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Holocaust Denial & The Big Lie

Holocaust Victim's Prayer Shawls

(From an online post by Professor Daniel Keren,
Jamie McCarthy, and Ken McVay of Brown University )

This document provides a counterpoint to assertions commonly made by those who deny that anyone was gassed at the Auschwitz-Birkenau and other death camps during World War II; who, in fact, deny that the gas chambers even existed.

The most prestigious source in Germany regarding the crimes of the Nazis during WW2, the "Institute for Contemporary History" in Munich, sums up the facts in a recent publication, mentioning 13 camps in which gassing took place; here are the entries on Auschwitz and Treblinka.

Treblinka (district Warschau, general government) from the end of July 1942 on had three gas chambers and received at the start of

September 1942 furthermore ten larger gas chambers. Up to the dissolution of the camp in November 1943 altogether 700,000 Jews were killed here by carbon monoxide.

Arial photo of AuschwitzAuschwitz-Birkenau (in the formerly Polish, in 1939 adjoined to the "Reich" upper eastern Silesian area, south eastern of Kattowitz): The extermination camp in Birkenau, established in the second half of 1941, was joined to the concentration camp Auschwitz, existing since May 1940. From January 1942 on in five gas chambers and from the end of June 1943 in four additional large gassing-rooms gassings with Zyklon B have been undertaken. Up until November 1944 more than one Arial photo of Auschwitzmillion Jews and at least 4000 gypsies have been murdered by gas.

(Note that these numbers include only people gassed - many were murdered using more "conventional" means. This is by no means a replacement for serious research - just an expose of common frauds like the "Leuchter report", and a guide to scholarly sources.

The Infamous "Black Wall' of Auschwitz Which was Used During Firing Squad Executions to Protect The Bricks.
The Infamous "Black Wall' of Auschwitz Which was Used During Firing Squad Executions to Protect The Bricks.

The appearance of a quotation mark within a proper name indicates that the previous letter should be read as an umlaut, although some quoted material appends a trailing `e' instead. (I.e. Hoess and Hess reference the same name.)


Fred Leuchter is a man with no formal training in either chemistry or toxicology (he obtained a BA in history in 1964), and yet he claims to be a professional engineer - an assertion that has landed him in hot water in his home state. In 1988, at the request of Canada's Ernst Zundel, Mr. Leuchter went to Poland and visited the site of the Auschwitz extermination camp; (Mr. Zundel financed Leuchter's trip to Poland.) The result of this journey was the "Leuchter Report." Here's what Mr. Leuchter had to say about his "investigation:

The purpose [of the investigation and subsequent report] does not include a determination of any numbers of persons who died or were killed by means other than gassing or as to whether an actual Holocaust occurred. It, further, is not the intent of this author to redefine Holocaust in historical terms, but simply to supply scientific evidence and information obtained at the actual sites and to render an opinion based on all available scientific, engineering and quantitative data as to the purpose and usages of the alleged execution gas chambers and crematory facilities at the investigated locations. (Foner)

You will note, as we will demonstrate using Leuchter's own sworn testimony, that Mr. Leuchter failed to demonstrate any concern for the truth, even while under oath.

While testifying at Mr. Zundel's trial in Canada, Leuchter gave false evidence concerning his professional relationship with the administration of two American prisons regarding gas chambers, and proved himself to be unfamiliar with the most basic facts about the lethal gas Hydrogen Cyanide, including its flammability and the concentrations and duration required for delousing purposes.

The "Leuchter Report" purports to "scientifically demonstrate" that people were not killed by Zyklon-B at Auschwitz. It is composed of old claims made by the French Holocaust denier Faurisson, as well as some new ones. Many of the claims appear in the Institute for Historical Review's "66 Q&A on the Holocaust" pamphlet, and also in arguments offered by others who deny the Holocaust.


Zyklon B canister
Zyklon-B is a powerful insecticide. It releases HCN, Hydrocyanic acid, a gas - Zyklon-B is the carrier, a material soaked with the gas; usually it comes in the shape of small pellets or disks. HCN is what causes death. While interacting with iron and concrete, it creates compounds ("Hydrocyanic compounds"). Leuchter concedes that these compounds were found in the ruins of the gas chambers in Auschwitz (as reaffirmed by the findings of the Polish government institute, which completely rejects Leuchter's conclusions).

HCN is extremely poisonous to humans. It is used in execution gas chambers in the US; the first such was built in Arizona in 1920. It is absurd to claim (as the deniers do), that Germany in the 1940's could not handle "technical difficulties" in using HCN for execution - "difficulties" that were easily solved in 1920. Moreover, the Germans had a lot of experience with HCN, as it was extensively used for delousing.

There were two types of gas chambers in Auschwitz: those used for delousing clothes ("delousing gas chambers") and those used for killing people on a massive scale ("extermination gas chambers"). The delousing gas chambers were a standard feature, and were left intact by the SS (as opposed to the extermination gas chambers, which were dynamited in an effort to conceal criminal activity from the rapidly approaching Soviet Army). The deniers try to confuse the issue by mixing the two types of chambers. For instance, they show pictures of the doors for the delousing chambers, and note that they are too weak to withstand the pressure of people trying to escape. Of course, the doors for the extermination chambers were completely different, but that fact is quietly overlooked.

Point, Counterpoint

Holocaust denial often involves the same assertions, repeated endlessly, regardless of response. We present many of them for consideration here, along with our response.

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