Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka. Holocaust Denial and Operation Reinhard. Chapter 5: Gas Chambers at the Aktion Reinhard Camps (5). The Gassing Engine: Diesel or Gasoline?

The Gassing Engine: Diesel or Gasoline?

Revisionist arguments in regards to homicidal gas vans and the Aktion Reinhard camps have often focused on the type of engines employed for the gassings. In particular, American denier Friedrich Paul Berg has written numerous technical articles since the 1980s attempting to refute the notion that diesel engines could have been used effectively for mass murder, due to a low output of carbon monoxide.[1] At the time of Berg’s writings, diesel engines were popularly ascribed to the Reinhard camps and gas vans, sometimes with the exception of Sobibor. Some anti-Revisionists have argued in response that diesels could indeed have been used for such gassings, if properly adjusted. Instead of debating such particulars, we believe that it is more effective to first revisit the sources of engine identification within the Reinhard camps and gas vans in order to determine the strength of this claim popularly assumed by some academics and courts.[2]  

A re-examination of the relevant testimonies with the Reinhard camps and gas vans reveals an interesting feature, one long ignored by MGK: witnesses who had closer experiences to the actual gassing engine share a large agreement that they were run by gasoline/petrol, while those witnesses with only an indirect hearsay knowledge of the engine were more likely to identify it as diesel. It didn’t matter whether the witness was a perpetrator, bystander, or a survivor, only the matter of direct knowledge is important in identifying the testimonies which should be used to establish the method of murder. As we shall see shortly, numerous perpetrators did claim that there were diesel engines for gassing, yet their testimonies are not necessarily stronger than the testimonies of people who claimed that petrol engines were used. First, let us list the witnesses who testified about petrol engines.
For Chelmno, multiple testimonies show that the gas vans used gasoline engines, including those of driver Walter Burmeister[3] and SS-Oberscharführer Walter Piller.[4] Gasoline engines were also noted in testimonies given to the Main Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes in Poland in the 1940’s by the engineers who repaired the Chelmno vans.[5] For the Reinhard camps, a key example is SS-Scharführer Erich Fuchs, who took part in the construction of the gas chambers at Belzec and Sobibor[6] and stated in his testimony about Sobibor:
We unloaded the engine. It was a heavy Russian petrol engine (presumably an armoured vehicle or traction engine), at least 200 HP (V-engine, 8-cylinder, water cooled).[7]
Erich Bauer, known as the “Gasmeister” of Sobibor for his operation and service work of the gassing engine, stated:
I have worked with motors. I have operated the motor and it was a petrol engine in my opinion, a big engine, I think a Renault.[8]   
Another operator of the Sobibor gas chambers, Franz Hödl, in his description of the new installation at the camp specifically discounted the use of diesel engines for gassing:
In the engine room there were indeed two engines. There was a petrol engine, probably from a Russian tank, and a diesel engine. The latter was never used, however.[9]
Thus for Sobibor, the engine clearly ran on gasoline, as the only disagreement among the knowledgeable mechanics (Fuchs and Bauer) regarded whether the engine was a Renault motor or a Russian tank motor, and its method of ignition. These technicalities are trivial, and when recalling such details of the engine more than twenty years after the relevant event, one should not expect to be completely accurate on every particular.[10] Moreover, Fuchs and Bauer were confronted with these contradictions during the trial, and a somewhat lengthy debate between them issued, with each witness accusing another of misremembering details. At no point though did they try to deny the basic fact of the use of petrol engine for gassings.[11]
About the engine in Belzec in September 1944 Rudolf Reder stated:
There was an annex made to the “bath” building from the side which was the farthest from the railway line, in which there was a compressor, working from a petrol engine. To this machine gas cylinders were brought. From the compressor the pipes went into each chamber. In each chamber on the wall there was a small netting to which the gas-pipe went.[12]
As we see, at that time Reder assumed that the killing apparatus was a compressor. Whether this implies that he thought that air was pumped out is unclear, as well as it is unclear what role the gas cylinders played.  Regardless of the confusion, Reder spoke of the petrol engine on which the system was based.
In December 1945, Rudolf Reder made another statement:
I myself saw that in that small room there was an engine with petrol fuel that looked very complicated. I remember that the engine had a flywheel, but I could not make out any other specific construction or technical features. This engine was always operated by two technicians, Russians from the armed camp staff. I know only that the engine used 4 cans of petrol each day, because that is how much petrol was brought to the camp every day. It was when the petrol was delivered to the engine room that I briefly had the opportunity to look inside the room.[13] 
Here he no longer calls the “complicated” engine with a “flywheel” a compressor, but reiterates that it was a petrol engine.
MGK have pointed out that Reder did state that the engine exhaust “was evacuated from the engine directly into the open air, and not into the chambers.”[14] As has been noted elsewhere, it is likely that Reder witnessed the exhaust being channelled out of the pipe (directed away from the gas chamber), a point which was similarly made for the other Reinhard camps through the testimony of Sobibor Gasmeister Erich Bauer[15] as well as Treblinka worker Abraham Goldfarb.[16] The aforementioned Treblinka "motorist" Nikolay Shalayev also explicitly testified that during the gassing "the exhaust pipe was covered up and the valve of the pipe was opened, through which the exhaust entered the "bath."[17] This convergence of independent testimonies about an obscure and non-obvious detail speaks well of Reder's credibility on this issue.
