Jonathan Swift wrote:[...]
Especially when it comes to technical details that non-technical people are not necessarily familiar with, witnesses can be given the benefit of doubt.
A classic example is the use of diesel engines for gassing, the mainstay of acclaimed Revisionist author Friedrich Paul Berg, regarding which another Revisionist, Michael Mills from Australia, took the comparatively reasonable approach shown hereafter. In a discussion on the usenet,
Michael Mills wrote:
[…]"The data at the COHQ site imply that the exhaust of a poorly tuned diesel engine could produce a CO concentration in the air high enough to be reliably lethal. If so, it is possible that poorly tuned diesel engines were used at Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka for homicidal purposes. If that is the case, it should be reflected in testimony, ie there should be accounts of experiments with the tuning to find the setting that would produce a sufficiently high level of CO in the exhaust. Perhaps this is a topic for further research. Alternatively, it is possible that gasoline engines were used, but that would mean that a number of witnesses, such as Gerstein, were mistaken." [My emphasis. ~Scott][…]
Source of quote:
http://www.nizkor.org/ftp.cgi/camps/ftp ... senet.9806
If this is Mr. Mills' opinion, as reasonable as he is, he is wrong here.
For one thing, the COHQ site doesn't say this; they have no data on "mistuned" diesels and carbon monoxide. There is no such animal! And the Nizkor link to COHQ doesn't even work.
Diesel engines can't be mistuned in a conventional sense. This "mistuning" actually involves limiting other regulated pollutants like nitrous oxides, particulates, etc., and certainly not carbon monoxide, which is ALWAYS low for ANY diesel engine, provided that it is not straining under an overloaded condition.
Jonathan Swift wrote:Incidentally, I know of no witnesses other than Gerstein who described the gassing engine used at any of the Aktion Reinhard(t) camps as a diesel engine. Gerstein, while technically knowledgeable enough to tell one type of engine from the other, doesn’t seem to have actually seen the engine he was talking about.
We don't know that Gerstein didn't see the engine. He says that he saw Captain Wirth whip or beat the Ukrainian mechanic on the face for failing to get the engine going. He specifically says "diesel" and he saw the gassing and even timed it with a stopwatch.
He wouldn't need to even see the engine to know it was a diesel. I would know it was a diesel running from the other end of the camp (with some slight hyperbole) by sound and smell alone. Gerstein was a mining engineer and certainly knew what a diesel engine was, and probably that they are operated openly in mines. If Gerstein made a mistake, then this was an egregious one.
Personally, I feel that there was a diesel engine in the Belzec and Treblinka camps but that they were electrical generators.
I find the rest of the Gerstein tale equally puzzling, including Dr. Pfannenstiel's description elsewhere of the gassed as having blue corpses instead of pink--as would be the case with carbon monoxide poisoning (and therefore any gasoline engine). Rudolf Höß simply says carbon monoxide from engines, still inconsistent with Pfannenstiel's blue bodies.
Jonathan Swift wrote:In his expert opinion submitted at the Irving-Lipstadt trial,
Christopher Browning wrote:
[…] "Once again, human memory is imperfect. The testimonies of both survivors and other witnesses to the events in Belzec, Sobibor, and Treblinka are no more immune to forgetfulness, error, exaggeration, distortion, and repression than eyewitness accounts of other events in the past. They differ, for instance, on how long each gassing operation took, on the dimensions and capacity of the gas chambers, on the number of undressing barracks, and on the roles of particular individuals. 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.[my emphasis] Once again, however, without exception all concur on the vital issue at dispute, namely that Belzec, Sobibor, and Treblinka were death camps whose primary purpose was to kill in gas chambers through the carbon monoxide from engine exhaust, and that the hundreds of thousands of corpses of Jews killed there were first buried and then later cremated."[…]
Source of quote:
http://www.holocaustdenialontrial.com/e ... 05.asp#5.4
The only reliable account (i.e., having sufficient detail) of a gasoline motor used in any gassing operation comes from SS-Scharführer Erich Fuchs at Sobibor (cf. Yitzhak Arad) who testified in the Sobibor-Bolender trial in Düsseldorf.
However, there is some convergence-of-evidence on the absurd diesel-gassing claims from the 1943 Krasnodar and Kharkov warcrimes trials in the Soviet Union. In these trials "Saurer murder-vans" are said to have been used, which are always diesels as near as I can determine, and are further described by the court specifically as "diesels." Autopsy reports referred to show death by carbon monoxide, an incongruous circumstance to say the least.
Common sense would say that diesel engines would make a better execution--but that would simply be wrong, hence the story itself is called into question for its lurid and improbable detail.
Regarding the Reinhardt camps, Eichmann at his trial in Jerusalem described the engines as coming from submarines or tanks. Other witnesses have said salvaged tank engines and usually from Soviet tanks. Aside from the impractical size of a submarine engine, which would certainly be a diesel, all Soviet tank engines after 1941 were the model W-2 diesel of about 500 horsepower. However, it is possible that a gasoline engine from a older, lighter Soviet tank was used, or a simple gasoline truck motor (as Fuchs indeed described it).
At the Eichmann trial, witness Eliahu Rosenberg (who also testified against Demjanjuk in Israel) described a diesel engine at Treblinka from the fuel (Ropa oil) that it used:
Rosenberg wrote:THE EICHMANN TRIAL: PROCEEDINGS Session No. 66 06-Jun-1961 p. 1213
Testimony of Eliahu Rosenberg of Treblinka
Q. Did you witness the whole process of the extermination?
A. I saw the entire process.
Q. Describe it briefly to the Court.
A. The people arrived from this famous "Himmelstrasse," which led from Camp 1 to Camp 2. In the Himmelstrasse, SS men, the entire staff of Camp 2, stood there with dogs, with whips and bayonets. The people walked past in silence. That was at the beginning, in summer 1942. They did not know where they were going. When they entered the gas chambers, two Ukrainians stood next to the entrance — one was Ivan and the other was Nikolai. They introduced the gas.
Q. Where did the gas come from?
A. The gas came from an engine.
Q. They did not bring it from outside — it was produced on the spot?
A. It was Ropa — Ropa gas.
Q. Was it manufactured by an engine, from the exhaust of a diesel engine?
A. Yes. It was gas from an engine. They put in Ropa, which was a kind of oil, a crude oil, and the fumes entered the gas chambers. The people who were the last to enter the gas chambers, the very last, received stabs in the bodies from the bayonets, since the last persons already saw what was going on inside and did not want to enter. Four hundred people were put into one small gas chamber. And when they forced them in, they, on their part, pressed inwards and in this way reached the full capacity, so that only with difficulty could the outer door of the chamber be shut.
When they shut them in, we were standing on the outside. We only heard cries of "Shema Yisrael," "Father," "Mother"; thirty-five minutes later they were dead. [Emphasis added.]
Source of quote:
Unless the engine (presumably an electric-generator for the camp) was a special multifuel spark-ignition engine that was capable of burning lighter grades of diesel oil, then it was simply a DIESEL engine, i.e., a compression-ignition engine incapable of practically generating carbon monoxide.
The important point is the type of engine/ignition, not the type of fuel. For example, some U.S. Army trucks have multifuel diesel engines that can burn gasoline or diesel oil, but these would not work for a gaschamber either because the engine is still compression-ignition. It therefore ALWAYS operates at an excess of air, as shown by the simplified graph below, except under high loads (cf 1941 Holtz-Elliott paper cited by F. P. Berg in his Diesel paper).
Holtz & Elliott "Engine B" Test-Table (simplified)