By Wilfried Heink
The third chapter in the book “Neue Studien zu nationalsozialistischen Massentötungen durch Giftgas” (New studies on National Socialist mass murder by poisonous gas) is titled: “Die Tötungsanstalten der ‘Aktion T4’” (The T4 killing facilities).
As the title suggests, this is about the T4 action in six of the facilities, with a sort of foreword “Vernichtung lebensunwerten Lebens” im Nationalsozialismus: Die “Aktion T4” (Extermination of life unworthy of life under National Socialism. The Action T4), by Brigitte Kepplinger, Dr. Mag., Soziologin und Historikerin, wissenschftliche Beamtin am Institute für Gesellschafts- und Sozialpolitik der Johannes Kepler-Universität Linz.
Since Revisionists do not deny that terminally ill and severely mentally challenged patients were put to death, there is no need to spend much time on this chapter. Kepplinger writes about the early stages of this action: that it was initiated by Hitler who instructed health minister Leonardo Conti to submit a plan. Later, Philipp Bouhler of the chancellery was able to push Conti out, an action typical of the politics of rivalry (Polikratie) in the Third Reich, according to Kepplinger.
Here is what Prof. Dr. Franz Seidler has to say about what took place before the doctors’ trial in which the T4 action played a major role:
— Dr. Conti, who was supposed to be one of the accused, committed suicide in his Nürnberg jail cell;
— The substitute head of the Reich Doctors Association (Reichärztekammer), Prof. Dr. Kurt Blome, who was to be charged in his stead, had to be acquitted because he could prove German doctors refused to participate in experiments on humans without consent of the proband. He stated however that tests are necessary and the Americans in 1951 invited him to participate in experiments re. chemical warfare;
— SS Obergruppenführer Prof. Dr. Ernst Robert Grawitz, CEO of the German Red Cross, committed suicide with his family in April 1945;
— Prof. Dr. August Hirt, head of the institute of military science in Straßburg committed suicide on 2 June 1945;
— Philipp Bouhler, head of the euthanasia program, captured by the Americans but committed suicide before being brought to Dachau;
— A whole group of doctors could not be found, some of them later turned up and were taken to the US to participate in research in their field of expertise, i.e., they continued were they left off just under a differed administration. 
This is an unusually high number of “suicides,” with some of the doctors not found for the trial but later invited to come to America to do exactly what they had done in the Third Reich, only now it was deemed “legal.” Prof. Dr. Karl Brandt, until the end of the war head health care official, was the most prominent of the accused. He weighed 44kg (97 pounds) when brought to Nürnberg, a consequence of hardships and torture inflicted on him by the British. The main charge against him was the T4 program, with Dr. Eugene Kogon (Nationalsozialistische Massentötungen…) the chief witness, but Kogon had to admit later that what he told was hearsay. The shenanigans continued, as documents of dubious origin were submitted, but too late for the defense to refute anything. Defense lawyer Dr. Servatuis charged that this program was a domestic (internal) program that foreigners were not competent to judge. He further questioned the affidavits because they contained words like “might have been”, “possibly”, “might be”, etc., and demanded that witnesses be produced for cross-examination. But the prosecution would not allow it for fear that the charges could not be sustained; again, because of phrases in the protocols like “I believe”, I assume”, “as far as I can remember” and “possibly”. It was also pointed out that the British engaged in human experiments – this was published in a medical journal. Dr. Brandt stated that whoever showed mercy for the incurable can never be a murderer, but to no avail — he was hanged on 2 June 1948.