Either way, likely from seeing the exhaust channelled into the open air, Reder did express confusion in his memoirs over the engine’s specific role in the gas chamber operation; Reder thought it could be used to kill by high pressure, air suction, or exhaust fumes. This misunderstanding over the engine’s exact role does not detract from Reder’s obvious point that people were brought to the chambers and were murdered.[18]
Another witness who became closely involved with the Belzec engines was the Polish mechanic Kasimierz Czerniak, who helped establish the power supply at the camp. In his work, Czerniak happened to see the engine used for homicidal gassings: 
The motor of the small power station had 15 H.V., in contrast to the large power station which had the power of 200 H.V. From this motor, pipes led underground to take away the engine exhaust. Where these pipes went, I don’t know.(…) The 200 H.V. motor was mounted on a base at the back of the barrack.[19]   
Later, Czerniak had the opportunity to more closely examine this barrack.
I have seen that on this barrack there were three doors from a wooden ramp and that from this ramp, a narrow gauged railway led to another part of the camp. The aforementioned doors were sliding doors which locked with hooks/pegs; they moved with the help of wheels on a track. The “Blacks” laughingly told me that this barrack was a store. I understood that it was where the gas chamber was located.
Czerniak also helped maintain and repair the engines used by the Germans at the camp during Belzec’s operation. This means that when Czerniak states that, “The 200 H.V. motor was powered by gasoline, as were the three other mentioned cars,”[20] his statement comes with a good deal of direct knowledge and experience with the engines. Despite Czerniak’s key vantage point, MGK have omitted him completely from their works, while Mattogno ignored him from a list of Belzec witnesses “known to be important” in regards to the engine.[21]  
For Treblinka the key testimony is that of a guard Nikolay Shalayev, who was one of the infamous Treblinka "motorists" (he is often mentioned in testimonies together with Ivan "The Terrible" Marchenko, usually as "Ivan and Nikolay" or "Ivan and Mykola") and who obviously knew the engine he himself operated:
It was an ordinary, four-cylinder engine which used gasoline and, according to the story, of the German machine operator, was of Russian make. The engine was installed on a wooden frame and started as soon as people were herded into the gas chamber rooms, whereupon the exhaust pipe was covered up and the valve of the pipe was opened, through which the exhaust entered the "bath".[22]
Shalayev added that he was later operating a generator that resided in the same facility as the gassing engine. The generator supplied electricity for the whole camp.[23]
There also exist testimonies about petrol engines by the people whose degree of closeness to the engine is unknown. We will list them to show that not only diesels were mentioned by such witnesses.
Ukrainian guard Ivan Semyonovich Shevchenko made a very detailed statement on September 8, 1944 to a senior SMERSH investigator of the 65th army. Among other things he reported:
A stone building, the so-called “dushegubka”, had nine chambers inside, in which people were murdered by asphyxiation with gases. In the tenth chamber there was an engine of high power which pumped the gas into the chambers.[24][...]In the last chamber on the right side in the north-eastern corner of the building there was a high-power engine which worked on petrol or ligroin.[25]
 Treblinka inmate Oskar Strawczynski also wrote in 1944 that he heard from others that:
The doors are hermetically sealed, the motors start to work. The air from inside is sucked out and fumes from burnt gasoline forced in.[26]
From the testimonies of Shalayev (Treblinka), Hödl (Sobibor), Fuchs (Sobibor), Bauer (Sobibor), Reder (Belzec) and Czerniak (Belzec) it is clear that the engines in the Reinhard camps were petrol.
However, there exist lots of testimonies by survivors, perpetrators and bystanders about diesel engines. It should be noted, however, that they’re not as numerous as testimonies which don’t talk about the type of engine at all. How these testimonies could arise is easily explainable. For example, as we’ve seen, it was customary to keep generators (which likely were all diesels) together with the gassing engines, and from this arrangement, confusion about the engines among those who had no direct knowledge about them was inevitable. Even the camp commandants would not necessarily know – or care – about the type of engine used, as long as the engines did their job.
In regard to Sobibor, instead of recognizing the clear and direct evidence of petrol engines, MGK prefer to dishonestly criticize a hearsay report by Stanislaw Szmajzner, who reports of receiving a letter from a friend in the extermination area and who refers to a diesel engine.[27] The letter is meaningless in contrast to the testimony of three perpetrators with a first hand and far superior vantage of the engine types.
In 1979 former Ukrainian guard Ignat Danilchenko testified:
Actually, this was a gas chamber where the arriving Jews were killed in six gas chambers (250 persons in each) by exhaust gasses from diesel engines which were located near the gas chamber. I remember hearing from other guards (I cannot remember their names) that there were two such diesels, supposedly from tanks. I did not personally see these engines, and I do not know precisely where they were located in the area of the gas chamber.[28]
If the witness were a bit less precise and didn’t tell that he hadn’t seen the engines himself, we would have another “diesel witness.” This testimony shows once again that information about diesels was spread through rumours.
SS-man Hubert Gomerski, overseer of Waldkommandos in Sobibor, gave this evidence in 1965:
The gassing was done with engine exhaust. The engine room was built right next to the gas chamber. This was a diesel engine that stood on a solid platform.[...]Near the motor were working 2 or 3 Ukrainians who serviced it. Toni Getzinger and later Hödl were there to supervise.[...]I remember only that it was a diesel engine. Diesel fuel was often brought to it. I had little knowledge about engines. I suppose it was a diesel.[29]
Yet Hödl testified about a petrol gassing engine and a diesel generator. This is another example that illustrates confusion of witnesses. SS-man Alfred Ittner, a bookkeeper of stolen property in Sobibor:
During the time of my activity in camp III the gassing engine – it was a captured Russian diesel engine – was serviced by Erich Bauer.[30]
Yet we have Bauer on record stating that the engine was a petrol one.
Another Sobibor bookkeeper, Hans-Heinz Schütt, also testified about the diesel engine, claiming to have seen it.[31] Of course, in light of the above information, and not knowing about the level of Schütt’s technical knowledge, his testimony cannot be taken at face value.
Finally, in 1961 Kurt Bolender told about “a small annex where the engine of a Russian T-34 tank should have resided. I don’t know that exactly, because I haven’t seen it. It was only what was told to us.”[32] Deniers usually point out that engine of T-34 was a diesel. However, first of all, this is an explicit hearsay. And second, because of shortage of V-2 diesels in the autumn of 1941 it was ordered to implement the ways to install old carburettor engines M17-T in T-34 tanks, which had been done on a limited scale.[33]
Perhaps most prominent among the Reinhard witnesses was Kurt Gerstein, head of the Waffen-SS disinfection office, who famously visited Belzec and witnessed a gassing in late summer 1942. In his reports, the gassing engine is ascribed to run on diesel. Gerstein referred to statements from Globocnik (hearsay) regarding the need to “improve the service in our gas chambers, which function on diesel engine exhaust.”[34] Throughout his reports, while several mentions are made regarding the diesel engine, particularly its alleged breakdown, nowhere does Gerstein report actually seeing the engine. Instead, it is more likely that Gerstein passed on the diesel bit from Globocnik or Pfannenstiel (see below).[35] It is also interesting to note that, in the publications following his discussions with Dutch resistance members in February 1943, no specific reference is made of diesel engines; instead, the engine is simply described as that of a “big tractor.”[36]
Accompanying Gerstein to Belzec was Professor Wilhelm Pfannenstiel, director of the Hygienic Institute at the University of Marburg/Lahn. In 1959, Pfannenstiel stated:
The engine itself was not in a separate room, rather, it stood freely on a podium. It was operated with diesel fuel.[37]
In a confidential interview with Holocaust denier Paul Rassinier, which MGK ignore in their work, Pfannenstiel discussed the gassing at Belzec, including the engine which he personally viewed. In the talk Pfannenstiel related the point about a diesel motor, which had six straight cylinders, and whose strength he guessed was 200 horsepower.[38]   
One of the perpetrators at Belzec, Karl Alfred Schluch, also thought the gas chambers used diesel:
For the gassings an engine was started up. I cannot give a more detailed description of the engine because I never saw it. I am certainly not a specialist, but I would say that based on the sound, it was a medium-sized diesel engine.[39]
Schluch was guessing on the engine type simply based on sound, a very weak form of identification for engines when compared to any other forms, especially for a lay person (“I am certainly not a specialist”). Aural evidence in this case is also weak because it is possible that at times a diesel engine was also turned on in order to drown out noises associated with the gassing procedure. Although at present we don't have direct evidence that such a procedure was employed at Aktion Reinard camps, we do know that it was sometimes employed in Auschwitz and Majdanek[40], therefore this possibility can be argued for by analogy. It need not have been employed always, or even often, but only a few times for a few witnesses to associate the sound of a diesel engine with gassings.
Another German perpetrator of the exterminations at Belzec, SS-Scharführer Heinrich Gley, was unable to say what type of engine was employed during the gassings:
After the doors of the gas chambers had been closed, a large engine-I don’t know whether it was a diesel or an Otto (gasoline) engine-was started up by a mechanic from the Hiwi section. The exhaust fumes of this engine were fed into the chambers and caused the death of the Jews.[41] 
Ukrainian guard Aleksandr Semigodov was just as uncertain:
The people doomed to death were driven into these gas chambers or “dushegubki”, as they were also known, where they were killed with exhaust gas from a diesel motor (found in the same building) or some other motor.[42]
That there were rumours around the camp that diesel was employed is evidenced by Dubois’ statement that “it was said to be a Russian tank engine (diesel).”[43] He states that he himself didn’t see the engine.[44]
Ukrainian guard Filipp Babenko testified that there was a high-powered diesel motor behind the wooden gas chamber that fed the gas into the chambers.[45] However it is not clear from his testimony whether he had ever seen the engine himself or what the level his technical expertise was.
Finally, Josef Oberhauser, the leader of guard platoon in Belzec, said in 1971 that “at first the Jews were killed with a gas, but after the camp was enlarged, they were killed by diesel exhaust”. He points out, however, that “by that time, though, I was already serving in Lublin and had nothing more to do with this matter [i.e. gas chamber enlargement].”[46] Therefore his statement about the later use of diesel is just an assumption, probably from postwar statements.
As for Treblinka, in the Central Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes in Poland’s 1946 report on Treblinka, based upon the testimonies of numerous witnesses, no reference is made to the type of engine employed for the gassings at the camp. Similarly, in Yankiel Wiernik’s A Year in Treblinka, he only describes the engine as:
