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Zyklon-B Deliveries to Auschwitz

Carlo Mattogno

Abstract

Already during the Nuremberg postwar trials, the huge amount of Zyklon-B deliveries to the infamous Auschwitz Camp were seen as evidence for homicidal activities on a large scale in that camp. Revisionists, on the other hand, have mainstained that this insecticide was used only to combat vermin in the struggle against epidemics. In a 2011 article, Piotr Setkiewicz, currently the research director of the Auschwitz Museum, tried to dismiss this revisionist claim as a myth by attempting to prove that the amount of Zyklon B delivered cannot be explained merely by its use for fumigations. The following paper, which is an excerpt from an upcoming book, analyzes the Auschwitz Museum’s hypothesis and juxtaposes it with the documented facts. It shows not only that Setkiewicz grossly miscalculated the a mount of Zyklon B delivered, but also misrepresented the amount of Zyklon B the camp would have needed to suppress the typhus epidemic raging inside the Auschwitz camp for some two years.

Introduction

This is a slightly adapted extract of the upcoming book Deliveries of Coke, Wood and Zyklon B to Auschwitz: Neither Proof Nor Trace for the Holocaust by Carlo Mattogno.

In 2011, an important article was published by Piotr Setkiewicz, director of the Research Center at the Auschwitz Museum, which bears the title “The Supply of Materials to the Crematoria and Gas Chambers at Auschwitz: Coke, Wood, Zyklon.” His exposition far surpasses all previous discussions on the topic by orthodox Holocaust historians (especially the rather frivolous one by van Pelt 2002), and also raises what appear to be certain not insignificant problems. It therefore deserves to be examined more carefully.

Setkiewicz highlights the lack of documentary evidence in relation to the alleged mass extermination at Auschwitz, noting:

“The extensive research carried out in recent years on this important documentation has contributed to the sum of knowledge on the subject of the gas chambers and crematoria at Auschwitz, but it has not helped to resolve all contentious issues,”

so that, regardless of the testimonies, the confessions, and the few documents,

“our direct knowledge of the full extent of the Extermination is derived mainly from the obvious conclusion that if on any given day many more prisoners were brought into the camp than were registered, then the remaining number were undoubtedly killed.” (Setkiewicz 2011, p. 48)

This is, however, only the same dubious method used by Danuta Czech in the preparation of her Auschwitz Chronicle (Czech 1989). Yet Setkiewicz wants to go beyond this by analyzing documents previously ignored by the Auschwitz Museum which should provide new evidence.

In fact, his article is an indirect response to the revisionist arguments, especially with regard to supplies of coke to the crematoria of Auschwitz-Birkenau; it is an indirect response to such an extent that the revisionist arguments are never explicitly mentioned.

In response I have written a study is a direct response to Setkiewicz’s arguments, objections and explanations, each of which I have analyze individually and then as a whole. This book is currently being translated into English and is slated to appear under the title Auschwitz: Deliveries of Coke, Wood and Zyklon B—Neither Proof Nor Trace for the Holocaust later this year as Volume 40 of the prestigious series Holocaust Handbooks. Below is Chapter III of my response dealing directly with the issue of Zyklon B deliveries to the Auschwitz Camp.

The Deliveries and What They Mean

In his section about Zyklon B deliveries of his above-mentioned article, Setkiewicz summarizes the origin of the use of Zyklon B at Auschwitz for the purpose of disinfestation. I quote his remarks and complete them where appropriate.

“Zyklon B [Setkiewicz always writes “Cyklon”] was used for the first time at Auschwitz for the fumigation of the SS guard building between July 5 and 11, 1940.”

The document mentioned by him states in this regard:[1]

“Building No. 54, designated for accommodating the guard detail, was fumigated against pests and diseases.”

Setkiewicz continues:

“Subsequently, other buildings in the area of the camp were disinfected[2] that way, including inmate dwelling barracks as well as the offices and barracks of the SS.

It results from the deposition of the former inmate Zdizsław Michalak that the Entwesungskammer [fumigation chamber] commando was established at the end of August 1941. It consisted of about 20 prisoners, who were initially employed to disinfest Blocks No. 1-9. These were designated for camp section for Soviet prisoners of war. That section was established more than a month later. The members of the commando later disinfested other blocks, but in mid-November they were permanently assigned a new job – at the disinfection [sic] chambers located at the so-called ‘Kanada I’ area.

We have a fairly accurate description of the disinfection of residential premises and the offices in the ‘staff building’ (Stabsgebäude) carried out at the end of January 1942. As results from the content of the instructions issued by Commander Höss, extraordinary prudence was maintained during its implementation: On the morning of January 22, the cracks in the windows had already been sealed with strips of paper (to seal them), and the inhabitants of the building had been transferred to other blocks for the night. The SS were ordered to leave any dirty clothes in their rooms. After taking a bath, they would get some clean underwear. They were forbidden to bring along ‘clothes, luggage, bags of documents etc.,’ in order to avoid the danger of reintroducing the epidemic. The actual ‘gassing’ (Vergasung) of the buildings lasted three days, until Tuesday January 27. Detailed instructions for disinfecting the prisoners’ barracks (at Birkenau) have also been preserved in two other orders by the camp commander issued in 1943: one took place on July 24 and 25 the Camp Sector Bla (Women's Camp), the other on July 31 and August 1 in Sector BIId (Men’s Camp).”

