We have to specify just what duration we are talking about. Mr. Berg focused on time to death - but even that has to be examined carefully. There will be many different figures: time to collapse, time to silence, time to immobility, time to cessation of respiration, time until the heart stops beating. These quantities are not equal. There are also testimonies on time until ventilation was turned on, time until the door was opened, time until workers entered the chamber, etc. These times can all be different.
We also have to separate testimonies by location - times for gassings in krema 2 need not relate to times for gassings in the bunkers, and so on.
Please include full quotes with as much context as possible.
Germar Rudolf offers this list of testimonies. Some of them require more context to interpret precisely.
With relation to the killing times, see in, for example: Schwurgericht Hagen, verdict from July 24, 1970, ref. 11 Ks 1/70, p. 97 (5 min.); Final Trial Brief of the Prosecution, quoted acc. to U. Walendy, Auschwitz im IG-Farben-Prozeß, op. cit. (note 161), pp. 47-50 (3 to 15 minutes in extreme cases); E. Kogon et al., op. cit. (note 46), ubiquitous (immediately up to 10 min., more rarely up to 20 min.); J. Buszko (ed.), Auschwitz, Nazi Extermination Camp, Interpress Publishers, Warschau 21985, in cooperation with the Auschwitz State Museum, pp. 114 + 118 (a few minutes); H.G. Adler, H. Langbein, E. Lingens-Reiner (ed.), Auschwitz, Europäische Verlagsanstalt, Cologne 31984, pp. 66, 80 + 200 (a few minutes, up to 10 minutes); Hamburger In-
stitut für Sozialforschung (ed.), Die Auschwitz-Hefte, vol. 1, Beltz Verlag, Weinheim 1987, pp. 261ff. +294 (instantly, up to 10 min.); C. Vaillant-Couturier, in: IMT, vol. VI, p. 216 (5 to 7 min.); M. Nyiszli in: G. Schoenberner (ed.), Wir haben es gesehen, Fourier, Wiesbaden 1981, p. 250 (5 min.); C.P. Bendel in: H. Langbein, Menschen in Auschwitz, Europaverlag, Vienna 1987, p. 221 (end of screaming of victims after 2 min.); P. Broad in: B. Naumann, Auschwitz, Athenäum, Frankfurt/Main 1968, p. 217 (4 min.), opening of doors after 10-15 minutes: A. Rückerl, NS-Verbrechen vor Gericht, C.F. Müller, Heidelberg, 21984, pp. 58f.; K. Hölbinger in: H. Langbein, Der Auschwitz-Prozeß, Europäische Verlagsanstalt, Frankfurt/Main 1965, p. 73 (1 min.); R. Böck, ibid., p. 74 (screaming victims for 10 minutes following closure of doors, followed by opening of doors, cf. note 313); H. Stark, ibid., p. 439 (screaming victims for 10- 15 minutes); F. Müller, ibid., p. 463 (8-10 min.); E. Pyš, ibid., p. 748 (ventilators switched on after only a few minutes); K. Lill, ibid., p. 750 (a scream a few seconds after the introduction of Zyklon B, pall of thick smoke exiting the chimney a few minutes later); transcript of the expert opinion of Prof. Dr. G. Jagschitz, 3rd-5th hearing days of criminal proceedings against Gerd Honsik, April 4., April 30, May 4, 1992, ref. 20e Vr 14184 and Hv 5720/90, District Court Vienna, p. 443 (2-3 min); Dokument 3868-PS, IMT volume 33, pp. 275ff., quoted according to L. Rosenthal, “Endlösung der Judenfrage,” Massenmord oder “Gaskammerlüge”?, Verlag Darmstädter Blätter, Darmstadt 1979 (2 to 15 minutes in exceptional cases); R. Höß, op. cit. (note 311: he mentions 30 minutes, after which the men of the Sonderkommando went into the
