Part 4, Section 1
Part 4, Section 2
Part 5, Section 1
Part 5, Section 2
Capacity of the Graves (1)
In Chapter 7 of the critique, I demonstrated that it would have been possible to bury the corpses of about 434,508 deportees to Bełżec documented in the Höfle message in the 33 mass graves identified in an archaeological investigation led by Prof. Andrzej Kola, assuming that these graves (whose total volume estimated by Kola was 21,310 cubic meters) were the only mass graves in that camp (a later study by Alex Bay suggests that this was not so and there were further graves in the camp not identified by Kola, which are visible on air photography). My calculation of the possible concentration of corpses in the Bełżec mass graves was based on the substantiated assumptions that a) the Jews of Poland killed at Bełżec were not very tall people (the average height being just 1.60 meters), and b) due to their having been exposed to prolonged malnutrition, their average weight was reduced to 43 kg for adults and 16 kg for children up to 14 years old, meaning that the average weight of a population consisting two thirds of adults and one third of children up to 14 would be (43+43+16)/3 = 34 kg.
What are Mattogno’s arguments against these assumptions?
As concerns the average height of Polish Jews, Mattogno just offers hollow rhetoric ("Muehlenkamp recurs as usual to the paraphernalia of sophistic details", p. 1234 of the MGK response). 
As concerns the weight, Mattogno asks (p. 1234): "if the average weight of an adult Jew deported to Bełżec was 43 kg, why were two persons necessary to carry a corpse to the mass graves, as Reder had stated?" The answer to this question is given by Reder himself in his report:
The soil was sandy. A corpse had to be dragged by two workers. For this purpose we had leather strips with clips, which we placed around the hands, the head frequently buried itself into the sand, and thus we pulled.
Reder was not saying here that a corpse had to be pulled by two handlers because it was too heavy to be pulled by one handler alone. He was describing a procedure that was adopted, probably at the orders of the SS overseers, in order to drag corpses to the graves as fast as possible despite the sandy soil and the fact that the corpses’ heads often buried themselves in this soil. Speed was of the essence in dragging the corpses to the graves, for obvious reasons.  So Mattogno’s argument is moot.
Next (pp. 1234-35) Mattogno invokes the testimony of Leon Weliczker, a member of the "Death Brigade" in charge of exhuming and cremating bodies at the Janowska concentration camp in Lemberg/Lwów, who claimed to have carried adult corpses weighing 70-80 kg each. Without prejudice to the essential accuracy of Weliczker’s description of the body disposal procedure, his claim about the weight of the corpses cannot possibly be correct. Considering the average height of Polish Jews that I established in the critique – and against which Mattogno, as mentioned before, presented no arguments – corpses weighing 70 kg would have been in between the lower and upper ranges of overweight according to the BMI table I used in the critique, and corpses weighing 80 kg would already have been obese. Are we expected to believe that there were overweight or even obese people among the severely malnourished population of Polish ghettos? Even if the corpses had been as tall as what I considered to be the average height of German adults at the time – 1.68 meters – a corpse weighing more than 70 kg would be overweight. So Weliczker’s figures for the weight of the corpses transported by him and his fellow handlers must be considered grossly exaggerated. The reason for this exaggeration can only be guessed.
Mattogno’s argues that my "criticism" would affect also Robert Jan van Pelt, who is supposed to have "assumed an even higher average weight of 60 kg" for the victims of the gas chambers at Auschwitz. Looking at the cited source, one finds that Van Pelt a) mentioned an average weight of 60 kg in another context (the carrying capacity of the lift taking the corpses from the underground gas chambers of the Birkenau Krematorium II to the incineration hall), and that he considered that figure to be on the high side. Obviously an educated guess or a thumb calculation at best, the 60 kg figure is not too far from the 57 kg I calculated as the average weight of normally-fed deportees to Sobibór from places of origin outside the General Government or the occupied Soviet territories (Critique, p. 461, Table 8.2). However, in the population for which this average was calculated, about 84 % were adults weighing 62 kg on average, whereas only 16 % were children with an average weight of 31 kg. If the population had been two thirds adults and one third children, the average would have been ((62+62+31)÷3) = ca. 52 kg. So even for a normally-fed population a 60 kg average is too high.
On page 1236 Mattogno shows a picture of a group of male Jews and asks who can seriously believe that "25 of these persons could fit into one cubic meter, even assuming the presence of one third of children" (a straw-man because, as we shall see, I never made this claim, or then Mattogno is not a very attentive reader). He further expresses his incredulity at the notion that "their average weight would be 43 kg". This is another straw-man, as 43 kg would be the average for both male and female adults, the latter probably weighing a little less than the former, and male Jews taken to the Bełżec labor camps in 1940 – which are in all probability what Mattogno’s picture shows, as do a number of other photos in the collection of the Ghetto Fighters’ House to which this picture belongs – would be comparatively stronger and better-fed specimens, who after one year or less of ghetto existence might still have a normal or close to normal weight (whether they still had it in 1942, when the deportations to Bełżec took place, is another matter).
So much for Mattogno’s arguments regarding my assumptions and calculations whereby severely malnourished Jews from Polish ghettos (men, women and children) weighed 34 kg on average. 
