Matthew Ghobrial Cockerill vs. Thomas Dalton Debate: Discussing Jean-Claude Pressac’s Evidence for Gas Chambers

Editor: Matt Cockerill and Thomas Dalton had a debate on the Holocaust which can be found at Both participants did an excellent job, and displayed a civility that is often lacking in such debates. WearsWar will run a series of articles written by John Wear over the next several months refuting Matt Cockerill’s statements in this debate.

From CODOH: “Cockerill is a rather knowledgeable young man, and as such this debate is of interest not merely because of the topic itself, but because in our estimation, this intelligent fellow is a fair representation of what scholarly (or at least the attempt thereof) anti-revisionism looks like in the younger generation. So how did this up-and-coming academic and devotee of “Holocostodoxy” fare against the battle-hardened scholastic acumen of Mr. Dalton?”

The Evidence Presented For Homicidal Gas Chambers

This article discusses Matt’s evidence for the existence of homicidal gas chambers at Auschwitz-Birkenau. It also discusses the cremation capacity at Auschwitz-Birkenau, as well as other evidence that Matt produces in this debate concerning Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Matt Cockerill writes on page four: “Concerning evidence for gas chambers specifically at Auschwitz, consider for instance “Leichenkeller I” (“corpse cellar 1”) in Crematorium 2, a homicidal gas chamber which deniers have frequently alleged was merely a morgue. As Jean-Claude Pressac demonstrated in his Auschwitz: Technique and Operation of the Gas Chambers (1989) and Die Krematorium von Auschwitz: Die Technik des Massenmordes (1993), orders for a gas-tight door and hydrogen cyanide detectors were placed for Leichenkeller 1; these features are completely nonsensical for a morgue. Moreover, the room next to Leichenkeller I was described in contemporaneous German documents as an “undressing room,” something that perfectly corroborates the eyewitness testimony about undressing before gassing, but is an incoherent description of a morgue. A reference to an intended introduction of “pre-heating” equipment and processes for Leichenkeller 1 also discredits the idea that this was a morgue. The coup de grace is SS-Hauptsturmführer Bischoff’s 29 January 1943 reference to Leichenkeller 1 as a “gassing cellar.”

Matt Cockerill adds on page 33: “On Auschwitz, you have ignored the documents I provided that prove Leichenkeller 1 was a homicidal gas chamber. These include Bischoff’s (29 January 1943) reference to LK1 as a “gassing cellar”; orders for gas-tight doors with peepholes to be equipped to LK 1; and the 6 March 1943 letter from Auschwitz to the Topf company contemplating the installation of a “pre-heating” system in LK1.8 It is just as well that you ignored these documents, since they collectively demolish your theory that LK1 was a morgue.”

Matt Cockerill adds on page 44: “On the third main stage, Auschwitz-Birkenau, my opening statement and rebuttals focused on building documents related to Leichenkeller I, the homicidal gas chamber in Krematoria Two and Three. You simply dodged this abundant evidence, dogmatically insisting LK1—referred to in the documents I cited as a “gassing cellar” in need of “gas-tight doors,” “hydrogen-cyanide detectors,” and a “pre-heating system”—was a mere morgue.”

My response: Historians have traditionally had difficulty documenting the existence of German homicidal gas chambers. Princeton University Jewish history professor Arno J. Mayer acknowledged this fact when he who wrote: “Sources for the study of the gas chambers are at once rare and unreliable.”1

“More difficult chemistry” Source:

Probably the most thorough attempt to document the existence of German homicidal gas chambers was made by French pharmacist Jean-Claude Pressac, who wrote a book published by the Beate Klarsfeld Foundation titled Auschwitz: Technique and Operation of the Gas Chambers. Pressac’s book actually strengthens the Revisionist view of the Holocaust. Both explicitly and implicitly, Pressac discredits countless Holocaust claims and testimonies. Pressac wrote: “This study already demonstrates the complete bankruptcy of the traditional [Holocaust] history…, a history based for the most part on testimonies, assembled according to the need of the moment, truncated to fit an arbitrary truth and sprinkled with a few German documents of uneven value and without any connection to one another.”2

Pressac’s book, printed on 564 oversize pages, includes hundreds of good-quality reproductions of original German architectural plans and diagrams, photographs taken both during and after the war, and many documents with translations. Remarkably, in the entire book, Pressac fails to mention anything about the technique and operation of the German gas chambers. The title of his book is totally false. Revisionists say that since no homicidal gas chambers ever existed in the German concentration camps, Pressac did not write about the technique and operation of the gas chambers because there was nothing to write about.3

Dr. Robert Faurisson wrote:

Jean-Claude Pressac’s massive study of the homicidal gas chambers of Auschwitz and Birkenau appeared two years ago. Had it actually presented the slightest proof for the existence of the alleged gas chambers, media throughout the entire world would have resounded with the news. But instead of an uproar, there has been silence. The explanation for this silence lies in the fact that the author, far from presenting the expected proof, has unintentionally proved that the Revisionists were correct to conclude from their own researches that the gas chambers were only mythical. As will be seen, the Pressac book is a calamity for the Exterminationists, [and] a windfall for the Revisionists.4

Dr. Arthur Butz writes about Pressac’s book:

It is fair to say that one message of Pressac’s book is that, yes, the revisionists and particularly Faurisson are right in their rejections of the traditional or accepted evidence for homicidal gas chambers at Auschwitz. He does not put it that bluntly, but it is there. He then claims that he, almost half a century after the alleged events, has finally gotten the evidence right. The procedure is the usual one; flip through the mountains of documents, rejecting all clearly exculpatory material as the result of deceptive German practices in keeping written records and then, when something that can be given an incriminating interpretation is found, declare it an “enormous gaff(e)” of an unintended confession.

