Belzec or the Holocaust Controversy of Roberto Muehlenkamp

Published: 2009-01-01

On the Holocaust Controversies[1] blog website, an article by a certain Roberto Muehlenkamp has appeared that attempts to refute, in part, the American edition of my study on the Bełżec camp[2], in particular Chapter IV entitled “Bełżec in Polish Archeological Research (1997 to 1999)”. This chapter contains an analysis of the report on the excavations (drillings and diggings) carried out in the camp between 1997 and 1999 by a group of archeologists under Professor Andrzej Kola of the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, Poland. The report has been published in Polish[3] as well as in English[4]. Muehlenkamp’s criticism further covers Chapter V of my study, which is devoted to the documented history of the Bełżec camp. I will examine this criticism, which to a large degree follows the layout of my text, paragraph by paragraph.

1. “Nature and Purpose of Kola’s Archaeological Investigation”

It is the assertion of Muehlenkamp that in my presentation, I have distorted the scope of the archeological investigation. As evidence of this, he quotes the beginning of my argument (italics mine):

"In 1997, the Rada Ochrony Pamięci Walk i Męczeństwa (Council for safeguarding the remembrance of struggle and martyrdom) of Warsaw, together with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum of Washington, D.C., decided to undertake archeological diggings within the area of the former camp at Bełżec, with the principal aim of identifying the mass graves described by witnesses"[5].

He then levels the following accusation against me:

"It is thus to be assumed that, unless he is a very sloppy reader of the documents he assesses, Mattogno deliberately misled his readers about the nature and purpose of the archaeological investigation carried out by Kola, to then derisively point out the alleged deficiencies of this investigation, especially the fact that the corpses were not exhumed, and to come up with “Revisionist” conspiracy theories about the presumed reason for these supposed omissions."

To put it briefly: according to Muehlenkamp the scope of the diggings consisted merely in examining the soil of the former camp as part of the construction of a new memorial, so as to not disturb humans remains. In their work of “identifying the parts of the former camp area which contain human remains”, Kola and his team, “guided by ethical considerations about respect for the rest of the dead” were to “keep the disturbance of human remains to the minimum”. There is no doubt that such was the officially expressed motivation. I address this in the Italian edition of my study:

"The official pretext was that, without a preliminary survey of the camp’s soil, the construction of the new Bełżec memorial might have disturbed areas containing mass graves"[6].

But what was the real motivation? Muehlenkamp rashly quotes against me a statement by Michael Tregenza, one of the major experts on Bełżec:

"The primary goal [vorrangige Ziel] of this investigation consisted in locating the structure of the camp and the mass graves, so that neither the planned monument nor the museum, which are to be completed in the autumn of 2000, touch this."

This only confirms my assertion: that the primary goal was to locate the mass graves. The real issue here is the purpose behind the attempt to identify the mass graves. The official explanation, that of the new memorial, is clearly deceptive. When building a structure inside an area of archeological importance, one conducts a survey of the soil at the projected construction site, not an examination of the entire area. If the survey then turns up something of importance, one simply changes the construction site. Why then were surveys carried out not only in the entire Bełżec camp area, but also outside of it?

It is clear that the story of the memorial is merely a pretext, allowing for a thorough examination of the entire camp area in the hope of localizing mass graves (presumably able to contain 600,000 corpses) and archeological remains (of the alleged gassing installations) that would provide material evidence for the alleged exterminations at Bełżec, and thus silence historical revisionists. When the results of the surveys failed to meet these expectations, the team fell back on the official alibi of the memorial: human remains had not been searched for and the minor remains discovered could eventually not be exhumated for “moral” reasons. However, also this explanation is questionable.

In 1945, the infamous “Nazi hunter” Simon Wiesenthal published an article entitled “RIF” which opened with these words:

"In the last week of March, the Rumanian press published a unique piece of news: In the little Rumanian town of Folteceni, twenty boxes of soap were laid to rest in the Jewish cemetery with all the traditional pomp and circumstance of a funeral. The soap had recently been found in a former German army depot. The boxes were clearly labeled ‘RIF – Rein jüdisches Fett’ [RIF – pure Jewish fat]. The boxes were destined for the Waffen-SS, and on the wrappers it said with full and cynical objectivity that the soap had been made from Jewish bodies"[7].

He further claimed that a human soap factory, using as its “raw material 900,000 Jews” had been discovered at Bełżec. In reality, the acronym “RIF” stood for Reichsstelle für industrielle Fettversorgung (“Reich Center for Industrial Fat Provisioning”), an institution which had nothing to do with human fat, no less Jewish such, and the story of human soap has been relegated by Holocaust historiography to the realm of propaganda legends[8]

What is important here is the burial, “with all the traditional pomp and circumstance of a funeral”, of the presumed remains of Jewish bodies. This has even more bearing on the (presumably) Jewish corpses in wax-fat transformation detected by Kola. According to Judaic tradition, dead Jews on Judgment Day can only be judged on place in Jerusalem, thus the popular saying that “every Jew who dies outside Palestine must use his fingernails to dig his way to Jerusalem” and exactly for this reason one “clean with scrupulous care the nails” of the dead[9]. Besides this ritual, interment “in the soil of Israel” is a desideratum for Jews, and, when not possible, “a small amount of soil from Israel is placed under the head or body of the Jew buried in the diaspora”[10].

From the religious point of view, it would therefore be much more “moral” to exhume the saponified corpses and rebury them according to Jewish ritual, so that they not be excluded from the Final Judgment.

