Some Technical and Chemical Considerations
Prior to the Leuchter Report no scientific studies of any significance had ever been conducted about the homicidal 'gas chambers' of Auschwitz and Majdanek, which is astonishing in view of the importance of the topic. Even in the great Auschwitz Trial in Frankfurt in the mid-1960s, the expert reports that were commissioned had an exclusively historical focus, and not even the defense thought to request a report on the alleged murder weapons, which have partly survived to this day. In its verdict the Court stated that it lacked "almost all the means of evidence available in a normal murder trial", including "the bodies of the victims, autopsy reports, expert reports on the cause and time of death, [...] evidence as to the criminals, murder weapons, etc.", and after a detailed analysis of the course of the trial one cannot help but note that this Court, just like all those which dealt with the topic before and since, never made even the slightest effort to locate any such evidence or to commission any subject experts. The same goes no less for the great Majdanek Trial in Düsseldorf in the late 1970s.
It was not until 1988, 45 years after the alleged crime, that Ernst Zündel, a German-Canadian charged by a Canadian court with knowingly disseminating false news about the Holocaust, commissioned the American gas chamber expert Leuchter to draw up a report about the evidence for the supposed murder weapon. The idea for such a report had been suggested to Zündel by Robert Faurisson, who already as early as 1978 published his thesis of the radical impossibility of human gassings in the alleged 'gas chambers' of Auschwitz. In the resultant, hastily drawn up report, Leuchter concluded that the "alleged gas chambers" of the facilities he examined could not have been used as such for several technical reasons. Additionally, analyses of brick samples from the alleged 'gas chambers' showed that these contain negligible traces of hydrogen cyanide poison from Zyklon B, whereas the walls of the delousing chambers where the inmates' clothing was deloused with Zyklon B contain great quantities of such residue.
It is not surprising that this report caused considerable uproar, which resulted in a number of publications. On the suggestion of the Leuchter Report, the Rudolf Report - drawn up in spring 1992, and expanded and revised several times - focused on engineering and chemical aspects of the alleged 'gas chambers' in Auschwitz, and shall be summarized and supplemented in the following. The alleged 'gas chambers' of the concentration camp Majdanek, which were also a subject of the Leuchter Report, were briefly discussed in the German version of this contribution, but were replaced here by a far better contribution recently written by Carlo Mattogno (see next chapter). We shall dispense with an account of the ongoing debate about the interpretation of the documents found to date with respect to the issue of 'gas chambers' in Auschwitz, and, at least as interesting, with many other topics of this and related camps; serious readers are referred to the relevant literature.
2. Design of the Fumigation Facilities in Auschwitz
2.1. The Camp Complex of Auschwitz
According to Pressac  the facilities of Auschwitz I/Main Camp were originally part of a barracks under the Dual Monarchy (later Poland) and were converted into a concentration camp after the war against Poland. After the start of the Russian Campaign, Auschwitz II/Birkenau was rebuilt as a prisoner-of-war camp of the Waffen-SS, to accommodate Russian prisoners-of-war. Later it increasingly used to house Jews, who were deported there from all German-occupied parts of Europe. The arrival of great numbers of people made for severe health-related problems in all camps. For this reason all the camps had extensive disinfection and delousing facilities. Since the end of the First World War, the general fumigant of choice for pest control (lice, bedbugs, fleas, beetles etc.) had been the product Zyklon B (hydrogen cyanide adsorbed onto diatomaceous earth or gypsum). In Compounds 1a/b of Birkenau, Buildings 5a and 5b each had a wing where one room was reserved for the delousing of material objects with hydrogen cyanide. These buildings are completely intact still today.
On the whole, historians today assume that the large cremation facilities in the camps did not serve only the purpose they had originally been intended for, namely the removal of victims of epidemics, which did occur quite frequently despite intensive efforts at disinfection. Later, they claim, these facilities were used instead or additionally for mass extermination, including that of the Jews. For this purpose, some rooms of the respective cremation facilities were allegedly slightly altered; people were then killed ('gassed') there with Zyklon B.
According to eyewitness testimony, there was at that time a homicidal 'gas chamber' in crematorium I of the Main Camp, Auschwitz I. In Birkenau (Auschwitz II), approximately 1.5 miles away, there are said to have been 4 more homicidal 'gas chambers' in crematoria II through V, as well as two farm houses, located outside the camp itself and altered for gassing purposes.
The individual facilities are discussed in the following.
2.2. Delousing Chambers for Material Objects
Rooms where material objects were deloused with Zyklon B still exist intact today in the West and East wings of Buildings 5a and 5b of Compounds B1a and b respectively. The original German building plans identify these rooms as "Gaskammer" (gas chamber), the term commonly used in those days for disinfestation facilities. These delousing rooms, equipped with airlocks, had two round openings approximately 20 inches in diameter in their ceiling gables, fitted with an air intake and an exhaust ventilator. The roof had three ventilation chimneys; three furnaces were installed in these rooms during the time they were in use. This set-up, with heating and ventilation, must have been considered the minimum requirement for a facility to be used as fumigation chamber for disinfesting material objects safely.
2.3. The 'Gas Chamber' in Main Camp Auschwitz I
According to Pressac, there is no material or documentary evidence for the existence of a homicidal 'gas chamber' in the crematorium of the Main Camp; there are, however, numerous eyewitness accounts. Pressac states that the foremost characteristics of these accounts are their numerous contradictions, technical impossibilities, and generally unbelievable nature. In his latest work, Pressac suggests that this homicidal 'gas chamber' was in operation only from January to April 1942, and he calls eyewitness statements alleging a longer time of operation "exaggerations".
In considering this crematorium we shall concentrate on the Zyklon B input hatches and the ventilation holes of the homicidal 'gas chamber'. Illustration 1 shows the floor plan of the building at the start of the war, designed and constructed as an ordinary crematorium with a mortuary. The mortuary is said to have been altered later to serve as 'gas chamber'. For purposes of introducing the Zyklon B into the room to effect the gassing of the victims, 3 or 4 hatches are also said to have been cut into the roof later on, as well as 1 or 2 others to accommodate powerful ventilators. In autumn of 1944 the crematorium was altered to serve as air-raid shelter, while the Zyklon B input hatches allegedly were already sealed up in late April or early May 1942.
Illustration 2 shows the floor plan of the crematorium as it exists today. After the war, it is claimed the roof was re-covered with roofing felt, which concealed the Zyklon B hatches of this 'gas chamber'. The input hatches visible today were installed after the war by the Polish Auschwitz Museum - not, according to Pressac, at their original location, but rather in a way that was considered more effective for tourist viewing purposes. This alteration and many others carried out by the communist post-war administration of the camp, which we can discuss here only briefly, are generally acknowledged as "falsifications" today.
However, the ceiling, outside walls and pillars as well as the building foundation are in their original state. If openings for input hatches and ventilation facilities had existed in the reinforced concrete roof, damage to the concrete structure would have to be visible at the appropriate spots on the unplastered inside ceiling, since such structures cannot be removed without leaving visible traces.
At one location the ceiling clearly shows signs of disintegration caused by water seeping in. Attempts have been made - in vain - to check the decay by plastering over the area affected. There are two other places where the ceiling is plastered over, in the middle of the room and towards the outside wall. Whether these patches cover up former holes or whether they are also the result of repairs is something that yet needs to be investigated. In any case they are not input openings distributed evenly throughout the room. Other than those that were added after the war, there are no such breaches in the ceiling.
Might the Auschwitz Museum have been mistaken, and used the old openings as the locations of the newly installed ones after all? The former Director of the Museum recently commented to this effect. We shall take a closer look at his revised opinion.
The breaches visible in the concrete today are not plastered, nor have the remnants of the severed iron reinforcement bars been properly removed. The holes are fitted with a makeshift wooden frame, and sealed with tar. Such sloppy work does not reflect the care required in handling poison gas, nor is it typical of German workmanship. If the SS had indeed cut these holes through the concrete, one might expect not only a proper removal of the reinforcing bars, but also a uniform arrangement of the 4 hatches over the ceiling of the original mortuary to allow for the even distribution of Zyklon B in the room. The hatches present today, however, are spread evenly over the ceiling only if one regards the washroom, which was not added to this room until after the war, as being part of the mortuary (alleged homicidal 'gas chamber'); see illustration 2. The configuration of the input hatches, therefore, makes sense only if they were added specifically for the facilities as they exist today as "falsifications" of incorrect dimensions, i.e., if they were added after the war.