I think I could do the equivalent for any establishment or agency that generates voluminous written records. In these days of “affirmative action” in employment, perhaps I should look for Northwestern University’s gas chambers for white males, while taking the precaution of developing an explanation why I survived. Likewise, a future Pressac can concede that our Pressac is wrong, but that he has finally gotten it right. Thus, this game can go on forever; it represents the future, if there is one, of the legend, and remains the only kind of anti-revisionist essay possible.v

Dr. Faurisson challenged Pressac to find documentary evidence of homicidal gas chambers at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Pressac wrote in response:

The “traditional” historians provided him [Faurisson] with an “abundance of proofs” which were virtually all based on human testimony…But human testimony is fallible. It is unreliable and Faurisson wanted a CONCRETE historical proof, that is proof based on incontestable and irrefutable documents.6

Pressac, however, did not discover any proofs of homicidal gas chambers at Auschwitz or at Birkenau. Instead of proofs, Pressac came up with 39 “criminal traces” or indirect proofs of homicidal gas chambers. In the early 1990s, Pressac perused 88,000 pages of documents secured by the Soviets at Auschwitz and held in Moscow. Pressac did not find any more evidence for German homicidal gas chambers, except for a few circumstantial indicators which he added to his existing collection of criminal traces.7

Based on Pressac’s book, Matt Cockerill writes that “orders for a gas-tight door and hydrogen cyanide detectors were placed for Leichenkeller 1; these features are completely nonsensical for a morgue.” Faurisson wrote regarding gas-tight doors:

A gas-tight door can be found…at any place in a structure in which, as is the case in a crematorium, ovens operate at high temperatures, with the risk of fire, explosion, and gas leakage. They may also be in air-raid shelters, in disinfection gas chambers, in morgues, etc.8

Regarding SS-Hauptsturmführer Bischoff’s letter dated January 29, 1943, Matt says this is the “coup de grace” proving homicidal gas chambers at Birkenau. Pressac, however, was opposed to interpreting this letter as definitive proof of a homicidal gas chamber in crematorium II. Pressac wrote:

To affirm, solely on the basis of the letter of January 29, 1943 that the term “Vergasungskeller” designated a homicidal gas chamber installed in Leichenkeller 1/corpse cellar 1 of Krematorium II, was irresponsible, for though “gas chamber” was correct, there was no proof that it was “homicidal.”9

Faurisson wrote concerning Bischoff’s letter:

This letter, dated January 29, 1943 which contained nothing confidential and was not even stamped “Secret,” states that in spite of all kinds of difficulties, and in particular, despite the frost, the construction of Krema II was nearly completed…The letter states specifically that due to the frost it has not yet been possible to remove the framework from the ceiling of the corpse cellar (which isn’t assigned a number), but that this is not serious since the Vergasungskeller can be used as a provisional morgue (p. 211-217, 432)...

Since the word “Vergasung is standard in German technical language to designate either the phenomenon of gasification, or carburetion in a motor, or disinfection gassing (translated in English as “fumigation”), it is impossible to see how, on the part of the author of the letter at Auschwitz, or on the part of the addressee in Berlin, a meeting of minds could result in the understanding that, for the first and last time, a homicidal gassing was at issue here!10

Carlo Mattogno writes about this letter:

During January 1943 a resurgence of the typhus epidemic was observed, which reached its peak during the first 10 days of February and prompted SS-Brigadeführer Glücks to order drastic measures to be taken…

Let us return to the “Vergasungkeller.” In the light of what we have just described, the most reasonable scenario is that toward the end of January 1943 the SS authorities, desperate to get the typhus epidemic under control, planned to use Leichenkeller 1 of crematorium II temporarily as a gas chamber employing hydrogen cyanide. The name “Vergasungskeller” (gassing cellar) was obviously taken over from the hydrogen cyanide gas chambers of BW 5a and 5b which were also named Vergasungsraum” (gassing room).11

So, Bischoff’s letter dated January 29, 1943, which Matt cites as the “coup de grace” proving homicidal gas chambers at Birkenau, is hardly definitive proof that there were homicidal gas chambers at Birkenau. Pressac’s 39 criminal traces do nothing to prove the existence of homicidal gas chambers at Auschwitz-Birkenau. If there had been homicidal gas chambers at Auschwitz-Birkenau, Holocaust historians would be able to produce far better evidence than Pressac’s 39 criminal traces.

Matt Cockerill writes on page 13: “Denier technical dilettantism cannot plausibly challenge the overwhelming documentary, testimonial, and forensic evidence—briefly discussed in my opening statement—for gassing at Auschwitz.”