This proves that the illegality of the program was only “established” in a show trial. In fact, discussions about the legality of euthanasia were initiated as early as 1933. During the rearranging (Neugsataltung) of German penal law, the Prussian minister of justice, Hanns Kerrl, published a memorandum entitled “Nationalsozialistische Srafrecht” in 1933 in which he argued that euthanasia cannot be illegal if an incurable person is asking for it, or if that person is unable to do so has relatives ask on his/her stead. No person shall be prosecuted if a doctor determines that the patient cannot be cured, as confirmed by another medical doctor. The memo then mentions the mentally challenged:
„Sollte der Staat etwa bei unheilbar Geisteskranken ihre Ausschaltung aus dem Leben durch amtliche Organe gesetzmäßig anordnen, so liegt in der Ausführung solcher Maßnahmen nur die Durchführung einer staatlichen Anordnung … Wohl bleibt zu betonen, daß die Vernichtung lebensunwerten Lebens durch eine nichtamtliche Person stets eine strafbare Handlung darstellt.“
(Should the state pass a decree legalizing the ending of the life of an insane (mentally challenged) person by state officials, participation in this would only be the execution of a state order…It must be stressed however that this action, if performed by anyone other than a state official, is punishable)
This was based on an essay by the expert on penal law (Strafrechtslehrer), Prof. Karl Binding, and psychiatrist Alfred Hoche, published in Leipzig 1920 and titled “Die Freigabe der Vernichtung lebensunwerten Lebens – Ihr Maß und ihre Form” (The release for extermination of unworthy life – the limits and form). According to the authors, the killing of incurables and insane (Blödsinniger) should be allowed if asked for by relatives, following a thorough examination by two doctors and a legal expert. Economic reasons were given because the persons, who care for these unproductive beings (Ballastexistenzen), are not available for the greater good.
The above essay was published in 1920 – a time in which starvation as a result of the criminal British blockade was still fresh in mind. Only someone who experienced anything like that can dare judge, for the world looks friendlier with a full stomach.
Churches protested, as did the medical profession and as a consequence the new penal law of 1935 did not sanction euthanasia. Later efforts to legalize euthanasia failed, but Hitler claimed that “the well being of the German populace (Volk) is above any paragraph”. And as has been shown in part II of this series, Hitler issued a decree on 1 September 1939, allowing: “…that patients considered incurable according to the best available human judgment [menschlichem Ermessen] of their state of health, can be granted a mercy death [Gnadentod].”
This was not a license to kill. Doctors had to determine if the affected were indeed incurable or mentally challenged beyond hope. Abuses probably happened, but the intent was to end the lives of those who were a burden on society, especially in wartime. But above all, Hitler, as the undisputed head of state, could pass laws, i.e. issue decrees that became de facto laws. And here we have the issue of “consciousness of doing wrong”, as August von Knieriem words it.
Von Knieriem starts out with:
“Under the national legal system concerned, the majority of acts judged at Nuremberg would not have been punishable at all…”.
And that is precisely the issue. A Hitler order – or decree of any kind – was law, period. The doctors examined the patients and found them to be incurable, thus by the decree Hitler had issued they followed the law and were not conscious of wrong doing. Von Knieriem puts it thus:
“This problem is generally designated as that of the “consciousness of unlawfulness” or of doing wrong, and can be expressed in the following terms: Can the guilty intent be imputed to an actor who was not conscious of doing wrong? As the act must first be unlawful for the problem of the actor’s guilt to be raised at all, the question may also be expressed in the following way: Can anybody be punished for being guilty of intent if he was mistaken about the lawfulness of his act? This is why the problem of the consciousness of doing wrong is generally designated as that of error of law or, since unlawfulness means that the act is prohibited, as the “error of prohibition.” Irrespective of the manner in which the question is formulated, its meaning is always the same; it refers to the determination of the extent, if any, to which the actor was conscious of doing wrong.”
And moral consideration, if even present, cannot make an act unlawful. Also, Dr. Brandt had stated at his trial that showing mercy to the incurable can never be considered murder. These doctors and whoever else that participated in the program were not murderers, but used their judgment to end the sufferings of those who at that time could not be cured. It is therefore folly to refer to the T4 program to make a case for alleged mass killings of Jews with poisonous gas, since the illegality of T4 has never been proven.
Just briefly to the numbers of the T4 action, and we seem to have the same “discrepancies” here as with Shoah numbers. Kogon et al claim 70,273 killed, based on some accounting sheets found. The Kogon book was published in 1983, but only in the years following German unification were a number of the pertinent documents discovered in East German archives. But, the discovery raised more questions as were answered, according to Peter Sandner. Sandner then tells us that for a long time it was assumed that 70,000 had been killed; this number was based on the so-called “Hartheim-Dokument”. But newer research has shown that at most (allenfalls) 25,000 to 30,000 files are on hand, about a third of the total. The questions are, so Sandner: where are the rest of the files, and how did those files end up in the DDR (East Germany)? Sandner then tells us that most of the Hartheim files have been destroyed; he doesn’t say how we know that. In an IfZ essay of 2003, we learn that 30,000 files have since been located, but that the rest were destroyed. And even though it seems that only 30,000 deaths can be confirmed, Sandner hangs on to the 70,000 number, admitting only that the files found in East Germany must be evaluated and that this is happening now.