Setkiewicz then mentions the fumigation of the Main Camp on August 12, 1942, and adds:

“Probably due to a gas poisoning accident that took place during this event, the camp commander issued an order on that same day that, for five hours after the opening of fumigated premises, the SS men were not allowed to approach them by less than 15 meters without wearing a gas mask.” (pp. 68f.)

He refers to the “special order” (Sonderbefehl) of 12 August 1942, with which the commandant of Auschwitz imparted the following directive:[3]

“A case of indisposition with slight symptoms of poisoning by hydrocyanic gas which occured today makes it necessary to warn all those participating in gassings and all other SS members that in particular on opening fumigated rooms, SS members without mask must keep a distance of 15 meters from the chamber for at least five hours. In addition, particular attention should be paid to the wind direction.”

“Ein heute mit leichten Vergiftungserscheinungen durch Blausäure aufgetretener Krankheitsfall gibt Veranlassung, alle an Vergasungen Beteiligten und allen übrigen SS-Angehörigen bekanntzugeben, daß insbesondere beim Öffnen der vergasten Räume von SS-Angehörigen ohne Maske wenigstens 5 Stunden hindurch ein Abstand von 15 Metern von der Kammer gewahrt werden muß. Hierbei ist besonders auf die Windrichtung zu achten.”

The fumigation carried out at the end of January 1942 is mentioned in the commandant’s order headlined “Fumigation of staff building” (Vergasung des Stabsgebäudes).[4]

It is important the emphasize that, in the vast documentation on Auschwitz, the term “gassing” (Vergasung) in each and every single case solely and exclusively refers to pest control, yet never to any murderous activities.

Setkiewicz then moves to the more general problem of the supply of Zyklon B to Auschwitz. He finds that there are no documents that allow to determine the precise number of fumigations that were performed and the relative Zyklon consumption. There is a register of orders for consumables (Verbrauchsmittel) placed by the camp, but it has been preserved only in part, for the months of August 1940, for January, February, and one week in April and June 1941, plus for the time period from August 1941 to November 1942.

The first entry is for a delivery of 3,000 kg of hydrogen cyanide (“Blau­säure,” meaning Zyklon B) from Dessau in November 1941 (see Document 7 in the appendix of my upcoming book). Setkiewicz then lists the subsequent deliveries, which refer to 1942:

  • 2.200 kg in February from Dessau,
  • 2.365 kg in March from Dessau,
  • crates in June from Dessau,
  • 33 crates in July from the Dessauerwerke für Zucker und Chemische Industrie A.G. – Dessau,
  • 3.465 kg in September, of which 1,260 kg from the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Schädlingsbekämpfung (Degesch) of Frankfurt/Main, and 2,205 kg from the Dessauerwerke für Zucker und Chemische Industrie A.G. Dessau (p. 69).[5]

Setkiewicz informs us that the cans of Zyklon B delivered in February 1942 were packed in 40 crates, so each crate contained (2,200 kg ÷ 40 crates =) 55 kg of Zyklon. The number of crates delivered in March is unknown, but when using the mass per crate established above, this results in (2,365 kg ÷ 55 kg/crate =) 43 crates. However, in September, 3,465 kg of Zyklon were packed in 55 crates, so each of them contained (3,465 kg ÷ 55 kg/crate =) 63 kilograms. From this, Setkiewicz concludes that the five crates delivered in June contained (5 crates × 55 kg/crate or 63 kg/crate =) either 275 or 315 kg of Zyklon B. In the same way, the 33 crates of July corresponded to either 1,815 or 2,079 kg of Zyklon B, so that the total supply of 1942 would range from a minimum of 10,120 to a maximum of 10,424 kg (pp. 69f).

The crates of Zyklon B had different weights depending on the size of the cans. In addition, the weight of the can was generally referring to its net content of hydrogen cyanide, not to its gross weight, which was obviously higher, as results also from the labels on the cans (see Document 8 in the appendix of my upcoming book). From five shipping advices for Zyklon B by the Dessauer Werke to Degesch of April and May 1944 (see Document 9; NI-9913A) results that the 500 g can of hydrogen cyanide had a gross weight of 1.425 kg, hence the combined weight of the inert carrier (gypsum pellets called “Erco-Würfel”) and the empty can was 0.925 kg. A crate weighed 64 kg and contained 30 cans, which contained (0.5 kg/can × 30 cans =) 15 kg of hydrogen cyanide.

Document 9: Invoice for the delivery of 195 kg HCN as Zyklon B without irritant to the disinfestation department of the Auschwitz Camp of April 30, 1944; NI-9913A 

A shipping advice of 16 May 1944 refers to 8 crates with 1,000 cans of Zyklon B, each containing 100 g of HCN. One such can had a gross weight of 350 g; while a crate containing 125 cans weighed 69 kg, it had a total HCN content of (125 cans × 0.1 kg/can =) 12.5 kg (NI-9913 B, p. 2).

Finally, the shipping advice of 29 December 1944 relates to 35 crates of Zyklon B with 420 cans of 1.2 kg. A can weighed 3.2 kg; a crate, which weighed 55 kg, had 12 cans with total hydrogen cyanide content of (12 cans × 1.2 kg/can =) 14.4 kg (ibid., p. 3).

From another shipment advice of the Dessauer Werke dating back to 10 August 1937 we glean that a crate of Zyklon B containing 16 cans with 1 kg hydrogen cyanide each weighed 61 kg (TNA, WO-309-1603).

I summarize the data in the table below.

