Pat Buchanan and the Diesel Exhaust Controversy
By Friedrich Paul Berg
In his March 4, 1996 column in Newsweek magazine, George F. Will attacked Patrick J. Buchanan for his March 17, 1990 column about Diesel exhaust. Buchanan had written: "Diesel engines do not emit enough carbon monoxide to kill anybody. In 1988, 97 kids trapped 400 feet underground in a Washington, D.C., tunnel while two locomotives spewed diesel exhaust into the car, emerged unharmed after 45 minutes." Will claimed Buchanan had relied on a publication specializing in Holocaust denial as a source for his anecdote. The story did not come from revisionists; the actual source was probably the Washington Post story of May 13, 1988 entitled: "5th Graders' Trip Turns to Terror in Train Tunnel." The train was stalled for forty minutes inside a 3900 feet long tunnel. Although one Diesel engine was shutdown almost immediately after an emergency brake had been pulled, the remaining Diesel continued to operate for seven minutes before it was also shutdown. Unfortunately, this also turned off the electricity and the train's air circulation system and led to smoke entering the cars. A total of 402 passengers were trapped inside the tunnel. Although two pupils were seriously affected and about 25 received first aid with some even going to hospitals, no permanent injury was reported--and no deaths.
The only reason Will gave for his insistence that Diesels were used for mass murder was an article by Jacob Weisberg which appeared in the New Republic on October 22, 1990, pp. 22-27. Will quoted Weisberg as follows:
"Carbon monoxide emitted by diesel engines is sufficient to asphyxiate people when they are crammed by the hundreds into thirteen-foot chambers. According to the 'Encyclopedia of the Holocaust' suffocation at Treblinka took as much as half an hour; Buchanan's comparison only proves that the children he described had sufficient oxygen to survive whatever length of time they were trapped in the tunnel."
The article gave nothing further in the way of evidence or argument regarding Diesels. Nonetheless, it was still good enough for George F. Will, a highly paid American journalist and TV commentator, to give as a primary reference for his attack on a leading candidate for President of the United States. Shame on George F. Will.
Will stressed the importance of Diesels by claiming: "Diesel exhaust was used for killing at several other Nazi death camps and by the Einsatzgruppen, roving death squads." The Diesel story is even more important than Will imagines. In terms of the numbers of people allegedly gassed to death during the Third Reich, the vast majority were supposedly killed with Diesel exhaust--between two and four million. By contrast, Zyklon B or cyanide gassings are becoming less important as the alleged death toll for Auschwitz declines from 4 million to about 1 million, and even lower. Jean-Claude Pressac, for example, now claims that the toll for Auschwitz was even less than 800, 000. The only other camp where large numbers of people were supposedly gassed with something other than Diesel exhaust is Lublin-Maidanek where cyanide was supposedly used also--but, the number is only in the tens of thousands.
Will and Weisberg deluded themselves. They did not do their homework. Although carbon monoxide levels in Diesel exhaust can kill under heavy engine loads (Buchanan is mistaken in this regard), such conditions are quite difficult to achieve. See the article Diesel Gas Chambers: Myth Within A Myth . Even if heavy loading is achieved somehow, one can still kill only a portion of any group of intended victims within half-an-hour. The remaining intended victims--some comatose, some conscious and some feigning death--would then have to be identified among the corpses and disposed of by some other means, or by a repeat Diesel gas exposure. Realistically, it just does not make any sense. For mass murder what is required is not merely an arrangement which will kill some people within a particular group--but everybody. Threshold lethal levels or even levels that would kill an average person would simply not be enough. The young and healthy would survive.
Even under maximum load, a Diesel's exhaust contains less than 0.4% carbon monoxide. By contrast, all gasoline engines easily produce 7% CO--and, with some adjustment of the idle mixture adjustment screw on the carburetor, as much as 12%. Diesels, by contrast, have no carburetors to begin with; no adjustments are possible.