In conclusion, the illegality of the T4 action was never established and there seem to be some other questions – i.e., the numbers. The many authors of the book under discussion are unable to make a case for mass gassings, and therefore need to try to make their case via T4: quite the admittance. Therefore there’s no need to waste time on this chapter, which offers no evidence at all for the alleged Shoah.
- Franz W. Seidler, Das Recht in Siegerhand. Die 13 Nürnberger Prozesse 1945-1949, Pour le Mérite-Verlag für Militärgeschichte, Selen Austria 2007, pp.212/13
- Ibid, pp.213-217
- Lothar Gruchmann, Euthanasie und Justiz im Dritten Reich, IfZ Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte, 1972, Heft 3, p.235; (Nationalsozialistisches Strafrecht, Denkschrift des Preußischen Justizministers, Berlin 1933, pp.86/87)
- Ibid, pp.235/36
- Ibid, p.239
- Ibid, p.241
- August von Knieriem, The Nuremberg Trials, Henry Regnery Company, Chicago, Illinois 1959, pp.217ff
- Ibid, p.217
- Ibid, pp.218/19
- Eugen Kogon et al, Nationalsozialistische Massentötungen durch Giftgas, S. Fischer Verlag Frankfurt am Main 1983, pp. 60-62
- Peter Sander, Die “Euthanasie” Akten im Bundesarchiv, IfZ Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte, 1999, Heft 3, p.385
- Ibid, p.386. The document stored in the National Archives, Washington, with a film-copy in the Federal Archive, Koblenz.
- Ibid, pp.386/87
- Peter Sandner, Schlüsseldokumente zur Überlieferungsgeschichte der NS “Euthanasie” Akten gefunden, IfZ Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte 2003, Heft 2, p.285
- Ibid. p.290
Chapter four is titled “Giftgas als Mittel zum Völkermord in Gaswagen und Vernichtungslager” (Poisonous gas as means to commit mass murder in gas wagons and extermination camps).
With this we finally seem to be getting to the nitty-gritty of the subject, and we are almost half-way through the book. The first essay is by Mathias Beer, “Gaswagen. Von der “Euthanasie” zum Genozid” (Gas wagons. From euthanasia to genocide). Dr. phil. Mathias Beer is a historian, the head of research into contemporary history and head of the Donau-Swabian institute of history in Tübingen.
Most, if not all, authors place the word “euthanasia” in quotation marks, suggesting that this is the wrong term and that mass murder would be the correct definition. This is then additional evidence that the reader must be conditioned and that a solid Shoah case cannot be made.
Before I address the article by Mr. Beer, allow me to state a few generalities. It appears that gas wagons did exist; called Black Ravens . They were the invention of Isaj Davidovich Berg, a Jew, and were used by the Soviets.
Voslensky writes that the inventor of the gas vans was a certain (gewisser) Berg, the exhaust gasses were routed through the interior of the box (Wagenkasten) and that the vans were already in use in 1936. Solzhenitsyn provides a few more details: Berg had been manager of the economic administration (AchO) of the NKVD in the Moscow district and was ordered to put into practice the decisions made by the “Troika”, a semi judicial body. He did so by having the condemned transported to the place where they were shot (Er transportierte Leute zu Erschiessungen). But with three “Troikas” operating at the same time, the shooting commandos could not handle the load and Berg invented the gas vans. The victims were undressed and thrown into a closed truck, camouflaged as a bread delivery truck. The exhaust gasses were rerouted through the box and by the time the truck arrived at the place of execution, the victims had been dealt with (erledigt). Berg himself was shot in 1939, but not because of that crime. In 1956 he was rehabilitated, and that even though his invention, the gas vans, are recorded in his file and remained there until discovered by journalists.
