The Gas Chamber of Sherlock Holmes

The Gas Chamber of Sherlock Holmes

3. German Disinfection Procedures

DISEASE HAS MOVED hand-in-hand with warfare and migrations throughout history, and has brought more than one army to its knees. Eastern Europe was a particularly dreaded location for such epidemics: the Allies in the Crimean War, and the Napoleonic Army in 1812 were decimated by diseases, above all typhus and cholera, but also typhoid and dysentery.82 For a long time the cause of these diseases was unknown, only towards the end of the 19th Century was it understood that cholera, typhoid, and dysentery were transmitted by microbes usually in contaminated water.83 The vector of typhus — the body louse — was not identified until shortly before World War One.84

This lack of understanding did not prevent Europeans from attempting to control these diseases, since the general understanding was that filth and poor hygiene had something to do with their transmission.85

Towards the end of the 19th Century Germany developed a number of procedures for the delousing and disinfection of people and their clothing. These involved showering, smearing the body with petroleum or other substances to kill bugs, and steaming or boiling belongings.86 The application of the these procedures soon came to a test in the 1880’s.

Typhus was endemic in Eastern Europe, and cholera had swept through the region on several occasions in the 19th Century.87 The constant saturation, particularly with typhus, conferred a certain immunity on the inhabitants.88 Someone transplanted to these regions could easily catch these diseases.89 Someone leaving the area might carry them.90 The population of the area, comprising roughly the Western Russian Empire and the Eastern provinces of Austria Hungary, Jewish and gentile, were uniformly impoverished, hungry, and, by then current Western hygienic standards, filthy.91 It is no exaggeration to state that most of the people in this region were but one crop failure away from death.92

In 1881, after the assassination of Tsar Alexander II, anti-Semitic riots became characteristic in the region.93 That was the last straw for many Jews, who had borne impoverishment, hunger and filth as stoically as their gentile counterparts, in addition to government interference in their traditional way of life. As a result, many Jews chose to emigrate, and this led them in many cases through Germany.94 In Germany, they were subjected to the standard disinfection procedures, of which Mary Antin gave a much quoted account in her memoirs 95

In a great and lonely field, opposite a solitary house within a large yard, our train pulled up at last, and the conductor commanded the passengers to make haste and get out. […] [The conductor] hurried us into the one large room that made up the house, and then into the yard. Here a great many men and women, dressed in white, received us, the women attending the women and girls of the passengers, and the men the others. This was another scene of bewildering confusion, parents losing their children, and little ones crying; baggage being thrown together in one corner of the yard, heedless of contents, which suffered in consequence; those white-clad Germans shouting commands, always accompanied with “Quick! Quick!” — the confused passengers obeying all orders like meek children, only questioning now and then what was to be done with them. And no wonder if in some minds stories arose of people being captured by robbers, murderers, and the like. Here we had been taken to a lonely place where only that house was to be seen; our things were taken away, our friends separated from us; a man came to inspect us, as if to ascertain our full value; strange-looking people driving us about like dumb animals, helpless and unresisting; children we could not see crying in a way that suggested terrible things; ourselves driven into a little room where a great kettle was boiling on a little stove; our clothes taken off, our bodies rubbed with a slippery substance that could be any bad thing; a shower of warm water let down on us without warning; again driven together to another little room where we sit, wrapped in woolen blankets till large, coarse bags are brought in, their contents turned out, and we see only a cloud of steam, and hear a woman’s voice to dress ourselves, — “Quick! Quick!” — or else we’ll miss — something we cannot hear. We are forced to pick out our clothes from among the others, with the steam blinding us; we choke, cough, entreat the women to give us time; they persist, “Quick! Quick! — or you’ll miss the train!” Oh, so we really won’t be murdered! They are only making us ready for the continuing of our journey, cleaning us of all suspicions of dangerous illness. Thank God!