My response: I am not sure what Matt Cockerill means by “Denier technical dilettantism.” Numerous Holocaust revisionists have impressive scientific and engineering credentials. These people include:

1. Germar Rudolf—Germar Rudolf should have a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research. However, since Rudolf had written his Rudolf Report, which questioned the existence of homicidal gas chambers at the German camps during World War II, he was regarded as a criminal under German law. Consequently, his Ph.D. thesis was not accepted by the university.

2. Dr. Arthur Robert Butz—Dr. Butz received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Electrical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He later earned his Ph.D. in Control Sciences from the University of Minnesota. Dr. Butz has taught engineering for many decades at Northwestern University. He is the author of numerous technical papers in science and engineering.

3. Dr. William B. Lindsey—Dr. Lindsey had a Ph.D. in Chemistry and was a research chemist employed for 33 years by the DuPont Corporation. Dr. Lindsey testified at the 1985 Ernst Zündel trial that he considered mass homicidal gassings in the German camps to be technically impossible.

4. Dr. Ing Franco Deana—Dr. Deana was an Italian engineer who performed extensive research on the crematoria at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

5. Walter Lüftl— Lüftl is a court-recognized Austrian expert engineer who headed a large engineering firm in Vienna. His Lüftl Report concluded that because of operational and time considerations, quasi-industrial killing using Zyklon B would be impossible.

6. Friedrich Paul Berg—Berg was an American engineer who concluded that diesel gas chambers are not an effective means of committing mass murder.

7. Wolfgang Fröhlich—Fröhlich was an Austrian engineer who said there were no homicidal gas chambers in any of the German camps during World War II. He spent more than 15 years in prison for publicly expressing his conclusions about the nonexistence of the German homicidal gas chambers.

8. Richard Krege– Richard Krege is an Australian engineer who headed a team that conducted a detailed forensic examination at the Treblinka Camp using sophisticated electronic ground. This team found no evidence of mass graves at Treblinka.

9. John C. Ball—Ball is a Canadian geologist who has analyzed air-photo evidence regarding the so-called Holocaust. Ball concludes that to this day there is no air-photo evidence to support the alleged mass murder of the Jews at any location in Europe occupied by the Germans during World War II.

10. Dr. Nicholas Kollerstrom—Dr. Kollerstrom is an English historian of science who was awarded a Ph.D. by University College London.

I don’t know why Matt refers to the work of these men as “denier technical dilettantism.” Certainly, they have the scientific and engineering credentials and experience to reach their conclusions that there were no homicidal gas chambers in any of the German camps. I would appreciate an explanation from Matt.

Matt Cockerill writes on pages 13 and 14: “Your next argument—that at most 900 bodies could have been cremated in the 46 muffles of Auschwitz in a day—is based on a contrived extrapolation of maximal possible civilian-cremation efficiency in contemporary America to the context of a Nazi death camp. Of course, this is an apples-to-oranges comparison. Several critical variables differed in cremation at Auschwitz.

Firstly, multiple bodies at Auschwitz were cremated in a single oven, a practice prohibited in civilian cremation and criminalized in civilian society. Second, most bodies burned at Auschwitz were of children or emaciated adults, whereas most bodies cremated in modern America are those of overweight or obese adults. Third, while civilian crematoria are periodically turned off to accommodate the work and break schedules of free laborers, the Auschwitz slave force kept the Birkenau Crematoria running continuously. (The built-up heat from this continuous use increased the efficiency of the cremation process.) Fourth, and at a more general level, the goal of civilian cremation is to burn an individual corpse into a fine white powder, whereas the goal of cremation at Auschwitz was to burn corpses as quickly as possible.

In light of the four different variables mentioned above, we can make a general qualitative statement that cremation at Auschwitz was much more efficient compared to civilian cremation methods. More specifically, all documentary evidence on cremation capacity at Auschwitz contradicts your idea that a maximum of 900 bodies could be burned at Auschwitz in a day. For example, a 28 June 1943 letter from Karl Bischoff, the head of the Central Building Administration at Auschwitz-Birkenau, reported a maximal capacity of 4,756 corpses being burnt within 24 hours.

I trust the contemporaneous calculations of the Nazis—who were in a position to know the volume of their cremation capacity—over the napkin math of Holocaust deniers. Especially when such napkin math is premised on an apples-to-oranges comparison of civilian cremation methods versus cremation at Auschwitz.”

Matt Cockerill adds on page 44: “As with the Reinhardt camps, your only attempt to cast doubt on extermination at Auschwitz amounted to arguments from incredulity. Specifically, you contended that it would have been impossible to burn more than 900 corpses daily in the Auschwitz crematoria. As I noted in my rebuttal, your argument in this regard is based on an erroneous extrapolation to Auschwitz of conditions in civilian cremation.”