The most obvious irrefutable proof that the primary aim of Kola’s investigations was the search for the mass graves and remains of the alleged gas chambers is the very book we are dealing with: the report of Andrzej Kola, which was published exactly in order to reveal the results of the search for the mass graves and gas chambers, without even minimal attention given to the problem of the optimal localization for the memorial. This fact reveals to us the false nature of the officially stated purpose.

As Muehlenkamp very well knows, Kola’s excavation, despite its failure, was quickly put to propagandistic use and touted as “material evidence” for the alleged extermination of Jews at Bełżec. I have before me the July 23, 1998 issue of the newspaper Il Manifesto. On its first page, we read the headline:

“A camp rediscovered. At Bełżec (Poland) the Nazis constructed their first extermination camp. In its gas chambers 600,000 Jews were killed. Only now has the truth come to light, thanks to a group of archeologists.”

Regarding the number of victims Tregenza makes the remark:

"Today it is officially spoken of “at least 600,000 murdered people”. However, in the light of new research and excavations, one must assume a considerably higher victim figure – possibly up towards one million"[11].

Accordingly, the excavation by Kola would have provided the “material evidence” for the extermination at Bełżec of 400,000 more Jews than the commonly held victim figure of 600,000.

The news spread quickly. To give only one example, Roberto Sforni, billed as “one of the world’s major experts on the extermination camps Bełżec, Sobibór and Treblinka” and author of the book Il sabba di Bełżec. Con la traduzione italiana della testimonianza del sopravvissuto Rudolf Reder (“The Bełżec Hell. With a translation of the testimony of the survivor Rudolf Reder”)[12] has presented “the result of the recent archeological excavations”[13] as “material evidence” for the exterminations.

The falseness of the officially stated purpose behind the archeological investigations is still more obvious in respect to the archeological findings. Regarding these I have written:

"The Polish researchers also sought to identify the buildings that had been at Bełżec. The results have been described in detail by A. Kola. What strikes us immediately in Kola’s account is that, opposed to the procedure with the mass graves, actual diggings were undertaken to bring to light the original structures. Kola has published a dozen photographs of these. This was done out of an obvious scientific intent: The primary and essential task of the Polish archeologists was the search for traces of the missing gas chambers. For this reason they unearthed and examined any kind of structural remnant in the hope that it might belong to the gas chambers, but they were careful not to disinter and examine the remains in the mass graves, because, as we have seen, this would have risked too blatant a refutation of the thesis of mass extermination. The need to find the remnants of the gas chambers has spurred Kola into advancing the most unconvincing hypotheses"[14].

This only goes to show the immense efforts and ridiculous calculations Kola had to undertake in order to present the remains of two all too innocuous constructions as the remains of the camp’s alleged gas chambers, in the process blatantly contradicting judicial findings and court testimony, as will be demonstrated below in Section 5.

If the construction of the memorial was the sole motive behind the archeological investigations, why then were all the archeological sites excavated? And why did Kola search so desperately among them for the imaginary gas chambers? 

It is thus all too obvious that the primary purpose of the Polish excavations was to localize the mass graves and alleged gas chambers of the camp as “material evidence” in favor of the extermination thesis, and so I have not “deceived” anyone, but merely shown the inconsistency and falseness of the official motivation behind the excavations, while exposing the real one.

2. “Location and Form of the Mass Graves”

Muehlenkamp next provides a long citation from my book, but omits the part preceding it, so that much of its meaning is lost. For sake of comparison I here give this paragraph in full:

"Andrzej Kola has made a drawing of the Bełżec camp, with the area of the mass graves marked by vertical shading [see Document 3].

A drawing published by Robin O’Neil [see Document 4] shows the actual position of the graves and their peripheries in more detail. The majority of the graves is located along the northwestern border of the camp (on the left in the drawing), some graves are near the center of the camp, and a few lie along the northeastern border (at the top in the drawing).

In 1946 Rudolf Reder wrote a paper entitled “Bełżec”, which was published in Krakow by the central Jewish historical commission. On p. 43 of this leaflet there is a map of the camp, drawn by J. Bau according to information from the witness [see Document 1]. This drawing – which Kola publishes without comment – is upside down with respect to normal practice. It shows 26 graves along the northwestern border and 6 in the center.

The official map of the camp was drawn by the investigative commission of the German crimes in Poland and appeared in the article “The Bełżec extermination camp” by Eugeniusz Szrojt, a member of this group. There, the area of the graves is represented by a rectangle placed near the northeastern border of the camp.

In conclusion, we can see that the location given by Kola for the majority of the graves is in disagreement both with Rudolf Reder’s testimony and with the findings of the Polish investigative commission. Furthermore, an examination of the map of Bełżec as published by Arad[15] [see Document 9] forces one to conclude that the quarters of the Ukrainian guards, the hygienic installations (barbers, infirmary, dentists for the SS and the Ukrainians), the kitchen for the Ukrainian guards, the garage, and the shoemakers’ and tailors’ workshops (shown on the map as numbers 3, 4, 5, 7 and 8) were located right next to mass graves or even on top of them!

These are not the only problems stemming from the location of the graves. Kola’s and Robin O’Neil’s maps (...) show mass graves scattered at random all over the camp, without any particular orientation or order. It is not necessary here to invoke the proverbial German pedantry, which has been well discussed by Rudolf Reder. On his map, in fact, the mythical 30 mass graves all have the same shapes, dimensions, orientation, and are properly arranged in two parallel rows. This is simply a matter of common sense: An orderly arrangement of the graves would obviously have allowed more efficient use to be made of the limited space available within the camp, and a better hygienic protection of the camp personnel. It is no exaggeration to claim that, if the camp commander had had the mass graves dug in such an irregular fashion, he would have been shot for sabotage. Unless, of course, he had peculiar artistic inclinations. Many graves shown by Kola have, in fact, the oddest shapes!"[16].

