The Holocaust Historiography Project

Forensic Considerations of HCN, Cyano-compounds and Crematories

As stated earlier, forensic samples of brick, mortar, concrete and sediment were selectively taken from sites in Poland. Cyanide and cyanide compounds may remain in a given location for long periods of time and if they do not react with other chemicals, may migrate around in brick and mortar.

Thirty-one samples were selectively removed from the alleged gas chambers at Kremas I, II, III, IV and V. A control sample was taken from delousing facility #1 at Birkenau. the control sample was removed from a delousing chamber in a location where cyanide was known to have been used and was apparently present as blue staining. Chemical testing of the control sample #32 showed a cyanide content of 1050 mg/kg, a very heavy concentration. the conditions at areas from which these samples were taken are identical with those of the control sample, cold, dark and wet. Only Kremas IV and V differed, in the respect that these locations had sunlight (the buildings have been torn down) and sunlight may hasten the destruction of uncomplexed cyanide. The cyanide combines with the iron in the mortar and brick and becomes ferric-ferro-cyanide or prussian blue pigment, a very stable iron-cyanide complex.

The locations from which the analyzed samples were removed are set out in Table III.

Table III — Locations of Analyzed Samples
Auschwitz I
Krema I samples #25 through #31
Birkenau (Auschwitz II)
Krema II samples #1 through #7
Krema III samples #8 through #11
Krema IV samples #13 through #20
Krema V samples #21 through #24
Sample #12 is a gasket sample from the Sauna at Birkenau.
Sample #32 is the Control Sample obtained from Delousing Facility #1, Birkenau.

It is notable that almost all the samples were negative and that the few that were positive were very close to the detection level (1 mg/kg); 6.7 mg/kg at Krema III; 79 mg/kg at Krema I. The absence of any consequential readings at any of the tested locations as compared with the control sample reading 1050 mg/kg supports the evidence that these facilities were not execution gas chambers. The small quantities detected would indicate that at some point these buildings were deloused with Zyklon B — as were all the buildings at all these facilities.

Additionally, the areas of blue staining show a high iron content, indicating ferric-ferro-cyanide, no longer hydrogen cyanide.

One would have expected higher cyanide detection in the samples taken from the alleged gas chambers (because of the greater amount of gas allegedly utilized there) than that found in the control sample. Since the contrary is true, one must conclude that these facilities were not execution gas chambers, when coupled with all the other evidence gained on inspection.

Evidence as to Krema function is non-existent since Krema I's oven has been completely rebuilt, Kremas II and III are partially destroyed, with components missing and Kremas IV and V are gone. At Majdanek, one Krema is completely gone and the second Krema has been rebuilt, except for the ovens. Visual inspection of the memorial ash heap at Majdanek shows ash of a strange color, beige. Actual human-remains ash (as per the author's own investigations) is oyster gray. There may be some sand in the mixture at the memorial at Majdanek.

Additionally, the author will discuss the alleged burning (cremation) pits in this section.

The author personally inspected and photographed the burning pits at Birkenau. Most remarkable about those pits is a high water table — perhaps as high as 1.5 feet from the surface. The historical description of these pits is that they were 6 meters (19.55 feet) deep. It is not possible to burn corpses under water, even with the use of an artificial accelerant (gasoline). All pit locations officially designated on museum maps were inspected and as anticipated, since Birkenau was constructed on a swamp, all locations had water within 2 feet of the surface. It is the opinion of this author that no burning pits existed at Birkenau.