My response: Matt Cockerill is correct that the cremation facilities at Auschwitz-Birkenau could cremate more bodies per day than many civilian cremation facilities. For example, Ivan Lagacé, the manager of a large crematory in Calgary, Canada, testified at the 1988 Ernst Zündel trial that based on his experience it would have only been possible to cremate a maximum of 184 bodies a day at Birkenau. Lagacé testified that the claim that the 46 retorts at Birkenau could cremate over 4,400 bodies in a day was “ludicrous,” “preposterous” and “beyond the realm of reality.”12

Topf engineers Kurt Prüfer and Karl Schultze, during their interrogations after the war by the Soviet counter-espionage agency Smersh, testified that it took about 60 minutes to cremate a single body in the furnaces at Birkenau. During his interrogation on March 4, 1946, Karl Schultze stated:

Five furnaces were located in the two crematoria, and three corpses were introduced in each furnace [one in each muffle], i.e., there were three openings (muffles) in each furnace. In one crematorium with five furnaces [and 15 muffles], one could incinerate 15 corpses in one hour.13

During his interrogation on March 5, 1946, Kurt Prüfer explained why the cremations lasted so long in the Birkenau crematoria:

In civilian crematoria, pre-heated air is blown in with the help of special bellows, due to which the corpse burns faster and without smoke. The construction of the crematoria for the concentration camps is different; it was not possible to pre-heat the air, as a result of which the corpse burned slower and with smoke developing. In order to reduce the smoke and the smell of a burning corpse, a fan is used.

Question: How many corpses would be cremated per hour in a crematorium in Auschwitz? Answer: In a crematorium that had five furnaces and 15 muffles, one cremated 15 corpses in an hour.14

Thus, German engineers confirmed that the cremation furnaces at Auschwitz-Birkenau could incinerate only one corpse per hour and muffle. Given the capacity of one body per hour and 20 hours of operation per day, the theoretical daily maximum capacity of the Topf cremation furnaces at Auschwitz-Birkenau was 1,040 bodies (52 muffles times 20 hours of operation per day).15

According to a German memorandum dated March 17, 1943, the normal activity of the crematoria was only 12 hours per day, of which the first hour was probably needed to bring the furnaces back to operational temperature. This means that only 11 hours per day were available for actual cremations. Thus, the actual theoretical daily maximum capacity of the Topf cremation furnaces at Auschwitz-Birkenau was 52 muffles times 11 hours of operation per day equals 572 bodies.16

Supporters of the official Holocaust story such as Matt often use the letter dated June 28, 1943, under the name of SS-Sturmbannführer Bischoff, the Chief of the Auschwitz Central Construction Office, to prove a higher cremation capacity at Auschwitz-Birkenau. This letter, which was intended to be sent to SS-Brigadeführer Kammler, the Chief of the Economic-Administrative Main Office’s Office Group C, concludes that 4,756 bodies per day could have been cremated at Auschwitz-Birkenau.17 However, this letter stating that 4,756 bodies per day could have been cremated at Auschwitz-Birkenau is clearly inaccurate.18

Even pro-Holocaust researcher Jean-Claude Pressac does not give Bischoff’s letter any credibility. In his book Auschwitz: Technique and Operation of the Gas Chambers, Pressac says that the real cremation capacity at Auschwitz-Birkenau was a much lower figure. Pressac writes that this “official” figure “had no basis in practice, and probably has to be divided by two or three to arrive at the true figure.”19

The authors of the book The Holocaust in Hungary: Evolution of a Genocide write that at least 300,000 to 345,000 Hungarian Jews were murdered in the gas chambers upon arrival in Birkenau.20 These authors acknowledge that the cremation capacity at Birkenau was not nearly enough to cremate this many Jews so quickly. They write: “The Nazis’ main problem: they were killing more people in the gas chambers than they could burn in the furnaces. The crematoria simply could not keep up with the task.”21 These pro-Holocaust authors thus agree that 4,756 bodies per day could not have been cremated at Auschwitz-Birkenau as Matt alleges.

Matt Cockerill’s statement that “multiple bodies at Auschwitz were cremated in a single oven” is also not correct. Carlo Mattogno writes:

The Topf furnaces at Auschwitz-Birkenau were designed for individual cremations, and alleged attempts at extending their technical limits would have provided no advantage with respect to the economy of the cremation. The Polish and Soviet expert reports on the coke-fired cremation furnaces of the Lublin-Majdanek, Sachsenhausen and Stutthof Concentration Camps, which are presented here for the first time in English translation and with their propagandistic digressions removed, supply us with an indirect confirmation of this view.22

In a highly technical analysis, Mattogno concludes that the Topf furnaces at Auschwitz-Birkenau were conceived for the cremation of one corpse at a time in each muffle. The introduction of two or more corpses into a muffle would inevitably have extended the duration of the cremation considerably more than by the simple factor contributed by the number of corpses introduced, i.e., considerably more than twice as long for two corpses.23

Matt is correct that inclusion of children and underweight adults would increase the speed in which corpses were cremated at Auschwitz-Birkenau. However, the inclusion of children and underweight adults among the cremated corpses would have enhanced the capacity of the cremation furnaces by only approximately 20% to 30%. This would not get close to the cremation capacities claimed in the letter that Matt cites by the Central Construction Office of June 28, 1943.24

If we take the actual theoretical daily maximum capacity of the Topf cremation furnaces at Auschwitz-Birkenau of 572 bodies (52 muffles times 11 hours of operation per day), and increase this amount by 30% to account for children and underweight adults, we get a maximum capacity of 744 bodies cremated per day at Auschwitz-Birkenau. So, Thomas Dalton’s claim that at most 900 bodies a day could have been cremated in the 46 muffles of Birkenau is a very reasonable estimate. Anything more than Dalton’s 900 cremated bodies per day estimate is almost certainly an exaggeration.

