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ith Hitler’s ideology came an idea for “the final solution” which was the genocide that took place during the Second World War famously known as the Holocaust. The gas chambers known as showers were introduced in 1941 and the gas vans were forgotten. The introduction of such vans came in 1939 as a way to effectively kill Jews as they are being transported to the concentration camps.

The same lie but less effective

The way that the vans worked was by using the carbon monoxide produced by the vehicle to kill off the passengers in the back of the van. This was possible by insulating the back section of the van so that carbon dioxide was not able to escape and by moving the exhaust pipes into the back section of the van.

drawing from a report of 9 February 1944 for the Swiss Intelligence (Source: Holocaust Controversies)

In order to make the van look as normal as possible another set of fake exhaust pipes was installed so that no one would ask where the exhaust pipes of the van were. Once the passengers were in the back and the back doors sealed, the van would start going. The more the engine was throttled the more fuel would be burned which would produce more and more carbon dioxide.

This idea was quickly left out because it was just not efficient enough for the scale that Hitler planned for the genocide. The use of fuel for killing Jews was just too expensive as fuel for the German army was the most valuable resource. At the same time, it would take more than 20 minutes before the passengers in the back of the van would be intoxicated with enough carbon dioxide to be lethal.

The chemical behind the Holocaust

Therefore Hitler sent his officers to find a cheap and efficient way to take care of the Jewish population. After some research Rudolf Hoss came up with the idea of using a chemical named Zyklon B in a gas chamber where you could fit over 500 people at once

Zyklon B used by the Germans (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

What can be seen as quite ironic is that a Jewish person by the name of Fritz Haber invented this chemical which killed over six million Jewish people. However, at the same time, it is true that there were other chemicals similar to Zyklon B which in theory could have been as effective and cheap. The reason why Zyklon B was so effective is that it would take only 70mg of it to kill a person in less than two minutes.

The Gas Van was actually used before the start of the Jewish genocide with some experiments of killing Germans that were suffering from mental illnesses in a painless way. The Nazis deemed these Germans as “unworthy of living life”. What is more interesting is that the gas van was actually invented by the Soviet secret police in the late 1930s to be used in the Great Terror of 1938.

Many argue that a German by the name of Alois Brunner was responsible for the creation of the gas van, however, the true inventor of the gas van was a Soviet secret police agent before the Second World War had even begun. It is not about who created this weapon that has taken over 100,000 lives, but the intent that others had to cause harm with it. So let’s assume that the weapon did not exist, I assure you that the Germans would have found another way to take 100,000 lives, probably a more painful way.

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