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  • A German soldier sits in a muddy trenchhoping for a hiatus in what's been constant  

  • shelling for hours. Unbeknownst to him, noxious  gas wafting over No-Man's Land will be over  

  • him soon. The so-calledKing of the Battle  Gasesis about to change his life forever

  • Some years later, the Nazis didn't  want to see a repeat of this

  • All sides during the First World War used  mustard gas. It was potent and very effective  

  • in hurting your enemy, even when gas masks  were worn. When they weren't being worn,  

  • soldiers would sometimes report smelling  burned garlic, or rubber, or even dead horses.  

  • That's when they knew they were in trouble. The gas was also said to smell like horseradish,  

  • hence why it got the name mustard gas. You might  have thought until now that soldiers were throwing  

  • pots of spicy Helman's mustard at each otherbut the gas was actually a bunch of pernicious  

  • chemical compounds, not a delicious condiment. If inhaled in vast quantities, the soldier was  

  • always going to have a very bad day. The  effects of the gas were not immediate,  

  • but if breathed in, there was no way out. At  first, the victim's eyes would tear. This would  

  • intensity until it became very painfulsometimes leading to temporary blindness.

  • Make no mistake, mustard gas could killbut in warfare, almost blinding a complete  

  • regiment was certainly a way to get ahead. It also produced blisters on a soldier's skin,  

  • which weren't just irritable. They often  popped and turned into oozing wounds,  

  • therefore putting the soldier at risk  of getting a dangerous infection.  

  • If that wasn't bad enough, there were long-term  effects of exposure. One of them was cancer

  • It was hard to get away from the stuff since it  stuck to clothes. A soldier's body could then  

  • be severely burned, bad enough to cause immense  pain, disfigurement, and over time, death. This  

  • is how a wartime British nurse explained  treating soldiers injured by mustard gas

  • They cannot be bandaged or touched. We  cover them with a tent of propped-up sheets.  

  • Gas burns must be agonizing because usually, the  other cases do not complain, even with the worst  

  • wounds, but gas cases are invariably beyond  endurance and they cannot help crying out.” 

  • Bear in mind we're about to tell you how  the Nazis used this gas on prisoners

  • There were other milder, long-term  effects, too, as the British soldier  

  • Cecil Withers explained after the war. “I suffer badly from phlegm and from  

  • coughs and colds a lot. That all started  when the British were shelling hard at  

  • the last Battle of the Somme. One of the  shells disturbed the residue of mustard gas  

  • that had been lying there for months. They talk  about secondary smoking. I got secondary gas.” 

  • Mustard gas didn't just blister the skin, it  also blistered the lungs. In a bad case, the end  

  • result was pulmonary edema and sometimes death. In fact, just to give you a better idea of how  

  • dangerous this stuff was, making the shells in  factories injured and killed people in Germany,  

  • Britain, France, and the US - the country that  ended up making the most mustard gas weapons

  • One paper we found on this topic said, “The most  dangerous job regardless of location involved  

  • filling artillery gas shells. This produced even  more injuries than normal chemical production,  

  • and German workers suffered as much as  British, French, and American workers.” 

  • As you can see, mustard gas was a useful weaponalbeit some folks thought it was unethical. Others  

  • said, hey, if you can blow a man's head  off and shove a bayonet through his heart,  

  • why can't you kill him slowly with gas. The typical British response to mustard gas  

  • might have been, “It's just not cricket,”  meaning it's not how things were done.  

  • Obviously, supporters of the gas likely  never went within 100 miles of a trench

  • Mustard gas was first used by German troops on  July 12, 1917, near Ypres, Belgium. The victims  

  • of the gas were British and Canadian soldiersChemical weapons were nothing new at that time.  

  • All sides were using them, but it was the Germans  that got ahead with the king of battle gases

  • US soldiers also suffered once they were  in the war in 1917. Harry L. Gilchrist,  

  • medical director of the Gas Service, US Army  Expeditionary Force, wrote about what happened  

  • to some US troops hit with the gas. He said: “At first, the troops didn't notice the gas  

  • and were not uncomfortable, but in the course  of an hour or so, there was marked inflammation  

  • of their eyes. They vomitedLater there was  severe blistering of the skin, especially  

  • where the uniform had been contaminatedThe men  were virtually blind and had to be led about.” 

  • On top of that, not knowing when some gas would  waft into them really messed up soldiers' minds.  

  • Many suffered from a kind of PTSD calledgas  fright”. By the time the war had finished,  

  • untold numbers of men suffered  from psychological conditions.  

