A GAS VAN or GAS WAGON (Russian : душегубка (dushegubka);
German : Gaswagen) was a vehicle equipped as a mobile gas chamber .
The vehicle had an air-tight compartment for victims, into which
exhaust fumes were transmitted while the engine was running. The
victims were gassed with carbon monoxide , resulting in death by
monoxide poisoning and suffocation. The gas van was invented and used
by the Soviet secret police
NKVD in the late 1930s during the Great
Purge . It was later widely implemented as an extermination
Nazi Germany to kill those the regime deemed enemies of the
state, mostly Jews.
* 1 Invention and use in
* 2 Use in
* 3 See also
* 4 References
* 5 External links
INVENTION AND USE IN SOVIET UNION
The gas van was invented in the
Soviet Union in 1936, by Isay
Berg, the head of the administrative and economic department of the
Moscow Oblast which suffocated batches of prisoners with
engine fumes in a camouflaged bread van while on the drive out to the
mass graves at Butovo , where the prisoners were subsequently buried.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn .
The fact of the invention of the gas chamber by Berg is not
documented, but it is only a version of the authors published in
literary (non-documentary) literature.
I. D. Berg was ordered to carry out the decisions of the
of Moscow Oblast, and Berg was decently carrying out this assignment:
he was driving people to the executions by shooting. But, when in
Moscow Oblast there came to be three troikas having their sessions
simultaneously, the executioners could not cope with the load. They
hit upon a solution: to strip the victims naked, to tie them up, plug
their mouths and throw them into a closed truck, disguised from the
outside as a bread van. During transportation the fuel gases went into
the truck, and when delivered to the farthest ditch the arrestees
were already dead."
Berg denied that he was the inventor of the gas van.
USE IN NAZI GERMANY
During trips to Russia in 1941,
Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler
learned the psychological impact of shooting women and children on the
Einsatzgruppen . Hence, he commissioned
Arthur Nebe to explore ways of
killing that were less stressful for the task forces. Nebe's
experiments eventually led to the utilization of the gas van. This
type of vehicle had already been used in 1940 for the gassing of East
Prussian and Pomeranian mental patients in Soldau , a camp located in
the former Polish corridor. Another source states that the vans were
first tested on Soviet prisoners in Sachsenhausen .
One application of the Nazis' gas van became known in 1943 after the
trial of members of crimes against humanity committed in the territory
Krasnodar Territory of the USSR, where about 7,000 civilians
were killed by gas poisoning. It was a vehicle with an airtight
compartment for victims, into which exhaust gas was piped in while the
engine was running. As a result, the victims were gassed with carbon
monoxide , resulting in death by the combined effects of carbon
monoxide poisoning and suffocation . The suffocations usually occurred
as the gas van was carrying the victims to a freshly dug pit or ravine
for mass burial.
Gas vans were used, particularly at
Chełmno extermination camp until
gas chambers were developed as a more efficient method for killing
large numbers of people.
Gustav Laabs was one of the operators. There
were two types of gas vans in operation, used by the
the East. The 3.5 ton
Opel Blitz , and the larger 7 ton
In Belgrade, the gas van was known as "Dušegupka" and in the occupied
parts of the USSR similarly as "душегубка" (dushegubka,
literally (feminine) soul killer/exterminator).
The use of gas vans had two disadvantages:
* It was slow—some victims took twenty minutes to die.
* It was not quiet—the drivers could hear the victims' screams,
which they found distracting and disturbing.
By June 1942 the main producer of gas vans, Gaubschat Fahrzeugwerke
GmbH, had delivered 20 gas vans in two models (for 30–50 and
70–100 individuals) to
Einsatzgruppen units, out of 30 ordered.
Not one gas van was extant at the end of the war. The existence of
gas vans first came to light in 1943 during the trial of Nazi
collaborators involved in the gassing of 6,700 civilians in Krasnodar
. The total number of gas van gassings is unknown.
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OF GAS VANS