Muehlenkamp criticise my argument as follows:

"If there is a contradiction in the location of the mass graves between the map made by J. Bau on the basis of the witness Reder’s description and the maps drawn by the investigative commission of the German crimes in Poland on the one hand and the results of Kola’s investigation on the other, as Mattogno claims, this may be explained by the fact that the area of the graves shown in the investigative commission’s maps corresponds to the graves Kola located in the eastern part of the camp, while in what concerns the drawing by J. Bau there exists the possibility of a misunderstanding of Reder’s description, which may also not have been very clear and/or exact in this respect" (italics mine).

This however is an attempt at obfuscation. The map in question bears, together with an official seal, the inscription “Na podstawie powiadania R. Redera rysował Józef Bau”, literally: “Drawn by Józef Bau based on the account of R. Reder”[17]. These are the factual circumstances that we must keep in mind, not dull conjectures about “possibilities”.

In my study, I have cited two particularly illuminating statements by Reder relating to the map in question:

"In a declaration made before the Jewish historical commission in 1945, Reder stated:

“A grave was 100 m long and 25 m wide. A single grave contained about 100,000 persons. In November 1942 there were 30 graves, i.e. 3 million corpses.”

During the interrogation, which was conducted by the investigative judge Jan Sehn on December 29, 1945, the witness strengthened his declaration further:

“The graves were all dug to the same dimensions and measured 100 m in length, 25 m in width and 15 m in depth.”"[18].

Therefore, Reder must have explained himself most clearly to Bau – or are we perhaps to take into consideration the “possibility” that the Jewish Historical Commission and Judge Sehn also were part of the “misunderstanding”?

What is more serious and proves the dishonesty of my critic is that in this context I have pointed out not only the location of the mass graves, but moreover their dimensions:

"As for Reder’s testimony, the total surface area of the 30 graves he claims to have seen in the camp (7.5 hectares) would have covered more ground than the camp itself (6.2 hectares)!"[19].

With regard to the Szrojt map[20], Muehlenkamp’s explanation is equally deceptive, as he claims that “the area of the graves shown in the investigative commission’s maps corresponds to the graves Kola located in the eastern part of the camp”, yet as I have already explained, while in Kola’s plan the majority of the graves are located along the north-west border, in the plan of the Polish investigative committee they are all concentrated in a rectangular area on the north-east border of the camp. The contradiction is obvious. There is little need to point out that Szrojt’s plan was based on the findings of the Polish judicial examination, which in turn rested on investigations carried out at the former camp area and interrogations of witnesses.

Muehlenkamp then adds:

"As can be seen from Kola’s maps shown above, Mattogno is rather exaggerating when he claims that the graves are “scattered at random all over the camp, without any particular orientation or order”."

On this point, any argument is futile: the mass graves are scattered higgledy-piggledy in the shape of a horseshoe, in the north-west/north-east parts of the camp, as is irrefutably shown by Kola’s plan[21].

Muehlenkamp further question my observation that “many graves shown by Kola have, in fact, the oddest shapes”, writing that the majority of the graves

"Have the form of squares or rectangles, and where there are irregular shapes, as especially in the case of grave no. 14, it is reasonable to assume that these resulted from changes to the original grave structure, due to the camp staff’s ash disposal and leveling work at the end of the camp’s operation or to postwar robbery digs."

The mass graves which display a somewhat odd shape are no. 1, 9, 12, 14, 22 and 29. Muehlenkamp, evidently not picking up on the irony, has involuntarily confirmed my thesis, namely that only a part of the mass graves discovered by Kola can be considered original, that is, dug by the camp authorities for the interring of corpses. I will return to the issue of the forms of the mass graves in Section 4.6.

My critic quickly turns to the next issue:

"With his remark: “It is no exaggeration to claim that, if the camp commander had had the mass graves dug in such an irregular fashion, he would have been shot for sabotage. Unless, of course, he had peculiar artistic inclinations. Many graves shown by Kola have, in fact, the oddest shapes!”, Mattogno furthermore not only displays a rather infantile cynicism, but also an ignorant notion of practices within the SS hierarchy. For all I know no case has been reported in which an SS-man was executed or otherwise punished for refusing an order to commit mass murder or showing incompetence in carrying it out. The first commander of Treblinka extermination camp, Dr. Eberl, seems to have been woefully incompetent, for instance. He was thus replaced by Franz Stangl, but apparently suffered no further disadvantages."

With these words, Muehlenkamp himself displays a “rather infantile” behavior, as he has apparently failed to detect the irony of my observation - irony, not cynicism, since I consider these fictitious dead men, and therefore nonexistent, invented, unreal. The cynicism belongs to those who shed pharisaic tears over fictitious dead men while showing a total disinterest for the real dead, and above all the non-Jewish ones.

As for my ignorance of “practices within the SS hierarchy”, I am most overwhelmed by the scholarly argument of Muehlenkamp, whose scientific knowledge resting on “for all I know”, “seems” and “apparently”, has effectively stilled my doubts!

My irony was the simple consequence of an unavoidable observation, detailed in the quote above: “An orderly arrangement of the graves would obviously have allowed more efficient use to be made of the limited space available within the camp, and a better hygienic protection of the camp personnel”.

Observing the map drawn by O’Neil using the mass grave outlines from Kola’s plan[22] is enough to make one ask the question: what kind of extermination camp commandant would have arranged the mass graves in this fashion?

In case Muehlenkamp still has not understood my argument, I simply meant to demonstrate that only a part of the mass graves discovered by Kola can be considered as original.