A motor taken from a dismantled Soviet tank stood in the power plant. This motor was used to pump the gas, which was let into the chambers by connecting the motor with the inflow pipes.[47]  
Not even later during the Eichmann trial did Wiernik specify an engine type. In a 1980 cross-examination regarding the Demjanjuk case, Otto Horn, who worked in the extermination area of Treblinka, did not mention an engine type either (“I don't know. There was some engine somehow”).[48]
Also, another witness who inspected the extermination process at Treblinka was Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Höss. In his several descriptions of Treblinka, Höss only speaks of carbon monoxide from engine exhaust, though it is unclear if Höss personally saw the engines or was simply told about them.
An engine room equipped with various types of engines taken from large trucks and tanks had been built next to the gas chambers. These were started up and the exhaust gases were fed by pipes into the gas chambers, thereby killing the people inside.[49] 
While many Treblinka witnesses don’t specify an engine type, others do. Ukrainian Pavel Leleko, who served as a guard at the camp, stated in February 1945 that “people were exterminated with gas obtained from running diesel engines.”[50] Nikolai Malagon, another Ukrainian guard at Treblinka, stated in 1978 that people were murdered in gas chambers with “pipes carrying exhaust gas from running diesel motors.”[51]Yet another Ukrainian guard, Prokofij Ryabtsev, told in 1965 about diesel engines used for gassing, but without specifying any details.[52] Ukrainian guard Aleksandr Skidan remembered in 1950 how Shalayev and Marchenko were turning on the diesel gassing engine.[53] In a late 1947 report, Jewish inmate Elias Rosenberg wrote that the gas chambers were supplied with “engine exhaust gas of a single diesel motor.”[54] Treblinka survivor Samuel Willenberg also twice stressed in his account that he was told that the gassing engines ran on diesel (never seeing them).[55]
In sum, the statements of witnesses who identified the gassing engine as diesel but who did not claim to have seen it or to have a sufficient level of technical knowledge to identify the engine, who were not directly involved with the engines themselves, or had little reason to establish such a trivial and unimportant (to them) detail cannot be used to establish the type of the engine.[56] The talk of diesel can easily be ascribed to rumours and confusion within the camp by misidentifying any engine as the gassing engine, especially as diesel engines were regularly used as power generators. It is also possible that some of the later witnesses relied on the publicity of Gerstein’s diesel meme. However, all of the talk about a diesel engine used for gassing is simply mistaken. Those who had a direct knowledge of  the engines and a sufficient level of expertise in all three camps (Fuchs, Bauer and Hoedl in Sobibor, Czerniak and Reder in Belzec, and Shalayev in Treblinka), men who helped operate, install, or worked in close proximity to the gassing engines all agree on the use of gasoline for homicidal gassings.
In response to challenges of the relevancy of the issue, Revisionists have shown themselves to be inflexible defenders of their diesel gambit without properly addressing the evidence; instead, the responses are largely ad hominen. Thomas Dalton criticized a limited proposal of revising the diesel issue for only citing two Reinhard gasoline witnesses (it actually cites four, in addition to four petrol gas van witnesses), and for it not being suggested by other Holocaust scholars.[57] Mattogno has also parroted this latter point, suggesting that those who propose the use of gasoline instead of diesel engines for gassings have no reputation or dignity worthy of mention, and cannot be taken seriously.[58] Graf merely asserted that the proposal exposed the “queer mindset” of the author, while quickly dismissing witness accounts (without any proper analysis or study).[59] Revisionist writer Paul Grubach also dismissed such a revision on the engine type, saying that if the engines ran on petrol, than it would undermine the credibility of survivors who testified about a diesel engine.[60] 
It is no wonder that the Revisionists are so dogmatic on this issue. Ever since Friedrich Paul Berg first proposed the argument at the 1983 International Revisionist Conference, wherein he articulated the inefficiency of diesel engines for mass murder, the diesel issue has been an integral part of the Revisionist case against the Reinhard camps.[61] The point was referenced and praised in every major article and work on the camps since Berg’s presentation, including in MGK’s trilogy.[62] The same technical arguments raised against diesels could not be maintained against petrol engines, as Berg himself recognized.[63] Thus, if the engines ran on petrol (as the strongest evidence shows), then one of the central Revisionist arguments against gassings at the three Reinhard camps, as well as the nearly three decades of work Friedrich Paul Berg has put into the diesel issue, has proven to be worthless.
That deniers are so demonstratively opposed to this proper revision of history, where primary sources are re-examined with a critical approach towards their evidentiary weight and significance and interpreted appropriately, exposes sheer hypocrisy on their part. In spite of the criticisms by Dalton and Mattogno over a supposed lack of scholarly support in the revision, the charge is manifestly wrong. It is true that some general Holocaust academics find the detail of an engine’s fuel so trivial that few pay much attention to it, or simply rely on the famous statement by Gerstein.[64] For specialists, though, diesel engines have been rejected in favour of petrol. Peter Witte[65], Jules Schelvis[66], Christopher Browning[67], and Martin Gilbert[68], have all proven willing to place petrol engines at the Reinhard camps on the basis of direct evidence. Thus, the deniers’ favoured diesel gambit has been proven to be irrelevant to an objective look at the evidence.

