Gas chamber

Article

August 14, 2022

A gas chamber is a device designed to kill people or animals, it is a closed room into which poisonous or sleeping gas is injected. Gas chambers began to be used for executions in the US in the early 1920s. During the Holocaust, large gas chambers for mass killing were used by Nazi Germany and the Independent State of Croatia[source?] as part of the genocide.

Nazi Germany

The Nazis designed their first gas chamber for the liquidation of patients from hospitals, primarily Jews, as part of the secret T4 program. Even this first chamber of theirs resembled showers and was used to murder about two dozen people at once. Protests against the program led to its official termination. This could also be one of the reasons why many extermination camps were built by the Nazis outside of Germany. The predecessors of the gas chambers in the extermination camps were mobile gas chambers located in trucks. These cars were used on a large scale in the Chełmno extermination camp. Fixed gas chambers, in which people were also killed by carbon monoxide from the exhaust gases, operated as part of Operation Reinhard (camps Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka). The gas chambers of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp in Auschwitz were responsible for the most victims, where Zyklon B was used, from which hydrogen cyanide was gradually released. This gas, originally intended for disinfection, was also used in some other extermination camps, for example in Majdanek.

Executions in the US

As of 2012, the last execution using the gas chamber was carried out in the USA on March 3, 1999 in Arizona. In the United States today, about 5 states use the gas chamber as an alternative method of execution. The type of execution itself is found to be very expensive and dangerous for the guards, so other methods of carrying out the death penalty, such as the electric chair or injections, are more likely to be used. The number of people sentenced to death in the US has decreased, according to local authorities. According to the report, 125 people were sentenced to death in 2009, the lowest in 32 years. 3,315 people have already been sentenced to death in the USA. The very procedure of execution in the USAThe prisoner is strapped to a chair or couch, the doctor puts a mouthpiece with a tube on the person, closes the surveillance chamber, the executioner releases the gas for 60 seconds (hydrogen cyanide was most often used). The detailed process of the execution varies in individual prisons and states. If the method of letting gas into the entire chamber is used, the course of the execution is slightly different. As in other cases, the prisoner is asked to write a farewell letter a few hours before the execution. In addition, the prisoner is allowed to make a last phone call and is offered a last meal according to the wishes of the convict. After that, the prisoner is taken to the showers, where he has to wash himself. Subsequently, all body cavities and parts of the body are checked to see if the prisoner is hiding any object in them that could disrupt the course of the execution. After the inspection, the prisoner is dressed in the clothes in which he will be executed. Historically, this was usually a white t-shirt or shirt and blue pants. This is due to the fact that the gas that is admitted into the chamber is mostly light green in color and it is therefore necessary that the clothing is clearly visible and contrasts. The prisoner must wear a minimal amount of clothing because the poison gas is stored in it during the execution. Thus, the prisoner must not wear any underwear during the execution. Furthermore, chains, pendants, bracelets and all possible accessories are not allowed. The condemned must also have bare feet so that they can be easily washed immediately after the execution. As the gas gradually settles in the chamber after it is released, the guards must immediately wash the executed person's feet after cleaning the room. If he had shoes or socks on his feet, us