The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Auschwitz commandant Hoss said that his men would enter the gas chamber ten minutes after the Jews had died and remove them. How do you explain this?


31. Auschwitz commandant Hoss said that his men would enter the gas chamber ten minutes after the Jews had died and remove them. How do you explain this?

The IHR says:

It can't be explained because had they done so they would have suffered the same fate as the previous occupants.

Nizkor replies:

It can be explained very easily, and it has been explained, many times, in works available in any good library. Or, anyone who takes a little time to think will come up with what the solution was.

The solution that the Nazis used, in the largest gas chambers, was to install ventilation systems that could completely recycle the air in under five minutes (see Gutman, Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death Camp, 1994, p. 232). There were also wire-mesh devices to remove the Zyklon-B from the chambers, improving the efficiency of the ventilation process.

Other gas chambers did not have ventilation systems, and the first people to enter those gas chambers wore gas masks until the gas was diffused and made harmless.

It was important to ventilate the gas chambers quickly and get on with evacuating the bodies and cremating them -- this was what took a lot of time. The gassing itself only lasted a few minutes.

See also question 30.


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