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Some years ago, when I asked believers how SS were supposed to manage their "industrial murder gassings" without controlling the temperature of the HCN evaporation from Zyklon's pellets, I was answered "the bodies of the victims produced the necessary energy to heat conveniently the room". OK. This argument was also advanced by Georges Wellers in "Les chambres à gaz ont existé : des documents, des témoignages, des chiffres". (Gallimard, 1981) a book written to oppose Faurisson's thesis after the famous "Affaire". But, no calculation at all, just a supposition that "the bodies of the victims were able to rise the room temperature until 26ºC"...
So, we have to admit that peculiar detail because SS were not able to think in heating the pellets or simply in installing an equipment like the Degesch machine installed at Dachau
Then, previously to any calculation of HCN concentration, SS had to calculate how was the temperatures' curve vs time into the room accordingly with the initial room temperature and the number of victims. Once established that curve, SS were able to estimate the time to reach a lethal concentration of HCN into the room based on tables like that one:
Lowest Initial temperatures into the room could estimated according with Weather's table:
However, dont' think it was so easy. If we consider the case of Krema II and III, the SS left numerous openings open in the conducts of ventilation located into the superior corners of the gas chambers. Then, taking into account that HCN is lighter than air and that the hot air produced by the bodies was supposed to rise into the room by convection and to partially escape through the ventilation openings, how could both combined factors affect the HCN concentration?
A typical case of advanced German engineering "Why to make it simple if we can do it much more complicated?"
1. http://www.scrapbookpages.com/DachauScr ... ion02.html
Zulu wrote:I observe that you don't take into account the initial room (or pellets) temperature factor.
Pretty much everything I've said is about cyanide toxicology in general. I haven't specialized it yet to the case of an exposure to HCN that is evaporating from zyklon-B.
We are supposed to believe that SS neglected to control the parameter of HCN evaporation temperature, not less.
how were they supposed to calculate the dose of Zyklon they had to use accordingly with the expected murder's time?
According to the story, they did not calculate at all, but simply improvised each gassing, using the peephole to help them determine when people were dead.
Some years ago, when I asked believers how SS were supposed to manage their "industrial murder gassings" without controlling the temperature of the HCN evaporation from Zyklon's pellets, I was answered "the bodies of the victims produced the necessary energy to heat conveniently the room". OK. This argument was also advanced by Georges Wellers in "Les chambres à gaz ont existé : des documents, des témoignages, des chiffres". (Gallimard, 1981) a book written to oppose Faurisson's thesis after the famous "Affaire". But, no calculation at all
Two thousand people would certainly emit a lot of heat. It would be good to have a calculation of the expected temperature curve of the room over time under various conditions. Unfinished basements generally take a great deal of energy to heat, especially in cases like this where they are partially above ground, because of the rapid heat loss to the outside. Because of the large thermal mass of the concrete, they also take a long time to come up to temperature.
The heating effect of the victims is a double edged sword for exterminationists, however. Gases expand when heated, and the door used was certainly not pressure tight to any significant degree. Therefore if the temperature increased at all after the chamber was sealed, gas would escape. This is why US gas chambers are underpressurized - and they don't have to deal with the heating effect of people packed in one per square foot. If there really was a completely unsealed ventilation system, it would be the major route of escape, but gas would also come out through the door - lots of it in the case of the chambers without ventilation systems, or if the ventilation systems were sealed. Having a "gas tight door" would not help - the doors in question could have been made reasonably tight against gas when there was no pressure difference, but holding back a pressure difference of thousands of pascals is another matter entirely.
If we consider the case of Krema II and III, the SS left numerous openings open in the conducts of ventilation located into the superior corners of the gas chambers. Then, taking into account that HCN is lighter than air and that the hot air produced by the bodies was supposed to rise into the room by convection and to partially escape through the ventilation openings, how could both combined factors affect the HCN concentration?
