Only Gasoline Engines Would Run Dirty Enough to Kill

 

Holocaust deniers say:

As the result of the work of Friedrich Berg, an American Holocaust denier, the "holocaust pundits" are "desperate" because they have "precious little" evidence regarding the murder of 1.5 million Jews in the Operation Reinhard camps using diesel engine exhaust.

Berg claims that because of his work the "exterminationists" are now engaged in an "attempt at evasion and distortion" and a "clumsy juggling of evidence" in a last ditch attempt to change their story to say that gasoline engines-not diesel engines-were used.1

Do we know what type of engine was used in the Operation Reinhard death camps or in the gas vans?

We do not have any direct physical evidence concerning the type of engine used because all three camps were completely torn down, the engines disposed of and no verified gas van has ever been found. Therefore, our knowledge is based on eyewitness evidence-both survivor and perpetrator.
It is true that sometimes the eyewitness testimony about the type of engines used in the gas chambers in the death camps is inconsistent. There are good reasons for these inconsistencies:
Who then are the people who could identify the engines used without error? The best source is the SS men who installed, used and maintain the engines. Others who saw or worked closely with the engine under certain circumstances could also be a reliable source.

In Sobibor:

SS men Fritz Hödl and Erich Fuchs were the "Gasmeisters" ("gas masters") at Sobibor. These men were in charge of installing, maintaining and using the engines for the gas chambers.

At Belzec:

However, two other eyewitnesses did see and interact with the engine in Belzec.
Therefore, at the Belzec death camp Gerstein, who heard but did not see the engine, claimed that it was a diesel engine. Two others who did see the engine said it was a gasoline engine. The stronger evidence (which is offered by two separate people independently) strongly indicates that the engine in Belzec was a gasoline engine.

At Treblinka:

It appears possible that two diesel engines may have been used in Treblinka. Gustav Münzberger, an SS man who worked in the extermination area of the camp, testified after the war:

The gas vans

Conclusion

From the testimony of the SS men who installed and used them and a Holocaust survivor and bystander who had access to the engines we may reasonably state the following:
When responsible evidence concerning the types of engines that were used in the camps and gas vans is examined, it is clear that the responsible Holocaust scholars are not "evading," "distorting" or "juggling" the evidence in response to the "truth telling" of the Holocaust deniers. What the Holocaust deniers decry as the "holocaust specialists" changing their story in the middle of the stream in response to the challenges of the Holocaust deniers is simply the normal and necessary correction of the historical record as more accurate information becomes available.

Notes

1. Friedrich Berg, "Diesel Gas Chambers: Ideal for Torture-Absurd for Murder," Part 3, p. 1/14 and 2/14 at http://www.nazigassings.com/dieselgaschamberc.html and Friedrich Berg, "The Diesel Gas Chambers: Myth Within a Myth," p. 16/19 and 17/19 at http://www.vho.org/GB/Journals/JHR/5/1/Berg15-46.html.
2. Ernst Klee, Willi Dressen and Volker Riess, editors. "The Good Old Days": The Holocaust as Seen by Its Perpetrators and Bystanders (Free Press, 1991), p. 231.
3. "Gas Chambers Introduction," p. 2/3 at http://www.deathcamps.org/gas_chambers/gas_chambers_intro.html.
4. "The defendant Münzberger-his Personal Statement about the upper Camp" at http://www.deathcamps.org/gas_chambers/trebmuenzberger.html.
5. 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. 98.
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