Mary Antin’s bewilderment at disinfection and quarantine, arising from disorientation and novelty, is understandable, so too are the wild rumors that would come from incomprehension and anxiety. But it must be said that such measures were necessary: the year before Mary Antin made her passage in 1893, Hamburg had been hard hit by a cholera epidemic, and New York City had been hit with both a cholera and typhus epidemic.96

In the case of the New York epidemics we find many themes that would repeat themselves over subsequent decades. The immigrants, particularly Jews, feared the process of disinfection and quarantine, believing in some cases that their loved ones were being taken to a slaughterhouse.97 They distrusted the health authorities, and sought to hide instances of typhus, never realizing of course that such opposition and concealment merely spread the disease further.98 In addition, there were problems with the quarantine. By regulation, those dead of typhus had to be cremated, but this was a violation of Jewish law.99 The quarantine stations did not make provision for kosher food, and, as a result, several pious Jews starved themselves.100 The intereactions between the New York health authorities and the immigrant Jews could almost be characterized as culture shock, so deep the chasm of non-comprehension and non-accommodation that divided them.

The same pattern emerged in World War One, and not only among Jewish people. The Germans, in the context of reorganizing the Turkish army, spent a great deal of effort in controlling typhus and other diseases.101 The two main tools of this effort were the Dampfdesinfektionwagens (mobile steam disinfection trucks) and the Turkish baths, which were converted for disinfection purposes.102 The Germans used primarily sulfur gas, which required a generator (Vergaser) that would burn the sulfur and provide the gas.103 Already at the beginning of 1914 the Germans were using vergasen (gasify, gas) as a synonym for begasen (fumigate). 104

Cooperation among the local populations varied: the Turks did not understand why lice had to be killed, because Allah forbade it, the Greek Orthodox and Jewish subjects objected on religious grounds to the bathing and shaving that was part of the treatment.105

A severe typhus epidemic in Serbia in the winter of 1914-15 led to international intervention, including an American Relief Expedition that did much to control the disease in its early stages.106 In 1915-1916, as Bulgaria entered the war on the side of the Central Powers, she was given large chunks of Serbian territory and this in turn required heightened vigilance on the part of the disinfection squads.107 In this context a story appeared in the London Daily Telegraph in March, 1916, that alleged that 700,000 Serbians had been asphyxiated.108 Robert Faurisson has successfully shown that this rumor or atrocity claim was directly related to the application of disinfection measures in the region.109 Surely it is no coincidence that the first claim of mass exterminations in 1942, as we recall, also featured gassings, the Daily Telegraph, and 700,000 victims. The story also reminds us that a mobile steam disinfection truck could easily be converted in a frightened and ignorant mind into a traveling gas chamber.110

The reactions to disinfection procedures in Turkey and the Balkans were also apparent in Poland, whether the disease control was being administered by Germans, Americans, or the British.111 The Germans went to extensive lengths to control diseases, and particularly typhus throughout Poland.112 This involved carrot and stick methods: on the one hand, the Germans painstakingly wrote a brochure, that was published in the Yiddish language, trying to explain, with appropriate references to the Torah, the importance of personal hygiene, and the necessity of controlling lice.113 On the other hand, the Germans would sometimes be required to force the local inhabitants to bathe and shower at bayonet point.114 When the war was over, a terrible typhus epidemic swept through Poland and the Western Russian provinces.115 American and British specialists went to Poland with a view to controlling the disease. They also sought to delouse and disinfect the residents.116 But they too ran into resistance and non-compliance, particularly on the part of the Jewish population.117 One feature of the American treatment that would soon become typical was the use of bottled cyanide gas as a means of destroying vermin.118

In the 1920’s the Germans developed media for using cyanide gas that would be safer than the use of bottles or the so-called barrel system.119 One substance developed, called Zyklon B, used clay-like pellets into which the gas was absorbed as liquid under pressure and then sealed in a can.120 When the can was opened, the pellets would be strewn and the gas would slowly develop.121 By the Second World War, through the addition of gypsum, Zyklon B had now achieved a stability such that three hours were required for the full evolution of the gas at room temperature,122 which was ideal for its purpose as an insecticide.

