Sunday, June 05, 2016

Mattogno’s Cremation Encyclopedia (Part 2, Section 4)

Introduction and Part 1, Section 1
Part 1, Section 2a
Part 1, Section 2b
Part 2, Section 1
Part 2, Section 2
Part 2, Section 3
Part 2, Section 4
Part 2, Section 5
Part 3, Section 1
Part 3, Section 2
Part 4

Fuel requirements (4)

As concerns the Minnesota Starvation Experiment (MSE) data, Mattogno complains that I "unbelievably" think the MSE volunteers lost 9.1 kg of their fat, without mentioning that I took these 9.1 kg directly from his writings about Sobibór[173]

Mattogno in turn seems to have inferred these 9.1 kg from a statement in his source[174] whereby fat represented 54 % of the decrement in body mass (which was 69.4 kg – 52.60 kg = 16.80); Mattogno’s calculation was the following: 54 % of 16.80 kg = 9.1 kg. So what I "unbelievably" assumed was also assumed by Mattogno himself at the time of his Sobibór writing, but Mattogno is not man enough to admit it.

Instead he now claims that the source quoted by him (which would be Fidanza’s article "Effects of starvation on body composition", as the calculations on p. 139 of MGK’s Sobibór book refer to this article) "shows that this cannot be true". Yet said source obviously doesn’t show what Mattogno claims it does, for he refers to other sources, not quoted in the Sobibór book[175], to make the point that the essential or primary fat "constitutes 3% of the body weight in men and 12% in women and will simply not go away by fasting". Then he produces a table from another source[176] about the MSE, according to which test subjects were 24 % lighter than controls (which weighed 70 kg, vs. the test subjects’ 53.2 kg) and contained 3.3 kg of fat vs. 9.9 kg in controls, a loss of 67 %.

Using the data from Mattogno’s other source, and assuming that the proportional content of water and protein is the same in the 53.2 kg body according to Mattogno’s other source as in the 52.6 kg body according to Fidanza and only the contents of fat and (accordingly) of other substances are different, one obtains the comparative wood consumptions shown in the table below. For the purpose of this table I also changed the heating value of wood from 3,843.48 kcal/kg to 3,800 kcal/kg, pursuant to Mattogno’s complaint on p. 1394[177].

Table 2.16 – First revision of the critique’s tables 8.7 and 8.8

In the next table I change the wood weight to corpse weight ratio from 0.56 to 0.67 in "Table 8.7b", i.e. to the average ratio calculated for Lothes & Profé’s experiments I to III including in the calculation the tar or resin that the veterinarians used as an accelerant (see Table 2.3).

Table 2.17 – Second revision of the critique’s tables 8.7 and 8.8

Now for the deportees to the Nazi extermination camps. The baseline calorific profile, corresponding to a wood weight to corpse weight ratio of 0.67:1, would be that of the normally fed deportees that were taken directly to Sobibór or Treblinka from places of origin outside the General Government. For these deportees I had calculated an average weight of 57 kg (85,495 adults weighing 62 kg on average and 16,484 predominantly elder children weighing 31 kg on average, see Table 2.1 and pp. 460f. of the critique). Assuming the same proportions of water, fat, proteins and other substances as in tables "8.7a" and "8.7b" included in the above tables 2.16 and 2.17, the per head wood requirements to cremate these corpses would be as follows:

Table 2.18 – Revision of the critique’s Tables 8.14

Malnourished deportees from Polish ghettos would have a lower heating value, and their cremation would accordingly require more wood per weight unit. On pp. 1374f of the magnum opus Mattogno argues, based on a BMI calculation table[178], that the indices of normal weight for a person of 1.60 m height correspond to 47.36-63.97 kg, on average 55.66 kg, that the weight for adults I considered (43 kg) lies 22.74 % below the average value and that this weight loss is "almost the same" as the 24.2 % weight loss[179] of the Minnesota Starvation Experiment test persons, which implies that their loss of fat must be equivalent. Now I’m considering an average weight of 48 kg for adults and 18 kg for children aged 14 and under (average weight of a person in a population of which children make up one-third is thus 38 kg), so the adults would still be above the lower range of normal weight on Mattogno’s scale, meaning that I might consider no loss of fat at all. Nevertheless, I’ll consider that a weight loss of (55.66 – 48 =) 7.66 kg of 13.76 % means some loss of fat, and that the loss of weight is distributed by water, fat, proteins and other substances in the same percentages as I considered for the differences between tables 8.7a/8.7b and 8.8a/8.8b in Tables 2.16 and 2.17. Assuming that the distribution of fat, water, proteins and other substances is the same in a person weighing 55.66 kg as in a 70 kg MSE control person, the substance distribution of an adult person weighing 48 kg and an average person in the population weighing 38 kg (if identical to that of the adult person) would thus be the following:

