Zyklon B Deliveries to the Concentration Camp Majdanek

Zyklon B Deliveries
to the Concentration Camp Majdanek

Jürgen Graf, Carlo Mattogno

Feature image: real I mean fake Zyklon B containers on display at the present day location.

1. Zyklon B: Manufacturers and Distributors

In Germany, Zyklon B was manufactured by two companies: the Dessau Plant for Sugar and Chemical Industry A.G. in Dessau and the Kali Works A.G. in Kolin.[505] Both firms produced this insecticide for DEGESCH (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Schädlingsbekämpfung, German Society for Pest Control), which owned the patent and the manufacturing license and was thus the actual producer of the substance.

DEGESCH did not sell Zyklon B directly but via two main distributors: the Frankfurt-based company Heerdt und Lingler GmbH (“Heli”) and the Hamburg-based company Tesch und Stabenow International Society for Pest Control (“Testa”), which had split the market between them. Heli operated in the territories west of the Elbe river, Testa in those east thereof, including the Sudeten Gau, the General Government and the Reich Commissioner’s Department East; it also sold the insecticide in Denmark, Norway and Finland. Accordingly, the concentration camp Majdanek, being on the territory of the General Government, obtained its Zyklon B from the Testa company.

An extensive correspondence on this subject between the camp administration, Testa, and the SS institutions also involved in the Zyklon B deliveries has survived to present times.

This correspondence[506] was examined by the Polish historian Adela Toniak, whose study reproduces 37 of the total 60 documents involved.[507] According to the author, the correspondence in question was found, together with other documents, in July 1944 in a German truck parked on the camp grounds.[508] The extant documentation allows us to reconstruct this aspect of the camp’s history almost completely. However, to make all this easier to understand, we shall first outline the bureaucratic procedures involved in obtaining supplies of this insecticide.

A room the lying jews claim is a homicidal gas chamber at Majdanek.

2. The Bureaucratic Procedure for Obtaining Zyklon B

A shipment of Zyklon B to the concentration camp Majdanek (and to any other German camp as well) required three separate approvals from higher SS authorities: one sanitation-medical, one financial and one budgetary approval. The path taken by an order was as follows:

The first camp physician requisitioned a certain quantity of Zyklon B from the Administration, specifying its intended use. The Administration passed this request on to Amt DIII (Sanitation and Camp Hygiene) of the SS Economic-Administrative Main Office, which approved the order if it was justified from a sanitation and medical perspective. Next, the Administration of camp Majdanek turned to Amt DIV (Concentration Camp Administration), whose Section DIV/5 (Legal, Taxation and Contract Matters) saw to the required financing and approved the necessary funds. Payment was then made via Section DIV/1 (Budget, Funds and Salaries).

Since all materials, especially metals, were rationed under the conditions imposed by the war economy, the Tesch und Stabenow company could only sell the Zyklon B to a state authority if it was granted a sufficient quantity of iron to manufacture the cans in which the Zyklon B was packaged. This requisition (called “Kennziffer”, or Reference Number) was sent by Tesch und Stabenow to the Zyklon B manufacturer Dessau Plant, which then received the iron needed for the cans from the appropriate state authority. 776 g iron were required for each can intended to hold 1.5 kg Zyklon B.[509] This follows from two requisitions, dated June 3 and 21, 1943, pertaining to the supply of 1,144 kg iron for 1,474 cans[510] and 2,328 kg for 3,000 cans.[511]

To receive a Reference Number, the Tesch und Stabenow company had to comply with two bureaucratic formalities. First, it had to send a “Metal Allocation Voucher”, in triplicate, to the SS Raw Materials Office in Berlin-Halensee. This document, called “Allocation Voucher” for short, was a list of the requested metals (iron, copper, zinc etc.), their quantities and intended use. Second, it had to inform the camp administration of the “Iron Requisition”i.e., the quantity of iron needed to manufacture the cans.

On the request of the concentration camp Administration, the Reference Number was issued by the Iron Distribution Office of the Building Inspection of the Waffen-SS and Police in the General Government, located at Außenring 118, Cracow, and subordinate to the Higher SS and Police Chief in the General Government. SS-Economist. Building Section. This latter authority was headquartered at the same place as the Building Inspection and was in turn subordinate to the Raw Materials Office of the Reichsführer-SS, headquartered at Kurfürstendamm 143/6, Berlin-Halensee.

The aforementioned Iron Distribution Office also issued a special mark, the “Eastern Control Number”, which had to be noted on the Metal Allocation Voucher. After approval had been granted by the sanitation-medical and financial authorities in the SS Economic-Administrative Main Office (and sometimes even before, if there was no doubt that these approvals would in fact be granted), the Administration proceeded to order a given quantity of Zyklon B from Tesch und Stabenow. That company then forwarded the supply requisition, with a listing of the required number and size of the cans, to the office in question via the aforementioned bureaucratic channels.

If the Zyklon B was to be delivered by rail, the Administration first had to send Tesch und Stabenow a Wehrmacht Freight Waybill. It could also choose to pick the product up directly from the manufacturer in Dessau, per truck. ‘Spent Zyklon’ (i.e. the inert carrier substance) was collected and returned to the Dessau Plant, where it was recycled. In all likelihood, empty cans were also reused.

