Final Solution: WWII Death Vans

What were death vans?

Death vans, also known as hell vans, were vehicles with a sealed off driving compartment that seperated the driver from the rest of the vehicle. The rest of the vehicle was exposed to the exhaust pipes that were aimed into it. When the driver started driving, the exhaust would be pushed into the locked compartment in the back of the vehicle that would eventually kill everyone exposed to the exhaust. When the Jews were taken from their ghettos they were lead through a basement, then up a small ramp into a room with no windows. The room turned out to be the back of a hell van. The Nazis would slam the doors shut, and start to drive. The people, living near where the trucks were driving, could hear the people dying in the back, but they couldn't see them. Once the vans reached their destination the bodies were burned or buried. Carbon Monoxide, the gas fumes, was one of many ways the Nazis experimented killing the Jews.

Why were Death Vans Used?

Mass shootings took a psychological toll on Heinrich Himmler's men, so he requested that the Nazis find a more convenient way to kill the Jews. Gas vans first appeared on the eastern front in late fall 1941. It took a total of 10-15 minutes to kill people exposed to the exhaust fumes in the back of the vans. A total of about 320,000 Jews were killed in gas vans.

Works Cited

"The Killing Evolution." PBS. PBS. Web. 12 Dec. 2014. .


"Einsatzgruppen (Mobile Killing Units)." United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. United States Holocaust Memorial Council, 20 June 2014. Web. 13 Dec. 2014.