Table 2.19 – Distribution of substances making up the weight of a Minnesota Starvation Experiment (MSE) control person, an MSE test person, an adult person weighing 55.66 kg, an adult person weighing 48 kg and an average person in a population in which two thirds are adults and one third are children aged 14 and under

The next table calculates wood requirements for cremating a person weighing 38 kg, i.e. a malnourished ghetto inhabitant, based on the wood requirements for cremating a person weighing 57 kg, i.e. a deportee from outside the General Government (Table 2.18).

Table 2.20 – wood requirements for cremating a deportee from outside the GG and a ghetto inhabitant

So if the cremation of a normally fed deportee from outside the GG by the method applied and with the results achieved in Lothes & Profé’s experiments I to III required 38.19 kg of dry wood (ratio: 0.67:1), the cremation of an underfed deportee from a ghetto in the GG, by the same method and with the same results, required 29.14 kg of dry wood (ratio: 0.77:1).

The above values are for fresh corpses. Corpses that had been lying in mass graves for some time would have lost at least part of their water and, if they had been lying in the graves for a long time, also part of their fat and proteins. In the critique I had estimated how long what numbers of corpses had been lying in mass graves at the four extermination camps, based on research about the sequence of deportations to each camp and the numbers involved in each deportation. In this respect the most recent data as concerns Bełżec, Sobibór and Treblinka are those provided by German historian Sara Berger, who in her study about the Aktion Reinhard(t) camps and their staff included lists of deportations, ordered chronologically and by place of origin[180]. Some numbers in these lists and the sum totals of deportees to each camp are different from those used in the critique, which are based on the Höfle report and the earlier studies of Yitzhak Arad and Jules Schelvis. In the following I shall maintain the total numbers used in the critique as well as their subdivision (regarding Sobibór and Treblinka) into deportees from ghettos in the General Government and from outside the GG, so as to better illustrate the impact of changing assumptions and conclusions regarding fuel requirements. As Berger’s data are based on the most recent research about this subject, I shall however apply to these numbers the monthly percentages of arrivals from the stated places of origin that I calculated on the basis of Berger’s deportation lists. The results of these operations are shown in the three tables below.

Table 2.21 – Deportations to Bełżec

Table 2.22 – Deportations to Sobibór

Table 2.23 – Deportations to Treblinka

As concerns my previous assumptions regarding deportations to Sobibór, Mattogno accuses me (p. 1397) of having fabricated "the hypothesis that until the end of June 28,721 deportees at the camp arrived from the General Government, 19,030 of which in May", omitting the fact that said hypothesis was well substantiated on hand of deportation lists based on the Hagen Court’s verdict and Jules Schelvis’ study about Sobibór[181].

Then he attacks the source I mentioned regarding the stages of decomposition[182] as "six pictures of a small piglet of 1.5 kg decaying on the soil, without any indication of after how much time after the death of the animal they were taken, with a lapse of time for each stage of a minimum of 0-3 days to a maximum of 50-365 days", which is supposed to make it "a rather imprecise and hence irrelevant source". The first part of Mattogno’s argument ("six pictures of a small piglet") is a mischaracterization as the source explains why a piglet was used to model human decomposition and each picture illustrating a stage of decomposition links to a page that explains in detail what happens during that stage. The second part of Mattogno’s argument ("without any indication of after how much time after the death of the animal they were taken") is pretty irrelevant as the images are illustrations accompanying an explanatory text and I assumed that each image corresponds to the end of the process according to the image’s caption (e.g. 50 days regarding stage 5 – butyric fermentation) for good measure. The third part of Mattogno’s argument ("with a lapse of time for each stage of a minimum of 0-3 days to a maximum of 50-365 days") is notoriously hypocritical, considering that two pages later Mattogno quotes a source whereby butyric fermentation occurs "after 3-6 months" (presumably below ground), a far larger span than that given by my source for butyric fermentation above ground (20-50 days).