3. “Corpses Found”

Muehlenkamp asserts that “Mattogno seems to be especially happy that the number of unburned corpses still lying in the Belzec mass graves is, in his opinion, very low”.

This is true, as those are real corpses. Muehlenkamp and his ilk, instead, seem particularly unhappy about this fact, similar to the people who lament that the legend of the four million Auschwitz victims has collapsed, defrauding them of nearly three million Jewish victims; they are the kind of people who would have preferred that hundreds of thousands of corpses had been found at Bełżec, so that they would be able to bring out more of their self-pitying whining, scream at the beastly ferocity of the executioners – except when supporting and justifying the feracious, indiscriminate massacres of the Israelis – and hush up the revisionists with their “material evidence”.

Below I cite my explanation of this issue:

"As we have seen above, A. Kola asserts that ten graves (# 1, 3, 4, 10, 13, 20, 25, 27, 28, 32) were “filled with bodies in wax-fat transformation,” but then hastens to add that they were located “in bottom parts of the ditches, as a rule,” which means that these graves were not, in fact, ‘filled’ with corpses in a state of saponification. […]

In fact, Andrzej Kola publishes the results of 137 samples – obviously the most significant ones of the 236 samples taken altogether – but out of these only two (482/XV-30-60 and 486/XV-25-50) bear the explicit designation “human corpses.” The symbol designating “human bones and wax-fat mass” – a kind of stylized double × – appears, in addition to the samples just mentioned, only on four more samples (485/XV-30-50, grave 10, 286/XVI-90-40 and 332/XVI-85-40, grave 3, and finally 1042/XIV-45-80, grave 20). The thickest layer is the one belonging to sample 332/XV-85-40 (described as “tooth/human hair/water/human hair”), which corresponds to approximately 15% of the depth of the grave (=5 meters), thus to about 0.75 meters. Kola further mentions the discovery of corpses in a layer 1 meter thick in grave 27, but without providing a visual representation of the location of the 4 drillings carried out in this location. In any case, the order of magnitude does not change.

In all other instances, the corpse layer is thinner and is always located at the bottom of the grave. Hence, there are only three graves which contain more or less strongly saponified bodies. Moreover, in the light of the approximating method used by Kola (one sample every 5 meters), strictly speaking one cannot even say that these graves contained a layer of bodies as extensive as their surface area. This becomes evident, at last, in the results of the analyses published by Kola: Human remains are present in 3 out of 7 samples in grave 10, and in 1 out of 5 samples in grave 3 and grave 20. In these, the only three graves containing corpses, 239 human remains were identified in 5 out of 17 samples, i.e., in fewer than 30% of these cases. Thus, from all drilling samples, we have only 5 ‘positive’ cases, that is, 2%! What does that mean, apart from any extrapolations? It means simply that the drill, which had a diameter of 65 millimeters (~2.5 inches), went like a lance five times through the remains of three or four bodies; in other words, in concrete terms, Kola has discovered 15 or 20 corpses.

Therefore, the only legitimate conclusion one can draw from these samples is that the graves mentioned contained only rare corpses here and there.

Nonetheless, Kola’s book contains a rich photographic documentation of objects found in the area of the camp during the project work. A full 37 color photographs show the most insignificant junk: horseshoes, keys and padlocks, earthenware pots and rusty scissors, pieces of glass and of china, broken combs, glass bottles, coins etc., etc. – but not a single photograph shows a corpse or part of a corpse!

On the other hand, given the small number of drillings, one cannot exclude the presence of other layers of corpses near those identified by Kola; this is even probable. In fact, when one examines the positions of the three samples in grave 10 that indicated the presence of the corpses in a state of saponification, they are found to be concentrated in two small areas at lower left of samples 485 to 486 and near 483. This may indicate that originally there were two small graves of 40 to 50 square meters with several layers of corpses at the bottom. The same might be true for samples 286 and 332 of grave 3, which are next to each other within the standard distance of 5 meters along the south-north diagonal of the grave, and for sample 1042 of grave 20. One may conclude that the most probable interpretation is that the graves contained at most several hundred corpses"[23].

Muehlenkamp’s objection is based on the false presumption that Kola’s survey was not undertaken in order to find material remains of the alleged extermination, something which inevitably leads to a false criterion of judgment. He objects that the diagrams of drillings published by Kola are only “illustrative examples”, whereas I assert that they are “the most significant ones”, and goes on to specify that they are “not samples from all graves”, something I have never claimed, as I clearly note that the diagrams show the results of 137 of the total 236 drilling samples.

Muehlenkamp adds that “one of the possible reasons for the relatively small number of corpse finds, which Mattogno does not reveal to his readers” is the fact that “not all drillings were so deep that they could even have hit layers of corpses, which as a rule were at the bottoms of the graves”. This is true, but it has little importance in the context of this criticism. Here a further clarification is most necessary.

As has been already pointed out, Kola’s book has been presented by the Holocaust propagandists as “material evidence” for the alleged extermination of Jews at Bełżec. Only because of this reason have I examined and refuted it. And since the Holocaust propagandists invoke what Kola published in his book, not what he didn’t publish, this is what we have to relate to. Thus the fact that he did not publish part of the drilling diagrams, or that he did not make some drillings to a certain depth, is of little significance as I see it. The material available is that published by Kola, and this is also what should be scrutinized.

Muehlenkamp further states:

"Mattogno’s sensational statement: “Human remains are present in 3 out of 7 samples in grave 10, and in 1 out of 5 samples in grave 3 and grave 20. In these, the only three graves containing corpses, human remains were identified in 5 out of 17 samples, i.e., in fewer than 30% of these cases. Thus, from all 236 drilling samples, we have only 5 ‘positive’ cases, that is, 2%!” looks like a deliberate attempt to mislead his readers, as Mattogno should have understood that the number of corpse layers hit by drillings does not necessarily allow for conclusions about the number or extension of actually existing corpse layers."