Matt Cockerill writes on page 13: “In fact, the SS was a bunglingly inefficient organization, run by ideologues such as Himmler and Heydrich and infested with corrupt and criminal elements such as Rudolf Höss, who was a convicted murderer even before he was Kommandant of Auschwitz. Moreover, the actual conduct of the SS and the practical management of the concentration camps and Reinhardt camps was hardly a model of bureaucratic and technical efficiency. Regarding Auschwitz, for example, the incompetent planning and construction of the camp led to the spread of epidemics in 1942, causing many deaths not only among inmates but SS personnel. The construction history of Auschwitz alone discredits the Hollywood caricature that the SS consistently acted with engineering skill and technical efficiency.”

My response: Matt says that the SS was “infested with corrupt and criminal elements such as Rudolf Höss, who was a convicted murderer even before he was Kommandant of Auschwitz.” I don’t know why Matt thinks it is important to mention that Höss was a convicted murderer. However, since he does mention this, I will review the circumstances which led to Höss’s murder conviction.

Höss fought in World War I as a teenager. The war transformed Höss from an innocent young schoolboy into a hardened soldier. Höss returned home to a defeated nation that faced numerous threats from Communist groups. He joined the Freikorps in East Prussia, which were volunteer units of German soldiers used to protect German borders and settle internal political disputes. Höss belonged to the Freikorps Rossbach unit, which helped fight the spread of Communism and secure land for Germany on the Baltic Sea.25

Höss got into legal trouble when he helped avenge the death of Freikorps leader Lt. Albert Leo Schlageter. Schlageter had blown up a bridge in response to a French invasion of the Ruhr, was tried and convicted by a French military court and, on May 26, 1923, executed by a French firing squad. Höss and other former Freikorps members soon abducted and murdered Walter Kadow, a former Freikorps soldier who they believed had betrayed Schlageter. While not admitting to any part he played in Kadow’s murder, Höss said he was in complete agreement with Kadow’s execution.26

Within a few days, one of the participants told the story of Kadow’s murder to a newspaper. Höss was arrested for participation in Kadow’s murder on June 28, 1923, and was tried and sentenced to 10 years of hard labor on March 15, 1924. He was transferred from Leipzig to a Prussian prison at Bradenburg. Although he otherwise would have qualified for early release, Höss, as a political prisoner, was told that he must serve his entire sentence. Fortunately, an unlikely arrangement allowed Höss to be set free on July 14, 1928, after serving over five years of his 10-year sentence.27

So, Höss was convicted for his possible participation in the murder of former Freikorps soldier Walter Kadow, who he believed betrayed Freikorps leader Lt. Albert Leo Schlageter, resulting in Schlageter’s execution by a French firing squad. I do not think that, based on this one incident, it is fair for Matt to describe Höss as a “corrupt and criminal” element that had infested the SS.

Rudolf Höss’s assignment in building the Auschwitz Camp was also not an easy one. Höss wrote:

In the shortest possible time, I was supposed to create a transition camp for 10,000 prisoners from the existing complex of well-preserved buildings. The buildings were filthy and teemed with lice, fleas, and other bugs, and as far as sanitation was concerned, practically nothing was available…It is much easier to establish a new camp than it is to take an unsuitable group of buildings and barracks without major remodeling and quickly create a useful concentration camp as I was originally ordered.28

Höss was not only dismayed by the camp’s condition, but also by the lack of support from Berlin. His repeated requests to Richard Glücks for additional men were ignored. After a while, Höss resolved that he would do everything himself. Höss had to perform such tasks as driving hundreds of miles to the Polish border to purchase kettles for the kitchens, or traveling to western Czechoslovakia to buy bed frames and straw sacks. By the autumn of 1940, the construction of the Auschwitz main camp was complete.29

On March 1, 1941, Himmler visited Auschwitz to inspect the camp and talk to Höss about his future plans. Himmler told Höss that he was to build a new camp which would be known as Birkenau, or Auschwitz II, and would be capable of housing over 100,000 prisoners. Himmler also said he wanted to build a synthetic rubber plant near Birkenau for IG Farben, which would be staffed by an additional 10,000 prisoners. Himmler said that the expansion of the camp must be accelerated by every available means.30

Höss also found the construction of Birkenau Camp to be an enormously difficult task. He wrote:

The emphasis that Himmler put on the ruthless, quickest possible acceleration of the construction, while at the same time ignoring the existing and anticipated difficulties and abuses which I doubted could be eliminated, caught my attention even then…Now all this responsibility fell on my shoulders. From nothing and with nothing, I, together with my “coworkers,” had to build an enormous enterprise in the quickest possible manner without any significant help from above because of the conditions at the time.31

So, I agree with Matt that typhus epidemics were severe in Auschwitz-Birkenau, and this caused many deaths among camp inmates and personnel. However, much of these epidemics were caused by the marshy conditions in the camps and the severe wartime conditions, as opposed to German incompetence in constructing the camps.