As of July 1943, the distributor companies were no longer permitted to supply Zyklon B directly to the camps; the latter had to direct their requests to the Main Sanitation Office in Berlin-Lichtenberg. The basis for this change in supply procedure was the Reich Minister of Commerce’s Edict II L 120151/43, as well as Edict Rü A Rü I Nr. 15325/43, issued on July 22, 1943, by the Reich Minister of Arms and Ammunition about the expansion of central procurement of supplies for sanitation purposes.

The nicely reconstructed crematorium at Majdanek so no one never ever forgets the horrible plight of the eternal victims, oy vey!

3. The Correspondence Between the Administration and the Tesch und Stabenow Company

In December 1941 typhus broke out among the Soviet POWs interned in Majdanek. On the 23rd of that month, the camp administration contacted Tesch und Stabenow to find out whether they had a branch office in the General Government; there was a possibility, the Administration stated, that “a gassing”[512] would need to be performed in the camp. On the 27th Tesch und Stabenow replied in the negative, but enclosed a “Questionnaire for a Cost Estimate” containing all the information needed for the optimal performance of a gassing.[513] However, this correspondence brought no practical results.

On July 29, 1942, SS-Oberscharführer Hans Perschon, a member of the Camp Sanitation Service, personally traveled to Hamburg and visited the headquarters of Tesch und Stabenow, where he dropped off two order forms: Form 200, for 3 gas-can openers, 5 reserve blades, 10 gas masks, 200 inserts, 1 gas residue detector and 20 rubber caps, as well as Form 251 for 6,000 cans of Zyklon B at 1.5 kg, i.e., a total of 9 tons. Perschon took some of the auxiliary equipment with him right then and there. Tesch und Stabenow instructed the Dessau Plant to furnish Perschon with 20 crates of 12 cans of Zyklon B at 1,500 grams, a total of 240 cans containing 360 kg altogether. The remainder of the Zyklon ordered could not be supplied without the requisite Reference Number.[514]

On August 3, 1942, SS-Hauptsturmführer Heinrich Worster, Chief of Administration, applied to the Building Administration of the Waffen-SS and Police in the General Government for the allocation of 6,516 kg hot-rolled metal and 98 kg high-grade zinc, explaining his request as follows:[515]

“These Reference Numbers are required in order to obtain the disinfestation equipment and materials needed for this camp, so that the hazards posed by incipient epidemics and contaminated barracks, some of which are already badly louse-infested, can be effectively brought under control.”

On August 22, Worster notified the firm Tesch und Stabenow that the previous order had been based on incorrect assumptions: the actual requirement was 1,474 cans at 1,500 g, at a value of RM 13,995.63, of which 360 cans had already been delivered together with invoice no. 1,738 of August 6. Depending on circumstances, another order would be placed, this time for 1,114 cans at a total value of RM 10,577.43.[516] The same day the Chief of Administration sent the following requisition to Amt DIV of the SS Economic-Administrative Main Office:[517]

“To eliminate the danger of epidemics in this camp, a larger quantity of the disinfestation agent Zyklon CN, supplied by the firm Tesch und Stabenow of Hamburg 1, is required. For the time being, a shipment of 1,474 cans of Zyklon CN, at RM 13,995.63, is needed. Permission for purchase, as well as the transfer of the abovementioned funds, is hereby requested.”

Five days later, Amt DIV approved the purchase.[518]

On August 26 the Tesch und Stabenow company announced that the order for 6,000 cans had been cancelled. The cans already delivered would be treated as part of the following order for 1,474 cans. 360 cans had been delivered on July 30 and on August 20, so that 754 cans still remained to be supplied. The entire shipment required an iron allocation of 1,601 kg, for which reason the company requested the prompt issuance of the appropriate Reference Number.[519] On September 4 Tesch und Stabenow inquired with the Administration whether they should ship the remaining 754 cans by rail, or whether the Administration intended to pick them up.[520] On September 7 Worster responded by sending a waybill for rail delivery, noting that the Zyklon already supplied would last until October 1, 1942.[521]

That same day, acting on Worster’s request of September 1,[522] Tesch und Stabenow sent the Administration the “Allocation Voucher for Iron and Steel with Control Number East 94584/1942/6.516kg”,[523] which was no longer valid; the Building Inspection of the Waffen-SS and Police in the General Government had to issue a new one so that the Reference Number could be replaced with one required for the shipment of 1,601 kg iron. Worster did so on September 14.[524] But the request for allocation of 6,516 kg iron was not cancelled, as Worster had wanted: according to a message from the Head of the Building Group with the Higher SS and Police Chief in the General Government, SS-Obersturmführer Norbert Grosch (who seems not to have been fully informed of the matter), the request could not be filled because the allotment previously granted the Building Administration had been cancelled on the orders of the Reich Economic Ministry.[525]

On February 2, 1943, the Chief of Administration sent the Dessau Plant a rail shipment of 1,163 kg “Empties (spent Zyklon)”i.e., the inert carrier substance, together with the appropriate Wehrmacht waybill.[526]

On May 22, Worster inquired with Tesch und Stabenow whether he could expect the “speedy delivery of another 1,474 cans of Zyklon CN” and asked that in that case he be given the appropriate Reference Number.[527] In their reply of May 28, the company stated that they would be able to fill the order, and asked which kind of can (1,000, 1,200 or 1,500 g) was desired.[528] On June 3, Worster replied by telegraph that cans containing 1,500 g were needed, and asked for prompt notification regarding the Reference Number.[529] Tesch und Stabenow complied the very same day: 1,144 kg iron would be needed to manufacture 1,474 cans of the requested size.[530] Still on June 3,[531] Worster sent the firm an additional order for “200 respirator inserts ‘J’”.[532]On June 7 Tesch und Stabenow replied that the order had already been forwarded to their supplier, and that delivery would take 8 to 10 weeks.[533]

The ugly Mausoleum erected in 1969 contains ashes and remains of cremated “eternal victims,” collected into a mound after “jewish liberation” of the camp in 1944.