chamber without gas masks, hence ventilation must have been included in that time, although Höß stated that it was turned on only at the time of entry – an impossible claim); Hans Münch, in G. Rudolf, “Auschwitz-Kronzeuge Dr. Hans Münch im Gespräch,” VffG, 1(3) (1997), pp. 139-190 (2 to 5 min. in winter); Salmen Lewenthal, Hefte von Auschwitz, Sonderheft 1, Handschriften von Mitgliedern des Sonderkommandos, Verlag Staatliches Museum Auschwitz, 1972, p. 155 (sudden silence); Dov Paisikovic, in: Léon Poliakov, Auschwitz, René Julliard, 1964, pp. 159ff. (3-4 minute), Franke-Gricksch Report, in: J.-C. Pressac, op. cit. (note 72), p. 238 (one minute to kill the victims, another until the doors were opened); Rudolf Vrba alias Walter Rosenberg, Alfred Wetzler, ref. M 20/153, Yad Vashem (acc. to War Refugee Board, “German Extermination Camps – Auschwitz and Birkenau,” in: David S. Wyman (ed.), America and the Holocaust, volume 12, Garland, New York/London 1990, p. 20 (everyone in the room was dead after three minutes); Jerzy Tabeau, in: The Extermination Camps of Auschwitz (Oswiecim) and Birkenau in Upper Silesia (10 minutes, quoted according to Enrique Aynat, Los protocolos de Auschwitz. i Una fuente historica? Verlag Garcia Hispan, Alicante 1990); André Lettich, Trente-quatre mois dans les Camps de Concentration, Imprimerie Union Coopérative, Tours, 1946 (a few moments). Janda Weiss, in: David E. Hackett, (ed.), The Buchenwald Report, Beck, Munich 1997, p. 394 (3 min.). If longer killing times appear in the eyewitness testimonies, they refer, not to Crematoria II and III, but, rather, to Crematoria IV/V, bunkers 1-2, or Crematorium I in the Main Camp. The killings in Crematoria II and III are therefore alleged to have been committed very quickly.
Roberto Muehlenkamp offers the following examples of testimonies for long gassing times:
The process could be observed through the peep hole in the door. Those who were standing next to the air shaft were killed immediately. I can state that about one-third died immediately. The remainder staggered about and began to scream and struggle for air. The screaming, however, soon changed to gasping and in a few moments everyone lay still. After twenty minutes at the most, no movement could be detected. The time required for the gas to take effect varied according to weather conditions and depended on whether it was damp or dry, cold or warm. It also depended on the quality of the gas, which was never exactly the same, and on the composition of the transports, which might contain a high proportion of healthy Jews, or the old and sick, or children. The victims became unconscious after a few minutes, according to the distance from the air shaft. Those who screamed and those who were old, sick, or weak, or the small children died quicker than those who were healthy or young.
The testimony is rather self contradictory - everyone lay still after a few moments, but it took up to 20 minutes for there to be general immobility. The version quoted in the anthology Nazi Mass Murder edited by Kogon et al reads somewhat differently: minutes rather than moments, and people on the ground rather than lying still, which makes more sense (see images). Does anyone have the German text(s) handy? What is the actual wording?
Hoess has the ventilation being turned on and the door opened and removal of the corpses initiated (all three simultaneously!) after 30 minutes. The episode takes place in the Birkenau kremas. It's not very specific, but presumably takes place in krema II/III.
(...)As the Zyklon B -- as already mentioned -- was in granular form, it trickled down over the people as it was being poured in. They then started to cry out terribly for they now knew what was happening to them. I did not look through the opening because it had to be closed as soon as the Zyklon B had been poured in. After a few minutes there was silence. After some time had passed, it may have been ten to fifteen minutes, the gas chamber was opened. The dead lay higgledy-piggedly all over the place. It was a dreadful sight.
A few minutes until silence; 10-15 minutes (additional or total?) until chamber was opened. Note that Stark's description ("it trickled down over the people as it was being poured in") precludes the use of "introduction columns" to remove the zyklon, so after (10-15)+(a few) minutes when the chamber was opened it was still outgassing.