In response to my argument that the mass graves were obviously not closed until they had been filled to the rim (based on which I had assumed that the speed of decomposition was closer to that of decomposition above ground than to that of decomposition below ground) Mattogno invokes a testimony of SS-Sturmbannführer Streibel whereby he couldn’t see the corpses in the grave pits at Sobibór because they were covered with a layer of earth. The first sentence of Bolender’s testimony I quoted in note 140 on page 475 ("The first grave had been covered with a layer of sand.") shows I didn’t contest the graves’ having been covered with a layer of sand after having been filled, so Mattogno’s argument is pointless.

Mattogno then argues that, if each layer of corpses was covered with a layer of sand, "the corpses in a layer were always isolated from other layers by a layer of sand, and therefore this procedure is analog to a normal burial and not to the exposition to fresh air". That may be so if the layer of sand between each layer of corpses had been as thick as per Mattogno’s sand-filling trick, but there probably wouldn’t be much isolation if only a thin layer of sand covered each layer of corpses, as becomes apparent from the evidence[183]. Mattogno invokes "Casper’s dictum" whereby decomposition of buried corpses is eight times slower than above ground, ignoring sources whereby the time ratio is four to one rather than eight to one[184].

That said, the assumption that corpses inside the AR mass graves decomposed about as quickly as if they had been lying in the open, which is essential to my hypothesis that a significant part of the corpses had at least reached the stage of butyric fermentation by the time they were unearthed for cremation, is indeed debatable, and it’s also a fact that, notwithstanding the sources and arguments presented in an earlier blog[185], there are no certain data about how much water a corpse has lost when reaching the stage of butyric fermentation and how much fat and proteins are left in the body or (as Mattogno claims on p. 1388) have been gasified or been converted into liquid fatty acids that leave the body and seep into the soil. In order to reduce the amount of speculation, I shall therefore stick with available quantitative data, which concern the amount of leachate issued by buried carcasses in the first two months after burial.

According to sources already mentioned in my response to Mattogno’s chapter 11[186], liquids "available for immediate release" representing approximately one-third of the mass of a carcass are released into the soil within two months after burial, 50 % thereof during the first week. Applied to the persons mentioned in Table 2.20 above, this means that, after two months in a mass grave, they would have lost one third of their body mass in water alone.

The loss of leachate obviously corresponds to what the Australian Museum calls the black putrefaction stage, during which a large volume of body fluids drain from the body and seep into the surrounding soil[187]. The page mentions that insects "consume the bulk of the flesh", a process that goes on through the stage of butyric fermentation[188], in which all the remaining flesh is removed and the body dries out. This stage, according to another source that calls it the "adipocere-like stage"[189], "is characterized by hydrolysis of the carcass fatty tissue. The carcass loses its shape completely and becomes a mass of non-decomposed hair, fat, skin, and cartilage. Decomposition occurs firstly in the subepitelial fat, which becomes a mass containing parts of the digestive tract".

The above description suggests that a) no or no significant loss of fat occurs during the previous stage (called the "decaying stage", which would correspond to the "black putrefaction stage" according to the Australian Museum’s website), and b) at the end of the "adipocere-like stage" stage the body still has some fat but no more water or flesh.

Most of the flesh, according to the Australian Museum, disappears during the "black putrefaction stage" as it is consumed by insects and bacteria (mainly the latter if the body is buried). Proteins are contrained in the body’s flesh and bones. I shall therefore assume that the, besides the water corresponding to one-third of its mass, the body also loses about half of its proteins during the "black putrefaction" or "decaying" stage, an assumption unfavorable to my argument as it reduces the amount of energy available in the body and thus increases the amount of external flammable substances required for cremation.

The fat content I shall leave untouched pursuant to what is suggested by the above-quoted sources. Mattogno, who on pp. 1399f. suggests the possibility that the unearthed corpses were in a state of wax-fat transformation[190], will hardly have any grounds for objecting to this assumption.

The calorific profile of and amounts of wood required to burn the decomposing body of a ghetto deportee and the decomposing body of a deportee from outside the General Government would thus be the following:

Table 2.24 – wood requirements for cremating a decomposing deportee from outside the GG and a decomposing ghetto inhabitant

In response to my calculations in the critique now modified by tables 2.20 and 2.24, Mattogno repeats his own calculation in which the total heating value of a corpse’s combustion (as opposed to the heating value per kg of corpse) is a constant regardless of changes in the corpse’s mass. We have already seen what nonsensical results Mattogno’s calculation method leads to if applied to increasingly lower body masses, while my calculation method (in which the heating value per kg of corpse is constant) leads to more consistent results, even if it implies the simplified assumption (for lack of better data) that total heat consumption changes proportionally to the weight of the corpse.