With this argument, Muehlenkamp deliberately misleads his readers, as he knows fully well that my analysis is a simple answer to the declarations made by two of the major experts on Bełżec. Robin O’Neil, referring to the surveyings carried out in the period April 28 - June 4, 1998, has made the following claim:

"In two of these graves the bodies had not been exhumed and burnt as per the Himmler directive of 1942. How many bodies remain in these two graves is difficult to establish. To be sure, there are many thousands"[24].

Michael Tregenza, on the other hand, has been bold enough to name a precise figure:

"Although it is difficult to attach a figure to the unburnt corpses, a conservative estimate would be on the order of at least 15,000"[25].

Thus “the number of corpse layers hit by drillings” in my case “does not necessarily allow for conclusions about the number or extension of actually existing corpse layers” while on the other hand the Holocaust historians are fully allowed to do just that. The usual pharisaic hypocrisy!

Muehlenkamp further attacks my supposed “deceit” regarding the number of mass graves which according to Kola contained corpses in a state of saponification, and goes on to carefully detail the ten graves in question, namely no. 1, 3, 4, 10, 13, 20, 25, 27, 28 and 32, as if I had hidden this fact, despite my observation, quoted above, that

"A. Kola asserts that ten graves (# 1, 3, 4, 10, 13, 20, 25, 27, 28, 32) were “filled with bodies in wax-fat transformation,” but then hastens to add that they were located “in bottom parts of the ditches, as a rule,” which means that these graves were not, in fact, ‘filled’ with corpses."

After “revealing” what I had in fact not hidden, Muehlenkamp accuses me of having mentioned only four graves with corpses in a state of saponification:

"So corpse layers were found in 10 graves, of which Mattogno only mentions 4 more closely and acknowledges only 3, the ones in which the corpse layers are shown in Kola’s book in schematic representations of the drill samples. The arrogance with which Mattono swiftly sweeps aside 7 of the 10 graves described by Kola as containing corpse layers places another question mark on Mattogno’s suitability to make an objective analysis of Kola’s study. What is more, the fact that Mattogno expressly mentions Kola’s description of corpse layers in grave # 27, but omits the respective descriptions (see above quotes) in graves nos. 1, 4, 13, 25, 28 and 32, may be taken as an insinuation that Kola does not mention corpse layers in his descriptions of these graves. On top of those suggested by the examples pointed out in Part 1 and Part 2 of the present commentary, this would be another serious display of dishonesty on Mattogno’s part."

I will begin with the end of this citation. The “examples” are the fallacies of Muehlenkamp, already exposed by me above in sections 1 and 2. Who is he to accuse me of dishonesty!

I affirm that the basis of my argument is that Kola’s primary purpose was to localize the mass graves in order to furnish material evidence for the alleged extermination, and that he published the most significant results from the drillings. This is confirmed by the very fact that Kola has mapped with precision the mass graves, publishing 19 pages with detailed descriptions as well as planimetric diagrams and vertical sections for each of the 33 graves. The latter is the logical consequence of the former.

My analysis is finally a quantitative estimate of the number of corpses, an answer to the estimates of O’Neil and Tregenza. Hence, I have analyzed only such documents from which quantitative indications may be drawn, namely the 137 sample results published by Kola. I have not passed over in silence the qualitative assertion of Kola regarding the saponified corpses present in those 10 graves, whose number I mention, likewise I have not passed over in silence the only quantitative statement contained in Kola’s description of said graves: “Kola further mentions the discovery of corpses in a layer 1 meter thick in grave 27”. As my analysis refers to the aforementioned 137 samples, of which none pertain to grave 27, and since the data relating to this grave changes only minimally the order of magnitude of the findings, I have drawn the conclusion that, based on the 137 samples, “there are only three graves which contain more or less strongly saponified bodies”, an irrefutable fact undisputed even by Muehlenkamp.

Regarding my supposed “insinuation that Kola does not mention corpse layers in his descriptions” of graves no. 1, 4, 13, 25, 28 and 32, since I note Kola’s description of the corpse layer in grave 27, while supposedly omitting the descriptions of these graves, this is merely a figment of Muehlenkamp’s imagination. As already explained I have noted the 10 graves containing saponified corpses, but only cited Kola’s description of grave 27, as this is the only one providing quantitative data: a layer of saponified corpses measuring 1 meter in depth.

We now proceed to the next section of Muehlenkamp’s critique:

"Mattogno’s assumption that in the area of the huge grave # 10 there were “two small graves of 40 to 50 square meters with several layers of corpses at the bottom”, on the other hand, may be attributed to the tendency for wishful thinking that is typical for “Revisionists”. In order to understand how absurd this assumption is one must have in mind the above-quoted description of grave # 10. The Belzec camp administration, so Mattogno is apparently trying to tell his readers, is supposed to have dug more than 5 meters deep on an area of 24 × 18 = 432 square meters just to make “two small graves of 40 to 50 square meters”, of which furthermore only the lower part was used to place corpses! If one generously assumes that the layers of corpses at the bottom of the “two small graves” assumed by Mattogno were 2 meters high, then out of the 2,100 cubic meters of grave volume estimated by Kola only two times 80 to 100 cubic meters, i.e. a total of 160 to 200 cubic meters or less than 10 % of the volume available, were used. Why should anyone in any situation, and especially the SS camp administration of Belzec, indulge in the luxury of wasting so much burial volume? The explanation that the rest of the grave volume could have served as ash deposit from the beginning would not hold water either, because the graves identified by Kola as serving for ash disposal only were much smaller and a single pit with a volume of 2,100 cubic meters, as we shall see in section 4.5 of this commentary, was enough to hold the ashes of all people killed and burned at Belzec according to the “official historical version”. Could it be that Mattogno really didn’t think about this?."