In his new book Pressac states that temporary ventilation facilities were installed in the mortuary of crematorium I in March 1941, that these were never replaced with permanent fixtures, and that it is not known how they worked. To support this claim Pressac cites Pery Broad, whose statements Pressac had dismissed as implausible in his first book and which, furthermore, tell of a ventilator installed in a concrete chimney. But just as the Zyklon B input hatches, this ventilator would have had to leave detectable traces in the ceiling. It is also possible, however, that the ventilation pipe was laid through breaches in the walls, into the oven room and on from there, for example to the chimney. But since the dividing wall between the oven room and the mortuary were extensively rebuilt when the facilities were altered to serve as air-raid shelter, no traces remain to be found today.
One can conclude from all this that in all likelihood there were no hatches for the input of Zyklon B to allow these facilities to be used as homicidal 'gas chamber' at the time of their alleged use as such. Or, as French Professor Robert Faurisson put it: "No holes, no 'Holocaust'."
Additionally, there was no direct entrance door from outside through which the alleged victims could have entered the homicidal 'gas chamber'. Therefore all eyewitness accounts stating that the victims were led into the 'gas chamber' through such a door, are dubious. Or, as French Professor Robert Faurisson put it: "No door, no 'destruction'."
2.4. The 'Gas Chambers' of Birkenau
2.4.1. Crematoria II and III
In terms of size, fittings and construction, these crematoria are comparable with other civilian cremation facilities built in the Reich at that time, as well as with modern ones. Details of the construction of mortuary 1, allegedly used as homicidal 'gas chamber', have already been discussed elsewhere. We shall again focus on the Zyklon B input hatches, i.e., holes in this basement room, which was equipped with ventilation but no heating facilities.
Illustration 3 (next page) shows the floor plan of mortuary 1 (the 'gas chamber') of crematorium II and also represents the mirror image of mortuary 1 of crematorium III; illustration 4 shows the cross-section. According to eyewitnesses, there were also three or four hatches in the ceiling here, through which the Zyklon B was introduced.
Regarding the evidence provided by Allied air photos, the reader is referred to the chapter by J.C. Ball in the present volume. Clearly this information suggests that either there were no input hatches on the roofs, or that these were so small that they did not show up on the air photos, so that probably someone deemed it necessary to resort to photo retouching in order to falsify the air photos accordingly.
Today the roofs of mortuaries 1 (the 'gas chambers') of both crematoria are broken and collapsed. There are no signs of shell impacts. It is assumed that these rooms were blasted. The ceiling of mortuary 1 ('gas chamber') of crematorium II is still more or less intact and still rests partially on the concrete supporting pillars. Large parts of the walls and concrete ceiling still accessible in the interior of the cellar remain in their original state, protected from weathering. There are no visible signs of any erosion or corrosion.
In his book Pressac shows pictures of ventilation pipe openings in the roof of mortuary 2 of crematorium II as well as in the concrete ceiling of the oven room of crematorium III. Illustration 5 shows one of the five openings into the oven room. In contrast to these cleanly cut holes, the only two holes to be found in the roof of mortuary 1 ('gas chamber') of crematorium II, which Pressac claims to allegedly have been Zyklon B input hatches, are clearly openings that were broken through the reinforced-concrete roof later (see illustrations 6 and 7). Pressac and van Pelt concede that these are the only holes visible today.
Without exception the openings visible today in the roofs of mortuaries 1 ('gas chambers') of crematoria II and III are holes that were broken through the concrete after completion of the roofs. If any of these holes had served as Zyklon B input hatches, then they would have to have been added after the roofs were completed. Since the roofs of these facilities were poured in the winter of 1942/43, any additional openings could have been added to the roofs of both crematoria in spring 1943 at the earliest. But the mass extermination in the facilities of crematorium II is said to have been in full swing by then. This would imply an inconceivably stupid error in planning.
Also, given such an opening broken through the roof of one of the mortuaries 1 ('gas chambers') after construction, i.e., causing damage to the concrete and the iron reinforcement structure, it would have been inevitable for the ceiling breaks and cracks resulting from a subsequent blasting of the building to run primarily through these holes. The reason for this is that blasting represents an abnormal force, that material tension reaches very high peak levels around the corners of inserted openings (notch or fatigue effect), and that cracks proceed preferentially from weak points. Therefore, particularly such openings whose belated addition has already damaged the structure of the surrounding concrete represent points where cracks and breaks are not only likely, but inevitable. This is demonstrated by illustrations 5 and 8 (previous page). Even though, in illustration 5, the explosion pressure in the ground-level oven room was able to escape in every direction and the ceiling connecting to the upper floor remained almost fully intact, three of the five oven room air vent holes, which had been neatly cast into the concrete ceiling and reinforced, were completely destroyed. Clearly visible cracks formed at the corners of two other holes, shown in the photos reproduced by Pressac. Illustration 8 shows the consequences of a rockfall on a house wall with a window. The only crack in the wall proceeds from the window.
In the mortuaries of crematoria II and III the pressure from the explosion could only escape upward, which is why their ceilings were much more severely damaged than the ceiling of the oven room or the wall of the house hit by a rockfall. The alleged Zyklon B input hatches in the roof of mortuary 1 ('gas chamber') of crematorium II, however, are conspicuous for their relatively undamaged condition; none of the many cracks and breaks in the ceiling run through the hole shown in illustration 7. An on-site examination reveals the random arrangement of openings in places where the mortuary ceiling is actually undamaged! As John C. Ball shows in this volume, in terms of size or location these holes also do not correspond at all with the patches apparent on the air photos - something which even Pressac has realized.
What is more, at the opening shown in illustration 7 the reinforcement bars were only cut through once and then bent back. They are still full length. It would be quite possible to bend them back down and weld them to the protruding stubs at left (covered in snow), although we advise no one to try it in order to avoid any damage to these extremely important pieces of evidence. Remnants of the reinforcement bars are also still visible at the edge of the hole in illustration 6. No devices for the introduction of gas could ever have been securely installed, much less sealed to the outside, in such crudely cut and unfinished holes from which not even the reinforcement bars had been removed. Any attempt to do so would have endangered the entire vicinity, including the alleged perpetrators, with the poison gas that would have escaped in enormous quantities. What is more, only brute force could have stopped the supposed victims from escaping through these holes or even throwing the poison gas carrier out, since after all these holes could never have served as input hatches - they were never finished.
One can therefore conclude with absolute certainty that the alleged input hatches were not added until after the buildings had been blown up, i.e., after the German retreat. So, here as well the saying of Prof. Robert Faurisson goes: "No holes, no 'Holocaust'".
Thus, the alleged hatches shown in pictures as published by Pressac and Czech (cf. illustration 9, enlarged in illustration 10, next page), must be interpreted differently. If these objects were indeed Zyklon B hatches, as Pressac assumes, they should be of equal size and equidistant, i.e., evenly distributed on the roof of morgue 1. But as shown in illustration 10, the objects have different sizes. According to their shades, they probably have a rectangle shape, but not the same orientation. When evaluating their possible position on the roof by means of a perspective drawing, illustration 11, it turns out that they are standing closely together and are most likely situated all together on one and the same half of the roof. If there were holes under these objects going through the roof, then they should still be there today, but there are no traces of such holes. This is proof that these objects cannot have been Zyklon B hatches. Maybe they are just some sort of building material placed on the roof, since this crematorium was still under construction in February 1943.
