The Holocaust Historiography Project
Auschwitz, by J.-C. Pressac
then this sum was further reduced to 110,519,22 RM, with a difference of 6,013.47 RM that was not acceptable to Hula [the figures cried come from file BW 30/26]. Final settlement with Huta for the work done on the two Krematorien dragged on in such an extent that on 29th January 1944 [BW 30/32A, page 1] the firm had still received only 100,000 RM for Krematorium II (the outstanding balance being 19,007.23 RM) and 90,000 RM for Krematorium III (balance 26,532 69 RM) As at that date, the Bauleitung owed Huta a total of almost 200,000 RM (equivalent to the price of Krematorium IV!) for the balance on the Krematorien and sundry other invoices. It was not easy to do business with the SS, even when supplying them with the means to do excellent business with the Jews.

In order to combat the typhus epidemic that was raging through the camp in August 1942, it was necessary to eliminate the vector of the disease, lice. The most effective delousing agent was Zyklon-B, and without this product it would he impossible to eradicate the disease. On the eve of the “Lagersperre” order, authorization was received by radio to send a 5 ton truck [officially classified as 4.5 tons and capable of carrying a payload of 4950 kg on the road and 4100 kg off-road, and with a cubic capacity of approximately 20m³] to Dessau, to the Zyklon-B production plant in order to collect “gas intended for gassing the camp against the epidemic that has broken out”. On 29th July, authorization was received for another truck to go to Dessau to load “gas urgently required for disinfection”. These two trucks would have brought back a maximum of 4,000 to 5,000 one kilogram cans of Zyklon-B, if this was the size chosen. On 26th August, Zyklon-B was running out or lacking, and a Renault truck (probably a 3.5-ton AHN) was sent to Dessau, this time for “material for special treatment”. On 2nd October, while the epidemic was still present, having reached a peak in September, the camp required “material for the resettlement of Jews”. Finally, on 7th January 1943, to keep control of the now endemic typhus, another truck was sent to Dessau for “disinfection material”. These five movement authorizations are the only ones in existence that mention this type of transport. They reflect the two different utilizations of Zyklon-B. But in what proportion?

As we know the quantity of Zyklon-B delivered, the dose necessary to kill one thousand people (according to Camp Commandant Hoess) and the number of people gassed during this period (obtained from the “Calendar") it is easy to determine the percentage used for each purpose over the period of 22nd July to 26th August: 2 to 3% for homicidal gassing and 97 to 98% for disinfestation purposes. This extremely surprising distribution totally invalidates the interpretation and presentation of these “authorizations” by the traditional historians who claim the word “disinfection” was used to “camouflage” homicidal gassings and that a gigantic massacre was going on, an argument supported by the “shock” image of big trucks scurrying back and forth between Auschwitz and Dessau, bringing back 5 tons of Zyklon-B on each trip (a quantity of 5,000 kg is enough to kill 1,250,000 people, more than the total number of Jews sent to Auschwitz!).

The truth is that the SS used the extermination of the Jews, about which their superiors had a general knowledge, without being informed of the practical details, to hide the terrible hygienic conditions in the camp, and to cover up their enormous consumption of gas for disinfection purposes. If knowledge of the disastrous state of affairs had reached Berlin, this would have had unfortunate consequences for Hoess, who had recently for been congratulated by Himmler and promoted in rank, and for his entourage. What did the Auschwitz SS care, in the month of August 1942, about the twenty or thirty thousand Jews killed in the seclusion of the Birkenwald forest at the cost of a hundred kilos of Zyklon-B, when their own lives were at risk and the very existence of the camp threatened? It was necessary at all at all costs to stop the epidemic, which led on the 29th August to the radical and extremely effective solution of gassing all the sick or convalescing prisoners so as to get rid of both the lice AND THEIR CARRIERS ["Hefte von Auschwitz 3”, Kalendarium … p.85]. So the SS made the Jews take the blame (the usual practice) for the huge Zyklon-B requirements, in order not to be accused of incompetence in the running of the camp and lack of control over the conditions obtaining there. However, this strategy was to have very long term effects because of the duration of the epidemic and the discovery of the sad truth by the higher authorities in September. That the SS should have worded two transport authorizations in such a way that after the war they should become crushing proof linking the Jews, their resettlement and special treatment with hydrocyanic gas, together meaning death for those unable to work, becomes something of a statistical miracle when we consider the proportions in which the gas was used: 2 to 3% homicidal as against 97 or 98% disinfection. The terms used in these authorizations, generally considered today to be incriminating slips, were deliberately used by the SS in what was a desperate period for them, when they were submerged by an epidemic and were trying to escape responsibility for this scourge for which they were in fact at least half responsible.

In this context of drastic disinfestation measures, Hoess signed on 12th August 1942 a special order telling the SS to be careful after the gassings taking place [Document 14], because of indisposition caused by inhaling a very small amount of Zyklon-B. This text, which previously appeared to be damning proof of the existence of homicidal gas chambers can no longer be accepted as such. The distribution of FORTY TWO copies of this order, to all corners of the camp and to semi civilian enterprises is proof that there was nothing whatever “secret” about it, and that on the contrary, the gassings concerned the whole camp at this date. If the accident had occurred at Bunker 1 or 2, hidden away in two small areas of the Birkenwald [Birch Wood], the order might possibly have been worded similarly, but would have been sent only to the medical service and the SS medical orderlies who actually used the Zyklon-B. The recommendations made in the order justify some of the reservations expressed by R Faurisson regarding the handling of Zyklon-B, though we cannot accept his presentation of hydrocyanic acid gas, devastating by definition, as being highly persistent.
Document 4
[PMO file BW 2/6, neg no 21135/4]

Situation plan of Auschwitz POW Camp, Upper Silesia

Sonderbauleitung für die Errichtung eines Kriegsgefangenenlager der Waffen SS in Auschwitz OS /
Special Construction Management for the erection of a Waffen SS prisoner of war camp in Auschwitz, Upper Silesia
Maßstab / Scale 1:2000
Gezeichnet / Drawn 5/1/42 by SS W Uhlmer
Geprüft / Checked 5/1/42 by SS Second Lieutenant (S) Walter Dejaco
Genehmigt / Approved 6/1/42 by SS Captain Bischoff
Translation of inscriptions:
Erläuterung / Key
Unterkunftsgebäude / Accommodation block
Wirtschaftsgebäude / Administration building
Abortbaracke / WC block
Waschbaracke / Ablution block
Entlausungsgebäude / Delousing building
Leichenhalle / Corpse hall
Verbrennungshalle / Cremation hall
Reviergebäude / Sick quarters
Vorrätebaracke / Stores
[In the camp]
Quarantäne Lager / Quarantine Camp
Erdamschüttung / Earth embankment
Lager I / Camp I
Lager II / Camp II
Unterkunfte für Wachtruppe / Accommodation for guards