On June 8 the Chief of Administration sent the company Order Form 23 for 3,000 cans of Zyklon at 1,500 g, superseding the previous order for 1,474 cans.[534] On June 12, Worster sent Tesch und Stabenow a Wehrmacht waybill for shipping 200 respirator inserts of type “J“,[535] and on the 21st of the same month he asked the SS-Economist of the Higher SS and Police Chief in the General Government for allocation of 2,328 kg iron for the 3,000 cans of Zyklon ordered, adding the following explanation for his request:[536]

“These Reference Numbers are needed for the purchase of the required quantities of hydrocyanic acid (Zyklon) so that disinfestation of inmate quarters and clothing can proceed without delay, to forestall the danger of epidemics.”

The following day the Administration issued Tesch und Stabenow a Wehrmacht waybill for 1,500 cans of Zyklon B, and inquired whether it could pick up part of the remaining 1,500 cans directly in Dessau.[537] On July 2 the company replied that they had forwarded the inquiry to the Dessau Plant but could not as yet give a definite answer.[538]

On July 10 the Chief of Administration contacted the Dessau Plant directly to find out when he could pick up the Zyklon B ordered; he stressed that the matter was very urgent.[539] He did not need to wait long for an answer: only two days later the Administration received a telegram from Tesch und Stabenow, stating: “500 kg Zyklon ready for pick-up in Dessau-Testa”.[540] The Dessau Plant itself also sent the same message, first per telephone and then by telegram personally to SS-Hauptsturmführer Worster: “500 kg Zyklon ready for pick-up on Thursday-Refinery”.[541] In the accompanying letter, Tesch und Stabenow rebuked the Administration for having gone over their heads directly to the Dessau Plant; they informed the Administration that 500 kg Zyklon were ready for them in Dessau, but “as a result of repairs that cannot be postponed”, no further deliveries could be made until August.[542]

The Reference Number for 3,000 cans of Zyklon B ordered on June 8 had been sent to Tesch und Stabenow on June 17,[543] but on August 26 it had not yet been received.[544] Worster now explained the matter to the SS Economist for the Higher SS and Police Chief,[545] who turned to the Raw Materials Office in Berlin-Halensee with the request that they make inquiries with the mail system regarding the lost Reference Number, and approve a new one if need be.[546] As of October 12 Tesch und Stabenow were still waiting for something concrete.[547] It was not until October 20 that the matter was finally resolved: Tesch und Stabenow received a new allocation of 2,328 kg iron.[548]

In August 1943 the sanitary conditions in the camp called for a general disinfection. On the 11th of that month the First Camp Physician sent the following letter to the Administration:[549]

“Since another thorough disinfection is to be performed in the Men’s Concentration Camp, a larger quantity of Zyklon gas will be required. I hereby request that a supply of this gas be ordered so that efforts at disinfection can proceed without interruption.”

On August 12 the Administration replied that they had already ordered large quantities of Zyklon B from Tesch und Stabenow, but that only a small part of the order had been received to date. Further, “as a consequence of the terror attacks on Hamburg” no further deliveries could be expected for the time being; the Administration requested that “disinfection should not begin just yet.”[550]

That same day the Administration sent Tesch und Stabenow a letter pointing out that of the 3,000 cans of Zyklon ordered on June 8, only 342 cans, at 1,500 grams, a total of 513 kg, had been delivered on July 16, with invoice dated July 19. The Administration requested the immediate delivery of at least 1,500 cans and inquired when it might expect the remaining 2,658 cans.[551] In its reply the company stated that it had forwarded the inquiry to their supplier, and asked whether the Administration had picked up the 500 kg Zyklon that had been set aside in Dessau on July 12.[552] Since the Administration had received only 342 cans, for which the invoice was issued by Tesch und Stabenow, it is clear that these 500 kg had not been picked up. On August 31 the Chief of Administration sent a protest to the company because no further deliveries had taken place beyond the aforementioned 342 cans; he concluded his letter with the words:[553]

“Disinfection of the camp is urgently necessary and cannot tolerate further delays in supply.”

The same day Worster also wrote to the Dessau Plant and requested shipment of the remaining Zyklon B order, which was most urgently needed “for disinfecting the camp.”[554]

On September 11 the First Camp Physician again sent an urgent request to the Administration:[555]

“I hereby request that larger quantities of disinfection gas be ordered, for purposes of disinfecting the camp. Reason: the supply of disinfectant gas is almost exhausted and an undesirable interruption of efforts at disinfection may result.”

