Bud shows a model of a gas chamber building. He doesn’t reveal where he found this model, which happens to be the Rutherford model of the «new» gas chamber building at Belzec extermination camp, shown here and expressly stated on that page to be still unfinished. There’s a more detailed CAD Reconstruction of the gas chambers at Treblinka on the same site that features the Rutherford Belzec models, but Bud chose to refer to Rutherford’s unfinished model instead, without revealing where it could be found, maybe because it looks more «primitive» and thus suits itself better to Bud’s fussing.
This possible introductory exhibition of intellectual honesty is followed by a claim that reveals Bud’s ignorance at best, as he points out that at Treblinka alone 750,000 people died «in a building like this» over a period of «six months» (25 times as many as the student population of a large university with 30,000 students, he declares, apparently trying to reach a student audience with this pointless «perspective»). 750,000 is the maximum Treblinka death toll concluded upon by Raul Hilberg, whose work Bud refers to from episode 1 of his video onward. Bud obviously means the total death toll of Treblinka extermination camp, so «six months» are what he claims to have been the total duration of that camp’s killing operations. Actually, however, Treblinka started operating on 22 July 1942 and «processed» its last transports on 21 August 1943, i.e. 11 months later.
After thus showing once more how well he has studied the subject matter of his video clips, Bud claims that the building should «at least» have had a double door at the entrance. What this double door would have been good for he doesn’t explain, and it’s actually hard to understand why the entrance to the gas chamber building needed to have any door at all. For this entrance led to a corridor at the sides of which there were the gas chambers, into which the victims were coaxed, chased and pushed and in which they were then locked to be killed by engine exhaust. The entrance to the building didn’t need to have a door, it needed only be wide enough for the victims to move into the building at the required pace, and it needed to look as inviting and innocuous as possible in order to lure the victims into believing, or at least hoping, that they were really going to take a shower. How the latter purpose was achieved at Treblinka was described by several eyewitnesses, whose recollections are rendered here (emphases are mine):
5. Resemblance of building:
a) “...the gas chamber building was also made to resemble a bath house.” (Leleko Trial).
b) The building looked like an old-fashioned synagogue (Wiernik, Donat, p.161).
* Note: With these apparently conflicting descriptions, it is possible that the building was made to look like a "mikvah", a ritual Jewish bath house, deceiving the victims even more.
6. Colour of outer walls:
a) “.. its exterior covered with plaster and whitewashed (Leleko Trial).
b) Grey exterior walls (Wiernik model).
c) Solidly constructed of brick, faced with concrete (Suchomel, Tregenza, p.6).
7. Width of steps:
a) slightly wider than the entrance (Treblinka Trial map).
b) Remarkably wider than the entrance (Wiernik map).
8. Amount and position of flower pots / flowers:
a) “...up five wide steps * lined with flowerpots * (Donat, p.301).
b) Two pots at side of steps (Treblinka Trial map).
c) “Flowers grew right by in long boxes.” (Leleko Trial).
d) The most beautiful and variegated flowers were located at the entrance to the new gas chambers (Edited Donat, p. 48).
e) “There are blocks of green grass everywhere, beds of bright-coloured stone, sandy pathways, ashen grey and yellow.” (Edited Glazar, p.136).
f) Five concrete steps decorated with basketfuls of flowers led to the entrance (Chrowstowski, p.61).
9. Entrance appearance:
a) The entrance (on the north side) was closed only by a curtain *.
10. Finish of entrance:
a) “The entrance to the building was ornate and there were stucco mouldings” (Leleko Trial).
b) Plain and unadorned opening (Wiernik model).
11. Size of entrance opening:
a) Size of the curtain: “..it measured three by four metres, something like that." (Lindwasser, at the Eichmann Trial).
b) Same width as passage being about 2 m (Treblinka Trial map).
c) At least 3 m (scaled from the Wiernik map).
12. Colour of the curtain:
a) black (Donat, p.301).
b) dark red (Strawczynski, p. 49).
13. Position of Hebrew inscription "This is the Gateway to God – Righteous men will pass through":
a) On the curtain (Donat, p.301).
b) “Above the door there was a portal with the Star of David and the Hebrew inscription.” (Chrowstowski, p.61).
14. Star of David:
a) Position: “A gable over the entrance door bore a large Star of David.” (Arad p.119 and Wiernik model).
b) Made of copper (ARC correspondence with Rosenberg).
c) Made of yellow-painted metal * (Wiernik, at the Eichmann Trial).
d) Yellow colour (Wiernik model).
e) On the curtain (Lindwasser, at the Eichmann Trial).