Now to the German gas vans alleged to have existed. In the summer of 1942, the Germans found evidence of the Katyn massacre, the killing of 27,500 Polish citizens in Katyn and the surrounding area. On 2 November 1942, the Soviets announced the creation of the “Extraordinary State Commission” (ESC) and on 19 April 1943 issued a decree. Mr. Alexander Victor Prusin  provides some details:
“The Presidium of the Supreme Soviet signed a decree stipulating public execution or heavy prison sentences for Axis personnel and their accomplices found guilty of crimes [End Page 3] against civilians and POWs. The decree provided no legal definition of war crimes—it used the all-encompassing terms “atrocities” or “evil deeds” (zverstva or zlodeianiia)—but it stated that while the Axis powers and their accomplices had committed horrible crimes against Soviet citizens, “to date the punishment meted out to these criminals and their local hirelings is clearly inadequate to the crimes they have committed.”[…] While some scholars have suggested that the decree was a direct Soviet response to the German discovery of the mass graves of Polish POWs in the Katyn Forest in April 1943, the fact that [End Page 4] the Soviets never published the decree confirms that it was intended for internal purposes[…]”
The Germans had actually discovered the Katyn crime scene in the summer of 1942 , but the investigations were not undertaken ‘till the spring of 1943, for obvious reasons — a war was on. Try as Mr. Prusin might, the issuing of the above Soviet decree and the discovery by the Germans of the Katyn crime are just too closely related to dismiss them as coincidence. Also, publishing decisions made by Soviet officials was not common practice, Voslensky goes into detail, see footnote 2. Consequently, and this gets us back to the gas vans, the Krasnodar/Kharkov show trials were conducted by the Soviets in July/December 1943. Gas vans play a large role in those trials, not surprisingly since the Soviets seemed to have been experts on how they worked. As for how the evidence was collected by the Soviets, see the Prusin article. What is of interest is that the experts in both trials established that the vans were diesel powered. From the Krasnodar trial:
“On the basis of the thorough medical, chemical and spectroscopic investigation which was carried out, a Committee of Experts consisting of Dr. V. I. Prozorovsky, Chief Medico-Legal Export of the Commissariat of Public Health of the U.S.S.R.; V. M. Smolyaninov, Chief Medico-Legal Export of the People’s Commissariat of Public Health of the R.S.F.S.R.; Professor M. I. Avdeyev, D. M. Sc., Chief Medico-Legal Expert of the Red Army; Dr. P. S. Semenovsky, Consulting Physician of the Moscow City Medico-Legal Department; and S. M. Sokolov, court chemist, arrived at the conclusion that the cause of death in 523 of the cases examined was carbon monoxide poisoning, and that in 100 cases death was due to firearm wounds inflicted, in the majority of cases, in the head.
In their report the Committee of Experts stated that the carbon monoxide could undoubtedly have had lethal effect if the waste gases from the diesel engine penetrated the closed van”.
And from the Kharkov trial:
“As established by the investigation similar “gas lorries,” which were nicknamed “murder vans,” were used by the Germans for murdering peaceful Soviet citizens not only in Krasnodar but also in Kharkov.
These vans, as testified by the German defendants in the present case and also by witnesses who witnessed the crimes committed by the Germans, are large closed trucks of dark grey colour, driven by diesel engines.
The vans are lined inside with galvanized iron and have air-tight folding doors at the back. The floor is equipped with a wooden grating under which passes a pipe with apertures. This pipe is connected to the exhaust pipe of the engine. The exhaust gases of the diesel engine, containing highly concentrated carbon monoxide, enter the body of the van, causing rapid poisoning and asphyxiation of the people locked up in the van.”
Thus, Achim Trunk is wrong when he writes that reports about murder by gas vans talk of gasoline engines explicitly. Also, in a letter of 16. 5. 42, Walter Rauff (details about him later) is informed that the Saurer truck, allegedly one of the gas vans, had brake problems during the transfer from Simferopol to Taganrog. Now, Taganrog is a little over 200km north of Krasnodar and the Soviets had determined that in Krasnodar the trucks were powered by diesel engines. This then suggests that some Saurer trucks were diesel powered, adding to the confusion. Beer of course never mentions any of this, he starts out by referring to a letter by Greiser to Himmler in which the former praises the Sonderkommando Lange who had served well in Kulmhof (Chelmno). It is not my intention to concentrate on specific camps or locations in which gas vans were allegedly used, as others have done that (for Chelmno see the essay by Ingrid Weckert); I understand that Carlo Mattogno will publish a book on Chelmno. Also, Ingrid Weckert and Friedrich Berg published a study on the gas vans dealing with most of the issues. I will therefore just make a few general comments on the vans themselves: what is known about them; do we have a precise description of them; could they have been used as testified, etc. – on this too we only have eyewitness testimony. Not one of those vans has ever been found, though we have a picture of a Magirus truck alleged to be a gas van, but the Magirus factory in Ulm only produced trucks with diesel engines.
