1. Gas vans used by the Einsatzgruppen
in the occupied territories of the Soviet Union
Dr. Widmann: No mention of type of engine (Kogon/Langbein/Rückerl et al, Nationalsozialistische Massentötungen durch Giftgas, pages 81 and following)
Rauff: No mention of type of engine (Kogon et al, as above, page 82).
Pradel: No mention of type of engine (Kogon et al, as above, page 82).
Wentritt: No mention of type of engine (Kogon et al, as above, page 83).
Leidig: Doesn’t mention type of engine. (Kogon et al, as above, pages 83 and following).
Just (letter to Rauff of 5 June 1942): No mention of type of engine (Kogon et al, as above, pages 84 and following).
Gniewuch: No mention of type of engine (Kogon et al, as above, pages 87, 90, 91).
Trühe: No mention of type of engine (Kogon et al, as above, page 87).
Mendel Vulfovich: No mention of type of engine (Kogon et al, as above, page 88).
Adolf Rübe: No mention of type of engine (Kogon et al, as above, page 89).
Zalman Levinbuck: Gasoline engine (Kogon et al, as above, page 91):
Unter den Lastwagen gibt es riesige mit hermetisch verschließbaren Türen Diese luftdicht geschlossenen Wagen werden dushegubky genannt, was auf russisch Seelentöter heißt. Sie bringen bereits tote Menschen heran, die man nicht mehr erschießen muß. Die Menschen werden unterwegs vergiftet durch Gase und Abgasdämpfe, die durch das Verbrennen von Benzin im Motor entstanden sind. Denn diese Abgase werden durch ein spezielles Rohr ins Wageninnere geleitet, anstatt, wie normalerweise, frei an die Luft zu entweichen; und so werden die Menschen durch das Kohlenmonoxyd getötet.
Among the trucks there were giant one with doors that closed hermetically.... These hermetically closed vans are called dushegubky, which in Russian means soul killer. They already bring along dead people who don’t have to be shot anymore. The people are poisoned during the drive by gases and exhaust fumes that are created by the combustion of gasoline in the motor. This because the exhaust is led through a special valve into the inside of the van instead of freely vanishing into the air as it normally would, and thus the people are killed by the carbon monoxide.
Chugunov: No mention of type of engine (Kogon et al, as above, page 91).
Boris Dobin: No mention of type of engine (Kogon et al, as above, pages 91 and following).
Lauer: No mention of type of engine (Kogon et al, as above, page 93).
Bauer: No mention of type of engine (Kogon et al, as above, page 93).
Willi Friedrich: No mention of type of engine (Kogon et al, as above, pages 94 and following).
Wilhelm Findeisen: No mention of type of engine (Kogon et al, as above, page 95).
Robert Mohr: No mention of type of engine (Kogon et al, as above, page 96).
Ljudmila Nazarevskaya: No mention of type of engine (Kogon et al, as above, page 97).
Kotov: No mention of type of engine (Kogon et al, as above, page 101 and following).
Paul Zapp: No mention of type of engine (Kogon et al, as above, pages 104 and following).
Johannes Schlupper: No mention of type of engine (Kogon et al, as above, pages 105 and following).
Eugenia Ostrovec: No mention of type of engine (Kogon et al, as above, pages 106 and following).
Friedrich Jeckeln: Gasoline engine. My translation from Christian Gerlach, Kalkulierte Morde, page 767:
Furthermore other reasons against the use of gas vans were presented. [Footnote 1451: The former Head of SS and Police Eastern Territories, Friedrich Jeckeln (Interrogation of 20.12.1945, Federal Archives D-H ZM 1683, Volume 25) mentioned too high gasoline consumption and cleaning problems.
2. Gas vans used in Yugoslavia and Eastern Poland
Dr. Harald Turner (letter to Wolff of 11 April 1942): No mention of type of engine (Kogon et al, as above, pages 107 and following).
Hedwig Schönfein: No mention of type of engine (Kogon et al, as above, page 108).
Benno Goldbrand: No mention of type of engine (Kogon et al, as above, page 109).
3. Gas vans used at Chelmno
Walter Burmeister: Gasoline engine (Kogon et al, as above, pages 115, 123 and following, 125 and following, 129 and following):
[...]Die Wagen waren mittelschwere Renault-Lastwagen mit Ottomotor. Sie ließen sich schlecht fahren, weil sie nicht einen so großen Wendekreis hatten. Der zeitweise hinzugekommene dritte Wagen war wohl ein schwerer. Die Wagen hatten Kastenaufbau mit einer großen Zweiflügeltür an der Rückseite, ähnlich wie Möbelwagen.[...]
[...]The vans were medium size Renault trucks with Otto engines. They were hard to drive because they didn’t have so big a turning circle. The temporarily added third van must have been a heavy one. The vans had a box-like buildup with a big two-wing door at the back side, similar to furniture vans.[...]