Table 1: Weight of Zyklon B cans of various sizes
can size
(HCN weight)
weight of can weight of crate no. of cans/crate total weight of HCN in crate
100 g 0.350 kg 69 kg 125 12.5 kg
500 g 1.425 kg 64 kg 30 15.0 kg
1,000 g 2.650 kg 61 kg 16 16.0 kg
1,200 g 3.200 kg 55 kg 12 14.4 kg

It follows that the 40 crates of Zyklon B delivered to Auschwitz in February 1942, each weighing 55 kg, contained a total of (40 crates × 12 cans/crate =) 480 cans of 1.2 kg. Hence, the actual weight of Zyklon B (hydrogen cyanide) was (480 cans × 1.2 kg/can =) or (40 crates × 14.4 kg/crate =) 576 kg.

The 2,365 kg of Zyklon B delivered to Auschwitz in March corresponded to (2,365 kg ÷ 55 kg/crate =) 43 crates, equivalent to (43 cates × 12 cans/crate =) 516 cans with 1.2 kg HCN each, with a net weight of (43 crates × 14.4 kg/crate =) 618,2 kg of HCN.

The five crates of 500-gram cans delivered in June contained (5 crates × 30 cans/crate =) 150 cans, with a total weight of (5 crates × 15 kg/crate =) 45 kg of hydrogen cyanide.

If the July deliveries consisted of the cans size 1.2 kg, then the 33 crates contained (33 crates × 12 cans/crate =) 396 cans and (33 crates × 14.4 kg/crate =) 475.2 kg of HCN.

The average weight per crate of the 3,465 kg of Zyklon B delivered in September in 55 crates – 63 kg – does not correspond to any of the can sizes listed above, so it either was a mixture of various can sizes, the number in the document is incorrect, or Setkiewicz made a transcription error. If the average weight had been 64 kg per crate, each crate would have contained 30 cans of 500 g HCN each, in which case the gross weight would have been (64 kg/crate × 55 crates =) 3,520 kg, and the HCN content (55 crates × 15 kg/crate = ) 825 kg.

In conclusion, the data for the Zyklon B deliveries in 1942 is as follows:

Table 2: Documented Zyklon-B deliveries to the Auschwitz Camp in 1942
Month Gross Weight no. of crates total contents of HCN
February 2,200 kg 40 576 kg
March 2,365 kg 43 618.2 kg
June [320 kg] 5 [45 kg]
July [1,815 kg] 33 [475.2 kg]
September 3,465 kg 55 [825 kg]
Total: 2,539.4 kg

The maximum documented quantity of Zyklon B delivered to Auschwitz therefore did not even reach 2,540 kg, barely a quarter of Setkiewicz’s estimate ranging from 10,120 to 10,424 kg!

Deliveries of Zyklon B in November 1941 and in February 1942 arrived via railroad (wagons “Münch. 19931” and “Karlsr. 51113”), whereas subsequent deliveries were picked up by truck.

It is unknown whether the 3,000 kg of Zyklon B delivered in November 1941 refer to the gross weight or the HCN content. According to Rudolf Höss, fumigations were initially carried out at Auschwitz by the firm Tesch & Stabenow; a special fumigation detail was formed only later (staffed with SDG – Sanitätsdienstgrade, SS medical personnel, called “Desinfektoren,” desinfectors; see Broszat 1981, p. 159).

This was confirmed in 1945 by two employees of the Tesch Company: August Marcinkowski said that in March 1940 he carried our a fumigation at Auschwitz using 120 kg of Zyklon B.[6] Hans Willy Max Rieck stated that another fumigation was carried out in early summer 1941.[7] The delivery of November 1941 was therefore probably one of the first deliveries.

For 1942, Setkiewicz mentions two travel permits for a 5-ton truck from Auschwitz to Dessau in order to pick up Zyklon B. The first travel permit of 22 July was about “gas for the gassing of the camp for the fight against the epidemic that has occurred” (“Gas zur Vergasung des Lagers, zur Bekämpfung der aufgetretenen Seuche”) (p. 70). This confirms the use of the term “Vergasung” (gassing) in the context of pest control, as I pointed out earlier.

The second order is a radio message of 29 July 1942 containing a number of typos. It granted “the travel permit by truck from Auschwitz to Dessau to pick up gas which is urgently needed to disinfect the camp” (“die Fahrtgenehmigung mit dem LKW von Auschwitz nach Dessau zur Abholung von Gas, daß [sic] zur desinfizierung [sic] des Lagers dringendst erforderlich ist”).[8]

Setkiewicz notes that not even two tons of Zyklon B picked up in Dessau were entered in the previsouly mentioned register of orders for consumables, which would mean that the two Zyklon B deliveries of July 1942 hauled by truck contained not quite a metric ton of cargo each. It is possible, he hypothesizes, that such small cargos, when seen in relation to the distance between Auschwitz and Dessau, were due to an emergency situation (Setkiewicz says “interwencyjnych,” literally “of intervention”) resulting in those orders not having been entered in the aforementioned register.