From the vague anecdotal descriptions of the Diesel murder process in the Holocaust literature, there is no reason to believe that anything more than a crude, simple arrangement was involved. The Diesel engine was supposedly located outside of the gas chamber building either on a stand or in a tank or truck--take your pick-- with the exhaust directed into the gas chambers. Those arrangements would have meant that the engine would have been operating at idle or, at worst, fast idle. Under such non-load conditions, any Diesel ever built would produce less than 600 ppm of CO--that is less than 1/10th of 1% carbon monoxide. That would be barely enough CO to give someone a headache after half-an-hour of continuous exposure -- but, nothing worse than that.
It would not have made much difference whether a gas chamber was tightly crammed with people or not. Contrary to what Weisberg alleges, a gas chamber with Diesel exhaust pouring in from an idling Diesel would actually be an arrangement to keep trapped victims alive. Diesel exhaust from any idling Diesel engine is actually oxygen-rich with about 18% oxygen. This is because of the peculiar nature of Diesel combustion which relies upon excess air to achieve ignition. With exhaust like that containing so much excess air, one can breathe rather comfortably for more than an hour with nothing worse than a headache; the entering Diesel exhaust would actually help to purge the partially consumed air exhaled from intended victims inside the chamber. The smell might be annoying but that has nothing whatever to do with toxicity.
Diesel exhaust for mass murder would have been made no sense at all. That is already obvious when one understands the differences between Diesels and gasoline engines. However, it all becomes rather dramatic when one learns that the Germans actually used far more lethal concentrations of CO to drive more than 500,000 motor vehicles including some of their Tiger tanks--and that the gas was actually generated on the vehicles themselves from wood, charcoal or coal. For the vast majority of vehicles, only wood was used. The vehicles (Holzgaswagen) were all fitted with producer gas generators (Holzgasgeneratoren) so as to conserve liquid fuels--gasoline and Diesel fuel--for the military. All persons authorized to drive producer gas vehicles were specially trained and licensed and had to keep notices within the drivers' compartments reminding them not only that the gas contained as much as 35%CO--but also, reminding them that as little as 0.1% CO could be fatal. Those warnings were required reading by law. They were not just for the protection of the environment--they were essential for the very survival of the drivers and everyone else who had to to work with this extremely dangerous technology day in and day out.
A small start-up blower (Anfachgebläse) was always located between each generator and engine in order to force ventilate the system, especially during startup when engine vacuum was not yet sufficient to pull gas through the system by itself. The blower could just as easily be operated at any other time as well. It would have been childishly easy to connect the discharge side of such a blower by a hose or stovepipe to any jail cell or barracks and kill everyone trapped inside. Each producer gas vehicle was, in effect, a self-propelled poison gas generator--with written instructions--and ideal for mass murder. In addition to its use in motor vehicles, the Germans had used producer gas before the war to exterminate rats as part of the Nocht-Giemsa fumigation process -- but, if we are to believe the vast holocaust mythology and what it implies, it never occurred to the Germans to use the same technology to exterminate people. To exterminate millions of people they supposedly preferred Diesel exhaust. That is too incredible.
The widespread development and application of the producer gas technology throughout German-occupied Europe undermines the Holocaust story in general. If the Germans had ever wanted to commit mass murder with poison gas, they certainly would have used producer gas before using anything as idiotic as Diesel exhaust.
Figure 1. - "Strength through Gas:" --this logo was used to promote the voluntary conversion of motor vehicles from liquid fuels to producer gas, especially during 1942 and 1943. The German words "Kraft durch Gas" were obviously chosen to resemble the popular slogan "Kraft durch Freude (Strength through Joy)" which had already been widely used in NS Germany for party programs to improve the lives of German workers through recreation, especially travel throughout Europe. Initially, the conversion was voluntary, driven by market forces such as the prices of woodchips versus liquid fuels,-- but as the war went on, more and more classes of vehicles had to be producer gas-driven by law. In September 1943, Albert Speer issued a decree requiring that all civilian buses, trucks and motor vehicles, regardless of size, be producer gas-driven.
The slogan could just as well have read: "Strength through Poison Gas" because the gas was extremely toxic containing between 18% and 35% CO. For their own personal safety, everyone involved had to know that. If there had been any kind of extermination program employing CO and gaschambers, the irony of the slogan would have been all too obvious and quite unbearable.
