The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/l/lagace.ivan/cremation.004

Date: Wed, 11 Oct 1995 20:14:35 GMT
From: (John Morris)
Subject: Re: The reason I defend the nazis
Message-ID: <45h8eg$> (Ole Kreiberg) wrote:

>   Well I am certainly not an expert in cremation, and the same goes for

Big surpise!

> Mr. Keren (Ph.D in computer science). However I do rely on experts such
> as Ivan Lagace, who is the leader of the crematory in Calgary, Canada.
> Ivan Lagace testified in the Zundel-case. According to him it would only
> be possible to cremate 3 bodies per day in each crematory. After the first
> body is burnt the oven needs 1 hour to cool down. After the second cremation
> the oven needs 2 hours to cool down. After the third cremation the oven
> needs 3 hours to cool down. The type crematory in Auschwitz needed to cool
> down, because else the new body might explode because of the sudden
> exposure to the enormous heat. Such an explosion would have destroyed the
> heat-resisting inner lining, which would have meant a repair of the
> duration of one week. In the court he was also asked of the possibility
> of burning hundred-thousands of bodies in the open air. Here he just
> laughed and talked about how much time and energy, it takes just to burn
> a single body.
>   As far as I know, he has never been contradicted by other cremation-
> experts. Why Mr. Keren is it so stupid to rely on real experts in cremation
> rather than on some military-trained SS-men and some Jewish-eyewitness?

Mr. Keren's arguments are not based solely upon "military-trained
SS-men and some Jewish-eyewitness," but also upon the surviving
documents of companies like Allach and Topf and Sons. Walter Mueller
of Allach and Kurt Pruefer of Topf designed and built crematoria for a
living. Would you account them to be experts or not? The information
they provide contradicts most of the assertions that your Mr. Lagace

Mueller particularly talks about the fuel savings to be had from not
allowing the muffles to cool down. In fact, he says that the second
and third cremations following the initial heat-up require no
additional fuel. It doesn't sound to me like he was talking about
cooling the muffles between cremations.

Now is Mr. Lagace an expert in the design and construction of
crematoria? No. In fact, he is a funeral home operator. Mr. Lagace has
no idea whether a body would "explode because of the sudden exposure
to the enormous heat," at least not from practical experience, since
it would be quite illegal for him to try such an experiment.

The reason Mr. Lagace has to cool his muffle between cremations is
because the law requires him not to allow the ashes from different
bodies to be mixed. Similar laws were on the books in Germany in the
30s, but so were laws against building crematoria with more than one
muffle. The builders of crematoria for concentration camps were
obviously exempt from such niceties as they most certainly did build
such devices.

 John Morris                               
 at University of Alberta     
 The Nizkor Project: An Electronic Holocaust Resource
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Date: Wed, 18 Oct 1995 06:42:09 GMT
From: (John Morris)
Subject: Re: Kreiberg's 'Exploding Corpses'
Message-ID: <4627e4$> (Ole Kreiberg) wrote:

>  The allegations of Ivan Lagace concerning the possibility that a Corpse 
>may explode, if it exposed too suddently to enormous heat without being hit 
>by flames, I have from an article written by Ernst Zuendel in a small German 
>publication with the title: "KRITIK, die Stimme des Volkes" from May 1988. 
>  I thought originally to omit that, because I found it too weird the same
>way as the allegation, that tall flames were coming out the chimney of the 
>crematory, and corpses were burnt in an inferno in pits while buckets of 
>human fat were pulled up from the bottom of the pits. Even if I believed in 
>the holocaust I would never believe that. 

[Material on exploding cats in microwave ovens deleted]

With all the blather about Ivan Lagace's testimony at the Zuendel
trial, I finally got around to calling up my own crematory expert, a
fellow who actually operates (i.e., starts the burners, puts the body
in, etc.) a crematorium in Edmonton where I live.

During our long chat this afternoon, I asked him specifically about
the danger of a corpse exploding inside the retort (he called it a
"hearth"). There is in fact a very real danger of a damaging explosion
occurring inside the retort, but it has nothing to do with how quickly
the body is heated or whether the body is hit by flames.

Instead, the family of the deceased is required to submit a statement
to the operator declaring that the body does not contain a heart
pacemaker. Apparently, the pacemaker will explode "like a small bomb."
Perhaps someone else could do a little research and find out how
common was the use of pacemakers prior to 1945.

My expert said that otherwise "exploding bodies" did not pose a
problem for modern crematory operators. He had never heard of any
crematory operator experiencing such a problem. Presumably, my man is
up on the latest technical developments through trade publications and
bulletins from the standards council governing his profession.
Although he agreed with my speculation that pressure could develop
inside the abdominal cavity so that it "exploded" upon release, he
wanted to know how anyone would know that such an explosion had
occurred since the noise of the fans and burners would drown out any
such minor "explosion."

BTW, he preheats his retort before inserting the body. The body may be
in as light a container as a cardboard box which, at 850 deg C,
ignites instantaneously.