My question to Matt is: If the construction history of Auschwitz alone discredits the Hollywood caricature that the SS consistently acted with engineering skill and technical efficiency, how did the SS construct for the first and only time in world history homicidal gas chambers at Auschwitz-Birkenau capable of quickly and efficiently killing hundreds of thousands of Jews?

I would also like to know why hasn’t anyone been able to find documentation for these homicidal gas chambers? Also, how did the Auschwitz commandants Rudolf Höss, Arthur Liebehenschel, and Richard Baer receive orders to mass murder hundreds of thousands of Jewish inmates?

Matt Cockerill fails to answer these important questions in this debate.

Matt Cockerill writes on pages three and four: “Let me turn now to the third main stage of mass killing, gassing at Auschwitz-Birkenau. There is overwhelming testimonial and documentary evidence that Auschwitz was an extermination camp. The 2 September 1942 edition of SS physician Johann Kremer’s diary, for instance, describes a “special action” at Auschwitz, and remarks that in comparison, “Dante’s inferno seems almost a comedy,” concluding that Auschwitz is “justly called an extermination camp.”

Matt Cockerill adds on page 33: “You declined to comment on Johann Kremer’s (2 September 1942) diary entry, which describes a “special action” at Auschwitz, remarks that “Dante’s Inferno seems almost a comedy” in comparison, and concludes that Auschwitz is “justly called an extermination camp.”

My response: Germar Rudolf writes about SS physician Johann Kremer’s diary:

As we know from various sources, and not just Kremer’s diary, a devastating typhus epidemic was raging, as well as malaria and dysentery. Hundreds were dying from these diseases every day. Extreme emaciation (the camp jargon for this was “Muselmann” – muslim) as well as uncontrollable defecation (hence “anus mundi”) are some of the symptoms of typhus and dysentery, which were enough in themselves to give Auschwitz the sobriquet “asshole of the world.”

In view of the thousands of victims of this epidemic, Kremer’s choice of words in referring to Auschwitz as a “camp of annihilation” also becomes clear. However, Kremer mentions “gassings” only a single time, in the context of fumigating the prisoners’ living quarters.

The entries for Sept. 5 and Sept. 12 contradict the assertion that the term “Sonderaktionen” (special actions) refers to homicidal gassings, as is frequently implied. He uses the term in the phrase “bei einer Sonderaktion aus Holland” (at a special action from Holland), which clearly indicates that the term refers to the deportation of Dutch Jews. Otherwise, he would have written “Sonderaktion an Juden aus Holland” (special action on or with Jews from Holland.)

Likewise, the fact that deportees caused terrible scenes does not prove that Kremer witnessed mass executions. Some of these innocently deported individuals might have panicked at their arrival due to fears resulting from all sorts of rumors and due to being utterly exhausted by the long and difficult journey. Facing an uncertain fate, it would have been not surprising if some of them would have begged for their lives…

I think it is a highly questionable assumption that Prof. Kremer would have been transferred on a special assignment for just 10 weeks as a kind of expert assistant in exterminating Jews, then abruptly be allowed to return to his university to be able to report to students and colleagues what he had just helped to do, if some kind of atrocious secret operation were underway. The fact that some independent-minded professor from a West German university was assigned to Auschwitz for a few weeks only, clearly indicates that the German authorities thought they had nothing sinister to hide.

What was really uppermost in Prof. Kremer’s mind is evident from a letter which he wrote on Oct. 21, 1942: “Though I have no definite information yet, nonetheless I expect that I can be in Münster again before December 1 and so finally will have turned my back on this Auschwitz hell, where in addition to typhus, etc., typhoid fever is now mightily making itself felt.”32

Germar Rudolf was then asked why Dr. Johann Kremer confirmed the extermination thesis during his court testimonies. Rudolf responded:

In the same way that other statements of alleged NS murderers become official court testimony: by show trials. Kremer was put on trial in Krakow in 1947 during the large Polish-Stalinist show trial against the Auschwitz camp personnel. All defendants potentially faced the death penalty. These kinds of trial presented only one possible explanation or interpretation for ambiguous statements. The defendants either had to accept that interpretation and, if they got lucky, were treated mildly, or face merciless punishment. Most defendants chose the easy way out, and who would blame them? Kremer was sentenced to death back then, by the way, but later pardoned. He spent 11 years in Polish prisons. Yet hardly had he been released, than his nightmare started all over again, for he got again into the crosshairs of the prosecutors, this time the West Germans, who used the same kind of “evidence” and claims as well as the identical dogmatic attitude of “obviousness” about what is said to have transpired at Auschwitz. On Nov. 29, 1960, Kremer was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment on two counts of murder by the Jury Court at the Münster District Court (Landgericht). Since he had already served 11 years in a Polish prison for the same “crimes” between 1947 and 1958, he did not have to spend a single day in a German prison. Considering this, who would blame him for not wanting to play the tragic hero during the trial in Münster either?33

Matt Cockerill writes on page 33: “Your argument against the plausibility of homicidal gassing in the Auschwitz-Birkenau Bunkers turns on a heavily exaggerated notion of how frequently they were used. Hence your erroneous estimate of 250,000 victims (the actual figure is around 100,000). The process of gassing in the Bunkers was very different than the process of gassing in the Krematoria. Victims were not murdered in the Bunkers in an assembly line-fashion throughout the day; rather, the occasional execution would occur in the evenings. The limited scale of the gassings, and the timing of gassings at night, could easily accommodate a process of natural overnight ventilation of the Bunkers. To quote from Pressac’s essay, “The Machinery of Mass Murder at Auschwitz”: [T]he doors were to be opened and remain open for the whole night. By daybreak it would be possible to remove the bodies without danger and transport them to burial pits dug in the birch forest.”

