Zyklon B was a pesticide used in the gas chambers of Auschwitz and other death camps to propagate the Holocaust. It, along with the manufacturing companies Dessauer Werke für Zucker and Chemische Werke, is responsible for up to 10 million murders carried out by the Nazi government.
Zyklon B is basically hydrogen cyanide (HCN), with several other chemicals thrown in for safety or storage purposes, such as Methyl 2-bromoacetate, which gives it a scent to let you know you’re breathing in a deadly pesticide and you should probably vacate the area immediately unless you want to die a horrible, painful death. It was originally used to exterminate rats and other pests, but moved up to exterminating Nazi-deemed Untermenschen pests by late 1941. Within a year, it had become the most popular tool in the extensive camp network.
Zyklon B, as a form of cyanide, functions by interfering with cellular respiration. Cellular respiration is the process through which cells combine their “food” (proteins and sugars) with oxygen to create ATP, which is the energy a cell needs to do its job and replicate itself. By interfering with the creation of ATP, Zyklon B kills its victims from the inside out, all the way down to the cellular level. Its victims literally felt their bodies die, piece by piece.
Today, Zyklon B is known by another name, Uragan D2, and is produced in the Czech Republic, where it is used as a pesticide to kill rats and other pests. Despite the fact that chemicals aren’t inherently evil, many Jewish groups protest its manufacture and usage even to this day.