The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: camps/auschwitz/crematoria/usenet.0995

From Sun Sep 17 18:50:38 PDT 1995
Article: 7834 of alt.revisionism
From: (John Morris)
Newsgroups: alt.revisionism
Subject: Re: Qestions Ken McVay won't answer"
Date: Sun, 17 Sep 1995 20:59:05 GMT
Organization: University of Alberta
Lines: 104
Message-ID: <43i29a$>
References: <>
X-Newsreader: Forte Free Agent 1.0.82

Joe Lockhart  wrote:

>I asked Ken VcVay to answer the folowing questions: He refused and told
>me to go to this newsgroup.

When did Ken McVay become your presonal research assistant?

>In one book, "Holocaust in History," by Michael R. Murrum,

Michael R. Marrus

>page 81 states: "In May, convoys of Jews started to roll toward
>Auschwitz, where the ovens incinerated as many as twelve thousand
>persons a day."

I am surprised that Marrus (and the others) repeats this figure which
comes from the Polish Commission of Inquiry after the war. But Marrus'
book, in case you didn't notice, is not a history of the Holocaust but
a history of what historians have written about the Holocaust--a
survey of the historiography.

In any case, historians have not as a rule investigated the technical
details of the crematoria for several reasons: often they are not
competent to do so; the fact that millions did die speaks for itself,
so precise technical discussions do not seem necessary; at the time of
writing gaps in our technical knowledge of how the deed was done may
have prevented technical discussions.

In 1968, Gerald Reitlinger rejected the Poles' conclusion simply
because the crematoria were not capable of dealing with 6,000 corpses
a day from the Hungarian deportations, the last of the big
exterminations. During the Hungarian deportations in 1944, the SS
switched to burning the bodies in large pits because the pressure on
the crematoria was so great.

Since all of the general histories of the Holocaust were written
before the 1990s, none of them has been able to take advantage of
Jean-Claude Pressac's research into the techniques of gassing and
burning people by the thousands. Pressac's latest book, _Les
Crematoires d'Auschwitz_, has been summarized in English in _Anatomy
of the Auchwitz Death Camp_ published in 1994 by the Indiana
University Press.

The crematoria had a rated capacity of 4700+ bodies per day. The
rating was given by their designer, the engineer Kurt Pruefer of the
firm of Topf and Sons of Erfurt, Germany. Pressac's research leads me
to believe that the crematoria were actually able to burn only half
that number. Neverthless, this capacity was still sufficient to have
cremated all of the victims of Auschwitz had the crematoria not broken
down from time time from the stress of trying to run them for 24 hours
a day at different periods. The ultimate switch to burning in open
pits was partly a result of the overuse of the crematoria.

>  Now you know as well as I do, you cannot run a brick and mortar
>oven for 24 hours day for months on end. But, of the sake of argument,
>lets say they did and lets do a little math.

It hasn't been a problem for the steel industry to do just that with
blast furnaces. As an aside, it is worth noting that Topf and Son
mostly built blast furnaces. They started make crematoria in 1935 as a
side line. But yes, as above, the crematoria did break down from

>  12,000 bodies per day divided by 46 ovens  =  206.bodies per oven
>per day.  206 bodies divided by 24 hours  = 10.8. bodies. Each oven
> according to their numbers were burning 11 bodies to ashes per hour.
>     If the mass executions took place between Sept. 1941 and Jan. 
>1944, this is approximately 40 months. At 12,000 per day that would be
>(will say 3 years and 4 months or 1215 days) 1215 day times 12,000 
>per day  = 14,580,000.  Looking at air photographs of Auschwitz, you
>cannot see any pile of coal. What type of fuel was being used to burn
>12,000 bodies a day? 

I've left your math in as a warning to others that simple arithmatic
calculations can lead to ridiculous conclusions. Using a technique
similar to yours, Soviet investigators arrived at an estimate of 4
million which almost no one in the West has ever accepted.

The numbers of Jewish dead from all causes at Auschwitz is between 1
and 2 million though it seems that some estimates still run as high as
3 million.

I note that the remaining victims are accounted for by the killing
squads that followed the German Army into Russia, other death camps,
and privations and brutality both in the ghettos and the labour camps.

>How is this possible Ken,? I would like you to explain it to me. Also,
>could you give me the breakdown of the rounded-off 6 million figure
>per camp.

Where did you get the idea that 6 million per camp were gassed? That
figure is the estimated total number of Jewish victims of Nazi
persecution 1933-1945.

 John Morris                               
 at University of Alberta     
 The Nizkor Project: An Electronic Holocaust Resource
  File archives -
  Web page -

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.