Zyklon B was a product made by the giant German chemical company IG Farben. Developed from an earlier version known as Zyklon A, it was originally intended to be used as an insecticide and delousing agent. In its insecticide form, it had a special odorant added for safety reasons so that the smell would warn of its presence. The odorant was omitted from the product used to gas "undesirables" in the gas chambers.
Death from Zyklon B could be almost instantaneous if the victim was close enough to the release point and inhaled a large quantity of gas right away. For people some distance from the release points, death could take up to half an hour, with their screams being heard as they died horribly.
Karl Fritzsch, the deputy commandant of Auschwitz, was the man who had developed Zyklon B as an execution agent. One famous quote by him during a roll call goes: "For a prisoner. there are only two ways to get out of this camp. Either he is released, or he goes up the chimney. Most of you will go the second route!"
Fritzsch disappeared during the war, and his fate is unknown. Unfortunately, he could not be killed in the gas chambers with the gas he designed, a befitting punishment.
After the war, IG Farben still attempted to sell Zyklon B, but public outrage brought about the end of its production and use. By that time, DDT had become the universal insecticide, anyway.- Advertisement -
Speaking of DDT, it later became a reviled and infamous product itself, blamed for the failure of predatory bird eggs and the decline of many species of birds. It was also found to accumulate in the bodies of food fishes. Although DDT use was eventually banned, many critics of the ban say that the danger posed by DDT was more than balanced out by the enormous amount of humans saved who might otherwise have been killed by disease-bearing insects such as mosquitoes, tse-tse flies, etc.
Please see video here: click here (this is the very moving scene from the TV series War and Remembrance, which re-enactments of executions at Auschwitz, including that of the character played by the great Shakespearean actor, Sir John Gielgud).
from my own article here at OEN:End of Monsanto/Bayer is Coming, Thanks to Jury's $289 million Award to Roundup/Cancer Victim, Dewayne Johnson
The company had ties in the 1920s to the liberal German People's Party and was accused by the Nazis of being an "international capitalist Jewish company". A decade later it was a Nazi Party donor and, after the Nazi takeover of Germany in 1933, a major government contractor, providing significant material for the German war effort. Throughout that decade it purged itself of its Jewish employees; the remainder left in 1938. Described as "the most notorious German industrial concern during the Third Reich", IG Farben relied in the 1940s on slave labour from concentration camps, including 30,000 from Auschwitz. One of its subsidiaries supplied the poison gas, Zyklon B, that killed over one million people in gas chambers during the Holocaust.
The Allies seized the company at the end of the war in 1945 and the US authorities put its directors on trial. Held from 1947 to 1948 as one of the subsequent Nuremberg trials, the IG Farben trial saw 23 IG Farben directors tried for war crimes and 13 convicted. By 1951 all had been released by the American high commissioner for Germany, John J. McCloy.
What remained of IG Farben in the West was split in 1951 into its six constituent companies, then again into three: BASF, Bayer and Hoechst. These companies continued to operate as an informal cartel and played a major role in the West German Wirtschaftswunder. Following several later mergers the main successor companies are Agfa, BASF, Bayer and Sanofi. In 2004 the University of Frankfurt, housed in the former IG Farben head office, set up a permanent exhibition on campus, the Norbert Wollheim memorial, for the slave labourers and those killed by Zyklon B.
Mann, Hörlein and Wuster (directors of both IG Farben and Degesch, the Farben subsidiary making Zyklon B) were acquitted at the IG Farben trial in 1948 of having supplied Zyklon B for the purpose of mass extermination. The judges ruled that the prosecution had not shown that the defendants or executive board "had any persuasive influence on the management policies of Degesch or any significant knowledge as to the uses to which its production was being put".- Advertisement -
In 1949 Mann became head of pharmaceutical sales at Bayer. Hörlein became chair of Bayer's supervisory board. Wurster became chair of the IG Farben board, helped to reestablish BASF as a separate company, and became an honorary professor at the University of Heidelberg. Durrfeld was sentenced to eight years, then pardoned in 1951 by John McCloy, the American high commissioner for Germany, after which he joined the management or supervisory boards of several chemical companies.
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