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The 'Problem of the Gas Chambers'

Robert Faurisson (1)


(Professor Robert Faurisson wrote the article below in 1978. It was widely circulated in France and was translated and published in the Summer, 1980 issue of The Journal of Historical Review)

No one, not even among those individuals who regard the Third Reich with nostalgia, denies the existence of concentration camps under Hitler. Everyone recognizes also that certain camps were equipped with crematory ovens. Instead of being buried, the corpses were reduced to ashes. The repeated occurrence of epidemics made cremation necessary, especially for those who had died of typhus (see the photos of mass graves at Belsen et cetera). What is, however, disputed by numerous French, British, American and German authors is the existence of "extermination camps" in Hitler's Germany. This expression is used by history writers to refer to those camps which are supposed to have been equipped with "gas chambers." These "gas chambers" were different from the American gas chambers in that they were allegedly used to kill masses. The victims were allegedly men, women and children who were exterminated because of their race or religion. This is called "genocide." The principal means for carrying out this "genocide" were slaughterhouses for humans called "gas chambers" and the gas employed for this purpose would have been generally Zyklon-B (a pesticide based upon prussic or hydrocyanic acid).

The authors who contest the "genocide" claim and the existence of the "gas chambers" are called Revisionists. Their argument runs approximately as follows:

It suffices for both of these problems ("genocide" and "gas chambers") to apply the customary methods of historical criticism, to see that one is confronted here by two myths which are inseparable. The criminal intentions which are attributed to Hitler have never been proven. As far as the weapon for this crime is concerned, no one has actually seen it. Here one is confronted by an extraordinarily successful war and hate propaganda campaign. History is full of frauds of this kind, beginning with the religious fables of sorcery and witchcraft. What distinguishes our times from earlier epochs is the frightening power of the media and the propaganda ad nauseam which is made for what must be called "the hoax of the twentieth century." Let him beware, whoever might, after 30 years, get the idea to try and expose this hoax. He will learn -- depending on the situation -- through imprisonment, fines, assaults and insults. His career can be shattered or endangered. He will be denounced as a Nazi. Either his thesis will be ignored, or else it will be distorted. No country will be more unrelentingly ruthless toward him than West Germany.

Today, however, the silence is about to be broken about those men who have dared to write responsibly that Hitler's "gas chambers" (including those of Auschwitz and Maidanek) are only a historical lie. (2) This is a great advance.

But what insults and distortions an Exterminationist historian such as Georges Wellers allowed himself when, more than ten years after Paul Rassinier's death, he decided to expose the minutest part of the arguments of this ex-inmate of a concentration camp who had the courage to reveal the lie of the "gas chambers" in his writings!

The best way in which a historian may inform himself regarding the actual claims of the disciples of Paul Rassinier is to refer to the work of the American A. R. Butz entitled, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century. (3)

For my part, I take the liberty of making only a few observations specifically for the serious research-oriented historians.

I call their attention to a paradox. Although the "gas chambers" are, in the view of the official historians, absolutely central to a picture of the Nazi concentration camp system (and furthermore, as proof for the totally perverse and devilish character of the German concentration camps -- in comparison to all previous and more recent concentration camps -- it ought to be meticulously shown how the Nazis proceeded to invent, construct, and operate these fearsome slaughterhouses for humans), one must be thoroughly astonished that in the impressive bibliography of the concentration camp literature there is not a single book, not a single brochure, not a single article, on the "gas chambers" themselves. One must not be misled by some very promising titles; rather one must ascertain the contents of these writings for oneself. I regard as "official historical writing" those publications which are written about the concentration camps by institutions or foundations which are partly or wholly financed from public funds, such as, for example, in France: the Comité d'Histoire de la Deuxième Guerre Mondiale (Committee for the History of the Second World War) and the Centre de Documentation Juive Contemporaire (Jewish Contemporary Documenation Center), and in Germany (Munich): Institut fur Zeitgeschichte (Institute for Contemporary History).

One must wait until page 541 of the thesis by Olga Wormser-Migot on the system of Nazi concentration camps, before one finds a passage about the "gas chambers." However, for the reader there are still three other surprises:

1. The passage in question covers only three pages.

2. It carries the title: "The Problem of the Gas Chambers."

3. The "problem" consists of trying to determine whether the "gas chambers" at Ravensbrück (Germany) and Mauthausen (Austria) really existed; the author comes to the conclusion that they did not exist; however, she does not examine the "problem" of the "gas chambers" of Auschwitz or any other camps probably because in her mind they do not present a "problem."