On September 13, the Administration replied that the manufacturer was “extremely overtaxed” and that they did not know when and in what quantities “disinfectant gas” would become available to the camp. Worster advised the camp doctor

[…] to use the remaining supply of disinfectant gas as sparingly as possible and, accordingly, to restrict disinfection to only the most absolutely necessary.”[556]

On the 21st of that same month, the Chief of Administration wrote the First Camp Physician a letter again dealing with “disinfectant gas”; with reference to the earlier letter, he stated that a delivery of 666 cans of Zyklon (corresponding to 999 kg) was expected to arrive at the camp in the next few days, and requested that “in light of this, please proceed with disinfection.”[557]

On June 19, 1944, Worster had sent an inquiry to Tesch und Stabenow, asking whether the company could manage the speedy delivery of another 1,500 cans of the insecticide.[558] Their answer was as follows:[559]

“In reply to your above mentioned letter, we must inform you that due to the Edict of the Reich Minister of Commerce, II L 1/20151/43, and the Reich Minister of Arms and Ammunition, Rü A Rü I Nr. 15325/43 of July 22, 1943, regarding the expansion of central procurement of supplies for sanitation purposes, this kind of order is no longer to be filled directly.

Therefore we regret that we cannot accept orders from you directly. Rather, we would ask that you requisition further supplies either directly from the Main Sanitation Office in Berlin-Lichtenberg, or via the Sanitation Office in charge of your area.”

The Administration attempted to negotiate this obstacle by turning to the garrison physician of the SS and Police Lublin, who placed a “special order for 500 cans of Cyclon B” with Amt DIII on July 3, 1944, stating that there was a pressing need for this substance:[560]

“Due to the numerous cases of typhus presently occurring in the field hospital for Soviet Russian war-disabled, as well as due to the increase in inmate population resulting from transferred and newly committed inmates, the camp cannot do without Cyclon B.”

This is the last document in this correspondence. Twenty days after this letter was written, the Red Army moved into Majdanek.

Grotesque memorial at the entry gate to the camp. The symbolic Pylon is meant to represent mangled bodies.

4. The Quantity of Zyklon B Supplied to the Concentration Camp Majdanek

In her aforementioned article, Adela Toniak points out gaps in the surviving documentation, and writes:[561]

“For the reasons mentioned, any attempt at calculating the exact quantities of Zyklon supplied to Majdanek encounters a serious obstacle. Of the first order for 6,000 cans at 1,500 g, 300 cans were delivered on July 30, 1942, and 764 on September 4. A gap in the correspondence extends from September 22, 1942, to July 1, 1943, after which this order is not mentioned again, therefore one must assume that shipment was made and that the camp received 2,211 kg Zyklon B.

The first document from after this gap states that 500 kg Zyklon were ready for the camp, to be picked up in Dessau. This shows that the administration had ordered more of the gas in the meantime.

After another gap, this time of two months, it again ordered 1,474 cans of Zyklon B, and a few days later, 3,000 more cans = 4,500 kg, identifying this last letter as Order No. 23. The following correspondence refers to the second order, and it is the only one to be invoiced. Later letters indicate that the camp authorities received 342 cans = 513 kg [Zyklon B] and 666 cans = 999 kg, a total of 2,012 kg.

The subsequent eight-month gap in the documentation-after which another order was placed for 1,500 cans of Zyklon B at 1,500 g, which was changed on July 3, 1944, to an order for 500 cans-gives cause to assume that the 4,500 kg of the substance in question had been delivered in full. A simple calculation shows that in 1943 the camp received 5,000 kg Zyklon B from the manufacturer.”

The correspondence ends with the July 3, 1944, order for 500 cans of Zyklon B. In fact, the camp office files contain no record of this order, but 1,000 cans of gas were found in Majdanek immediately after liberation, proving that the order placed with this letter actually was filled.

Summing up the calculations based on the surviving letters, we conclude that between July 29, 1942, and July 3, 1944, the camp administration of Majdanek received shipments of Zyklon B totaling 7,711 kg.

The following is a table summary of Adela Toniak’s calculations:

Year # of cans Quantity
1942

1943

1944

1,474

(333)

3,000

500

2,211 kg

500 kg

4,500 kg

500 kg

Total 7,711 kg

This calculation contains two glaring errors. The first relates to the 500 kg Zyklon B mentioned in the two telegrams of July 12, 1943; as we have seen in the previous, these not only comprised part of the order of June 8, 1943, for 3,000 cans at 1,500 grams, but what is more, the camp administration did not even pick them up. That means that Adela Toniak counted these 500 kg twice.

The second error relates to the 500 cans from the special order of July 3, 1944. According to the Polish-Soviet Commission, 535 cans of Zyklon B were found in Majdanek,[562] 135 containing 500 g and the remaining 400 containing 1,500 g of the insecticide.[563] Adela Toniak attributed a content of 1,000 g Zyklon B to each of the mentioned 500 cans, but cans of this weight were neither mentioned in the documents nor ever found.

These 800,000 shoes prove it. Let us take you on a private tour to Majdanek – one of the best preserved “NAZI” German Concentration Camps from World War II. 

If the 500 cans in question were actually supplied, they either contained 1,500 g each of the insecticide-and in that case the shipment’s total weight was 750 kg-or else they contained 500 g each, in which case their contents totaled 250 kg. The latter is probably most likely, since all previous orders had been for cans containing 1,500 g, meaning that the 135 cans of differing size (500 g) can only have been part of the last shipment to the camp. Other considerations also support this hypothesis.

Of the 3,000 cans = 4,500 kg of Zyklon B ordered on June 8, 1943, the administration received 1,008 cans by the end of September of that year: 342 cans (=513 kg) on July 16 and 666 cans (=999 kg) in late September. Therefore, the remaining 1,992 cans were delivered in the following months, and this supply lasted until the day-June 19, 1944-when the Administration inquired whether Tesch und Stabenow could manage the “speedy delivery” of an additional 1,500 cans at 1,500 g.