Here Muehlenkamp either has not understood, or pretends to not understand, what I have written, thus attributing to me strange deductions which I have neither proposed nor insinuated.

Keeping in mind that my argument concerns the drilling results published by Kola, I have merely found as obvious and incontestable the fact that the presence of saponified corpses turned up by the three drillings in grave no. 10 is concentrated in two small areas low to the left. I have also published Kola’s plan[26] indicating the exact position of the drillings in question, a plan which I reproduce once more in this article[27]. While the drillings no. 483 and 485 gave positive outcomes, Muehlenkamp seems unconcerned by the fact that no. 484 yielded a negative result.

I thus repeat: “this may indicate that originally there were two small graves of 40 to 50 square meters with several layers of corpses at the bottom”.

As for the remaining volume of the grave, I have not advanced any explanation. The one ascribed to me by Muehlenkamp is bogus, as I have never asserted that “the rest of the grave volume could have served as ash deposit”. While quoting in abundance my text, he cannot come up with a citation in support of this.

Obviously, I do not expect that the Bełżec camp administration would have dug a grave measuring 2,100 cubic meters just in order to use only “160 to 200 cubic meters or less than 10 %” of it. This is just another absurdity invented by Muehlenkamp. I have limited myself to observing the fact that the saponified corpses detected by the drillings were found in a very restricted portion of the grave, and from this I have drawn a logical conclusion, however hypothetical. As will be seen in section 4.6 below, the contours of grave no. 10, as for all the others drawn up by Kola, are artificial and without correspondence in the drilling results.

Even disregarding this fact, the presumed “wasting [of] so much burial volume” can be easily explained within an exterminationist context, if we assume that grave pit no. 10 was dug as a mass grave and subsequently filled in after the exhumation of the corpses, while two small parts of it later were used for the burial of the corpses of the Jewish working staff, or part of them.

Or, considering the artificiality of the contours of the mass graves, those two small areas can very well be thought to have the origin I describe in my study:

"On the other hand, the graves that contain saponified bodies are not concentrated in a definite area, but are scattered throughout the camp (see document 4 in the Appendix). The most plausible hypothesis is that these graves pertain to the previous camp administration and therefore go back to 1940, when Bełżec was originally used as a camp for gypsies and later integrated into the “Otto-Programm;” in both instances plenty of victims were buried in the camp"[28].

Also, as I will further explain later on, there may have occurred “the enlargement of graves that had initially been smaller”[29].

My critic asserts that “while Mattogno takes pleasure in making a fuss about O’Neill’s and Tregenza’s estimates regarding the number of unburned corpses still lying in the Belzec mass graves, it is rather irrelevant, for the question of whether the grave finds are compatible with the known facts of the mass murder at Belzec”. In fact, we are in total agreement, provided that the expression “known fact” is replaced with “proposed hypothesis”. On the other hand in my study, I present a long quote from the October 13, 1945 findings of the Regional Investigative Judge of the district court of Zamość, Czesław Godziszewski, which allows for the following conclusion:

"The presence of unincinerated corpses within the Bełżec camp area is therefore nothing new. As far as their number is concerned, the Polish coroner’s expert opinion gives no specific data, but the general tone of the report and its insistence, in the description, on single bones as if they were unique pieces leaves us wondering about the value one should attribute to the “very large” quantity of corpses conjectured by the coroner. In any case, the essential problem is not the existence, but the significance of these corpses. In other words: What does their existence prove?"[30].

The answer to this question is provided in the book’s following section[31].

In my study, I have spoken of “the approximating method used by Kola (one sample every 5 meters)” for which Muehlenkamp seeks to refute me by proposing that Kola’s explanation for this method, supposedly “omitted” by me, lies in “the limited time of the programme as well as the vast (about 6 ha) area of the supposed camp”, but this is merely an aggravating circumstance, since this means that the work was carried out in a hurried and approximative fashion.

Now for another of my “omissions” pointed out by my critic, this time a passage from Kola’s report:

"Using the type of drills in mass graves location had turned out to be useful in archaeological-exhumation works in cemeteries of Polish officers murdered by NKWD in spring 1940, within the works of [the] so called “Katyn crime”."

The same type of drillings was used to localize the mass graves in Vinnytsya, but we are talking here of the method of drilling, and what I have described as approximating is the procedure of Kola’s to make drillings every 5 meters, which is too long of an interval to make a precise (instead of approximate) assessment of what is underground. Nor was there a follow-up of the drillings in the form of a complete excavation and exhumation of corpses, as was done at Katyn, but not at Bełżec. As I have noted in my study:

"On April 13, 1943, on the basis of information from the local population, the Germans discovered seven graves containing a total of 4,143 corpses of Polish soldiers in the forest of Katyn. Between April and June, the bodies were examined by a commission consisting of physicians from twelve European countries, by a commission of the Polish Red Cross, and by U.S., British, and Canadian officers who were prisoners of war. The Germans then published an official report with the forensic medical findings of the investigation, containing 80 photographs and the names of the victims identified. The Vinnytsya massacres were discovered by the Germans in the beginning of June 1943. Ninety-seven mass graves were found in three different locations, containing the bodies of 9,432 Ukrainians murdered by the Soviets. Between June 24 and August 25 no fewer than 14 commissions, 6 of them composed of foreigners, visited the mass graves. Again, the Germans collected the results of their findings in a substantial publication: 282 pages with 151 photographs, with forensic medical reports, and victims’ names"[32].