As concerns my calculation of the possible concentration of corpses in the Bełżec mass graves identified by Prof. Kola’s team, Mattogno tells his readers (p. 1235) that «Based on these data, Muehlenkamp calculates 12 corpses for each cubic meter (p. 418). However, "[w]ith the more realistic weights for malnourished Polish ghetto Jews that the author established above, the average would be 663.4 ÷ 34 = 19.51 (20) corpses per cubic meter" (ibid.).». Readers are thus left without understanding my calculations, perhaps because Mattogno didn’t understand them himself. Or then, because he doesn’t want to acknowledge that my calculations are based on his own and that the calculation method I applied was exactly the one he proposed.
Mattogno had argued that a maximum of 6 adult bodies weighing 70 kg, that is 420 kg of human body mass, could fit into one cubic meter. He had then calculated, based on the assumption that children 14 years and under made up the same part of the mass graves’ "population" as they did in the general population (roughly one third), that an adult+adult+child group in which the adults weighed 70 kg each and the child 25.4 kg, would have an average weight of ((70+70+25.4)÷3) = 55.1 kg, meaning that 420÷55.1 = 7.6 corpses could fit into one cubic meter of mass grave space if two thirds of them were adults and one third were children 14 years and under.
I first challenged Mattogno’s weight assumptions, arguing that an adult weight of 70 kg was wildly unrealistic for the population of Jewish ghettos in Poland, who were not only of comparatively small stature according to contemporary anthropological studies (average height 1.60 meters) but also severely malnourished at the time deportations to Bełżec took place. The more realistic average weights I calculated, taking these circumstances into consideration, were 43 kg for adults and 16 kg for children. An adult+adult+child group would thus weigh (43+43+16)÷3) = 34 kg on average, meaning that 420÷34 = ca. 12 corpses could fit into one cubic meter of mass grave space if two thirds of them were adults and one third were children 14 years and under.
Next I challenged Mattogno’s argument that no more than 420 kg of human body mass could fit into one cubic meter, supporting my challenge with the calculations of Alex Bay, whereby 91,000 corpses with the proportions of the "Vetruvian Man" and an assumed height of 68 inches (1.73 meters) could have fit into 8,502 cubic meters of grave space - 10.7 per cubic meter. The ideal weight of a person 1.73 meters high would be 66 kg for men and 62 kg for women. Taking the lower value, 10.7 human bodies with the measurements and weight of an ideal adult person 1.73 meters high would have a weight of 10.7 x 62 = 663.40 kg, instead of Mattogno's 420 kg.  These 663.40 kg being thus the amount of human body mass that could be made to fit into a mass grave, I divided it through the previously established average weight of 34 kg for a malnourished population of short-stature ghetto inhabitants of whom one third were children, the division yielding a possible concentration of 19.51 corpses per cubic meter. Multiplying this concentration with the volume of the identified Bełżec mass graves established by Prof. Andrzej Kola – 21.310 cubic meters – yielded that these mass graves could take in 415,758 corpses, i.e. the corpses of all but 18,750 of the 434,508 deportees mentioned in the Höfle message. The balance would easily be accounted for by the effects of decomposition (considering that the graves were filled not all at once but over a period of about 8 months) and the top-down burning practiced by the SS as early as August 1942, probably as a sanitation measure.
Mattogno continues (p. 1235):
Or rather, according to "Provan’s test group" "19.95 (20)" persons would fit into one cubic meter. As if such fatuous nonsense were not enough, Muehlenkamp tops it off with something even sillier: by "applying Polish ghetto weights to Provan’s testgroup members" he arrives at the startling result of "25.39 corpses per cubic meter, " and therefore "the 21,310 cubic meters of grave space estimated by Kola could have taken in over 540,000 dead bodies" (footnote 107 on p. 418).
It should be duly noted not only that Mattogno is making a fuss about a mere footnote remark of mine, the figures in which I used nowhere in my calculations, but also that empty weasel-words like "fatuous nonsense", "even sillier" and "startling result" are Mattogno’s only "arguments", at least in this paragraph, against the figures he derides. This is not surprising, as these figures are well substantiated. The 19.95 results from dividing the human body mass that could fit into one mass grave (663.40 kg) by the average weight of a person in the test group that the late Charles Provan used for his experiment documented in Provan’s article "Kurt Gerstein and the Capacity of the Gas Chamber at Belzec". That this average is not unrealistic follows from the fact that Provan indeed managed to pack 8 human figures (two young male adults weighing respectively 63 and 62 kg, and elderly female adult weighing 49 kg, four children weighing respectively 25, 26, 19 and 15 kg, and one baby doll representing an infant child, with a theoretical weight of 7 kg, total weight 266 kg) into a space of 0.44 cubic meters. This experiment proves that (266÷0.44 =) 604.55 kg of human mass, or a group of 18 persons consisting of adults and children as in Provan’s test group, could fit into one cubic meter.  And what is more, these were living people, and they were "able to breathe just fine" according to Provan, meaning that there was still some space left in the box not filled by their bodies. Provan's photos suggest that the box could have taken in one or two more bodies, at least of children, if the bodies had needed no breathing space because they were dead. Now, Provan’s test group was made up of normally fed adults and children. What if the adults and children had had the weights I established for malnourished ghetto inhabitants? Three adults weighing 43 kg each and 5 children weighing 16 kg each would have had a total weight of 209 kg and an average weight of 26.13 kg, instead of the 266 kg total and 33.25 kg average in Provan’s test group. If we take the human mass that could fit into a cubic meter according to my calculations (based on those of Alex Bay), i.e. 663.40 kg, this would mean that 663.4÷26.13 = 25.39 such corpses could fit into one cubic meter. If we take the aforementioned 604.55 kg of human mass in a cubic meter, physically proven by Charles Provan’s experiment, we get 23.14 such corpses per cubic meter.
