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More than a book about the death penalty, this compelling history ultimately reveals much about America's values and power structures in the twentieth century. From the Inside Flap "Scott Christianson has masterfully chronicled the history of the use of gas to kill human beings. In doing so, he has shown that the Nazi regime drew strength and comfort from the United States' use of the gas chamber beginning nine years before Hitler took power, as well as from the substantial number of gas chamber executions thereafter.

While Christianson doesn't claim that the use of the gas chamber here led to the Holocaust, he does highlight ties between the chemical companies who were involved in both gas chambers in the United States and extermination chambers using gas in the Holocaust. This is a truly thought-provoking and eye-opening book. Reviews "The Last Gasp" Can you take the pain out of executions? Despite being developed as a swifter and more painless alternative to death than hanging or electrocution, Christianson describes in graphic detail the numerous botched executions during which death took over 10 agonizing minutes.

The author has done a great deal of original research and has produced a very thorough history of an interesting and hitherto little known subject.

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He provides an authoritative story of the way lethal gas was appropriated for use as a technology of execution. This sobering work is recommended to all readers interested in exploring the topic. In The Last Gasp, Scott Christianson has written the definitive actually, the only history of the gas chamber. It is a history so complicated and convoluted that it reads almost like something out of Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow. High Commissioner for Germany John J.

A second brick cottage, called the "white house" or Bunker 2, was converted some weeks later.

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Crematorium II was originally designed as a mortuary with morgues in the basement and ground-level incinerators; they converted it into a killing factory by installing gas-tight doors, vents for the Zyklon B to be dropped into the chamber, and ventilation equipment to remove the gas afterwards. Crematoria IV and V, designed from the beginning as gassing centers, were also constructed that spring.

By June , all four crematoria were operational. Most of the victims were killed using these four structures. The Nazis began shipping large numbers of Jews from all over Europe to Auschwitz in the middle of Those who were not selected for work crews were immediately gassed. They were stripped of their belongings and herded into the gas chamber.

The victims were dead within 20 minutes.

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Sonderkommandos special work crews forced to work at the gas chambers wearing gas masks then dragged the bodies from the chamber. The victims' glasses, artificial limbs, jewelry, and hair were removed, and any dental work was extracted so the gold could be melted down. Use of hydrogen cyanide as a pesticide or cleaner has been banned or restricted in some countries. The product was sold as Cyanosil in Germany and Zyklon in other countries. It was still produced as of The company is now called Detia-Degesch.

Uragan means "hurricane" or "cyclone" in Czech. Subsequent use of the word "Zyklon" in trade names has prompted angry reactions in English-speaking countries. The name "Zyklon" on portable roller coasters made since by Pinfari provoked protests among Jewish groups in the U. The firm was already using the name in Germany for one of their vacuum cleaners.

Holocaust deniers claim that Zyklon B gas was not used in the gas chambers, relying for evidence on the discredited research of Fred A. Leuchter , who found low levels of Prussian blue in samples of the gas chamber walls and ceilings.

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Leuchter attributed its presence to general delousing of the buildings. Leuchter's negative control , a sample of gasket material taken from a different camp building, had no cyanide residue.


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The surface that had been exposed to the chemical was not identified, and the large size of the specimens meant that any chemical present was diluted by an undeterminable amount. They found cyanide residue in both the delousing chambers and the gas chambers but none in the living quarters. Green, Richard J. Holocaust History Project. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

The Last Gasp by Scott Christianson - Read Online

For the band, see Zyklon-B band. See also: The Holocaust. Degesch and Zyklon B. All in all, it seems reasonable to assume that the SS over- rather than underdosed Death : Transcript IG Farben. Carl Bosch — Hermann Schmitz — Category Commons.


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