Therefore, the 400 cans at 1,500 g mentioned by the Polish-Soviet Commission no doubt were part of this total of 1,992 cans. The remaining 135 cans at 500 g, which made for a rather insignificant quantity of Zyklon (67.5 kg), could hardly have comprised an entire delivery, so that it is extremely likely that these were the remainder of a shipment of 500 cans of this size.

All this indicates that the order of July 3, 1944, resulted in the camp receiving 500 cans at 500 g of Zyklon B, a total of 250 kg.

We can now tabulate how much Zyklon B was supplied to the Majdanek camp in total:

Year # of cans Quantity
1942

1943

1944

1,474

3,000

500

2,211 kg

4,500 kg

250 kg

Total 4,974 6,961 kg

What remains to be determined is whether there were other shipments not noted in the surviving documentation. The following table summarizes the orders and deliveries as indicated in the documents:

Zyklon B Shipments to the Lublin-Majdanek Camp
Orders Deliveries
Date # of cans mass [kg] Time span # of cans mass [kg]
07/25/1942

08/22/1942

1,474 2,211 July 30, 1942 360 540
Aug. 20, 1942 360 540
Sept. 1942 754 1,131
Subtotal 1,474 2,211
05/22/1943

06/08/1943

3,000 4,500 July 16, 1943 342 513
Sept. 1943 666 999
Oct. 1943 to
June 1944
1,992 2,988
Subtotal 3,000 4,500
06/19/1944

07/03/1944

(500) (250) July 1944 (500) (250)
Total: 4,974 6,961 4,974 6,961

As we can see, there are two long intervals between the orders-one of nine months (August 22, 1942, to May 22, 1943) and one of an entire year (June 8, 1943, to June 19, 1944). The few documents from these time periods contain no mention of additional Zyklon shipments. Where the second interval is concerned, any such additional shipments can be definitely ruled out, because when the camp Administration ordered 1,500 cans of Zyklon from Tesch und Stabenow on June 19, 1944, the latter refused the order, making reference to an edict by the Reich Minister of Commerce and the Reich Minister of Arms and Ammunition from July 22, 1943. Clearly, therefore, the administration was not yet aware of this edict, issued a year earlier, which proves that no further orders had been placed after that of June 8, 1943.

Crowds of people flocked to see the documentary about Maidanek…“Held over! Maidanek Nazi death factory! See SS guards executed!” Thanks jews!

Regarding the first interval, we note that during the time from September 22, 1942, to May 22, 1943, only one single relevant document is known to exist-namely, the Wehrmacht waybill of February 2, 1943, with which the Administration returned 1,163 kg “spent Zyklon” to the Dessau Plant. Since the inert carrier substance in one can of Zyklon B weighed 1,650 g, this quantity theoretically corresponded to (1,163/1.65=) 705 cans.

In practice, of course, one had to expect that some of the carrier would be lost, so that this quantity may have come from the 720 cans delivered on July 30 and August 20, 1942,[564] or from the 754 cans delivered in September 1942.[565] In the first case, the Administration would have had a remaining supply of 754 cans in early February 1943, and an order prior to the inquiry of May 22 of that year would have been superfluous; in the second case, the administration would have used up the entire supply from 1942.

As pointed out before, the letter of May 22, 1943, was not an actual order, but merely an inquiry: the Administration wanted to know if a delivery of “another 1,474 cans of Zyklon CN” would be possible. The wording indicates that exactly this number of cans had been ordered before-but was the order in question that of 1942 or another, later one?

To answer this question, let us briefly recap what we have found so far:

  1. As we have shown with regard to the second, undocumented interval, an absence of documents need not mean that any documents are actually missing;
  2. The Wehrmacht waybill of February 2, 1943, agrees perfectly with the hypothesis that at that time only 720 of the 1,474 cans of Zyklon B ordered in 1942 had been used up;
  3. There is no indication of Zyklon deliveries having taken place in the time in question.

The logical conclusion can only be that no undocumented orders were placed.

One last point needs to be cleared up. The time from December 27, 1941, to July 29, 1942, is another long period for which we know of no orders or shipments of Zyklon. Could there have been some anyway?

This last question also can be unequivocally denied. The July 29, 1942, letter from Tesch und Stabenow states:

“Delivery will be made based on our current list prices and our enclosed terms of sale and delivery. We would ask you to return one copy of these terms,[[566]] signed and with your official stamp.”

This shows that Tesch und Stabenow had not supplied the Administration with Zyklon before, since otherwise the latter would already have been familiar with the terms of sale and delivery and the manufacturer would not have needed to explain anything.

Aerial photograph of Majdanek (June 24, 1944). 

5. Purpose of the Zyklon B Shipments

Even though the documents do not give cause for even the slightest doubt that the Zyklon B ordered by the Administration of the concentration camp Majdanek was used for disinfestation and nothing else, Adela Toniak prefers to believe in its homicidal purpose. She writes:[567]

“Based on the surviving correspondence regarding the shipments of Zyklon B gas to Majdanek, one finds that this substance was received in enormous quantities but was nonetheless constantly in short supply, and that the camp authorities sent numerous reminders in this regard.

One must keep in mind that the mass extermination was kept strictly secret, [Raul Hilberg’s genocide by telepathy?] so that the letters ordering the Zyklon B did not reveal its purpose. This purpose only becomes apparent in the last letter, where we encounter a sort of code word (‘special order’) which the Germans often used to hint at the liquidation of the inmates.