However, as mentioned before, I didn’t consider that the people buried in the Bełżec mass graves were divided into adults and children in the same proportions as Provan’s test group, but instead used the division considered by Mattogno (roughly two thirds adults, one third children) .
The fill-at-once capacity of the Bełżec mass graves identified by Prof. Andrzej Kola, considering a concentration of 19.51 per cubic meter, would be the aforementioned 415,758 corpses, i.e. the corpses of all but 18,750 of the 434,508 deportees mentioned in the Höfle message. This calculation does not consider the volume-saving effects of the corpses’ decomposition. Neither does it factor in the presumably volume-reducing effect of incinerating the upper layer of corpses, reported as early as August 1942, as a (futile) measure against the stench of decomposition. And then there’s the evidence that the graves were filled not only to but above the rim. Reder’s report, my translation from the German translation:
The digging of a grave lasted one week, and the most horrible thing for me was that they had ordered to lay the corpses one meter high on the already filled grave and cover them with sand, the black, thick blood emerged from the graves and covered the whole surface like a sea.
In his interrogation on 29 December 1945 in Cracow, Reder stated the following (my translation from the German translation):
The corpses were thrown without order into the graves, only the upper layers, which protruded 1 meter above the level of the soil surrounding the grave, were ordered systematically, i.e. the corpses were laid in parallel one next to the other. The mound of corpses thus piled up the inmates covered with sand. Before covering lime was poured over the bodies. In the first days a high wall of soil rose above such a grave. As time went by the soil sank and the level slowly became even.
Reder’s observation that the corpses were thrown "without order" into the graves does not contradict the evidence whereby, once inside the graves (and obviously outside the range of Reder’s observation), the corpses at Bełżec and the other Aktion Reinhard(t) camps were ordered systematically by a team created for that purpose in order to save space. His description of the "high wall of soil" is not contradicted, but rather confirmed, by depositions of several SS-men including Kurt Franz, whereby at Bełżec a filled mass grave was topped off with a sand layer one and a half meters high.
One effect of laying the corpses "1 meter above the level of the soil surrounding the grave", as mentioned by Reder, would be to enlarge the space available in each grave, by 1 m x the surface area of each grave shown in Table 7.1 on page 389 of the HC critique. The practical volume of the Bełżec mass graves would thus have been the following, assuming a concentration of 19.51 corpses per cubic meter:
Grave #_Volume (m3)_Corpses
We see that the procedure described by Reder led to the capacity of those 33 mass graves, at a concentration of 19.51 corpses per cubic meter, being well in excess of what was required to bury the corpses of the 434,508 deportees to Bełżec mentioned in the Höfle message.
Now let’s assume that the average weight of adult Jews in Polish ghettos at the time was not in between the upper and the lower value of what the BMI table considers underweight (i.e. 43 kg), but corresponded to the upper value, i.e. that malnourished adults were not all that malnourished but just one kg below what is still considered normal weight for their average body height of 1.60 m, i.e. 48 kg, and that the average weight of children 14 and under was not 16 kg but 17.4 kg. The average weight of an adult+adult+child group, and thus of a population made up two thirds of adults and one third of children 14 and under, would thus have been 37.8 kg. The possible concentration per cubic meter, established by dividing through this average weight the mathematically established amount of human mass that can fit into one cubic meter (663.40 kg), would thus have been 17.55 corpses. The capacity of the mass graves, enlarged by the procedure described by Reder, would thus have been the following:
The 33 mass graves’ capacity, without factoring in the stretching effects of decomposition and top-down burning, would still be well in excess of what was required for the 434,508 deportees mentioned by Höfle.
Now let’s go one step further and replace the mathematically established amount of human mass that can fit into one cubic meter (663.40 kg) with the amount physically proven by Charles Provan’s experiment, 604.55 kg. Dividing this number by 37.8 kg yields a concentration of 15.99 corpses per cubic meter, which with the enlarged mass grave space would mean the following occupation:
Not quite but almost there, and we haven’t yet factored in the stretching effects of decomposition and top-down burning. And this is assuming that all bodies of deportees killed at Bełżec were buried before being exhumed and cremated in the final phase of the camp’s operation. However, this was not the case, according to German historian Sara Berger (my translation)  :
In 1943 Belzec was on the whole no longer active as an extermination camp, first and foremost the corpses of the people killed before were burned there. While in early 1943 a few small groups of Jews still arrived, these were no longer killed with gas, but shot in Camp II. The burning of the corpses already began in November 1942, shortly before the end of deportations to Belzec. The corpses of these last transports were burned together with the human remains dug out. At the end of March 1943 the camp personnel declared the burnings to have been concluded.