Also during this period the Germans developed fumigation chambers or Entwesungskammern.123 These were usually constructed out of steel, although brick and concrete could also be used.124 About 10 meters square, the rooms would be filled with clothes and then the Zyklon pellets would be strewn among them. Such chambers, or Apparate, typically had two doors: the dirty clothes would go in one door, the disinfected clothes would be taken out of the other door.125 The Germans also developed a complicated machinery whereby forced air at or near the boiling point of hydrogen cyanide would be blown through the pellets to speed up the evolution time.126 The same air circulation technology (Kreislauf) would be used in large railroad tunnels, which by means of the air circulation gas generating apparatus (Kreislaufvergasungsapparaturen) could fumigate an entire passenger train at one time.127

Although Zyklon B was widely used for disinfection, it is important to note that throughout the ’30’s and during the war many other gases and substances were employed to combat vermin.128 One gas which was widely substituted for Zyklon was “T-Gas” a mixture of ethylene oxide and carbon dioxide which came in steel tanks and would be piped into the disinfection chamber.129 Other gases included Tritox, Ventox, and Areginal.130

Delousing and disinfection procedures were also a major component of German municipal disinfection centers, temporary huts of the German Labor Service, and transit camps (Durchgangslagern) for POW’s or deported populations. All three featured a division into a dirty and clean side (reine und unreine Seite), and all three featured undressing rooms, shower rooms, and standard size fumigation chambers with double doors.131 There were some variations of course. The municipal disinfection center at Darmstadt for example, was enlarged in World War Two to make room for the influx of laborers from the East, which we assume to have comprised Poles, Soviet POW’s, and Jews.132 Its cellars were also adapted to air raid shelters.133 The standard huts (Unterkünfte) for the German labor service were equipped with a diesel room, since diesels were expected to provide electricity in the absence of a power net for these outlying structures: these structures were also meant to be temporary and were designed to be put up and taken down in a minimum of man hours.134

In World War Two, the Germans aggressively pursued the containment of disease using all of these methods. As the concentrations of Jews in the ghettos increased, epidemics would break out, and the Germans would attempt to get the local Jewish authorities to implement disinfection procedures.135 Sadly, concealment, non-compliance, and resistance were characteristic in many ghettos, on the other hand, the records indicate that the ghetto in Vilna (Vilnius) was able to successfully control epidemics throughout the war.136

The experience of the Wehrmacht in the field also suggests a successful effort at controlling epidemics, including the use of decontamination vehicles and mobile showering units, many of which were improvised by the men of the German Medical Corps (Sanitatsdienst).137

Of course, the most notorious example of the application of these procedures came in the concentration camps. Upon arrival, inmates were routinely stripped, searched for valuables, showered, and then given clothes that had been previously disinfected.138 In fact, the most common procedure involved disinfecting the clothing in one part of the “bath and disinfection complex” while the arrivals showered in another part. Kurt Vonnegut’s description shows how even American prisoners of war entering German custody could become anxious and fearful at the strangeness of the ritual:

The naked Americans took their places under many showerheads along a white-tiled wall. There were no faucets they could control. They could only wait for whatever was coming. Their penises were shriveled and their balls were retracted. Reproduction was not the main business of the evening.

An unseen hand turned a master valve. Out of the showerheads gushed scalding rain. The rain was a blowtorch that did not warm. It jazzed and jangled Billy’s skin without thawing the ice in the marrow of his long bones.

The Americans’ clothes were meanwhile passing through poison gas. Body lice and bacteria and fleas were dying by the billions. So it goes.139

There seems little reason to doubt that the level of disorientation and fear had changed since the time of Mary Antin 50 years before, to say nothing of the humiliation: indeed, there are witness testimonies that support the idea of such continuity.140

In recounting these aspects of German disinfection procedures, as well as Jewish responses, which ranged from sullen non-compliance and avoidance to paranoid fear, one finds a remarkable similarity and a probable point of contact for virtually all of the gassing claims from 1942 into the summer of 1944.