At this point, the reader probably wants to know why an analysis which concludes that "gas chambers" did not exist in certain camps is suddenly discontinued as soon as, for example, Auschwitz is discussed. Why, on one hand, is the critical spirit awakened, and then, on the other hand, is it allowed to collapse into lethargy? After all, as far as the "gas chamber" of Ravensbruck is concerned, we have available lots of points of "evidence" and "undeniable eyewitness accounts" beginning with repeated and extensive eyewitness accounts by Marie-Claude Vaillant-Couturier or Germaine Tillion. It gets even better. Several years after the war, before both British and French tribunals, the camp officials of Ravensbrück (Sühren, Schwarzhuber and Treite) repeatedly confessed to the existence of a "gas chamber" in their camp. They even vaguely described its operation. Eventually they were hanged because of this alleged "gas chamber" or else they committed suicide. The same "confessions" were given prior to their deaths by Ziereis for Mauthausen (Austria) and by Kramer for Struthof-Natzweiler (Alsace).

Today, one can see the alleged "gas chamber" of Struthof-Natzweiler and in the same place one can also read the unbelievable "confession" of Kramer. This "gas chamber" which is designated as a "historical monument" is a complete fraud. The slightest amount of critical spirit will be sufficient to convince oneself that a gassing in this small room, without any sealing whatsoever, would have been a catastrophe for the executioner as well as for the people in the vicinity. In order to make this "gas chamber" (which is guaranteed to be "in its original condition") believable, someone has gone so far as to clumsily knock a hole into a thin wall with a chisel, and thereby break four tiles. The hole was so arranged that Josef Kramer would have dumped through it the mysterious "salts" (about which he could give no further details and which, when mixed with a little water, killed within one minute!). How could salts and water make gas? How could Kramer have prevented the gas from coming back out the hole? How could he see his victims from a hole which would have let him see no more than half the room? How did he ventilate the room before opening the rudimentary door, made from rough-cut lumber? Perhaps one must ask the civil engineering firm in Saint Michel sur Meurthe (Vosges), which after the war altered the place which today is presented to visitors "in its original condition"?

Even long after the war, prelates, university professors, and some ordinary citizens, gave eyewitness descriptions regarding the terrible reality of the "gas chambers" of Buchenwald and Dachau. With regard to Buchenwald, the "gas chamber" gradually disappeared from the minds of the people who had previously maintained that there was one in this camp.


With regard to Dachau, the situation is different. After it had been firmly established - for example by His Eminence Bishop Piguet, the bishop of Clermont-Ferrand -- that the "gas chamber" had been especially useful in gassing Polish priests, (4) eventually the following official explanation came to pass:

This gas chamber whose construction had been started in 1943, was still not completed in 1945 when the camp was liberated. No one could have been gassed in it.

The little room, which visitors are told is a "gas chamber," is in reality completely harmless and, while all sorts of construction plans are available for "Barrack X..." (the crematorium and vicinity), one cannot determine upon what basis or technical explanation one can claim that this structure is an "unfinished gas chamber."


No official historical institute has done more than the Institut fur Zeitgeschichte (Institute for Contemporary History) in Munich to make the myth of the "gas chambers" believable. Since 1972 its director has been Dr. Martin Broszat. As a member of this Institute since 1955, Dr. Broszat became famous as a result of his (partial!) publication in 1958 of the confessions that Rudolf Hoss (former Commandant of Auschwitz) is supposed to have written in a Communist prison before he was hanged. However, on 19 August 1960, this historian had to tell his amazed countrymen that there had never been a "gas chamber" in the entire Old Reich (Germany's 1937 frontiers), but rather, only in a small number of selected places, especially in occupied Poland, including Auschwitz and Birkenau. This startling news was given in a simple letter to the editor which was published in the weekly newspaper Die Zeit (19 August 1960, p. 16.) The title was quite misleading and restrictive: "Keine Vergasung in Dachau" ("No Gassing at Dachau") instead of "Keine Vergasung im Altreich" ("No Gassing in the Old Reich"). In order to support this contention, Dr. Broszat provided not the slightest piece of evidence. Today, eighteen years after his letter, neither he nor any of his colleagues has provided the slightest explanation for this affirmation. It would be highly interesting to learn:

As if by some tacit agreement, not a single recognized historian has raised these questions. How often in the "history of history" has one relied upon the claims of a single historian?*

Polish Camps

Let us now examine the "gas chambers" in Poland.

