The first lines of the document are already suspicious :
Willy Just to Walter Rauff
II D 3 a (9) NI. 214/42 G.RS.
Berlin, den 5. Juni 1942
Betrifft: Technische abänderungen an den im Betrieb eingesetzten und an den sich in Herstellung befindlichen Spezialwagen.
Seit Dezember 1941 wurden beispielsweise mit 3 eingesetzten Wagen 97 000 verarbeitet, ohne daß Mängel an den Fahrzeugen auftraten. etc.
In correct German, “einzig” [only] has no superlative, i.e “einzigste”. Furthermore, this is not even true, for at least 3 “originals” can be found : one “original” at the Bundesarchiv Koblenz, another “original” published as facsimile in “Nazi Mass Murder”, by Eugen Kogon, Hermann Langbein, and Adalbert Rückerl, and a 3rd “original” as facsimile in NS-Prozeße, by Adalbert Rückerl, 1972. To begin a sentence in German with “beispielsweise” [for instance] is absurd, unless you’re referring to something stated before, which is clearly not the case. Quite revealingly, the translation published by Jamie McCarthy omits it. A correct translation would be :
Since December 1941, by way of example, 97 000 were processed with 3 vans etc. which in itself sounds quite ridiculous.
Jamie McCarthy omits a large chunk of point 2 on page 2:
In einer Besprechung mit der Herstellerfirma wurde von dieser Seite darauf hingewiesen, daß eine Verkürzung des Kastenaufbaues eine ungünstige Gewichtsverlagerung nach sich zieht. Es wurde betont, daß eine Überlastung der Vorderachse eintritt. Tatsächlich findet aber ungewollt ein Ausgleich in der Gewichtsverteilung dadurch statt, daß das Ladegut beim Betrieb in dem Streben nach der hinteren Tür immer vorwiegend dort liegt. Hierdurch tritt eine zusätzliche Belastung der Vorderachse nicht ein.
The omission is not innocent. The document refers to a previous “discussion with the manufacturing firm” and that “this firm pointed out that a reduction of the box compartment would result in an unfavourable shifting of the weight”. The number “II D 3 a (9) NI. 214/42 G.RS” purports the idea that it belongs to a series of documents dedicated to the correspondence between the RSHA and the company Gaubschat. Another document in the series, “II D 3 a (9) NI. 668/42 G.RS”, dated 23rd June 1942, presents a troubling similarity with the document above and contains nothing suggesting gassing, CO, liquids etc. Furthermore it refers explicitly to a meeting with Gaubschat on 16th June 1942.
Ingrid Weckert, The Gas Vans: A Critical Assessment of the Evidence :
A closer examination of the Note of June 5 and a comparison with the RSHA letter of June 23, 1942 shows that the Note is a sort of plagiarism of the letter of June 23. Both items are subdivided into 7 points pertaining to the RSHA’s requested changes. The Note interprets these requests in a way that would point to exhaust-gas murders of human beings.
We submit that the “Note” of June 5 is a fabrication. Its authors wrote it after the letter of June 23 was written, and predated it. The various points were rewritten, and supplemented with additional remarks in such a way that murderous intentions are made apparent. One proof for this fabrication is the fact that the “Note” of June 5, in point 2, refers to a consultation between the RSHA and Gaubschat which the letter of June 23 shows not to have taken place until June 16, fully 11 days after (!) the alleged writing of the “Note” of June 5!