To his flawed calculations Mattogno adds the argument (pp. 1402f) that the human skeleton’s bones, although they present "a positive balance of approx 15,400 kcal", also "burn endothermically, as can be seen from their flash point temperature of 700°C". That may be so, but it’s also a fact, borne out by three independent sources mentioned above, that burning bones requires considerably less external fuel per weight unit than burning a whole corpse.

Mattogno closes this section of his writings with the following conclusion:
These exposed facts show what the rational utilization of the fat in the experiments by Lothes and Profé really means. If, due to a careful conduction of the cremation, the fat is released and is burned in a slow and gradual way, it adds a considerable contribution to the combustion of the protein. If, however, the cremation proceeds uncontrolled, as it would have been the case in the Reinhardt camps, the fat is released and burned for the most part in the initial stage of the combustion process so that its energy can be utilized only partially, and what is lost must be substituted by external combustibles.

One doesn’t find anything in either of Lothes & Profé articles about the fat being released and "burned in a slow and gradual way" due to "a careful conduction of the cremation", so Mattogno must have sucked this out of his fingers. There’s no apparent difference between the way fat was released into the burning flammables below in Lothes & Profés experiments and the way this happened on the pyres of the extermination camps or the Dresden pyres.

Based on tables 2.20 and 2.24, one can subdivide the corpses cremated in the extermination camps as follows:
A – Decomposing, largely dehydrated corpses of sufficiently nourished deportees (Table 2.24). Average weight: 33.64 kg. Weight of wood required for cremation: 14.35 kg. Weight ratio: 0.43.
B – Decomposing, largely dehydrated corpses of malnourished deportees (Table 2.24). Average weight: 22.23 kg. Weight of wood required for cremation: 13.30 kg. Weight ratio: 0.60.
C – Non-decomposed corpses of malnourished deportees (Table 2.20). Average weight: 38 kg. Weight of wood required for cremation: 29.14 kg. Weight ratio: 0.77.
D - Non-decomposed corpses of sufficiently nourished deportees (Table 2.20). Average weight: 57 kg. Weight of wood required for cremation: 38.19 kg. Weight ratio: 0.67.

Categories A and B correspond to corpses that had been lying in mass graves for at least two months before being cremated. Considering the chronology of deportations shown in tables 2.21 to 2.23, these would be:

- Of the deportees to Bełżec, where wholesale cremation started in November 1942, at least those who had arrived until August 1942 inclusive;
- Of the deportees to Sobibór, all who arrived between May and August of 1942;
- Of the deportees to Treblinka, where successful wholesale cremation probably started in February 1943 (see discussion below; unsuccessful cremation attempts started earlier), all who arrived in 1942;
- Of the deportees to Chełmno, considering the statements by Franz Schalling and Fritz Ismer whereby unearthing of the previously buried corpses for cremation started in the summer of 1942[191], the deportees that arrived until May of 1942[192].

The corresponding revised wood consumption tables for the four camps are the following:

Table 2.25 – Dry wood requirements for burning the corpses at Sobibór

Table 2.26 – Dry wood requirements for burning the corpses at Bełżec

Table 2.27 – Dry wood requirements for burning the corpses at Treblinka

Table 2.28 – Dry wood requirements for burning the corpses at Chełmno

The following summary table shows the dry wood requirements for all four camps:

Table 2.29 – Dry wood requirements for burning the corpses at the four extermination camps

The total amount of 28,004.5 tons of dry wood exceeds the previously calculated amount shown in Table 8.22 on p. 482 of the critique (23,615.7 tons) by 4,388.8 tons.

The above calculations assume the use of dry, seasoned wood such as was used by Dr. Lothes and Dr. Profé in their carcass burning experiments. With freshly cut wood the amount required would have been somewhat higher. According to Mattogno in MGK’s Sobibór book[193],"1 kg of dry wood (20% humidity) with a calorific value of 3,800 kcal/kg is the equivalent of 1.9 kg of green wood." Assuming this is correct, and that the extermination camps could only obtain green wood for burning the corpses, the wood quantities in Table 2.29 would have to be multiplied by the factor 1.9, yielding the figures in Table 2.30 below.

