Zyklon B

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Zyklon B:hydrogen cyanide adsorbed on or released from a carrier in the form of small tablets, used as an insecticidal fumigant.

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Even in their preferred choice of mass killing the Nazis used a poison which was originally designed to kill insects and other pests, and that is the clearest indication what they thought of their victims.

Hydrogen cyanide, a poisonous gas that interferes with cellular respiration, was first used as a pesticide in California in the 1880s.Research at Degesch(German Corporation for Pest control)  led to the development of Zyklon (later known as Zyklon A), a pesticide which released hydrogen cyanide upon exposure to water and heat.Zyklon_label_3

It was banned after a similar product was used by Germany as a chemical weapon in World War I. In 1922, Degesch was purchased by Degussa, where a team of chemists that included Walter Heerdt  and Bruno Tesch developed a method of packaging hydrogen cyanide in sealed canisters along with a cautionary eye irritant and adsorbent stabilizers.Bruno_Emil_Tesch

The new product was also named Zyklon, but it became known as Zyklon B to distinguish it from the earlier version. Uses included delousing clothing and disinfesting ships, warehouses, and trains.

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During the killing process, prisoners at Auschwitz and other killing centers were forced into the air-tight chambers that had been disguised by the Nazis to look like shower rooms. The Zyklon pellets were then dumped into the chambers via special air shafts or openings in the ceiling.

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The pellets would then vaporize, giving off a noticeable bitter almond odor. Upon being breathed in, the vapors combined with red blood cells, depriving the human body of vital oxygen, causing unconsciousness, and then death through oxygen starvation.It could take up to 20 minutes before the victims died.

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Karl Fritzsch- the man who first used Zyklon B.

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Not many people know that the poisonous gas Zyklon B was first used on Russian Prisoners of War, long before the Nazi’s had decided on the ‘final solution’ at the Wannsee conference.

Today marks the 76th anniversary of the first mass killing by Zyklon B.

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SS-Hauptsturmführer Karl Fritzsch (10 July 1903 – reported missing 2 May 1945), was a German SS Captain and Auschwitz concentration camp Deputy who first suggested using poisonous gas Zyklon B for the purpose of mass murder according to Rudolf Höss and experimented with the first gassings himself.

Karl Fritzsch was born in Bohemia into the family of a stove builder. His father moved constantly on work assignments, and therefore Fritzsch never received formal education. For some years he worked as labourer on river ships along Danube. His marriage in 1928 to Franziska Stich produced three children, but ended in divorce in 1942.Fritzsch joined the Nazi Party and the SS (NSDAP # 261135 SS # 7287) in 1930 at the age of 27. He became a career SS man. Almost as soon as it opened, he acquired a position at the Dachau concentration camp in 1934.

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Due to his camp experience, several months after the German invasion of Poland, in May 1940 he became deputy to Rudolf Höss and the head of the economic operation of Auschwitz (Schutzhaftlagerführer). Fritzsch quickly obtained a reputation as the Auschwitz horror. He used to select prisoners to die of starvation in reprisal for the escape attempts among prisoners. Together with Höss, he was responsible for the torture death of victims locked inside standing cells in the basement of the Bunker, i.e. the Block 11 or 13 prison until they died.

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On 29 July 1941, a camp count found that three prisoners were missing and Fritzsch sentenced 10 remaining prisoners to immurement(walling in). One of the condemned, Franciszek Gajowniczek, was reprieved when a fellow prisoner, the Franciscan priest Maximilian Kolbe, offered to take his place. After over 2 weeks starvation, only Kolbe remained alive and the priest was killed in the underground bunker by lethal injection. Kolbe was later canonized by Pope John Paul II.

https://dirkdeklein.net/2016/09/02/maximilian-kolbe-he-died-doing-good/

Fritzsch was also fond of psychological torture. Former Auschwitz prisoner Karol Świętorzecki recalled the first Christmas Eve behind the camp barbed wire, on 24 December 1940, was also one of the most tragic. “The Nazis set up a Christmas tree, with electric lights, on the roll-call square. Beneath it, they placed the bodies of prisoners who had died while working or frozen to death at roll call. Lagerführer Karl Fritzsch referred to the corpses beneath the tree as “a present” for the living, and forbade the singing of Polish Christmas carols.”

According to testimony of his superior Rudolf Höss, it was also Fritzsch who first came up with the idea of using poison gas Zyklon B for the purpose of mass murder. Fritzsch ordered the killing of Soviet POWs locked in cells in the basement of the Bunker while Höss went away on an official trip in late August 1941. Fritzsch tried out the effect of Zyklon B inside cells which were not air-tight, subjecting the victims to even more torturous death. Fritzsch repeated the test-killing of additional victims using Zyklon B soon thereafter in the presence of Höss. According to Höss the preferred method for the mass murders in Auschwitz using Zyklon B was devised on site.