Nizkor gives a little more context:
At another, later gassing -- also in autumn 1941 -- Grabner ordered me to pour Zyklon B into the opening because only one medical orderly had shown up. During a gassing Zyklon B had to be poured through both openings of the gas-chamber room at the same time. This gassing was also a transport of 200-250 Jews, once again men, women and children. As the Zyklon B -- as already mentioned -- was in granular form, it trickled down over the people as it was being poured in.
So Stark is talking about krema I. Carlo Mattogno has much more info in his book on krema I:
SS-Unterscharführer Hans Stark served at Auschwitz from Christmas 1940 to November 1942. In June 1941 he joined the Political Department. In the summer of 1942 he was made Oberscharführer. On April 23, 1959, he was interrogated by the Landeskriminalamt Baden-Württemberg during the preparation of the Frankfurt trial. On that occasion, he declared:250“As early as the autumn of 1941 gassings were carried out in a room of the small crematorium, the room having been fitted for that purpose. It could take in some 200–250 people, was higher than a normal living room, had no windows, and only one door that had been made [gas] tight and had a lock like the door of an air-raid shelter. There were no pipes or anything, which could have led the detainees to believe they were in a shower-room. In the ceiling, a certain distance apart, there were two openings with a diameter of about 35 centimeters. This room had a flat roof, which caused daylight to enter through these openings. The granular Zyklon B was poured in through the openings. The Zyklon B was stored in the SS sickbay. Who it was that had hit on the idea of using this product for the gassing of people I do not know, but it was rumored among the camp SS personnel that in the fall of 1941 the product had been tried out for the first time for the gassing of detainees in a cell of block 11. I do not know who had ordered and carried out this test, but it was said that Schutzhaftlagerführer Fritzsch had been present. I do not know any details.
As I have already said, the first gassing was carried out in the small crematorium in the fall of 1941. As with the shootings, I was requested by Grabner to come to the Krema in order to check the number. Initially, I did not know that there was to be a gassing. Near the Krema there were some 200–250 Jewish men, women, and children, babies may have been among them, all ages. Without being able to name any names, I can say that quite a number of SS personnel were present – the camp commander, Schutzhaftlagerführer, several Blockführer, Grabner, and other members of the Political Department. The Jews were not told anything, they were simply requested to enter the gassing room, the door of which stood open. During that time, the medics prepared the gassing. Earth had been banked up to ceiling level against one of the outside walls of the gassing room so that they could get on top of the room. Once all the Jews were in the room, it was bolted, and the medics poured the Zyklon B into the openings. I do not remember how many cans of Zyklon B were used, but it was more than one. I cannot give the names of the medics. [...] At a later gassing – still in the autumn of 1941 – I received an order from Grabner to pour Zyclon B into the opening, because only one medic had come, and it was necessary for a gassing to pour Zyclon B into both openings at the same time. This gassing, again, concerned a transport of 200–250 Jews, and again there were men, women, and children, to be pre-
cise. As I have already stated, this Zyclon B was granular, and thus it would run down over the people when it was being poured in. They then started to make a terrible noise, for they now knew what was happening to them. I did not look down through the opening because the openings had to be closed immediately once the Zyclon B had been introduced. A few minutes later, it was quiet. After some time, perhaps 10–15 minutes, the gassing room was opened. The dead people lay every which way, it was a
dreadful sight. The detainee Kommando of the Krema then took the gassed to the Krema. On account of my job as head of the registration department, I was thus present at each gassing or shooting. How many people were killed in my presence during that period, I cannot say. I cannot say either, how many gassings were carried out in my presence. It was the same number of persons each time.”
Hans Stark indicated that in the alleged gas chamber only Jews were gassed:251“During the gassings, which, as already indicated, had started as early as the autumn of 1941 and at which I was present, only Jews were gassed; to be precise, they were always new arrivals.”