2.4.2. Crematoria IV and V
All that exists for these facilities are a few documents and contradictory, partly unbelievable eyewitness statements. According to Pressac, the two western, heated, unidentified rooms, as well as their anterooms, served as 'gas chambers'. There is no evidence for any ventilation facility for these rooms prior to May 1944. For this reason Pressac suggests that up to that date ventilation was achieved by means of natural draft. In crematorium IV, but not in crematorium V, a ventilation facility is said to have been installed in May 1944, when the extermination of the Hungarian Jews allegedly began. Pressac shows a blueprint for this, but fails to cite a source for it. According to his blueprint, the ventilation shaft would have opened into an additional chimney of crematorium IV. However, such a chimney is not visible on the air photos of May, June and September 1944. As well, and strangely enough, the rooms described as 'gas chambers', beside the coke fuel and the physician's rooms, lack any ventilation chimneys - unlike all the other rooms in the two crematoria. Pressac himself points out that the lack of ventilation of the chambers would have resulted in the gas spreading through the entire rest of the building, so that all work would have had to cease for many hours. He adds further that due to the technical inadequacies, the gassings in these rooms must have been a ludicrous procedure resembling a circus act.
Unfortunately one must deal with such witness stories and try to keep a straight face in the process.
2.4.3. Farm Houses ('Bunkers') I and II
The location and design of the redesigned farm houses ('Bunkers') and undressing barracks, allegedly situated west to northwest of the Birkenau camp, are not precisely known. Pressac describes the eyewitness testimony in this respect as contradictory. The building called Farm House (or Bunker) II is sometimes visible on air photos, whereas there is never any trace of Farm House I. Since the gassings attested to for these facilities resemble those for crematoria IV and V (input chutes at the side, no ventilation, but no heating either), our remarks in Section 2.4.2. apply all the more strongly in this case. In his new book Pressac even goes one better. He shows that, due to a paper authored by G. Peters, the Camp Administration had been aware of the advanced delousing technique using Zyklon B since 1941. Without documenting his reasoning, he interprets the Camp Administration's interest in this paper to the effect that this new technique of killing human beings was to have been implemented in Bunker II, which was due for alteration. In the end, however, according to Pressac's unfounded allegations, they refrained from doing so because the suppliers allegedly had difficulties in keeping up with the demand, and so Bunker II, like Bunker I, was operated without heating or ventilation.
A nugget of absurdity truly worth savoring: the Camp Administration, while being fully aware of the advanced methods available for Zyklon B delousing facilities, allegedly resorted to sledgehammer methods to gas people not only in Bunkers I and II, but later on in all other crematoria as well, while at the same time there were no noteworthy production delays to interfere with the construction of hundreds of advanced delousing chambers throughout German occupied Europe, and even in the new central sauna of Auschwitz-Birkenau! The Germans even developed the nowadays well-known microwave technology - to kill lice! They installed those extraordinarily expensive facilities exclusively in Auschwitz to save the lives of the inmates! And we are to believe that the Germans couldn't get hold of the material required to install proper Zyklon B delousing technology in their homicidal 'gas chambers'?
2.5. Engineering Conclusions
Since every room can be deloused with Zyklon B, every room could be considered as serving as a delousing facility in principle. But even the most primitive delousing facilities which were used more than just occasionally - whether in the early days of Auschwitz, or elsewhere - would have been equipped with an exhaust ventilator and frequently even with a heating system, of which the latter is helpful but not absolutely necessary (for details see Section 4.1.). No room, however, which lacked a ventilation system need be seriously considered as a facility for killing human beings with poisonous gas. For execution 'gas chambers', there must be a way to introduce the poison gas substance from outside, which is not absolutely necessary, but also helpful, in the case of delousing chambers for material objects. The salient point, therefore, is that a room that had either no means for introducing the poison gas from outside, or no ventilation facilities, cannot be seriously considered as execution 'gas chamber'. An overview of the rooms discussed here is reflected in Table 1.
This does not even consider, among other things, that a hypothetical execution 'gas chamber' would need to be proof against victims attempting to break out (e.g., a massive iron gas-tight door opening outward), and that the ventilation system would have to be powerful enough for its task.
Even though the literature largely agrees on the outfitting of the rooms of crematoria IV and V as well as of the Farm Houses, the matter is nevertheless somewhat speculative due to a lack of documentation and material evidence. Pressac's recent discovery regarding crematorium IV's alleged ventilation system of unknown properties pertains only to the time after May 1944 and strikes us as no less speculative.
Fortunately, precisely that so-called 'gas chamber' in which the most people were allegedly killed with poison gas during the Third Reich has survived to the present in an almost perfectly intact state: mortuary 1 of crematorium II. It is an engineering certainty that, contrary to all eyewitness testimony, these facilities had no Zyklon B input openings in their ceiling during the time of their alleged operation. And if this is so, then this room cannot have been used as site for mass murder with poison gas.
Until and unless the question of how the poison gas substance should have been introduced into this putative 'gas chamber' is answered, all further speculations as to the nature of the killings and the possible chemical evidence for them are merely academic exercises without substance. Therefore the discussion of Auschwitz could well end right here. The following, however, discusses some of the questions of a chemical nature that have been raised by Leuchter.
3. Zyklon B and Its Effects
3.1. The Poison Gas Hydrogen Cyanide (HCN)
Hydrogen cyanide (HCN) blocks the oxygen supply to the cells, preventing the oxidation processes vital for cell life. Due to the brain's great sensitivity to lack of oxygen, a person who has inhaled high concentrations of HCN suffers less (but still intensively) than a person who has swallowed cyanide salts (e.g., KCN), which results in heavy and extremely painful muscle cramps. This is the reason why this method of HCN execution is used in some states in the USA. A dose of 1 mg HCN per kg body weight is generally considered fatal, whereas non-lethal doses of HCN are quickly eliminated by the body without further consequences. The bright red color of the blood and of the cadaveric lividities are typical post-mortem findings in HCN-related deaths.
It is generally advisable to avoid perspiring when dealing with HCN, since damp skin absorbs HCN most readily. In cases of poisoning via the skin, concentrations of 0.6%/vol. are hazardous, and a few minutes' exposure to 1%/vol. may be fatal.
Table 2 shows which concentration of HCN in air can be rapidly fatal to humans. Naturally these values are not the results of experiments on humans, but projections based, for safety reasons, on the lower safety limit. To demonstrate: a stout person weighing 100 kg (roughly 220 lbs.) must absorb approximately 100 mg HCN for this to be fatal. The respiration rate of a person at rest is about 15 liters of air per minute. Given a HCN concentration of 0.02%/vol. (approximately 0.24 mg/liter), the victim must breathe in about 416 liters of air before he has absorbed the fatal dose of HCN. At 15 liters per minute, this would take just under half an hour. If he has a robust constitution, he may survive even this exposure time. If, however, one postulates a sensitive person of only 50 kg body weight (approximately 110 lbs.), whose respiration rate has increased to 40 liters per minute due to hard work or excitement, then the fatal 208 liters of air will have been breathed in by this person within 5 minutes. These mathematical examples show that safety guidelines are always set in such a way as to protect even the smaller and weaker persons from harm under a kind of worst case scenario. Also, the specifications given in the literature, "immediately" and "rapidly fatal", are so indefinite as to be unsatisfactory.
The limiting values look very different when the requirement is that even the most robust among the hypothetical victims must be dead after a few minutes. Naturally the concentration required for this greatly exceeds the values cited in Table 2. It could be determined accurately only by mass screening, which of course is not an option. The only data available here are those that have been collected in the course of executions with HCN that have been performed in the United States. A review of the conditions, based on several publications in the USA about that subject concluded that it takes at least 10 minutes to kill a victim, if it is immediately subjected to the full concentration of around 0.5 %/vol. In other words, concentrations more than ten times greater than that cited as "immediately fatal" in Table 2 are necessary to safely kill all executees in the United States. From cases of accidental poisoning we also know that even victims who were exposed to great overdoses die only after a surprisingly long period of unconsciousness and subsequent respiratory arrest.
3.2. The Fumigant Zyklon B
Insects and especially their eggs are considerably less sensitive to HCN. For the most part it is necessary to expose them for several hours to rather high concentrations (0.3 to 2%/vol.) before their death is certain. Right until the end of World War Two, Zyklon B, a substance produced and licensed by the company DEGESCH of Frankfurt/Main, was of paramount importance in combating insects and rodents in food storerooms, large-capacity transports (trains, ships), public buildings, barracks, prisoner-of-war camps, concentration camps, and of course for hygiene and for disease control in general in many countries around the world. The Zyklon B allegedly used for gassing human beings consisted of lumps of gypsum mixed with starch 1/4" to 1/2" in diameter and soaked with hydrogen cyanide. The evaporation of the poison gas from its carrier proceeds rather slowly. The characteristics of HCN evaporating from the carrier substance were documented in 1942 by an employee of DEGESCH. On dry air of 15°C (59ºF), HCN evaporated from the carrier as indicated in Graph 1, i.e., it took 1.5 to 2 hours until 90% of the HCN had been released.