To further substantiate our claim, we shall now compare and contrast the corresponding points from the letter of June 23 and the Note of June 5. All those remarks in the Note which indicate “gassing”, ie. the loading of the vehicles with humans, and which do not occur in the letter of June 23, are indicated by this author with bold [aka “red”] print.
|LETTER OF JUNE 23, 1942
||“NOTE” OF JUNE 5, 1942
|“1. The cube body is to be reduced in length by 800 mm [31.5″]. […] We herewith acknowledge the objections raised, that such a shortening would cause a disadvantageous distribution of weight. [The preceding text shows that this objection was raised by Gaubschat on the occasion of a verbal discussion on June 16, 1942.] Any disadvantages resulting herefrom will not be complained of to the firm of Gaubschat.”
||“2. It would seem necessary to decrease the load area. This will be achieved by shortening the body by approximately 1 m [39″]. The above problem cannot be solved, as has been attempted, by reducing the number of objects per load. This is because a reduction in the number necessitates a longer operation time, since the empty space also must be filled with CO. […]
In a discussion with the manufacturer it was pointed out by the latter that a shortening of the cube body would result in a disadvantageous weight displacement. In fact, however, an involuntary balancing in weight distribution occurs because during operation the load strives towards the back door and always largely ends up there.“
|“5. The slide-covered openings in the rear doors are to be omitted, and replaced with open slits of 100 x 10 mm [4 x 0.4″] in the upper back wall (not door). They are to be covered on the outside with easily movable, hinged metal flaps.”
||“1. To allow for the rapid inflow of the CO while preventing excessive pressure, two open slits of 10 x 1 cm [4 x 0.4″] are to be located in the upper back wall. These are to be covered on the outside with easily movable, hinged metal flaps to allow for self-regulation of any potential excess pressure.“
|“6. The closeable drain opening in the right front part of the cube floor is to be omitted. Instead, a drain opening of about 200 mm [9″] in diameter is to be cut into the cube floor. This opening is to have a strong, tight-fitting, hinged lid that can be closed and safely opened from outside.”
||“4. To allow for easy cleaning of the vehicle [this expression builds on the implied allegation that the gassed people were covered with excrement and filth and had dirtied the vehicle accordingly], a tightly closeable drain opening is to be located in the center of the floor. The drain cover, about 200 to 300 mm [8 to 12″] in diameter, is to be equipped with a U-trap so that thin fluid can also drain out during operation.” [This too is a reference to excretions from the dying people.]
|“7. The interior lights are to be protected with a domed wire guard that is stronger than that used to date.”
||“6. The lighting appliances are to be more strongly protected from destruction than they have been so far. The iron grid guard over the lamps is to be domed enough to render damage to the lamp glass no longer possible. From practical experience it was suggested that the lamps should be omitted altogether, since allegedly they are never needed. It was found, however, that when the back door is closed, ie. when the interior becomes dark, the load urgently strives towards the door. This is because, at the onset of darkness, the load strives towards the light. [Utter nonsense. Once the door was closed, it would have been no lighter there than in the rest of the cube body.] Further, it was found that a commotion, probably due to the eerie nature of darkness, always breaks out at the point where the doors are closed. For this reason it would be expedient to turn the lights on before and during the first minutes of peration.“
The letter of June 23 contained seven points. The Note of June 5 is also organized into seven points, but not all of them correspond even partly to the content of one of the points of the letter. Evidently some of the RSHA’s June 23 requests for modification did not lend themselves well to the gassing theory and so they were left out. Instead, two supplements were added.
For example, point 3 in the Note of June 5 reads:
“The connecting hoses between the exhaust and the vehicle frequently rust through because they are corroded on the inside by fluids. To prevent this, the filler pipe is henceforth to be mounted in such a way that input proceeds from above downward. This will prevent fluids from entering.”
Connecting hoses for exhaust gas are added to the text here, whereas there was no mention of such a thing in the original letter.
Another supplementation is to be found in point 7 of the Note, where the need for a removable grate is mentioned. The text states that since
“[…]the firm commissioned with this work […] considers this design […] to be impracticable at this time”, the design should be submitted “to a different firm”.
This is entirely new to anyone familiar with these matters, and contradicts the urgency of the commission which is repeatedly expressed in other letters. Besides, internal notes jotted by members of the RSHA onto the back of Gaubschat’s letter of May 14, 1942 confirm that the RSHA decided to dispense with the removable grate and agreed to “production as to date”. There is no mention of a different firm to be consulted.
Friedrich Paul Berg