The Holocaust Historiography Project

Design and Procedures at the Alleged Execution Gas Chambers

It appears, through investigation of the available historical documents and the facilities themselves, that most of the alleged execution gas chambers were converted from an earlier design, purpose and structure. This is true except for the so-called experimental chambers at Majdanek, which were allegedly specifically built as gassing facilities.

Bunkers I and II are described in Auschwitz State Museum literature as converted farm houses with several chambers and windows sealed. These do not exist in their original condition and were not inspected. Kremas I, II, III, IV and V are described historically and on inspection were verified to have been converted mortuaries or morgues connected and housed in the same facility as crematories. The on-site inspection of these structures indicated extremely poor and dangerous design for these facilities if they were to have served as execution gas chambers. There is no provision for gasketed doors, windows or vents; the structures are not coated with tar or other sealant to prevent leakage or absorption of the gas. the adjacent crematories are a potential danger of explosion.

The exposed porous brick and mortar would accumulate the HCN and make these facilities dangerous to humans for several years. Krema I is adjacent to the S.S. Hospital at Auschwitz and has floor drains connected to the main sewer of the camp — which would allow gas into every building at the facility. There were no exhaust systems to vent the gas after usage and no heaters or dispersal mechanisms for the Zyklon B to be introduced or evaporated. The Zyklon B was supposedly dropped through roof vents and put in through windows — not allowing for even distribution of gas or pellets. The facilities are always damp and not heated. As stated earlier, dampness and Zyklon B are not compatible.

The chambers are too small to physically contain the occupants claimed and the doors all open inward, a situation which would inhibit removal of the bodies. With the chambers fully packed with occupants, there would be no circulation of the HCN within the room. Additionally, if the gas eventually did fill the chamber over a lengthy time period, those throwing Zyklon B in the roof vents and verifying the death of the occupants would die themselves from exposure to HCN. None of the alleged gas chambers were constructed in accordance with the design for delousing chambers which were effectively operating for years in a safe manner. None of these chambers were constructed in accordance with the known and proven designs of facilities operational in the United States at that time. It seems unusual that the presumed designers of these alleged gas chambers never consulted or considered the United States technology; the only country then executing prisoners with gas.

The facilities at Majdanek are likewise incapable of fulfilling the alleged purpose. First, there is a rebuilt crematory with an alleged gas chamber. The only portions of the building which existed prior to the rebuilding were the cremation ovens. Allegedly, the building was reconstructed from plans which do not exist. The facility is built in such a manner that gas could not have been contained within the alleged chamber, the chamber itself is too small to have accommodated the volume of victims attributed to it. The building is too damp and cold to utilize Zyklon B gas effectively. The gas would have reached the ovens, and after killing all the technicians, would have caused an explosion and destroyed the building. Further, the construction, poured concrete, is radically different from the other buildings at the facility. In short, the building could not be used for its alleged purpose and fails to follow even minimal gas chamber design.

The second facility at Majdanek is shown on maps to be a U-shaped building and is now, in reality, two separate buildings. This complex is designated Bath and Disinfection Building 1 and 2. One of the buildings is strictly a delousing facility and is designed as were the other accepted delousing facilities at Birkenau. The second building of the complex is somewhat different. the front portion of the building contains a shower room and an alleged gas chamber. The existence of blue stains in this room is consistent with the blue stains found in the Birkenau delousing facility. This room has two roof vents which were for venting the room after a delousing procedure. The Zyklon B would have been placed by hand on the floor. This chamber is clearly not an execution chamber. It has provision for air circulation but no stack for venting.

It, like the other facilities, is not designed for, or capable of being used as, an execution gas chamber. In the back of this building are the experimental gas chambers. This area includes a breezeway, control booth and two chambers allegedly used as gas chambers. A third room was sealed and not available for inspection. These chambers are unique in that both have piping for allegedly using carbon monoxide gas controlled from the booth. One of the chambers has a potential vent in the ceiling that was apparently never cut through the roof. The other chamber has a heating circulatory system for moving heated air into the chamber. This circulatory system is ineffectively designed and constructed with the intake and outlet too close together to function properly and has no provision for a vent. Remarkable about both chambers is what appears to be a rabbet or groove cut into the four (4) steel doors, which is consistent with the placement of a gasket. Purportedly, both chambers were used for Zyklon B or carbon monoxide. This cannot be true.

Of the two chambers, one was not completed and never could have been used for carbon monoxide. It is also not designed for HCN, even though it allegedly was utilized for this purpose. The larger chamber was not designed for HCN. Notwithstanding the sign at the door saying "experimental," this chamber would have been incapable of providing execution by CO because of the need to produce 4,000 ppm (the lethal concentration) at the required 2.5 atmospheres of pressure. Both chambers failed to meet the design requirements for venting, heating and circulating, and leakage. Nowhere were the bricks, stucco and mortar ever coated with a sealant, inside or out.

A most remarkable characteristic of this complex is that these chambers were surrounded on three sides by a depressed concrete walkway. This is totally inconsistent with intelligent gas handling design in that gas seepage would accumulate in this trench and, being sheltered from the wind, would not dissipate. This would make the entire area a death trap, especially with HCN.

The author must therefore conclude that this facility was never intended for even the limited use of HCN gas.