what is zyklon b gas

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Hydrogen cyanide

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  • What is Zyklon B?

  • Beginning in September 1941, Zyklon B, the brand name for hydrogen cyanide (HCN), was the poison used to kill at least a million people in gas chambers at Nazi concentration and death camps such as Auschwitz and Majdanek.

  • What was Zyklon B gas used for in the Holocaust?

  • The victims were primarily Jews and the Zyklon B gas became a central symbol of the Holocaust. Zyklon B was used in the concentration camps initially for delousing to control typhus. The chemical used in the gas chambers was deliberately made without the warning odorant.

  • Why were Zyklon B pellets stored in canisters?

  • Since these Zyklon B pellets turned into a highly poisonous gas (hydrocyanic or prussic acid) when exposed to air, they were stored and transported in hermetically sealed metal canisters. By 1941, the Nazis had already decided and attempted to kill Jews on a mass scale.

  • Is Zyklon B dangerous to humans?

  • Although deadly accidents did occur and severe caution was necessary because prussic acid is extremely dangerous to humans at even low concentrations, Zyklon B was fairly popular as a pesticide in the interwar years.

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