So I had a look at Episode 11: Treblinka Burial Space [YouTube version] of this video, where it is supposedly proven that there was not enough space available in the mass graves of Treblinka extermination camp to bury ca. 700,000 or more dead bodies. What I found was nothing to write home about.
Believe it or not, the "Revisionist" creator of this video episode assumes that no more than 3 corpses per cubic meter could fit into the mass graves of the "Aktion Reinhard(t)" camps (470,304 cubic meters for 1.38 million corpses in the three camps Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka or 11.250 cubic meters for 33,010 corpses in an average mass grave of Treblinka, as described by witnesses). The underlying calculations are based on a presumably deliberate misunderstanding of the following description on page 112 of Yitzhak Arad’s book Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka. The Operation Reinhard Death Camps:
This group of several dozen men worked at the burial ditches. After the victims' bodies were thrown into a pit by the body-transport workers, the corpses were arranged in rows by the burial detail. To save space, the bodies were arranged head to foot; each head lay between the feet of two other corpses, and each pair of feet between two heads. Sand or chlorine was scattered between the layers of bodies. Approximately half the team worked inside the ditches arranging the corpses at the same time that the other half was covering a layer of bodies with sand. When a ditch filled up, it was topped off with earth and a new ditch was opened.
Arad obviously refers to a head-to-foot arrangement of the bodies in the sense that the head of the second body was placed next to the feet of the first one, the feet of the third body were placed next to the head of the second body, the head of the fourth body was placed next to the feet of the third body, and so on. For only thus would the arrangement lead to saving space, which Arad states to have been the purpose, by creating a partial overlap between the widths of the bodies and avoiding empty lateral spaces in between them. What the "Revisionist" video genius made of this, on the other hand, cannot be called a head-to-foot arrangement; it rather looks like a human pyramid formed by athletes at a sporting event standing on each other’s shoulders. Neither does it save space, for whatever space is gained by partially overlapping one body’s head with the lower limbs and feet of the bodies next to it is lost by enlarging the empty lateral spaces between the bodies in relation to what they would be if the bodies were simply placed shoulder to shoulder. It may even be argued that this arrangement wastes space rather than saving any.
After thus misrepresenting the arrangement of the bodies described by Arad, the genius calculates length, width and height – making allowance for the aforementioned overlap between one body’s head and the adjacent bodies’ lower limbs and feet – as if the bodies were encased in a virtual box the measurements of which correspond to their length minus head, their width at the widest body part (the shoulders) and their height at the highest body part (the chest). This calculation, of course, assumes a lot of empty space, particularly around the legs and neck, as if the body were in a tightly-fitting coffin. Given that these empty spaces were minimized or avoided altogether by the horizontal arrangement described by Arad, as well as a presumably similar head to foot – arrangement in the vertical, including them in the measurements unduly increases the calculated volume of space occupied by a body.
The measurements thus obtained are: 50 inches or 1.27 meters for length, 26 inches or 0.6604 meters for width and 9 inches or 0.2286 meters for height. The shoulder width considered, 26 inches or 0.6604 cm, seems to be somewhat generous, to say the least. 26 inches, according to R&D Ergonomics, is the threshold to very wide shoulders. The largest shoulder width for football shoulder pads available at Dick’s Sporting Goods is 23 – 24 inches or 0.5842 to 0.6096 meters. It seems rather implausible that even the adult males among the Jews deported to Treblinka, after years of ghetto hunger and hardship, had anything like what is apparently considered a large shoulder width for well-fed American adult males.
Multiplying these values leads to a volume of 0.1917 cubic meters, which would mean a density of about 5 bodies per cubic meter (5.2157). This apparently is still too much for the genius, so he adds a layer of sand or chlorine no less than 7 inches or 17.78 cm thick supposedly placed over each layer of bodies. This addition is arbitrary and in contradiction with Arad’s description, which speaks of some sand or chlorine being scattered between the layers of bodies. By converting what seems to have been a negligibly thick amount of sand or chlorine scattered over the bodies into a layer 17.78 cm thick, in addition to his previous manipulations, the genius then arrives at the ridiculously high volume-per-body and correspondingly low density of bodies in the grave that he expects his gullible readers to swallow: 0.3408 cubic meters occupied by one body plus the sand or chlorine topping it and roughly 3 (2.9338) bodies per cubic meter.
The fallacies of this showpiece of "Revisionist" science thus exposed, let’s now have a look at what the actual density of corpses in the Treblinka mass graves can be expected to have been, considering that
i) the bodies were arranged in the space-saving manner described above, and not like what the video genius made out of Arad’s description, and
ii) the bodies were mostly those of women and children or elderly men, who unlike young adult males were of little or no use as forced laborers and therefore the first the Nazis wanted to get rid of.
"Revisionist" guru Carlo Mattogno, see the quote in Section 4.1 of my article Carlo Mattogno on Belzec Archaeological Research, writes that
On the basis of experimental data, the maximum capacity of a mass grave can be set at 8 corpses per cubic meter, assuming that one third of them are children.
According to the calculations of Alex Bay, the volume displacement of the "ideal man" is 3.3 cubic feet, which equals 0.093445594 cubic meters. This would mean a density of ca. 11 bodies (10.7014) per cubic meter.