Sobibor, for example, was described in German documents as a transit camp [Durchgangslager].141 Yet a transit camp would require facilities for showering arrivals and disinfecting their belongings before sending them further on their journey.142 And indeed we find in survivor testimonies that that is exactly what happened to them there.143 Yet at the same time, we have rumors reported in the West, and later we will have testimonies, that assure us that Sobibor was a camp where arrivals were simply exterminated via the familiar shower-gas-burning sequence.144 The same situation applies to Treblinka testimonies, for the Malkinia disinfection establishment was only a few kilometers away.145

For Majdanek the situation is even more remarkable. As we shall see later, the Bath and Disinfection Complex II would be earmarked as an extermination center by the Soviets: but in its construction it is virtually identical to the standard hut for delousing incoming members of the Labor Service and disinfecting their belongings.146

In summarizing the gassing rumors for the period 1942 through the spring of 1944 we encountered several references to prussic acid, showers and baths, and mobile gas chambers that led us into a discussion of German disinfection procedures. We have found that over six decades before World War Two the Germans had devised, for purposes of disease control, procedures that called for the use of mobile delousing and disinfection chambers, baths and disinfection complexes, and fumigation chambers that would utilize a common pesticide, Zyklon B, whose active ingredient was cyanide gas.

But above and beyond the German procedures we have found characteristic reactions to such diseases control measures, among many ignorant or traditional religious communities, and also among Jews, particularly those from the traditional and insulated East European communities.147 The reactions have ranged from avoidance and non-compliance, to anxiety, fear, and rumor-mongering of a particularly destructive sort. Finally, we note a haunting similarity between the delousing procedures known to have been applied and the rumors of mass gassing that were current at the time.

Therefore the most likely explanation for the evolution of the mass gas extermination legend, to this point in our analysis, is that the application of delousing measures on the populations of Eastern Europe, and particularly on the Jewish people who were being resettled to the East, or dragooned into the Labor Service, conjured up the typical rumors of extermination and slaughter as they had in the past. These rumors, in turn, were conveyed to Jewish parties in Western Europe and the United States, who appear to have all too readily believed them, the rumors in turn were propagated by the British in radio broadcasts back to Europe, including Yiddish language broadcasts, such that the rumors were already widely known, if not widely credited, throughout Europe by the end of 1942. We are now prepared to engage the next evolution of the mass gassing claim.