In November 1942, shortly before the end of deportations to Bełżec – that could mean mid-November or the end of November. Let’s assume the latter. According to my list of deportations based on Berger’s book, which will be shown below, this would mean that 11,200 people killed between 30 November and 11 December 1942 were not first buried but cremated immediately after having been killed – 2.38 % of the total of 470,095 dead that this list adds up to. Applying this percentage to the 434,508 deportees mentioned in Höfle’s report, we get 10,352 deportees burned right after having been killed vs. 424,156 murdered deportees who were buried. This means we can round up the weight of deportees from 37.8 to 38 (and accordingly reduce the concentration from 15.99 to 15.91 corpses per cubic meter), ignore the stretching effects of decomposition and sanity top-down burning, and still have a little burial space left:
The above means that Mattogno’s subsequent considerations about decomposition times vs. Gerstein’s account are somewhat less than relevant, but I’ll have a look at them anyway, after addressing Mattogno’s further objections to my earlier calculations about the mass graves’ fill-at-once capacity.
Mattogno disputes that the corpses in the mass graves at Bełżec were systematically arranged in a space-saving fashion. Besides testimonies like Reder’s, whereby the bodies were thrown into the mass graves (what happened after they had reached the bottom the witnesses didn’t see or describe, so there’s no room for arguing that these testimonies contradict a systematic arrangement of the corpses inside the graves), Mattogno’s argument is that such arrangement would have been hindered by rigor mortis. He quotes (p. 1237) a source whereby a series of observations by one Mr. Niederkorn turned out that "rigor was complete in 14% of cases at 3 hours post mortem and this percentage had risen to 72% at 6 hours and to 90% at 9 hours". These data don’t help Mattogno’s argument as the corpses of each gassing would be in the mass graves earlier than 3 hours after a gassing. Mattogno also invokes another source, which is supposed to show that "Very fast or instant onset (rigor mortis with the body remaining fixed in its last position) take place in muscles tired by physical labor or in cases where death is preceded by convulsions, and in particular in warm climates.". Mattogno argues that "Such would indeed apply to the description of the agony suffered by 750 victims inside a gas chamber measuring 25 square meters and 47.5 cubic meters.". However, a closer look at Mattogno’s source reveals that
i) the onset of rigor mortis tends to be fast in muscles fatigued by labor or if deaths are preceded by convulsions, but from onset to full body stiffness it takes some time, between 10 and 22 hours, which means that rigor mortis did not or not significantly hinder transporting the bodies to and accommodating them in the graves, unless that process took at least ten hours;
ii) in debilitated persons with muscular hypotrophy (loss or degeneration of muscle mass), which is what ghetto inhabitants having suffered from prolonged malnutrition and excruciating transport conditions would mostly be, rigor mortis would set in early but be tenuous and short-lived, thus not or not significantly hindering the transport of the bodies to the graves and their accommodation therein.
This means that Mattogno’s source does not support his argument, on the contrary. Mattogno either didn’t read his source carefully enough, or then he was trying to take his readers for a ride.
Mattogno argues that according to Reder it took up to two hours until all of the victims had entered the gas chambers, and contends that, considering the removal procedure described by the witness, it must have taken much longer than that to extract the corpses from the gas chambers and drag them to the graves. However, there is no reason why this should be so.
Filling the gas chambers must have taken a long time because each gas chamber had to be filled to bursting, with people entering from a narrow corridor and not necessarily compliant having to squeezed into the chamber until the doors could barely be closed, before the same was done with the next contingent in the next gas chamber. That must have been why the introduction process lasted up to two hours, if indeed it lasted that long. The process of removing the corpses and taking them to the mass graves need not have taken much longer, as it depended essentially on the size of the workforce (which could be expanded as required) and the speed with which they dragged the corpses to the mass graves (speed was of the essence, which was the reason why two handlers were required to drag one corpse). In connection with the removal process Reder mentioned that a transport had to be "finished" after two hours. What he meant thereby is not clear (even though his mention of the pulling of teeth on the way to the mass graves suggests that he considered it part of the "finishing" process), but it stands to reason that removing the corpses from the gas chambers to the mass graves was no more time-intensive than getting the living deportees into the chambers, for the reasons explained above. A transport would arguably be "finished" only when the gas chambers were ready for the next contingent, and that required moving all corpses out of the gas chambers and to the mass graves and reclosing the extraction openings.
So much for Mattogno’s "rigor mortis" gambit.
Mattogno’s next argument has a certain amusement value, as Mattogno announces that "Muehlenkamp’s statements are even refuted by the evaluations of serious scholars and even by the Soviet investigation commissions". The serious scholar he refers to – because his research and Soviet investigation finds point to a density of 8 corpses per cubic meter at the Nazi mass killing site of Bronnaya Gora (Brona Gora) in Belorussia ("the same value assumed by us", Mattogno triumphantly proclaims) – is German historian Christian Gerlach, who made a name by, among other things, pinpointing 12 December 1941 as the date on which Hitler announced his decision to extend the anti-Jewish killing program – which had already claimed hundreds of thousands of victims, especially in the occupied Soviet territories – to all Jews under Nazi domain in Europe. Gerlach is also the author of Kalkulierte Morde, a groundbreaking, monumental study about the Nazi occupation of and crimes in Belorussia, from which Mattogno quotes. Serious scholars (unlike propagandistic charlatans like Mattogno) tend to do serious research and reach results that must be taken seriously, so what are we to make of Mattogno’s referring to Gerlach as a serious scholar? Is he accepting the results of Gerlach’s scholarship, especially his finds regarding the decision Hitler announced to high-ranking party officials on 12 December 1941, and his meticulous reconstruction of German crimes in occupied Belorussia, which according to Gerlach’s estimates claimed the lives of 1.6 to 1.7 million out of about nine million people who fell under German rule in Belorussia, thereof about 700,000 prisoners of war, 500,000 to 550,000 Jews, 345,000 victims of so-called anti-partisan fighting and about 100,000 victims of other population groups? Was the "serious scholar" a Freudian slip of Mattogno’s? Or does he expect his readers to believe that serious scholar Gerlach, in his exhaustive and painstakingly sourced studies, for some reason got it all wrong except where his finds seem to help Mattogno’s arguments?