So one of the aspects the SS considered important when designing the gas chamber building was its exterior appearance, particularly the exterior appearance of the entrance. The entrance was reached via stairs lined with pots containing beautiful flowers, it didn’t have a door but a curtain, and it featured an inscription in Hebrew on or above the curtain and a Star of David – all arrangements designed to sue the deportees’ fears and make them at least hope that they were actually entering a bath house, thus causing them to obediently budge rather than resist to the urging and physical force used to stuff them into the gas chambers. The smooth running of the operation of filling the gas chambers depended on these psychological factors, on a combination of confusion, fear and hope on the part of the victims, and the entrance of the building was made up so as to help these factors and not hamper them, which it would probably have had the victims been confronted with a double door, suggesting a building into which they were to be locked, rather than a friendly entrance lined with flowerpots and covered only by a curtain, suggesting an amenable place where they were going to take a shower. Yet Bud, the self-appointed genius of mass murder architecture, would have replaced all these useful, if not essential psychological subterfuges with a double door, the practical added-value of which he doesn’t even explain. Unfortunately for the people murdered at the Aktion Reinhard(t) (AR) camps, the men in charge of organizing the facilities and the process were not such numb nuts.
The changes to the gas chamber building’s features that our self-appointed genius of mass murder architecture suggests are the following:
a) No partitions insider the buildings, i.e. not several «bed-room sized» gas chambers, but merely two large gas chambers with no corridor in between, accessed through double doors;
b) Gas chambers on ground level, thus no stairway leading up to them;
c) A bigger building, «so that it could hold 2,000 people, which is the amount that would come into the camp at one transport».
Suggestion c) would merely have been unnecessary, as we shall see further below. As to a) and b), it’s a shame that Bud wasn’t a member of any team in charge of working out the layout and features of the gas chamber buildings at the AR camps, if only because his counterproductive wisecracking might have got him hell from the terrible SS-Sturmbannführer Christian Wirth, the man who developed the entire system of the extermination machine in these camps and whose rule over his subordinates was fearful with no way of challenge.
Let’s examine each of Bud’s design suggestions.
a) What was the reason for the gas chamber building having contained several smaller gas chambers instead of just one or two bigger ones? Obviously the consideration that packing the victims as tightly as possible into smaller rooms would cause them to die more quickly than they would in a larger room with more oxygen at their disposal, and that the subdivision of the total gassing space into several sub-units thus allowed for a more efficient use of that space, especially when it came to contingents not big enough to fill it up completely. Yitzhak Arad refers to these considerations on page 119 of his book Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka. The Operation Reinhard Death Camps, where he writes the following about the «new» gas chambers of Treblinka:
Construction of the new gas chambers began in early September . The new building comprised ten gas chambers, each 4 x 8 meters, although according to some sources the new building included only six gas chambers. In place of the old chambers, which together covered 48 square meters, the ten new chambers had a combined area of 320 square meters (or 192 square meters if there were only six). The height of the new room was 2 meters – about 60 cm lower than the old ones. There had been instances in the old chambers in which little children had not been asphyxiated because the gas rose to the ceiling, and this was taken into account in planning the height of the ceilings in the new chambers. Lowering the ceiling also reduced the chambers’ total cubic volume, reduced the total gas requirement for killing the victims, and shortened asphyxiation time.[my emphasis – RM].
The most efficient relation between the number of a gas chamber’s occupants and that chamber’s cubic volume could more easily be achieved with more and smaller gas chambers than with less and bigger ones, in which optimal occupation would be more difficult to ascertain and not achievable at all where contingents of victims were smaller than the total gassing space available in the building. The relationship between the compacting of the victims and the efficiency of the gassing operation had already been realized by the Nazis in their mass killings with gas vans, as becomes apparent from the letter that Willi Just, a member of the automotive organization of the Security Police, sent on 5 June 1942 to SS-Obersturmbannführer Walter Rauff. The following quote is from an English translation of that letter available here; emphasis is mine:
The normal capacity of the vans is nine to ten per square meter [ = 10.8 sq. ft.]. The capacity of the larger special Saurer vans is not so great. The problem is not one of overloading but of off-road maneuverability on all terrains, which is severely diminished in this van. It would appear that a reduction in the cargo area is necessary. This can be achieved by shortening the compartment by about one meter. The problem cannot be solved by merely reducing the number of subjects treated, as has been done so far. For in this case a longer running time is required, as the empty space also needs to be filled with CO. On the contrary, were the cargo area smaller, but fully occupied, the operation would take considerably less time, because there would be no empty space.
