Arizona To Kill Death Row Inmates Using Same Gas Used At Auschwitz

by : Niamh Shackleton on :
Arizona To Kill Death Row Inmates Using Same Gas Used At AuschwitzGage Skidmore/Flickr/PA Images

The state of Arizona is now planning on using hydrogen cyanide to kill death row inmates. 

The gas is the same one that the Nazis used to kill thousands upon thousands of Jews in Auschwitz in World War II.


Arizona’s Department of Corrections has reportedly spent more than $2,000 on the materials needed to create the gas, which include sodium hydroxide pellets and sulfuric acid.

Auschwitz gas chamber (PA)PA Images

The recent purchases come after it bought a solid brick of potassium cyanide at the end of last year, The Guardian reports.

Since then, the department’s gas chamber has supposedly been ‘refurbished’ in light of it having not been used for more than 20 years.


In documents obtained by The Guardian, it was found that officials had gone to ‘considerable lengths’ to revive the state’s gas chamber at ASPC-Florence, and that tests were carried out last summer to check if the decades-old chamber was still usable.

Several techniques were used to check its operability, including using candles to check for gas leakages, according to The Crime Report.

Zyklon-B cans at Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum (PA)PA Images

A smoke grenade was also used to mimic the deadly gas that would be leaked into the chamber to kill those inside.


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It’s believed the last person to have been executed in the chamber was Walter LaGrand in 1999. LaGrand spent 18 minutes choking and gagging on the gas before he died.

An eyewitness account published at the time said:

The witness room fell silent as a mist of gas rose, much like steam in a shower, and Walter LaGrand became enveloped in a cloud of cyanide vapor. He began coughing violently – three or four loud hacks – and made a gagging sound before falling forward.

A container for the pesticide Zyklon B (PA)PA Images

Its gas chamber isn’t the only means of execution Arizona state appears to be ramping up. Last month, it was revealed it had spent a staggering $1.5 million in October on a sedative it hopes to use as a lethal injection on death row inmates. It’s believed death by lethal injection and gas chamber will become the two forms of death offered to death row inmates.

The last execution to have taken place in the state was in 2014. Joseph Wood’s execution was ‘botched’, however, which called a halt to Arizona conducting capital punishments.

Wood was injected 15 times with lethal drugs and took almost two hours to die, reports said at the time of his death.

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Niamh Shackleton

Niamh Shackleton is a pint sized person and journalist at UNILAD. After studying Multimedia Journalism at the University of Salford, she did a year at Caters News Agency as a features writer in Birmingham before deciding that Manchester is (arguably) one of the best places in the world, and therefore moved back up north. She's also UNILAD's unofficial crazy animal lady.

Topics: News, Arizona, death penalty, death row, Now, US News


The Guardian
  1. The Guardian

    Arizona ‘refurbishes’ its gas chamber to prepare for executions, documents reveal