Mattogno’s triumphant mention of the density of corpses buried at Bronnaya Gora is a non-sequitur. For if the Belarusian Jews murdered at Bronnaya Gora were buried at a concentration of 8 corpses per cubic meter, as the Soviet Extraordinary Commission seems to have assumed (with Mattogno’s blessing), this in no way rules out the possibility that in the Bełżec mass graves corpses were buried at a somewhat higher concentration. The mass graves at Bronnaya Gora may have been over-dimensioned in relation to the number of corpses buried therein, if compared to the mass graves at Bełżec. This would mean that there was no need to use the available burial space as sparingly as possible, the way it was done at Bełżec. There would be no need to have a detachment carefully laying out the bodies in rows head to foot so as to save space, as was done at Bełżec and the other AR camps. And the graves at Bronnaya Gora may not have been filled up to the maximum of their capacity, the way the mass graves at Bełżec are known to have been (even beyond the maximum of their capacity according to Reder, as quoted above).
What is also interesting about Mattogno’s otherwise pointless Bronnaya Gora argument – besides his acknowledgment of serious scholar Gerlach – is that nowhere in the main text about the mass graves at this Belorussian killing site Mattogno calls the same into question; the imbecilic "alleged" that usually accompanies "Revisionist" discussions of historical findings of fact is conspicuously missing. Only in a footnote (2772 on p. 1240), Mattogno (perhaps after having realized that his Bronnaya Gora argument might be misunderstood as his accepting the factuality of that massacre) challenges "the reliability of the [Soviet] claim that 50,000 Jews were killed and buried at Bronnaya Gora", and that with the rather feeble argument of the Soviets having reached the oh-so-unrealistic conclusion that "the interred corpses were exhumed by the Germans and incinerated on open-air pyres within a period of a mere fifteen days, that is, a rate of 3,333 corpses per day!" Why such rate would not be achievable (it’s all a matter of the number and size of fireplaces and available fuel and personnel) Mattogno doesn’t explain, and it neither occurred to him that, even if burning that many bodies within the time frame assumed by the Soviets were impracticable, this might just mean that the cremation of the corpses took longer than assumed by the Soviets.
Ever the resentful sensitive flower, Mattogno feels "reprimanded" by the following ironic remark about the incidental implications of some (quite unnecessary) math presented in Mattogno & Graf’s Treblinka book (critique, footnote 108 on p. 419):
Notwithstanding their claim that 8 bodies per cubic meter is a maximum, Mattogno & Graf seem to consider an even higher density plausible, for in another context they tell their readers that "3,000 bodies take up a volume of about (3,000×0.045 =) 135 m3" (M&G, Treblinka, p. 147). The concentration they are assuming here is 3,000 ÷ 135 = 22 bodies per cubic meter.
After hastening to add (p. 1240) that he was referring to the volume occupied by corpses "in a liquified state", Mattogno deals himself another incidental shot in the foot by arguing that he might have just as well highlighted the absurdity of Treblinka eyewitness Wiernik’s claim that an excavator extracted "about 3,000 corpses at one time." from the mass graves by pointing out what this would mean in terms of weight, and informing his readers that "the excavators of Treblinka" bore a clamshell bucket which at maximum had a volume of 1.6 m³. In footnote 198 on page 493 of the critique I had mentioned Alex Bay’s photo analysis whereby some of Franz’s excavator photos were taken in what Mattogno et al claim to have been the Treblinka II "transit camp". Apparently realizing that he was unable to either refute Bay’s photo analysis or explain what on earth excavators would have been needed for in a "transit camp", Mattogno chose to simply ignore this argument, which his lecture about the excavators’ bucket load capacity now brings to the fore. Mattogno’s apparent failure to realize the self-defeating implications of said lecture must have been due to his being overly concerned with (rather pointlessly) pointing out that "even if assuming Muehlenkamp’s absurd data, the Treblinka excavator could only extract (1.6 × 19.51 =) 31 corpses at one time with the weight of (31 × 21 =) 651 kg", and adding a supreme touch of idiocy by remarking that "Of course Muehlenkamp keeps silent about this!", as if anything in my writings suggested endorsement of the "3,000 corpses per bucket load" nonsense that Mattogno nonsensically accuses Wiernik of having claimed). 
Mattogno’s subsequent oversimplified calculation of the mass-grave-filling pace at Bełżec (including the notoriously mendacious misrepresentation whereby I believe, pursuant to Gerstein’s account, that 750 persons were killed in each of 4 to 6 gas chambers used in each and every gassing at Bełżec, and the deplorably feeble "then he must also believe" - conclusion derived from this misrepresentation) has already been addressed in a previous rebuttal (except for the considerations regarding my "new conjecture of 19.51 corpses") and needs not be discussed at this place, especially as I will show below that a part of the decomposition process underground in a closed grave must already have led to a considerable reduction of the corpses’ volume in the Bełżec mass graves (and the associated freeing of grave space for further use), making it a secondary issue as concerns the graves’ capacity how long they remained open prior to their (first) closure.