The concern with avoiding empty space in order to speed up the gassing, which becomes apparent from this document and obviously motivated the subdivision of the AR camps’ gas chamber buildings into a number of gas chambers, seems to also have been present at Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and extermination camp, where there was a partition of the underground gas chambers, mentioned by eyewitness Henryk Tauber:
At the end of 1943, the gas chamber was divided in two by a brick wall to make it possible to gas smaller transports. In the dividing wall there was a door identical to that between the corridor and the original gas chamber.
Smaller gas chambers may furthermore have had the advantage of allowing for faster ventilation of the gas after the victims were dead.
If, as the above sources show, it was advantageous to the SS to have more and smaller gas chambers in the AR camps’ gas chamber buildings rather than fewer and larger ones, then the logical arrangement of the former was the one that the evidence shows to have been applied, i.e. a corridor with the gas chambers on either side. An arrangement without a corridor and interconnecting partitions would have required the same number of doors and made for a more cumbersome and difficult to control process of filling the gas chambers with people. Bud’s objection to this arrangement is that guards positioned by the gas chamber doors in the corridor arrangement would have had to make room for the incoming victims. This objection is pointless, however, not only because the corridor was wide enough (see the already mentioned CAD reconstruction of the Treblinka gas chambers) but also and especially because there was no reason to post guards by the gas chamber doors, which were locked as soon as the victims had been urged and chased into the gas chambers. There is also no evidence, to my knowledge, of guards having been posted by the gas chamber doors. From the perspective of the victims’ psychology, which as we have seen was an important consideration, the corridor arrangement was also arguably more favorable to the intended impression of a bath house than an arrangement without a corridor and with interconnecting partitions would have been.
b) Why were the gas chambers not at ground level, as suggested by our self-appointed expert in mass murder architecture, but somewhat elevated above the ground so that the victims had to climb a stair to reach them? Bud could have recognized the reason for this arrangement from the very model he used to make his fuss, the Rutherford model of the «new» Belzec gas chamber building. This model shows that the huge doors at the outside of the gas chambers were opened by lifting them upwards and holding them in place with a beam, and that the bodies were evacuated onto concrete ramps somewhat higher than ground level. A better visualization of the arrangement at Treblinka is provided by this CAD drawing, which can be accessed from the above-mentioned CAD reconstruction of the Treblinka gas chambers; this CAD drawing shows a close-up of one of the concrete ramps. The advantage of these ramps is quite obvious: whether the bodies were taken to the mass graves in trolley cars, as was done at the beginning of the camp's operation, or whether they were carried to the mass graves on stretchers, as was done later, it was easier to load the corpses onto the trolley cars or the stretchers from a platform somewhat higher than ground level than to lift them up from the ground. As in the case of the gas chamber partitions and the corridor, Bud’s wisecracking suggestions would thus have eliminated an arrangement that was helpful to the killing and body disposal process. How the bodies were taken from the gas chambers to the mass graves at Treblinka is described as follows in the judgment at the first Düsseldorf Treblinka trial (my translation):
The transport of the corpses to the pits was at first carried out with the help of a trolley. However, as the inmates always had to move the trolley cars at a running pace and there often happened interruptions of the operation due to the trolley cars’ derailing, this system was soon abandoned. After the inmates had for a while been forced to carry the corpses to the pits by hand the transport eventually was carried out in such a way that respectively two inmates had to load one or two corpses onto a wooden stretcher and bring them at a running pace to the pits. There the corpses were unloaded and adequately placed [in the pits] by another detachment.
c) Bud’s suggestion to make the gas chamber building bigger «so that it could hold 2,000 people, which is the amount that would come into the camp at one transport» is something like running into an open door, insofar as the «new» gas chamber building at Treblinka had a capacity in this range or significantly higher.
As becomes apparent from the above-quoted excerpt from Arad’s book and the data underlying the above-mentioned CAD reconstruction of the Treblinka gas chambers, eyewitness information varies in what concerns both the number of gas chambers (6 or 10) and the area of each gas chamber (32 or 49 square meters). The total area of the gas chambers was thus 192 square meters at minimum and 490 square meters at maximum.
How many people could fit into this area?
As we have seen above, the capacity of the gas vans was stated in Just’s letter to Rauff of 5 June 1942 to be 9 to 10 persons per square meter – a plausible concentration considering that the international standard for crush load in mass transit is eight people per square meter of standing space, that passenger boarding on buses in China sometimes reaches 13 people per square meter in peak hours and that the people killed in the gas vans were largely women and children. Charles Provan experimentally proved that 703 people could fit into a room of 5 x 5 meters, 1.90 meters high, if more than half of them were children – and his test persons were well-fed middle class Americans, not undernourished Polish Jews worn out by years of ghetto existence. The possible density experimentally proven by Provan is 28 persons per square meter.