[1] Friedrich Berg, ‘The Diesel Gas Chambers: Myth within a Myth,’ in G. Rudolf (ed.), Dissecting the Holocaust, pp.435-469; this is an updated and slightly expanded version of Berg’s original article, ‘The Diesel Gas Chambers – Myth Within a Myth,’ The Journal of Historical Review, Vol. 5 No. 1 (1984), pp.15-46.
[2] The original argument for this approach can be found in Sergey Romanov’s blog post, ‘Why the “diesel issue” is irrelevant,’ first published on 25 June 2006, Holocaust Controversies,   http://holocaustcontroversies.blogspot.com/2006/06/why-diesel-issue-is-irrelevant.html;
[3] Kogon, Giftgas, p.114, citing StA Bonn AZ: 8 Js 52/60 (AZ. ZSL 203 AR-Z 69/59, Volume I, pages 138-41).
[4] Kogon, Giftgas, p.141, citing ZSL Volume 411, Part VII, p. 16ff. Piller gave his ‘gasoline’ testimony to the Soviets on 19.5.45.
[5] Posted by Jerzy Halbersztadt, 11.10.95 at http://weber.ucsd.edu/~lzamosc/chelm00.htm .
[6] See the first section of this chapter.
[7] Erich Fuchs, 2.4.1963, BAL162/208 AR-Z 251/59, Bd. 9, 1784.
[8] Erich Bauer, 15.11.1965, StA Dortmund 45 Js 27/6,1 Ordner November 1965, p.557.
[9] Franz Hödl, 29.3.1966, April HAP 1960 JS 27/61, p.50.
[10] That MGK and other revisionists often dismiss testimonies on such minutia only exposes their faulty approach to witness testimony. Such dismissals are on the same levels as discounting statements from former Allied soldiers recalling shelling from the infamous German 88s, even when it can be documented from German records that no 88 mm artillery was present. Does this mean they were not shelled? They did not fight?
[11] StA Dortmund 45 Js 27/61, Ordner November 1965, p. 557ff.
[12] Protokol doprosa, Rubin [sic!] Germanovich Reder, 22.09.1944, GARF 7021-149-99, p.17.
[13] Rudolf Reder, 29.12.1945, BAL 162/208 AR-Z 252/59, p.1177.
[14] Mattogno, Bełżec, pp.38-40; Thomas Kues, ‘Rudolf Reder’s Belzec- A Critical Reading,’ CODOH, http://www.codoh.com/newrevoices/nrtkreder.html.
[15] Roberto Muehlenkamp, ‘The oh-so-unreliable Rudolf Reder,’ Holocaust Controversies blog, 5.9.10, http://holocaustcontroversies.blogspot.com/2010/09/oh-so-unreliable-rudolf-reder.html; In his testimony, Bauer stated, “The chambers were permanently connected to the engine; the way it worked was that if a wooden plug was pulled out, the fumes went outside; if the plug was pushed into the pipe, the fumes went into the chamber.”
[16] Protokol doprosa, Abram (Abraham Goldfarb), 21.09.1944, GARF 7445-2-134, pp.31R, 32; Sergey Romanov, ‘If They’re The Best What About the Rest?’, Holocaust Controversies, 9.6.07, http://www.holocaustcontroversies.blogspot.com/2007/06/if-theyre-best-what-about-rest.html. Goldfarb clearly states that “when the engine was used for killing people, gases entered the chambers through a system of pipes, but when the main goal was the electric supply, gases were exhausted directly outside.”
[17] Protokol doprosa, Nikolay Shalayev, 18.12.1950, in the Soviet criminal case against Fedorenko, vol. 15, p. 164. Exhibit GX-125 in US v. Reimer.
[18] It should be noted that the fact that Reder mentioned petrol engine shows independence of his testimony from that of Gerstein. However, Kues argues at length for the possibility of influence in his ‘Rudolf Reder’s Belzec - A Critical Reading’ mentioned above. He bases the alleged connection between the statements on the number of people per chamber – 750 in some accounts of  Gerstein and in one account of Reder. However this connection is refuted by the fact that Reder mentions this number in his 1944 testimony (22.09.1944, GARF 7021-149-99, p.17): “In each chamber 750-770 people were crowded.” Gerstein, of course, officially testified about 750 people per chamber only in 1945.
[19] Vernehmung Kasimierz Czerniak, 18.10.1945, BAL 162/208 AR-Z 252/59, pp.1171-2.
[20] Statement recorded in margins of document.
[21] Mattogno, ‘Il comitato di soccorso Zimmerman.’
[22] Protokol doprosa, Nikolay Shalayev, 18.12.1950, in the Soviet criminal case against Fedorenko, vol. 15, p. 164. Exhibit GX-125 in US v. Reimer.
[23] Court proceedings against Nikolay Shalayev, 20.12.1951, in the Soviet criminal case against Fedorenko, vol. 15, p. 152. Exhibit GX-126 in US v. Reimer.
[24] Despite the highly accurate nature of his testimony, Shevchenko may be confused on the issue of the tenth chamber. It seems more probable that Abraham Goldfarb was right when he described ten chambers for gassing and a small room for the engine near the last chamber (GARF 7445-2-134, p.33). Also cf. Yurovsky’s drawing of the new gas chamber building above.