Back to Herr Beer, who of course ignores Weckert and Berg, and begins with T4 instead, the title of his first sub-chapter: “Kaisers Kaffee Geschäft”: Töten auf Rädern mit reinem CO im Rahmen der „Euthanasie“(Kaisers coffee shop. Killing with pure CO during “euthanasia”) (Beer had already published an essay on the gas vans for the Institute für Zeitgeschichte [Institute for contemporary history] in 1987). Beer writes that the criminological-technical institute of the security police (KTI) had been told to look for a quick and painless method for killing the mentally challenged. It was decided that killing with CO would be the most humane way and some successful tests in the “euthanasia” facility in Brandenburg an der Havel were undertaken, with Dr. Widmann opening the valve and controlling the gas amount. Then some gassings were tried in the concentration camp Fort VII Posen: Untersturmführer Herbert Lange was in charge and the latter were the first killings of persons deemed unfit (unwertes Leben) in the territories of west and north Poland annexed by the Reich. From this two methods evolved: the stationary gas chambers for the T4 action, and the second a prototype of a gas van built with “Sonderkommando Lange” in control. And even though it is not possible to prove the genesis of this killing method for lack of sources, we know that the SS and Police (HSSPF), the RSHA, the KTI, as well as Widmann, were involved.
This first gas van, Beer continues, operated under the same principal as the gas chambers in the “euthanasia” facilities, except that it was a mobile gas chamber. The deadly gasses were routed into an air-tight trailer pulled by a vehicle; thus, the victims did not have to be transported to the killing facilities. As camouflage the trailers had “Kaiser’s Kaffee Geschäft” painted on their sides and from January 1940 to July 1941 the “Sonderkommando Lange” killed several thousand patients in the Warthegau. This was so successful that the gas vans were lent to East Prussia on 21 May to 8 June 1940, and in the transit camp Soldau alone 1,500 were killed by the “Sonderkommando Lange” and their “Kaiser’s Kaffee Geschäft” wagons. This then was the first generation of gas vans: the systematic murder of persons unfit to live, which was later expanded in late fall of 194 to Jewish genocide.
Comments: The “Kaiser Kaffee” story stretches credulity to the breaking point. We are to believe that the “Nazis” first took the patients for a scenic tour, then unloaded their corpses in a room close to a crematoria instead of simply killing them right there? Beer admits that nothing has been found linking the Kaiser Kaffee Company to the gas trailers and provides no real evidence for the existence of those trailers. In his 1987 publication (see footnote 17), Beer tells us that eyewitnesses testified that in 1939/1940 trailers were used in Poland for the transportation of mentally challenged. The trailers had the inscription “Kaisers-Kaffee-Geschäft” painted on their sides and it is alleged that in those trailers the sick were killed with CO (Im Anhänger sollen Kranke mit aus Stahlflaschen eingeleitetem reinen Kohlenmonoxid (CO) getötet worden sein). This does not prevent Beer from repeating this story in this newest publication, needing it to confabulate a link to the killings of the mentally ill to the alleged killing of Jews. Such is the “evidence” for the Shoah.
Beer then continues with the coffee wagon story, writing that the Sonderkommando Lange used them in the Warthegau, and that Lange was very busy. Then, Arthur Nebe, chief of Einsatzgruppe(EG) B, had Dr. Widmann from the KTI meet him to discuss killing methods. Widmann was to bring 400kg of explosives as well as some metal hoses. As a first test some mentally ill were locked into a bunker and the bunker was blown up with explosives, but that didn’t work too well. Then the Widmann metal hoses were put to use, connected to the exhaust of a car or truck with the exhaust directed via the hose into a closed room filled with patients. From this experiment it was learned that killing with exhaust would be the solution, but since the EG did not have buildings at the ready, the killing facilities had to be mobile.