At lower temperatures this process slows down at a rate proportional to the decreasing vapor pressure of the HCN. It is worth noting that according to Irmscher the evaporation rate decreases remarkably if the surrounding air has a high relative humidity, as it must be expected in unheated underground rooms, filled with many human beings. The reason for this is that the Zyklon B carrier cools down while HCN evaporates. Subsequently water from the surrounding damp air condenses on the carrier. Since HCN is extremely soluble in water, a wet carrier would release the remaining HCN only very slowly.
For future reference, we shall point out the probability that at a temperature of 15° C (59ºF), in a highly humid environment, a maximum of not more than 10% of the HCN will be released by the carrier substance during the first five, probably even ten minutes.
3.3. Hydrogen Cyanide Residue
If the hydrogen cyanide from the Zyklon B had bonded with the brickwork only through the process of adsorption, then due to the volatility of hydrogen cyanide (boiling point: 25.7° C/78.3ºF) it would no longer be possible today to detect any hydrogen cyanide residues in the remaining walls. But even a brief glance into the clothing disinfestation chambers of Buildings 5a and 5b of Birkenau (see cover illustrations) immediately shows a chemist that what he is in fact dealing with is a very common substance: iron blue, an extremely stable compound formed by the interaction of hydrogen cyanide with iron (ferrous cyanide).
Iron is an element almost ubiquitous in nature, occurring most commonly as ferric oxide ('rust'). The sand used for concrete and mortar, for example, contains up to 4% iron, while Portland cement contains between 2 to 5% iron. In general, the iron - in the form of rust - is the reason why building and similar materials (concrete, mortar, plaster, but loam and clay as well) are frequently ochre or red.
So how does the iron blue pigment form? First the hydrogen cyanide must accumulate in the brickwork. A cool and therefore damp wall is conducive to this process, since hydrogen cyanide is most readily soluble in water. Accordingly, cool (10° C/50ºF) basement walls with a moisture content some ten times greater than that of warm, dry rooms (20° C/68ºF) also have an approximately ten times greater tendency to become enriched with hydrogen cyanide. A damp environment (i.e., wall) is also of prime importance for the further steps involved in the chemical conversion into iron blue. Additionally, an alkaline environment is more suitable to accumulate HCN than an acid one, since under alkaline conditions HCN is rapidly converted into simple (non-complex and not very stable) cyanide salts. The conversion from HCN to cyanide salts is a necessary step for the formation of stable iron-cyanide-complexes, since only the cyanide ion in the salts (CN-) is able to react with iron, which includes both a simple linking process (formation of complex salts) and a partial reduction of the oxidation state of Iron from III (as normally found in nature) to II, which is supported by an alkaline medium. In fact, regarding the formation of iron blue apart from humidity and alkalinity all other factors are secondary. The exact influence of each factor is still unknown, though. The German expert literature has occasionally reported a case of developing iron blue after a single Zyklon B fumigation in a building of high dampness and alkaline plasters which caused severe damages, since the only way to get rid of this pigment was to knock off the entire plasterwork. From this case it must be concluded that already a single gassing can suffice if the walls of the premise are wet, porous and alkaline. But the formation of iron blue compounds in a room of a building in concentration camp Majdanek, which was converted to a Zyklon B delousing chamber after having been used for other purposes for quite a while, shows, that even old, non-alkaline plaster is able to form huge amounts of iron blue.
The relevant literature consistently describes iron blue as an extremely stable pigment. It is insoluble in water, resistant to acid rain and also surprisingly resistant to sunlight. When exposed to weathering, other compounds of hydrogen cyanide will even convert preferentially into iron blue.
Three examples will demonstrate the environmentally resistant nature of iron blue. First, the outside walls of the Birkenau delousing building, which are stained blue by iron blue, have lost none of their color despite 50 years of exposure to the adverse environmental conditions of the industrial region of Upper Silesia (see cover illustrations). One might now object that the soluble compounds of hydrogen cyanide in the interior of the walls gradually migrate to the surface, thereby making up for any loss caused by surface erosion and thus only 'simulating' long-term stability. However, a long-term test begun in the 1950s to ascertain the environmental resistance of paints has clarified this matter. In this test, many pigments including iron blue and iron oxide (i.e., rust) were tested by applying them only superficially and without protective coating onto a piece of aluminum. After more than 20 years' exposure to the air of a western industrial suburb of London, two pigments exhibited the least (barely noticeable) changes: iron blue and iron oxide. Even scattered on the ground, iron blue remains stable and fixed for decades, as tests in gas works shut down decades ago have shown. In this case the iron blue obtained in the city's gas works was used as a herbicide, and is still present today in virtually undiminished quantities. Therefore, if iron blue has formed on and in a wall, one may expect to find a long-term stability similar to that of the iron oxide from which it formed.
Thus, once noticeable quantities of hydrogen cyanide salts have accumulated in brickwork, and once damp conditions have allowed these to convert into iron blue, then no appreciable reduction in hydrogen cyanide content is to be expected after 50 years.
A typical example of the way the media deal with these facts is the report that was issued by the German press agency dpa and carried on March 29, 1993, in almost all major German daily newspapers and even in some radio news broadcasts, in which it was claimed that, according to unnamed expert, the hydrogen cyanide salts at issue here have a life of only a few months. Inquiries at the Stuttgart dpa office responsible for this press release revealed that the editor in charge, Albert Meinecke, had invented this 'expert opinion' out of thin air. Evidently even the dpa press agency does not shy back from issuing false reports.
4.1. Disinfestation of Material Objects
Initially, ordinary rooms were turned into disinfestation facilities for material objects by means of makeshift alterations intended to render the windows and doors as gas-proof as possible and to provide adequate heating and ventilation systems for the rooms. Workers wearing protective masks distributed the Zyklon B evenly on the floor of the room, which had been previously stocked with the items to be fumigated. This procedure was similar to that used at the time for the fumigation of ordinary rooms for purposes of disinfestation.
Later, special facilities were constructed, and outfitted with heating, ventilation and air turnover (circulation system) facilities. These facilities had a relatively small volume to avoid any dead space, i.e., to conserve the rather costly insecticide.
Depending on the facilities and on the kind of vermin to be exterminated, the concentrations of hydrogen cyanide varied from 0.5 to 2%/vol., while the duration of use ranged from less than 2 hours to 10 hours and more.
The delousing chambers of Buildings 5a and 5b in Birkenau had been constructed especially for delousing purposes (with ventilation facilities, heating, aeration chimneys), but their size made them very expensive to operate. They had an area of approximately 130 m2 and a volume of at least 400 m3. Using the entire room as delousing chamber would require quantities of Zyklon B containing at least 4 to 5 kg (10g/m3) hydrogen cyanide. Assuming one fumigation cycle per day, these facilities alone used up 3.6 tons of Zyklon B a year, which corresponds to almost 50% of the entire quantity of Zyklon B delivered to Auschwitz in 1942, where the total amount delivered was 7.5 tons.
If one considers that Birkenau also had other hydrogen cyanide delousing facilities of various size and that inmates' barracks were also fumigated with this insecticide on occasion, then it becomes apparent that the quantities of Zyklon B supplied to Auschwitz can be explained by the normal disinfestation operations, which is in fact generally accepted. Pressac, for example, suggests that 95 to 98% of all the Zyklon B supplied to the camp was used for its original purpose, namely to delouse clothing and facilities, and he cites findings of the Nuremberg Tribunal in support of this. And in fact, relative to the numbers of people in the Auschwitz camp, the quantities of Zyklon B supplied to this camp did not exceed the quantities supplied to other concentration camps where it is known that no exterminations took place. Clearly, the annual quantity supplied to Auschwitz was not even enough, since the spotted fever epidemics could never be entirely prevented. These considerations show that the disinfestation chambers of Buildings 5a and 5b could not have been used more than once a day.