Setkiewicz then states that two more travel permits exist for 1942. The first, issued on 26 August, was “for picking up material for special treatment” (“von zur Abholung Materialen für Sonderbeh.[andlung]”; see Document 11 in the appendix of my upcoming book). The other of 2 October refers to a 5-ton truck with trailer “for picking up materials for the resettlement of the Jews” (“zwecks Abholung von Materialien für die Judenumsiedlung”; see Document 12 in the appendix of my upcoming book). Strangely enough, he does not comment on these alleged “criminal traces,” so that I refer to what I have set out elsewhere in this respect (Mattogno 2015a, pp. 214-228). Here I note only that the orthodox interpretation of these two documents would require a double accounting for the purchase of Zyklon B, one for disinfestation and the other for homicidal purposes. This does not only make little sense, it is also inconsistent with the alleged intention of the SS to “camouflage” their activities, which was supposedly done by using some a sort of “code language.” Seen from that point of view, it evidently would have been much easier to order all the Zyklon B for the purpose of disinfestation and then allocate the required amount to the claimed homicidal gassings.

Setkiewicz merely notes that the above supplies are not listed in the register of orders for consumables, and he concludes that in 1942 a quantity of Zyklon B was delivered to the camp which significantly surpassed the 10,120 to 10,425 kg calculated by him (pp. 70f.), but as I demonstrated above, his figures are erroneous to begin with.

For the year 1943, Setkiewicz cites two documents. A travel permit for a five-ton truck with trailer from Auschwitz to Dessau and back to pick up material for disinfestation (“zwecks Abholung von Materialien zur Desinfektion”) dated 7 January 1943 (see Document 13 in the appendix of my upcoming book), and a travel permit for a five-ton truck from Auschwitz to Dessau to pick up Zyklon (“zwecks Abholung von Zyklon”) of 30 July (see Document 14 in the appendix of my upcoming book). These cargo trips are confirmed by two other documents, therefore we may assume that they did indeed take place. Setkiewicz writes (p. 71):

“Both trucks had a freight capacity of five tons, the trailers two tons,[9] so in total they theoretically could carry 14 tons of cargo, ie – after deducting the weight of packaging – an amount almost equal to or even exceeding the gas deliveries during 1942. But there is no reason to believe that these were the only such trips; it is most likely that subsequent travel permits simply did not survive.”

Here he commits the same mistake that I have explained above. If a crate with 30 cans of Zyklon B of 0.5 kg HCN each weighed 64 kg and contained 15 kg of HCN, then 14 tons of freight (14,080 kg, to adopt round numbers) correspond to 220 crates, with a HCN content of (15 kg/crate × 220 crates =) 3,300 kg.

As for the rest, it is all too obvious that one can never categorically exclude the possibility of additional deliveries whose documentation has not been preserved.

Setkiewicz then notes that

“based on a list of Zyklon B deliveries to German concentration camps that has been preserved, it was assumed that the Auschwitz Camp received 7,478.6 kg of gas in 1942, and 12,174.09 kg in 1943.[10] This list, however, only covers deliveries made by the Testa Company, yet does not include purchases made directly from the Dessau factory or other dealers. As has been shown above, these quantities, at least as regards 1942, are decidedly low.” (p. 72)

It should be noted that the document cited by Setkiewicz – NI-11397 – is an affidavit of 18 October 1945 by Alfred Zaun, accountant of the Testa Company, in which he details the Zyklon B deliveries to concentration camps during 1942 and 1943 (see Document 15 in the appendix of my upcoming book).

As for the quantities, Zaun refers to the actual content of hydrogen cyanide, so the 7,478.6 kg delivered in 1942 corresponds to a gross weight of the  cans of 21,367 kg (excluding packaging), a figure almost twice that calculated by Setkiewicz.

It is also incorrect that deliveries picked up directly at the Dessau factory are not included in these 7,478.6 kg. In fact, Zaun declared (NI-11937):

“For the purchase and delivery of Zyklon the firm [Testa] depended directly on the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Schädlingsbekämpfung Frankfurt upon Main (DEGESCH), which, as the sole proprietor of the patent and the production license, had Zyklon produced by the Dessauer Werke für Zucker und Chemische Industrie A.G. and the Kaliwerke Kolin A.G. All orders that the firm Tesch & Stabenow (Testa) received from the concentration camps and the SS organizations had to pass to DEGESCH; from time to time, Testa submitted the orders for the quantities of Zyklon ordered, informing DEGESCH about the can sizes requested and the delivery details. DEGESCH in turn took the merchandise from the factory in Dessau or Kolin. The merchandise was then shipped directly from factories in Dessau or Kolin to the end customer, and DEGESCH was sent a shipping advice with a copy to Testa.”

This is confirmed by the series of documents headed “Versandanzeige über Zyklon B Gift” (shipping advice for Zyklon B poison), which I mentioned earlier (Documents NI-9913A-B).

The DEGESCH had two major distributors, the Heerdt und Lingler GmbH of Frankfurt (“Heli”) and the Tesch und Stabenow. Internationale Gesellschaft für Schädlingsbekämpfung (“Testa”) of Hamburg, who had divided the market: Heli was operating in the territories west of the Elbe River, while Testa supplied customers in the territories to the east of the Elbe, including the Sudetengau, the General Government (occupied Poland), the Reichskommissariat Ostland (occupied territories of the USSR), as well as Denmark, Finland and Norway. Due to the Auschwitz Camp’s location, it fell within the commercial jurisdiction of Testa. Hence, all Zyklon B deliveries which the camp administration of Auschwitz had picked up directly from Dessau fell in the accounts of the Testa Company. Even the document quoted by Setkiewicz speaks explicitly of “DEGESCH delivery of Zyklon to concentration camps by the Testa Company.” However, at least for one camp the data contained in it are incomplete, because it is established that Testa supplied the Lublin-Majdanek Camp with 2,211 kg of Zyklon B in 1942, and with 4,500 kg in 1943 (Graf/Mattogno 2012, pp. 200-203.), while the list in Document NI-11937 contains no deliveries at all for 1942, and only 1,627.5 kg for 1943.

