Thousands saved, thousands killed

Written by Mark deMeza

May 17, 2024

Fritz Haber was a renowned German Jewish chemist. In the first decade of the 20th century, he invented a process to synthesize ammonia for use in fertilizers. This vastly improved crop yields which fed the huge growth in global population at that time and eliminated famine in many regions. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for his work.

But then his work was adapted during WWI to produce poison gas. And in WW2 to produce Zyklon B which was used in gas chambers to murder thousands and thousands of innocent people. The image shows empty Zyklon B canisters recovered in Auschwitz.

The man feted for his chemical prowess was also vilified for being pivotal in creating a mass killing agent (not unlike Oppenheimer). His work saved thousands of lives, but led to the killing of thousands as well.

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