[25] Protokol doprosa, Ivan Semyonovich Shevchenko, 08.09.1944. GARF 7445-2-134, p.19.
[26] Strawczynski, Ten Months in Treblinka, p.49.
[27] MGK, Sobibór, p.29.
[28]Interrogation of Ignat Terentyevich Danilchenko, 21.11.1979, available at http://nizkor.org/ftp.py?people/d/danilchenko.ignat.t/danilchenko.001.
[29] Statement of Hubert Gomerski on 30.11.1965, copy in NIOD 804/48, pp.136-137.
[30] BAL 162/208 AR-Z 251/59, Bd. 7, p.1426.
[31] Interrogation of Hans-Heinz Schütt, 7.6.1961, BAL 162/208 AR-Z 251/59, Bd. 4, p.666.
[32] BAL 162/208 AR-Z 252/59, Bd. 11, p.193.
[33] I. Shmelyov, ‘Tank T-34’, Tekhnika i vooruzhenije, no. 11-12, 1998. Another author confirms that some T-34s had M-17, a powerful aviation motor, installed, see E. Zubov, Dvigateli tankov (iz istorii tankostrojenija), 1991.
[34] Arad, Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka, p. 101; PS-1553.
[35] Mattogno has argued that Gerstein did see the engine by his description of its breakdown and the whipping of the Ukrainian helper by Hackenholt. See Mattogno, ‘Il comitato di soccorso Zimmerman’. Even in the description of the breakdown fiasco, Gerstein would not necessarily have seen the engine, and provides no details that he did. We also find it unlikely for the breakdown to have occurred, as it was emphatically denied by Pfannenstiel, who clearly stated to have seen the engine.
[36] Mention is made of Gerstein discussing diesels in February 1943, as J.H. Ubbink wrote to Erika Arajs, an official at the Department of Justice in Nuremberg, in September 1949. Ubbink could very well have been antedating the diesel references which cropped up after Gerstein’s. See Florent Brayard, ‘An Early Report by Kurt Gerstein’, Bulletin du Centre de recherche francais a Jerusalem 6, 2000, pp.157-174.
[37] Wilhelm Pfannenstiel, 9.11.1959, BAL 162/208 AR-Z 25259, Bd. 1, p.138.
[38] Paul Rassinier, Debunking the Genocide Myth, Newport: Noontide, 1978, Chapter 13 V. Conclusion, http://www.ihr.org/books/rassinier/debunking2-13.html (translation of several of Rassinier’s French articles); Rassinier’s secret meeting with Pfannenstiel is problematic for MGK’s theory as Pfannenstiel theoretically could have denied and refuted the gassing charge without punishment to the world’s then foremost Holocaust denier, and instead proclaim the ‘truth’ of a delousing function at Belzec. Instead, Pfannenstiel continued to defend the historic veracity of the gassings.
[39] Karl Alfred Schluch, 11.11.1961, BAL 162/208 AR-Z 252/59, Bd. 8, p.1514.
[40] Pery Broad wrote in his 1945 report about a truck running near crematorium I in order to drown out screams, and during the Frankfurt Auschwitz trial witnesses Edward Pys, Gerhard Hess, Ignacy Golik and Jan Sikorski described various vehicles running near the gassing site in order to drown out noises. For references see essay "How reliable and authentic is the Broad report?" at the Holocaust Controversies blog, http://holocaustcontroversies.blogspot.com/2011/10/how-reliable-and-authentic-is-broad.html. Similar procedure is reported by witnesses for Majdanek. In 1945 witness Willi Reinartz described a tractor motor used for this purpose (Barbara Schwindt, Das Konzentrations- und Vernichtungslager Majdanek, 2005, S. 231). So did Jan Nowak who was interrogated in 1947 (AIPN NTN 144, p. 162).
[41] Heinrich Gley, 8.5.1961, BAL 162/208 AR-Z 252/59, p.1291.
[42] Vernehmung Aleksandr Illarionovitsch Semigodow, 24.05.1973, BAL 162/208 AR-Z 643/71, Bd 4, p. 707. Note that in the German version Russian “dushegubki” is mistranslated as “Gaswagen” – gas vans. Although the term “dushegubki” was more often used in USSR to denote gas vans, it was also used as a general term for any gas chamber.
[43] Karl Dubois, 15.9.1971, copy in NIOD 804/47, p.44.
[44] Karl Dubois, 16.9.1961, copy in NIOD 804/47, p.74.
[45] Protokol doprosa, Filipp Pavlovich Babenko, 12.11.1948. ASBU Kiev 6397-58240, pp.12-19.
[46] Josef Oberhauser, 15.11.1971, in court proceedings against Hoffmann et al., 8 Ks 1/70, vol. 3, p. 881, Hessischen Hauptstaatsarchiv Wiesbaden. Exhibit GX-95 in US v. Reimer.
[47] Wiernik, ‘A Year in Treblinka,’ pp. 157-158.
[48] Extracts from Deposition of Otto Horn in the Matter of John Demjanjuk (Part 3 of 5), http://nizkor.org/hweb/people/h/horn-otto/horn-003.html
[49] Hoess, Death Dealer, pp. 42-45.
[50] Interrogation of Pavel Vladimirovich Leleko, excerpt available at http://nizkor.org/ftp.py?camps/aktion.reinhard/treblinka/leleko.001