In our blog discussions Friedrich Jansson referred to two sources whereby buried carcasses release about a third of their mass into the soil as leachate within approximately two months, half thereof (i.e. one-sixth of their mass) in the first week after burial. This information allows for a modeling of corpse volume reduction and associated freeing of reusable grave space at Bełżec, for which I use a recent timetable of deportations to that camp put together by Sara Berger.
Organized chronologically and by place of origin, this table mentions 95 deportation contingents which, like the contingents mentioned in Arad’s book, add up to a number higher than that mentioned in the Höfle report – minimum totals are 467,550 by Berger’s count, 470,095 by mine. Most of these contingents arrived over a period of several days (for instance, a contingent of at least 5,000 people from Kolomea and other towns in Kolomea county, Galicia district, arrived between 2 and 13 April 1942; a contingent of at least 38,000 from Lemberg arrived between 10 and 22 or 25 August 1942, etc.). So in order to model the number of arrivals per day from each contingent, I split the size of the contingent by the minimum duration of the period in which such contingent arrived, allocating roughly the same number of arrivals to each day of the period (e.g. 410-420 arrivals per day for the aforementioned contingent from Kolomea, 2,920-2,930 arrivals per day for the aforementioned contingent from Lemberg). The result of this calculation model is that of the 272 days on which Bełżec extermination camp received transports according to Berger’s table (15.03. to 11.12.1942), 185 were days on which deportees arrived and 87 were days on which no deportees arrived, the daily number of arriving deportees ranging from a mere 280 (on 08.05.1942) to as many as 10,550 (on 26.08.1942).
In my model I assume that corpses lying in the graves lost one-sixth of their mass in the first week after burial and another one-sixth after two months. As the filling of the graves sometimes took more than a week and in the case of one grave months (due to there being very few arrivals between mid-April and early July 1942), the mass loss was probably somewhat higher, so this assumption is conservative. Taking the aforementioned 26,701.75 m³ of grave space (including the topping mentioned by Reder), and assuming 15.91 corpses à 38 kg per cubic meter, there would have been enough burial space for 16,143,344 kg of human mass to start with. My calculations with this input show that, when they would have finished burying 470,095 people, the SS at Bełżec would still have had enough burial space left over to bury another 3,482,992 kg of human body mass, which at an average weight of 38 kg per corpse would correspond to 91,658 corpses, if they took proper advantage of the space-saving effects of leachate seeping into the soil from the bodies. They could have buried as many as 561,753 corpses in the same space.
Now let’s reduce concentration of corpses to 10.7 per cubic meter, which is the concentration calculated by Alex Bay for specimens with the measurements of Da Vinci’s Vetruvian Man. At this concentration, according to my calculations (using the above model and inserting 10.70 instead of 15.91 as the corpse concentration per cubic meter) the space of the 33 mass graves located by Prof. Kola would have run out at 422,726 corpses - 47,369 corpses short of my addition of Berger’s partial figures, but only 11,782 corpses short of Höfle’s figure (434,508). The latter difference could be easily accounted for by top-down burning for sanitary purposes before the general cleanup, or by assuming that cremation started before the end of November 1942 and the number of corpses cremated without prior burial was thus higher than the 10,352 calculated above. So we can conclude that, if proper advantage was taken of the buried corpses’ volume loss due to leachate seeping into the soil and the associated freeing of reusable grave space, burying corpses in those 33 mass graves at an initial concentration of 10.7 corpses per cubic meter would have been sufficient.
 Alex Bay, The Reconstruction of Belzec, section 4.6 - "Camp II: The Killing and Graves Area" ([link]
 One of Mattogno’s acolytes, Friedrich Jansson (probably a pseudonym), made a bigger but fruitless effort to challenge my height assumption (or rather the amount of research that had led to this assumption), which is addressed in my blog "Friedrich Jansson tries to help Mattogno …" ([link]). As I demonstrated in this blog, one of the sources referred to in Jansson’s lecture ("Stature: Jews compared with Non-Jews", by Joseph Jacobs and Maurice Fishberg, in: Jewish Encylopedia: The unedited full-text of the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia, [link]) shows that my assumed average height of 1.60 meters is by no means off the mark. Jansson returned to the subject in a later blog, which is addressed in my blog "Just when I thought I had seen all of Jansson’s fits …" ([link]). There he raised inconclusive objections about the studies whose height data were used in the 1906 Jewish encyclopedia, professed "laughter" as his only "argument" against my use of a certain study about male heights in a European country in 1941, and reiterated that he had "not done the research necessary to take a position on the average height of the Polish Jews in the 1940s".
German translation can be found in BAL (Bundesarchiv Ludwigsburg = Federal Archives in Ludwigsburg, Germany) B162/208 AR-Z 252/59, Bd. II, f.258 ff.; quote translated from f. 274.
 Sara Berger, Experten der Vernichtung. Das T4-Reinhardt-Netzwerk in den Lagern Belzec, Sobibor und Treblinka, 2013, Hamburger Edition, p. 113, my translation: "Whereas during the »Euthanasia« it had been necessary to consider the sensitivities of the »burners«, who had a hard time with the burdensome transport of the corpses without auxiliary means, such was not necessary in regard to the »working Jews«, who could simply be replaced when they were exhausted. What was important most of all was that things went fast."