  • While only around 90,000 men died from chemical  agents, about 1.3 million suffered gas injuries

  • Ok, so you don't need much more convincing  that mustard gas was a formidable weapon  

  • that not only set back an army but also ruined  a man's life. That's why the Germans were so  

  • dead set on trying to create something to  protect their soldiers during the next war

  • But as you know, The Nazis didn't exactly wait for  the German equivalent of FDA approval before using  

  • an agent. They also didn't have too many scruples  about human testing during experimental trials

  • That's because they had concentration camps full  of people they deemed enemies and generally just  

  • inferior to their master race. These people, they  thought, were entirely expendable. They could be  

  • tested on, pulled apart, frozen, and when they  died, they were useful for autopsy purposes

  • As always, years later, when it came to  experimentation, everything had to go through  

  • Adolf Hitler's number one man, the guy said to be  the architect of the Holocaust, Heinrich Himmler.

  • Some of the letters written to him were  discovered after the Nazis were beaten

  • We found one written by Ernst-Robert  Grawitz, a physician to Hitler and  

  • before that someone who was part of  the Nazi's mass euthanasia program.

  • He also took part in experiments in  which he tried tocurehomosexuality

  • In the letter, he talks about experimenting with  the “N-substance.” This referred to chlorine gas,  

  • not mustard gas, which was very useful during  the previous war, albeit not too effective  

  • when the enemy donned its gas masks. This is part of the original letter,  

  • in translation: “In accordance with  

  • these investigation experiments carried out on  25 September 1944, the necessity has now arisen  

  • to carry out several experiments on human beings  for the final clarification of the physiological  

  • effect of N-substance on and through human skin.” He asked for five prisoners, stating that it  

  • wasimprobable that the experiment  will cause any permanent damage.” 

  • The Nazis maimed and killed many people in  various experiments, so we don't know why  

  • exactly Grawitz stated that part. We do know such  experiments were kept secret as much as possible  

  • from people in the camps, and we also know that  injured prisoners did not make good workers

  • We found another letter written by Grawitz, again  to Himmler, but this time about something called  

  • theLOSTprogram. LOST was a kind of sulfur  gas. It got the name from the two people that  

  • invented it: Wilhelm Lmmel and Wilhelm Steinhaus. The prisoners had already been purposefully  

  • injured by the gas and the experiment consisted of  trying to treat them, just as any German soldier  

  • would require medical help on the battlefield. The letter states

  • The persons experimented on suffered  considerably under the wound caused by LOST.  

  • The arms in most of the cases are badly  swollen and the pains are enormous.” 

  • In four cases, the wounds became infected. We  then find out thatdrug-H” did nothing to help  

  • the specific wounds caused by LOST. Drugwas otherwise known as the Holzmann remedy

  • The emphasis when using LOST was usually  to burn the prisoner with the stuff until  

  • those horrible blisters formed. The Nazis  then treated the burns with various drugs

  • Evidence tells us this happened  at Sachsenhausen camp in 1939,  

  • at Natzweiler camp from 1942 to 1944, and  at Neuengamme camp only in 1944. Also,  

  • as you already know, just making the shells  that carried the gas was dangerous business,  

  • so the Nazis of course sometimes  used camp inmates to do just that

  • On September 8, 1939, Polish troops hit German  troops with mustard gas after blowing up a bridge  

  • at a place called Jaslo. 14 German soldiers  were injured, and two died. According to one  

  • researcher, “The incident immediately led to an  investigation by German chemical warfare experts.” 

  • The Nazis were somewhat upset, so they  took 31 prisoners and experimented on them

  • They did this at Sachsenhausen camp, which was  mainly used for German political prisoners and  

  • Soviet prisoners, but other nationalities  stayed and died there, too. About 12,000  

  • men died there from malnutrition and diseaseOthers were just shot or died in experiments.

  • We know the prisoners suffering from mustard gas  experiments were treated with the experimental  

  • drug Freskan, a powder codenamed F 1000 and  F 1001. We also know various ointments were  

  • used for their infections. What we don't know  is what happened to most of those Guinea pigs

  • One survivor did tell his story, though. He  was Hans Kargl, a German political prisoner.  

  • Kargl was a prominent anti-fascist in Germanyand so the Nazis convicted him of high treason  

  • and labeled him anenemy of Hitler.” He later wrote that at the camp he had  

  • a “yellow liquidpasted over his arms. This was  a liquid form of mustard gas. He said he came out  

  • in painful blisters, which became open woundsHe was then treated with two ointments, which  

  • caused intense pain. The Nazi doctors recorded  the healing process with photographs and film

  • Later, another eight prisoners sufferedsimilar fate, but two of them had streptococcus,  

  • staphylococcus, and pneumococcus  bacteria rubbed into the open wounds

  • This is what a researcher wrote about that: “The infected prisoners developed sepsis with  

  • high temperatures, shivering, swelling  of the glands, and enlarged spleens.  

  • The prisoners' suffering led to the insight that  neither Holzmann's remedy nor the Freskan powder  

  • had any healing effect on the mustard  gas wounds or the infections.” 

