A gas chamber is an apparatus for killing humans or other animals with gas, consisting of a sealed chamber into which a poisonous or asphyxiant gas is introduced. The most commonly used poisonous agent is hydrogen cyanide; carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide have also been used. Gas chambers were used as a method of execution for condemned prisoners in the United States beginning in the 1920s and continue to be a legal execution method in three states. During the Holocaust, large-scale gas chambers designed for mass killing were used by Nazi Germany as part of their genocide program. The use of gas chambers in North Korea has also been reported.
Nazi Germany made extensive use of various types of gas chamber for mass killing.
Beginning in 1939, gas chambers were used as part of the Nazi euthanasia program aimed at eliminating physically and intellectually disabled people. Experiments in the gassing of patients were conducted in October 1939 in occupied Posen in Poland. Hundreds of prisoners were killed by carbon monoxide poisoning in an improvised gas chamber. In 1940 gas chambers using bottled pure carbon monoxide were established at six euthanasia centres in Germany. In addition to persons with disabilities, these centres were also used to kill prisoners transferred from concentration camps in Germany, Austria, and Poland. Killings of concentration camp inmates continued after the euthanasia program was officially shut down in 1941.
Starting in 1941, gas chambers were used at extermination camps in Poland for the mass killing of Jews, Roma, and other victims of the Holocaust. Gas vans were used at the Chełmno extermination camp. The Operation Reinhard extermination camps at Bełżec, Sobibór, and Treblinka used exhaust fumes from stationary diesel engines. In search of more efficient killing methods, the Nazis experimented with using the hydrogen cyanide-based fumigant Zyklon B at the Auschwitz concentration camp. This method was adopted for mass killings at the Auschwitz and Majdanek camps. Up to 6000 victims were gassed with Zyklon-B each day at Auschwitz.
Most extermination camp gas chambers were dismantled or destroyed in the last months of the World War II as Soviet troops approached, except for those at Dachau, Sachsenhausen and Majdanek. One destroyed gas chamber at Auschwitz was reconstructed after the war to stand as a memorial.
In 1937–1940, Lithuania operated a gas chamber in Aleksotas within the First Fort of the Kaunas Fortress. Before, the executions were carried out by hanging or by shooting. However, these methods were viewed as brutal and in January 1937, the criminal code was amended to provide execution by gas which at the time was viewed as more civilized and humane. Lithuania considered and rejected execution by poison. The first execution was carried on July 27, 1937: Bronius Pogužinskas, age 37, convicted of murder of five people from a Jewish family. Historian Sigita Černevičiūtė counted at least nine executions in the gas chamber, though records are incomplete and fragmentary. Of the nine, eight were convicted of murder. One, Aleksandras Maurušaitis, was in addition convicted of anti-government actions during the 1935 Suvalkija strike. The last known execution took place on May 19, 1940 for robbery. The fate of the gas chamber after the occupation by the Soviet Union in June 1940 is unclear.
Kwon Hyok, a former head of security at Camp 22, described laboratories equipped with gas chambers for suffocation gas experiments, in which three or four people, normally a family, are the experimental subjects. After undergoing medical checks, the chambers are sealed and poison is injected through a tube, while scientists observe from above through glass. In a report reminiscent of an earlier account of a family of seven, Kwon claims to have watched one family of two parents, a son and a daughter die from suffocating gas, with the parents trying to save the children using mouth-to-mouth resuscitation for as long as they had the strength. Kwon's testimony was supported by documents from Camp 22 describing the transfer of prisoners designated for the experiments. The documents were identified as genuine by Kim Sang Hun, a London-based expert on Korea and human rights activist. A press conference in Pyongyang, organized by North Korean authorities, denounced this.
The original invention of mobile gas chambers based on adapted vans with the storage compartment sealed and exhaust redirected inside are attributed to Soviet NKVD commander Isay Berg. These vans were used by NKVD from 1936 under disguise of bread vans (Russian: душегубка).
Gas chambers have been used for capital punishment in the United States to execute death row inmates. The first person to be executed in the United States by lethal gas was Gee Jon, on February 8, 1924. An unsuccessful attempt to pump poison gas directly into his cell at Nevada State Prison led to the development of the first makeshift gas chamber to carry out Gee's death sentence.
