Here we go for the next round...first part replying to Fritz here
Fritz wrote:The major reason producer gas vehicles should have been employed is that the Germans were desperately short of gasoline--even within Einsatzgruppe B. Hans' own source above clearly says they had received "only amounts of 200-400 Liters." That is ONLY about 100 gallons of gasoline for all of Einsatzgruppe B! How many Jews and/or Soviet citizens could they have possibly murdered with that, assuming their vehicles had nothing else to do for that entire month? But, with producer gas vehicles they certainly could have murdered millions since the essential fuel, woodchips, was almost everywhere and almost as cheap as dirt.
This document - which refers in this statement only to the group staff in Smolensk and not the whole Einsatzgruppe B - says nothing about that the amount of 200-400 Liters was meant for one month, but on the contrary indicates this was a repeated supply: "Durch das Ausbleiben mehrerer Kesselwagenzüge war an mehreren Tagen in Smolensk kein Benzin zu bekommen und später nur in Mengen von 200-400 Ltr." For all we know, it might have been a daily supply. But more importantly, this shows the staff of Einsatzgruppe B normally received and expected much higher amounts of gasoline as their contigent and that the poor supply in those day was exceptional because some tank wagons did not show up in Smolensk. Indeed, already the next monthly report of Einsatzgruppe B of 1 April 1943 explained that the "current situation regarding the fuel of the group staff can be described as good
" and that the group staff has increased its fuel reserve to 5000 Liters
(Deutsche Besatzungsherrschaft in der UdSSR 1941-1945. Dokumente der Einsatzgruppen II, p. 553). Doesn't sound like being "desperately short of gasoline" even at this stage of the war!
The gas vans made up only a small fraction of the vehicles of the Einsatzgruppen (e.g. 4 out of more than 140 vehicles of Einsatzgruppe B in February 1942). Their amount of fuel needed was minor compared to that of the whole group (even considering the rather high consumption of the gas vans). So if shortage of gasoline was any significant factor for the choice of vehicles, one would expect numerous producer gas vehicles in the motor pools of the Einsatzgruppen. Yet, there is no evidence whatsoever that the Einsatzgruppen operated any producer gas vehicles. There is no mention of producer gas in any of German documents related to the Einsatzgruppen, but on the contrary the documents only mention liquid fuel supply. There is no mention of any producer gas vehicles in hundreds of pages of interrogations former members of the Einsatzgruppen, but on the contrary the testimonies only mention gasoline vehicles and supply. This radically refutes that the Einsatzgruppen would have employed producer gas homicidal vans because of a "desperate" shortage of gasoline in 1941/42. The Einsatzgruppen simply did not use producer gas vehicles at this time. They were not considered adequate vehicles for the mobile German forces operating in the rear of the army.
Here some examples to illustrate that the German paramilitary forces did not bother about producer gas, but wasted gasoline instead:
- The Sonderkommando Chelmno operating the Chelmno extermination site had loaned three trucks from the Reichstraßenbauamt Hohensalza, which consumed more than 17,670 Liters of gasoline between January-June 1942 (letter of 18 May 1943, Yad Vashem Archives, O.53/83, p. 296f.).
So Fritz, enquiring minds want to know why the Sonderkommando Chelmno wasted 17,760 Liters of gasoline to ship around Jews and their belongings if "the Germans were desperately short of gasoline"? Why didn't they use those brilliant producer gas vehicles? And if those Nazis were so stupid to waste precious gasoline in Chelmno when "the essential fuel, woodchips, was almost everywhere and almost as cheap as dirt", then why would they bother about the gasoline for their 2-3 homicidal gas vans?
- The central construction office of Auschwitz concentration camp used 1594 Liters of gasoline and 5119 kg of Diesel fuel in October 1942 (document reproduced in Alvarez, The Gas Vans, p. 345). The vehicles drove 13974 km with liquid fuel, whereas only 662 km (less than 5%) were made on producer gas. Even such a lame authority as the construction office Auschwitz, which was not even engaged in paramilitary and police operations, was able to neglect producer gas over liquid fuel.
Again, Fritz, explain to us why the Nazis wasted 1594 Liters of gasoline and 5119 kg of Diesel in October 1942 just to drive around some construction material in some lousy concentration camp in Upper Silesia, if they desperation for liquid fuel was so great that they wouldn't use a few homicidal gas vans on gasoline?
- The so called Auschwitz Album shows several vehicles in Auschwitz in 1944, when one would suppose any drop of liquid fuel was needed elsewhere, none with producer gas set-up. Clearly, the Auschwitz camp administration did not bother about producer gas and was supplied with a contigent of gasoline and Diesel sufficient for their purpose.
Your turn again Fritz, please teach us why the Auschwitz camp administration did not share your enthusiasm for producer gas?
- After the assassination of Heydrich, the authorities requested 300,000 Liters of gasoline for the subsequent police and paramilitary operations, of which 150,000 Liters were granted. Alone the removal of the rubbel of the eradicated village Lidice was estimated to require up to 29,000 Liters of gasoline.
Just why did the Nazis were ready to burn the amount of gasoline almost needed by the whole German army in one month just to take revenge for some individual? Being so "desperately short of gasoline", how comes it they wanted to spent up to 29,000 Liters of gasoline just to remove some rubbel? Didn't they have "the essential fuel, woodchips" which "was almost everywhere and almost as cheap as dirt" in Protektorat Böhmen und Mähren?
The Befehlsblatt of the Security Police and Service of 22 November 1941 (incidently, dated right around the time the first batch of gas vans was constructed) shows not only that the RSHA did not care about the regulations on switching from liquid fuels and insisted in gasoline/Diesel to be used by the Gestapo, but also that producer gas played no role from the outset not even for those few vehicles of the secret police in the Reich, which the RSHA approved to operate with some other fuel as an exception, since liquefied petroleum gas was prefered over producer gas.
Fritz is confusing the general shortage of liquid fuels in the Third Reich foremost affecting the civilian sector with the specific situation of the paramilitary forces in 1941/42, which were excluded from legal regulations and in case of the Einsatzgruppen in the Soviet Union had access to the gasoline supply of the army. Shortage of gasoline was no reason for the German paramilitary forces to employ producer gas vehicles in 1941/42 and in contrast to Fritz' assertion, they would have never employed inferior producer gas vehicles for homicidal gas vans as long as the gasoline engine was technically doing the job.