 "Gewichtstabelle nach BMI", [link]
 Robert Jan Van Pelt, The Case for Auschwitz, pp. 470, 472.
 GFH Online Archives ([link], keyword "Belzec", photo under [link]; caption reads "Jews photographed upon their arrival at the Belzec camp").
 Again, Mattogno’s acolyte Friedrich Jansson went to greater lengths, invoking various sources supposed to demonstrate that the Body Mass Index (BMI) of 16.8 corresponding to my assumed 34 kg average weight cannot be realistic, including present-day studies about BMI in poorer countries and among worse-nourished subpopulations, present-day age and weight charts for children and a 1947 study about birth weights among children born during the siege of Leningrad in 1942. As demonstrated in several blogs ("Friedrich Jansson tries to help Mattogno …" - [link], "Just when I thought I had seen all of Jansson’s fits …" - [link], "Janssson on 1942 births in Leningrad" - [link]), Jansson’s sources and arguments do not show my average weight assumption for a starving small-statured population to be off the mark, and as concerns the Leningrad study Jansson got caught in several flagrant misrepresentations.
 "The Reconstruction of Treblinka" - "Appendix D - Ash Disposal and Burial Pits (Continued)" ([link])
 Friedrich Jansson went out of his way providing sources about carcass burials which are supposed to demonstrate that the possible mass-per-volume density I calculated (663.40 kg/m³) is widely exaggerated and cannot be achieved in practice. One of these sources (C.P. Young, P.A. Marsland and J.W.N. Smith, "Foot & Mouth Disease Epidemic. Disposal of culled stock by burial: Guidance and Reference Data for the protection of controlled waters", Draft R&D Technical Report: Version 7:20 June 2001 - [link]) shows that "typical burial volumes of about 0.6 m3 for cattle and between 0.04 and 0.05 m3 per sheep or pig" were considered possible. Considering the weights per type of animal given by the source (373 kg per head of beef cattle, 31.8 kg per sheep and 27.6 kg per pig), the volumes signify densities of 622 kg/m³ for beef cattle, 636 – 795 kg/m³ for sheep and 690 kg/m³ for pigs, as I pointed out in the blog "The more you scratch Friedrich Jansson…", section 3 ([link]). Regarding the reasons why densities achieved in practice were lower than these projections in some of the mass burial sites discussed in the aforementioned article (the authors attribute this "in part to carcass bloat, which effectively reduces the bulk density"), see the blog "Jansson thought of quitting our discussions …", section 2 ([link]).
 Mattogno calls this experiment "risible", referring to his "first rebuttal", which was deconstructed as concerns Provan’s experiment in the blog "Belzec Mass Graves and Archaeology: My Response to Carlo Mattogno (4,1)" ([link]).
 This assertion was called a "lie" by Friedrich Jansson (one of those "Revisionists" whose discussion tactics include persistently throwing "lie" accusations at their opponents, in obvious self-projection), on grounds that Provan’s photographs show the heads of two adult test persons protruding about the top of the box. They do, but it also becomes apparent from the photos that these adults could have wholly fit inside the box if, instead of standing upright (as at least one of the test persons seem have been) they had crouched and/or bent their heads downwards. So my assertion is correct. For details see the blog ""Muehlenkamp lies about Provan" …"([link]).
 As Mattogno had referred to data from demographer Jakob Leszczynski whereby children aged 14 or under made up 29.6 % of the Jewish population of Poland in 1931 (i.e. less than one third), Jansson complained that I had introduced a bias in my favor by using Mattogno’s simplified one third vs. two thirds distribution. Doing the calculations the way Jansson thinks I should have done them yields an average weight of 35 kg instead of 34 kg, which is not exactly dramatic if one considers that, as will be seen below, my demonstration of mass grave space sufficiency at Bełżec also works with an average weight of 37.8 instead of 34 kg, and with a density borne out by Charles Provan’s experimental data (604.55 kg of human body mass per cubic meter) instead of the possible density I established mathematically (663.40 kg of human body mass per cubic meter). Besides, Jansson doesn’t take into account is that this slight bias in my favor is compensated or even outweighed, at least as concerns Bełżec, by the fact that the proportion of children among deportees to Bełżec from Galicia (where a considerable portion if not the majority of deportees to Bełżec came from) was considerably higher than would correspond to the proportion of children among that region’s Jewish population. See the blogs "Friedrich Jansson tries to help Mattogno …" ([link]) and "Belzec Mass Graves and Archaeology: My Response to Carlo Mattogno (4,1) " ([link]).
BAL B162/208 AR-Z 252/59, Bd. II, f.258 ff. (f. 273)
 German translation in BAL B162/208 AR-Z 252/59, Bd. II, f. 1175 ff. (p. 1178)
 See Berger, EdV, pp. 66 (Sobibór), 113 (Bełżec), 148 (Treblinka) and 166 (Sobibór); judgment LG Düsseldorf vom 3.9.1965, 8 I Ks 2/64 (1st Düsseldorf Treblinka Trial), transcribed online ([link]); Claude Lanzmann’s interview with Franz Suchomel, online ([link]), where Suchomel mentions that, at Bełżec, Wirth ordered Franz, Oberhauser and Hackenholt to place corpses inside the pits "so that Wirth could see how much space he needed"; Yitzhak Arad, Belzec, Sobibór, Treblinka. The Operation Reinhard Death Camps, p. 112.
