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Myth/Fact Sheets

Smoke And Soot Can't Kill


Holocaust deniers say:

The black smoke and soot in diesel exhaust, according to Friedrich Berg, an American Holocaust denier, would have ". . . annoyed the hell out of any group of intended victims, but would have given them nothing worse than a headache." 1

As further proof that diesel engine exhaust cannot kill a human being, Berg states that "there are no known Diesel suicides . . ." 2
Berg is incorrect on both counts.
  • Diesel engine exhaust contains significant amounts of heavy smoke and soot (particulate matter) under normal operating conditions. It is worse when the engine is deliberately mistuned.3
  • That smoke and soot could have been a factor in the deaths of people who were subjected to diesel engine exhaust is indicated by man named Lauer, who was a member of the Einsatzkommando in Poltava in the Ukraine. About the gas vans he testified: "I was there when the van arrived. As the doors were opened, dense smoke emerged, followed by a tangle of crumpled bodies. It was a frightful sight." 4
In 1998 a man in the United Kingdom committed suicide in his diesel-powered car:
  • A doctor named S. Sivaloganathan wrote a case study about the incident entitled "Death from diesel fumes" in the Journal of Clinical Forensic Medicine.
  • He concluded that the cause of the man’s death was not due to carbon monoxide (which was less than 5%) but anoxia (lack of oxygen) because his air passages were blocked with "soot and other material in the emissions." 5


The heavy smoke and soot in diesel engine exhaust can kill. While it is highly unlikely that smoke and soot would have been the sole cause of death in the gas vans and gas chambers it could have been a contributing factor taken together with the carbon monoxide, lack of oxygen, and several other toxic gases in diesel exhaust.


1. Friedrich Berg, "The Diesel Gas Chambers: Myth within a Myth," p. 13/19 at http://vho.org/GB/Journals/JHR/5/1/Berg15-46.html".
2. Friedrich Berg, "Diesel Gas Chambers: Ideal for Torture-Absurd for Murder, Part 2," p. 2/15 at http://www.nazigassings.com/dieselgaschamberb.html and Friedrich Berg, "Poison Gas Über Alles" at www.nazigassings.com/poisongas.html, p. 7/12.
3. H. H. Schrenk and L.B. Berger, "Composition of Diesel engine Exhaust Gas, American Journal of Public Health and the Nation’s Health, V31 (7), July 1941, p. 677. You can find the entire article at http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1531320".
4. Eugen Kogon, Hermann Langbein, and Adalbert Rückerl, editors, Nazi Mass Murder: A Documentary History of the Use of Poison Gas (Yale University Press, 1994), p. 61.
5. S. Sivaloganathan, "Death from diesel fumes," Journal of Clinical Forensic Medicine (1998) 5, 138-139 at http://www.vho.org/GB/c/FPB/1DeathbyDiesel.gif.
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