  • Ok, so the experiment failedThe Nazis tried again, of course

  • They also performed more experiments with the  substance LOST. One gram of it was smeared under  

  • the arms of several prisoners. So much of it was  applied to them that their wounds became necrotic,  

  • although it seems the Nazis  were able to treat those wounds

  • Later, at the Natzweiler camp, things  went a little different. LOST was still  

  • applied to prisoners, but now a Dr. August  Hirt treated the prisoners by giving them  

  • injections of vitamins. He's better known for  hisJewish skeleton collectionexperiments.  

  • He also stood out, having severe facial  injuries from fighting in the first war.

  • On November 25, 1942, 15 inmates were picked out  for testing. It turned out that the earlier tests  

  • done on animals werenot applicableto humansThe application for Vitamin A had worked on rats,  

  • but in humans, it actually made the wounds worse. They then conducted what they called a “major rat  

  • experimentusing 1000 rats and four different  vitamins. Humans came next, 15 of them

  • They were all German political prisoners, and  according to Hendrik Nales, a former Dutch inmate,  

  • all sufferedterrible, festering  woundsover their entire bodies.  

  • Some of them went blind. Three  died in horrible pain just after,  

  • and two more died within a few days. The reason  for death was edema of the lungs or pneumonia

  • Hirt then wrote up his reportstating that vitamins A, B-complex,  

  • and C, by mouth seemed to work, as did  Vitamin B-1 when injected with glucose.  

  • What he totally left out of the report were the  severe injuries, the extreme pain, and the deaths

  • The Nazis also experimented with phosgene  gas, which is similar to mustard gas.  

  • In June 1943, up to 150 prisoners at Natzweiler  camp were dosed with some of this gas and around  

  • 50 of themsuffocated in agony”, although  apparently scholars still debate this today

  • More experiments happened, often using German  prisoners but also gypsy prisoners taken from  

  • another camp. They were gassed, and then doctors  gave them a drug called Urotropin orally,  

  • while others got nothing, and some  received injections of Urotropin

  • A survivor named Willy Herzberg said he and others  were led to the gas chamber where a Nazi doctor  

  • threw vials on the floor and smashed them with  his feet. He walked out and the doors were locked.  

  • In about ten minutes, Herzberg said that  all he could hear wasmuffled splashing”  

  • caused by what he assumed wasbursting lungs”. He said prisoners were on all fours,  

  • writhing around, with foam coming out of their  mouths. As for himself, he said the pain was  

  • as if someone was sticking needles into his  lungs. He said on his chest he felt “a pressure,  

  • as if hundreds of kilos were put upon it.” 14 people suffered pulmonary edema.  

  • Four German gypsy inmates diedThey were Zirko Rebstock, 37;  

  • Adalbert Eckstein, 20; Andreas Hodosy, 32 and  Josef Reinhardt, 38. As terrible as that was,  

  • it was a result for the Nazis who worked out just  how much Urotropin could be used to limit the  

  • effects of usually-lethal phosgene poisoning. We now come to the last experiments. These  

  • were conducted by Ludwig Werner  Haase at the Neuengamme camp.

  • He was trying to develop a drug that would  help German soldiers who'd been poisoned  

  • with the blister agent Lewisite. It also caused  terrible burns that festered and got infected, but  

  • if soldiers swallowed the stuff, which was very  possible, they could be looking at severe internal  

  • tissue damage after painful bouts of vomiting. Haase wrote to Himmler and Himmler gave  

  • him the green light to start  testing on prisoners. Notably,  

  • Haase was one of Hitler's favored physicians. Haase believed that adding hypochlorous acid to  

  • water could have a positive effect on men poisoned  with Lewisite. First, he had to see what happened  

  • when men drank water with hypochlorous acid  in it. He had the water supply contaminated,  

  • and 10,000 prisoners drank the water. They were all ok. This was progress

  • So, then the doctor and his associates took  150 men and laced their water with Lewisite.  

  • They drank that and then had to drink water with  hypochlorous acid in it to see if it affected  

  • their perhaps rapidly declining health. Other  experiments used Nitrogen mustard as the poison

  • According to research, low dosages of  these poisons in water didn't seem to  

  • damage the unwitting prisoners. Haase then said  he wanted to give prisoners high, harmful doses,  

  • and others smaller doses, to work out the right  amount of hypochlorous acid to put in the water

  • To this, Himmler actually said no. His reason was  thecurrent situation”. That was the advancing  

  • allied troops and Germany soon to lose the war. That just about covers the chemical  

  • agent experiments at the camps. Now you need to watchDeadliest  

  • Chemicals In The World.” Or, have a look at  “Weapons Even The Military Made Illegal.”

A German soldier sits in a muddy trenchhoping for a hiatus in what's been constant  

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Toxic Gas Nazis Loved to Use on Prisoners

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    Summer posted on 2021/10/29
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