Auschwitz Controversies Persist


EXPLANATION. Controversy persists among revisionists over whether the Nazis could have safely used hydrogen-cyanide for mass execution procedures in primitive gas chambers in their "death camps". News items tend to bear out that the poison is notoriously fickle, dangerous, and unselective in whom it kills.

Unedited news item published in The Toronto Star, Canada, April 20, 1988

The Toronto Star, April 20, 1988

The Zündel trial

U.S. prison warden
tells about operation
of gas chambers

By Paul Bilodeau , Toronto Star

THE OPERATION  of gas chambers came under scrutiny at the trial of Ernst Zündel yesterday.

Bill Armontrout, a Missouri prison warden, testified that it takes 13 minutes to kill a person with cyanide gas.

Summoned to the witness box by defence lawyer Douglas Christie, Armontrout said no one has been gassed to death in his Missouri State Penitentiary since 1965, but he has witnessed three executions in other states. Armontrout said cautious safety procedures are followed when carrying out an execution. The door of the chamber is sealed tightly and there is a 12-metre (40-foot) stack to vent the poison gas before the body is removed.

Christie asked about the risk to attendants in using cyanide gas in a room 30 metres by 70 metres (98 feet by 230 feet), the size of gas chambers at the Birkenau death camp. Armontrout replied that "it would be dangerous anywhere without proper ventilation." Zündel is charged with spreading false news in a pamphlet entitled "Did Six Million Really Die?" that questions the existence of gas chambers at Nazi death camps.

'Dark patches'

Christie called an expert in aerial photography to testify about a series of American reconnaissance photos taken from 9,144 metres (30,000 feet) of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in 1944 when the gas chambers were in operation.

Ken Wilson, a photogrametric engineer, said he can spot several "dark patches" on the roofs of the gas chamber buildings attached to the large crematoria where bodies were burned at Birkenau.

According to historians, poison gas was dropped into the gas chambers from holes in the concrete roof of the buildings.

A previous defence witness, Dietlieb Felderer, testified that he examined the holes and judged them to have been chiselled out after the war.

Wilson also said he saw what appeared to be a swimming pool with diving boards in an aerial photo of the nearby Auschwitz I concentration camp.

The trial continues. square

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