[51] Interrogation of Nikolai Petrovich Malagon, available at http://nizkor.org/ftp.py?camps/aktion.reinhard/treblinka/malagon.001
[52] Protokol doprosa, Prokofij Nikolayevich Ryabtsev, 03.02.1965. Exhibit GX-121 in US v. Reimer.
[53] Court statement of Georgij Aleksandrovich Skidan, 26.05.1950. Exhibit GX-141 in US v. Reimer.
[54] Elias Rosenberg, Tatsachenbericht, Wien, 24.12.1947, pp.4 of statement. Available online at http://www.vho.org/D/dfd/5.html.
[55] Willenberg, Revolt in Treblinka, 26, 35. “Now they poison the people with gas”, I was told with terrifying simplicity. “With gas made by a diesel engine (…)The ragged prisoner who had spoken before now explained…”A diesel motor from a Soviet tank is started up, producing burning gas which is piped into the chambers”.”
[56] MGK and other deniers have not been able to explain why the engine type and particulars have any special relevance to them beyond the general fact that it was an engine, and that its exhaust was used to murder people inside gas chambers. Do witnesses of mass executions need to know the details of the guns employed? Such information would only be relevant or worthwhile to individuals who requisitioned, operated, fueled, and maintained those engines; for such witnesses, they unanimously agree on gasoline. In short, such rigorous information should not be expected from lay or indirect witnesses.
[57] Dalton, Debating the Holocaust, p.111.
[58] Mattogno, “Il comitato di soccorso Zimmerman”; “È chiaro che, per chi non ha una dignità, una reputazione e una coerenza da difendere, qualunque assurdità, qualunque idiozia è lecita. Ma per gli storici olocaustici che hanno una dignità, una reputazione e una coerenza da difendere, la cosa non è così semplice.”
[59] Jürgen Graf, “David Irving and the “Aktion Reinhardt Camps,” Inconvenient History, 1/2,  http://www.inconvenienthistory.com/archive/2009/volume_1/number_2/david_irving_and_the_aktion_reinhardt_camps.php.
[60] Paul Grubach, ‘Provanian Exterminationism, the “Death Camp” Treblinka, and the Demjanjuk Case,’ http://www.whale.to/b/grubach.html; Grubach tried to pre-empt charges that he was nitpicking testimonies, stating that his criticisms were justified because “one of the key issues in any murder case is the type and operation of the murder weapon.” As previously mentioned, there is no reason for witnesses who weren’t directly involved in the operation of the gas chambers to know their exact technical details. Also, Grubach seems unaware that the witnesses who were directly involved with the operations in all three camps all converge on petrol as the fuel source, not diesel. Thus, Grubach’s criticism is fallacious and reveals an ignorance of those testimonies he so eagerly wishes to dismiss.   
[61] Berg, ‘Diesel Gas Chambers.’
[62] M&G, Treblinka; pp. 42-43, 121-123, 132, 308; Mattogno, Bełżec, p.56; MGK, Sobibór, p.29, p.258. In Treblinka, Mattogno and Graf praise Berg’s (now irrelevant) work as shaking the history of the Reinhard camps “right to the very foundations.”
[63] Berg, ‘Diesel Gas Chambers.’ For example, Berg wrote, “If Gerstein had claimed that the carbon monoxide was generated by gasoline engines, his story might be more credible. Gasoline engines can, indeed, kill rather easily and with little or no warning because their exhaust is almost odorless. (…)Clearly, the logical choice between the two types of engines as a source of carbon monoxide would always have been the gasoline engine. From spark ignition or gasoline engines, one can easily get 7% carbon monoxide, but from Diesel engines one can never get even as much as 1% with liquid fuels.” Mattogno and Graf also accept this point in Treblinka, pp.42-43.
[64] For instance see Evans, Third Reich At War, p.292, p.558, or Saul Friedländer, The Years of Extermination. Nazi Germany and the Jews 1939-1945. London, 2007, p.431.
[66] Schelvis remarks throughout Sobibor about petrol engines.
[67]Browning,  Evidence for the Implementation of the Final Solution: “Gerstein, citing Globocnik, claimed the camps used diesel motors, but witnesses who actually serviced the engines in Belzec and Sobibor (Reder and Fuchs) spoke of gasoline engines.”
[68]‘Sobe’, Post “Response,” Thread “Letter to Sir Gilbert re. the diesel issue,” RODOH forum, 22.9.07, http://rodohforum.yuku.com/reply/8533/t/Letter-to-Sir-Gilbert-re-the-diesel-issue.html#reply-8533; “I will study these carefully, and amend my text accordingly.”