For proof that the "gas chambers" in Belzec or Treblinka really existed, one is asked to rely essentially upon the statement of Kurt Gerstein. This document from a member of the SS, who allegedly committed suicide in 1945 in the prison of Cherche-Midi in Paris, abounds with so many absurdities that in the eyes of historians it has for a long time already been thoroughly discredited. (5) Furthermore, this statement has never been made public, not even in the documents of the Nurnberg tribunal, except in an unusable form (with truncations, falsifications, and rewritings...). The actual document has never been available with its absurd appendices (French "draft" or the "supplements" in German).

Regarding Maidanek, a visit to the actual site is absolutely necessary. It is even more convincing than a visit to Struthof-Natzweiler, if that is possible. On this question I will publish additional information.

With regard to Auschwitz and Birkenau, one must rely essentially on the "Memoirs" (6) of Rudolf Höss, which were prepared under the supervision of his Polish captors. At the actual site, one can only find a "reconstructed" room (Auschwitz I) and ruins (Auschwitz II or Birkenau).

An execution with gas has nothing to do with a suicidal or accidental suffocation. In the case of an execution, the executioner and his team must not be exposed to the slightest danger. For their executions, the Americans employ hydrocyanic acid in a sophisticated way, and that only in a small, hermetically-sealed, chamber. Afterwards, the gas is exhausted from the chamber and neutralized.

For this reason, one must ask how, for example in the case of Auschwitz II or Birkenau, one could bring 2000 people into a room measuring 210 square meters in area, and then in this highly crowded situation throw in the very strong pesticide Zyklon-B, and then immediately after the deaths of the victims let a work crew without any gasmasks enter the room in order to take out the bodies which had been thoroughly saturated with cyanide?

Two documents (7) from the German industrial archives which were registered by the Americans at Nurnberg tell us that the Zyklon-B had a strong tendency to adhere to surfaces and could not be removed with a strong ventilator, but only by natural aeration for almost 24 hours. Additional documents may be found only at the site in the Auschwitz Museum archives, which were never described elsewhere, but which show that this room of 210 square meters, which is today in a dilapidated condition, was only a very simple mortuary, which (in order to protect it against heat) had been located underground, and which was provided with only a single door which served as both an entrance and an exit. (8)

Concerning the crematoria of Auschwitz, there is -- just as there is generally for the entire camp -- an overabundance of documents and invoices down to the last penny. However, concerning the "gas chambers" there is nothing: no contract for construction, not even a study, nor an invoice, nor even a photograph. In a hundred war crimes trials, nothing of the sort was ever produced.


"I was in Auschwitz and I can assure you that there was no 'gas chamber' there." Only seldom does one hear defense witnesses with enough courage to pronounce this statement. They are persecuted in the courts. (9) Still today, everyone in Germany takes the risk that, if they give an eyewitness account in favor of Thies Christophersen (who wrote The Auschwitz Lie), they will be punished for "defaming the memory of the deceased." (10)

Immediately after the war, the Germans, the International Red Cross and the Vatican (which was otherwise so expert as to whatever happened in Poland), as well as many others, declared in an embarrassed tone: "The 'gas chambers'... we knew nothing about them!" Yes, but I would put the question this way: "Can one know about things which did not even happen?"

There was not a single "gas chamber" in even one of the German concentration camps; that is the truth. The nonexistence of "gas chambers" should be regarded as welcome news; to hide this news in the future would be an injustice. Just as there is no attack upon a religion if one portrays "Fatima" as a fraud, the announcement that the "gas chambers" are an historical lie is not an attack upon concentration camp survivors. One is merely doing one's duty by being truthful.