4.2. The Gassing of Human Beings
4.2.1. Eyewitness Testimony
Where the trustworthiness and credibility of eyewitness testimony are concerned, Pressac himself judges them at times quite harshly. He attempts to explain the untruths, impossibilities and exaggerations, and in many cases he corrects them. For example, Pressac estimates the numbers of victims per gassing as considerably less than do the eyewitnesses, who frequently tell of several thousand victims per cycle. Since the number of victims in Auschwitz has been officially reduced from 4 million to approximately 1 million since spring 1990, Pressac, drawing primarily on a work by D. Czech, has manipulated the claims of the witnesses to reflect these new figures. The following describes the procedures of the alleged homicidal gassings for the individual facilities, as Pressac believes he can reconstruct them following his correction of the eyewitness testimony [my comments in brackets]:
500 to 700 victims undress out of doors; the 'gas chamber' (mortuary) is entered via the furnace room [passing heaps of corpses from the last batch which are awaiting their cremation. This scenario appears to be unbelievable, since it requires that the victims passing these heaps would have stayed calm.]; Zyklon B is introduced through [non existent] input shafts; after the victims have died (some 5 minutes later [which is impossible]) the ventilators are turned on; after 15 to 20 minutes of ventilation, the door to the furnace room is opened, the chamber is cleared - sometimes without the use of gas masks on the part of the workers [which would have been very dangerous, if not fatal] - and the victims are cremated. According to Pressac only a few gassings took place here, with a total of less than 10,000 victims.
Crematoria II & III:
800 to 1,200 victims undress in mortuary 2; they enter mortuary 1 (the 'gas chamber'); Zyklon B is introduced via [non existent] input shafts; after the victims have died (5 minutes [which is impossible]) the ventilators are turned on; after approximately 20 minutes the doors are opened; the bodies, covered with blood, vomit and feces, are hosed off; the bodies are removed, usually without the use of gas masks on the part of the workers [which again would have been very dangerous, if not fatal]; cremation takes place on the ground floor. According to Pressac the total number of victims for crematorium II was some 400,000 (one gassing per day on average), 350,000 for crematorium III.
Crematoria IV & V:
Several hundred victims undress out of doors when the weather permitted, otherwise in the mortuary; victims walk to the 'gas chamber' [passing heaps of corpses from the last batch which are awaiting their cremation...]. Zyklon B is thrown in through input hatches, from a ladder; after 15 to 20 minutes the doors are opened; bodies are removed to the mortuary or outside to the burning pits behind crematorium V, while the workers sometimes do and sometimes do not wear gas masks [which would be fatal, since no ventilation system reduces the HCN concentration]. According to Pressac, the number of victims is difficult to estimate, presumably approximately 100,000 each. The same goes for Bunkers I and II.
Pressac repeatedly mentions concentrations of 12g hydrogen cyanide per m3, or 1% by volume. To support this claim he cites many eyewitness accounts which allege that four to six 1-kg-tins of Zyklon B were emptied into the 'gas chambers' (mortuaries) of crematoria II and III, which indeed corresponds to a concentration of 1% by volume.
Another indirect and surely the most conclusive source to determine the quantities of hydrogen cyanide used are the gassing times attested to by the witnesses. These times are consistently a matter of minutes, and it is no doubt justified to wonder how the witnesses could possibly know this, since according to the conventional accounts the 'gas chamber' doors had at most one peephole, which SS physicians allegedly availed themselves of to supervise the proceedings. Such witnesses would thus be the only ones not reporting from hearsay. In his 1992 report Professor G. Jagschitz quotes one such 'qualified' witness. The Auschwitz camp physician he quotes - Dr. Horst Fischer, who claims to have frequently supervised 'gas chamber' executions himself - reports of gassing times of two to three minutes, which agrees with the claims of the vast majority of all other witnesses, including the SS man Hans Münch in an interview conducted by this author. The former Camp Commandant R. Höß also spoke of 3 to, in exceptional cases, 15 minutes. Such a relatively quick execution would require the use of correspondingly large quantities of Zyklon B. The approximate quantity shall be determined in the following.
4.2.2. Criticism of Eyewitness Testimony
We shall not deal with thorough criticism of eyewitness testimonies here, which has been done already elsewhere, but will focus on only two physical problems, and we shall ignore the fact that there were no Zyklon B input hatches in the roofs of the crematoria I-III (which is a bit grotesque, but otherwise one would have to stop any further analysis). In order to assess the degree to which official eyewitness testimony and other accounts of the alleged gassing procedures approximate reality, one must consider the following factors:
18.104.22.168. Poisoning or Suffocation?
If one assumes an execution time roughly commensurate to that in American gas chambers (10 minutes, with approximately 0.3% hydrogen cyanide per m3), then the concentration of 0.3% by volume (3.6 g/m3) must have prevailed in even the hindmost corner of the 'gas chamber' by the end of the execution process at the latest, i.e., after 10 minutes. Given a free air volume of 430 m3 in the mortuaries 1 of crematoria II and III, this corresponds to approximately 1.5 kg of evenly distributed hydrogen cyanide (3.3 lbs). Since after 5 to 10 minutes the carrier substance has released only 10% of its hydrogen cyanide, then an execution that takes only a few minutes would require the use of 10 times this quantity, i.e., at least 15 kg Zyklon B (33 lbs). Of course this would work only on the condition that the hydrogen cyanide that is released would reach the victims right away, which one cannot expect in large and overcrowded rooms. We note, therefore that for the gassing procedures attested to, at least 20 kg of Zyklon B would have had to be used per gassing (44 lbs). The quantities actually attested to by witnesses - 5 to 12 kg (11 - 26 lbs) - thus correspond at best to the absolute minimum required.
On the basis of detailed calculations, it was demonstrated that the victims could not possibly have breathed the available air volume of the chamber (400 m3) more than once within the 5 to 10 minutes for which the people locked into the 'gas chamber' allegedly still lived following the introduction of the poison gas. This shows that the respiration of the victims could not have reduced the poison gas content of the air significantly below 50% of its hypothetical maximum initial concentration. But since the Zyklon B still contains 90% of its original content after the first 5 to 10 minutes following its distribution, i.e., after the death of the victims, the poison gas content of the air will continue to rise. This shows that under the conditions attested to by the witnesses, the victims could have breathed in (i.e filtered away) only a small fraction of the poison used.
The theory occasionally advanced, that the victims had absorbed all of the poison gas, would require that only very small quantities of poison gas were used, so that the people could have acted as living filters for the entire duration of evaporation, i.e., the time for which the Zyklon B released the poison (at least 2 hours). This means that the doses of poison were too small to kill them, i.e., the concentrations were below 0.01% by volume - meaning that less than 500 g of Zyklon B was used.
However, it can be shown that the victims in the airtight chamber would probably have suffocated after only one hour and without any poison gas, so that even under these conditions the victims' complete absorption of the hydrogen cyanide would have failed due to the slow rate of evaporation of hydrogen cyanide from the Zyklon B carrier material. Thus, this theory not only contradicts the eyewitness statements with respect to quantities of Zyklon B and speed of execution, but is also technically utterly nonsensical, since if the victims had been killed by suffocation there would have been no need to expend the costly Zyklon B, which was in short enough supply even without being wasted.
22.214.171.124. Speed of Ventilation of the 'Gas Chambers'
The following shall help explain a somewhat complex mathematical concept. Imagine, if you will, that someone is given a bucket containing 100 blue balls. Each time he reaches into the bucket, he puts in one red ball, briefly mixes the contents and, without looking, takes out one randomly selected ball. How often will he have to do this until only 50 blue balls are left in the bucket and all the others are red? Clue: assuming that he has already replaced half of all the blue balls with red ones, what is the chance that in blindly taking out another ball he will take out a red one instead of a blue one, thus defeating his purpose, i.e., the intended exchange? This is the sort of problem that arises in ventilating a room, when stale and fresh air mix. It means that it takes considerably longer to successfully ventilate a room than is generally assumed. In the case described above, it takes an average of 70 exchanges before half the blue balls have been replaced by red ones.
