In 2003, Michael Mills started this thread on the Axis History Forum to promote his view that:
Many readers will know that at the post-war trial of Tesch and Weinbacher, the managers of the firm Tesch & Stabenow, reports of the visit of representatives of the firm to Riga for the purpose of using Zyklon-B was accepted as proof that the firm had knowignly [sic] supplied that prodcut [sic] to the SS for homicidal purposes.Mills implies that the judges had insufficient evidence that Zyklon-B was used to gas humans, and hanged two innocent men on the basis of a misreading of Tesch's visit to Riga. However, the United Nations War Crimes Commission's Law-Report of the Zyklon-B Case is now available to view on-line here, and it clearly shows that Mills had misread the trial evidence, thereby leading him to present a Straw Man version of both the eyewitnesses and the judges.
The British judges who sentenced Tesch and Weinbacher to death may be forgiven for their false interpretation of the visit to Riga. At that time the imaginations of Allied officials were filled with reports of the homicidal use of Zyklon-B. to the extent that the possibility of an innocent use was simply disregarded.
Today we know much more about the normal use of Zyklon-B for delousing (even Gerlach confirms that that was its proper use), so there is no excuse for historians confusing the normal and homicidal uses, and Breitman apparently did.
The evidence relied on by the prosecution is summarized in part 4 of the report. It will be noted straight away that Tesch's visit to Riga does not appear in the summary. Instead, we have testimony from Tesch's employees which clearly shows that Tesch knew that Zyklon-B was being used to kill humans:
Anna Uenzelmann, a former stenographer of the firm, said that in about June 1942 Tesch, after he had dictated a travel report on returning from Berlin, had told her that Zyklon B was being used for gassing human beings, and had appeared to be as terrified and shocked about the matter as she was.Moreover, Tesch had noted a meeting with members of the Wehrmacht in which gassing humans with prussic acid was discussed and recommended:
Emil Sehm, a former bookkeeper and accountant employed by Tesch and Stabenow, supplied information, regarding the legitimate business activities of the firm and the positions of the three accused therein, which substantially bore out the opening statements of the Prosecutor on these points. He went on to state that in the Autumn of 1942 he saw in the files of the firm’s registry one of the reports, dictated by Tesch, which gave accounts of his business journeys. In this travel report, Tesch recorded an interview with leading members of the Wehrmacht, during which he was told that the burial, after shooting, of Jews in increasing numbers was proving more and more unhygienic, and that it was proposed to kill them with prussic acid. Dr. Tesch, when asked for his views, had proposed to use the same method, involving the release of prussic acid gas in an enclosed space, as was used in the extermination of vermin. He undertook to train the S.S. men in this new method of killing human beings.We can therefore see quite clearly how revisionist canards have been generated about Auschwitz, and other features of the Final Solution, which could have been nipped in the bud through a simple checking of the relevant postwar trial records.
Sehm had written down a note of these facts and taken it away with him, but had burnt it the next day on the advice of an old friend, named Wilhelm Pook, to whom he had related what he had seen.