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Smoke & Flames from the Chimneys
& the Candle

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From: mstein@access5.digex.net (Michael P. Stein)
Date: 27 Apr 1997 15:37:04 -0400

[Responding to Orest Slepokura]

[Slepokura] "In fact, why don't we go back to 1985 and review the "eyewitness" testimony of Auschwitz survivor Arnold Friedman, prisoner number B14515? It's a remarkable story, he told, at the first "false news" trial of that egregious, insatiable publicity hound, Nazi sympathizer Ernst Zundel.

"Among other things Arnold Friedman and fellow inmates believed that they could identify whether fat or skinny people, Ukrainians or Poles were being cremated at Auschwitz by the mere colour of the smoke released by nearby crematorium chimneys. He also testified that he saw "fourteen foot flames" shooting out of the chimneys..."

What is so implausible about that? As I recall, the correct quote is that it was fat Hungarians (who indeed had a better food supply overall during the war) vs. skinny Poles. It seems to me that I cannot reject out of hand the idea that different fuels (high-fat vs. low-fat) could produce different smoke. (This is independent of the question of whether this claim was hearsay or not.)

As for the flames, while fourteen feet probably is a bit high, Mr. Steve Looker, president of B&L Cremation Systems in Clearwater, FL and designer of their products, told me in a telephone interview that older crematoria absolutely could shoot flames out their stacks if overloaded - the phenomenon is knowns as a candle. He said his system was designed to prevent that, but he thought that if he were actively trying to make it happen, he would have a decent chance of being able to produce the effect.

You do not suppose the Birkenau crematoria might have been overloaded at some point, do you?

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