In 1957, Burton Abbott was executed as the governor of California, Goodwin J. Knight, was on the telephone to stay the execution. Since the restoration of the death penalty in the United States in 1976, eleven executions by gas chamber have been conducted. By the 1980s, reports of suffering during gas chamber executions had led to controversy over the use of this method.
At the September 2, 1983 execution of Jimmy Lee Gray in Mississippi, officials cleared the viewing room after eight minutes while Gray was still alive and gasping for air. The decision to clear the room while he was still alive was criticized by his attorney. David Bruck, an attorney specializing in death penalty cases, said, "Jimmy Lee Gray died banging his head against a steel pole in the gas chamber while reporters counted his moans." Gray was convicted for the murder of three-year-old Deressa Jean Scales in 1976, after kidnapping and anally raping her.
During the April 6, 1992 execution of Donald Harding in Arizona, it took 11 minutes for death to occur. The prison warden stated that he would quit if required to conduct another gas chamber execution. Following Harding's execution, Arizona voted that all persons condemned after November 1992 would be executed by lethal injection.
Following the execution of Robert Alton Harris, a federal court declared that "execution by lethal gas under the California protocol is unconstitutionally cruel and unusual." By the late 20th century, most states had switched to methods considered to be more humane, such as lethal injection. California's gas chamber at San Quentin State Prison was converted to an execution chamber for lethal injection.
As of 2010, the last person to be executed in the gas chamber was German national Walter LaGrand, sentenced to death before 1992, who was executed in Arizona on March 3, 1999. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit had ruled that he could not be executed by gas chamber, but the decision was overturned by the United States Supreme Court. The gas chamber was formerly used in Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina and Oregon. Six states, Arizona, California, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri and Wyoming, authorize lethal gas if lethal injection cannot be administered, the condemned committed their crime before a certain date, or the condemned chooses to die in the gas chamber. In October 2010, Governor of New York David Paterson signed a bill rendering gas chambers illegal for use by humane societies and other animal shelters.
As implemented in the United States, the gas chamber is considered to be the most dangerous, most complicated, and most expensive method of administering the death penalty. The condemned person is strapped into a chair within an airtight chamber, which is then sealed. The executioner activates a mechanism which drops potassium cyanide (or sodium cyanide) pellets into a bath of sulfuric acid beneath the chair; the ensuing chemical reaction generates lethal hydrogen cyanide gas.
The gas is visible to the condemned, who is advised to take several deep breaths to speed unconsciousness. Nonetheless, the condemned person often convulses and drools. There may also be urinating, defecating, and vomiting.
Following the execution the chamber is purged with air, and any remnant gas is neutralized with anhydrous ammonia, after which the body can be removed (with great caution, as pockets of gas can be trapped in the victim's clothing).
Nitrogen gas or oxygen-depleted air has been considered for human execution, as it can induce nitrogen asphyxiation. The victim detects little abnormal sensation as the oxygen level falls. This leads to asphyxiation (death from lack of oxygen) without the painful and traumatic feeling of suffocation, or the side effects of poisoning.
In April 2015, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin approved a bill allowing nitrogen asphyxiation as an execution method. On March 14, 2018, Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter and Corrections Director Joe M. Allbaugh announced a switch to nitrogen gas as the primary method of execution.
Gas chambers have also been used for animal euthanasia, using carbon monoxide as the lethal agent. Sometimes a box filled with anesthetic gas is used to anesthetize small animals for surgery or euthanasia.
Arizona State Prison Complex – Florence also known as Florence State Prison (FSP) is one of 13 prison facilities operated by the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC). The main FSP prison is located in Florence, Arizona. The Florence complex used to include a unit in Picacho in unincorporated Pinal County however, the Picacho Unit was closed and destroyed in early 2013. The Globe Unit in Globe is also a part of Florence Complex.The Central Unit of ASPC-Florence has the state of Arizona's death chamber.In 1908 inmates finished building and opened the Arizona Prison at Florence. This new prison was to replace the territorial prison in Yuma. The convicts lived in tents while constructing the prison. The new prison featured a death chamber. The chamber was scaffolding above the death row cells that had a trap door for hanging inmates which opened to a room below. In 1933 hanging was replaced with the gas chamber due to an incident during a hanging. Convicts from Florence were a cheap source of labor and the state used them to build roads through the mountains between Bisbee and Tombstone in 1913. Convicts also built a bridge over the San Pedro River and improved the Douglas Highway. There is a concrete monument there commemorating the completion of the road.