The reason given in the letters ordering the gas was the need to disinfect the camp due to the epidemics raging there. Originally, this poison had in fact been developed as an insecticide. However, disinfestations of such frequency and extent as would correspond to the quantities of the chemical product that were actually ordered would have been not at all commensurate with the purpose and principles of the camp.

Moreover, the witness statements and recollections of the former inmates indicate that disinfestation of the inmates’ quarters in the camp was done only sporadically. Besides, as I have already pointed out, steam delousing chambers for disinfecting the clothing were located in the immediate vicinity of the gas chambers.

After all, the placement of an order for gas just prior to the camp’s liberation proves nothing other than the intent to use it to murder sick and exhausted inmates whose evacuation would have been a problem. The piles of corpses of gassed people [zagazowanych ludzi] that were found in the camp after the Germans had fled confirm this.

When placed into context with other documents, the correspondence on about the Zyklon B supplied to the Majdanek camp reveals one fragment of the mechanism by which the system of concentration camps functioned. It sheds light on a little-known matter which the authorities of the Reich kept a closely guarded secret.”

Those sneaky, sneaky “Nazis!” Inconspicuous structure for killing. Showers (left), and similarly built homicidal gas chambers to liquidate every last possible jew they could get their hands on (right)

From a historical perspective this argument is utterly unfounded. Since devastating typhus epidemics raged in Majdanek time and again (which even Polish historiography cannot deny), and since Zyklon B was the most effective means with which to combat them (which even Adela Toniak concedes), there is no good reason to assume that the shipments of Zyklon served any purpose other than the extermination of lice. Regarding the “code word ‘special order’“, this kind of decipherment is part of an outmoded system of interpretation that flourished in earlier decades but has been thoroughly disqualified by Jean-Claude Pressac. Pressac states that 97 to 98% of the Zyklon B supplied to Auschwitz was used for delousing and only 2 to 3% for homicidal gassings.[568] If homicidal gassings had in fact taken place in that camp, those 2 to 3% would have sufficed to accomplish the alleged number of gas chamber murders, so that Pressac’s calculation is theoretically correct.

This goes even more so for Majdanek, where a mere 1% of the Zyklon delivered there would have sufficed for the alleged number of homicidal gassings.

The proof of this is as follows:

In Chamber III, one can of Zyklon B (1,500 g) would have been enough to kill 1,900 people with a concentration of HCN exceeding by a factor of ten the concentration of 3g/m³ which produces lethal effects in a very short time.[569] Even if we accept Z. Łukaszkiewicz’s victim count, according to which one-quarter of the alleged 360,000 victims of Majdanek were gassed and which today’s Polish historiography acknowledges to be an exaggeration, these 90,000 people could have been killed with approximately 70 kg of the poison, i.e., with about 1% of the actual quantity supplied.

The room in question covers a surface area of approximately 35m² and has a volume of about 70m³. Presupposing a maximum number of 218 victims per gassing, and subtracting the volume these victims take up from the total room volume,[570] one is left with a remaining volume of roughly 57m³. Under these conditions, (3 × 57 =) approximately 170 g of Zyklon B would have been quite enough to kill the 218 victims, and a single 1,500 g can of the poison would have sufficed to gas 1,900 people.

Bring the whole family to visit an honest to goodness assembly line style exterminating every jew possible homicidal gas chamber death camp…Majdanek! And always remember the jewish lies I mean cold hard facts you were shown, and don’t forget to buy a souvenir for junior! 

Where the term “special order” is concerned, which Adela Toniak interprets as a “code word”, this term clearly has to do with the edict issued on July 22, 1943, by the Reich Minister of Commerce and the Reich Minister of Arms and Ammunition, which the Tesch und Stabenow company referred to in their letter of June 19, 1944; as the reader will recall, the company wrote that due to the new regulations they could no longer supply Zyklon B directly to the individual camps.

The letter in which the term “special order” was used was from the garrison physician of the SS and Police Lublin. Enclosed with this letter was a copy of the June 26, 1944, letter from Tesch und Stabenow, in which the company had responded to the inquiry it had received from the camp Administration one week before.

Clearly, by turning to the garrison physician of the SS and Police Lublin instead of the Main Sanitation Office in Berlin-Lichtenberg, the Administration hoped to go through the earlier bureaucratic channels in which Amt DIII of the SS Economic-Administrative Main Office was involved-but this channel was no longer the proper one and was to be used only under exceptional circumstances. It is precisely such an exceptional case to which the term “special order” refers.

In plain English, the argument that well-organized disinfestations “would have been not at all commensurate with the purpose and principles of the camp” means that such disinfestations, whose purpose was to keep the inmates from dying in an epidemic, would have run counter to the purpose of an extermination camp. In other words: if Majdanek was an extermination camp, the Zyklon shipment had to be for killing the inmates and could not be for their protection from epidemic-related death.

What we have here is a classic “vicious circle”: that Majdanek was an extermination camp is proven by the Zyklon B shipments, and that these shipments could only have been for criminal purposes is proven by Majdanek’s having been an extermination camp!

As an aside: by resorting to witness testimony to assess the meaning of documents, Adela Toniak commits a grave methodological error. A serious scientific and academic historian judges eyewitness testimony on the basis of documents, not vice versa.[571]

The possible existence of steam delousing chambers in Barrack 42 (for which Toniak fails to give any evidence) does not prove anything at all, since the Zyklon B ordered was used to delouse both the camp barracks and the clothing. Accordingly, the Administration’s June 21, 1943, letter speaks of the “disinfestation of inmate quarters and clothing“. The clothing was deloused in the gas chamber of Barrack 41 and in that (Chamber III) of the adjoining building (Building XIIA).