The first tests using Zyklon-B had been done in August 1941 in one of the basement cells

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The Nazis conducted the first mass killing of people using Zyklon-B in prison cell number 27 in Block 11 on September 3 1941.Adolf Eichmann was visiting the Auschwitz camp on that day, although Commandant Rudolf Höss was away on business, Adolf Eichmann had been the head of Department IV, B4 in the Reich Central Security Office (RSHA); Eichmann’s department was in charge of getting rid of the Jews in Europe. Karl Fritzsch, the camp commander and the deputy of Rudolf Höss, took it upon himself to carry out this first gassing, while his superior officer, Rudolf Höss, was away.

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The subjects of this first mass killing on September 3, 1941 were 600 Russian POWs and 250 sick prisoners,test conducted in the previous months had determined the right amount of Zyklon-B needed to kill a room full of people.

On 15 January 1942, Fritzsch was transferred to KZ Flossenbürg as Schutzhaftlagerführer. From early August until October 1942 he was temporary substitute commander of the camp. In October 1943, he was arrested as a part of an internal SS investigation into corruption. An SS court charged him with murder. As a punishment he was transferred to front line duty (SS-Panzergrenadier-Ersatzbatallion 18). It is assumed that he fell during the battle of Berlin in May 1945.

It is commonly believed that Fritzsch perished in the Battle for Berlin but his final fate remained long unknown. Soviet sources claimed that MI-6 caught him in Norway. In his 2007 memoirs, For He Is an Englishman, Memoirs of a Prussian Nobleman, Captain Charles Arnold-Baker recorded that as an MI6 officer in Oslo he arrested Fritzsch: “We picked up, for example, the deputy commandant of Auschwitz, a little runt of a man called Fritzsch whom we naturally put in the custody of a Jewish guard – with strict instructions not to damage him, of course.”

On 4 May 2015 Dutch journalist Wierd Duk published an article on his investigation of Fritzsch’s disappearance. In it he cites a report from 1966 by the Central Office of the State Justice Administrations for the Investigation of National Socialist Crimes in which Berlin inhabitant Gertrud Berendes claims that Fritzsch had shot himself on 2 May 1945 in the basement of a house at Sächsische Strasse 42 in Berlin. She mentioned that her father and a neighbour had buried Fritzsch in the Preussenpark and she had sent his personal belongings to his wife. In a separate report from 1966 by the Kriminalpolizei Regensburg Fritzsch’s wife states that she had no reason to doubt her husband’s death and that she had received his wedding ring and personal letters.

 

 

Bruno Tesch & Karl Weinbacher, merchants of Death

Today marks the 70th anniversary of the executions of Bruno Tesch& Karl Weinbacher . I was able to find a few pictures of Bruno Tesch but none from Karl Weinbacher.

After the war, several employees of the companies that had supplied Zykon B to the SS in the concentration and extermination camps were brought before the court in a number of criminal trials. The first trial, of employees of the Hamburg distributorship Tesch & Stabenow (TESTA), was held before a British military court in Hamburg from March 1 to 8, 1946. The owner of the firm, Bruno Tesch, and his coworkers Joachim Hans Drosihn and Karl Weinbacher were charged with having wittingly supplied the Zyklon Bused in the German concentration camps to murder citizens of the Allied countries. The defendant Joachim Hans Drosihn was acquitted in the proceedings because he was given no insight into corporate policy. Weinbacher and Tesch, on the other hand, were found guilty of knowingly supplying Zyklon B to murder human beings and were condemned to death.

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Dr. Bruno Tesch and his business manager-proxy (“Prokurist”) Karl Weinbacher, who had never been members of the German government or the German armed forces were sentenced to death.The death sentence was carried out in the Hameln (Hamelin) penitentiary on May 16, 1946.

Bruno Emil Tesch (14 August 1890 – 16 May 1946) was a German chemist and entrepreneur. Together with Gerhard Peters and Walter Heerdt, he invented the insecticide Zyklon B, infamous for having been used by Nazi Germany to exterminate approximately a million of the victims of the Holocaust.He was the owner of Tesch & Stabenow (called Testa), a pest control company he co-founded in 1924 with Paul Stabenow in Hamburg, Germany, which was a major supplier of Zyklon B to the Nazi concentration camps.

Following the end of World War II, he was arrested by the British as a war criminal, tried, and executed.