The prison was designed in a mission-revival style architecture.FSP has an inmate capacity of 3,946 in 6 housing units, housed at level 2, 3 and 5 security levels. The ADC uses a score classification system to assess inmates appropriate custody and security level placement. The scores range from 1 to 5 with 5 being the highest risk or need. FSP is the judicial site in Arizona for state executions since 1910. The death house is located beside Housing Unit 8. Lethal injection and the gas chamber are the sole methods of execution.
Central Unit was recently changed from a split 3/5 level to a sole maximum security unit.August Becker
August Becker (17 August 1900 – 31 December 1967) was a mid-ranking functionary in the SS of Nazi Germany and chemist in the Reich Main Security Office (RSHA). He helped design the vans with a gas chamber built into the back compartment used in early Nazi mass murder of disabled people, political dissidents, Jews, and other "racial enemies," including Action T4 as well as the Einsatzgruppen (mobile Nazi death squads) in the Nazi-occupied portions of the Soviet Union. Generally his role was to provide important technical support, but on at least one occasion he personally gassed about 20 people.Barbara Graham
Barbara Graham (June 26, 1923 – June 3, 1955) was an American criminal convicted of murder. She was executed in the gas chamber at San Quentin Prison on the same day as two convicted accomplices, Jack Santo and Emmett Perkins, all of whom were involved in a robbery that led to the murder of an elderly widow. Nicknamed "Bloody Babs" by the press, Graham was the third woman in California to be executed by gas.Her story of adult criminal activity is told in the 1958 film I Want to Live!, in which she was portrayed by Susan Hayward, who won the Academy Award for Best Actress.Edith Stein
Edith Stein (religious name Teresia Benedicta a Cruce ; also known as St. Edith Stein or St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross; 12 October 1891 – 9 August 1942), was a German Jewish philosopher who converted to Roman Catholicism and became a Discalced Carmelite nun. She is canonized as a martyr and saint of the Catholic Church, and she is one of six co-patron saints of Europe.
She was born into an observant Jewish family, but was an atheist by her teenage years. Moved by the tragedies of World War I, in 1915 she took lessons to become a nursing assistant and worked in an infectious diseases hospital. After completing her doctoral thesis from the University of Göttingen in 1916, she obtained an assistantship at the University of Freiburg.
From reading the works of the reformer of the Carmelite Order, Teresa of Ávila, she was drawn to the Catholic faith. She was baptized on 1 January 1922 into the Roman Catholic Church. At that point, she wanted to become a Discalced Carmelite nun, but was dissuaded by her spiritual mentors. She then taught at a Catholic school of education in Speyer. As a result of the requirement of an "Aryan certificate" for civil servants promulgated by the Nazi government in April 1933 as part of its Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service, she had to quit her teaching position.
She was admitted to the Discalced Carmelite monastery in Cologne the following October. She received the religious habit of the Order as a novice in April 1934, taking the religious name Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. In 1938, she and her sister Rosa, by then also a convert and an extern sister (tertiaries of the Order, who would handle the community′s needs outside the monastery), were sent to the Carmelite monastery in Echt, Netherlands, for their safety. Despite the Nazi invasion of that state in 1940, they remained undisturbed until they were arrested by the Nazis on 2 August 1942 and sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp, where they died in the gas chamber on 9 August 1942.Erich Fuchs
Erich Fuchs (9 April 1902 – 25 July 1980) was an SS functionary who worked for the Action T4 euthanasia program, and for the Operation Reinhard phase of the Holocaust.Fuchs was charged with war crimes at the Bełżec Trial in 1963-64, for which he was acquitted. As more evidence came to light, Fuchs was rearrested and tried at the Sobibor Trial in Hagen. He was charged with participation in the Holocaust and on 20 December 1966, found guilty of being an accessory to the mass murder of at least 79,000 Jews. Fuchs was sentenced to four years imprisonment.Gas Chamber (album)
Gas Chamber is the debut album of American rapper C-Bo, released in 1993 on AWOL Records. It peaked at number 53 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. The album was produced entirely by Mike Mosley and Sam Bostic. One single was released, "Liquor Sto'".