Table 2.30 – Fresh wood requirements for burning the corpses at the four extermination camps

Mattogno’s further objections against my previous calculations in the critique have partially been addressed already, namely
a) his repeated claim (p. 1404) that "the system used in Chełmno was similar to the Feist apparatus" (which applies only to the ca. 7,000 corpses burned in the second 1944/45 phase of the camp’s operation, whereas in the first phase the method considered most efficient was the burning on grates according to Fritz Ismer[194], and what little is known about the oven or oven(s) also used in the first phase shows that they were different from Mattogno’s Feist apparatus);
b) his repeated claim that the fuel weight to carcass weight ratio in the Feist apparatus is 2:93:1 "without considering the petroleum, straw and foliage" (even if the Feist apparatus and the 2nd phase ovens at Chełmno were exactly the same and operated in the same manner, and if Mattogno understood his sources about the Feist facility’s fuel consumption correctly[195], fuel requirements cannot be compared as the Feist apparatus was fueled so as to achieve a more thorough degree of combustion than was achieved in the Chełmno ovens);
c) his argument that "the first two ovens were built in spring 1942 according to the judge Bednarz, which means between the end of March and the end of June 1942, which means that the alleged new corpses were cremated immediately without burial" ( first of all, the witnesses interrogated by Judge Bednarz were uncertain about whether the cremations had started in the spring or in the summer, or then some recalled spring whereas others recalled summer; second, there would have been no need for replacing burial by cremation in the spring, considering that the hygienic problems associated to rotting corpses would arise in hot rather than in cold weather; and third, there is independent corroboration for the summer timing by witnesses not interrogated by Bednarz, such as Fritz Ismer and Frank Schalling[196]).

Where they have not been addressed already, they don’t need to be addressed as the calculations have changed. I will therefore move directly to Mattogno’s comments about my considerations regarding where the wood required to burn the corpses was obtained.

As concerns Chełmno, it is clear that the wood was obtained from external suppliers, including the Pole Michał Radoszewski[197] and the German forest superintendent Heinrich May, who in his account about Chełmno[198] recalled the following regarding the camp’s 1st phase:
I requested the fuel wood from the State Forestry Office (Landesforstamt) where I was ordered to give it to Bothmann.
First, I provided him with a large quantity of poles and gnarled wood. Later I also had to provide some thicker wood. Finally, the demand was so great that I had to cut down all the trees in some of the forest districts.

Regarding the camp’s 2nd phase, May recalled that
In the spring of 1944, Bothmann and his special unit returned unexpectedly and again demanded large quantities of fuel wood.

No testimonies of external wood suppliers similar to May’s are known regarding Bełżec, Sobibór and Treblinka, but there’s no reason why, working in an occupied country noted for its abundant wood production[199], the staff of these camps should not have had access to such suppliers as well.

In the critique I had calculated the relatively modest truck or rail transport capacity that would have been required to transport to the extermination camps the amounts of fresh or dry wood calculated in the critique (with the currently calculated amounts of, respectively, dry and fresh wood, the capacity would have been 5,601 and 10,642 5-ton truckloads or 1,120 and 2,128 railway car loads á 25 tons). This prompted Mattogno to produce the following pearl:
Obviously there is not documentary and no testimonial trace of this huge inflow of lorries or of trains full of wood. But who cares? The speculation is convenient to Muehlenkamp, and it therefore does not require any proof.

