I notice that the Holocaust History Project has an excellent collection of materials on Auschwitz, including specific material relating to aspects of Holocaust denial, tackling the arguments of Holocaust denial on its own (pseudo-scientific) terms as well as on other levels. I read the recent essay on Treblinka with some interest and I found this an interesting and insightful addition. However, denial in this regard focuses primarily on gassings with (diesel) engine exhaust supposedly being "impossible" or "absurd" in the respective circumstances described by the relevant witnesses. Although the Web site presents some excellent material I cannot see anything which specifically addresses this aspect of Holocaust denial which concentrates on the feasibility of using diesel engine exhaust in Aktion Reinhard and in gas vans. I make this point only because it is clear that this is a key component of their "arguments" as I have encountered them on the Web (although it was not an issue in the Irving-Lipstadt/Penguin libel case). Are there any plans to respond to this common assertion with scientifically researched essays, and historically based ones dealing with the enormity and convergence of existing historical evidence, in the same way as there have been with respect to Auschwitz?
Harry W. Mazal OBE Responds:This question has been brought up again and again by Holocaust deniers. Our colleague, Dr. Daniel Keren, produced a brief article some years ago that addresses the question in considerable detail:
Holocaust deniers tend to shy away from documented, technical responses such as the one prepared by Dr. Keren. His response deals only with the use of Diesel engines for gassing victims. The vans and most of the gas chambers - except for Auschwitz - employed gasoline engines that produce masses of highly poisonous carbon monoxide.
Rudolf Hoess, Commandant of Auschwitz explains that he switched over to Zyklon-B after noting that the exhaust gas methods used in other camps were not very efficient. This admission is found on page 2 of his affidavit of April 5, 1946.
We have published a new essay on Treblinka that you might find useful:
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or directly to me or Dr. Mathis.
Harry W. Mazal OBE
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Last modified: December 6, 2003