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Holocaust survivors’ daughter speaks out against gas chamber executions

Correctional Officer Jim Robideau Explains The Use Of The Gas Chamber Used For Executions Inside "Death House" At The Florence Prison Complex In Florence, Some 80 Miles Southeast Of Phoenix On February 11, 1999. (Photo by Mike Fiala/Getty Images)

PHOENIX – As Arizona prepares to resume gas chamber executions, some relatives in the Valley of Holocaust survivors are criticizing the form of execution.

“This is still very palpable to us, even using it for one person is an inhumane way to go about capitol punishment,” Janice Friebaum, vice president of
the Phoenix Holocaust Association and daughter of a Holocaust survivor said on KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Gaydos and Chad Show Friday afternoon.

The prison system plans to use hydrogen cyanide, a gas similar to what the Nazis called Zyklon B.

“We know from experience, history and testimony that these were not quick and easy deaths. They were painful. They were agonizing. They were slow. They were deaths of suffocation, choking and gassing,” Friebaum said.

“We have very present in our memories all the time what happened to our families who were murdered in the holocaust,” Friebaum said. “For many of us, our closest family members were actually killed using this method.”

Friebaum added that the organization doesn’t take a particular stand on the death penalty itself, however, this particular form “is inhumane, and that’s what our organization is against.”

According to Friebaum, it’s become harder to educate people on what happened during the Holocaust.

“The fact that we still have survivors, that is the best for of education we have,” Friebaum said.

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