Tesch studied mathematics and physics for one semester in 1910 at the University of Göttingen before studying chemistry at the University of Berlin, receiving his degree in 1914. He attained a position at Kaiser Wilhelm Institute

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Tesch, along with fellow chemists Gerhard Peters and Walter Heerdt, with the support of I.G. Farben, began research into the use of hydrogen cyanide as a fumigating agent. They discovered a process in which the hydrogen cyanide could be manufactured and used in a solid form.

The patent was assigned to Degesch, “Deutsche Gesellschaft für Schädlingsbekämpfung mbH” (German Limited Company for Pest Control), subsidiary of I.G. Farben, with Walter Heerdt being the only one of the inventors to receive patent rights, a portion of the proceeds from the manufacture and sale. Peters joined Degesch and would become managing director during World War II. Degesch was designated by the German government to set the safety rules and standards for the use of Zyklon B, and was given the authority to authorize shipments from the manufacturer to the customer after the strict criteria were met.

Tesch & Stabenow did not manufacture Zyklon B nor any other chemicals. It was primarily a pest control company specializing in fumigation of commercial properties such as the warehouses and freighters in the Port of Hamburg. Zyklon B was produced by Dessauer Werke and Kaliwerke.

In 1925, Tesch & Stabenow – partly due to the largesse of Paul Haber of Degesch – received the exclusive rights to distribute the insecticide Zyklon B east of the Elbe River. In 1927, Stabenow departed from the firm. Tesch held a 45% share of the company and Degesch 55%. He would assume sole ownership of the company in 1942

Tesch was first interrogated in Hamburg by British Captain and chemist Walter Freud. Freud was accompanied by Emil Sehm, a former Testa bookkeeper. Sehm claimed to have seen a memorandum concerning correspondence between Tesch and a Wehrmacht officer about the use of Zyklon B to gas humans. Tesch was arrested by the British occupation authorities on September 3, 1945, and released on October 1, 1945, only to be re-arrested a few days later on October 6.

Tesch was tried by a British military tribunal in the Curiohaus in Hamburg March 1–8, 1946, the Testa process. His two co-defendants were registered general representative Karl Weinbacher and Joachim Drosihn, the firm’s first gassing technician.

The prosecution case stated that Zyklon B was used for “systematically exterminating human beings to an estimated total of six million, of whom four and a half million were exterminated by the use of Zyklon B in one camp alone, known as Auschwitz/Birkenau”

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The charge was that Tesch, “at Hamburg, Germany, between 1st January 1941, and 31st March 1945, in violation of the laws and usages of war, did supply poison gas used for the extermination of allied nationals interned in concentration camps, well knowing that the said gas was to be so used” in violation of Article 46 of the Hague Convention of 1907.One of the witnesses called by the prosecution was SS Rottenführer Perry Broad, who had worked in the political department in Auschwitz. Tesch and Weinbacher were condemned to death; Drosihn was acquitted. Tesch was executed by hanging on May 16, 1946, by Albert Pierrepoint in Hamelin Prison.

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Karl Weinbacher (23 June 1898 in Stettin – 16 May 1946 in Hamelin) was a German manager and war criminal who was executed after conviction by a British war tribunal.

Weinbacher worked at Degesch (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Schädlingsbekämpfung, which translates as German Corporation for Pest Control) until 1924, and then at Tesch & Stabenow (Testa, for short), where he received the position of manager in 1927, and by 1943 was director and deputy executive under owner and chief executive officer Bruno Tesch. Testa manufactured and sold Zyklon B, which was used not only for pest control and disinfestation, but also in the Holocaust in the gas chambers of Auschwitz to murder people. Weinbacher was involved with a percentage of the sales proceeds of Zyklon B.

Weinbacher often acted as the CEO whenever Tesch was absent or on business travels, this sometimes could be as much as 200 days a year.In that time Weinbacher would have full authority on all business activities.

After the end of World War II, Weinbacher, Tesch and Joachim Drosihn, the firm’s first gassing technician, were arrested on 3 September 1945. They were tried by a British military tribunal in the Curiohaus Trial in Hamburg from March 1–8, 1946, also called the Testa trial or the Zyklon B trial. In the cases of Weinbacher and Tesch, the court ruled that it had been proven that both knew the purpose of Zyklon B. Tesch and Weinbacher were convicted and sentenced to death on 8 March 1946, while Drosihn was acquitted. Tesch and Weinbacher were hanged in the prison for war criminals in Hamelin on 16 May 1946.

Just because these men weren’t part of the army or any government did not absolve them from any guilt and best they were complacent and worst they were actually worse then the anyone in the army, because the SS or Wehrmacht could always say they were following orders, whereas these men solely did it for profit .