The Chemistry of Auschwitz
Auschwitz was a center of chemistry. The German chemical industry built gigantic factories for rubber, fuel, lubricants and methanol there, and the SS experimented with natural sources of rubber. But that’s not what people associate with the name “Auschwitz.” They think of gas chambers and Zyklon B, which are two entirely chemical things as well.
One would think that the biggest crime scene in history would attract the attention of forensic researchers. Although no autopsy of any victim has ever been performed, most of the claimed crime scenes – the chemical slaughterhouses called “gas chambers” – are still accessible to forensic examination to a greater or lesser degree.
So, what did these gas chambers look like? How did they operate? What were they used for? What is Zyklon B? What exactly hides behind this ominous name? How does it kill? And what effect has it on masonry? Does it leave traces that can still be found today?