The Holocaust Historiography Project

A Brief History of the Alleged German Execution Gas Chambers

Based on material available to the author, it has been determined that the Germans allegedly constructed a series of large (three or more executees) gas chambers for execution purposes beginning sometime in late 1941 and utilized them until late 1944.

Beginning with the first alleged gassing in a basement at Auschwitz I, two converted farmhouses at Birkenau (Auschwitz II) known as the Red and White houses or Bunkers 1 and 2, Krema I at Auschwitz, Kremas II, III, IV and V at Birkenau and an experimental facility at Majdanek, these facilities allegedly utilized hydrocyanic acid in the form of Zyklon B as the gas. Majdanek allegedly also used carbon monoxide (CO).

According to official literature obtained at the Auschwitz and Majdanek State Museums, these execution facilities were located in concentration camps constructed in highly industrial areas and their inmates supplied forced labor to the factories producing materials for the war effort. These facilities also included crematories for the disposal of the remains of those allegedly executed.

Additionally, other alleged facilities which only utilized CO as the execution gas were located at Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka and Chelmno (gas vans). these additional facilities were allegedly destroyed either during or after WWII, have not been inspected and are not directly the subject of this report.

Carbon monoxide (CO) gas, however, will be considered briefly at this point. CO gas is a relatively poor execution gas in that it takes much too long to effect death, perhaps as long as 30 minutes, and if poorly circulated, longer. In order to utilize CO, a quantity of 4,000 ppm would be required making it necessary to pressurize the chamber at approximately 2.5 atmospheres with CO. Additionally, CO2 (carbon dioxide) has also been suggested. CO2 is even less effective than CO. These gasses, it has been alleged, were produced by diesel engines. Diesel engines produce exhausts which contain very little carbon monoxide and would require that the execution chamber be pressurized with the air/gas mixture in order to have sufficient gas to cause death. Carbon monoxide in quantities of 3000 ppm or 0.30% will cause nausea and headache after exposure for one hour and perhaps some long term damage.

Concentrations of some 4000 ppm and above will prove fatal for exposure times of over 1 hour. The author would submit that a chamber filled to capacity with persons occupying approximately 9 square feet or less (the minimum area required to ensure gas circulation around the occupants), that the occupants would die of suffocation due to their own exhaustion of the available air, well before the additional gas would take effect. Thus, simply closing the executees in this confined space would obviate the need of either CO or CO2 from an external source.

The alleged execution facilities in Auschwitz I (Krema I), and Majdanek still exist, in allegedly original form. In Birkenau, Kremas II, III, IV and V are collapsed or razed to the foundations; Bunker I (the Red House) is gone and Bunker II (the White House) is now restored and utilized as a private residence. At Majdanek, the first oil-fired crematory has been removed and the crematory with the alleged gas chamber has been rebuilt with only the ovens being original.

Krema I at Auschwitz, Kremas II, III, IV and V at Birkenau, and the existing crematory at Majdanek were allegedly crematories and gas chambers combined. The Red and White houses at Birkenau were allegedly only gas chambers. At Majdanek, the experimental gas chambers were not adjacent to a crematory and there was a separate crematory which is not now extant.