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Zyklon B

"Zyklon-B" redirects here. For the band, see Zyklon-B (band).

Zyklon B (German: (); translated Cyclone B) was the trade name of a cyanide-based pesticide invented in Germany in the early 1920s. It consisted of hydrogen cyanide (prussic acid), as well as a cautionary eye irritant and one of several adsorbents such as diatomaceous earth. The product is notorious for its use by Nazi Germany during the Holocaust to murder approximately 1.1 million people in gas chambers installed at Auschwitz-Birkenau, Majdanek, and other extermination camps. A total of around 6 million Jews were murdered during the Holocaust.

Zyklon labels from Dachau concentration camp used as evidence at the Nuremberg trials; the first and third panels contain manufacturer information and the brand name, the center panel reads "Poison Gas! Cyanide preparation to be opened and used only by trained personnel"

Hydrogen cyanide, a poisonous gas that interferes with cellular respiration, was first used as a pesticide in California in the 1880s. Research at Degesch of Germany led to the development of Zyklon (later known as Zyklon A), a pesticide that released hydrogen cyanide upon exposure to water and heat. It was banned after World War I, when Germany used a similar product as a chemical weapon. Degussa purchased Degesch in 1922. Their team of chemists, which included Walter Heerdt [de] and Bruno Tesch, devised a method of packaging hydrogen cyanide in sealed canisters along with a cautionary eye irritant and one of several adsorbents such as diatomaceous earth. The new product was also named Zyklon, but it became known as Zyklon B to distinguish it from the earlier version. Uses included delousing clothing and fumigating ships, warehouses, and trains.

The Nazis began using Zyklon B in extermination camps in early 1942 to murder prisoners during the Holocaust. Tesch was executed in 1946 for knowingly selling the product to the SS for use on humans. Hydrogen cyanide is now rarely used as a pesticide but still has industrial applications. Firms in several countries continue to produce Zyklon B under alternative brand names, including Detia-Degesch, the successor to Degesch, who renamed the product Cyanosil in 1974.

Contents

Hydrogen cyanide is a poisonous gas that interferes with cellular respiration. Cyanide prevents the cell from producing adenosine triphosphate (ATP) by binding to one of the proteins involved in the electron transport chain. This protein, cytochrome c oxidase, contains several subunits and has ligands containing iron groups. The cyanide component of Zyklon B can bind at one of these iron groups, heme a3, forming a more stabilized compound through metal-to-ligand pi bonding. As a result of the formation of this new iron-cyanide complex, the electrons that would situate themselves on the heme a3 group can no longer do so. Instead, these electrons destabilize the compound; thus, the heme group no longer accepts them. Consequently, electron transport is halted, and cells can no longer produce the energy needed to synthesize ATP. Death occurs in a human being weighing 68 kilograms (150 lb) within two minutes of inhaling 70 mg of hydrogen cyanide.

A fumigation team in New Orleans, 1939. Zyklon canisters are visible.

Hydrogen cyanide, discovered in the late 18th century, was used in the 1880s for the fumigation of citrus trees in California. Its use spread to other countries for the fumigation of silos, goods wagons, ships, and mills. Its light weight and rapid dispersal meant its application had to take place under tents or in enclosed areas. Research by Fritz Haber of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physical Chemistry and Electrochemistry led to the founding in 1919 of Deutsche Gesellschaft für Schädlingsbekämpfung mbH (Degesch), a state-controlled consortium formed to investigate military use of the chemical. Chemists at Degesch added a cautionary eye irritant to a less volatile cyanide compound which reacted with water in the presence of heat to become hydrogen cyanide. The new product was marketed as the pesticide Zyklon (cyclone). As a similar formula had been used as a weapon by the Germans during World War I, Zyklon was soon banned.

Deutsche Gold- und Silber-Scheideanstalt (German Gold and Silver Refinery; Degussa) became sole owners of Degesch in 1922. There, beginning in 1922, Walter Heerdt [de], Bruno Tesch, and others worked on packaging hydrogen cyanide in sealed canisters along with a cautionary eye irritant and adsorbent stabilizers such as diatomaceous earth. The new product was also labelled as Zyklon, but it became known as Zyklon B to distinguish it from the earlier version. Heerdt was named the inventor of Zyklon B in the Degesch patent application (number DE 438818) dated 20 June 1922. The Deutsches Patent- und Markenamt awarded the patent on 27 December 1926. Beginning in the 1920s, Zyklon B was used at U.S. Customs facilities along the Mexican border to fumigate the clothing of border crossers.

In 1930, Degussa ceded 42.5 percent ownership of Degesch to IG Farben and 15 percent to Th. Goldschmidt AG, in exchange for the right to market pesticide products of those two companies through Degesch. Degussa retained managerial control.

