4th Leuchter Report


"Auschwitz: Technique and Operation of the Gas Chambers" is organized into five parts with a Preface and a Postface written by Serge Klarsfeld and Jean-Claude Pressac, respectively. The parts will be discussed, as necessary, throughout this review. The parts are defined as follows:

  1. Part One: Delousing gas chambers and other disinfestation installations. Seven Chapters
  2. Part Two: The extermination instruments. Eight Chapters
  3. Part Three: Testimonies. Three Chapters
  4. Part Four: Auschwitz and the revisionists. Two Chapters
  5. Part Five: The unrealized future of K.L. Auschwitz-Birkenau. Two Chapters

6.001 The document itself is a wealth of historical facts, some technical facts, photos, blueprints and drawings, and propaganda. Except for the clearly erroneous final conclusions and propaganda, the book is an excellent piece of work. Jean-Claude Pressac demonstrates himself as a fine researcher and archivist. Unfortunately, he fails in the technical department. I would have expected his background and training as a pharmacist to have acquitted him well in this area but, unfortunately, it does not. He demonstrates a complete lack of competence as a technician. His logic tends to be good until he reaches his final conclusion. His greatest error, where he lacks the technical competence, is his failure to consult with someone more competent than himself. Although this might be a problem in the area of Execution technology, it certainly is not in the area of heating, air handling, plumbing and construction. His failure to get help in these areas in inexcusable.

6.002 Mr. Pressac has chosen an approach which introduces the data and documents first, mixed with comments on his conclusions before he presents them, generating a history for the reader which ostensibly is unbiased, but grounding everything in exterminationist terms. He will say "they didn't intend to, but they really did." "They didn't start out to, but they did later." The reader is repeatedly told that the original intent was not for gas chambers, but later it developed.

6.003 Mr. Pressac's THESIS: In the beginning the construction personnel at Auschwitz (the Bauleitung) began their work with good or neutral motives but, in the process of their work their motives became sinister, they decided to turn the facilities that they were designing and building into execution instruments. Thus Kremas I, II, and III were converted to gas chambers during construction, but Kremas IV and V were designed from the outset as gas chambers. The problem is that no evidence is available to support this. Further, Mr. Pressac even tells us what these construction engineers were thinking during the construction of these facilities. The problem still remains that none of these facilities had hardware which could support gas executions.

6.004 This review will begin with the specific items which Mr. Pressac puts forth to support his thesis and the reasons why they do not stand the test of logic. A subsequent consideration will be made of each chapter, in turn, discussing the documentation, its import and meaning.

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