West Coast Mafia Records, C-Bo's own label, reissued Gas Chamber in 2003.Gas van
A gas van or gas wagon (Russian: душегубка (dushegubka); German: Gaswagen) was a vehicle reequipped as a mobile gas chamber. The gas van was invented in the Soviet Union in 1936, by Isay Berg, the head of the administrative and economic department of the NKVD of Moscow Oblast. The vehicle had an air-tight compartment for the intended victims, into which exhaust fumes were transmitted while the engine was running. The victims were gassed with carbon monoxide, resulting in death by carbon monoxide poisoning and suffocation. The gas van was used by the Soviet secret police in the 1930s. During World War II Nazi Germany used gas vans on a large scale as a extermination method to murder inmates of asylums, Romani people, Jews, and prisoners in occupied Poland, Belarus, and Yugoslavia.Kurt Bolender
Heinz Kurt Bolender (21 May 1912 – 10 October 1966) was a SS commander during the Nazi era. In 1942, he operated the gas chambers at Sobibór extermination camp, perpetrating acts of genocide against Jews and Romani people during Operation Reinhard. After the war, Bolender was recognized in 1961 while working under a false identity as a doorman at a nightclub in Germany, and subsequently accused in 1965 of personally murdering at least 360 Jewish inmates and assisting in the murder of 86,000 more at Sobibór. He committed suicide in prison two months prior to the end of the trial.Kurt Gerron
Kurt Gerron (11 May 1897 – 28 October 1944) was a German Jewish actor and film director.List of individuals executed in Nevada
The following is a list of individuals executed by the U.S. State of Nevada.List of people executed in California
The following is a list of individuals executed by the U.S. State of California since capital punishment was resumed in 1976.
Since the 1976 U.S. Supreme Court decision of Gregg v. Georgia, the following 13 individuals convicted of murder have been executed by the state of California. The first two executions were by gas inhalation; all subsequent executions were by lethal injection, following a 1996 federal court (9th Circuit) ruling that the use of the gas chamber in California was unconstitutional.List of victims of Nazism
This is a list of victims of Nazism who were noted for their achievements. Many on the lists below were of Jewish and Polish origin, although Soviet POWs, Serbs, Catholics, Roma and dissidents were also murdered. This list includes people from public life who, owing to their origins, their political or religious convictions, or their sexual orientation, lost their lives as victims of the Nazi regime. It includes those whose deaths were part of the Holocaust as well as individuals who died in other ways at the hands of the Nazis during World War II. Those who died in concentration camps are listed alongside those who were murdered by the Nazi Party or those who chose suicide for political motives or to avoid being murdered.
The list is sorted by occupation and by nationality.Lorenz Hackenholt
Lorenz Hackenholt (26 June 1914 –-missing 1945 declared legally dead as of 31 December 1945) was a member of the Schutzstaffel (SS) with the rank of Hauptscharführer (First Sergeant). During World War II Hackenholt built and operated the gas chamber at the Bełżec extermination camp in occupied Poland. In so doing, he personally carried out the murder of hundreds of thousands of people.Hackenholt was deeply involved in the operation of death camps during the deadliest phase of the Holocaust in Poland, known as Operation Reinhard, as well as in other Nazi war crimes, including the murder of mental patients and the disabled in Action T4 programme of forced euthanasia.Louise Peete
Louise Peete (September 20, 1880 – April 11, 1947) was a convicted American serial killer. Peete was first convicted of murdering wealthy mining engineer Jacob C. Denton in 1920 and was sentenced to life in prison. She was paroled in April 1939. In May 1945, Peete was convicted a second time for murdering her employer, Margaret Logan, and was sentenced to death. She was executed in April 1947 making her the second, and one of only four women, to be executed in the California gas chamber.Messaoud El Mediouni
Messaoud El Medioni, known as "Saoud l'Oranais" (Oran 25 November 1886 – Sobibor concentration camp after 23 March 1943) was a reputed Jewish-Algerian band leader and proprietor of the original Café Oran. He was the uncle of French-Algerian pianist Maurice El Mediouni.