Calculations have shown that the ventilation facilities in the alleged 'gas chambers' of crematoria II and III in Birkenau - facilities designed only for ventilation of ordinary mortuaries - could have performed at most 6 to 8 air exchanges per hour. Due to the poor system configuration (inlet right above outlet) and the alleged overcrowding of the room with bodies, half an hour would never have sufficed to achieve harmless levels of hydrogen cyanide following a gassing, even if there had been no Zyklon B still releasing gas for hours on end. The eyewitness testimony claiming adequate ventilation after 20 to 30 minutes in mortuaries 1 of crematoria II and III are thus not credible.
This pertains all the more for crematoria IV and V as well as for the sinister Farm Houses (Bunkers) which could have been aired out only via one or two doors. Since they are said to have been equally crammed full of bodies, with the Zyklon B scattered among them, the ventilation time would have been at least one day, the same as was required for ordinary room disinfestations. What is more, ordinary rooms would allow for the removal of the Zyklon B, and generally have windows to facilitate ventilation and are not packed with bodies. Eyewitness testimony telling of work performed without the benefit of gas masks in these 'gas chambers' immediately or shortly after the gassing is thus utterly unbelievable. And even if the workers had worn gas masks - carrying the corpses would have been hard work (causing perspiration! cf. Section 3.1.), and in these rooms high in hydrogen cyanide any such work would have been extremely risky due to the potential for poisoning via the skin.
4.2.3. Evaluation of Eyewitness Testimony
Again we will ignore the problem of the Zyklon B input hatches, which demonstrably were not present in the ceilings of mortuaries 1 of crematoria II and III, and we will pretend that they were in fact there.
Under the given technical conditions, the executions with Zyklon B as recounted by the witnesses would not under any circumstances have been possible as rapidly as some allege ('a few moments', 'immediately'), and 'within a few minutes' only if horrendous quantities of Zyklon B had been used - which would have been nonsensical (too costly), dangerous and awkward at once. As well, the walls of the chambers would have been exposed to high concentrations of hydrogen cyanide for long periods of time. Mass executions with HCN in huge rooms would have required the application of gaseous HCN, blown in and evenly distributed by fans, or pure liquid HCN, evaporated and distributed by a mixed heating and ventilation device.
The alleged entering of the 'gas chambers' without safety measures, the hard work performed in them - sometimes done bare-chested and while eating and smoking - and the simultaneous claim that great quantities of poison gas were used, combine to prove these witnesses guilty of making false statements.
No less false are the times alleged for the ventilation of mortuaries 1 (the 'gas chambers') of crematoria II and III, since the witnesses proceeded on the mistaken assumption that a single air exchange would remove all the poison gas. The delay in the reduction of the remaining concentration of hydrogen cyanide means that in a realistic scenario the required ventilation time would exceed that recounted by the witnesses by a factor of 10 or more (diminished circulation due to the bodies, 'short-circuit' of air, aftergeneration of gas from the Zyklon B). As well, the problem of continued aftergeneration of gas from the remaining Zyklon B, which would have made it impossible to work within the chambers without protective clothing in anything less than 2 hours even with ongoing ventilation, also prove that the witnesses have not told the truth.
The 'gas chambers' of crematoria IV and V as well as of Bunkers I and II would have had to be designed and built as instruments of mass murder if the mass gassings alleged to have been planned and in progress during the construction of these facilities had really taken place; yet even Pressac admits that the gassing procedures attested to were illogical and ridiculous, and highly dangerous to the Sonderkommandos in particular. In the face of all this, anyone approaching this issue from a scientific and technical perspective cannot but conclude that the alleged murderers went to great lengths to devise the most expensive, complicated, dangerous and problematic way to kill people en masse. For example, the coal-refining BUNA works of I.G. Farbenwerke AG, only a few miles away, could easily have provided a cheap supply of coal gas high in carbon monoxide for poisoning, or bottled nitrogen for asphyxiation. But in Auschwitz, of all places, it had to be the expensive, scarce and awkward-to-use Zyklon B that was used, even though it was badly needed everywhere else for pest control. Yet in other alleged extermination camps far distant from the BUNA plant, carbon monoxide is said to have been used to kill people, and to have been generated for this purpose with Diesel engines from captured Russian tanks, whose exhaust fumes, however, contain only non-lethal quantities of carbon monoxide when operated in neutral gear (as they would have to have been).
One must realize that near the alleged homicidal 'gas chambers' in Auschwitz there were highly efficient delousing facilities, with airlocks, heating, powerful ventilators etc., and all of them had been constructed prior to the alleged homicidal 'gas chambers'. Further, at the time of construction of these alleged 'gas chambers' the technology for fumigating material objects had advanced greatly and the production of such facilities was in full swing. From everyday practical experience in delousing, the difference in time and material (Zyklon B) requirements between fumigations with and without air circulation will have been well-known. One might therefore expect the application of at least similar technological standards for the alleged homicidal gassing facilities, but clearly nothing even remotely approaching such standards was in fact used.
For propagandistic reasons it would have been obvious to present such facilities as the delousing chambers of Buildings 5a and 5b as homicidal 'gas chambers'. But no attempts were ever made to do so, and there are also no eyewitness statements alleging such a use of these rooms. Further, the doors of the delousing room of Building 5b - both as shown on the construction plans and as they actually exist there today - open inward, which means that in any mass gassing the bodies lying by the doors would have kept these from being opened afterwards. These rooms, therefore, were certainly never used as execution 'gas chambers'.
We will just comment briefly on the widely held belief that the poison gas entered the alleged execution 'gas chambers' via showerheads. In Zyklon B the active substance hydrogen cyanide is adsorbed on the solid carrier substance, mainly gypsum, and is released only gradually. Since the poison is neither a liquid nor a gas under pressure, the hydrogen cyanide from this product could never have been channeled through narrow water pipes and showerheads. Any showers, real or fake, could thus only have served to deceive the victims, but never to introduce the poison gas. Even with all the arguing and dissension that characterizes the overall subject, there is a general consensus on this particular point.
5. Valuation of Chemical Analyses
5.1. The Samples
Before taking sample material from the alleged Auschwitz 'gas chambers' one ought to verify that the material is in fact original, and to investigate its post-war history. The foundations and foundation walls of crematoria IV and V visible today were constructed after the war by the Museum Administration. Since the origin of the material used is uncertain, it hardly makes sense to take samples here. By incredibly good luck, however, the 'gas chamber' (mortuary 1) of crematorium II has largely survived intact. Aside from the two holes in the ceiling discussed in 2.4.1. (illustration 6, 7), the building materials are not only indisputably original and unaltered, but are also largely protected from weathering by the ceiling. Furthermore, according to Pressac, this room was allegedly the central site, so to speak, of alleged mass murder. This is where most of the gassings are said to have occurred. Taking samples here is thus appropriate not only by virtue of the original nature and history of the material, but also due to the results which an analysis may be expected to return. If iron blue residue is to be expected in homicidal 'gas chambers', then here is where one should strike pay dirt. To date there have been three samplings worth mentioning: by Leuchter, Rudolf and Ball. The reader is referred to these sources for details on sample removal and characterization.
5.2. Results of the Analyses
Table 3 summarizes the most important results of the analyses of material samples for cyanide content (cyanides = hydrogen cyanide compounds). The first part of the Table reflects samples taken from alleged 'gas chambers'. The second section pertains to samples from delousing chambers. The third shows the results of analyses of samples relating neither to 'gas chambers' nor to delousing chambers. This would actually also be the proper category for all samples taken from the reconstructed foundations and foundation walls of crematoria IV and V as well as from the Farm Houses ('Bunkers'), whose building materials are of unknown origin. On the basis of control samples it can be shown that due to the nature of the sample material, concentrations of less than 10 mg/kg are unreliable and hence must be considered null (see control analyses to samples R 3 & 8). One can thus observe that the alleged 'gas chambers' exhibit the same concentrations of hydrogen cyanide residue as any building selected at random - namely, none that are great enough to be reliably interpreted. The unreliability of low cyanide residues is additionally proven by a sample from a collapsed Bavarian farmhouse, my sample no. 25, which has the highest cyanide level of all samples of this group (9.6 mg/kg, reproducible probably due to low CaCO3 amount in bricks), and by Leuchter's sample no. 28 from crematorium I, which he erroneously took from a wall which until 1944 belonged to the wash room, that is, it was not part of the alleged 'gas chamber' (1.3 mg/kg). In contrast, the residual quantities in the delousing barracks range from 1,000 to 10,000 mg/kg, meaning that 0.1 to 1% of the plasterwork (not the entire wall!) in fact consists of cyanides. These findings are not only not questioned by the Director of the Auschwitz Museum, but are in fact expressly confirmed. Since the results are no longer subject to doubt, we would urge that no further samples be removed without official sanction, lest these facilities suffer the same fate as did the Berlin Wall.