Now look who’s talking. Whereas I of course require proof of systematic mass murder (which is what all related evidence inequivocally points to, with no evidence pointing in another direction), Mattogno obviously requires no proof at all in support of his "transit camp" pet theory, whose utter hollowness is borne out especially by the fact that, to this day, no "Revisionist" has been able to provide the name of a single individual who was "transited" via the supposed "transit camps" to the Soviet territories occupied by Nazi Germany. However, this doesn’t mean that every ancillary detail of what happened at these camps, like the amount and provenance of cremation fuel, has to be proven by evidence, especially if one considers that the camp records were destroyed (as mentioned in Globocnik’s letter to Himmler of 5.1.1944, Nuremberg document 4024-PS) and that wood shipments were hardly a detail that would under the circumstances catch the particular attention of camp staff members, inmates or bystanders or be of interest to interrogators in the course of criminal investigations, which were about establishing the basic facts of the crime and the deeds of the perpetrators rather than the crime’s logistics. In this respect the question is whether absence of evidence means evidence of absence, and unlike in what concerns the names of supposedly "transited" Jews[200], the answer in what concerns external wood supplies to Bełżec, Sobibór and Treblinka is clearly "no". Mattogno claims that "the exclusive use of Waldkommandos" is what becomes apparent from the eyewitness evidence, but he’d be hard-pressed to find an eyewitness testimony that expressly or even implicitly rules out that wood was also obtained from sources other than inmate lumbering detachments. On the other hand there is at least one witness to external fuel supplies to Sobibór, Unterscharführer Werner Becker, whose testimony I quoted after Arad’s book (where he is called "Becher Werner")[201] and who Mattogno quotes as follows on p. 1406[202]:
"Ich habe verschiedene Dienste ausgeführt, so wie bereits gesagt, ich habe Lebensmittel für das Lager sowie Holz für die Verbrennung der Menschen gebracht." "I performed various services, as already stated, I brought victuals for the camp as well as wood for the combustion of people."

Mattogno argues that as it seems unbelievable that the camp’s forest commando "carried the tons of wood they cut into the camp by hand", it is more likely "that the wood was loaded on lorries or onto similar devices", and that this is what Becker’s statement refers to. However, Mattogno’s hypothesis – for which he presents no evidence, after having made a fuss about there being no evidence for my hypothesis of external fuel supply – is contradicted as concerns Treblinka by Richard Glazar, a witness that Mattogno will later try to use to his advantage. As concerns the felling and transportation of wood for cremation, Glazar wrote the following[203]:
To clear the woods around the perimeter of the camp – that’s our main task now. Felled trees are hauled into camp and chopped into firewood. As spring becomes summer without transports, the greatest concentration of activity in the first camp moves down to the grounds behind the Ukrainian barracks, to the lumberyard. Those of us from Barracks A work there, along with other commando units who had previously worked at the sorting site. Idyllic mounds of freshly sawn and split firewood grow up and shine out from among the towering pines that have not been felled. A path runs along the side of the lumberyard and leads up to the main gate of the second camp. Though it is some seventy meters away, the gate is clearly visible from our work site. Here we deliver what wood is needed in that part of the camp. No one from there is allowed out to work by the SS. The main work in the second camp still consists of digging up and incinerating the bodies from old transports.

Nothing there about the wood being transported by truck as opposed to being taken where it was required by the very detachment(s) in charge of cutting it. If the same procedure as at Treblinka was adopted at Sobibór – and there are no reasons for assuming that it was not –, then Becker’s account, as also becomes apparent from the context (Becker mentioned wood along with victuals he also brought for the camp), was referring to wood he brought in addition to that procured by the lumbering detachment.

Now, let us counter-intuitively assume that the staff of Bełżec, Sobibór and Treblinka did not have external wood suppliers like Radoszewski and May at Chełmno. How would they have then coped with the fact that their inmate lumbering detachments could not procure all the wood required for burning the corpses? The answer to this question comes via one of Mattogno’s most imbecilic remarks, which can be found on p. 1415 of the magnum opus:
In the case of Dresden it was necessary to cremate within short notice the corpses without the supply of huge amounts of fuel wood. In the Reinhardt camps there existed no such urgency, and an unlimited amount of wood was available in the surroundings. In such a situation, only a Muehlenkamp would have decided to cremate the corpses using gasoline instead of wood. The SS, to their fortune, were not Muehlenkamps.

With no external wood suppliers and insufficient lumbering capacities of their own, an unlimited amount of wood available in the surroundings wouldn’t have solved the cremation requirements of the Aktion Reinhard(t) camps, so they would have had to turn to liquid fuel as their main combustion agent – just like the people in charge of burning the corpses on the Dresden Altmarkt.