My response: There are supposed to have been two farmhouses (usually referred to as Bunkers 1 and 2), located west-northwest of the Birkenau Camp, which are said to have been converted into homicidal gas chambers. These gassing facilities allegedly contained several small gas chambers without any technical equipment such as ventilation, circulation devices, or a device to release the poison. Zyklon B is said to have been thrown in through small openings in the walls. Ventilation allegedly occurred through the access doors.34

Documents indicating that these buildings were ever used for anything by the camp administration don’t seem to exist.35 The witnesses are also typically not credible. For example, Brothers Abraham and Shlomo Dragon claim to have been Sonderkommandos stationed at Birkenau. Shlomo recalled his first encounter with dead bodies at Bunker 2: “As [SS officer Otto] Moll opened the door of the house, bodies fell out. We smelled gas. We saw corpses of both sexes. The whole place was full of naked people on top of each other falling out.”36

Shlomo Dragon said that the cottage was “a little house with a thatched roof” that served as a gas chamber. When asked how the SS threw the gas into the cottage, Shlomo replied: “There was a little window in the side wall.” Dragon stated that he “could sense the sweetish taste of the gas.” According to Dragon, the Sonderkommandos dragged the bodies out of the alleged gas chamber “by the hands,” and then “threw them into the carts, lugged them to the pits, and threw them into the pits.”37

Shlomo Dragon’s testimony is absurd for many reasons. First, Dragon claims that the sexes were not separated before entering the alleged gas chambers. This is not credible because:

1) This procedure is in contradiction to the procedures followed during disinfestation, where according to eyewitnesses the sexes were carefully separated.

2) Since there were always two alleged “gas chambers” of each type available in Birkenau (in Crematorium II and III, or IV and V, or Bunkers I and II), there is no apparent reason why the victims could not have been separated by sex.

3) The claims were repeatedly made that the victims were made to believe that they were going to shower or undergo disinfestation. These procedures would have necessarily separated the victims based on their sex, if only because of the need for deception.

4) Particularly in the 1940s, large numbers of people could only have been made to disrobe completely with others of the opposite sex if they had been threatened with force and violence. This would, however, have nullified all the other measures of concealment.38

Dragon’s statement that he could smell the sweetish taste of the gas is also not credible. Hydrogen cyanide gas smells of bitter almonds. There is nothing sweetish about it.39

It is also not safe to enter “gas chambers” and then drag and carry the dead bodies with bare hands to the pits with only a gas mask as a protective measure. Germar Rudolf states: “It should not be forgotten here that hydrogen cyanide is a contact poison. Transporting corpses, on whose skin huge, possibly lethal amounts of hydrogen cyanide are absorbed, [would have] required that the special commands dealing with these corpses had to wear protective clothes.”40

Dragon’s description of Bunker 2 as a little house with a little window in the side wall where gas was introduced is also not credible. Genuine homicidal gas chambers require advanced engineering and construction. Homicidal gas chambers cannot be constructed in existing cottages where poison gas is introduced through a little window in a side wall. Also, no documentary evidence has ever been found indicating that Bunker 2 at Birkenau existed as an extermination facility.41

Shlomo and Abraham Dragon claim they lived to tell their story only because Shlomo got sick. All the other 200 Sonderkommandos in their group allegedly were transferred to Lublin and gassed. So instead of being gassed, Shlomo stayed at Birkenau, received medical treatment, convinced the SS to keep his brother with him, and both brothers lived to tell their story of mass murder at Birkenau. Like many Holocaust survivors, they both claim to have survived Birkenau through a miracle.43

I have not found any credible witnesses or other evidence proving that Bunkers 1 and 2 were ever used as homicidal gas chambers. Likewise, I have not found any credible evidence that homicidal gas chambers existed in any of the German concentration camps.


1 Mayer, Arno J., Why Did the Heavens Not Darken?: The “Final Solution” in History, New York: Pantheon Books, 1988, p. 362.

2 Pressac, Jean-Claude, Auschwitz: Technique and Operation of the Gas Chambers, New York: Beate Klarsfeld Foundation, 1989, p. 264.

3 Faurisson, Robert, “Auschwitz: Technique & Operation of the Gas Chambers—Part I,” The Journal of Historical Review, Vol. 11, No. 1, Spring 1991, p. 29.

4 Ibid., p. 25.

5 Butz, Robert, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century, Newport Beach, CA: Institute for Historical Review, 1993, p. 391.

6 Pressac, Jean-Claude, Auschwitz: Technique and Operation of the Gas Chambers, New York: Beate Klarsfeld Foundation, 1989, p. 429.