5.3. Interpreting the Results
5.3.1. Rudolf's Interpretation
In view of these perfectly clear results and of the fact that they cannot be explained away by any disintegration processes of iron blue, which remains stable for great periods of time, the question which needs to be addressed is how these results are to be interpreted scientifically.
First of all one has to be careful when comparing the analyses results of samples taken from the delousing chambers with those taken from the alleged homicidal gas chamber. The reason for this is that especially in case of the delousing facilities several factors are unknown which can affect the interpretation of the results:
On the other hand, the features of the walls of the mortuary 1 of crematorium II can more easily be determined:
It is therefore reasonable to assume that the massively higher and longer lasting tendency of the wet and cold cement mortar of the morgues of crematorium II and III to form long-term stable cyanide compounds could easily compensate the somewhat shorter time it was exposed to the poisonous gas, if compared to the scenarios in the warm, dry and short-lasting alkaline internal walls of the delousing chambers.
It is therefore the conviction of the author that the high humidity, the relatively long lasting alkalinity of the cement plaster used in these mortuaries of crematoria II and III, in combination with the realistic homicidal gassing scenarios (high HCN concentrations, slow ventilation process) would have led to the formation of long-term stable cyanide compounds in an amount that should be easily detectable still today. Not at least because the conditions of these mortuaries are very similar to those described in the construction damage case referred to before, which is quoted entirely and henceforth analyzed in Appendix 1 of this volume.
5.3.2. Critique of Different Interpretations
There have been several ways of interpreting these results which I shall summarize and criticize here briefly.
There is a number of retorts to my findings which in my eyes are aiming with weak arguments at the wrong points. E.g., Bailer , Markiewiecz et al. and Clair  have claimed that no iron blue could form in brickwork merely as consequence of hydrogen cyanide fumigation. This has been sufficiently disproved. Instead they explain the blue color of the delousing chamber walls as paint that was applied during or after the war. However, this hypothesis fails to explain:
The fact is that the walls of the delousing buildings are saturated through and through with hydrogen cyanide compounds, of which only a part becomes visible as iron blue, predominantly in damp areas and at the surfaces due to accumulation processes. These facts can be explained only as a result of fumigations with HCN.
Another attempt at explaining the difference of the results between alleged execution 'gas chambers' and delousing chambers was somewhat more complicated. As mentioned before, humans are more sensitive to HCN than are insects. Holocaust advocates argue that the execution gassings were performed using only very little hydrogen cyanide, and that they did not take nearly as long as the delousing fumigations of material objects, which often took many hours. These two factors - low concentrations of HCN and shorter fumigation times - resulted in a lack of residue formation.
If one recalls our previous findings regarding the quantities allegedly used (similar to those for delousing fumigations) and the problems of ventilation, which would have taken hours, if not days, then it is quite clear that this assumption needs wrong premises. The results of the chemical analyses can therefore not be explained in this way.
G. Wellers was the first to advance the theory that the victims had absorbed all the hydrogen cyanide by respiration. This theory has already been clearly refuted in section 126.96.36.199.
Ignoring the scientific facts as summarized here in section 3.3.2., Markiewicz et al. and van Pelt have wrongly claimed that iron blue would disappear when expose to environmental conditions.
A new corny joke was recently added to this debate by Prof. James Roth from the Alpha Analytic Laboratories, Ashland, Massachusetts. I discuss this event here because Prof. Roth's allegations were widely publicized by the international media in connection with the libel case of British historian David Irving against Deborah E. Lipstadt.
In 1988, Roth's laboratory had analyzed the masonry samples from the alleged 'gas chambers' taken by Leuchter in Auschwitz for their cyanide content. During the trial against Ernst Zündel in Toronto that same year, for which the Leuchter report had been produced, Prof. Dr. Roth himself was interrogated as an expert witness. Ten years later, Errol Morris interviewed Roth about this event for his documentary movie Mr. Death on Fredrick A. Leuchter. During this interview, Prof. Roth did all he possibly could to distance himself from the possible consequences of the analyses performed by his company. His interview gained importance only due to the fact that the Dutch architectural Historian Prof. Robert van Pelt quoted Roth in his 1999 expert report prepared for the Irving trial. In it, van Pelt wrote about Roth's statements in Morris' movie:
"Roth explained that cyanide will react on the surface of brick or plaster, penetrating the material not more than 10 microns, or 0.01 mm, or one tenth the thickness of a human hair[...]. In other words, if one wants to analyze the cyanide concentration in a brick sample, one should take a representative sample of the surface, 10 microns thick, and no more."
It can be shown that Prof. Dr. James Roth is wrong for the following reasons:
As a professor of analytical chemistry, Prof. Roth must know this, so one can only wonder why he spreads such outrageous nonsense. That Prof. Roth is indeed a competent chemist can be seen from what he said during his testimony under oath as an expert witness during the above mentioned Zündel trial:
"In porous materials such as brick or mortar, the Prussian blue[recte: hydrogen cyanide] could go fairly deep as long as the surface stayed open, but as the Prussian blue formed, it was possible that it would seal the porous material and stop the penetration."
It is also revealing that Prof. Roth mentioned during this interview, if he had known where Leuchter's samples originated from, his analytical results would have been different. Such an attitude is exactly the reason why one should never tell an 'independent' laboratory about the origin of the samples to be analyzed. What Prof. Dr. Roth has demonstrated here is only his lack of professional honesty.
Another strange story is that of Richard Green, a PhD Chemist with quite similar educational background as I have. The layman would expect two experts with similar educational background to come to similar conclusions in questions relating to their expert knowledge. But this is only partly the case. The reason for this is that Dr. Green ignores many facts that are either supported by documentary evidence - like the performance of the ventilation installed in crematoria II and III, or the speed of executions in U.S. execution chambers - or by expert literature - like the higher tendency of cold, moist walls to adsorb HCN, and the longer lasting alkalinity of cement mortar compared to lime mortar.
However, Dr. Green makes some concessions which are important to note:
What he does challenge, though, is the possibility of formation of any noticeable quantities of Iron Blue in the homicidal 'gas chambers.' One of his flawed and deficient arguments to support his thesis is that in his view, no noticeable amounts of cyanide could have accumulated in the walls of the morgues ('gas chambers'). According to Dr. Green, one major factor for this is supposed to be the fact that masonry has a neutral pH value which prevents the formation of cyanide salts. But if that were true, how come huge amounts of cyanides did accumulate in the walls of the disinfestation chambers?
My argument in this regard is that particularly cement plasters and concretes, as used in morgues 1 of crematoria II and III, are noticeably alkaline for many weeks, months, or even years, which I documented thoroughly with expert literature on the chemistry of building materials. Hence, I concluded that these walls would have been very much inclined to accumulate cyanide salts and to form Iron Blue, even more so than the lime plaster of the disinfestation chambers, which in turn provoked the following answer by Dr. Green:
"[In 1993] The IFRC [Institute for Forensic Research, Cracow], on the other hand measured the pH [of mortar samples from the alleged gas chambers] to be between 6 and 7 [i.e. neutral]."
Dr. Green obviously did not consult any literature on the chemistry of building materials, as he quotes none. He solely relies on the findings of the Krakow institute. In order to make the reader see how flawed Dr. Green's way of arguing is, let me say it in a parable:
By referring to a couple of Italian expert pizza baking instructions, I showed that a pizza, when taken out of the oven, is hot or warm for quite a while (one hour). Now, Dr. Green comes along claiming that I am wrong because a Polish friend of his has just now measured the temperature of a pizza which was baked a week ago, and which has been lying around somewhere since. And the Polish scientists found out that this pizza is indeed cold right now. Surprise, surprise! What does the pH value of samples taken 50 years after the erection of these building prove regarding their pH value shortly after they were built? Dr. Green's way of arguing is childish to the highest degree.