The preeminent revisionist work on the subjects discussed here are two articles by Friedrich Paul Berg, “Zyklon B and the German Delousing Chambers” and “Typhus and the Jews,” both originally published in the JHR and now available on the CODOH website at: . The following texts on epidemic diseases and their role in history were found useful: Marks, Geoffrey and Beatty, William K., Epidemics, Scribners, NY: 1976; Cartwright, Frederick F., Disease and History, Barnes & Noble, NY: 1996; McNeil, William, Plagues and Peoples, Anchor Books, NY:1976; Rosenberg, Charles E., The Cholera Years, University of Chicago, Chicago:1962; Zinsser, Hans, Rats, Lice, and History, Black Dog & Leventhal, NY: 1963; Dixon, Bernard, Magnificent Microbes, Atheneum, NY:1979; Schimitschek, Erwin, & Werner, G. T., Malaria, Fleckfieber, Pest, S. Hirzel Verlag, Stuttgart:1985, Hobhouse, Henry, Forces of Change, Arcade, NY:1990.
Carwright, op. cit., inter alia, discusses the water-borne diseases in detail.
Schimitschek, op. cit., p. 90
To a large extent Rosenberg’s book, op. cit., is expressly concerned with the development of prophylaxis without a clear comprehension of etiology, and see Evans, cited below.
enumerated in Encyclopedia Brittanica, [hereinafter, EB] 12th Edition (1922), Typhus, vol. XXXII, p. 825-827, and Evans, cited below.
consult Zinsser, op. cit.,, Marks op. cit., Hobhouse, op. cit., also Goodall, cited below.
Note important characterization of typhus quoted in Dixon, op. cit., p. 201f.
Ibid., Also Goodall, cited below.
This very important concept involves the manner in which recrudescent typhus, which can recur many years after infection, can lead to a mild case of fever. However, if the person so afflicted with “Brill-Zinsser Disease” lives in a louse-ridden community, infection can then be transmitted to the louse and then to the louse matrix of the community with epidemic and lethal effect. Compare the comments by Zinsser, op. cit., p. 235, 235-239, in which he sketches the outlines of two species of the louse-borne disease. For typhoid fever, it is well known that about 1% of victims (female only) can become permanent carriers of the microbe in their gall bladders, compare “Typhoid Mary.”
Starkenstein, E., “Hygienische und sanitäre Verhältnisse Polens. Ein Beitrag zur Ostjudenfrage” in Archiv für Soziale Hygiene und Demographie, 1 & 2 Heft, 12.VI.1917, pp. 19-38, is characteristic; gentile populations had similar problems, consult EB, article on Typhus, loc. cit.
This is a truism of Russian history, due to the short growing and harvesting season, and other factors, such that grain yields rarely exceeded 3:1. Hobhouse, op. cit., discusses in greater detail.
These are the “pogroms” which will continue until the end of the Russian Civil War; the roots of these anti-Jewish actions seem variable; partly attributed to religious anti-Semitism (i.e., Blood Libel accusations), partly due to the “Russification” tendencies of the Empire, which affected all minorities, not just the Jewish people, partly due to economic competition with other ethnics (Greeks, Germans), partly due to the peculiar position the Eastern Jews occupied vis-a-vis the peasantry, which was newly emancipated and striving to adapt, as well as other social, economic, and demographic conditions, some of which are adumbrated by Hobhouse, op. cit. In short, the circumstances that could contribute to anti-Jewish violence at this time and in the examined period were quite complex, what they all seem to have in common is the tremendous and radical changes taking place in the Empire, which will become even more rapid subsequent to the Revolution of 1917. To anticipate a later note, we register here merely the tendency of many Jewish observers to regard these causes as united only by hatred of the Jewish people, we note as well as the tendency of Jewish historians to regard these outbreaks by and large as the product of official instigation.
Discussed in, inter alia, Howe, Irving, World of Our Fathers, Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, NY: 1976, pp. 29-38.
Antin, Mary, The Promised Land, Penguin, NY: 1997, p. 138f, the book was originally published in 1912, and was based in turn on From Plotzk to Boston, from the 1890’s, which in turn was based on an epistle Mary wrote in Yiddish to an uncle in Russia shortly after her arrival in Boston in the spring of 1893. The text is given in truncated form in Howe, op. cit., Markel, cited below, and Jan Van Pelt and Deborah Dwork, Auschwitz: 1270 to Present, W. W. Norton & Company, New York: 1996..
On Hamburg, see Evans, Richard J., Tod in Hamburg, a magnificent social history of the Free City (in German translation from the English), Rowohlt, Reinbek bei Hamburg: 1996; for New York, see Markel, Howard, Quarantine!, Johns Hopkins UP, Baltimore and London: 1997.
