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The “Final Solution”: Hoess Special Order on Gassing Precautions

(August 12, 1942)

Auschwitz Concentration Camp

Kommandantur Auschwitz,

12th August 1942

Special Order

A case of indisposition with slight symptoms of poisoning by hydrocyanic gas which occured today makes it necessary to warn all those participating in the gassings and all other SS members that in particular on opening rooms used for gassing1 SS not wearing masks must wait at least five hours and keep at a distance of at least 15 metres from the chamber.  In addition, particular attention should be paid to the wind direction.

The gas being used at present containes less odorous warning agent and is therefore especially dangerous.

The SS garrison doctor declines all responsibility for any accident that should occur in the case where these directives have not been complied with by SS members.

Signed: Hoess
SS Lieutenant-Colonel and Commander

For files
[unidentified signature]
SS Captain and Adjutant

7 to SS-T-Stuba
7 Administration
3 Store
2 Construction Management
2 Political Section
1 9th SS-T-Stuba
1 Agriculture
1 Stables
1 Protective Detention Camp
1 Women's KL
1 Legal Officer
1 Personnel Division
1 Waffen SS House
      1 each to:
      SS Hosp;, HWL, DAW, Radio Station
      Telegraph station
      Telephone exchange
      SS Canteen
      Transport Section
      KL Labour Office
      Women's KL Labour Office
      Detachment VI
      External Service Station of the WI 
      Zeppelin Special Kommando
(Pressac, Jean Claude; "Auschwitz: Technique and Operation of the Gas Chambers; The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation, NY, 1989, p. 201)

1. Note: Some readers suggest that this phrase should be translated "on opening the gassed rooms" (Emphasis Nizkor's)

Source: The Nizkor Project