By Deborah Lipstadt Last updated 2011-02-17

In the Auschwitz archives one can inspect the architectural drawings for Crematoria 4 and 5. These call for 30 x 40cm windows, through which Zyklon B was to be thrown. In February 1943 the Auschwitz Construction Office issued a work order for the 'production of 12 gas-tight doors (window shutters) approximately 30/40cm'. In Auschwitz there remain a number of decrepit 30 x 40cm window shutters. The remnants of a gas-tight seal are still visible around their edges. The handle for closing the windows is on the outside, a decidedly impractical arrangement for any room, unless one wanted to ensure that those inside could not open them.

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Deniers dismiss confessions by German perpetrators that a 'Final Solution' to the 'Jewish question' was indeed a part of the Nazi programme - by saying the confessions were produced under torture. They say that those who confessed knew their admissions would result in a death sentence, so would not have confessed except under duress - and that their accounts of their wartime activities should thus be disregarded.


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Some deniers posit that the Jews said to have been killed under the Nazi regime actually survived the war, and succeeded in avoiding detection by going to places such as the Soviet Union or the United States. In these countries, the deniers claim, there were already so many Jews that no one noticed a couple of million more.

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Thus this argument fails to take into account the statements of Nazis such as the Commandant of Birkenau concentration camp, Rudolf Höss, who described the mass murders that took place in his camp in a document written after he had been sentenced to death. It also fails to account for Adolf Eichmann who, in the memoir he wrote during his trial, spoke of the gassing of the Jews.

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Deniers such as Arthur Butz offer other equally fantastic explanations as to the supposed 'disappearance' of millions of Jews. Many of those who were reported killed in the war, he suggests, actually survived - but did not re-establish contact with their pre-war relatives because they were in bad marriages. After the war they found other partners, established better relationships, started a new life and failed to correct the record. This improbable explanation of why these people deserted their families would be hilarious, were the topic not so serious.

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The real facts are much better documented. For example, it is known that Nazis used gas buses at one point to murder Jews (eventually they abandoned this system because it was not efficient enough). This is known partly because SS-Major General Dr Harald Turner, chief of the German Administration in Serbia, wrote to Karl Wolff, chief of Heinrich Himmler's personal staff, on 11 April 1942.