Scrapbookpages Blog

August 23, 2011

the mystery of the small opening on the outside wall of the Dachau gas chamber — Updated

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , , , — furtherglory @ 10:34 am

Update, April 6, 2015:

You can read a recent news story about Henry Mazel, who had one of the first websites about the Holocaust. Mazel’s website, which is no longer in existence, was mainly about the Dachau concentration camp, but specifically about the Dachau gas chamber.

This quote is from the news article:

Begin quote

BOULDER, Colo. (JTA) — The yellowing document is crumbling and fading, but the smooth signature on its cover is as legible as it is chilling: Rudolf Hess, the Nazi who served as a Hitler deputy from 1933 to 1941.

The signature, which adorns a 70-year-old leniency plea for top Nazi Hermann Goering during the postwar Nuremberg trials, is one of some 500,000 discrete items and 20,000 books donated last year to the University of Colorado at Boulder — nearly the entirety of one of the world’s largest privately owned Holocaust collections. The unusual trove includes aerial surveillance photos of the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp, decaying copies of the Nazi newspaper Der Sturmer, Nuremberg trial transcripts, and a trove of pro-Nazi and Holocaust denial literature.

“We don’t even know what we have,” said David Shneer, director of the Jewish Studies program at University of Colorado at Boulder and the person responsible for bringing the archive to the university. “We have teams of students inventorying it. We hope to get through everything by the fall.”

The unlikely story of how the archive, known as the Mazal Holocaust Collection, ended up in Boulder is a tale of Holocaust denial, a hidden Jewish past and the shady market for Holocaust artifacts.

End quote

Continue reading my original blog post:

Hole on outside wall of gas chamber at Dachau concentration camp

The photo above shows a boarded-up hole in the outside wall of the Baracke X building at the former Dachau concentration camp. There is no corresponding hole on the inside of the building; the room behind this wall was allegedly a homicidal gas chamber.  I always assumed that this was a botched construction of a peep hole.  Until now…

When I read in the news today about the death of Harry W. Mazal, I decided to take another look at his famous website.  The purpose of Mazal’s website, according to his daughter, is to combat Holocaust denial.  I had read the section on the Dachau gas chamber years ago when I first became interested in the Holocaust.  In reading this section again, I was particularly interested in his description of how a homicidal gassing was carried out at Dachau.

Two bins on outside wall of Dachau gas chamber

Quote from the gas chamber section on the website here:

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. Having done this, the operator would close the bins, which are protected from interference from the victims by a protective grating, <photo 40> <photo 41> and wait a few minutes until all the victims were dead. At this point, the powerful mechanical extractor could be energized sending the poisonous fumes into the atmosphere, drawing fresh air through a small hatchway located above the bins. The bodies could then be moved into the mortuary chamber to await incineration in the adjoining crematory furnaces.

I have put the most important part in bold face type to draw attention to it.  Now it all makes sense.  The hole in the wall was put there for the purpose of bringing fresh air into the room to air it out after the use of Zyklon-B to gas the prisoners.

Here is another quote from

A larger room adjacent to the four disinfestation chambers is also a gas chamber but this one was designed specifically for homicidal purposes. Any doubts that this chamber is a gas chamber are rapidly dispelled upon viewing the exhaust vents on the ceiling of the room <photo 31>, the exhaust chimney on the roof <photo 32>, and the metal doors that are in use by the the disinfestation gas chambers <photo 33>.

Vent pipe on roof directly over the gas chamber

The photo above shows two “exhaust chimneys” on the roof of the Baracke X building, one of which is directly over the gas chamber. The photo below shows the roof of the building in 1945 just after the camp was liberated. Note that the larger pipe on the right is the same kind of pipe that is shown in the color photo, above the gas chamber.  I don’t know of any photo, taken before the liberation of Dachau, that shows a vent pipe directly over the alleged gas chamber. The photo below was taken several days after the camp was liberated.  In fact, there are no old photos of the gas chamber building that I have ever seen.

Dachau prisoners haul dead bodies out of the camp   Photo credit: Donald E. Jackson, 40th Combat Engineer Regiment

Look closely at the photo above: Is that the air intake hole on the far right of the photo?

The infamous Holocaust denier Fred Leuchter visited the Dachau Memorial site years ago and wrote the following in his report:

An examination of the alleged gas chamber clearly shows, however, that this facility was constructed as a shower room, used only for this purpose. The modifications to the room which include the addition of the ceiling, pseudo shower heads, air intake and gas inlet ports were made at a time much later than the original construction of “Baracke X” and the shower room, and for reasons and by persons unknown to this author.

Outside wall of the Dachau gas chamber

Note that Leuchter concluded that the air intake and gas inlet ports, shown in the photo above, were constructed sometime later. Leuchter wrote that the holes in the wall of the Baracke X building were added at a later time, after the building was constructed in 1943.  But what does he know?  He doesn’t have a degree in engineering and has been thoroughly discredited as a gas chamber expert.

This is another quote from the Leuchter report:

Without an exhaust system or windows, it would require at least one week to vent by convection. This estimate is based on American gas chambers requiring twenty (20) minutes to vent with two complete air changes per minute, and a minimum of forty-eight (48) hours to vent a fumigated building with an abundance of windows.

So Fred Leuchter thinks that the vent on the roof was NOT enough to air out the Dachau gas chamber. And he thinks that the vent was added later.

Here is another interesting quote from the web site:

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.

Did the manufacturer of Zyklon-B actually say how much of their “product” was needed to kill human beings?  Did they know that their “product” was being used in homicidal gas chambers?

The Degesch dispenser referred to above is shown in the photo below.  This photo was taken in one of the four gas chambers at Dachau that were used to kill lice in the clothing of the prisoners. Note that the walls of the disinfection chamber have been painted over so that the stains left by the use of Zyklon-B can no longer be seen.

Degesch dispenser in Dachau disinfection gas chamber

I learned from the Mazal website that Degesch machines were originally proposed for the Auschwitz camp, but the decision was made not to use them.

Shown below is a close-up of the hole which the Mazal web site says was for air intake into the gas chamber for the purpose of airing it out. Today, tour guides at Dachau completely ignore this boarded-up hole and do not explain its purpose.

“air intake” hole in outside wall of Dachau gas chamber

Tour guides at Dachau tell visitors that the gas chamber was used.  For example, this quote from a blog post written by a recent visitor:

Dachau Camp, as were all of the camps, was a hell on earth. The prisoners first lost their identity after coming through the gate, being tattooed with a number on their arm. They then had to sign over all their worldly goods to the Nazis. Their families were often held in other parts of the camp, so they didn’t dare disobey.
Dachau had it all. Medical experiments, torture, beatings, gas chambers, mass executions etc. In the inner part of the camp were the gas chambers which no one came out of alive. Even the prisoners who herded their fellow inmates into the “showers” were themselves changed over every few weeks and sent to the “showers” to prevent word leaking out as to what was happening in the inner compound.

Note that this quote mentions that “The prisoners first lost their identity after coming through the gate, being TATTOOED with a number on their arm.”

The only camp where prisoners were tattooed was Auschwitz.  After the Auschwitz camp was abandoned, some of the prisoners, who had been tattooed, were taken to Dachau.