HCN does not separate from air. Nitrogen is lighter than oxygen, but it does not rise to the top of the atmosphere. As for losses, there's nothing to stop this kind of problem from being solved by applying a generous overdose of zyklon, although such behavior on the part of the Germans certainly does conflict with the image of obsession with efficiency, the use of the human body (hair, bone meal, ashes) for economic or industrial purposes, and so on.
The book The Last Gasp tells the story like this:
when the executioner pulled his fatal lever, nothing happened: the pellets were stuck. The doomed man had to wait in his chair while his killer entered the chamber, fixed the problem, returned to his station, and pulled the lever again. This time the situation was even worse, for only a few of the pellets dropped into the acid, so that Gallego was only sickened, not killed. The executioner had to start from scratch, evacuating the chamber and allowing the gas to disperse and detoxify before he delivered a full load of enough fresh cyanide to ensure Gallego’s demise.
Mississippi used a pound of NaCN in their executions. I'll estimate the resulting concentration of HCN at 16,000 ppm - according to the calculations in this thread this is a slight underestimate. Fred Leuchter mentions 24 pellets being used in Mississippi, with a total weight of a pound. The smallest weight of a pellet I've seen mentioned in news stories in any state is half an ounce. If we assume that in the abortive execution attempt only one ounce of NaCN dropped into the sulfuric acid (and it sounds like it was more than this), the resulting concentration would have been 1,000 ppm. Yet Gallego survived this - and remained conscious - for long enough for the officials in charge to decide to evacuate the chamber, and continued to tolerate the reducing concentration as the chamber was ventilated.
The size of the exposure is very uncertain, but the story is still useful as a corrective to exaggerated claims about how quickly certain concentrations of cyanide can kill.
VaC - Dt = K
V = total volume of air breathed in l/kg
a = the fraction of inhaled gas absorbed
C = concentration in mg/l
D = rate of detoxication in mg/kg/min
t = time in minutes from first entrance of the sub-
stance into the body (roughly, the exposure
K = the lethal dose in mg/kg
1. Percutaneous absorption is ignored; this is a small but potentially significant factor.
2. The volume V of air breathed is the most important variable. In the estimates given above it was assumed that the breathing rate is 25 litres per minute. The LC50 calculated from the formula varies inversely with the breathing rate, naturally enough, since someone who breathes twice as much air absorbs twice as much HCN. If the breathing rate is zero (only possible for a short time, of course), then there would be no inhalation exposure. This actually happens in animal tests, not with HCN but with phosgene, where researchers couldn't get a 30-second LC50 for goats because the goats held their breath (according to the chapter that follows the Moore/Gates article in the book linked above).
This suggests the most important way in which it is possible to resist a gas chamber – hold your breath. This is real life practice against chemical weapons, as it's possible to hold the breath long enough to put on a gas mask. In the scenario described by some witnesses in which the entire gassing lasted only a few minutes, this actually could have worked.
Holding your breath wouldn't have been possible with the 10-30 minute total gassing times of the official story, but it would have still been possible to resist the gas by slowing your breathing as much as you could. Animals don't do this, but humans can. Cyanide exerts a strong stimulus on respiration, but it's possible to resist this. The possibility of conscious resistance makes a big difference for gassing at Auschwitz, since you have to kill everyone, including the people who resist.
Someone exposed to HCN who does not exert any conscious control over his breathing will see his respiration accelerate significantly, possibly several fold, for much of the exposure. As his condition gets serious, his breathing will slow down to a very low rate. This chart shows the progress of the rate of respiration of a cat exposed to HCN
Moore and Gates write
The minute volumes [i.e. the volume of air breathed per minute] of different species of animals are stimulated differently by AC, 7-fold in the dog, 2-3-fold in the rabbit, and 1.5-fold in the guinea pig. These volumes are sufficient to allow inhalation of an amount of AC approximately equal to the LD50 of AC for the several species.