Markel, op. cit., p. 52, 50
Markel, op. cit., p. 54, p. 44f. A case of typhus causes the rickettsia to course in the patient’s bloodstream, where it can be communicated to lice and from the lice to others people. Hence, in a lice-ridden environment, and it must be stressed in 1892 that lice were not understood as the vector, refusal to comply with quarantine certainly would facilitate the spread of the disease.
Markel, op. cit., p. 63
Markel, op. cit., p. 65
Becker, Helmut, Äskulap zwischen Reichsadler und Halbmond, Helmut Becker, n. p., 1990, provides an extensive survey including many extracts from primary sources and memoirs.
Becker, op. cit., p. 3, and compare discussion of Badeanstalten to control typhus, p. 126, Use of petroleum, p. 191, discussion of Apparat, p. 361-362, etc.
cf. “Ihm lagen zugrunde die Erfahrungen, die ich bei der Typhus- und Ruhrbekämpfung in Nordchina und bei der Genickstarrebekämpfung in München gemacht hatte. Sie lautete kurz: Heraus aus den versuchten Häusern, in weit angelegte, gesund gelegene, womöglich weit entfernte, auf Bergen gelegene Lager, vorher aber energische Reinigung aller Personen, Desinfektion aller Kleidungs- und Wäschestücke, die neuen Lager nur mit völlig gereinigten und neu gekleideten Truppen betreten lassen. Einschränkung des Dienstes, aber doppelte Rationen. So geschah es auch. Die Desinfektionswagen führen vor die Kasernen, Truppenteil für Truppenteil wurde gebadet. Dann die neue Kleidung empfangen, und sofort nach dem Zeltlager abgerückt. In der Kaserne wurde dann die alte Kleidung, Wäsche, Bettzeug desinfiziert, die Zimmer mit Formaldehyd und gegen die Läuse mit schwefelige Säure vergast.” quoted from Meyer’s memoirs, Becker, op. cit., p. 38
Becker, op. cit.
EB, article Typhus, loc. cit.
Becker, op. cit., inferred from the description of heightened procedures in the European portion of Turkey during this period, pp. 368-388, note also discussion of railroad delousing tunnels, p. 374.
“Request for Additional Information on the Myth of ‘Gassings’ of Serbs in World War One”, Robert Faurisson, JHR, vol. 11, no. 2
The use of such vehicles in World War Two is well attested, consult Crowell, “Technique and Operation of German Anti-Gas Shelters in World War Two” for references.
For German disinfection procedures in World War One, titles include: Blumberg, Dr., “Über behelfsmäßig herstellbare Anlagen zur Entlausung und Desinfektion im großen” in Öffentliche Gesundheitspflege, Heft 10, 1918, pp. 353-364; Wolf, Dr. “Das Desinfektionsverfahren mit Blausäure” in Öffentliche Gesundheitspflege, Heft 2, 1919, pp. 54-66; Wolf, Dr. “Das Desinfektionsverfahren mit Blausäure (Zusammenfassende Übersicht II)” in Öffentliche Gesundheitspflege, Heft 4, 1922, pp. 126-130; For Bitish procedures, see Goodall, below, for Americans in the Typhus Relief Expedition of 1919, see Cornebise, Alfred E.,Typhus and Doughboys, University of Delaware Press, Newark, NJ:1982
e.g., Celarek, Dr., “Über die unter der Zivilbevölkerung Lublins im Jahre 1915/16 herrschende Fleckfieberepedemie und ihre Bekämpfung” in Öffentliche Gesundheitspflege, Heft 11, 1917, pp. 597-602; articles by Starkenstein above, and Frey, below.
Frey, Dr. “Die Bekämpfung der Fleckfieberepedemie in der Zivilbevölkerung des Generalgouvernements Warschau in den Jahren 1915/16”, in Öffentliche Gesundheitspflege, Heft 1, 1917, pp. 12-30, [the Yiddish instruction appears on pp. 21-25, phonetically in German script, cf. Fig. 11, and the article contains many excellent photos; the following Heft contains the continuation of the article]
cited in Goodall, E. W., “Typhus Fever in Poland” in Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine,vol. 13, April 23, 1920
Goodall, loc. cit., Cornebise, op. cit., Zinsser, op. cit., and several others.
Goodall, loc. cit., Cornebise, op. cit.
Goodall, loc. cit., Cornebise, op. cit., passim!, but see p. 94, p. 96, [the complaint of the Jews is characterized by Cornebise as “anti-Semitic”] p. 122., however, Isaac Bashevis Singer’s historical novel, The Family Moskat, (Fawcett Crest, NY:1950, p. 376) includes an instructive description of the situation at the time: “An epidemic of typhus threatened, and even cases of cholera had been reported; the authorities hastily assigned a barrack for the disinfection of the civilian population. Orthodox Jews were compelled to shave off their beards and earlocks, and girls had their heads shorn. Immediately there sprang up a group of “fixers,” who, for a bribe, obtained forged disinfection certificates for those who would not submit to these indignities.”
