The Holocaust Historiography Project
Auschwitz, by J.-C. Pressac
(25) Four:
Probably correct, if they are 1.5 kg cans, as this corresponds to the figure of 6 kg cited by Hoess.
(26) Grass:
Correct. Visible on PMO photo neg. no. 20995/460.
(27) thirty yards:
WRONG. Every 7 or 8 meters. Repetition of an error already pointed out.
(Multiplier: 4)
(28) short concrete pipes:
Correct. Though perhaps “chimneys” gives a better picture. They were about 40-50cm high and three of the four are clearly visible under construction on PMO photo neg. no,. 20995/504.
(29) concrete:
Henryk Tauber confirms that the covers were of concrete with two handles, but an inventory drawn up when Krematorium II was handed over to the camp administration on 31st March 1943 indicates “4 Holzblenden / 4 WOODEN covers”.
(30) A mauve granular substance:
Actually pale blue-green.
(31) Chlorine (not in the English version of the book]:
WRONG. The poison was hydrocyanic (prussic) acid.
(32) never a stock:
Questionable. Henryk Tauber relates that the Zyklon-B was stored in a small basement room.
(33) 3,000 innocents:
See the comment on “3,000 people” above.
(34) Twenty minutes later, the electric ventilators were set going:
Correct. The sequence of operations is well-described. Twenty minutes after the introduction of the gas the extraction fans were switched on and then the door was opened afterwards. In the description by Hoess, this order is reversed:
“The door was opened half an hour afer the introduction of the gas, and the ventilation switched on. Work was immediately begun on removing the corpses.:. [Commandant of Auschwitz, page 224]
This inversion by Höess is of little importance and no consequence. He was first and foremost the Camp Commandant and he had other things to worry about than the precise sequence of events during a gassing operation in an unidentified gas chamber, one of the seven locations where homicidal gassings were carried out, a sequence that any SS NCO in Krematorium I, II, or III would know perfectly well.

I would point out that the first “shock” argument used by R Faurisson in his Mémoire en Défense, La Vieille Taupe, pages 158 and 159 on “The material impossibility of the Auschwitz gas chambers (documents)” is based on this “contradiction”. A true indication of the trivial nature of his argument!
(35) disinfect:
More accurately disinfest. This was done in a gas chamber, again using Zyclon-B, in Kanada I.
(36) Exhator” ["exhaustor” in the Hungarian and French versions]:
Dr Nyiszli is the only one to give this name. It is not confirmed in any surviving document.
(37) it caused a suffocating cough... gas masks:
This cough was provoked by the warning agent in the Zyklon-B, a lacrymogenic and sternutatory “Bromessigester / bromacetic ester”. This observation by Nyiszli means that the Zyklon-B WITHOUT A WARNING AGENT delivered and invoiced by Degesch in March 1944 to the SS Ustuf Kurt Gerstein was not generally used in Auschwitz, otherwise the Sonderkommando members would not have coughed.
(38) powerful jets of water:
The tap or taps were outside the gas chamber according to the testimony of survivors, but the inventory drawings of Krematorien II and III show three taps inside. Even if their initial location was inside they would soon have been damaged by the desperate victims, which explains their new location.
(39) thongs around the wrists:
A technique for transporting bodies that had spread to all the extermination points.
(40) elevators:
There was ONE lift. A 300 kg goods hoist was provisionally installed in Krematorium II on 13th March 1943, and was later replaced by a 1500 kg DEMAG electric lift [BW 30/34, pages 69 and 70, letter of 28th February 1943]
(41) Four:
WRONG AND DELIBERATELY MISLEADING. All the Bauleitung drawings and the ruins prove that there was only ONE lift in the type II/III Krematorium. Whom is Dr Miklos Nyiszli trying to mislead and why?
(Multiplier: 4)
(42) Twenty to twenty-five corpses to an elevator:
With the “to an”, Nyiszli confirms his claim that there was more than one lift. 20 to 25 corpses is reasonable, as with an average of 60 kg this would give a load of 1200 to 1500 kg, the latter being the maximum capacity of the Demag lift.
(43) at the crematorium's incineration room:
More correctly “at one end of”.
There is no indication here of more than one lift.
(44) large sliding doors opened automatically:
We have no details on these doors apart from the sketch of the furnace room by David Olère.
(45) chutes which unloaded them in front of the furnaces:
No doubt a mistranslation due to lack of familiarity with the premises. There were no chutes here and only way the bodies were made to “slide” to a position before the furnaces was to drag them along a broad trough in the floor that was kept full of water.
(46) Hair:
This was collected throughout Europe during the war. This practice had nothing macabre about it except in Auschwitz, where people were killed before being shorn.
(47) delayed action bombs:
More commonly known as time bombs: a “war story” pure and simple. The hair was transformed into industrial felt and even into cloth to make slippers for submarine crews and felt stockings for Reichsbahn railwaymen. [Letter of 6th August 1942. Doc. URSS-511, in: Le IIIème Reich et les Juifs by L Poliakov and J Wulf, NRF Gallimard, 1959, pages 67 and 68]
(48) slogans:
Quite correct. The proclamations about the value of work in the Third Reich and the morbid pillage of gold in the Krematorien make a sickening contrast.
(49) the “tooth-pulling kommando. which was stationed in front of the ovens”
A sketch by David Olère shows the “dentists” and “barbers” at work IN THE GAS CHAMBER of Krematorium III. Both methods of working were no doubt used.
(50) necklaces, pearls, wedding hands and rings:
Gold teeth and fillings were not the main source of gold, but rather rings, as Dr Nyiszli honestly says, unlike others who keep silent on this point.
(51) from 18 to 20 pounds:
Impossible to verify at present, without the consignment notes or Reichsbank receipts.
(52) laid by threes on a kind of pushcart made off sheet metal:
For charging the bodies into the furnace there was in front of each muffle a set of rails for a charging trolley of the type now visible in the “Old Krematorium” [Krematorium I] of the main camp. This technique, considered too complicated, was abandoned in favour of charging by means of a metal stretcher whose two edges fitted on to a pair of rollers located in front of the furnace door. There was just one pair of rollers for a 3-muffle furnace. They slid along and could be placed before each of the three openings. A David Olère sketch shows charging by this method.
(53) Automatically:
Pure invention. They were operated by hand.
(54) Twenty minutes.
Rather short — more like half an hour.
(55) several thousand people could he cremated in a single day:
Even assuming that 3 corpses per muffle could be incinerated in 20 minutes, the 15 muffles of Krematorium II could take only 3240 corpses in 24 hours. If all the Krematorien were identical, this would give a total for the 4 Krematorien of 12,960 rather than the 20,000 claimed in the Hungarian and French versions. These results obtained on the basis of Nyiszli 's data are first of all inconsistent with his own figures and in any event exaggerated, since the “throughput” of a type II/III Krematorium was between 1000 and 1500 in 24 hours and of type IV/V 500 in 24 hours.

The legend of 20,000 to 25,000 victims a day was transmitted by the members of the Sonderkommando.

(Multiplier for Krematorium II: 2 to 3)

The average of the different multipliers almost exactly 4. If we apply this to the official total of 4 million victims we arrive at a figure much closer to reality: 1 million. This calculation is by no means scientific or rigorous, but it shows that DOCTOR NYISZLI, a respectable ACADEMIC, TRAINED IN GERMANY, multiplied the figures by FOUR when describing the interior of Krematorium II and when speaking of the number of persons or victims
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