The maximum occupation of the «new» Treblinka gas chambers is given as 1,000 to 1,200 persons in 49 square meters by Yankiel Wiernik - a density of 20 to 24 persons per square meter, not implausible in the light of Provan’s above-mentioned experiment. A more conservative estimate by former SS-man Heinrich Matthes, quoted on page 121 of Arad’s book, points to an average of about 300 people per gas chamber, which assuming the lower range of the data about each gas chamber’s area (32 square meters) would mean about 9 persons per square meter – the lower range of density given in Just’s letter to Rauff of 5 June 1942 for the gas vans. Matthes mentioned 6 gas chambers, so according to his estimate the Treblinka gas chamber building could hold about 1,800 people at the same time. Arad assumes a somewhat higher, but also altogether plausible density. On page 120 he writes:
The new gas chambers could absorb a maximum of 2,300 people (six chambers) or 3,800 people (ten chambers), whereas the old could hold only 600.
The maximum density assumed by Arad is ca. 12 persons per square meter (380 per chamber, each chamber 32 square meters). This is less than the occasional peak hour occupation of Chinese buses.
So we can see that there was no need for Bud’s wisecracking advice to get the Treblinka gas chambers to the capacity he considers necessary.
The increased gas chamber capacity and the experience gained with the process did not mean easy going for the SS staff of Treblinka, however, for transports were often larger than 2,000 people and there were several transports to be processed in one day during the peak of killing operations at Treblinka. Arad, as above, quotes the respective statements of Treblinka commander Franz Stangl during his trial at Düsseldorf:
Regarding the question of what was the optimum amount of people gassed in one day, I can state: according to my estimation a transport of thirty freight cars with 3,000 people was liquidated in three hours. When the work lasted for about fourteen hours, 12,000 to 15,000 people were annihilated. There were many days that the work lasted from the early morning until the evening …
That was Treblinka, the one of the AR camps with the greatest influx and number of victims. Killing at the other two camps, Belzec and Sobibor, was less intensive, yet the capacity of the «new» gas chamber building erected at Belzec may have been similar to that of Treblinka. On pages 73 f. of his book, Arad writes the following in this respect:
The new building was 24 meters long and 10 meters wide. It had six gas chambers, each of them 4 x 8 meters. (According to other sources, the size of the new gas chambers was 4 x 5 meters each.) Towards the middle of July , the new gas chambers were operational.
These new gas chambers could absorb over 2,000 people at a time, the capacity of a transport of about twenty-eight freight cars. Belzec was now ready to renew activity on an even larger scale.
The new gassing facility at Sobibor, on the other hand, was clearly smaller. Arad, page 123:
The new six-room gas chamber building had a corridor that ran through its center, and three rooms on either side. The entrance to each gas chamber was from the corridor. The three gas chambers were the same size as the existing one, 4 x 4 meters. The killing capacity of the new gas chambers was increased to nearly 1,300 people simultaneously. With the renewal of the extermination activities in Sobibor, in October 1942, the new gas chambers became operational.
The average maximum density assumed by Arad for the Sobibor gas chambers is a little higher than his above-quoted calculations for the Treblinka gas chamber building: 1,300 people in 96 square meters or ca. 14 people per square meter. Yet it is only slightly higher than the occasional peak hour occupation of Chinese buses and way below the possible density experimentally proved by Charles Provan for a gas chamber «population» consisting mostly of children, therefore not implausible.
Sobibor was the one of the three camps where the least number of people were killed and the job was thus «easiest» for the SS in this respect. By 31.12.1942, according to Höfle’s report to Heim of 11 January 1943, Treblinka had absorbed 713,555 people and Belzec 434,508. Sobibor, however, had «only» killed 101,370 human beings by that time.
Following the above-commented demonstration of his scholarship and expertise in gas chamber design, Bud treats his readers to a few more smart-ass remarks.
The first is the issue he takes with Raul Hilberg’s referring to the gas chamber buildings as «massive structures» on page 879 of The Destruction of the European Jews, as if the buildings’ non-compliance with Bud’s counterproductive design suggestions changed the fact that these buildings (one of which can be seen on this photograph from Treblinka deputy commander Kurt Franz’s private album) were massive structures made of brick and concrete.