While Degesch owned the rights to the brand name Zyklon and the patent on the packaging system, the chemical formula was owned by Degussa. Schlempe GmbH, which was 52 percent owned by Degussa, owned the rights to a process to extract hydrogen cyanide from waste products of sugar beet processing. This process was performed under license by two companies, Dessauer Werke and Kaliwerke Kolin, who also combined the resulting hydrogen cyanide with stabilizer from IG Farben and a cautionary agent from Schering AG to form the final product, which was packaged using equipment, labels, and canisters provided by Degesch. The finished goods were sent to Degesch, who forwarded the product to two companies that acted as distributors: Heerdt-Linger GmbH (Heli) of Frankfurt and Tesch & Stabenow (Testa) of Hamburg. Their territory was split along the Elbe river, with Heli handling clients to the west and south, and Testa those to the east. Degesch owned 51 percent of the shares of Heli, and until 1942 owned 55 percent of Testa.

Prior to World War II Degesch derived most of its Zyklon B profits from overseas sales, particularly in the United States, where it was produced under license by Roessler & Hasslacher prior to 1931 and by American Cyanamid from 1931 to 1943. From 1929, the United States Public Health Service used Zyklon B to fumigate freight trains and clothes of Mexican immigrants entering the United States. Uses in Germany included delousing clothing (often using a portable sealed chamber invented by Degesch in the 1930s) and fumigating ships, warehouses, and trains. By 1943, sales of Zyklon B accounted for 65 percent of Degesch's sales revenue and 70 percent of its gross profits.

See also: The Holocaust
Empty Zyklon B canisters found by the Allies at Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1945

In early 1942, the Nazis began using Zyklon B as the preferred killing tool in extermination camps during the Holocaust. They used it to kill roughly 1.1 million people in gas chambers at Auschwitz-Birkenau, Majdanek, and elsewhere. Most of the victims were Jews, and by far the majority killed using this method died at Auschwitz. Distributor Heli supplied Zyklon B to Mauthausen, Dachau, and Buchenwald, and Testa supplied it to Auschwitz and Majdanek; camps also occasionally bought it directly from the manufacturers. Some 56 tonnes of the 729 tonnes sold in Germany in 1942–44 were sold to concentration camps, amounting to about 8 percent of domestic sales. Auschwitz received 23.8 tonnes, of which 6 tonnes were used for fumigation. The remainder was used in the gas chambers or lost to spoilage (the product had a stated shelf life of only three months). Testa conducted fumigations for the Wehrmacht and supplied them with Zyklon B. They also offered courses to the SS in the safe handling and use of the material for fumigation purposes. In April 1941, the German agriculture and interior ministries designated the SS as an authorized applier of the chemical, which meant they were able to use it without any further training or governmental oversight.

Rudolf Höss at his trial in Poland, 1947

Rudolf Höss, commandant of Auschwitz, said that the use of Zyklon-B to kill prisoners came about on the initiative of one of his subordinates, SS-Hauptsturmführer (captain) Karl Fritzsch, who had used it to kill some Russian POWs in late August 1941 in the basement of Block 11 in the main camp. They repeated the experiment on more Russian POWs in September, with Höss watching. Block 11 proved unsuitable for mass killings, as the basement was difficult to air out afterwards and the crematorium (Crematorium I, which operated until July 1942) was some distance away. The site of the killings was moved to Crematorium I, where more than 700 victims could be killed at once. By the middle of 1942, the operation was moved to Auschwitz II–Birkenau, a nearby satellite camp that had been under construction since October 1941.

The first gas chamber at Auschwitz II–Birkenau was the "red house" (called Bunker 1 by SS staff), a brick cottage converted to a gassing facility by tearing out the inside and bricking up the windows. It was operational by March 1942. A second brick cottage, called the "white house" or Bunker 2, was converted some weeks later. According to Höss, Bunker 1 held 800 victims and Bunker 2 held 1,200 victims. These structures were in use for mass killings until early 1943. At that point, the Nazis decided to greatly increase the gassing capacity of Birkenau. Crematorium II was originally designed as a mortuary with morgues in the basement and ground-level incinerators; they converted it into a killing factory by installing gas-tight doors, vents for the Zyklon B to be dropped into the chamber, and ventilation equipment to remove the gas afterwards. Crematorium III was built using the same design. Crematoria IV and V, designed from the beginning as gassing centers, were also constructed that spring. By June 1943, all four crematoria were operational. Most of the victims were killed using these four structures.

The Nazis began shipping large numbers of Jews from all over Europe to Auschwitz in the middle of 1942. Those who were not selected for work crews were immediately gassed. Those selected to die generally comprised about three-quarters of the total and included almost all children, women with small children, all the elderly, and all those who appeared on brief and superficial inspection by an SS doctor not to be completely fit. The victims were told that they were to undergo delousing and a shower. They were stripped of their belongings and herded into the gas chamber.

A special SS bureau known as the Hygienic Institute delivered the Zyklon B to the crematoria by ambulance. The actual delivery of the gas to the victims was always handled by the SS, on the order of the supervising SS doctor. After the doors were shut, SS men dropped Zyklon B pellets through vents in the roof or holes in the side of the chamber. The victims were dead within 20 minutes. Johann Kremer, an SS doctor who oversaw gassings, testified that the "shouting and screaming of the victims could be heard through the opening and it was clear that they fought for their lives".