The following table shows the amounts of gasoline that would have been required to burn the corpses at the extermination camps if gasoline had wholly replaced wood as an external flammable. The amounts were calculated on the basis of the fresh wood amounts in Table 2.30 and Mattogno’s claim in MGK’s Sobibór book that 100 kg of fresh wood are the equivalent of 19 liters of gasoline[204]

Table 2.31 – Gasoline requirements for burning the corpses at the four extermination camps

Like it predecessor tables showing the dry wood or fresh wood consumption that would have been required, the above table is theoretical insofar as the SS didn’t use only solid or liquid fuel and neither used one type of either alone. They used various types of solid and liquid fuels, in proportions that can not longer be established. On the basis of multiple eyewitness accounts in each case, Sara Berger has established the following regarding the three camps of Aktion Reinhard(t):
Bełżec: Layers of corpses and wood were alternately placed on the grates consisting of railway rails, doused with a flammable liquid (oil or gasoline) and set on fire. [205]
Sobibór: Underneath the grates made of railway rails a fire was lit with branches and twigs, petroleum and charcoal. The corpses on top of the grates were doused in a flammable liquid. [206]
Treblinka: The burning was done with dry wood and brushwood as well as rags and chunks of wood drenched in petroleum, gasoline, diesel and crude oil. [207]

Regarding Treblinka Berger writes that the wood was collected by the lower camp’s forest detachment (Waldkommando), but the use of dry wood makes it seem doubtful whether this was the only source, as the only dry wood (as opposed to fresh wood) that the forest detachment could have harvested would have been brushwood, of which there must have been a large supply also due to the constant replacement, as they dried up, of branches and leaves woven for camouflage purposes into the camp’s extensive outer and inner fencing. [208]

The use of rags is easy to explain as there must have been plenty available from the clothes and bed sheets that were taken away from the victims before killing them. The use of rags drenched in liquid fuel is of interest in connection with the previously quoted argument of Mattogno’s whereby the clothes worn by the bodies burned on the Dresden pyres made them burn better than those on the extermination camps’ pyres.

If placed between and/or below the bodies, the rags drenched in flammable material at Treblinka would have contributed heat to the burning process. Additionally they might have the wick effect mentioned in an article by John D. DeHaan and others[209]. The authors described an experiment they performed as follows (emphases added):
In the test reported here, a freshly-slaughtered pig carcass with a net weight of 215 lb. (95 kg) was wrapped in a cotton blanket and placed on a carpet-covered plywood panel. The fire was initiated using 1 L of gasoline poured on the shoulder area of the blanket-wrapped carcass. The gasoline burned off within 4 min, having ignited a large area of the blanket and adjoining carpet. Flames from those fuel packages resulted in the establishment of a steady-state fire sustained by the rendering of the body fat, with the necessary wick provided by the charred cotton blanket and carpet. The heat release rate of this fire was 60 +- 10 kW, with flames less than 12 in. (0.35 m) high for its duration. The fire sustained itself by the rendering process for more than 6 ½ h from ignition, at which time it was extinguished. An average mass loss rate of 1.5 g/s (5.3 kg/h) was observed during the self-sustained fire. Extensive destruction of the carcass (more than 60% by weight) included reduction of large bones to a fragile, ashen state.

They reached the following conclusions (emphasis added):
It has been demonstrated that given a source of external ignition of some duration (10 to 15 min or longer) such as a fire in clothing or bedding, the skin of a body can char and split and the melted, subcutaneous fat be released. If that fat can be absorbed onto a suitable porous rigid substrate that can act like a wick, it can support flaming combustion for as long as fuel is available.[…]Given enough time and an adequate wick, such fires can sustain themselves for many hours, accomplishing a great deal of damage including fragmentation and powdering of bone.

The rags used to burn corpses at Treblinka may have contributed in a similar manner to sustaining the bodies’ combustion with their own subcutaneous fat.

As to the liquid flammables mentioned by Berger (petroleum, gasoline, diesel and crude oil), there’s no evidence regarding when and in what amounts these substances were brought into the camp, just as there is no evidence to the delivery of dry wood from external suppliers. But as the evidence shows that these substances were there and used in abundance (the rags, which must have been plentiful, were drenched in them, as were chunks of wood), the evidence whose absence Mattogno decries is not needed to ascertain the factuality of these liquid flammables’ availability and usage.