1. Associate Professor of the University of Lyon-2; specialty: Critique of Texts and Documents.

2. Regarding the great number of vicious and insulting articles, there is a study by Hermann Langbein which appeared in Le Monde Juif (The Jewish World), April/June 1975. The title is "Coup d'oeil sur la litterature neo-nazie" ("A Glimpse at Neo-Nazi Literature"), pp. 8-20. Hermann Langbein was an inmate in Auschwitz. He testified at countless trials. He holds an important position in the circles of former concentration camp inmates. One of his most recent works is entitled: Hommes et Femmes à Auschwitz (Men and Women at Auschwitz), Paris, Fayard, 1975, viii + 529 pp. (translated from Menschen in Auschwitz, Vienna, 1974). Not one of the 30 chapters, not one of the 268 sections of this book is devoted to "gas chambers"! Rather, one constantly sees expressions such as "selection for the gas chambers" etc. There is also a study by Georges Wellers which appeared in Le Monde Juif (op. cit.) April/June 1977. The title is "La 'Solution finale' de la question juive et la mythomanie néo-nazie" ("The 'Final Solution' and Neo-Nazi Mythomania"), pp. 41-84. There is also a study by Ino Arndt and Wolfgang Scheffler in Vierteljahreshefte fur Zeitgeschichte (Quarterly Review for Contemporary History), which is a publication of the Institute for Contemporary History in Munich. The Institute's director is currently Dr. Martin Broszat. This study was published in the issue of April 1976. The title is: "Organisierter Massenmord an Juden in NS-Vernichtungslagern" ("Organized Mass-Murder in Nazi Extermination Camps"), pp. 105-135.

3. The Hoax of the Twentieth Century, Institute for Historical Review, 1979.

4. Prison et Déportation (Prison and Deportation), Paris, Spes, 1947, p. 77.

5. See the opinion expressed by the forensic pathologist as it is reported by the Exterminationist Pierre Joffroy in his book about Kurt Gerstein: L'Espion de Dieu/La Passion de Kurt Gerstein (The Spy of God/The Passion of Kurt Gerstein), Paris, Grasset, 1969, p. 262.

6. Kommandant in Auschwitz/Autobiographische Aufzeichnungen (Commandant of Auschwitz/Autobiographical Memoirs) by Rudolf Höss, Stuttgart, Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, 1958, 184 pp.; introduction and commentary by Dr. Martin Broszat. Concerning "gassing," see pages 126 and 166. The entry of the work crew into the "gas chamber" is supposed to happen "sofort" ("immediately") as it is written on page 166.

7. These two extensive documents, which are of great importance, were apparently not used at the trials of Gerhard Peters, former director of Degesch. They were registered as documents NI-9098 and NI-9912. They irrevocably reduce to nothing the "eyewitness testimony" of Höss regarding the "gas chambers."

8. Photographs Neg. 6228 and following.

9. Case of Wilhelm Stäglich, for example. See Stäglich in the index nominum of Butz's book (op. cit.).

10. Die Auschwitz-Lüge (The Auschwitz Lie), #23 of Kritik 1974. This booklet was followed by Der Auschwitz-Betrug/Das Echo auf die Auschwitz-Lüge (The Auschwitz Fraud/The Echo of the Auschwitz Lie.).

*The famed Simon Wiesenthal has also admitted that "there were no extermination camps on German soil" in a letter to the editor of Books and Bookmen, page 5, April, 1975.

Conclusions after 30 years of research by Revisionist authors:

1. The Hitler "gas chambers" never existed.

2. The "genocide" (or "attempted genocide") of the Jews never took place. In other words: Hitler never gave an order -- nor permission -- that anyone should be killed because of his race or religion.

3. The alleged "gas chambers" and the alleged "genocide" are one and the same lie.

4. This lie, which is largely of Zionist origin, has made an enormous political and financial fraud possible, whose principal beneficiary is the state of Israel.

5. The principal victims of this fraud are the German people (but not the German rulers) and the entire Palestinian people.

6. The enormous power of the official information services has, thus far, had the effect of ensuring the success of the lie and of censoring the freedom of expression of those who have denounced the lie.

7. The participants in this lie know that its days are numbered. They distort the purpose and nature of the Revisionist research. They label as "resurgence of Nazism" or as "falsification of history" what is only a thoughtful and justified concern for historical truth.


Source: Le «problème des chambres à gaz», Défense de l'Occident, juin 1978, p. 32-40, reprinted in Serge Thion, Vérité historique ou vérité politique?, Paris, La Vieille Taupe, 1980, p. 83-9.
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