7 Mattogno, Carlo, Auschwitz: The Case for Sanity, Washington, D.C.: The Barnes Review, 2010, pp. 25-26, 31-32.

8 Faurisson, Robert, “Auschwitz: Technique & Operation of the Gas Chambers—Part I,” The Journal of Historical Review, Vol. 11, No. 1, Spring 1991, p. 53.

9 Pressac, Jean-Claude, Auschwitz: Technique and Operation of the Gas Chambers, New York: Beate Klarsfeld Foundation, 1989, p. 503.

10 Faurisson, Robert, “Auschwitz: Technique & Operation of the Gas Chambers—Part I,” The Journal of Historical Review, Vol. 11, No. 1, Spring 1991, pp. 55-56.

11 Mattogno, Carlo, Auschwitz: The Case for Sanity, Washington, D.C.: The Barnes Review, 2010, pp. 60-61

12 Canadian Jewish News, Toronto, Feb. 12, 1985, p. M3. See also Kulaszka, Barbara, (ed.), Did Six Million Really Die: Report of Evidence in the Canadian “False News” Trial of Ernst Zündel, Toronto: Samisdat Publishers Ltd., 1992, p. 270.

13 Mattogno, Carlo, “The Cremation Furnaces of Auschwitz,” in Rudolf, Germar (ed.), Dissecting the Holocaust: The Growing Critique of Truth and Memory, Uckfield, UK: Castle Hill Publishers, 2019, p. 392.

14 Ibid.

15 Ibid., pp. 392, 396.

16 Ibid., pp. 396-397.

17 Ibid., p. 388.

18 Mattogno, Carlo, The Cremation Furnaces of Auschwitz: A Technical and Historical Study, Uckfield, UK: Castle Hill Publishers, 2021, pp. 344-348.

19 Pressac, Jean-Claude, Auschwitz: Technique and Operation of the Gas Chambers, New York: Beate Klarsfeld Foundation, 1989, p. 244.

20 Vagi, Zoltan, Csosz, Laszlo, Kadar, Gabor, The Holocaust in Hungary: Evolution of a Genocide, Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press, 2013, pp. 218, 335.

21 Ibid., p. 220.

22 Mattogno, Carlo, The Cremation Furnaces of Auschwitz: A Technical and Historical Study, Uckfield, UK: Castle Hill Publishers, 2021, p. 14.

23 Ibid., pp. 325-326.

24 Ibid., pp. 339-340.

25 Primomo, John W., Architect of Death at Auschwitz: A Biography of Rudolf Höss, Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2020, pp. 33-34.

26 Ibid.

27 Ibid., pp. 35-37.

28 Höss, Rudolf, Death Dealer: The Memoirs of the SS Commandant of Auschwitz, Steven Paskuly (editor), Boston, MA: Da Capo Press, 1996, p. 118.

29 Harding, Thomas, Hanns and Rudolf: The True Story of the German Jew Who Tracked Down and Caught the Kommandant of Auschwitz, New York: Simon & Schuster, 2013, pp. 98-99.

30 Ibid., pp. 108-110.

31 Höss, Rudolf, Death Dealer: The Memoirs of the SS Commandant of Auschwitz, Steven Paskuly (editor), Boston, MA: Da Capo Press, 1996, p. 125.

32 Rudolf, Germar, Lectures on the Holocaust: Controversial Issues Cross-Examined, 4th edition, Bargoed, UK: Castle Hill Publishers, January 2023, pp. 451-453.

33 Ibid., p. 453.

34 Rudolf, Germar, The Chemistry of Auschwitz: The Technology and Toxicology of Zyklon B and the Gas Chambers. A Crime-Scene Investigation, Uckfield: Castle Hill Publishers, 2020, pp. 167-168.

35 Ibid., p. 169.

36 Greif, Gideon, We Wept Without Tears: Testimonies of the Jewish Sonderkommando from Auschwitz, New Haven, CT.: Yale University Press, 2005, p. 133.

37 Ibid., pp. 134-136.

38 Rudolf, Germar, The Rudolf Report: Expert Report on Chemical and Technical Aspects of the ‘Gas Chambers’ of Auschwitz, Washington, D.C.: The Barnes Review, 2011, pp. 204-205.

39 Mattogno, Carlo, The Bunkers of Auschwitz: Black Propaganda versus History, Chicago: Theses and Dissertations Press, 2004, p. 130. See

40 Rudolf, Germar, The Rudolf Report: Expert Report on Chemical and Technical Aspects of the ‘Gas Chambers’ of Auschwitz, Washington, D.C.: The Barnes Review, 2011, p. 218.

41 Mattogno, Carlo, The Bunkers of Auschwitz: Black Propaganda versus History, Chicago: Theses and Dissertations Press, 2004, p. 48. See

42 Greif, Gideon, We Wept Without Tears: Testimonies of the Jewish Sonderkommando from Auschwitz, New Haven, CT.: Yale University Press, 2005, p. 147.

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2 Responses

  1. B. Rockford says:

    An early claim that 4m Jews perished in Auschwitz-Birkenau has been “officially” reduced by about 2.5 million.
    Recent publications now claim that about 2.5 million Jews were killed mostly by bullets in Russia.
    So this helps to restore the Wolfgang Benz total of 6 million.

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