To what degree not only the investigative method adopted by Kola, but also the very results of the investigation were superficial, will be shown in Section 4.6.

4. “Volume of the Mass Graves, Human and Wood Ashes”

4.1. “The Capacity of the Graves”

Muehlenkamp begins this section with asking why, in order to assess whether the volume of the mass graves identified by Kola was sufficient to contain the bodies of those allegedly gassed at Bełżec, I have assumed the figure of 600,000 corpses. With regard to this he asserts:

"This may be a long and widely accepted estimate, and it is also true that Robin O’Neill assumed an even higher number. However, in my opinion, only in regard to the 434,508 Jews mentioned in the report sent by SS-Sturmbannführer Höfle in Lublin on 11 January 1943 to Obersturmbannführer Heim in Krakow, there is an absolute certainty that they were delivered at Belzec. The number of corpses I will hereafter consider thus corresponds to the number mentioned in Höfle’s report."

In Chapter 2, Section 4 of my study, entitled “The Number of Victims of the Alleged Gassings”, I listed the various victim estimates throughout the years: 3,000,000 (Reder), 1,800,000 (the Polish prosecutor at Zamość), the 600,000 figure established by the “Central Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes in Poland”, which was accepted almost unanimously but sometimes revised, generally upward, as in the case of W. Scheffler (800,000), R. O’Neil (800,555) and M. Tregenza (at least 930,000); the only one to revise it downward has been Marszalek (483,000).

At the end of this section, I make the following remark with reference to the document mentioned by Muehlenkamp:

"According to German sources, the number of Jews deported to Bełżec was 434,508"[33].

It appears, however, that Holocaust historiography has still not embraced the choice of my critic. As an example, Sforni, whose work I have already mentioned, considers a figure of 524,500 victims more realistic[34].

As regards me, it is true that I have made my calculations assuming the official figure of 600,000 victims, but I have also considered the results of the excavations in light of the documented figure of 434,508, drawing the conclusion:

"Either an extermination of at least 434,500 Jews (the figure resulting from the report of SS-Sturmbannführer Höfle of April 28, 1943) did indeed take place at Bełżec, or there was no mass extermination at all"[35].

Since my critic is not a historian, but a simple dilettante who, like others of his ilk, plays at being one, I could say, using his own words, that the arrogance with which Muehlenkamp quickly eliminates 165,000 of the supposed 600,000 Bełżec victims puts into doubt Muehlenkamp’s qualification to make an objective analysis of Mattogno’s study.

Muehlenkamp next discusses my assumption of a mass grave containing 8 corpses per cubic meter. In order to document this figure, I have turned to the argument already offered in the book on Treblinka, which I co-wrote with Jürgen Graf. There I wrote:

"On the basis of his investigations of the mass graves of Hamburg (Anglo-American terror-bombardment of July 1943), Katyn (Soviet mass murder of Polish officers, 1940) and Bergen-Belsen (mass dying from typhus in spring 1945), John Ball came to the conclusion that one could assume a maximum of six bodies per cubic meter in a mass grave[36]. This number seems quite high if one keeps in mind that in Treblinka I, the work camp, the Soviets found 105 bodies in a grave with an effective volume of 75 m³ – therefore 1.4 bodies per cubic meter, and that the medical expert Piotrowski, in his first calculation of the content of the mass graves, set a figure of six bodies per 2 cubic meters, thus 3 bodies per cubic meter, half the density proposed by Ball. However, in order to take into account the hypothetical existence of children as comprising one-third of the victims, we assume a density of a maximum of 8 bodies per cubic meter"[37].

I must specify here that the abovementioned figures are not factual data, but estimates for the maximum density of corpses in a mass grave. In support of my estimate, we have the examples at Katyn, where approximately 4,100 corpses were buried in graves measuring 2,016 cubic meters, and at Bergen-Belsen, with its mass grave of 490 cubic meters containing 1,000 corpses, giving an effective density of approximately 2 corpses per cubic meter.

My critic claims that the number of corpses in the Katyn mass graves is of “no relevance whatsoever” when assessing the use of the mass grave volume at Bełżec, and adds that I have not explained how I arrived at a maximum of 8 bodies per cubic meter.

This is similar to judging the capacity of the Topf crematory ovens at Auschwitz-Birkenau without ever having seen one and without having the faintest idea of their construction and operation. Thus, Muehlenkamp deems as irrelevant the data we have from known experiences with corpse burial in mass graves, while in fact they constitute the unavoidable criteria of judgement, exactly because they are based on real experience.

He then objects that:

"The proportion of children in the transports to Belzec, assumed by Mattogno, seems questionable in the light of at least two eyewitness testimonies from which it becomes apparent that the majority of the Jews transported to Belzec were children, which seems rather plausible considering that, according to a contemporary German source quoted by Mattogno later in his book, Belzec was a place to were the unemployable Jews were sent. The unemployable ones were mainly those who were either too young or too old to be employed in hard physical labor."

I will return below to the problem of the “eyewitness testimonies”.

Here Muehlenkamp dodges a fundamental issue: according to the Holocaust historiography, Bełżec was a pure extermination camp, where no distinctions were made between those fit and those unfit for work. The Jewish populations of entire ghettos and entire regions of the General Government are supposed to have been sent to this camp for immediate extermination without any preceding “selection” of those fit for work, with the exception of a few hundred deportees who were picked out for work relating to the alleged extermination activity.

