Gas Vans

By: Deliah Smith

The Start of the Gas Van

When the Jewish people were first being eliminated by the German soldiers the were being killed by guns.But after a while it wasn't very affective because there were bodies everywhere that the Germans were left with and it was a very exhausting and long job. They couldn't kill every single Jew by shooting each one individually. There were way too many. They needed a strategy the would be more cost and time affective. The gas vans were one of their first big killing strategies. Essentially, it was just a big truck with an empty back where the jews would sit. German soldiers would release carbon monoxide into the back of the van were the Jews were sitting and it would slowly but effectively kill them. This strategy was first put into use after June of 1941when Einsatzgruppe members complained of battle fatigue and mental anguish from shooting so many jews. They brought in the vans and the Jews were told they were being taken to a camp, but really they were just driving in the van until the carbon monoxide killed them. Once they had died, the German soldiers would dispose of the bodies and then drive back to get more Jews. The gas vans resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Jews, Gypsies, and the mentally disabled.
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This is a picture from inside one of the gas Vans. I chose this because this it it, this is a place were so many people were killed. This was such a big part of the extermination and this is just such a raw photo that really shows you the "inside" of things. It is so significant because people just like anyone else sat in there and were just riding along not knowing of what was to come.
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This is a picture of Zyklon B pellets which are just like Carbon Monoxide and it was used to poison and kill the people in the van. Just a few little pellets like that had the ability to kill everyone sitting in the back of the van.
Video of how a gas van worked

I decided to put this video in because I thought it gave a good visual and understanding on how the gas van worked. It helped me better understand how it happened.