Cornebise, op. cit., p. 93, 96-97, 98-100, 115, note in particular the quoted message, “Am looking forward with anticipation to the gas-squad with HCN that you promise sometime.”, p. 96f
Berg, Friedrich, “Zyklon B and the German Delousing Chambers”
Berg, op. cit.
We say “slowly” here, but originally the development of the gas was rather rapid, this caused problems with the shelf life of the can and frequently caused danger, insofar as the liquid would then be de-stabilized within the can even before opening. Germar Rudolf’s researches have found that gypsum was added in the 1930’s to protract the evaporation,
This is indicated by the article of R. Irmscher from 1942, which shows a 100% evaporation of the cyanide from the gypsum (“ERCO”) composite pellets after three hours at 59 degrees Fahrenheit. For this and the preceding point consult the most recent version of the Rudolf Report, at:
Berg, “Zyklon B”
Berg, op. cit.
Berg, op. cit.
Berg, op. cit.
Berg, op. cit.
Handloser, Siegfried, ed. Wehrhygiene, Springer-Verlag, Berlin:1944, in the article by B. Schmidt, “Desinfektion, Sterilisation, Entwesung”, lists several, including Zyklon, Ventox, Tritox, Cuprex, Formaldehyde.
Ibid., p. 193f
Kalthoff, u. a., Die Händler von Zyklon B, VSA, Hamburg:1999, provides extensive details of these other gases, as well as the history of disinfection materials particularly as these touch upon the activities of the Hamburg- based Tesch & Stabenow.
Kämper, “Die Umgestaltung und Vergrößerung der Desinfektionsanstalt der Stadt Dortmund” in Gesundheits-Ingenieur, 27.IX.41; Stangelmeyer, Josef, “Genormte, zerlegbare Rohrleitungsnetze für die gesundheitstechnischen Anlagen der ortsveränderlichen Unterkünfte des Reichsarbeitdienstes” in Gesundheits-Ingenieur, 25.VI.42; Konrich, Friedrich, “Über die Sanierungsanstalten der deutschen Kriegsgefangenenlager” in Gesundheits-Ingenieur, 19.VII.41; Puntigam, Franz, “Die Durchganglager der Arbeitseinsatzverwaltung als Einrichtungen der Gesundheitsversorge” in Gesundheits-Ingenieur, Heft 2, Jahrg. 1944, pp. 47-56; other references of relevance to World War Two include:(articles): Ruppert, Joseph, “Gesundheitsverhältnisse und Seuchenbekämpfung im Generalgouvernement”, in Der praktische Desinfektor, June, 1941, pp. 61-74; Finger, Georg, “Grundsätzliches zur Läusebekämpfung mit Imprägnierungsmitteln” in Der deutsche Militarartz, June, 1944, pp. 295-297. Relevant titles include Haag, Friedrich Erhard, Lagerhygiene, J.F. Lehmanns Verlag, München-Berlin: 1943; Walbaum, Jost, Kampf den Seuchen! Deutscher Ärzte-Einsatz im Osten, Buchverlag “Deutscher Osten”, Krakau:1941.
Kämper, loc. cit
Stangelmeyer, loc. cit.
Walbaum, op. cit., is one source for this, Trunk, Judenrat, describes the general reluctance to submit to these procedures, as do other Holocaust authors, including Browning, Christopher, The Path to Genocide, Cambridge UP, Cambridge, 1992, pp. 145-168.
Discussed in Trunk, Judenrat, p. 165, and the whole of chapter 7 is very valuable and apt here. Unfortunately, Trunk follows the tendency among Jewish historians which we will discuss later, whereby all misfortunes that occur are viewed as part of someone else’s conspiratorial designs, thus the diseases that occurred in the ghettos are said to have been part of the Nazi’s “diabolical plan.” [p. 143]. The enormous expenditure that the Germans made for controlling diseases tends to make this interpretation unsupportable.
Buchner, Alex, Der Sanitätsdienst des Heeres, 1939-1945, Podzun-Pallas, Wölfersheim-Berstadt: 1995
Discussed in Rothschild, op.cit., also Trunk, Jewish Responses to Nazi Persecution, Stein & Day, NY: 1981, both passim.
Vonnegut, Kurt, Slaughterhouse Five, Dell, New York:1988, p. 84
Compare Rothschild, op. cit., p. 159, also Trunk, Responses, p. 162; Trunk has several more of these, in Yiddish testimonies most of which were given soon after the war.
Butz, op. cit., p. 212, Hilberg, op. cit., p. 619
Puntigam, “Durchganglager”, loc. cit.
Novitch, Miriam, Sobibor: Martyrdom and Revolt, Holocaust Library, NY:1980
The standard work on Treblinka remains Steiner’s novelistic treatment, essays by Andrew Allen and Mark Weber, and, in particular, the article by Arnulf Neumaier in Grundlagen, “Der Treblinka-Holocaust” actually discuss details, and put the workings of the camp in a wider context.
Consult and compare floor plan of Majdanek Bath and Disinfection complex, in Grundlagen, p. 276
Trunk, in Responses (see citation below) as well as Novitch, op. cit., contain testimonies whereby the Westerners (chiefly Dutch) arriving at Sobibor welcomed the showers, the implication, sometimes explicit, being that the Polish Jews knew better.

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