5.4. A serious attempt of deception
Many exterminationists rely heavily on the results of the Krakow Institute of Forensic Research, i.e., the work of Markiewicz and colleagues as published in 1994. These Poles have conducted their analyses with a method which is not able to detect iron cyanide compounds. They did this because they allegedly didn't understand how such compounds could possibly form:
"It is hard to imagine the chemical reactions and physicochemical processes that could have led to the formation of Prussian blue[= iron blue, G.R.] in that place."
Has anyone ever heard that the non-understanding of a phenomenon is a reason for not examining it? For the Poles it obviously was. And even more: They did not even try to refute the theory I presented in one of my publications of spring 1993. They knew of this publication, since they quoted it, but only as an example of the alleged evil deeds of the deniers and whitewashers of Hitler, whom they intend to refute. That should be enough to show that the intention of the Poles is highly ideologically biased. If they were neutral scientists, they would not care about the dirtiness of Hitler's laundry.
Moreover, they did not even make an attempt to explain what might be responsible for the high iron cyanide content of the wall's plaster, the inner mortar, and even the outside bricks as well as their patchy blue coloring without any presence of paint.
Even though they had tampered with the analysis method, when testing their first series of samples, it turned out that only one sample taken from an alleged homicidal 'gas chamber' had minimal cyanide residues, in contrast to the samples taken from a delousing chamber. Hence, the Poles suppressed these findings and took more samples, until they found what they were looking for. This time, the samples from both the delousing chambers and the alleged homicidal 'gas chambers' showed extremely low but comparable amounts of short-term stable cyanide residues. But at least they established that wet cement mortar absorbs much more than 10 times as much HCN than dry lime mortar does, as I assumed in my extrapolations. In the following table, I compare the results as obtained by the Poles, by Leuchter and by me:
Even after confronting them with my arguments about their work, the Poles refused to give any explanation for their unscientific behavior. Dr. Markiewicz, who is not a chemist but a "Specialist for Technical Testing", died in 1997. The remaining two co-authors, W. Gubala and J. Labedz, have been silent about that ever since, like thieves hiding in the night.
It is also indicative that these Polish authors have an ardent supporter in Dr. Green. Although Dr. Green agrees with me that the Iron Blue found in delousing chambers is the result of gassings with hydrogen cyanide, he refuse to acknowledge that the approach of the Krakow team to exclude Iron Blue from the analysis was fraudulent. No matter which results the Polish scientists produced and what their scientific opinion might have been: their behavior is extremely unscientific, as the most important task of a scientist is to try to understand what has not been understood so far, and to discuss the attempts of others to make understandable. The Polish scientists did just the opposite: they decided to ignore and exclude what they did not understand.
And the amazing thing about Dr. Green is that he - and with him Prof. van Pelt, who relies on Green - does not only defend Prof. Markiewicz's behavior in every regard, but he attacks me for my critique against the Polish scientists, while omitting all the reasons I gave for doing so. To crown this, Dr. Green even defends the fact that Prof. Markiewicz never even bothered to address any of my critique, even though addressing critiques is paramount for scientists. Dr. Green argues:
"Rudolf complains that Markiewicz et al. have not responded to his queries. Why should they do so? What credibility does Rudolf have, that demands they answer his every objection no matter how ill-founded?"
However, since Dr. Green agrees that the Iron Blue detectable in disinfestation walls is the result of gassings with Zyklon B, he himself has indirectly admitted that all my objections against Markiewicz's method of analysis are well-founded, i.e., just the opposite of "ill-founded".
And why does Dr. Green think I bear no credibility demanding a discussion of any of my arguments? Not because I lack scientific qualifications. No, he thinks I am an abomination because of my views, and because I have been subject to social persecution and political prosecution, leading to the total destruction of my social existence, my reputation, and finally my freedom. Dr. Green even resorts to calling me a "liar," "obfuscator," and "hater" because of my different well-founded opinions.
The scheme is as follows: first, people like Dr. Green attempt to do everything to destroy my reputation by name-calling, persecution, and prosecution, and when they succeed, they claim that there is no need to discuss anything with me anymore, since I do not have any reputation and credibility anyway. This way they can nicely ignore any argument refuting their flawed thesis. And they have the chutzpah to call themselves righteous scientists and to call me a pseudo-scientific liar and obfuscator of the truth.
Dr. Green unconditionally defends the scientific frauds from the Krakow institute, and both get away with it, because in the eyes of the public, both have the 'politically correct' 'scientific' opinion about Auschwitz. Birds of the same feather flock together.
The same behavior as the Polish scientists, Dr. Green, and Prof. Pelt exposed was shown by the Pope's Holy Inquisitor Cremonini who refused to look through Galileo's telescope to see Jupiter's moons revolving around Jupiter, because he could not - or did not want to - understand what Galileo was saying - since he did not like the consequences for his worldview, which is: if moons revolve around Jupiter, then our Earth might revolve around the sun. Markiewicz, Dr. Green, and van Pelt do the same thing: They refuse to use a 'telescope' that enables them to see Iron Blue 'revolving around the delousing chambers', because they do not like the impact this has on their worldview: if Iron Blue 'revolves around the delousing chambers', then Iron Blue might be expected to 'revolve around homicidal gas chambers' as well. And they do not like that at all, because due to lack of Iron Blue, that opens doubts about the reality of the claimed homicidal gas chambers.
What we must conclude is the following: The only 'scientific' attempt to refute Fredrick A. Leuchter's most intriguing thesis turns out to be one of the biggest scientific frauds of the twentieth century. How desperate must they be - those who try to defend the established version of the Holocaust, i.e., the alleged systematic extermination of Jews in homicidal 'gas chambers' - that they resort to such obviously fraudulent methods?
5.5. The Limits of the Chemical Method
The latest trend in the establishment school of thought is towards altering various factors relating to the homicidal gassings, even if this is in crass contradiction to the eyewitness testimony or the technical facts.
Only a few years ago it was still the norm to speak of daily, even of continual gassings, but the recent, drastic reductions in the numbers of victims, down to at most 630,000, 470,000 to 550,000, or even 356,000 gassing victims, have resulted in the revised assumption of considerably fewer gassings per 'gas chamber' - and in fact, some estimates have been reduced to only a few ten-thousand victims per chamber.
Further, there is a trend, demonstrated above, to reduce noticeably the quantities of hydrogen cyanide allegedly used, contrary to what witnesses claim.
Taking all these hypothetically, conceivably marginal requirements into consideration, it would be possible to arrive at a point where the duration for which the hydrogen cyanide was in contact with the cool and damp walls of mortuaries 1 of crematoria II and III was in fact so short that even a vague prediction of the results yielded by chemical analyses is no longer possible.
By this process the historians of the establishment in fact declare the eyewitness statements regarding the number of victims and the execution conditions to be unbelievable, and they ignore the circumstance that crematoria II and III had no holes through which the Zyklon B could have been introduced. But what do most historians care about factual arguments? They evidently have their ironclad opinion, and that's all there is to it.
However, chemistry is not the right science to find a definite answer to the questions whether homicidal gassings took place in Auschwitz and Birkenau or not, simply because the data we have, especially when coming from 'eyewitnesses', are insufficient and imprecise. But our chemical results show at least a high probability that the eyewitness statements about mass gassings are false.
Examination of the construction of the facilities allegedly used for the mass gassings has shown that the alleged main 'gas chambers' of Auschwitz - the mortuary of the Main Camp crematorium, and the mortuaries 1 (the 'gas chambers') of crematoria II and III - had no contrivances for the introduction of the poison gas substance. The holes visible in the ceilings today were added after the war. If these findings remain unrefuted, this alone renders any mass gassings, as these have been attested to, entirely impossible.
The examination of the formation and long-term stability of hydrogen cyanide residue in the walls of the facilities in question ('gas chambers' and delousing chambers for material objects), as well as the interpretation of the results of analysis of brick samples from these facilities in Auschwitz, have shown:
Therefore, it is my conviction that the only conclusion which can explain all factors involved is that in the facilities alleged, no mass gassings with Zyklon B can have occurred under the conditions attested to by alleged eyewitnesses, court witnesses, journalists, academics or other popularizers.