At the Auschwitz trial, Stark comes back to the alleged homicidal gassings:252Stark: Grabner told me there would be a transport and I should be ready. The transport had been announced for the evening, some time between 20 and 21 hours, but it arrived only around 22 hours. Then it turned out that those were not people to be registered but people that had been sentenced to death by a court-martial. The commander ordered them to be taken to the small crematorium to be gassed there.
Presiding judge: How many were there?
S: I do not know. There may have been 150 or 200 of them. After all, it was 4 truckloads. It was Jews and Poles.
PJ: Women too?
S: Yes sir, also.
PJ: Children too?
S: No children were coming to Auschwitz in 1941. The lists were compared and once they had been read out, we moved on to the small crematorium.
PJ: What were the detainees told?
S: Nothing, they were already informed.
PJ: Informed about what?
S: That they would be shot. Once all were inside, the man on top who was responsible for the gassing got ready. Usually, two people were needed. But he was alone. He called down that he needed another one. I was the only one who was still standing around in the group of Führers present, the others were busy in the gassing room. So Grabner said: ‘Go and help!’ I did not move right away. Then the Schutzhaftlagerführer came up and said: ‘Get moving!’ and the commander said: ‘If you do not climb
up there, you will be put in with the others.’ So I had to go up and help the man above pour.
The alleged first homicidal gassing in crematorium I took place, according to Stark, in October 1941,253 but that date is at variance with the one given by Czech (September 16, 1941). As far as the alleged gas chamber is concerned, Stark says only that it had “one door that had been made specially tight”, but the morgue had two doors.254 He speaks of “two openings with a diameter of about 35 centimeters”– hence they were round – which squarely contradicts Broad’s data: 6 square openings 10 by 10 centimeters. The victims were “only Jews,” whereas according to Rudolf Höss they were only Soviet prisoners of war.
The gassing, in which Stark claimed to have directly participated, concerned “200–250 Jews” or, likewise, “150 or 200 [...] Jews and Poles”; the victims were gassed for being Jews and, at the same time, because they were “people that had been sentenced to death by a court-martial.” In this connection, there obviously were no “children,” but then, on the other hand, the victims were “men, women, and children.”
The witness claims to have been present at each gassing in his capacity of “head of the registration department,” his specific task being to check the number of victims, yet he was unable to say anything about the total number of victims of the alleged gassings, or about the number of gassings carried out in his presence!
Stark claims that the gassings had to be carried out by pouring Zyklon B through the two openings at the same time. Why at the same time? Was there any need for this? None at all. We have here, in fact, a simple literary expedient resorted to by Stark in order to introduce the story of his participation in a homicidal gassing against his will, under threat of death from the commander himself. Such cheap shenanigans on the part of the accused enabled him to show a “cooperative” attitude, and were aimed at mollifying the judges. Stark had, in fact, been called as a witness by Erwin Bartel and by Filip Müller, and a full “confession” was for him the only way of getting through the trial with minimum punishment. His strategy, though, did not avail him much: he was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.255
(...)The granulated substance fell in a lump to the bottom. The gas it produced escaped through the perforations, and within a few seconds filled the room in which the deportees were stacked. Within five minutes everybody was dead... In order to be certain of their business the two gas-butchers waited another five minutes. Then they lighted cigarettes and drove off in their car. They had just killed 3,000 innocents.... Twenty minutes later the electric ventilators were set going in order to evacuate the gas.
Five minutes until everyone died; 30 minutes until ventilation turned on. I won't bother pointing out everything wrong with Nyiszli's account - it's well known, and would need a thread of its own. This story occurs in chapter 7 of his book, pp. 78-89. It's loaded with basic errors.
Then SS-Unterscharfuhrer Moll dropped the gas through a little window. The cries that could be heard were frightening, but after a few moments complete silence reigned. Twenty to twenty-five minutes later the windows and doors were opened to air the room, and the corpses were immediately thrown into ditches, where they were burned
Lettich is speaking about the bunkers; here is some context for his statement.
Mattogno has much more information on this testimony in his book on the bunkers, pp. 97-100.