Around 1938 the mother of a 13-year-old blind girl from Tiaret, Sultana Daoud, sent her to study with "Saoud l'Oranais" - this girl was later to become famous as Reinette L'Oranaise, the most prominent of all Jewish Algerian singers.Medioni was arrested by the Germans in Marseille in January 1943 and sent to Sobibor concentration camp where he was gassed the 23 March 1943.San Quentin State Prison
San Quentin State Prison (SQ) is a California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation state prison for men, located north of San Francisco in the unincorporated town of San Quentin in Marin County.
Opened in July 1852, San Quentin is the oldest prison in California. The state's only death row for male inmates, the largest in the United States, is located at the prison. It has a gas chamber, but since 1996, executions at the prison have been carried out by lethal injection, though the prison has not performed an execution since 2006. The prison has been featured on film, radio drama, video, and television; is the subject of many books; has hosted concerts; and has housed many notorious inmates.Sonderkommando photographs
The Sonderkommando photographs are four blurred photographs taken secretly in August 1944 inside the Auschwitz concentration camp in German-occupied Poland. Along with a few photographs in the Auschwitz Album, they are the only ones known to exist of events around the gas chambers.The images were taken within 15–30 minutes of each other by an inmate inside Auschwitz-Birkenau, the extermination camp within the Auschwitz complex. Usually named only as Alex, a Jewish prisoner from Greece, the photographer was a member of the Sonderkommando, inmates forced to work in and around the gas chambers. Several sources identified him as Alberto Errera, a Greek naval officer. He took two shots from inside one of the gas chambers and two outside, shooting from the hip, unable to aim the camera with any precision. The Polish resistance smuggled the film out of the camp in a toothpaste tube.The photographs were numbered 280–283 by the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum. Nos. 280 and 281 show the cremation of corpses in a fire pit, shot through the black frame of the gas chamber's doorway or window. No. 282 shows a group of naked women just before they enter the gas chamber. No. 283 is an image of trees, the result of the photographer aiming too high.Stutthof concentration camp
Stutthof was a Nazi German concentration camp established in a secluded, wet, and wooded area near the small town of Sztutowo (German: Stutthof) 34 km (21 mi) east of the city of Danzig in the former territory of the Free City of Danzig. The camp was set up around existing structures after the invasion of Poland in World War II, used for the imprisonment of Polish leaders and intelligentsia. The actual barracks were built the following year by hundreds of prisoners.Stutthof was the first Nazi concentration camp set up outside German borders in World War II, in operation from 2 September 1939. It was also the last camp liberated by the Allies on 9 May 1945. It is estimated that between 63,000 and 65,000 prisoners of Stutthof concentration camp and its subcamps died as a result of murder, epidemics, extreme labour conditions, evacuations, and lack of medical help. Some 28,000 of them were Jews. In total, as many as 110,000 people were deported there in the course of the camp's existence. About 24,600 were transferred from Stutthof to other locations.Tube-dwelling anemone
Tube-dwelling anemones or ceriantharians look very similar to sea anemones but belong to an entirely different subclass of anthozoans. They are solitary, living buried in soft sediments. Tube anemones live inside and can withdraw into tubes, which are composed of a fibrous material made from secreted mucus and threads of nematocyst-like organelles known as ptychocysts. Ceriantharians were formerly classified in the taxon Ceriantipatharia along with the black corals but have since been moved to their own subclass, Ceriantharia.
Ceriantharians have a crown of tentacles that are composed of two whorls of distinctly different sized tentacles. The outer whorl consists of large tentacles that extend outwards. These tentacles taper to points and are mostly used in food capture and defence. The smaller inner tentacles are held more erect than the larger lateral tentacles and are used for food manipulation and ingestion.A few species such as Anactinia pelagica are pelagic and are not attached to the bottom; instead, they have a gas chamber within the pedal disc, allowing them to float upside down near the surface of the water.
|Abolitionist in practice|
ordinary crimes only