(AC means HCN.) They add
Man's respiration is stimulated 7 to 10-fold by intravenously injected AC in single doses of ca. 0.055 mg/kg or more. The duration of such stimulation is ca. 20 seconds),(*) When infused slowly the percent stimulation is less (2-3-fold) but is longer maintained
(*) Lesser stimulation but longer duration have been observed in legal executions with AC
The course of respiration of goats during exposures to AC and CK has been studied in detail at Dugway Proving Ground. During exposure to AC for 2 minutes, respiration was normal for the first few seconds. At concentrations above 2.5 mg/l the time of onset of stimulation of respiration was 10 to 20 seconds after the start of the exposure. The duration of stimulation was 30 to 100 seconds and was followed by a depression of respiration setting in at 40 to 150 seconds.
Given this, when using the Moore-Gates formula, it's best to treat respiration rate as a function of time, not as a constant.
The paper summarized here describes a case of a fumigator exposed for 20 minutes to HCN; his respiratory rate after the exposure was 36 breaths per minute; this gives some indication of the respiratory stimulus of HCN.
What about someone who does exercise conscious control over his breathing? True resting breathing rate is generally given at 6 l/m (see here here and here) while under typical everyday conditions breathing rate is 10-15 l/m. Someone who truly resists – such as some people executed in US gas chambers – will breathe even less than this.
As an experiment, I tried maintaining a breathing rate of two moderate breaths per minute for 10 minutes. I tried to maintain a tidal volume of about a third or less of my available lung volume, so that after an inhalation I was still able to inhale approximately the same volume again, and likewise for exhalation. That suggests a volume of 1.5 liters per breath (not a precise estimate, of course, but close enough to make the point), or 3 liters per minute. I had no trouble maintaining this breathing volume for 10 minutes, the only symptom being a mild headache.
With this breathing rate, an inhalation exposure is reduced by 90% compared with someone whose breathing is accelerated (by the cyanide, by tension, or by physical work) to 30 liters per minute. (Percutaneous exposure is unchanged, but it's a comparatively small factor.) Most people would not have the self control to relax and minimize their breathing rate in this way while being gassed, but if even 1% did so that would be 20 people per gassing in krema II/III. The concentrations used have to be high enough to kill even these people.
The possibility of such resistance is one of the main reasons that very high concentrations of HCN are necessary to kill quickly and reliably.
3. The detoxification rate is set at 0.017 mg kg^-1 min ^-1 by Moore and Gates. This is according to a study on humans that performed small cyanide injections and then monitored the detoxification process. Moore and Gates state that this level is similar to that found in animals.
This paper claims that the detoxification rate is 0.001 mg kg^-1 min ^-1. The authors established this number by observing that cyanide does accumulate in the blood even it is introduced at such a low rate. The literature seems to prefer Moore and Gates' number, however, and it is still widely cited in survey articles.
Why don't people seem to believe the lower figure? This paper helps clarify the matter. The authors write
The study and the two earlier ones discussed above […] are in accord that cyanide detoxification rates are not independent of cyanide plasma concentrations. Some authors, especially those who have tried to calculate cyanide lethal doses have assumed or believed that cyanide is detoxified at a constant rate in the body, independent of dose and therefore of blood levels of cyanide. It would be indeed surprising if an enzyme-catalysed detoxification mechanism was independent of the concentration of its substrate: the expectation would be that such a system would obey saturation kinetics. These conclusions are of great practical importance, suggesting that formulae such as the Moore and Gates equation (cited by McNamara) which relates intravenous LD50s to LC50s and LCt50s should only be used with full cognizance of their limitations.
That is to say, the detoxification rate will increase with the levels of cyanide in the body, up to a certain limiting value. I would guess that the military studies referred to by Moore and Gates found the maximum detoxification rate, but as their reference list has unfortunately been stripped from the published version of their study, I am unable even to try to locate the studies cited to check. Finding these studies, as well as those cited by McNamara, would be quite useful. In general I've found military research on this subject to be the most useful, probably because the military was interested in how to kill people with HCN (or keep your own people from being killed with it), which is exactly the kind of problem we're looking at.
At the end of the day, however, the times to death in the Auschwitz story are so short that detoxification rates are an insignificant factor.