It seems to me that the objection that a body might explode so
violently as to damage the retort is not a tenable objection to the
idea of mass cremation. Nevertheless, I would ask Mr. Kreiberg to
explain why, if he "found it too weird" an idea, he bothered to raise
the objection at all. The whole question now seems to have been a
waste of time.

More on my interview with my expert to follow.

 John Morris                               
 at University of Alberta     
 The Nizkor Project: An Electronic Holocaust Resource
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Date: Wed, 25 Oct 1995 08:18:11 GMT
From: (John Morris)
Subject: Re: Kreiberg's 'Exploding Corpses'
Message-ID: <46krld$> (Ole Kreiberg) wrote:

>In article <465htm$>, Yale F. Edeiken wrote:
>>> (Ole Kreiberg) writes:
>>>    I am not staing that I necessarily agree with Ivan Lagace on this point. I
>>>  am just suggesting the possibilty that he could be right.
>>   While you are considering the matter you might tell us why the operators of the
>>crematoria in the Nazi death camps would *care* whether a body exploded or
>>    --YFE

>Because as Ivan Lagace has stated, that an explosion might destroy the oven.
>The ovens according to Ivan Lagace were not built to endure this treatment.

This is truly incredible. Why do you keep raising this idiotic and
false objection when a just few days ago you seemed to accept the word
of the crematory operator I contacted that bodies do not explode in
crematory retorts? Did you decide in the meantime that I was lying
about what I said he told me?

Now, if Lagace was lying about the dangers of bodies exploding in the
retort why do do you accept at face value anything that he said at the
Zuendel trial?

>By the way furthermore he stated that they were built only to handle one body
>at a time.

The reason that Lagace's crematory can handle only one body is because
the law requires him to put that body in the retort in a coffin; the
law says he must not allow the ashes from different bodies to mix.

According the crematorium operator I spoke to, if you didn't have to
put a coffin in the retort, you could put in two or three bodies.
Furthermore, he said that the reason it takes two to four hours to
reduce the body is because the law requires him to reduce the *coffin*
to such an extent that no wood ash could be detected at the end. In
two to four hours, even the largest bones, which do not burn
completely, will have shattered into small pieces. But if all you
wanted to do was reduce the flesh and make the bones brittle enough to
crushed after words, you could put two bodies in the retort and reduce
them sufficiently in half an hour or so in a perfectly ordinary
commercial funerary crematorium.

You haven't brought up fuel requirements yet, so I'll save you the
trouble. The fellow I spoke to said that the retort in a modern
commercial crematorium is heated to burning temperature using an
"afterburner" under the retort. Once burning temperature is reached,
the afterburner is shut down and the body and coffin are inserted.
When the door is sealed, the main burner, either above or beside the
coffin, is switched on. As soon as the coffin is ignited, the main
burner is also shut off. At that point, no more fuel is required as
the coffin and the body have become fuel. The fellow I spoke to also
said that on days when a second or third funeral are to be held, very
little fuel is required to reheat the retort. Contrary to what Lagace
said, the retort does *not* have to be completely cooled between uses.

When Walter Mueller of the Allach firm bid for the Auschwitz
crematoria, he said that he could build a crematory furnace that could
be heated from a cold start with 175 kg of coke. The second and third
burnings would require *no* extra fuel, and subsequent burnings would
require only a very small amount of coke to maintain the temperature.
On subsequent days, only 100 kg of coke would be required to reheat
the retort if the retort had been allowed to cool overnight. And why?
Two reasons: the structure of the furnace retains a tremendous amount
of heat, and the bodies themselves are almost all the fuel required
after the retort has been heated. When I mentioned Allach's suggested
fuel requirements to the crematory operator, he said that they made
perfect sense.

Another Revisionist, Jeff Roberts, posted to alt.revisionism that the
surviving records do not show that sufficient quantities of coke were
shipped to Auschwitz to have burned as many bodies as historians have
always estimated were burned. Yet, using the figures provided by
Mueller and Roberts, I was able to calculate that the records showed a
sufficient quantity coke was shipped to have burned as many bodies as
have been estimated were burned in the Auschwitz Kremas. On top of
that, they did not require the "mountains of coke" that Revisionists
claim should have been present in the aerial photos.

I believe this thread started with your objection that it was not
technically possible for the SS to have killed and disposed of as many
people as has been estimated. The two questions ought to be did they
have the means to dispose of that many bodies and did they have the
time to dispose of that many bodies. The answer to both questions is

Now, I have bothered to go out and do some research in response to
your questions. The least you could do is either drop your objections
the technical possibility that the SS could have destroyed so many
people, or go out and do your own research and show me where I am
wrong in what I have discovered. Either way, simply repeating Lagace's
testimony from Zuendel's trial is no longer sufficient for you to make
your case.

 John Morris                               
 at University of Alberta     
 The Nizkor Project: An Electronic Holocaust Resource
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