Regarding a "population" of the Belzec gas chambers that consisted mostly of children, Charles Provan experimentally proved that 703 people could fit into a room with 5 x 5 x 1.9 = 47.5 cubic meters, which corresponds to a density of ca. 15 persons (14.8) per cubic meter.
As was to be expected, the "Revisionist" genius furthermore based his claim of an insufficient grave volume at Treblinka on drawings or models of the camp, which even where scaled do not necessarily show all parts and objects of the camp presented therein true to their actual relative sizes and distances (the drawings or models rely heavily on eyewitness recollections, which apart from the general problems of this source of evidence when it comes to measurements, quantities and distances are affected by difficulties particular to the Treblinka camp that are referred to on the Aktion Reinhard Camps site). So it seems more appropriate, in order to determine the size of the graves area and the presumable size of the graves, to rely on the only measurements by a land surveyor that, to my knowledge, have so far been carried out in regard to Treblinka. These were mentioned by the Central Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes in Poland in their 1946 report on Treblinka. In the English translation of this report , the following is stated:
The evidence on which this account relies is in the first place the testimony of 13 Jews, former prisoners at Treblinka, who succeeded in escaping during the armed revolt of August 2, 1943. Their names are: Jankiel Wiernik, Henryk Poswolski, Abe Kon, Aron Czechowicz, Oskar Strawczynski, Samuel Reisman, Aleksander Kudlik, Hejnoch Brener, Starisław Kon, Eugeniusz Turowski, Henryk Reichman, Szyja Warszawsski, and Leon Finkelsztejn.
Additional facts concerning particularly the number of railway transports, is to be found in the evidence of 11 Polish railway workers.
The railway records at Treblinka station have a1so been consulted, as well as documents and coins dug out during the levelling of the surface; and the results of legal and medical inquiries, as well was the sworn evidence of a land surveyor, were used by the prosecutors.
There are also other traces. For example, in the north-eastern part, over a surface covering about 2 ha. (5 acres),
there are large quantities of ashes mixed with sand, among which are numerous human bones, often with the remains of decomposing tissues.
As a result of an examination made by an expert it was found that ashes were the remains of burnt human bones. The examination of numerous human skulls found in the camp has shown that they bear no traces of external injuries. Within a radius of several hundred yards from the camp site an unpleasant smell of burnt ash and decay is noticeable, growing stronger as one approaches.
If we assume that the area covered with "large quantities of ashes mixed with sand, among which are numerous human bones" was the area of the mass graves, which seems a reasonable thing to do, then the size of this area was 2 ha or 20,000 square meters. If on this area there were ten graves with the measurements 50 x 25 x 10 meters, or a smaller number of larger graves covering an equivalent area, there were still 7,500 square meters left to enable movement in between the graves. Assuming 9 meters depth available for burial, as the video’s creator does, this would mean that 12,500 x 9 = 112,500 cubic meters of grave space were available, and assuming an average density of 8 corpses per cubic meter – which considering Alex Bay's calculations and Provan’s experiment seems a rather conservative estimate – this space would be enough to bury 112,500 x 8 = 900,000 corpses. This order of magnitude is in line with the statements of defendant Franz Suchomel at the first Treblinka trial, who is referred to in the judgment as having recalled that, according to his comrade Pötzinger, one alone of the mass graves opened in the spring of 1943 had about 80,000 dead bodies in it. It is also in line with the documentary and demographic evidence to the deportations to Treblinka, which includes but is not limited to the report sent by SS-Sturmbannführer Höfle in Lublin on 11 January 1943 to Obersturmbannführer Heim in Krakow, according to which 713,555 people had been delivered at Treblinka on 31.12.1942 already. There is no evidence that these people, or any that followed, were ever taken anywhere further, and no more than a few dozen survivors from among these deportees ever showed up.
So what is this video episode, which supposedly proves that there was not enough burial space for 700,000 corpses at Treblinka? What I expected it to be: more of the beaten old "Revisionist" hoaxing in a new package, with nice computer pictures and models to mask its fallacies and impress a public of gullible true believers. Of the other episodes I expect nothing better.
A few words about Episode 12: Belzec Burial Space [YouTube version], which is based on Episode 11: Treblinka Burial Space: the archaeological investigation led by Prof. Andrzej Kola on the area of Belzec between 1997 and 1999, during which 33 mass graves with a total volume of ca. 21,000 cubic meters were identified, is not even mentioned in that episode, where instead a fuss is made about a drawing of Belzec extermination camp in Yitzhak Arad’s book about the camps of "Aktion Reinhard(t)", which states no scale, makes no pretension to be an accurate representation of the relative sizes and distances of the objects in the camp, and is overruled by the results of Kola’s investigation in what concerns the depiction of the mass graves. Why the grave volume established by Prof. Kola was sufficient, considering the circumstances present at Belzec, to bury the corpses of the 434,508 deportees to that camp mentioned in Höfle’s report to Heim of 11 January 1943, is explained in Section 4.1 of my article Carlo Mattogno on Belzec Archaeological Research .
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