The producer gas vehicles and their development are discussed in some detail in a postwar book which is recommended by the German Museum, the German equivalent of the Smithsonian Museum. See: Erik Eckermann, Alte Technik mit Zukunft--die Entwicklung des Imbert-Generators (Old Technology with a Future) (München: Oldenbourg Verlag GmbH, 1986). The wartime German literature on this technology is enormous. It can generally only be found, however, in German libraries in Europe since the Allies, particularly the Americans, had no incentive to loot German libraries and industry of the producer gas literature after the war. Such looting would have led to at least some of the materials gradually appearing in American libraries--that's the way things generally worked with other kinds of German technical literature. The producer gas literature was generally left behind because America had something far superior to producer gas and that was petroleum--in huge abundance, and therefore no abiding interest in the superb technology Germany had developed to sustain itself throughout the war without petroleum. No doubt, if this essay has any impact at all, one can expect new legislation in Germany to suppress all knowledge of the wartime use of producer gas; all access to the relevant literature will soon be limited to groups and individuals who demonstrate a total commitment to the holocaust legend. The hooligans running Germany today are quite shameless.
One should bear in mind that the evidence of Diesels for mass murder is only from "survivors" testimony or from so-called "confessions." Those accounts are so thoroughly flawed that they can not possibly be based upon any direct knowledge of the alleged events. The best example of such testimonies, despite many outrageous errors, is the so-called "Kurt Gerstein Statement;"-- the rest of the testimonies are far worse.
The trial of John Demjanjuk was billed as the most important "showtrial" since that of Adolf Eichmann and a great learning experience for all Israelis. It was held in a large auditorium so that large numbers of people could be brought in to watch in the courtroom as well on TV. Despite claims that the evidence was overwhelming, it was the four so-called "eyewinesses" on whom the Israeli court, according to its own verdict statement, based its initial verdict of "guilty"--and on nothing else. Demjanjuk had supposedly operated the Diesel used to murder 800,000 people at Treblinka. Subsequently however, the Israeli court conceded that it could not convict Demjanjuk on the basis of those testimonies and let him return to the USA. The lies contained in those "eyewitness" testimonies were too absurd even for an Israeli court. Without so much as even one shred of hard evidence, or forensic evidence, or German wartime documents, or a murder weapon that makes any kind of common sense--the Diesel extermination stories should be totally rejected. Fifty years of war crimes trials and intense Jewish "scholarship" have produced "mush." Diesel gassings never happened! Buchanan was wrong on a few details but he was right on target generally. Buchanan deserves the highest praise and respect for his courageous stands against hate peddlars like George F. Will and Jacob Weisberg.
As the Diesel myth falls, so falls the entire extermination story. The true hatemongers know this and, therefore, they must defend their absurd story with ever more extreme forms of censorship and suppression including, at this very moment, imprisonment of the revisionists--and especially in Germany.
*Some information about the Nocht-Giemsa process is given in: Ludwig Gassner, "Verkehrshygiene und Schädlingsbekämpfung" (Transportation Hygiene and Disinfestation)" Gesundheits-Ingenieur, Vol 66 (1943) Heft 15, p. 175. An English translation appears as Appendix B in: F. P. Berg, "Typhus and the Jews," Journal for Historical Review, (Torrance, CA: Institute for Historical Review, Winter 1988-9) pp. 468-75. See especially page 472 where the Nocht-Giemsa process is described as "very practical' (sehr gebräuchlich).
An excellent book which is now thoroughly suppressed and banned in Germany is: Ernst Gauss, Grundlagen zur Zeitgeschichte (Foundation of Contemporary History), (Tübingen: Grabert-Verlag, 1994).
To get some impression regarding the vast extent of the German wartime literature on producer gas, one can read the following examples:
- E. Hafer, Die gesetzliche Regulung des Generatoren- und Festkraftstoff-Einsatzes im Grossdeutschen Reich (The Laws Regulating the Use of Generators and Solid Fuels in the Greater German Reich), (Berlin: J. Kasper & Co., 1943),
- W. Ostwald, Generator-Jahrbuch--1942 (Generator Yearbook--1942), (Berlin: J. Kasper & Co., 1943),
- ATZ Automobiltechnische Zeitschrift (ATZ Automobile Technical Journal), especially Heft 18 (September 1940) and Heft 18 (September 1941).