Sonderkommandos (special work crews forced to work at the gas chambers) wearing gas masks then dragged the bodies from the chamber. The victims' glasses, artificial limbs, jewelry, and hair were removed, and any dental work was extracted so the gold could be melted down. If the gas chamber was crowded, which they typically were, the corpses were found half-squatting, their skin discolored pink with red and green spots, with some foaming at the mouth or bleeding from their ears. The corpses were burned in the nearby incinerators, and the ashes were buried, thrown in the river, or used as fertilizer. With the Soviet Red Army approaching through Poland, the last mass gassing at Auschwitz took place on 30 October 1944. In November 1944, Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler, head of the SS, ordered gassing operations to cease throughout the Reich.

Interior of Majdanek gas chamber, showing Prussian blue residue

After World War II ended in 1945, Bruno Tesch and Karl Weinbacher of Tesch & Stabenow were tried in a British military court and executed for knowingly providing Zyklon B to the SS for use on humans. Gerhard Peters, who served as principal operating officer of Degesch and Heli and also held posts in the Nazi government, served two years eight months in prison as an accessory before being released due to amendments to the penal code.

Use of hydrogen cyanide as a pesticide or cleaner has been banned or restricted in some countries. Most hydrogen cyanide is used in industrial processes, made by companies in Germany, Japan, the Netherlands and the US. Degesch resumed production of Zyklon B after the war. The product was sold as Cyanosil in Germany and Zyklon in other countries. It was still produced as of 2008. Degussa sold Degesch to Detia-Freyberg GmbH in 1986. The company is now called Detia-Degesch. Up until around 2015, a fumigation product similar to Zyklon B was in production by Lučební závody Draslovka of the Czech Republic, under the trade name Uragan D2. Uragan means "hurricane" or "cyclone" in Czech.

Subsequent use of the word "Zyklon" in trade names has prompted angry reactions in English-speaking countries. The name "Zyklon" on portable roller coasters made since 1965 by Pinfari provoked protests among Jewish groups in the U.S. in 1993, and 1999. In 2002, British sportswear and football equipment supplier Umbro issued an apology and stopped using the name "Zyklon", which had appeared since 1999 on the box for one of its trainers, after receiving complaints from the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Beth Shalom Holocaust Centre. Also in 2002, Siemens withdrew its application for an American trademark of the word "Zyklon", which their subsidiary BSH Bosch und Siemens Hausgeräte had proposed to use for a new line of home appliances in the United States. (The firm was already using the name in Germany for one of their vacuum cleaners.) Protests were lodged by the Simon Wiesenthal Center after the trademark application was reported to BBC News Online by one of their readers. French company IPC's product names used "Cyclone" for degreasers and suffix "B" for biodegradable: "Cyclone B" was renamed "Cyclone Cap Vert" ("green cap") in 2013 after protests from Jewish groups. A rabbi said the name was "horrible ignorance at best, and a Guinness record in evil and cynicism if the company did know the history of the name of its product."

Holocaust deniers claim that Zyklon B gas was not used in the gas chambers, relying for evidence on the discredited research of Fred A. Leuchter, who found low levels of Prussian blue in samples of the gas chamber walls and ceilings. Leuchter attributed its presence to general delousing of the buildings. Leuchter's negative control, a sample of gasket material taken from a different camp building, had no cyanide residue. In 1999, James Roth, the chemist who had analyzed Leuchter's samples, stated that the test was flawed because the material that was sent for testing included large chunks, and the chemical would only be within 10 microns of the surface. The surface that had been exposed to the chemical was not identified, and the large size of the specimens meant that any chemical present was diluted by an undeterminable amount. In 1994, the Institute for Forensic Research in Kraków re-examined Leuchter's claim, stating that formation of Prussian blue by exposure of bricks to cyanide is not a highly probable reaction. Using microdiffusion techniques, they tested 22 samples from the gas chambers and delousing chambers (as positive controls) and living quarters (as negative controls). They found cyanide residue in both the delousing chambers and the gas chambers but none in the living quarters.

Explanatory notes

  1. Cautionary eye irritants used included chloropicrin and cyanogen chloride.
  2. Soviet officials initially stated that over 4 million people were killed using Zyklon B at Auschwitz, but this figure was proven to be greatly exaggerated.
  3. The gas chamber also had to be heated, as the Zyklon B pellets would not vaporize into hydrogen cyanide unless the temperature was 27 °C (81 °F) or above.