For 1944, Setkiewicz writes with reference to Franciszek Piper’s deliberations about “Zyklon B as a means of extermination” (in Długoborski/Piper 1995, Vol. III, pp. 165-170):

“We don’t know much about the Zyklon deliveries during the year 1944; according to research by F. Piper, the camp received 2,263 kg of gas in four deliveries during that year; independent of these, the company ‘Azot’ of Jaworzno delivered 1,155 kg of Zyklon between August 1943 and April 1944 to Auschwitz Concentration Camp.” (p. 72)

Piper refers to the invoices of 14 February, 13 March, 30 April (in three delivery batches) and 31 May 1944, which I summarize below along with the delivery dates, noting that shipments involved a gross weight of 832 kg (net 555 kg), for larger shipments respectively of 896 kg (net 598 kg), for a total of 3,392  (net 2,263 kg) (ibid., Note 620, p. 167).

He makes the same mistake here as well, as explained earlier, by confounding the weight of the cans with their HCN content, which was actually only 1,185 kg, as shown in the following table:

Table 3: Documented Zyklon-B deliveries to the Auschwitz Camp in 1944
Delivery Date Invoice Date No. of Cans HCN [kg]
14 February 1944 14 February 1944 390 195
8 March 1944 13 March 1944 420 210
20 March 1944 30 April 1944 390 195
11 April 1944* 30 April 1944 390 195
27 April 1944 30 April 1944 390 195
31 May 1944 31 May 1944 390 195
  Total 2,370 1,185
* see Document 16 in the appendix of my upcoming book

The shipments were made by DEGESCH through the Dessau factory to the attention of SS-Obersturmführer Kurt Gerstein. The recipient was the Depatment for Disinfestation and Pest Control Auschwitz (Abt. Entwesung und Entseuchung). The bills were attached by Gerstein to his famous report of April 26, 1945 (PS-1553).

Little is known about the supply of 1,155 kg of Zyklon B by the company “Azot” of Jaworzno. Piper merely repeats what the investigating judge Jan Sehn wrote, who in turn evidently quoted the indictment against Höss. In a footnote, Sehn stated that the chemical plants at Jaworzno “delivered a total of 1,155 kg of Zyklon to Auschwitz between 3 August 1943 and 24  April 1944” (Sehn 1956, Note 2, p. 109). Further details of these supplies are unknown. It is unlikely, however, that they had not passed through the Tesch company.

In a footnote Setkiewicz explains:

“In 1944, another modern disinfectant was already being used for the disinfection of barracks, which was the German equivalent of the American DDT, the ‘Lauseto.’ During that year, the Auschwitz Camp’s department in charge of pest control (‘Referat für Schädlingsbekämpfung der Waffen SS und Polizei Auschwitz O/S’) received 9 tons of this chemical on 18 April 1944, 15 tons on 21 August 1944 – and 2 tons on 3 October 1944 for the camp’s pharmacy. Archive of Bayer in Leverkusen, letter by Paulsen [a company executive?] to the lawyer Dr. Nele of 24 November 1947 with a brief list of the deliveries.” (Note 105, p. 72)

At least one document exists mentioning the use of this substance. It is from 26 July 1944, and headlined “Inmate Infirmary BII/a. Auschwitz II. Monthly report on the H[ungarian]. Jews temporarily accommodated in the camp.” (“HKB Ambulanz BII/a. Auschwitz II. Monatsbericht über vorübergehend im Lager untergebrachte u[ngarische]. Juden”), which reads (some of the text is illegible; GARF, 7021-108-32, p. 76):

“During the period under review, /26 Juni to 26 Juli 1944/ of …… on average 2,500 Hungar. Jews ready for transport in the camp in 3 blocks, remaining 3 - 10 days in the camp. They are subjected to a thorough medical examination and are monitored for lice both on admission and on dismissal. Daily monitoring for fever and lice; lice bearers are deloused in the camp’s own delousing facility, clothes and underwear are disinfected in steam vessels and impregnated wth Lauseto.”

“In der Berichtszeit /26.Juni bis 26.Juli 1944/ vo…… durchschnittlich 2500 ungar. Juden transportbereit im Lager in 3 Blocks, verbleiben 3 - 10 Tage im Lager. Sie wurden jeweils bei Zugang und Abgang einer genauen ärztlichen Untersuchung unterzogen und auf Läuse kontrolliert. Tägl. Fieber und Läusekontrolle ermittelte Läuseträger in der lagereigenen Entlausungsanlage entlaust, Kleider und Wäsche im Dampfkessel desinfiziert und lauseto-imprägniert.”

In 1944, other pesticides were used in Auschwitz as well, such as Areginal, which is based on ethylformiate. In the letter by Tesch & Stabenow to the Auschwitz Central Construction Office of June 13, 1944 we read about this:[11]

“We have noted that the gassing chambers are to be arranged also for AREGINAL gassing. Your garrison surgeon has not yet approached us in this matter, but on the 9th of this month we received instructions from the Surgeon General SS and Police, the Top Hygienist, to include the additional AREGINAL devices. No modifications of the gassing chambers are necessary; only the AREGINAL gassing unit has to be installed. You will receive an appropriate installation drawing when the AREGINAL units have been supplied by the manufacturer. For the sake of completeness, we inform you here that the price of the AREGINAL unit amounts to RM 27.-, and the steel requirements are 12 kilograms.”

