In today’s news, I read an article here about how British teachers are planning to “convey the Holocaust to teens.” This quote is from the article:
Fresh from a visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau, teachers from Furness College, Barrow, Sandside School, Ulverston, and The Lakes School, Troutbeck Bridge contemplated how to bring the contemporary relevance of the Holocaust into the classroom.
With the haunting horrors of the former Nazi concentration and death camps of Auschwitz-Birkenau still at the forefront of their minds, teachers gathered together to discuss how they will present the complexes of the Holocaust and its modern day messages to young people.
It was this quote, from the middle of the article, which caught my attention:
The educational body says a challenging element for teachers and students will be re-humanising the Nazis, as they were humans and not monsters.
The introduction of gas chambers was a method which made killing more humane for the perpetrators.
If the British teachers try to re-humanise the Nazis by telling the students that it was more humane to gas the prisoners at Auschwitz-Birkenau, they will be making a big mistake. Gassing could be more humane than other methods of killing — if it is done the right way, so as to give the prisoners a quick and easy death without suffering. But that is not the way it was done at Birkenau.
In 1988, Fred Leuchter, an American gas chamber expert, climbed down into the ruins of Krema II at Auschwitz-Birkenau and observed that there was no way to heat the Zyklon-B gas pellets to 78.3 degrees Fahrenheit, which is necessary to release the poison gas. Leuchter pointed out in his Report that it is necessary to heat the pellets before the poison gas will be released. With no quick way to heat the pellets, the prisoners were crowded together in the dark while they waited for hours for their body heat to release the gas and put an end to their suffering. After the prisoners were packed into the gas chamber like sardines, the babies were thrown in on top of their heads. We know this because when the Sonderkommando Jews came into the gas chamber minutes later to remove the bodies, the babies were always at the top of the pile.
It would have taken 10 hours to ventilate a room after Zyklon-B was used. Krema I, the location of the gas chamber in the main Auschwitz camp, did not have a fan to air out the room, so it would have taken even longer until the Sonderkommando Jews could have safely entered the gas chamber to remove the bodies.
No way could this be called a humane way to murder the Jews. This was not even humane for the perpetrators who probably had nightmares about killing babies in such an ignominious way.
On this web site, you can read this quote about the lack of a heating device in the Krema II gas chamber at Auschwitz-Birkenau:
Temperature (too low)
[Krema 1 & II] There was no heating capability in any of the facilities which would have been required, firstly, to drive the gas from the Zyklon B and mix with the air, and secondly, to avoid condensation of the gas on the walls, floor and ceiling. When the hydrogen cyanide condensed into a liquid, it was absorbed by brick and by mortar. Condensation would have made the area very dangerous for anyone who came into the facility to remove corpses. (32-9088)…….During the time he had inspected the facility in February, 1988, the temperature in the room was 10 or 12 degrees Fahrenheit. In Leuchter’s opinion, if Zyklon B pellets had been dropped into the chamber in such circumstances, with no heating capabilities, it would have taken more than several hours for the gas to leave the pellets and permeate the room. Holocaust literature alleged that gassings took place in winter.
If the Nazis had wanted to be humane, they would have built the Auschwitz gas chambers the proper way, using a machine to heat the pellets. The photo below shows a machine that was provided by the Degesch Company, which manufactured and sold the Zyklon-B pellets, along with their machine which was designed to heat the pellets to the proper temperature. This machine automatically opened a can of Zyklon-B and dumped the pellets into a wire basket, so that they could be retrieved and sent back to the manufacturer to be filled with Zyklon-B and used again.
Oh sure, the British teachers can show their students photos from the famous Auschwitz Album, which might suggest that the SS men at Auschwitz were human, but you can’t get around the fact that the Nazis were not humane because they allowed the Jews to suffer for hours in the Krema I and Krema II gas chambers which definitely did not have a way to heat the Zyklon-B pellets. It would have been more humane to just shoot the Jews.
The photo below is from the Auschwitz Album.