Thus, on instructions from Heydrich, Walter Rauff of group II D 3 (technical matters) ordered that “closed in vehicles” (geschlossenen Kraftfahrzeuge) were to be put at the disposal of the EG. They were to be 3.5 ton vehicles at minimum, powered by gasoline engines and fitted with an airtight box. The exhaust was to be routed via a metal hose into that box.
Comments: First a little about Arthur Nebe. Already in 1938 he was a member of a group of traitors: Canaris, von Witzleben, Gisevius and Count Helldorf: influential people with excellent contacts abroad. Nebe was later shot because of his involvement in the assassination attempt of Hitler in 1944. The traitors were desperately looking for something to discredit Hitler, to turn the German population against him. Why did Nebe not provide Gisevius – or Canaris who was head of military intelligence – with details of the gas vans and all the killings allegedly happening? Why did the gas van story only emerge after the war?
Now to Walter Rauff, the inventor of the “gas vans”.
“In the late 1940s, Walther (Walter) Rauff, an SS officer who was responsible for the murder of at least 100,000 people and was wanted by the Allies as a war criminal, was employed by the Israeli secret service. Instead of bringing him to justice it paid him for his services and helped him escape to South America… compared to Rauff, who was a criminal on the same scale as Eichmann… Klarsfeld wrote in an e-mail. “I doubt that it could have been possible, because Rauff was well-known in the Jewish world for his role in the gassing program by trucks[…]”
Jews knew about Rauff, but the Mossad hired and paid him, and in 1984 he died of cancer in Chile. In the documentary “Nazi Hunters. The Real Story” it is claimed that Chile refused to extradite Rauff. If so, what prevented the Mossad from kidnapping him as they had done to Eichmann? This story also lacks credibility, leaving one to suspect that the gas van story was concocted later. In fact, the documents presented to support the gas van story suggest just that.
As for Widmann and the experiments, this reads like a Keystone Cops operation. First, the Germans, who were so far advanced in weapons technology that to this day the victors are looking for links as to why this was so, but these same Germans then had to experiment with killing methods by sticking people into a bunker and blowing it up to see if it worked? Heaven help us! The rest of the story is not much better; surely the Germans were aware of the fact that carbon monoxide is a dangerous killer.
Also, gasoline engines are not explicitly mentioned, only some eyewitnesses refer to them.
Beer continues to insult our intelligence, but there’s no need to suffer any further; thus, to the gas vans. First, what do we know about them, i.e., how were they described? Beer tells us that they were 3.5 ton trucks with an airtight box in which a group of people were loaded and killed with the exhaust produced by a petrol powered engine, the exhaust led into the box via metal hoses. The judges in the Bonn Chelmno trial of 1965 tell us that the trucks were big, painted grey, of foreign manufacture and had a closed-in box in the back. The double doors in the back of the box were sealed with rubber gaskets and the exhaust entered the box via a hose, which could be attached to the exhaust pipe. The judges of the 1966 Hannover trial have it as a special truck with a high, air-tight, box in the back in which 40 – 50 persons could be killed within 10 to 15 minutes.
There’s nothing really of substance and all other descriptions are much the same. Pierre Marais writes that it would be relatively easy to construct a gas van, but that it is strange that no detailed plans have survived, given the Germans penchant for exactness and paperwork. Also, the box needs to be constructed to withstand pressure. A square box was not ideal for that purpose: the pressure issue a “conditio sine qua non” – without which it could not be. Any type of container which has to withstand pressure from within has rounded corners, cylindrical in shape. A square box as described would have been ill-suited to handle the pressure even if vents were provided to allow the air in the box to escape when the exhaust entered, thus allowing the exhaust to vent during operation. If the vents were too small, either the engine would stall or the box would explode. But we have no mention of any calculations concerning this issue, and the square boxes are evidence to the contrary — i.e. they are proof that no pressure could have been applied.
What we have is the letter of June 5 (the date handwritten) 1942, which starts with:
“Seit Dezember 1941 wurden beispielsweise so mit 3 eingesetzten Wagen 97,000 verarbeitet”.