In 1944, a shortwave delousing device was also introduced at Auschwitz (Kurzwellen-Entlausung; see Nowak 1998). These innovations undoubtedly reduced the need for Zyklon B.

Setkiewicz informs us that at Auschwitz, Zyklon B was stored on the ground floor of the so-called old theater building (Theatergebäude), or in the storage area of the SS hospital’s basement (SS-Revier). The camp pharmacist Dr. Viktor Capesius was in charge of it.

On the alleged homicidal use of Zyklon B, the author mentions a testimony that borders on comedy:

“Initially, Zyklon was introduced into the gas chambers by the simplest methods: the former detainee Antoni Szwajnoch, in 1942 assigned to the ‘Kanada I’ commando, testified that, after the beginning of the extmerination activities in the ‘Red House’ and in the ‘White House’ [Bunkers I & II], he received the order from time to time to withdraw a few cans of Zyklon from the stock at the theater building, after which he had to run with them on the road to Brzezinka (Birkenau), while an SS guard watched him riding a bicycle at his side.” (p. 72)

Subsequently, however, Zyklon B was delivered to the alleged gas chambers using ambulances bearing Red Cross symbols, which at the camp were colloquially called “sankas” (Sanitätskraftwagen). The inmates of the disinfestation commando took four or five crates from the theater building and brought them in a wheelbarrow to the ‘Kanada I’ area, where they were loaded into an ambulance car. Setkiewicz informs us:

“In those parts of the register of the camp’s motor pool [Fahrbereitschaft] which have been preserved (for the period of 30 May to 17 August 1943) 591 trips of this type of vehicle [presumably ambulances] are logged. It is likely that the majority of them was for purposes unrelated to the delivery of Zyklon to the gas chambers: [trips to] subcamps for the supply of medicines for dispensaries located there, for the transport of prisoners’ corpses (Totentransport) to Katowice or other neighboring cities. The majority of records (324), however, concern trips within the camp area (Lagerbereich), made mostly on behalf of the SS hospital. Unfortunately, it does not contain any information on the transport of Zyklon.

However, this should not surprise us, particularly because the clerk assigned to the register had been instructed to avoid creating any record that attests to the operation of an extermination center at Birkenau.” (pp. 72f.)

This explanation is rather naive, because hydrogen cyanide disinfestation gas chambers existed at Birkenau (in Buildings BW 5a and 5b), to which Zyklon B was supplied in a normal fashion. Therefore, if there had been a need to “camouflage” Zyklon B deliveries, they could have been easily record as deliveries to these delousing installations instead of to the alleged homicidal gas chambers. The fact is that among the extant records “there are no clear references to selections or the operation of [homicidal] gas chambers” (p. 73).

Setkiewicz then writes that

“former detainees assigned to work at the gas chambers or at the disinfestation chambers recalled that the Zyklon granules, after their use, were collected in containers, transported to the theater building warehouse, and shipped back to the manufacturer. However, we have been unable to find traces of these transports in the camp’s documents.” (p. 73)

This was standard procedure; the granules were sent to the manufacturer at Dessau as “spent Zyklon” (“verbrauchtes Zyklon”; see Document 17). This recycling procedure, however, is not mentioned by any of the main witnesses of the so-called Sonderkommando of Auschwitz allegedly involved in the claimed homicidal gassings.

Document 17: German Army waybill for the return of spent Zyklon B from the Majdanek Camp to the manufacturer, February 2, 1943

As in the case of firewood supplies for cremation, the total deliveries of Zyklon B do not allow to infer anything and do not provide the slightest clue about the alleged homicidal gassings. To make this clear, I give a simple example.

According to the cost estimate for the extension of the PoW camp of the Waffen SS at Auschwitz (Kostenvoranschlag zum Ausbau des Kriegsgefangenenlagers der Waffen-SS in Auschwitz) of 1 October 1943, the following barracks existed at the Birkenau Camp:

Table 4: Volume of buildings at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Camp
Building Number and Typ of Building Volume per Building Total Volume
BW 3a BA I 30 dwelling barracks 1,034.00 m3 31,020.0 m3
BW 4a  3 storage barracks 2,106.20 m3  6,318.6 m3
BW 6a 5 wash barracks  582.00 m3 2,910.0 m3
BW 7a 5 toilet barracks  582.00 m3 2,910.0 m3
BW 3b  25 dwelling barracks 1,032.60 m3 25,815.0 m3
BW 4a  2 Wirtschafsbaracken 1,032.60 m3 2,065.2 m3
BW 4b 2 storage barracks 1,032.60 m3 2,065.2 m3
BW 8a 1 morgue barracks 1,032.60 m3 1,032.6 m3
BW 12c 4 infirmary barracks 1,032.60 m3 4,130.4 m3
BW 12c 2 infirmary barracks 405.00 m3 810.0 m3
BW 12e 2 quarantine barracks 1,593.75 m3 3,187.5 m3
BW 12f 2 block leader barracks 406.00 m3  812.0 m3
BW 3d BA II 135 dwelling barracks 1,032.60 m3 139,40 m3
BW 4c 9 barracks of domestic economy 1,381.50 m3 12,433.5 m3
BW 6b 14 wash barracks 1,032.60 m3 14,546.4 m3
BW 7b 14 toilet barracks 1,032.60 m3 14,546.4 m3
BW 12a 11 infirmary barracks 470.40 m3 5,174.4 m3
BW 12d 12 block leader barracks 406.00 m3 4,872.0 m3
BW 34a 4 effects barracks 1,032.60 m3 4,130.4 m3
Total: 278.180,6 m3

To this we must add about 30 barracks of the camp’s SS garrison, hence 1,032.60 m3 × 30 ≈ 31,000 m3.