Citations

  1. Nelson & Cox 2000, pp. 668, 670–71, 676.
  2. International Cyanide Management Institute.
  3. Hayes 2004, p. 273.
  4. Hayes 2004, pp. 273–274.
  5. Hayes 2004, p. 274.
  6. Christianson 2010, p. 95.
  7. Hayes 2004, pp. 274–275.
  8. Heerdt 1926.
  9. Burnett 2006.
  10. Cockburn 2007.
  11. Hayes 2004, pp. 278–279.
  12. Hayes 2004, p. 280.
  13. Hayes 2004, p. 275.
  14. Hayes 2004, pp. 275–276.
  15. Christianson 2010, p. 165.
  16. Christianson 2010, p. 166.
  17. Hayes 2004, Chart, p.357.
  18. Christianson 2010, pp. 10, 92, 98.
  19. Christianson 2010, p. 92.
  20. Hayes 2004, p. 281.
  21. Longerich 2010, pp. 281–282.
  22. Hayes 2004, pp. 2, 272.
  23. PBS: Auschwitz.
  24. Piper 1994, p. 161.
  25. Hayes 2004, p. 272.
  26. Steinbacher 2005, pp. 132–133.
  27. Hayes 2004, pp. 288–289.
  28. Hayes 2004, p. 296.
  29. Hayes 2004, pp. 294–297.
  30. Hayes 2004, p. 283.
  31. Hayes 2004, p. 284.
  32. Browning 2004, pp. 526–527.
  33. Pressac & Pelt 1994, p. 209.
  34. Piper 1994, pp. 158–159.
  35. Rees 2005, pp. 96–97, 101.
  36. Piper 1994, p. 162.
  37. Steinbacher 2005, p. 98.
  38. Steinbacher 2005, pp. 100–101.
  39. Rees 2005, pp. 168–169.
  40. Pressac & Pelt 1994, p. 214.
  41. Levy 2006, pp. 235–237.
  42. Piper 1994, p. 170.
  43. Piper 1994, p. 163.
  44. Piper 1994, p. 171.
  45. Piper 1994, p. 174.
  46. Steinbacher 2005, pp. 123–124.
  47. Shirer 1960, p. 972.
  48. Hayes 2004, pp. 297–298.
  49. United Nations 2002, pp. 545, 171, 438.
  50. Dzombak et al. 2005, p. 42.
  51. United Nations 2002, p. 545.
  52. BFR 2008.
  53. Hayes 2004, p. 300.
  54. Lučební závody Draslovka.
  55. New York Times 1993.
  56. Katz 1999.
  57. BBC News & August 2002.
  58. BBC News & September 2002.
  59. Piérot 2013.
  60. Ouest-France 2013.
  61. The Jewish Press 2013.
  62. Harmon & Stein 1994.
  63. Mr. Death: Transcript 1999.
  64. Bailer-Gallanda 1991.
  65. Markiewicz, Gubala & Labedz 1994.

Sources

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Zyklon B.

