Degesch

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The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Schädlingsbekämpfung mbH (translation: German Corporation for Pest control), in short Degesch, is a German chemical corporation. Degesch produces pesticides used against weeds and insects. Degesch had the patent of the infamous Zyklon B, a pesticide that was used to execute people in gas chambers of German extermination camps during the Holocaust. Through the firms Tesch & Stabenow GmbH (Testa) and Heerdt-Linger (Heli) Degesch sold the poisonous gas Zyklon B to the German army and the Schutzstaffel, abbreviation SS.

Empty poison gas canisters, found by the Allies at the end of World War II

Degesch was founded in 1919 as a subsidiary of Degussa. Its first director was chemistry Nobel laureate Fritz Haber. In 1936 Degussa held shares as IG Farben (both 42,5%) and Th. Goldschmidt AG (15%). After the second world war Degesch continued production. In 1986 the company was sold to Detia Freyberg GmbH; The current name is Detia-Degesch GmbH.

Prosecution[edit]

During the IG Farben trial the director of Degesch, Dr. Gerhard Friedrich Peters, implicated himself. He received information by Kurt Gerstein about the murder of people using Zyklon B and was informed that the German army needed the gas without the usual additives that were added to warn people by smell of its poisonous nature.[1] In 1949 Peters was charged with murder in the court of Frankfurt and convicted and sentenced to five years imprisonment. The conviction was in 1952 legally confirmed in an appeal and set to six years. Peters went to prison but was acquitted in a new appeal in 1953. The law had changed; he was no longer considered guilty in assisting in murder.

The chairman of the board of directors from 1939 to 1945, Hermann Schlosser,[2] was arrested in February 1948 and acquitted in April 1948; later he took another job as chairman of the board.[3]

The owner and the director of Tesch & Stabenow were convicted and sentenced to death by a British tribunal and executed in Hamelin prison.

References[edit]

  1. ^ LG Frankfurt am Main vom 27.5.1955, 4a Ks 1/55. "Gerstein habe dann gefragt, ob Zyklon ohne Reizstoff geliefert werden könne, und habe, als er die ablehnende Haltung des Angeklagten bemerkte, erklärt, dass es sich um 'legale Hinrichtungen', in einzelnen Fällen um Sterbehilfe handle. [...] Man habe sich dann auf die Lieferung von monatlich 200 kg geeinigt."
  2. ^ Braunbuch (1968) (Zugriff am 6. März 2007)
  3. ^ Bode: Herstellung in Dessau