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Gassing Victims: Letter Requesting “Special Vans”at Mauthausen

(March 26, 1942)

This letter, sent by SS-Obersturmbannführer (Lieutenant Colonel) Walter Rauff on March 26, 1942, describes the need for “special vans” (Sonderwagen) for the Mauthausen concentration camp.

  1. Translation from German:
II D Rf/Hb March 26 2.
  1. 1.) Note
  2. to the
    Criminal Technical Institute
    at the Reich Criminal Police Office
  3. Berlin.
  4. In the attachment, I refer back to the procedure of the garrison doctor at concentration camp Mauthausen.
  5. The special vans manufactured by us are at this time in operation pursuant to the order of the Chief of the Security Police and the SD. There are more vans under construction, whose delivery is however dependent upon the appropriate shipping orders being issued by the General Plenipotentiary for Vehicles [GEK]. At what point in time the GEK will confirm the state of preparedness is not known, and, after that happens, one must further factor in a rebuilding period of around 8 - 14 days that will be necessary. At that point in time, I would be prepared to put a special van of that kind at the disposal of the Mauthausen concentration camp for a specified time. At the given time, I will let you know as soon as the van can be deployed.
  6. Since I assume that the Mauthausen concentration camp cannot wait indefinitely for the delivery, I request that you use steel bottles with carbon monoxide or respectively other remedies to get things started.
  7. 2.) II D 3 a - Major Pradel - for information and Wvl. for the completion of new special vans.
by order of


Source: Holocaust History Project