And finally, Adela Toniak claims even the ability to mind-read mere intent: the July 3, 1944, special order of 500 cans of Zyklon B, she says, “proves nothing other than the intent to use it to murder sick and exhausted inmates”.

This interpretation is based on two completely unfounded premises, namely that “special order” was a code word of criminal significance and that the bodies of gassing victims were found in the camp. We have already established the invalidity of the first premise; regarding the second, we note that not a single one of the autopsies carried out by the Polish-Soviet Commission on the bodies discovered in Majdanek found gassing to have been the cause of death.

Thus, Adela Toniak’s claim is devoid of any historical foundations. What is more, her completely arbitrary interpretation is refuted further by the fact that the sick inmates who could be moved were transferred en masse to other camps before the Red Army arrived, while those who were not fit to be moved were left behind.[572]

To conclude: the Zyklon B shipments to the concentration camp Majdanek served the purpose of disinfestation, and nothing else!

Notes

[505] The firm I.G. Farbenindustrie AG only manufactured the warning substance bromoacetic-methylester and the stabilizer chlorocarbonic-methlyester.
[506] APMM, sygn. I.d.2, v. 1.
[507] Adela Toniak, op. cit. (note 376), pp. 129-170.
[508] Ibid., p. 132.
[509] The weight is that of the HCN. As we have seen in Chapter VI, a can containing 1,500g Zyklon B weighed 3,750g in total. Aside from the 1,500g HCN it also contained 1,650g kieselguhr or a similar carrier substance. The empty can weighed 600g.
[510] 1,144 / 1,474 = 0.776.
[511] 2,328 / 3,000 = 0.776.
[512] APMM, sygn. I.d.2, v. 1, p. 113. Letter from the Administration to Tesch und Stabenow, dated Nov. 23, 1941. Re.: gassing with Zyklon B.
[513] Ibid., p. 115. Letter from the Tesch und Stabenow company to the Administration of the POW Camp Lublin, dated Dec. 27, 1941.
[514] Ibid., pp. 107-109. Letter from the Tesch und Stabenow company to the Administration of the POW Camp Lublin, dated July 29, 1942.
[515] Ibid., p. 103. Letter from the Chief of Administration to the Building Administration of the Waffen-SS and Police in the General Government, dated Aug. 3, 1942.
[516] Ibid., p. 99. Letter from the Chief of Administration to Tesch und Stabenow, dated Aug. 22, 1942.
[517] Ibid., p. 97. Letter from the Chief of Administration to the SS Economic-Administrative Main Office, Amt D IV, dated Aug. 22, 1942. Re.: obtaining a disinfestant.
[518] Ibid., p. 95. Letter from Amt D IV of the SS Economic-Administrative Main Office to the Administration of the POW Camp Lublin, dated Aug. 27, 1942. Re.: obtaining hydrogen cyanide Zyklon.
[519] Ibid., p. 93. Letter from Tesch und Stabenow to the Administration of the POW Camp Lublin, dated Aug. 26, 1942.
[520] Ibid., p. 89. Telex from Tesch und Stabenow to the Administration of the POW Camp Lublin, dated Sept. 4, 1942.
[521] Ibid., p. 87. Letter from the Chief of Administration to the Tesch und Stabenow company, dated Sept. 7, 1942. Re.: shipment of Zyklon B.
[522] Ibid., p. 87. Letter from the Chief of Administration to the Tesch und Stabenow company, dated Sept. 1, 1942.
[523] Ibid., p. 85. Letter from Tesch und Stabenow to the Administration of the POW Camp Lublin, dated Sept. 7, 1942.
[524] Ibid., p. 83. Letter from the Chief of Administration to the Building Inspection of the Waffen-SS and Police in the General Government, dated Sept. 14, 1942.
[525] Ibid., p. 79. Letter from the Chief of the Building Group of the SS-Economist at the Higher SS and Police Chief in the General Government to the POW Camp Lublin, Sept. 21, 1942.
[526] Ibid., p. 77. Administration of the POW Camp Lublin, Wehrmacht waybill of Feb. 2, 1943.
[527] Ibid., p. 75. Letter from the Chief of Administration to Tesch und Stabenow, dated May 22, 1943. Re.: obtaining Zyklon CN.
[528] Ibid., p. 73. Letter from Tesch und Stabenow to the Administration of the Concentration Camp Lublin, dated May 28, 1943.
[529] Ibid., p. 71. Telephone message from the Chief of Administration to Tesch und Stabenow, of June 3, 1943. Re.: obtaining Zyklon CN.
[530] Ibid., p. 65. Letter from Tesch und Stabenow to the Administration of the Concentration Camp Lublin, dated June 3, 1943.
[531] Ibid., p. 69. Letter from the Chief of Administration to Tesch und Stabenow, dated June 3, 1943. Re.: respirator inserts.
[532] The German filter inserts were of the following kinds: A, B, D, E, F, G, J, K, L, M, O, R and U. Each letter corresponded to a specific color and a specific use. Filter G (blue) was for hydrogen cyanide, Filter J (blue-brown) for Zyklon B. F. Flury and F. Zernik, op. cit. (note 395), p. 611.