[173] MGK, Sobibór, p. 139.
[174] Flaminio Fidanza, "Effects of starvation on body composition", The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1980 33: 7 1562-6 ([link]).
[175] Alexander Bertuccioli, Dall’indagine antropometrica alla composizione corporea. Manuale pratico, in:; Massa grassa, in:
[176] A. Roberto Frisancho, Human Adaptation and Accomodation. University of Michigan, 1993, p. 382.
[177] "Had he read my text more carefully, he would also have noticed that on the previous page I had indicated the energy contents of dry wood with 3,800 kcal/kg; it is therefore obvious that the above-mentioned 23 kg is a rounded value (the exact value is in fact 23.26 kg)."
[178] "Body Mass Index (BMI) berechnen" ([link]).
[179] According to Fidanza (as note 174).
[180] Experten der Vernichtung, pp. 416 to 431.
[181] Critique, Table 8.1 on p. 459 and p. 475.
[182] The Australian Museum’s webpage "Stages of Decomposition" ([link]).
[183] See the blog ""Alleged" Mass Graves and other Mattogno Fantasies (Part 4, Section 2)" ([link]).
[184] See the blog "Belzec Mass Graves and Archaeology: My Response to Carlo Mattogno (4,2)" ([link]).
[185] As previous note.
[186] See the blog ""Alleged" Mass Graves and other Mattogno Fantasies (Part 4, Section 1)", footnote 126 ([link]).
[187] "Stage 4: Black putrefaction - 10 to 20 days after death" ([link]).
[188] "Stage 5: Butyric fermentation - 20 to 50 days after death" ([link]).
[189] "Insects of forensic importance from Rio Grande do Sul state in southern Brazil", in: Revista Brasileira de Entomologia, vol. 52 no.4 São Paulo 2008, online under [link].
[190] An argument he already put forward in his previous response to this writer, which is discussed in the blog "Belzec Mass Graves and Archaeology: My Response to Carlo Mattogno (4,2)" ([link]).
[191] See the blog "Mattogno’s Cremation Encyclopedia (Part 1, Section 2a)" ([link]).
[192] See the blog "Mattogno on Chełmno Cremation (Part 2)" ([link]).
[193] MGK, Sobibór, p.143.
[194] See the blog "Mattogno’s Cremation Encyclopedia (Part 1, Section 2a)" ([link]).
[195] Big "ifs", see the blog "Mattogno on Chełmno Cremation (Part 2)" ([link]).
[196] See the blog "Mattogno’s Cremation Encyclopedia (Part 1, Section 2a)" ([link]).
[197] See the blog "Mattogno on Chełmno Cremation (Part 2)", note 119 ([link]).
[198] Transcribed in the blog "A Great Lie" ([link]).
[199] As mentioned on p. 483 of the critique, already in 1921 Poland’s state forests alone furnished 3,439,047 cubic meters of building timber and 2,019,758 cubic meters of fuel wood. Privately owned wood preserves, according to the same article, yielded 25,000,000 cubic meters of wood per annum, of which only 12,000,000 cubic meters were used to satisfy domestic requirements of reconstruction, fuel, mining etc. while the rest could be exported. According to a source mentioned in MGK’s Sobibór book (the webpage "Weight of various types of wood",, the weight of freshly cut red pine (the kind of wood abounding in the Sobibor area) is 880 kg per cubic meter, which means that 53,210.5 tons of fresh wood would have a volume of ca. 60,467 cubic meters, a mere 0.47% of the export yield of 13 million cubic meters or 0.24% of the total yield of Poland’s privately owned wood preserves of 25 million cubic meters in 1921.
[200] See the blog "Challenge to Supporters of the Revisionist Transit Camp Theory" ([link]).
[201] Arad, Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka, p. 171.
[202] After Peter Lang (ed.), Der "Euthanasie"-Prozeß Dresden 1947. Eine zeitgeschichtliche Dokumentation, Frankfurt am Main/Berlin/Bern/New York/Paris/Wien, 1993, p. 183.
[203] Richard Glazar Trap with a Green Fence, translated by Roslyn Theobald, 1995 Northwestern University Press, Illinois, p. 115.
[204] MGK, Sobibór, p.143 n.423 n.426.
[205] Experten der Vernichtung. p. 191; list of testimonies regarding the procedure and the fuel in note 11 on p. 540.
[206] Experten der Vernichtung. p. 198; list of testimonies regarding the procedure and the fuel in note 41 on p. 543.
[207] Experten der Vernichtung. p. 212; list of testimonies regarding the procedure and the fuel in note 118 on p. 550.
[208] See the blog "«B» as in «Bullshit» " ([link]).
[209] John D. DeHaan, Ph.D. and Said Nurbakhsh, Ph.D, "Sustained Combustion of an Animal Carcass and Its Implications for the Consumption of Human Bodies in Fires", Journal of Forensic Sciences 2001 Sep;46(5):1076-81; online reprint under [link].

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