Here's the first point:
Rudolf claims that Dr. Green is unaware of the fact that toxicological data cannot be applied to the strongest people in a group. Rudolf's mind-reading abilities are not very good - of course toxicological data is based on averages - but Rudolf's analysis misses an obvious point. In a given gassing the strongest undoubtedly survived longer than the weakest. This problem could be dealt with by the simple expedient of waiting until all victims are apparently dead. This time might vary from gassing to gassing. If one gassing took 10 minutes and another 15, a witness to both who reported that it took about 10 minutes would not be lying.
With a single victim, waiting for apparent death and then adding a large safety margin (the case of Barcroft's dog is an example to show that apparent death does not even imply that a lethal dose has been inhaled) could be a workable procedure. However, with 2000 (or even 1000) people packed into one of the morgues, with the only possibility for observation through a tiny peephole in the door at the end of a thirty meter long room, there would be no chance whatsoever of determining whether people were apparently dead. You would have no idea what was going on at the other end of the room, and in all probability a body would block the peephole entirely. To make things worse, the people you need to worry about (i.e. the people who might still be alive) are not the people who are moving around. People who move a lot will stimulate their respiration and therefore die faster. The people who might survive are those who stay calm, relax, and breathe very slowly (thereby inhaling less HCN). These people would appear to be dead when observed through the peephole, unless they had already began to convulse (and some cases of cyanide poisoning are missing the usual convulsions, so you couldn't even count on that). Even if there was adequate visibility to observe everyone in the chamber, looking for immobility is no way to ensure that people are dead or nearly dead, because the candidates for survival are those who avoid activity. Unless you had such good viewing conditions that you could tell whether anyone was still breathing, waiting for apparent death is useless as a way of ensuring that everyone being gassed died.
Here's the second point:
Rudolf states further thatEven if a person has inhaled a lethal amount of cyanide, it might still take up to an hour until he is dead.
He leaves it as an exercise for the reader to determine what his source is or what concentration he considers lethal. Du Pont's MSDS, however, disagrees with his claim:Don't overreact. While prompt treatment is essential where poisoning has occurred, treatment of a lucid, conscious patient would rarely be necessary. The effects of cyanide poisoning are immediate, not delayed, and a conscious person that can communicate does not have significant cyanide poisoning. (Emphasis ours.)
Green doesn't seem to read very well; DuPont's MSDS does not contradict Rudolf's claim at all. It merely notes the rule of thumb that cyanide poisoning is usually a rapid affair.
In any event, the current version of the Rudolf Report gives the following references for the possibility of delayed death from cyanide
M. Daunderer, Klinische Toxikologie, 30th suppl. delivery 10/87, ecomed, Landsberg 1987, p. 15.
Satu M. Somani (ed.), Chemical Warfare Agents, Academic Press, San Diego 1992, p. 213.
It would be easy to find other references. It's also easy to find examples of delayed deaths from cyanide (including inhalation cases), and of recoveries after a long period:
and most remarkably, this case:
http://books.google.com/books?id=WRWgAA ... #v=onepage
(also described here: http://archive.org/details/archivesneurolo01assogoog )
Green also claims that
A survivor of a gassing who was unconscious could be cremated along with the dead. In the extremely unlikely case that the murderers opened the doors before all were unconscious, there is no reason a bullet would not have sufficed.
Would the sonderkommando really have cremated people who were still breathing – and then never mentioned it in their testimonies? Maybe Green is aiming to get back to the original "people burned alive" propaganda. As for shooting the survivors, it would be pretty difficult with a mostly Jewish crematory staff of 100 and only a few German guards. Green's solution is a way things could have been made to work, but it's not consistent with the testimonies.
From the information given above, we can estimate that 300 ppm is roughly the 20-minute LC50, assuming high breathing rates stimulated by the gas. The 30-minute high-breathing-rate LC50 is around 200 ppm. Given the goat data McNamara uses to estimate LCx figures given LC50s, we see that 300 ppm will therefore be well under the LC99 even in the high-breathing-rate case. Given that you have to kill even the people who maintain a low breathing rate, and that they need to die within the exposure, not some hours later, it's clear that 300 ppm, even if maintained for the entire 30 minutes, would not suffice for Auschwitz gassings.
