The Holocaust Historiography Project
Auschwitz, by J.-C. Pressac
Document IV Extract from a revisionist publication

(Copy of pages 310 and 311 of “Vérité historique ou vérité politique. le dossier de l'affaire Faurisson, la question des chambres à gaz” [Historical truth or political truth, the file on the Faurisson affair, the question of gas chambers], by Serge Thion. La Vieille Taupe. April 1980]
Document IV Documentation photographique Deux photos (l et 2) d'une vraie chambre à gaz d'Auscwitz-Birkenau II s'agit d'un autoclave pour la désinfection des habits. (l.-) L'autoclave vu de l'extérieur. (2.-): L'intérieur avec ses tringles pour les vétements. Explication: le gazage des vétements n'était pas une mince affaire. II exigeait des installations d'une complication relative. On utilisait rarement le Zyklon B, jugé trop puissant. difficile á ventiler et reservé en principe au gazage des bâtiments, des silos, des navires. On utilisait le “N,” le “Cartox,” le a “Ventox,” le “Anginal,” etc. Imaginez, par conséquent, l'appareillage extraordinairement sophistiqué qu'il aurait fallu concevoir et construire pour gazer chaque pur plusieurs fournées de 2000 hommes avec du Zyklon-B [accés, observation, envoi de Zyklon-B et, surtout, aération).

Document IV
Photographic documentation
Two photographs (1 and 2) of a real gas chamber in Auschwitz-Birkenau. It is an autoclave for the disinfection of clothing (I): the autoclave seen from the outside. (2): the interior with the rails to hang clothing. Explanation: the gassing of clothes was not an easy business. It required relatively complicated installations. Zyklon-B was rarely used, considered too powerful, difficult to ventilate and was generally kept tor gassing buildings, silos, ships. The products used were “N,” Cartox. Ventox. Areginal. etc. Imagine, therefore. the extraordinarily sophisticated equipment that would have had to he designed and built to gas every day several batches of 2000 people with Zyklon-B (access, observation, introduction of Zyklon-B and, above all, ventilation).
Document IV” above is presented by Faurisson in support of his thesis that gas chambers are very complex pieces of equipment. Photo 1 is the present state of the scene in Photo 35, and Photo 2 is the equivalent of 28. The documentation provided is limited to these two photographs.

I would point out first of all the immediate contradiction in the first two lines explaining photos 1 and 2 stating that a gas chamber is an autoclave. The definition of autoclave according to the Encyclopedie internationale des sciences et des techniques (in 10 volumes), Presse de la Cite, volume 2, page 87, is as follows:
The autoclave (from Greek autos and Latin clavis “which closes itself."), is an apparatus derived from the principle of the pressure cooker of Denis Papin (1647-1714) whose hermetic closing is obtained by internal pressure of steam (underlined by the author) which produces a sharp rise in temperature, to which the enclosed objects of materials are subjected (generally to sterilize them).
In a conventional delousing gas chamber, the operation of the gas depends on its concentration and the duration of contact. The gas fills the entire volume of the gas chamber, and the pressure exerted by it in normal practice, though there may he exceptions, is infinitesimal, and does not require anything in the nature of an “autoclave.”

Through the lack of any specific German written documents, which nevertheless must have existed, indicating in black and white that the Topf disinfesting ovens worked with hot air and the autoclaves with steam (a statement of the obvious), it is not possible to formally prove that the autoclaves were not gas chambers. But Photo 35 showing a pressure gauge for monitoring the steam pressure and a thermometer for the temperature suffices in itself to make up for this initial lack of proof.

The “revisionists” are past masters in this type of squabbling over the strict interpretation of documents. The argument may therefore remain undecided for a long time and its duration may confuse many people with only limited knowledge of Auschwitz. This revisionist tactic “pays off” as long as there is no new evidence. The day when a newly discovered drawing or letter makes it possible to explain the reality in black and white the “revisionists” will he routed.
The presentation of project drawings, definite drawings, contemporary photographs and present-day photographs of the Zentral Sauna will have enabled the reader to familiarise himself with and understand the way in which the Bauleitung members worked and the evolution and transformations that may occur in a building. The design of Birkenau Krematorien II, III, IV and V are no exception to this rule and we shall find a similar evolution there.

I have also taken the example of the Zentral Sauna autoclaves to show the difficulty of finding documents to refute certain affirmations — quite manifestly erroneous — made by the revisionists. i.e. that an autoclave is not a gas chamber.

Lastly I would point out to visitors that the Zentral Sauna is not normally open to visitors but the Polish staff of the museum never refuse a request to see it.