  1. I like this car. It is very compact and flexible. Its color and design
    is super and attractive.Second Hand Vans

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. i like your post! it's really nice and appreciative. red diesel

  4. I refer to footnote 38. You make it appear that this footnote will confirm your claims about the sedret meeting. You allege between Rassinier and Pfannenstiel, but it doesn't. Your readers should click on the link and search the document for relevant phrases. What evidence have you of this secret meeting?

  5. What evidence have you that this secret meeting took place between Pfannenstiel and Rassinier? Your footnotes reveal nothing.

  6. The meeting between Rassinier and Pfannenstiel is described in Rassinier's book. Which is what the footnote specifies. Can't you read?

  7. Ctrl + F "pfan" = 0 results on the page linked to in footnote 38.

  8. Mr Nicholl,

    I suggest you try CTRL + READING. Pfannenstiel is not mentioned by name but he is clearly Rassinier's "strange visitor":

    "One day in the month of June 1963, I had a strange visitor, a German, who was large and of good carriage, who looked about sixty (but during our conversation I learned that he was actually much older) who had a little something military in his bearing, who was very distinguished in appearance, and who was exquisitely polite. In his hands was my first book on the subject, the German edition of Mensonge d'Ulysse, in which a book marker was sticking out.

    He introduced himself and told me about the purpose of his visit, which he wanted kept absolutely confidential. I Promised to preserve that confidentiality, and that is why I have presented what was said in our conversation in such a way that he cannot be identified; the account of what he told me alone being authentic.

    He did not want to have his name given because during the war he had been a high ranking civilian in an important government service. He had not been a military man, but was a professional within the civil service. He did not conceal from me, that, although he had not been an active National Socialist, he had, nevertheless, given his support to the Party in 1933. When the war was over, he had narrowly escaped being a defendant at Nuremberg. Although he had been "denazified" like everyone else, he had lost his former governmental position. He had suffered a great many difficulties, and he had had enough. He did not want to begin all that again. The story that he had been carrying around inside him for twenty years burdened him, but he was to be excused for the cowardice which had made him keep it to himself until the present. When the war ended, he had four children, all very young, and, at more than fifty, a whole new career to carve out.


    "You say, and I believe you," he said in substance, "that not one of the witnesses who have claimed to have been present at exterminations by gas have, until now, been able to prove it to you. I have just read your last writings on the matter, and I feel that you are on the point of concluding that there were none. Seeing the interest that your works have aroused, I thought that it would be very dangerous, both for you and for Germany, if you do, since you could not fail to be discredited, a fate which you do not deserve. Moreover, if you were discredited, Germany, at the same time, would have lost her only defender who has some hearing. And, so I have come to tell you myself that I have been present at an extermination by gas..."



  9. "etc." indeed.

    Ctrl + F "gasoline" = 0 results (likewise ("petrol")

    Ctrl + F "diesel:

    When inquiry was made by my [Rassinier’s] visitor [“Pfannenstiel”] as to what he meant, he described his DIESEL engine at Belzec... "But," declared Globocnik, "it is only a makeshift installation; what I need is a more deadly gas, which is easier to use. That is why I have sent Gunther to get from Gerstein those things that are better adapted to do this job."

    "At the end of the hall was the room where the DIESEL motor was located in the center on a cement base and a little below floor level. I asked about this motor and how it was connected up to exhaust outlets in each of the six rooms. It was a truck motor, about 1.50 meters long, a little less than 1 meter wide, and a good meter in height, including the concrete base.

    In vain I tried to explain to him that, with 200 horsepower or even more, a DIESEL engine could not produce, in a quarter of an hour, the necessary toxic concentration in 250 to 300 cubic meters of air to cause death. That faced with the impossibility of getting 700 to 800 persons -- 40 to 50 at a maximum, my interlocutor corrected -- into rooms of 40 to 45 cubic meters, and knowing the limitations of a DIESEL engine, the writer of the document had to reduce to almost nothing the quantity of air to be made toxic.

    I tried to return the conversation to a discussion of the "quarter of an hour" that the gassing was supposed to have lasted, by expressing the opinion that the length of the breakdown of the DIESEL engine, which lasted two hours and forty nine minutes, according to the Gerstein Document, could actually have been not a breakdown, but the added time that this engine required to poison the air sufficiently to cause death. I had no success with this suggestion. My visitor was sure that there had been not the least engine trouble and that the gassing took only a quarter of an hour.

    Anyone reading this post and the comments underneath would think that Rassinier had met Pfannenstiel without any doubt, and that he had told him a convincing story as to how the gassings occurred. What we have instead is some anonymous joker repeating the tall story about diesel gas.

  10. Dear Mr. Nicholl, if you don't recognize Pfannenstiel in Rassinier's guest, there's no reason to talk to you further. You obviously lack any critical reasoning and comprehension faculties.

  11. V-engine, 8-cylinder, water cooled
    Do we know if this was actually said or if it was added as clarification?


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