Zyklon B
Zyklon B Language Watch Edit 160 160 Redirected from Zyklon B gas Zyklon B redirects here For the band see Zyklon B band Zyklon B German tsyˈkloːn ˈbeː listen translated Cyclone B was the trade name of a cyanide based pesticide invented in Germany in the early 1920s It consisted of hydrogen cyanide prussic acid as well as a cautionary eye irritant and one of several adsorbents such as diatomaceous earth The product is notorious for its use by Nazi Germany during the Holocaust to murder approximately 1 1 million people in gas chambers installed at Auschwitz Birkenau Majdanek and other extermination camps A total of around 6 million Jews were murdered during the Holocaust Zyklon labels from Dachau concentration camp used as evidence at the Nuremberg trials the first and third panels contain manufacturer information and the brand name the center panel reads Poison Gas Cyanide preparation to be opened and used only by trained personnel Hydrogen cyanide a poisonous gas that interferes with cellular respiration was first used as a pesticide in California in the 1880s Research at Degesch of Germany led to the development of Zyklon later known as Zyklon A a pesticide that released hydrogen cyanide upon exposure to water and heat It was banned after World War I when Germany used a similar product as a chemical weapon Degussa purchased Degesch in 1922 Their team of chemists which included Walter Heerdt de and Bruno Tesch devised a method of packaging hydrogen cyanide in sealed canisters along with a cautionary eye irritant and one of several adsorbents such as diatomaceous earth The new product was also named Zyklon but it became known as Zyklon B to distinguish it from the earlier version Uses included delousing clothing and fumigating ships warehouses and trains The Nazis began using Zyklon B in extermination camps in early 1942 to murder prisoners during the Holocaust Tesch was executed in 1946 for knowingly selling the product to the SS for use on humans Hydrogen cyanide is now rarely used as a pesticide but still has industrial applications Firms in several countries continue to produce Zyklon B under alternative brand names including Detia Degesch the successor to Degesch who renamed the product Cyanosil in 1974 Contents 1 Mode of action 2 History 3 Corporate structure and marketing 4 Use in the Holocaust 5 Legacy 6 See also 7 References 7 1 Explanatory notes 7 2 Citations 7 3 Sources 8 Further reading 9 External linksMode of actionHydrogen cyanide is a poisonous gas that interferes with cellular respiration Cyanide prevents the cell from producing adenosine triphosphate ATP by binding to one of the proteins involved in the electron transport chain 1 This protein cytochrome c oxidase contains several subunits and has ligands containing iron groups The cyanide component of Zyklon B can bind at one of these iron groups heme a3 forming a more stabilized compound through metal to ligand pi bonding As a result of the formation of this new iron cyanide complex the electrons that would situate themselves on the heme a3 group can no longer do so Instead these electrons destabilize the compound thus the heme group no longer accepts them Consequently electron transport is halted and cells can no longer produce the energy needed to synthesize ATP 1 Death occurs in a human being weighing 68 kilograms 150 lb within two minutes of inhaling 70 mg of hydrogen cyanide 2 3 History A fumigation team in New Orleans 1939 Zyklon canisters are visible Hydrogen cyanide discovered in the late 18th century was used in the 1880s for the fumigation of citrus trees in California Its use spread to other countries for the fumigation of silos goods wagons ships and mills Its light weight and rapid dispersal meant its application had to take place under tents or in enclosed areas 3 Research by Fritz Haber of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physical Chemistry and Electrochemistry led to the founding in 1919 of Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Schadlingsbekampfung mbH Degesch a state controlled consortium formed to investigate military use of the chemical 4 Chemists at Degesch added a cautionary eye irritant to a less volatile cyanide compound which reacted with water in the presence of heat to become hydrogen cyanide The new product was marketed as the pesticide Zyklon cyclone As a similar formula had been used as a weapon by the Germans during World War I Zyklon was soon banned 5 Deutsche Gold und Silber Scheideanstalt German Gold and Silver Refinery Degussa became sole owners of Degesch in 1922 There beginning in 1922 Walter Heerdt de Bruno Tesch and others worked on packaging hydrogen cyanide in sealed canisters along with a cautionary eye irritant a and adsorbent stabilizers such as diatomaceous earth The new product was also labelled as Zyklon but it became known as Zyklon B to distinguish it from the earlier version 7 Heerdt was named the inventor of Zyklon B in the Degesch patent application number DE 438818 dated 20 June 1922 The Deutsches Patent und Markenamt awarded the patent on 27 December 1926 8 Beginning in the 1920s Zyklon B was used at U S Customs facilities along the Mexican border to fumigate the clothing of border crossers 9 10 Corporate structure and marketingIn 1930 Degussa ceded 42 5 percent ownership of Degesch to IG Farben and 15 percent to Th Goldschmidt AG in exchange for the right to market pesticide products of those two companies through Degesch 11 Degussa retained managerial control 12 While Degesch owned the rights to the brand name Zyklon and the patent on the packaging system the chemical formula was owned by Degussa 13 Schlempe GmbH which was 52 percent owned by Degussa owned the rights to a process to extract hydrogen cyanide from waste products of sugar beet processing This process was performed under license by two companies Dessauer Werke and Kaliwerke Kolin who also combined the resulting hydrogen cyanide with