Johann H. and Johann P. before the Vienna County: No mention of type of engine (Kogon et al, as above, pages 116 and following).
Kurt Möbius: No mention of type of engine (Kogon et al, as above, pages 122 and following).
Wilfried Heukelbach: No mention of type of engine (Kogon et al, as above, pages 124 and following).
Gustav Laabs: No mention of type of engine (Kogon et al, as above, pages 126 and following).
Walter Piller: Gasoline engine (Kogon et al, as above, pages 138 and following).
[...]Während der Fahrt wurde durch den Kraftfahrer Laabs ein Ventil geöffnet, durch welches Gas einströmte, welches die Insassen in 2-3 Minuten tötete. Hierbei handelte es sich um Gase, die durch den Benzinmotor erzeugt wurden.[...]
[...]During the drive the driver Laabs opened a valve, through which gas streamed in, which killed those inside within 2-3 minutes. These were gases that had been created by the gasoline motor.[...]
Polish mechanics: Gasoline engine. Peter Witte (German historian):
Polish mechanics, who were personally ordered to repair a gas van, precisely described exactly the huge petrol motor and its consumption: The motor of this car uses 75 litres of petrol per 100 km, that is, twice the consumption of normal motors.
Mordka Zurawski: Gasoline engine (Lucja Pawlicka-Nowak(ed.), Chelmno Witnesses Speak, Konin 2004, p.131):
I pulled the corpses out of the van and could only see the interior. After the door had been opened, we had to wait about eight minutes before we could go inside. I could not tell whether they added some (chemical) agents to the gasoline.
Bruno Israel: Gasoline engine (Lucja Pawlicka-Nowak(ed.), as above, Konin 2004, p.197):
I wish to point out that the exhaust pipe entered the inside of the van through the floor, so the exhaust fumes, after the engine had been started, entered the vehicle killing all those inside. I do not know if the gasoline was mixed with chloroform, ether or other substances.
chambers of Belzec extermination camp
Karl Alfred Schluch: No mention of type of engine (Kogon et al, as above, pages 167 and following).
Kurt Gerstein: Diesel engine (Kogon et al, as above, pages 171 and following).
Wilhelm Pfannenstiel: No mention of type of engine. Speaks of a 100 BHP motor that was run with diesel fuel (Er wurde mit Dieselkraftstoff betrieben).
Rudolf Reder: Gasoline engine.
Christopher Browning, Evidence for the Implementation of the Final Solution:
Gerstein, citing Globocnik, claimed the camps used diesel motors, but witnesses who actually serviced the engines in Belzec and Sobibor (Reder and Fuchs) spoke of gasoline engines.
5. Gas chambers of Sobibor extermination camp
Erich Fuchs: gasoline engine. See Kogon et al, as above, pages 158 and following and Browning, as above.
Translation of Fuchs deposition:
Testimony of SS Scharfuhrer Erich Fuchs, in the Sobibor-Bolender trial, Dusseldorf: (Quoted in "BELZEC, SOBIBOR, TREBLINKA - the Operation Reinhard Death Camps", Indiana University Press - Yitzhak Arad, 1987, p. 31-32). .....We unloaded the motor. It was a heavy Russian benzine engine, at least 200 horsepower. We installed the engine on a concrete foundation and set up the connection between the exhaust and the tube. I then tested the motor. It did not work. I was able to repair the ignition and the valves, and the motor finally started running. The chemist, who I knew from Belzec, entered the gas chamber with measuring instruments to test the concentration of the gas. Following this, as gassing experiment was carried out. If my memory serves me right, about thirty to forty women were gassed in one gas chamber. The Jewish women were forced to undress in an open place close to the gas chamber, and were driven into the gas chamber by the above mentioned SS members and the Ukrainian auxiliaries. when the women were shut up in the gas chamber I and Bolender set the motor in motion. The motor functioned first in neutral. Both of us stood by the motor and switched from "Neutral" (Freiauspuff) to "Cell" (Zelle), so that the gas was conveyed to the chamber. At the suggestion of the chemist, I fixed the motor on a definite speed so that it was unnecessary henceforth to press on the gas. About ten minutes later the thirty to forty women were dead.
Erich Bauer, Erich Fuchs, Franz Hödl: gasoline engine.
The case of Sobibor is even more indisputable. In this case even three former Gasmeister (Gasmasters / Erich Bauer, Erich Fuchs, and Franz Hdl), who must have really have known the facts, since they all killed with the same motor, confirmed in court that it was definitely a petrol motor. Bauer and Fuchs, having been professional motor mechanics, simply quarrelled during the trial about whether it was a Renault motor or a heavy Russian tank motor (probably a tank motor or a tractor motor) having at least 200 PS. They also disputed whether the method of ignition was a starter or an impact magnet, which diesel motors obviously do not have, being self-igniting (the famous Russian T 34 tank originally had a petrol motor, the diesel version was introduced later, and was rarer).