The Main Camp consisted of 28 masonry blocks of two floors each with basement. They measured 45.10 m × 13.84 m externally, hence had a total area of  624.18 m2. For the height of the rooms we can assume 3 m, so that the total volume of each floor was 624,18 m2 × 3 m = 1872.54 m3; for 28 blocks of three floors each this yields 1872.54 m3 × 3 × 28 = 157,293.36 m3, which we can round down to 150,000 m3 when considering the presence of partitions.[12] At Monowitz there were 67 barracks plus a few other buildings, so we can assume a total volume of approximately 1032.60 × 67 = 69,200 m3.

In practice, therefore, the camps of Auschwitz, Birkenau and Monowitz alone already had buildings with a total volume of at least approximately 500,000 m3. One complete disinfestation of these camps with the standard amount of 8 g HCN per m3 would therefore have required almost 4 metric tons of Zyklon B (net HCN content).

In another study, I demonstrated that the Zyklon B disinfestation chambers in existence at Auschwitz on 9 January 1943 would have required more than 11 metric tons of Zyklon B per year when used once a day. The known deliveries of Zyklon B are thus not at all out of proportion to the camp’s innocuous disinfestation needs, quite to the contrary. This story was put into circulation already in the second half of 1945 by the Americans during their investigations in preparation of the trial against Bruno Tesch et al. The interrogations of Joachim Drosihn, chief chemist of the Tesch company, and of Bruno Tesch by U.S. investigators clearly show the nature of the Holocaust myth of that era, for we find there the claims that

  • 5 (five) million people were allegedly gassed at Auschwitz;
  • therefore, the Zyklon-B supplies to this camp served mostly for those gassings;
  • those gassings allegedly took place in “shower rooms”; during an interrogation of 17 October 1945, U.S. Captain A.W. Freud asked Drosihn how many “shower rooms” (Duschräume) he personally had converted into gas chambers![13]

Conclusion

Setkiewicz’s summary at the end of his article is not exactly flattering to the Holocaust historiography:

“Although many years have passed since the war ended, the researchers [of the Auschwitz Museum] have failed to find any major body of documents in the archives on the basis of which the entire extermination process at the Auschwitz Concentration Camp can be described accurately. In view of the many gaps in the archival materials that are crucial to our understanding of this issue, we are left with hundreds and thousands of witness reports, first of all by former inmates, or the testimonies by members of the SS, who were either in marginal or in permanent contact with the crematoria and the gas chambers. These reports, however, although most are credible and complement each other, contain – by their very nature – a number of inaccuracies and errors (especially with regard to the chronology), so in the end they cannot be considered as absolutely sufficient historiographical sources.”

As a small consolation, the author says that

“the testimonies referred to above, however, can be supported – as demonstrated above – by references [wzmiankami] contained in the documents of the various groups of the camp’s files which, although certainly rare, are at once immensely important. Only together, when analyzed in conjunction, these documents and the testimonies of the former detainees permit to reconstruct the course of events and to understand the magnitude of the crimes committed at Auschwitz.” (pp. 73f.)

Thus, everything is reduced to testimonies which are completely inadequate as historical sources, and to rare “references” in documents (Pressac’s “criminal traces”?).

The end of Setkiewicz’s article clearly shows his actual intent: to respond to revisionism without mentioning it:

“To those who still doubt, the following question can be asked: if Auschwitz was merely a simple ‘labor camp,’ then what were those ‘field furnaces,’ the ‘gassing rooms,’ the ‘mortuary chambers’ and the ‘bathing installations’; what purposes did the ‘material for special treatment’ or ‘material for the resettlement of the Jews’ really serve, which was ordered from the Cyklon factory at Dessau in thousands of kilograms; why were considerable quantities of firewood transported by truck to the Sonderkommando, while at the same time thousands of tons of coke were delivered to the cremation furnaces?”

If the SS had nothing to hide at Auschwitz, Setkiewicz concludes, they would not have invented “complicated euphemisms,” but since they invented them, they tried to “hide the traces of unprecedented crimes” (p. 74), which means that the “proof” par excellence for the alleged gassings at Auscwhitz is reduced to those alleged “euphemisms”!

If Setkiewicz, in addition to asking questions, were also willing to listen to the answers, he would know that all the issues he raised were dealt with and explained in depth in their historical and documentary by those same unnamed revisionists.

As for me, here are the references:

  • “Field furnaces” (Feldöfen): in addition to what I pointed out earlier, see Mattogno 2015b, esp. pp. 100f.; Mattogno 2015a, pp. 363f.; Mattogno 2008, pp. 31-49.
  • “Gassing rooms” (Vergasungsräume): as I explained elsewhere (Mattogno 2015b, pp. 24f.), Setkiewicz pretends to be ignorant of the fact that this term was used for the disinfestation gas chambers of Buildings BW 5a and 5b at Birkenau.
  • “Mortuary chambers” (Leichenhallen, Leichenkeller): insisting that these terms were “euphemisms,” following Jean-Claude Pressac’s studies, can only be an indication of bad faith.
  • “Bathing installations” (“Badeanstalten für Sonderaktionen”): see Mattogno 2015b, Chapter 7.3., pp. 190-194; Mattogno 2015a, same chapter, pp. 206-212.
  • “Material für special treatment ” (Material für Sonderbehandlung)”: see Mattogno 2015b, Chapter 7.5, “Material für Sonderbehandlung,” pp. 198-202; Mattogno 2015a, same chapter, pp. 214-219.
  • “Material for the resettlement of the Jews” (Materialien für Judenumsiedlung): see Chapter IV in my upcoming book.
  • Finally, with regard to the supply of Zyklon B, firewood and coke, I refer to what I have stated in the total of my upcoming book.