stabilizer from IG Farben and a cautionary agent from Schering AG to form the final product which was packaged using equipment labels and canisters provided by Degesch 14 15 The finished goods were sent to Degesch who forwarded the product to two companies that acted as distributors Heerdt Linger GmbH Heli of Frankfurt and Tesch amp Stabenow Testa of Hamburg Their territory was split along the Elbe river with Heli handling clients to the west and south and Testa those to the east 16 Degesch owned 51 percent of the shares of Heli and until 1942 owned 55 percent of Testa 17 Prior to World War II Degesch derived most of its Zyklon B profits from overseas sales particularly in the United States where it was produced under license by Roessler amp Hasslacher prior to 1931 and by American Cyanamid from 1931 to 1943 18 From 1929 the United States Public Health Service used Zyklon B to fumigate freight trains and clothes of Mexican immigrants entering the United States 19 Uses in Germany included delousing clothing often using a portable sealed chamber invented by Degesch in the 1930s and fumigating ships warehouses and trains 20 By 1943 sales of Zyklon B accounted for 65 percent of Degesch s sales revenue and 70 percent of its gross profits 20 Use in the HolocaustSee also The Holocaust Empty Zyklon B canisters found by the Allies at Auschwitz Birkenau in 1945 In early 1942 the Nazis began using Zyklon B as the preferred killing tool in extermination camps during the Holocaust 21 They used it to kill roughly 1 1 million people in gas chambers at Auschwitz Birkenau Majdanek and elsewhere 22 23 Most of the victims were Jews and by far the majority killed using this method died at Auschwitz 24 25 b Distributor Heli supplied Zyklon B to Mauthausen Dachau and Buchenwald and Testa supplied it to Auschwitz and Majdanek camps also occasionally bought it directly from the manufacturers 27 Some 56 tonnes of the 729 tonnes sold in Germany in 1942 44 were sold to concentration camps amounting to about 8 percent of domestic sales 28 Auschwitz received 23 8 tonnes of which 6 tonnes were used for fumigation The remainder was used in the gas chambers or lost to spoilage the product had a stated shelf life of only three months 29 Testa conducted fumigations for the Wehrmacht and supplied them with Zyklon B They also offered courses to the SS in the safe handling and use of the material for fumigation purposes 30 In April 1941 the German agriculture and interior ministries designated the SS as an authorized applier of the chemical which meant they were able to use it without any further training or governmental oversight 31 Rudolf Hoss at his trial in Poland 1947 Rudolf Hoss commandant of Auschwitz said that the use of Zyklon B to kill prisoners came about on the initiative of one of his subordinates SS Hauptsturmfuhrer captain Karl Fritzsch who had used it to kill some Russian POWs in late August 1941 in the basement of Block 11 in the main camp They repeated the experiment on more Russian POWs in September with Hoss watching 32 33 Block 11 proved unsuitable for mass killings as the basement was difficult to air out afterwards and the crematorium Crematorium I which operated until July 1942 was some distance away 33 The site of the killings was moved to Crematorium I where more than 700 victims could be killed at once 34 By the middle of 1942 the operation was moved to Auschwitz II Birkenau a nearby satellite camp that had been under construction since October 1941 24 The first gas chamber at Auschwitz II Birkenau was the red house called Bunker 1 by SS staff a brick cottage converted to a gassing facility by tearing out the inside and bricking up the windows It was operational by March 1942 A second brick cottage called the white house or Bunker 2 was converted some weeks later 35 24 According to Hoss Bunker 1 held 800 victims and Bunker 2 held 1 200 victims 36 These structures were in use for mass killings until early 1943 37 At that point the Nazis decided to greatly increase the gassing capacity of Birkenau Crematorium II was originally designed as a mortuary with morgues in the basement and ground level incinerators they converted it into a killing factory by installing gas tight doors vents for the Zyklon B to be dropped into the chamber and ventilation equipment to remove the gas afterwards 38 c Crematorium III was built using the same design Crematoria IV and V designed from the beginning as gassing centers were also constructed that spring By June 1943 all four crematoria were operational Most of the victims were killed using these four structures 39 The Nazis began shipping large numbers of Jews from all over Europe to Auschwitz in the middle of 1942 Those who were not selected for work crews were immediately gassed 40 Those selected to die generally comprised about three quarters of the total and included almost all children women with small children all the elderly and all those who appeared on brief and superficial inspection by an SS doctor not to be completely fit 41 The victims were told that they were to undergo delousing and a shower They were stripped of their belongings and herded into the gas chamber 36 A special SS bureau known as the Hygienic Institute delivered the Zyklon B to the crematoria by ambulance 36 The actual delivery of the gas to the victims was always handled by the SS on the order of the supervising SS doctor 42 After the doors were shut SS men dropped Zyklon B pellets through vents in the roof or holes in the side of the chamber The victims were dead within 20 minutes 42 Johann Kremer an SS doctor who oversaw gassings testified that the shouting and screaming of the victims could be heard through the opening and it was clear that they fought for their lives 43 Sonderkommandos special work crews forced to work at the gas chambers wearing gas masks then dragged the bodies from the chamber The victims glasses artificial limbs jewelry and hair were