Hosted by K Rawson at

St. Petersburg, Russia


(GENRE: Historical Fiction)

By Neel Anil Panicker

As the eight door state car, a shining black limousine screeched to a halt, a sprightly six foot tall man in an overall coat quickly ran upto and held the back door open.

A few moments later, Joseph Stalin, the most powerful man in Russia spoke.

“Nikolai, we’ve a problem. We aren’t killing them fast enough.”

‘Comrade, I’m aware of that. I have a solution. Have a look at this.’

“That’s a bread van, you fool”.
‘Only from the outside. It’s in fact a Dushegubka.’

“Now what’s the hell is that?”

‘It’s an airtight mobile gas van. What we do is simply strip our enemies naked, tape their mouths and bundle them into the truck. The piped fuel gas will ensure that they all die inhaling carbon monoxide even before the vehicle reaches the graveyard.’

“Excellent. Easy and quick riddance. This way we save on the bullets too. Long Live The Revolution.”
‘Comrade, there’s one small hitch. The driver would be able to hear the screams as the victims die slow, painful deaths’.

‘Oh, that’s wonderful. He gets free entertainment.’

©neelanilpanicker2017 #fiction #flash #historical fiction #whatpegmansaw #179words


The gas van was invented and used by the Soviet secret police NKVD in the late 1930s during the Great Purge.[2][3][4][5][6][7]

The Great Purge or the Great Terror (Russian: Большо́й терро́р) was a campaign of political repression in the Soviet Union which occurred from 1936 to 1938.[1] It involved a large-scale purge of the Communist Party and government officials, repression of peasants and the Red Armyleadership, widespread police surveillance, suspicion of “saboteurs”, “counter-revolutionaries”, imprisonment, and arbitrary executions.[2] Mobile gas vans were invented to execute people without trial.[3][4][5] In Russian historiography, the period of the most intense purge, 1937–1938, is called Yezhovshchina (Russian: Ежовщина; literally, “Yezhov phenomenon”,[note 1] commonly translated as “times of Yezhov” or “doings of Yezhov”), after Nikolai Yezhov, the head of the Soviet secret police, the NKVD, who was later killed in the purge. It has been estimated that 600,000 people died at the hands of the Soviet government during the Purge.[6]

It was later widely implemented as an extermination method in Nazi Germany to kill enemies of the regime, mostly Jews.[8]

The Nazis began experimenting with poison gas for the purpose of mass murder in late 1939 with the killing of mental patients (“euthanasia”). A Nazi euphemism, “euthanasia” referred to the systematic killing of those Germans whom the Nazis deemed “unworthy of life” because of mental illness or physical disability

One of several methods used was the gas van. Such vans were first deployed in 1940 in “Euthanasia” operations. Hitler delegated the “Euthanasia” operation to Reichsleiter Philip Bouhler, Dr. Karl Brandt, and several doctors of their choice.

Prior to gassing, the victims were ordered to hand over all of their valuables. They then had to undress themselves and finally entered the gas vans. The two doors at the back of the wagons were closed, the tube then locked to the exhaust. To calm down the naked victims a lamp was switched on for some minutes. The driver then started the motor, which ran in neutral gear for about ten minutes. During this time the motor produced enough carbon monoxide to suffocate the victims. As they were so crowded together there was lack of air anyway. When the screaming and pounding had stopped, the driver started the drive to the cremation.

Nikolai Yezhov

Nikolai Ivanovich Yezhov (Russian: Никола́й Иванович Ежо́в, IPA: [nʲɪkɐˈlaj jɪˈʐof]; May 1, 1895 – February 4, 1940) was a Soviet secret police official under Joseph Stalin. He was head of the NKVD from 1936 to 1938, during the most active period of the Great Purge. His time in office is known as the “Yezhovshchina” (Russian: Ежовщина),[4] a term coined during the de-Stalinization campaign of the 1950s.[note 1] After presiding over executions and mass arrests during the Great Purge, Yezhov became a victim of it himself. He was arrested, confessed under torture to a range of anti-Soviet activity, and was executed in 1940. By the beginning of World War II, his status within the Soviet Union became that of a political unperson.[5]


8 thoughts on “neelwrites/gassingabout/whatpegmansaw/fiction/flash/18/09/2017

  1. Utterly horrifying piece of history you’ve uncovered there. Your telling made me weak at the knees. A little queasy and short of breath over it, but very happy to see you nonetheless!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The crimes of certain men are despicable to say the least.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Yeek, very grim. Horrifying.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Some crimes against humanity are beyond imagination.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Neel,

    I really hated to click the like button. Not because I didn’t like your writing, but because of the well written subject matter. Apparently we attribute the Nazis with all of the technology when, in essence, they were good students. Grisly and horrible piece of history. The last line sent shivers and made me cringe.



    Liked by 1 person

    1. I understand your situation. It is very difficult to click on the like button under such circumstances. I agree with you when you said that the Nazis were good students though in some instances they have outdone their masters.
      Thanking you dear Rochelle for reading and commenting on my story. Your words and appreciation are ever welcome.


  4. Thank you for bringing this chunk of history to my attention, Nell. Grizzly and horrifying. I, too, am struggling to click the like button. No reflection on your style or story. Sorry.


  5. I’d heard of these vans before but had forgotten. Thanks for the reminder? Well told story.


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