The best mainstream treatment on the issue of coke, firewood and Zyklon B deliveries to Auschwitz is thus totally inconsistent and utterly unable to even scratch the surface of revisionist critiques.


Archives

AGK: Archiwum Głównej Komisji Badania Zbrodni Przeciwko Narodowi Polskiemu Instytutu Pamieci Narodowej, Archive of the Central Commission of Inquiry into the Crimes against the Polish People – National Monument, Warsaw
APMO: Archiwum Państwowego Muzeum Oświęcim-Brzezinka, Archive of the National Museum of Auschwitz-Birkenau, Auschwitz
GARF: Gosudarstvenni Archiv Rossiskoi Federatsii, State Archive of the Russian Federation, Moscow
RGVA: Rossiiskoi Gosudarstvennoi Voennyi Arkhiv, Russian State War Archive, Moscow
TNA: The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, UK, former Public Record Office

Bibliography

  • Broszat, Martin (ed.), Kommandant in Auschwitz. Autobiographische Aufzeichnungen des Rudolf Höss. Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, Munich 1981.
  • Czech, Danuta, Kalendarium der Ereignisse im Konzentrationslager Auschwitz-Birkenau 1939-1945, Rowohlt Verlag, Reinbek bei Hamburg 1989.
  • Długoborski, Wacław, Franciszek Piper (eds.), Auschwitz 1940-1945. Węzłowe zagadnienia z dziejów obozu, Wydawnictwo Państowego Muzeum Oświęcim-Brzezinka, Auschwitz 1995. English translation: Auschwitz 1940-1945: Central Issues in the History of the Camp. Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, Auschwitz 2000.
  • Graf, Jürgen, Carlo Mattogno 2012, Concentration Camp Majdanek. A Historical and Technical Study. 3rd ed., The Barnes Review, Washington, D.C., 2012.
  • Mattogno, Carlo 2008, “Azione Reinhard” e “Azione 1005, Effepi, Genoa, 2008.
  • Mattogno, Carlo 2015a, The Real Case for Auschwitz: Robert van Pelt’s Evidence from the Irving Trial Critically Reviewed, Castle Hill Publishers, Uckfield 2015.
  • Mattogno, Carlo 2015b, Le origini delle “camere a gas” di Auschwitz. Vecchi e nuovi documenti. Effepi, Genoa, 2015.
  • Nowak, Hans Jürgen, “Kurzwellen-Entlausungsanlagen in Auschwitz,” in: Vierteljahreshefte für freie Geschichtsforschung, Vol. 2, No. 2, June 1998, pp. 87-105.
  • Sehn, Jan, Obóz koncentracyjny Oświęcim-Brzezinka (Auschwitz-Birkenau), Wydawnictwo Prawnicze, Warsaw 1956.
  • Setkiewicz, Piotr 2011, “Zaopatrzenie materiałowe krematoriów i komór gazowych Auschwitz: koks, drewno, cyklon,” in: Studia nad dziejami obozów konzentracyjnych w okupowanej Polsce (Studi sulla storia dei campi di concentramento nella Polonia occupata). Państwowe Muzeum Auschwitz-Birkenau, Auschwitz 2011, pp. 46-74.
  • Van Pelt, Robert J., The Case for Auschwitz. Evidence from the Irving Trial, Indiana University Press, Bloomington/Indianapolis 2002.

Notes

[1] Tätigkeitsbericht vom 5. Juli bis 11. Juli 1940 by Bauleiter August Schlachter of 12 July 1940. RGVA, 502-1-214, p. 97.
[2] In the Polish text “dezynfekowano.” Setkiewicz repeatedly uses terms related to disinfection (dezynfekcja) instead of those related to disinfestation (dezynsekcja).
[3] Sonderbefehl of 12 August 1942. RGVA, 502-1-32, p. 300.
[4] Kommandantur-Befehl No. 2/42 of 22 January 1942. RGVA, 502-1-36, p. 4.
[5] The source given by Setkiewicz is the register of orders for consumables (Verbrauchsmittel), APMO, D-AuI-4.
[6] Deposition of 24 October 1945. TNA, WO 309/1603.
[7] Deposition of 22 October 1945, ibid.
[8] AGK, NTN, 94, p. 168; see Document 10 in the appendix of my upcoming book.
[9] APMA-B. D-Au I-4/1a, Card 35.
[10] In other affidavits, the figures provided by A. Zaun are slightly different: 12,174.9 (NI-11396, p. 2); 12,183.4 kg (NI-11889, p. 10).
[11] RGVA, 502-1-333, pp. 30-30a. Cf. Mattogno 2015a, pp. 183f. and Document 35 on pp. 711f.
[12] For the fumigation of buildings, however, external measures were taken to calculate the volume.
[13] TNA, WO 309/1603, interrogation of B. Tesch dated 26 September 1945, p. 7, and interrogation of J. Drosihn dated 17 October 1945, p. 2.

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