removed and any dental work was extracted so the gold could be melted down 44 If the gas chamber was crowded which they typically were the corpses were found half squatting their skin discolored pink with red and green spots with some foaming at the mouth or bleeding from their ears 42 The corpses were burned in the nearby incinerators and the ashes were buried thrown in the river or used as fertilizer 44 With the Soviet Red Army approaching through Poland the last mass gassing at Auschwitz took place on 30 October 1944 45 In November 1944 Reichsfuhrer SS Heinrich Himmler head of the SS ordered gassing operations to cease throughout the Reich 46 Legacy Interior of Majdanek gas chamber showing Prussian blue residue After World War II ended in 1945 Bruno Tesch and Karl Weinbacher of Tesch amp Stabenow were tried in a British military court and executed for knowingly providing Zyklon B to the SS for use on humans 47 Gerhard Peters who served as principal operating officer of Degesch and Heli and also held posts in the Nazi government served two years eight months in prison as an accessory before being released due to amendments to the penal code 48 Use of hydrogen cyanide as a pesticide or cleaner has been banned or restricted in some countries 49 Most hydrogen cyanide is used in industrial processes made by companies in Germany Japan the Netherlands and the US 50 51 Degesch resumed production of Zyklon B after the war The product was sold as Cyanosil in Germany and Zyklon in other countries It was still produced as of 2008 52 Degussa sold Degesch to Detia Freyberg GmbH in 1986 The company is now called Detia Degesch 53 Up until around 2015 a fumigation product similar to Zyklon B was in production by Lucebni zavody Draslovka of the Czech Republic under the trade name Uragan D2 Uragan means hurricane or cyclone in Czech 54 Subsequent use of the word Zyklon in trade names has prompted angry reactions in English speaking countries The name Zyklon on portable roller coasters made since 1965 by Pinfari provoked protests among Jewish groups in the U S in 1993 55 and 1999 56 In 2002 British sportswear and football equipment supplier Umbro issued an apology and stopped using the name Zyklon which had appeared since 1999 on the box for one of its trainers after receiving complaints from the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Beth Shalom Holocaust Centre 57 Also in 2002 Siemens withdrew its application for an American trademark of the word Zyklon which their subsidiary BSH Bosch und Siemens Hausgerate had proposed to use for a new line of home appliances in the United States The firm was already using the name in Germany for one of their vacuum cleaners Protests were lodged by the Simon Wiesenthal Center after the trademark application was reported to BBC News Online by one of their readers 58 French company IPC s product names used Cyclone for degreasers and suffix B for biodegradable Cyclone B was renamed Cyclone Cap Vert green cap in 2013 after protests from Jewish groups 59 60 A rabbi said the name was horrible ignorance at best and a Guinness record in evil and cynicism if the company did know the history of the name of its product 61 Holocaust deniers claim that Zyklon B gas was not used in the gas chambers relying for evidence on the discredited research of Fred A Leuchter who found low levels of Prussian blue in samples of the gas chamber walls and ceilings Leuchter attributed its presence to general delousing of the buildings Leuchter s negative control a sample of gasket material taken from a different camp building had no cyanide residue 62 In 1999 James Roth the chemist who had analyzed Leuchter s samples stated that the test was flawed because the material that was sent for testing included large chunks and the chemical would only be within 10 microns of the surface The surface that had been exposed to the chemical was not identified and the large size of the specimens meant that any chemical present was diluted by an undeterminable amount 63 In 1994 the Institute for Forensic Research in Krakow re examined Leuchter s claim stating that formation of Prussian blue by exposure of bricks to cyanide is not a highly probable reaction 64 Using microdiffusion techniques they tested 22 samples from the gas chambers and delousing chambers as positive controls and living quarters as negative controls They found cyanide residue in both the delousing chambers and the gas chambers but none in the living quarters 65 See alsoCarbon monoxide poisoning Cyanide poisoning Kurt Gerstein Degussa controversyReferencesExplanatory notes Cautionary eye irritants used included chloropicrin and cyanogen chloride 6 Soviet officials initially stated that over 4 million people were killed using Zyklon B at Auschwitz but this figure was proven to be greatly exaggerated 26 The gas chamber also had to be heated as the Zyklon B pellets would not vaporize into hydrogen cyanide unless the temperature was 27 C 81 F or above 33 Citations a b Nelson amp Cox 2000 pp 668 670 71 676 International Cyanide Management Institute a b Hayes 2004 p 273 Hayes 2004 pp 273 274 Hayes 2004 p 274 Christianson 2010 p 95 Hayes 2004 pp 274 275 Heerdt 1926 Burnett 2006 Cockburn 2007 Hayes 2004 pp 278 279 Hayes 2004 p 280 Hayes 2004 p 275 Hayes 2004 pp 275 276 Christianson 2010 p 165 Christianson 2010 p 166 Hayes 2004 Chart p 357 Christianson 2010 pp 10 92 98 Christianson 2010 p 92 a b Hayes 2004 p 281 Longerich 2010 pp 281 282 Hayes 2004 pp 2 272 PBS Auschwitz a b c Piper 1994 p 161 Hayes 2004 p 272 Steinbacher 2005 pp 132 133 Hayes 2004 pp 288 289 Hayes 2004 p 296 Hayes 2004 pp 294 297 Hayes 2004 p 283 Hayes 2004 p 284 Browning 2004 pp 526 527 a b c Pressac amp Pelt 1994 p 209 Piper 1994 pp 158 159 Rees 2005 pp 96 97 101 a b c Piper 1994 p 162 Steinbacher 2005 p 98 Steinbacher 2005 pp 100 101 Rees 2005 pp 168 169 Pressac amp Pelt 1994 p 214 Levy 2006 pp 235 237 a b c Piper 1994 p 170 Piper 1994 p 