(For instance, since December 1941, 97,000 were processed in this manner)
This is nonsense, for no German starts a letter with “for instance” when no context is provided referring to what instance is meant. The letter then states that to prevent the possible build-up of excess pressure, two slots of 10 x 1 cm are to be added to the back of the box, covered with tin plates on hinges. More nonsense because excess pressure is a certainty, not a possibility, and those two slots, amounting to a 4 inch cut with a saw blade and covered with hinged tin, would not have prevented this. Also, how were the 97,000 “processed” without those slots? In the next letter of 23 June 1942 (handwritten) we learn that the openings in the back door, covered by sliders, were to be eliminated and replaced by the slots: No mention of how big those openings were, but having replaced them with those saw cuts is ridiculous. In both letters the date is added by hand, curious to say the least. Also, the first letter has “Einzigste Ausfertigung” at the top, but “Einzigste” is not a German word.
Back to those openings in the back. Pradl, in his testimony at the Hannover trial stated that a hole of 58-60mm diameter, the size of the exhaust pipe, was drilled into the floor. Thus we have an intake opening of 28 square cm and outflow openings of 20 square cm in total, smaller by almost one third: no go, as the pressure would have built up and blown the box apart or stalled the engine. Then we have the exhaust temperature, not mentioned by any of the witnesses. Marais writes that exhaust exits the engine at 600 to 800 degrees Celsius. He continues by saying that even if we allow for the exhaust to cool down to 200 degrees C by the time it enters the box — unlikely that it would have cooled down that much — the temperature added to the pressure would surely have blown the box apart. At the end of May 1942 an explosion occurred at Chelmno, and it is alleged that this was as a result of excess pressure in a gas van and that consequently the problem was dealt with. Not so. The explosion occurred in the basement of the castle and circumstances remain unknown.  And even if this explosion was truck related, as suggested in the letter of 5 June, the 4 inch slots would not have fixed the problem. Also, we have nothing about Jews being cooked; not one witness I am aware of mentions death via temperature.
Final comments: The aforementioned letters contain many oddities, Ingrid Weckert addresses them in her essay (footnote 16). Marais contacted Beer to ask him about the pressure, Beer wrote back that the authorities were aware of it and solved the problem by adding the two 10cm x 1cm slots in the back, which is not so. No gas van has ever been found, although Beer wrote back to Marais that one has survived, displayed at Konin, Poland. Not so, the city authorities wrote back that no such van exists. Smirnov submitted what he deemed to be gas van evidence at the IMT:
“On the floor of the van, under the grating, were two metal pipes. These pipes were connected with a transverse pipe of equal diameter… These pipes had frequent holes a half centimeter in width. From the transverse pipe down through a hole in the galvanized iron floor went a rubber hose with a hexagonal screw at the end, threaded so as to fit the thread on the end of the engine exhaust pipe…which says that in the Stavropol region the murder vans were used for the killing of 660 people who were ill in the local hospital. Further I draw the attention of the Tribunal to the report of the Extraordinary State Commission regarding the Crimes of the German fascist criminals in Krasnodar[…]”
No diameter of the exhaust pipe given, but we learn that a rubber hose was attached to the exhaust pipe: complete nonsense, as the rubber would have gone up in flames. We also have the reference to the Krasnodar trial, and there it was determined that the trucks were powered by diesel engines. Also, the gas vans only came into prominence at the IMT, but partisans were everywhere. A page in an East German atlas shows the location of partisan operations in the east. Some areas around Minsk, for instance, where gas vans were allegedly in operation were controlled by partisans for periods of time. The same is true for Kharkov and other areas, and with that many partisans around, why don’t we have any pictures of those gas vans?
Did trucks of this kind even exist? More than likely, but they could not have been used to gas people as described, and all we have are witness testimonies: no genuine shop drawings; just letter that only confuses the issue. Rauff was questioned in Chile, but the whole Rauff story presents more questions than answers. The West German trials established nothing; they never asked for any details as to how the gas vans were operated; no experts were called; just witness testimony was submitted. In an “Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung” article of 29 April 1966, we read, concerning the trial vs. Pradl and Wentritt, that classical witnesses are not available (Es fehlt an klassischen Zeugen). One of the witnesses, name withheld, a member of EG B from June 1941 to June 1942, stated that they had no gas vans and that he never heard of them. Another witness testified that he saw a gas van, but when asked what he was told about it he stated that it was to be used for delousing. And it matters not if alleged perpetrators admitted to anything. Without expert testimony to prove that the vans could have been used to gas people as described, the testimony is worthless.
