Scrapbookpages Blog

March 22, 2011

the Zyklon-B gas chutes on the outside wall of the Dachau gas chamber

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 11:32 am

Two chutes on the outside wall of Dachau gas chamber

The photograph above shows the wall on the East side of the Dachau gas chamber building. On the wall are two bins which have hinges on the bottom so that they could be opened or closed; in the center is a small hole that has been closed up. These bins were allegedly used as chutes to pour Zyklon-B gas pellets onto the floor of the gas chamber. The inside wall behind the bins has two screened openings, through which the gas pellets fell onto the floor.

This morning there was a comment by a reader on a blog post that I did back on December 21, 2010 which you can read here.  The reader was commenting on what Herbert Stolpmann wrote on January 4, 2011, which I have quoted below:

I was taken to see the Dachau KZ by an American GI in 1946, at that time it was not spruced up as a memorial site as it is now. Apart from that I lived up to 1956 in the old Hospital Barracks Hs.No 52,still have the German ID to this date and met an old inmate the Communist secretary of Lower Bavaria, an reliable source of info within the Camp.I would like to make it quite clear, that the Gas Chamber was never operational. As a matter of fact the so called chutes to push cyclon pallets into the system had been added later on after the liberation to lend the myth of gassing some measure of authenticity. The name of my friend and former inmate is Josef Weichart and has most likly passed away by now. I had no recent contact with him.  HK Stolpmann-Auckland New Zealand 05.01.2011

The reader commented that “Something like this shouldn’t just be sitting around in the comment section. Should make an article or ‘testimony’ or something like that.”  So I am doing a new post to address the issue of the chutes on the outside wall of Baracke X at Dachau.

Wooden screen on the East wall of the gas chamber building

The photo above was taken by the US Army a few days after the camp was liberated on April 29, 1945. It shows a wooden screen in front of the East wall of Baracke X, the gas chamber building. The screen was 16 feet long and extended 6 feet out from the wall; there was no roof over the area behind the screen. The two bins shown in the photo at the top of this post were hidden by this screen.  According to Holocaust historians, this screen was placed in front of the wall by the Nazis in order to hide their activity from the prisoners.

However, the Report of the Atrocities Committed at Dachau Concentration Camp, signed by Col. David Chavez, Jr., JAGD, 7 May 1945, states that this screen was a “Wooden shed believed to contain a pump or compressor.” The Chavez Report was entered into the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal as Documents 159L and 2430-PS.

The openings for the gas chutes on the outside wall of the Dachau gas chamber

Notice that the gas bins and the peephole are not centered on the outside wall. Instead they are centered on the inside of the gas chamber.

One of the openings for the gas chutes on the inside of the gas chamber

The gas bins are now rusted so that they cannot be closed.

The first time that I visited the Dachau Memorial site, I went to see the film that is shown several times each day.  The movie shows some footage of the gas chamber, taken by the American military on May 3, 1945. The inside of the gas chamber is shown in the film, but not the interior of the East wall where the openings for the gas chutes are located. This film was shown at the Nuremberg IMT as evidence that there was a gas chamber at Dachau. It shows the corridor behind the West wall of the gas chamber which has what are purportedly gas pipes going into the gas chamber, but does not show the bins for the gas chutes on the outside wall.

Poster at Dachau shows an old photo of Baracke X

The photo above shows a poster at the Dachau Memorial Site.  The photo in the poster was taken by a Yugoslavian prisoner who was a captured Resistance fighter.  On the left side of the photo, you can see the wooden enclosure around the spot where the bins for the chutes are now located.  With so many bodies piled up, how did the SS men get behind the wooden screen to throw the Zyklon-B pellets into the gas chamber?

I was very curious about the gas chutes on the wall, so I began searching for some description of them by anyone who saw the chutes before 1947, the date that Mr. Stolpmann claims that they were constructed.  I searched for at least a year and I found many descriptions of the Dachau gas chamber which I put on my web site; you can read the descriptions here.

For some strange reason, no one noticed the bins for the gas chutes on the East wall.  Of course, the bins could have been closed so that no light would have been coming through the little windows, but still you would think that at least one person would have noticed the windows, which are quite large.

1945 photo shows wooden screen hiding the gas bins

The photo above was taken on April 30, 1945, the day after the Dachau concentration camp was liberated, when the 40th Combat Engineer Regiment, which was supporting the 45th Thunderbird Division, arrived to take over.  There is a door which was apparently taken from some other location and propped up against the wooden screen.  It is hard to tell, but there might be a door into the screened area on the right hand side.  Strangely no one mentioned what might be behind the wooden screen, except Col. David Chavez, Jr. who wrote in his report on May 7, 1945 that this was a “Wooden shed believed to contain a pump or compressor.”  Maybe no one actually looked behind the wooden screen because there was no door, or maybe the door was nailed shut.

You can read the official history of the Dachau gas chamber here on the Holocaust History web site.  Scroll way, way, way down to the part about the gas chutes which I have quoted below:

Further evidence of its design as a homicidal chamber are the two bin-like drawers leading from the gas chamber to the exterior. <photo 37> <photo 38> <photo 39> The only possible explanation for these bins is that they were designed to receive the granules of Zyklon-B (or some other lethal volatile poison) from a small tin. The person in charge of a homicidal gassing need only don a gas mask, open the two bins, and dump part of a small tin of Zyklon-B into each one.
[….]
The question arises of the difference between the method of dispensing of Zyklon-B to the disinfestation chambers and to the extermination chamber. Quite simply: the exposure time and concentration of hydrogen cyanide gas for killing insects is considerably higher than that which is needed to kill humans. According to the manufacturers of the product, it only requires 0.3 grams per cubic meter to kill human beings, whereas concentrations of up to 10 grams per cubic meter were routinely employed to destroy insects. 22 The relative ease with which it is possible to kill humans with low concentrations of hydrogen cyanide makes it simpler and less expensive to use the drawer-like bins in the homicidal chamber rather than to use the costly Degesch dispensers. Additionally, the bins would allow for other volatile poisons to be employed as suggested by Rascher in his letter to Himmler. (See below.)
[….]
A suspicious and heretofore unexplained structure bears mentioning.
What appears to be a wooden screen blocking the area where the bin-like drawers are located on the eastern wall of the new crematorium (Baracke X) can be observed in photographs taken immediately after the camp was liberated by the Americans. <photo 42> (See also <photo 17> above.) This screen seems to be about 16 feet wide and six feet deep. It does not appear to have any roof-covering. If it was indeed a screen, it would have allowed operation of the bin-like drawers by one or more perpetrators without any possibility of being observed by any casual bystanders.

The Dachau Memorial Site is under the authority of the International Committee of Dachau, a prisoners’ organization which still exists to this day.  Holocaust denial is against the law in Germany, so the information given at the Memorial Site is that the Zyklon-B pellets “could have have been” put into the gas chamber though the bins on the outside wall. Only a few of the tour guides at Dachau tell visitors today that Zyklon-B gas pellets were put into the Dachau gas chamber though gas chutes.

By the way, today is the 78th anniversary of the date that the Dachau concentration camp was first opened on March 22, 1933.