, 247, 253, 334, 413, 420) The word "sonderaktion" (special action) was not a euphemism for killing or extermination. (pages 210, 213) The Germans did not use a secret code to conceal their crimes. (pages 247, 556) The diagram of "gas chambers" at Birkenau in the widely circulated 1944 War Refugee Board Report is inaccurate. (pages 459, 461) Photographs which traditionally have been considered proof of the gassings are not definitive proofs. (page 429)

From Pressac's point of view, no one before him has proved the existence of the "gas chambers," and thus all previous, flawed proofs must be thrown out.

The new myth

One would expect that after dismissing virtually the entire body of Exterminationist sources and evidence, Pressac would present his own. Instead, however, he admits that the eyewitness testimonies on which he bases his findings (including the well-known accounts of Miklos Nyiszli and Charles Bendel) are riddled with errors, absurdities, inventions, and contradictions. (page 469-479)

Does Pressac show us photos or drawings of the murder factories? No. He shows us an architectural plan of Auschwitz-Birkenau dated August 1942 that indicates that German authorities anticipated a camp large enough eventually to hold 200,000 inmates. (page 203) He provides photographs and diagrams showing extensive quarantine and recuperation facilities for sick and injured Birkenau inmates. (pages 510-513) Last but not least, he reproduces six photos that show humane conditions at Auschwitz-Monowitz. (pages 506-507)

What really happened

For all his new and improved sources, Pressac remains astoundingly imprecise. He claims the average number of cremations per day at Crematory II was 960 or 288 or 720 (page 110) or 752 (page 183) or closer to 1,000 (page 470, because the figure of 2,000 on page 334 is not acceptable) or between 1,000 and 1,500 (page 475) or nearly 625. (page 494)

In his examination of the alleged murder weapon, hydrocyanic gas in the form of a commercial pest-control agent called Zyklon B, Pressac performs some impressive gymnastics. While claiming that 95 percent (or more) of the Zyklon B was used to kill lice, and that only 5 percent (or less) was used to kill people (page 15), Pressac then asks us to believe that in order to obtain more of the then-scarce Zyklon B for pest control, authorities at Auschwitz pretended to be gassing Jews (page 188). Thus Pressac would have us believe that German officials used their systematic mass extermination of the Jews simultaneously to murder Jews, and to save their lives.

Although a pharmacist, Pressac has as tenuous a grasp on the physical sciences as on historiography. For example, Pressac states that when gassing humans with Zyklon B, the HCN gas goes directly to victims' mouths. (page 555) That is, it does not deposit itself on and impregnate itself into walls, skin, clothing, etc., which Zyklon B is known to do. Furthermore, Pressac states that the exhaust gasses of diesel engines and spark ignition engines are equally deadly when used for homicidal purposes, (page 16) even though it is well established that the exhaust from spark-ignition engines is many times more deadly than that of diesel engines.

How he knows

Miklos Nyiszli, one of the so-called "eyewitnesses" on which Pressac depends a great deal, multiplies his figures by 3, or by 5, or by 4, or by 2.5, or by 6.7, or by 4, or by 4 again, or by 2.5, or by 4 yet again, or by 2 to 3. From this Pressac gets an average figure of 4, by which the reader is supposed to divide the numbers in Nyiszli's comments to get the true number. (page 475) Still, Pressac feels that Nyiszli is a credible source.


Pressac comes no closer to proving homicidal gassings at Auschwitz and/or Birkenau than stating so in the title of this massive fraud he calls a book. Holocaust revisionist Robert Faurisson (whom Pressac knows well) has asked for "one proof" of the gas chambers. In direct response, Pressac supplies -- not proof -- but "criminal traces." And in 564 pages, that is as close as he gets.

If Auschwitz: Technique and operation of the gas chambers were the product of a lone nut longing for attention, it would make little difference what Pressac does or doesn't say about the Holocaust myth. But the Beate Klarsfeld Foundation is one of the world's leading Holocaust support groups, and as such, must be taken seriously. In the final analysis, however, Pressac's book reflects not historiography but hysteria -- the hysteria of those desperate to keep the Holocaust myth alive.