Beer provides no solid evidence. His “Kaffee-Wagen” story is amusing, but in general he just believes they existed. Once again we are no further along in proving that Jews were killed with poisonous gas of any kind.
- The Barnes Review, Volume XIV Number 5, September/October 2008, p.49; also Udo Walendy, Historische Tatsachen Nr.48, Verlag für Volkstum und Zeitgeschichtsforschung, Vlotho 1991, pp.35/36; Stéphane Courtois, Nicolas Werth, Jean-Louis Panné, Andrzej Paczkowski, Karel Bartosek, Jean-Louis Margolin, The Black Book of Communism, Crimes, Terror, Repression, Harvard University Press, Cambridge Massachusetts, London, England 1999, picture section following p.202, seventh page
- Michael S. Voslensky, Das Geheimnis wird offenbar, Moskauer Archive erzählen 1917-1991, Langen Müller 1995, F.A. Herbig Verlagsbuchhandlung GmbH, München, pp.28/29; also Alexander Solschenizyn, Zweihundert Jahre zusammen, Die Juden in der Sowjetunion, F.A. Herbig Verlagsbuchhandlung GmbH, München 2007, pp.309/10
- Voslensky, Das Geheimnis…, pp.28/29 in “Argumenty i fakty”, Nr.17, 1993
- Solschenizyn, Zweihundert Jahre…, pp.309/10, in Komsomol’skaja Pravda of 28 October 1990, p.2
- Voslensky, Das Geheimnis…, pp.29ff
- For an evaluation of the reports issued by the ESC see: People and Procedures. Toward a History of the Investigation of Nazi Crimes in the USSR, by Marina Sorokina. The article is no longer available on-line, reference to it here http://muse.jhu.edu/login?uri=/journals/kritika/v006/6.4sorokina.pdf 
- Alexander Victor Prusin, “Fascist Criminals to the Gallows!”: The Holocaust and Soviet War Crimes Trials, December 1945-February 1946, http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/holocaust_and_genocide_studies/v017/17.1prusin.html 
- http://www.revblog.codoh.com/2009/09/katyn/#more-408 
- The People’s Verdict. A full Report of the Proceedings at the Krasnodar and Kharkov German Atrocity Trials, Hutchinson and Co., Ltd.; London, New York: 1944
- Ibid, p.14
- Ibid. p.50
- Günter Morsch et al, Neue Studien zu Nationalsozialistischen Massentötungen durch Giftgas, p.36
- http://vho.org/tr/2003/4/Weckert400-412.html 
- http://www.revblog.codoh.com/2011/02/facing-a-new-decade/#more-1416 
- http://vho.org/D/gzz/9.html 
- Mathias Beer, Die Entwicklung der Gaswagen beim Mord an den Juden, Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte (VfZ), 1987, Heft 3, pp.403-417
- Morsch et al, Neue Studien…, pp.155-158
- Annelies von Ribbentrop, Deutsch-Englische Geheimverbindungen, Verlag der Deutschen Hochschullehrer-Zeitung, 1967, p.130
- http://www.haaretz.com/weekend/magazine/in-the-service-of-the-jewish-state-1.216923.htm 
- Edgar Mayer/Thomas Mehner, Die Lügen der Alliierten und die deutschen Wunderwaffen, Kopp Verlag 2010; Friedrich Georg, Verrat in der Normandie, Grabert-Verlag, Thüringen 2008
- Pierre Marais, “Die Gaswagen”, a translation by Jürgen Graf from the original “Les Camions à gaz en question. Polémiques”, Peter Hammer Verlag, Turin, 2008, p.220
- Ibid, pp.24/25
- Eugene Kogon et al, Nationalsozialistische Massentötungen durch Giftgas, S. Fischer Verlag GmbH, Frankfurt am Main 1983, p.83
- Marais, Die Gaswagen, pp.117/18
- Ibid, p.223
- Ibid, p.264
- http://avalon.law.yale.edu/imt/02-19-46.asp  , pp.572/73
- Atlas zur geschichte, Band 2, VEB Hermann Haack, Geographisch-Kartographische Anstalt Gotha/Leipzig 1975, p.46
- A copy of this article is in my possession.