It's also worth noting the Barcroft, as cited above, exposed 8 monkeys to 120 mg m^-3 (108 ppm) for 60 minutes and none of them died. The Acute Exposure Guideline Levels suggest a interspecies uncertainty factor of 2 in the upwards direction between man and monkey, because of the monkey's higher respiration rate relative to body mass; this suggests that humans may be able to tolerate up to twice the concentrations that monkeys can. One could also mention this mouse data:
And mice are not a particularly HCN resistant species. The rat data cited above putting LC1s at some 70% of the LC50 also suggests (given a 30-minute LC50 of some 200 ppm) that 100 ppm would hardly kill anyone in a 30-minute exposure.
Of course, 3,200 ppm is not one gulp and you're dead, as the data from US gas chambers shows.
The claims van Pelt cites about the percutaneous absorption are totally wrong on all fronts. First, from what I've read US gas chamber executions were usually carried out with the executee clad only in underwear, because of HCN's tendency to adhere to clothing. It may be that some states gassed prisoners fully dressed, but it doesn't seem to have been the norm. In any event, the percutaneous contribution to an inhalation exposure is small, because the amount absorbed through the skin is much smaller than the amount absorbed through the lungs, because the percutaneous LD50 is higher than the inhalation LD50, and because percutaneous exposures are associated with much slower death than inhalation exposures.
As for the claim that prisoners "were herded bare-arse naked into the facility having been made to run from the undressing rooms to the chambers" and were therefore gasping for breath - this is just silly. I can't believe van Pelt actually quoted that in his supposedly authoritative book. The more recent sonderkommando testimonies don't even make that claim, at least for krema II/III. Even if the prisoners were forced to run, it would only have been some 50 meters, hardly enough to increase breathing rate for long. The time it would have taken to load the chamber with 2000 people would have meant almost all the people waited around for plenty of time to slow their respiration long before the chamber could be sealed. Even the people who had just run into the chamber when it was sealed would only be breathing heavily for a short time, and the slowness of zyklon's outgassing means that they would only be breathing heavily when the HCN concentration in the chamber was very low.
Van Pelt also writes the following:
Everything falls into place at a 100 ppm concentration - except for the fact that 100 ppm would hardly kill anyone in the time periods ascribed to Auschwitz gassings, even for a constant exposure. With zyklon, where the concentration would only gradually increase to 100 ppm, things would be even worse, and adding in ventilation time makes them worse still.
Even Carlo Mattogno (Auschwitz the Case for Sanity, chapter 14.1), in critiquing van Pelt on HCN concentration, was misled by the incorrect statements in the literature about the toxicity of 300/270/200/180/150/135 ppm, and failed to note that van Pelt's preferred concentration of 100 ppm for a half hour exposure is reliably non-lethal. 300 ppm is a different matter, of course, but still would fail to kill everyone even in a 30 minute exposure at constant concentration.
PotPie wrote:I took the time a few years ago to read the exchange between Green and Rudolf. I was quite impressed and Green was lacking in a number of important areas. It's definitely a worthwhile read.
Where can I find this exchange?
'Some Technical and Chemical Considerations about the 'Gas Chambers' of Auschwitz and Birkenau'
By Germar Rudolf
'A Brief History of Forensic Examinations of Auschwitz'
By Germar Rudolf
search Richard Green in this thread:
'Cyanide Chemistry at Auschwitz'
The 'holocaust' storyline is one of the most easily debunked narratives ever contrived. That is why those who question it are arrested and persecuted. That is why violent, racist, & privileged Jewish supremacists demand censorship. What sort of truth is it that crushes the freedom to seek the truth? Truth needs no protection from scrutiny.
The tide is turning.
CercaTrova wrote:PotPie wrote:I took the time a few years ago to read the exchange between Green and Rudolf. I was quite impressed and Green was lacking in a number of important areas. It's definitely a worthwhile read.
Where can I find this exchange?
Go through the Green Report and look at Germar's original report and response(s).
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