6. Gas chambers of Treblinka extermination camp
Central Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes in Poland, based on the testimonies of Jankiel Wiernik, Henryk Poswolski, Abe Kon, Aron Czechowicz, Oskar Strawczynski, Samuel Reisman, Aleksander Kudlik, Hejnoch Brener, Starisaw Kon, Eugeniusz Turowski, Henryk Reichman, Szyja Warszawsski, and Leon Finkelsztejn: No mention of the type of engine:
The aspect of the chambers in which victims were gasssed, according to statements by the witnesses Wiernik, Rajchman and Czechowicz, was as follows: Both buildings had many corridors, within the larger building the entrances to the chambers being on both sides of the corridor, but in the smaller one on one side only. The entrances were small and had tightly closing doors. In the outer walls of the chambers were large trap doors which could be raised in order to permit the removal of the corpses. The chambers had tiled floors, sloping towards the outer side. In the ceiling were openings connected by pipes with engines situated in adjoining buildings, which produced the CO gas with which the victims were suffocated.
Yaakov Wiernik at the Eichmann trial: No mention of type of engine.
[...]Q. Where did the gas
A. That is in the sketch. Here was the gas engine, the engine which forced the gas in. And there were pipes with valves. They would open the valve into the chamber where the people were. There was an engine of a Soviet tank standing there, and in this way the gas was introduced. Here were the doors where people entered from one side, and, on the other, this was the large door which opened along almost the entire wall. And, after forty to forty-five minutes had passed, they would stop, they would open the door, and the dead bodies would fall out. And here was a spare engine next to the three. Numbers 1, 2, 3 and 26 were the engines that generated the electricity, and there, too, there was a motor.
Q. I understand from this that the gas was produced on the spot, or was it brought in ready-made from outside?
A. The gas was produced on the spot.[...]
Eliahu Rosenberg at the Eichmann trial: No mention of type of engine. Speaks of Ropa, which was a kind of oil, a crude oil as having been the fuel they put into the gassing engine:
[...]Q. Where did the gas
A. The gas came from an engine.
Q. They did not bring it from outside it was produced on the spot?
A. It was Ropa Ropa gas.
Q. Was it manufactured by an engine, from the exhaust of a diesel engine?
A. Yes. It was gas from an engine. They put in Ropa, which was a kind of oil, a crude oil, and the fumes entered the gas chambers. The people who were the last to enter the gas chambers, the very last, received stabs in the bodies from the bayonets, since the last persons already saw what was going on inside and did not want to enter. Four hundred people were put into one small gas chamber. And when they forced them in, they, on their part, pressed inwards and in this way reached the full capacity, so that only with difficulty could the outer door of the chamber be shut.[...]
Otto Horn before the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, 26 February 1980: No mention of type of engine.
Adolf Eichmann: No mention of type of engine. Speaks of Russian submarine engine:
Hfle told the police captain to explain the installation to me. And then he started in. He had a, well, let's say, a vulgar, uncultivated voice. Maybe he drank. He spoke some dialect from the southwestern corner of Germany, and he told me how he had made everything airtight. It seems they were going to hook up a Russian submarine engine and pipe the exhaust into the houses and the Jews inside would be poisoned.
Rudolf Höss: No mention of type of engine. Speaks of carbon monoxide:
The camp commandant at Treblinka told me that he had liquidated 80,000 in the course of one half year. He was principally concerned with liquidating all the Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto. He used monoxide gas, and I did not think that his methods were very efficient.
[...]The road from the undressing rooms, fenced on both sides by barbed wire intertwined with branches led to the gas chamber building where people were exterminated with gas obtained from running diesel engines.[...]
[...]Pipes carrying exhaust gas from running diesel motors were installed in the gas chambers and the people inside perished.[...]
Ivan Shevchenko during interrogation by SMERSH in Sept. 1944: Gasoline engine.
Wachmann Ivan Shevchenko during interrogation by SMERSH in Sept. 1944 testified that the Treblinka engine "worked on benzine or ligroine". Details to follow on the blog later.
Oskar Strawczynski, unpublished testimony written in 1944: Gasoline engine.
The victim come into Camp 2 already naked and shorn, and are immediately squeezed into the cubicles. There is no more division: men, women and children are all pressed together in the small cubicles so tightly that this alone would be enough to suffocate them. The doors are hermetically sealed, the motors start to work. The air from inside is sucked out and fumes from burnt gasoline forced in. The cries from inside can be heard for about ten minutes and then it becomes silent.