The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Leuchter Report:
It Was Impossible to Kill 6 Million People at Auschwitz!

  • Judging by the amount and area of the gas chambers, and the number of the Kremas, it was impossible to kill 6 million people in the time interval in which the concentration camps existed.

No-one claims that 6 million people died at Auschwitz. Many died in other death camps, in the ghettos and in occupied Soviet territory. Estimates of the number of people who were gassed to death in Auschwitz vary, but the lowest is 900,000, and the highest about 1,600,000. It is obvious that the extermination and cremation facilities in Auschwitz could take care of such a number.

Just look at the photographs of the furnaces of Krema II (Pressac, 367; See Furnaces.jpg to view this installation). There were five Kremas in Auschwitz. Number II, for instance, had 15 huge furnaces, especially designed to burn efficiently and quickly. Each could consume 3 to 4 bodies at once (remember that many children were present, and many of the people were emaciated), and do so in a maximum of 45 minutes. The SS experimented with different combinations of corpse types and coke to determine which would provide the most cost-efficient results! (Müller, 60-61; Klarsfeld, 99-100; Get pub/camps/auschwitz/ krema-1.001)

The figure Leuchter gives as the maximum number of people that could be executed in a week - 1693 - is absurd, as is demonstrated by the following calculation for a single Krema, number II:

One gas chamber, about 210 square meters (2220 square feet) in area, easily accommodated a few hundred people, who were crammed into it. (See Section 2.16)

Fifteen furnaces, each capable of incinerating at least 3 bodies in 45 minutes, could dispose of at least 720 bodies in a 12-hour day.

In a single year, Krema II could incinerate over a quarter-million bodies. Add that to the capabilities of Kremas III, IV, and V, and you begin to get the picture. In addition, bodies were also burned in massive pits. Two gruesome photographs of these "burning pits", taken in secrecy in Auschwitz-Birkenau, have survived. They are of reasonable quality, and show men standing inside a pile of naked bodies, with the smoking pit in front of them. Some bodies are being dragged into the pit. The photographs are reproduced in Pressac, (422) and are available as image files.

As a reference, one can look at a letter dated June 20 1943, sent to SS General Kammler in Berlin, citing the number of bodies that can be disposed of in 24 working hours as 4,756. A photograph of the letter and its serial number in German archives appears in Pressac (247). (This is lower than 5 x 1440 = 7,200 because some of the Kremas had fewer furnaces than II and III. The exact breakdown, specified in the letter from Jahrling to Kammler, is 340 corpses for Krema I, 768 for IV and V, 1440 for II and III. This letter is available image format.

It is naive at best, and contemptuously dishonest, to claim that such a number of crematoriums were provided for anything other than the disposal of bodies created by the mass murder of helpless victims.

Leuchter arrives at his figures assuming that the people could occupy the gas chambers at a density of maximum 1 person per 9 square feet (!!) and that it would take a week (!!) to ventilate the gas chambers before they could be used for another mass execution. These assumptions are absurd.

Lastly, two other gassing installation existed in Auschwitz - the so-called "Bunker I" and "Bunker II". They were also demolished by the fleeing SS.

The most current plaintext version of Part One and Part Two of this FAQ is available via ftp.

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