163 a b Piper 1994 p 171 Piper 1994 p 174 Steinbacher 2005 pp 123 124 Shirer 1960 p 972 Hayes 2004 pp 297 298 United Nations 2002 pp 545 171 438 Dzombak et al 2005 p 42 United Nations 2002 p 545 BFR 2008 Hayes 2004 p 300 Lucebni zavody Draslovka New York Times 1993 Katz 1999 BBC News amp August 2002 BBC News amp September 2002 Pierot 2013 Ouest France 2013 The Jewish Press 2013 Harmon amp Stein 1994 Mr Death Transcript 1999 Bailer Gallanda 1991 Markiewicz Gubala amp Labedz 1994 Sources Bailer Gallanda B 1991 Amoklauf gegen die Wirklichkeit NS Verbrechen und revisionistische Geschichtsschreibung in German J Bailer F Freund T Geisler W Lasek N Neugebauer G Spenn W Wegner Wien Bundesministerium fuer Unterricht und Kultur ISBN 978 3 901142 07 9 Burnett John January 28 2006 The Bath Riots Indignity Along the Mexican Border Retrieved May 6 2017 Bekanntmachung der gepruften und anerkannten Mittel und Verfahren zur Bekampfung von tierischen Schadlingen nach 18 Infektionsschutzgesetz Notice of tested and approved means and procedures for combating animal pests according to 18 Infection Protection Act PDF Bundesgesundheitsblatt Bundesgesundheitsbl Gesundheitsforsch Gesundheitsschutz in German Bundesamtes fur Verbraucherschutz und Lebensmittelsicherheit 51 20 June 2008 Retrieved 22 May 2018 Browning Christopher R 2004 The Origins of the Final Solution The Evolution of Nazi Jewish Policy September 1939 March 1942 Comprehensive History of the Holocaust Lincoln University of Nebraska Press ISBN 0 8032 1327 1 Christianson Scott 2010 The Last Gasp The Rise and Fall of the American Gas Chamber Berkeley University of California Press ISBN 978 0 520 25562 3 Cockburn Alexander 21 June 2007 Zyklon B on the US Border Retrieved 14 July 2021 Cite magazine requires magazine help DE patent 438818 Heerdt Dr Walter Verfahren zur Schaedlingsbekaempfung issued 27 December 1926 assigned to Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Schadlingsbekampfung mbH Dzombak David A Ghosh Rajat S Wong Chong George M 2005 Cyanide in Water and Soil Chemistry Risk and Management Boca Raton CRC Press ISBN 978 1 4200 3207 9 Harmon Brian Stein Mike August 1994 Prussian Blue Why the Holocaust Deniers are Wrong The Nizkor Project Retrieved 25 September 2014 Hayes Peter 2004 From Cooperation to Complicity Degussa in the Third Reich Cambridge New York Melbourne Cambridge University Press ISBN 0 521 78227 9 Katz Leslie August 6 1999 Does name of county fair ride throw Jews for a loop J Weekly San Francisco Jewish Community Publications Retrieved 5 August 2015 Levy Alan 2006 1993 Nazi Hunter The Wiesenthal File Revised 2002 ed London Constable amp Robinson ISBN 978 1 84119 607 7 Longerich Peter 2010 Holocaust The Nazi Persecution and Murder of the Jews Oxford New York Oxford University Press ISBN 978 0 19 280436 5 Markiewicz Jan Gubala Wojciech Labedz Jerzy 1994 A Study of the Cyanide Compounds Content in the Walls of the Gas Chambers in the Former Auschwitz and Birkenau Concentration Camps Z Zagadnien Sqdowych Institute for Forensic Research Cracow XXX 17 27 Retrieved 25 September 2014 Mr Death The Rise and Fall of Fred A Leuchter Jr film transcript Fourth Floor Productions 1999 Nelson David L Cox Michael M 2000 Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry New York Worth Publishers ISBN 1 57259 153 6 Pierot Jean Paul 5 December 2013 Zyklon B pardon Cyclone B L Humanite in French Retrieved 7 July 2018 Piper Franciszek 1994 Gas Chambers and Crematoria In Gutman Yisrael Berenbaum Michael eds Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death Camp Bloomington Indiana Indiana University Press pp 157 182 ISBN 0 253 32684 2 Pressac Jean Claude Pelt Robert Jan van 1994 The Machinery of Mass Murder at Auschwitz In Gutman Yisrael Berenbaum Michael eds Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death Camp Bloomington Indiana Indiana University Press pp 183 245 ISBN 0 253 32684 2 Rees Laurence 2005 Auschwitz A New History New York Public Affairs ISBN 1 58648 303 X Shirer William L 1960 The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich New York Simon amp Schuster ISBN 978 0 671 62420 0 Staff Auschwitz Inside the Nazi State Auschwitz 1940 1945 The Killing Evolution pbs org PBS Retrieved 18 December 2019 Staff 4 December 2013 Cyclone B La reaction de l entreprise brestoise IPC Ouest France in French Retrieved 6 August 2015 Staff Environmental and Health Effects International Cyanide Management Institute Retrieved 10 February 2017 Staff 2 December 2013 French Firm s Cleaning Product Name Sounds Like Nazis Zyklon B The Jewish Press Retrieved 6 August 2015 Staff 29 August 2002 Fury over Nazi gas sports shoe name BBC News Retrieved 25 September 2014 Staff 5 September 2002 Siemens retreats over Nazi name BBC News Retrieved 25 September 2014 Staff 11 August 1993 Zyklon Roller Coaster Sign Is Pulled After Jewish Outcry The New York Times Retrieved 5 August 2015 Steinbacher Sybille 2005 2004 Auschwitz A History Munich Verlag C H Beck ISBN 0 06 082581 2 United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs 2002 Consolidated List of Products Whose Consumption And or Sale Have Been Banned Withdrawn Severely Restricted Or Not Approved by Governments Chemicals United Nations Publications ISBN 978 92 1 130219 6 Uragan D2 in Czech Lucebni zavody Draslovka a s Kolin Archived from the original on 17 July 2015 Retrieved 7 July 2018 Further readingRummel Rudolph 1994 Death by Government New Brunswick NJ Transaction ISBN 978 1 56000 145 4 Snyder Timothy 2010 Bloodlands Europe Between Hitler and Stalin New York Basic Books ISBN 978 0 465 00239 9 External linksWikimedia Commons has media related to Zyklon B Green Richard J McCarthy Jamie July 28 2000 Chemistry is Not the Science Rudolf Rhetoric amp Reduction Holocaust History Project Retrieved from https en wikipedia org w index php title Zyklon B amp oldid 1049867673, wikipedia, wiki, book,

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