Scrapbookpages Blog

January 2, 2014

Changes in the Dachau gas chamber story over the years

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 11:10 am

A reader of my blog provided a link to a page, captured by the “wayback machine,” which shows what a famous Dachau website looked like years ago.  You can see it for yourself at https://web.archive.org/web/20050311091556/http://www.holocaust-history.org/dachau-gas-chambers/

The website, shown in the link, was one of the first websites about Dachau, if not THE first.

This quote is from an “essay” written by Harry W. Mazal OBE, which was published, many years ago, on the website, cited above:

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 identical in design to those used by the disinfestation gas chambers <photo 33> <photo 34>. It would appear that the fake shower heads on the ceiling of the chamber <photo 35>, the sign over the door stating Brausebad (shower room) <photo 36> and the smooth brick finish simulating tiling (see <photo 41> below) were part of an elaborate ploy to make the victims believe they were going to take a bath after having deposited their clothes in the passageway connecting the disinfestation chambers with the homicidal chamber.

Most people have never had the opportunity to see a real homicidal gas chamber, which was used to execute condemned criminals.  I am from Missouri, one of the few places which has a real gas chamber, which I saw when I was about 12 years old.

Mazal’s photo 32, which shows “the exhaust chimney on the roof” is shown below.

Harry Mazal's photo of the exhaust pipe on the roof of the Dachau gas chamber

Harry Mazal’s photo of the exhaust pipe on the roof of  gas chamber

40 ft. pipe on the roof of the Missouri gas chamber

40 ft. exhaust pipe on the roof of the Missouri gas chamber

According to Fred Leuchter, who was a consultant for the Missouri gas chamber, until his career was ruined, a homicidal gas chamber must have a 40 foot gas pipe.  Leuchter does not have a degree in Engineering, so what does he know?

This quote is also from Harry Hazal’s website:

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.

The photo below shows “the drawer-like bins” mentioned by Mazal on his website.

photo 39 on Harry Hazal's website shows the "drawer-like bins" used to put the gas pellets into the Dachau gas chamber

photo 39 on Harry Hazal’s website shows the “drawer-like bins” used to put the gas pellets into the Dachau gas chamber (photo taken by Daniel Karen)

The original caption on the photo above: “Close-up view of bin-like drawer designed to introduce lethal poisons into the homicidal chamber. Note hinges on bottom allowing the device to rock in or out. (Photo by Dr. Daniel Keren.)”

To his credit, Harry Mazal quotes from a small book written by Bishop Neuhäusler, which was first published in June 1960:

Bishop Neuhäusler, for example, states:

Also behind the wire fence was the camp crematorium. At first it was housed in a wooden barrack, later in a stone building built by Polish Catholic priests, to whom the building trade had been taught. This crematorium was located in a small forest on the west side quite close to the camp. The prevailing wind was from the west and consequently the smell of burning corpses filled the camp, reminding of their approaching end and adding immeasurably to their despair.

With the new crematorium a gas chamber was also connected. The whole construction of the crematorium with its gas chamber was completed in 1943. It contained an ‘undressing room’, a ‘shower bath’, and a ‘mortuary’. The showers were metal traps which had no pipelines for a supply of poisonous gas. This gas chamber was never set in action in Dachau. Only the dead were brought to the crematorium for ‘burning’, no living for ‘gassing’. 25

The quote above is from page 17 of a small 82 page booklet by Dr. Johannes Neuhäusler, which I purchased at the Dachau Memorial Site in 2001.  It was the 2000 edition of his booklet entitled “What was it like in the Concentration Camp at Dachau? An Attempt to Come Closer to the Truth”

Dr. Neuhäusler was an Auxiliary Bishop of Munich.  I wrote about him and the other Catholic priests, who were prisoners at Dachau at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/DachauScrapbook/KZDachau/DachauLife3.html

After writing that “no living” prisoners were brought to the crematorium “for gassing,” Dr. Neuhäusler went on to say, in his booklet, that prisoners at Dachau were taken to Hartheim Castle near Linz, Austria, to be gassed.  You can read about the gas chamber at Hartheim Castle on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Hartheim/gaschamber02.html

When I visited Dachau for the first time in 1997, I spent a lot of time in the Dachau Museum, which has since been changed at least twice.  In the original Museum, I recall reading that sick prisoners were sent to Hartheim Castle to be gassed to death, but first a doctor had to sign the order for the prisoner to be sent to Hartheim, giving the cause of the fatal illness that warranted a merciful death for the prisoner.

The fact that prisoners from Dachau were sent to Hartheim to be gassed indicates that there was no homicidal gas chamber at Dachau — until the shower room was converted into a gas chamber by the Americans who liberated Dachau.  I blogged about the Dachau gas chamber film that was shown at the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal at https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2010/11/19/proof-of-the-nazi-gas-chambers-given-at-the-nuremberg-imt-on-nov-29-1945/

I have written about the Dachau gas chamber on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/DachauScrapbook/GasChamber/history02.html

Harry Mazal is now deceased, but if he were still alive today, would he still claim that the shower room at Dachau was a homicidal gas chamber?  Tour guides at Dachau now tell gullible teenagers that the Dachau gas chamber was used, although not for “mass gassing.”