 Berger, EdV, p. 53 and footnote 61 on pp. 470-471. Piling up the bodies about the rim of the mass graves was also practiced at other burial places where burial space was a rare commodity, like the Cimetière des Saints-Innocents in Paris, which is discussed in the blog Friedrich Jansson responded …( [link]).
EdV, p. 190
 "LE MODIFICAZIONI TANATOLOGICHE DEL CADAVERE" ([link])
 The duration of a process is a detail that eyewitnesses rarely get right. (Rolf Bender/Armin Nack, Tatsachenfeststellung vor Gericht - Band I: Glaubwürdigkeits- und Beweislehre, marginal note 137 (excerpt translated in the HC forum thread "Guidelines for assessing eyewitness testimonies" ([link])
 BAL B162/208 AR-Z 252/59, Bd. II, f. 271
 Mattogno already tried the this gambit in his "first rebuttal", by the way. His arguments back then, which do not differ much from the current ones, were duly addressed in the blog "Belzec Mass Graves and Archaeology: My Response to Carlo Mattogno (4,1)" ([link]).
 See the article "12 December 1941" by Götz Aly, translated by Gord McFee ([link])
 Kalkulierte Morde, p. 1158.
 If the expression "at one time" were to be understood as meaning "in one bucketful", the claim would be obviously absurd beyond measure, and any math aimed at highlighting this absurdity would be wholly superfluous. However, a reasonable interpretation of the expression "at one time" in this context would be that it referred to one workday or work shift. Mattogno’s self-congratulatory later remarks (p. 1416) about the original Polish text of Wiernik’s statement ("The Polish adverb “naraz” translates as “at the same time, together,” therefore I interpreted the meaning of the passage in blameless way. It was Wiernik who uttered a monstrous nonsense.") don’t change the fact that the only monstrous nonsense in this context is Mattogno’s understanding of "at the same time, together" as meaning "in one bucketful", rather than "in one workday" or "in one work shift", in the context of Wiernik’s testimony.
 "For Muehlenkamp the average weight of the corpses in Bełżec was 21 kg, therefore the excavator would have extracted (3,000 × 21 =) 63,000 kg or 63 metric tons of corpses at one time.", p. 1240).
 Alex Bay, "The Reconstruction of Treblinka" ([link])
 Incidentally, if 31 decomposed corpses could fit into an excavator bucket, and if one round trip of the excavator’s bucket took, say, five minutes, then in a 12 hour working day a single excavator could remove 12x12x31 = 4,464 corpses from the mass graves. Wiernik’s claim of 3,000 corpses removed "at the same time, together", if correctly interpreted, would be comparatively conservative.
 See the blog "Belzec Mass Graves and Archaeology: My Response to Carlo Mattogno (4,1)" ([link]). Among other things I pointed out that my considering Gerstein's gas chamber capacity estimate to have been plausible (and hence a similar concentration of bodies in the Bełżec mass graves to have been physically possible, which was the contention in support of which I referred to Gerstein’s estimate in the first place) does not, of course, imply my assuming that the Bełżec gas chambers were filled according to this estimate in every single gassing.
 One of the sources is the 2004 report "Carcass Disposal: A Comprehensive Review", prepared by the National Agricultural Biosecurity Center Consortium - Carcass Disposal Working Group, for the USDA Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service ([link]), page 7. The other source is the already mentioned paper "Foot & Mouth Disease Epidemic. Disposal of culled stock by burial: Guidance and Reference Data for the protection of controlled waters", by C.P. Young, P. A. Marsland and J.W.N. Smith ([link]), which on page 18 contains the following "Note on body fluid releases" (emphasis added): «The immediate release of body fluids has been a particular problem at carcass burial sites. The estimated quantity of liquid theoretically available for immediate release from the carcasses is 170 litres/cow and 16 litres/sheep. Approximately 50% of this is likely to be released within one week of deposition, with the majority of the remainder being released within 2 months. In total this represents approximately one-third of the mass of the carcass. On this basis leachate removal and disposal is likely to be the key issue at most burial sites, as management of this relatively rapid release is likely to deal with a significant proportion of the potential pollutant loading from the carcasses.» Agency, 2001b, p. 11).
 EdV, pp. 416-427
 Page 1, Page 2, Page 3, Page 4, Page 5
 Treblinka, "Appendix D - Ash Disposal and Burial Pits (Continued)" ([link]. Bay calculated that 91,000 corpses with the size of the "ideal man" could fit into 8,502 cubic meters of grave space. 91,000 ÷ 8,502 = 10.70.
 Which, once again, were not the only mass graves in the Bełżec area according to Bay’s air photo assessment.
 Taking into account that the corpses at Treblinka included many women and children (who would not have the measurements of the Vetruvian Man) «a reasonable estimate for the contents of a mass grave 50 X 25 X 10 meters is at least 100,000 people». 100,000 corpses in 8,502 cubic meters of graves space imply a concentration of 100,000 ÷ 8,502 = 11.76 corpses per cubic meter. At this concentration, using the model based on Berger’s time table and my leachate loss assumptions, 450,940 corpses could be buried in the 33 Bełżec mass graves located by Prof. Kola – 16,432 more than the Höfle figure.
Edit, 08.12.2016: Corrected translation of excerpt from Reder's deposition on 29.12.1945 ("above" instead of "about") and reference to that translation in the paragraph second paragraph thereafter.