One of my most favorite TV shows is the series entitled Bones, which is currently in it’s 11th season. The series is loosely based on the life and writings of novelist and forensic anthropologist Dr. Kathy Reichs.
Reruns of the show are on TV and I like to watch them over and over again. Yesterday, I watched an old show which featured a crime that had occurred in Argentina in which Zyklon-B was mentioned.
The main character in the show, who has the nickname Bones, is a genius who literally knows everything. As soon as she learns that Zyklon-B was found on some bones, she knows that this is somehow related to the Nazi concentration camps.
You can read about the gas chamber at the Majdanek camp on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Poland/Majdanek/Majdanek02.html and also on this blog post at
On the Bones TV show, it was mentioned that a man named Haus (House) was involved in the crime. In the show, Haus was the Commandant of the concentration camp called Majdanek.
The Majdanek concentration camp, in the Polish city of Lubin, was in operation from October 1, 1941 to July 23, 1944 when it was liberated by soldiers of the Soviet Union.
The old photograph above shows the original main entrance into the Majdanek concentration camp. On either side of the gate, there were sentry boxes, painted with black and white chevron stripes. Although there doesn’t seem to be much security at this gate, the interior of the camp was divided into fields or compounds, each surrounded by a double row of barbed wire fencing.
During a commercial on the Bones TV show, I rushed to my computer and looked up the names of all the commandants at Majdanek.
The names of the commandants at Majdanek were Karl Otto Koch, Max August Koegel, Hermann Florstedt, Martin Gottfried Weiss, and Arthur Liebehenschel.
Pictured above is Karl Otto Koch, the first Commandant of the Majdanek camp. Koch had previously been the Commandant of Buchenwald, but he was sent to Majdanek as punishment after he was arrested in Weimar for non-payment of taxes.
In 1943, Koch was brought back to Weimar and put on trial by SS Judge Georg Konrad Morgen on charges of ordering the murder of two prisoners at Buchenwald and taking bribes from Jewish prisoners. He was convicted and executed by the Nazis before the end of the war.
In the Bones episode, a former commandant of Majdanek is still alive, and living in Argentina, but he can’t be extradited for trial.
On the Bones show, it is discovered that a skeleton found in Argentina has traces of Zyklon-B which was used in the Nazi camps.
I give the Bones producers a lot of credit for doing a show featuring Zyklon B and the Majdanek camp. I am sure that I was not the only person who rushed to a computer to look up the facts.
For those too lazy to look it up, here is what Wikipedia says about Zyklon-B:
Zyklon b was the trade name of a pesticide invented in Germany in the early 1920s. It conisted (sic) of hydrogen cynaide (prussic acid)….
According to the Majdanek museum guidebook, the camp was initially called the Concentration Camp at Lublin (Konzentrationslager Lublin); then the name was changed to Prisoner of War Camp at Lublin (Kriegsgefangenenlager der Waffen-SS Lublin), but in Feb. 1943, the name reverted back to Concentration Camp. Throughout its existence, Majdanek received transports of Prisoners of War, including a few Americans.
Although the first prisoners at Majdanek were Russian Prisoners of War, who were transferred from a barbed wire enclosure at Chelm, the camp soon became a detention center for Jews after the “Final Solution of the Jewish Question” was planned at the Wannsee Conference on January 20, 1942.
Mass transports of Jews began arriving at the Majdanek camp, beginning in April 1942, during the same time period that the Auschwitz II camp, which was originally a POW camp for Soviet soldiers, was being converted into an extermination camp for Jews.
The headquarters for Operation Reinhard, which was set up after the Wannsee Conference, was in Lublin, near the Majdanek camp. The clothing that was confiscated from the prisoners who were sent to the three Operation Reinard camps (Treblinka, Sobibor, and Belzec) was brought to Majdanek to be disinfected with a poison gas called Zyklon-B. The same gas was allegedly used in homicidal gas chambers at Majdanek to murder thousands of Jews. [Sorry, I have to use the word “allegedly” until I see some proof.]