[533] APMM, sygn. I.d.2, v. 1, p. 59. Letter from Tesch und Stabenow to the Administration of the Concentration Camp Lublin, dated June 7, 1943.
[534] Ibid., p. 63. Letter from the Chief of Administration to Tesch und Stabenow, dated June 8, 1942. Re.: shipment of Zyklon.
[535] Ibid., p. 57. Letter from the Chief of Administration, dated June 12, 1943. Re.: respirator inserts “J”.
[536] Ibid., p. 43. Letter from the Chief of Administration to the Higher SS and Police Chief in the General Government, dated June 21, 1943.
[537] Ibid., p. 39. Letter from the Chief of Administration to Tesch und Stabenow, dated June 22, 1943.
[538] Ibid., p. 67. Letter from Tesch und Stabenow to the Administration of the Concentration Camp Lublin, dated July 2, 1943.
[539] Ibid., p. 61. Telephone message from the Chief of Administration to the Dessau Plant, July 10, 1943.
[540] Ibid., p. 51. Telegram from Tesch und Stabenow to the Administration of the Concentration Camp Lublin, dated July 12, 1943.
[541] Ibid., pp. 53 and 55. Telephone message and telegram from the Dessau Plant to SS-Hauptsturmführer Worster, dated July 12, 1943.
[542] Ibid., p. 49. Letter from Tesch und Stabenow to the Administration of the Concentration Camp Lublin, dated July 12, 1943.
[543] Ibid., p. 35. Letter from the Chief of Administration to Tesch und Stabenow, dated July 30, 1943.
[544] Ibid., p. 25. Letter from Tesch und Stabenow to the Administration of the Concentration Camp Lublin, dated Aug. 26, 1943.
[545] Ibid., p. 21. Letter from the Chief of Administration to the Higher SS and Police Chief in the General Government. The SS-Economist, dated Sept. 1, 1943.
[546] Ibid., p. 17. Letter from the Chief of Group C-Buildings to the Raw Materials Office in Berlin-Halensee, dated Sept. 7, 1943.
[547] Ibid., p. 11. Letter from Tesch und Stabenow to the Administration of the Concentration Camp Lublin, dated Oct. 12, 1943.
[548] Ibid., p. 7. Letter from Tesch und Stabenow to the Administration of the Concentration Camp Lublin, dated Oct. 20, 1943.
[549] Ibid., p. 37. Letter from the First Camp Physician of the Concentration Camp Lublin to the Administration, dated Aug. 11, 1943.
[550] Ibid., p. 33. Letter from the Chief of Administration to the First Camp Physician, dated Aug. 12, 1943. Re.: disinfection with Zyklon gas.
[551] Ibid., p. 31. Letter from the Chief of Administration to Tesch und Stabenow, dated Aug. 12, 1943.
[552] Ibid., p. 23. Letter from Tesch und Stabenow to the Administration of the Concentration Camp Lublin, dated Aug. 25, 1943.
[553] Ibid., p. 27. Letter from the Chief of Administration to Tesch und Stabenow, dated Aug. 31, 1943.
[554] Ibid., p. 29. Letter from the Chief of Administration to the Dessau Plant, dated Aug. 31, 1943. Re.: shipment of Zyklon.
[555] Ibid., p. 19. Letter from the First Camp Physician to the Administration, dated Sept. 11, 1943.
[556] Ibid., p. 13. Letter from the Chief of Administration to the First Camp Physician, dated Sept. 13, 1943. Re.: disinfectant gas.
[557] Ibid., p. 13.
[558] Ibid., p. 5. Letter from the Chief of Administration to Tesch und Stabenow, dated June 19, 1944. Re.: obtaining Zyklon CN.
[559] Ibid., p. 3. Letter from Tesch und Stabenow to the Administration of the Concentration Camp Lublin, dated June 26, 1944.
[560] Ibid., p. 1. Letter from the garrison physician of the SS and Police Lublin to the SS Economic-Administrative Main Office, Amt D III. Re.: special order of Cyklon B.
[561] Adela Toniak, op. cit. (note 376), pp. 136f.
[562] The 1,000 cans mentioned by A. Toniak are not supported by any documentation.
[563] cf. Chapter VI.
[564] In this case the loss would amount to approx. 2%.
[565] In this case the loss would amount to approx. 6.5%.
[566] This was a Statement of Terms titled “Verkaufs- und Lieferbedingungen für Zyklon, Calcid, Aethylenoxyd oder T-Gas, Tritox und Cartox”APMM, sygn. I.d.2, v. 1, p. 121.
[567] Adela Toniak, op. cit. (note 376), p. 137.
[568] Jean-Claude Pressac, Auschwitz: Technique and Operation of the Gas Chambers, New York: The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation, 1989, p. 188; also Jean-Claude Pressac, Die Krematorien von Auschwitz. Die Technik des Massenmordes, Munich: Piper, 1994, p. 58.
[569] The concentration of HCN that is “immediately fatal” to human beings is 0.3 ml/m3. F. Flury, F. Zernik, op. cit. (note 395), p. 453.
[570] The postulated maximum capacity of this chamber in a hypothetical execution gassing (218 victims per gassing) corresponds to that specified by the Polish-Soviet Commission (cf. Chapter VI). These 218 victims would have taken up a volume of approx. 13m3, so that the actual volume of the chamber would have decreased to 57m3.
[571] Cf. Chapter VII.
[572] Cf. Chapter III.
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