The second is his pointing out Hilberg’s footnote on page 43 of the same page, according to which information about the gas chambers rests not on documentation, but on recollections of witnesses. Bud seems to think it’s a cardinal sin to reconstruct features of buildings based on eyewitness descriptions, or to use eyewitness testimonies at all. Someone should tell this arrogant ignoramus that eyewitness testimonies are as important a source of historical evidence as any other, and that the reason why there’s no documentation regarding the construction and features of the gas chamber buildings is that all documentation pertaining to the Aktion Reinhard(t) mass killings had been destroyed by the end of the undertaking, as pointed out by the head of the operation, Odilo Globocnik, in a letter to Himmler dated 5 January 1944:
There is one additional factor to be added to the total accounting of "Reinhardt" which is that the vouchers dealing with it must be destroyed as soon as possible after the data have already been destroyed by all other works concerned in this matter.
How well the buildings can nevertheless be historically reconstructed based on eyewitness descriptions and common sense is best shown by the CAD Reconstruction of the Treblinka gas chambers, referred to throughout this article.
The third smart-ass remark is Bud’s conjecture, after quoting Arad’s statement on page 119 of his book about the new gas chambers built in Belzec in June/July 1942 having served as a model in the other two camps, that the design of these buildings, allegedly oh-so-problematic (and actually quite intelligent, as demonstrated above) «is supposedly the culmination of a lot of testing and experience». Had Bud bothered to take a closer look at these camps’ initial gas chambers on the one hand and the «new» ones on the other, he might actually have noticed that, as becomes apparent from the CAD Reconstruction of the Treblinka gas chambers, essential construction features cleverly worked out to provide for speedy and efficient gassing and corpse removal – the subdivision of the gassing space into several smaller units, the corridor arrangement, the outside doors opening towards a ramp meant to facilitate the removal of the bodies to the burial pits – were already present in the «old» Treblinka gas chamber building. At Treblinka the «old» building had also been a brick building already, same at Sobibor (Arad, pages 31 and 42). Only at Belzec had the «old» gas chamber building been a wooden barracks, whereas the «new» building was made of what eyewitness Rudolf Reder described as «grey concrete» (Arad, page 73).
After putting the icing on this cake of nonsense with an imbecile «Hard to believe, isn’t it?» – remark, Bud seems to have thought that this clip was not yet long enough, so he added «Comparing Treblinka With the Population of San Francisco». Bud made the oh-so-keen discovery that the estimated population of San Francisco in 2003, about 750,000, is the same as the number of people «gassed in this building at Treblinka». Having presented this discovery, he then treats his audience to aerial views of a part of the beautiful city of San Francisco, which would be nicer to watch in a context less disgusting than Bud’s video filth. The message he intends to convey is that it is «hard to believe» (again that silly, meaningless phrase) that so large a number of people were gassed («ascended that 3 ½ foot wide stairway, went into the narrow hall and then went into one of the six bedroom-sized gas chambers»), then buried and later dug up and cremated on outdoor fires at Treblinka.
It’s hard to believe, for sure: over a period of 11 months, an occupying power’s forces transported three quarters of a million harmless and helpless inhabitants of an occupied nation to a place where they were bumped off at a rate of up to 15,000 per day, according to that place’s commandant Franz Stangl, quoted above. It’s as absurd and hard to believe as can be, as absurd and hard to believe as any large-scale, systematic mass murder throughout human history. However, absurd beyond comprehension though it was, this mass murder happened, as is proven beyond a reasonable doubt by a multitude of eyewitness testimonies and documents as well as by physical traces and demographic data. About 750,000 people, belonging to a despised ethnic group that racist fanatics wanted to remove from their domains, were collected at dozens of cities and towns in the Generalgouvernement and Bialystok General District, loaded onto cattle trains and transported to a place that all available eyewitness and documentary evidence shows to have been a site of systematic mass killing, and from which none but a few dozen escapees are known to have emerged alive. Evidence that these deportees were transported from that place to resettlement destinations should be plentiful if such resettlement had taken place, yet it is non-existent. And all that those who inanely challenge the evidence to this mass killing have got to offer by way of an explanation of these people’s fate are hollow, idiotic, express or implicit conspiracy theories, Bud's variant of which has been addressed by Andrew here.
So why do they keep on looking for trusting souls gullible enough to be impressed by their mendacious, transparent rhetoric?
I think the reason should be obvious to who has followed our debunking of Bud's video clips: they admire Nazi Germany and/or hate Jews, and they can't bear the brutal facts that utterly discredit their ideological articles of faith.