This interpretation is so well established that Raul Hilberg, who even refers to the report of Fritz Reuter from March 17, 1942 (see below, section 5) while omitting from his discussion[38] the division of the Jews into groups fit and unfit for work, the construction of “a large camp in which the employable Jews can be registered in a file system according to their occupations” and the fact that only the Jews unfit for work were to be sent to Bełżec[39].

After stating this, we come back to the 8 bodies per cubic meter. With regard to this figure, I write:

"However, in order to take into account the hypothetical existence of children as comprising one-third of the victims, we assume a density of a maximum of 8 bodies per cubic meter."

Above I have presented the experimental data. As for the percentage of children, according to demographer Jakob Leszczynski[40], the percentage of children aged 14 or under among the Jewish population of Poland in 1931 amounted to 29.6%, that is little less than 1/3.

Based on scientific tables on weight increase, the medium weight of children aged 17 and under is approximately 35 kg[41]. If for a normal adult a medium weight of 70 kg is assumed, the medium weight of 3 persons (two adults and a child) is ([70 + 70 + 35] ÷ 3 =) 58.3 kg. Therefore 6 adult corpses, weighing (70 × 6 =) 420 kg, are equivalent to (420 ÷ 58.3 =) 7.20 corpses of adults and children in the relationship of 2:1. According to other tables, the medium weight of children aged 14 and under is approximately 25.4 kg, which in turn gives us a medium weight of 55.1 kg and a density of (420 ÷ 55.1 =) 7.6 corpses per cubic meter. The figure of 8 corpses per cubic meter which I have assumed for my calculations is thus rounded off upward.

In order to calculate the number of corpses per cubic meter, Muehlenkamp relies on the “eyewitness” Kurt Gerstein who, in reference to the victims of Bełżec, states in one of his writings that “more than half are children”. He moreover refers to the diary of a German non-commissioned officer, Wilhelm Cornides, whom he quotes from an English translation available online at This text was published in its original language in 1959 under the title Zur “Umsiedlung” der Juden im Generalgouvernement[42]. Cornides describes the arrival of a train to the station of Rawa-Ruska, evidently destined for Bełżec, which consisted of 35 cattle wagons, each containing “at least 60 Jews”, in total 2,100, of which many were women and children – a detail emphasized by Muehlenkamp. Cornides remarks that “some of the doors were opened a crack”, which means that he made his observations through these small openings and windows. The accuracy of this method is easy to imagine.

Muehlenkamp’s pretension to draw from this single observation (a very small part of the Jewish deportees in the 35 wagons) a general picture of the composition of the 434,508 deported to Bełżec is obviously infantile. The same goes for the supposed “observation” of Gerstein relating to a single transport of 6,700 Jews, representing 1.5% of the total deported.

Muehlenkamp next refers to an experiment conducted by Charles Provan in order to demonstrate that Gerstein’s claim of 750 Jews being crammed into a gas chamber measuring 25 square meters, which has generally been considered absurd[43], is in fact both plausible and truthful. Provan came to the conclusion that 703 persons could fit into an area of 25 square meters, and Muehlenkamp is in a hurry to accept this without question:

"However, I will use Provan’s experimentally proven figure of 703 for my ensuing calculations."

Muehlenkamp is not bold enough to put this figure as persons per square meter, as this appears only too absurd: 703 ÷ 25 = 28 persons per square meter! A small amount of critical sense is all that is needed to make this foolish conclusion collapse. With regard to this issue I note in the Italian edition of my study:

"Charles D. Provan pretends to have demonstrated experimentally that it is possible to cram 703 persons into 25 square meters (while Gerstein speaks of 750 persons). This experiment is invalid as it uses persons whose physiques are not representative, namely three adults of 63, 62 and 49 kg (medium weight 58 kg) and four children aged 8, 6, 4 and 2 (respective weight: 25, 26, 19 and 15 kg), plus a doll! Thus Provan would have it that the alleged gas chamber victims included no children over 8 years of age and no adults heavier than 63 kg. He also does not take into account that in 1931 the percentage of children aged 14 years or under among the Polish Jewish population amounted to 29.6%, that is, less than a third. The District Court of Munich was satisfied to speak of 200-300 persons per chamber"[44].

The result of the experiment is ultimately flawed by the fact that it assumes a medium weight of 35 kg for the supposed victims. We know for a fact that Provan has read Henri Roques’ book The “Confessions” of Kurt Gerstein[45], in which we find the following statement by Gerstein (PS-2170):

"The people are stepping on each other’s feet, 700 to 800 persons to 25 square meters, 45 cubic meters. I make an estimate: average weight at the most 35 kg, more than half are children, specific gravity 1, thus 25,250 kg of human beings per chamber. Wirth is right, if the SS men push a little, one can cram 750 persons into 45 cubic meters"[46].

Gerstein specifies the gas chambers as measuring 5 × 5 × 1.90 m[47], which gives a gas chamber volume of not 45, but 47,5 cubic meters. In his declaration in French from April 26, 1945 (PS-1553) Gerstein states that the gas chambers measured 4 × 5 × 1,90[48], thus having an area of 20 square meters and a volume of 38 cubic meters, yet, inexplicably, they are said to have had a surface of 25 square meters and a volume of 45 cubic meters![49] Moreover, in a gas chamber with 750 persons of a medium weight of 35 kg, the total weight is 26,250 kg, not 25,250.

This 35 kg medium weight is nothing but a groundless conjecture by Gerstein, since he is supposed to have made his estimate by looking at the 750 supposed victims, then calculating in his head their medium weight, yet in his declarations he has miscalculated even the abovementioned elementary multiplications! Moreover, in another declaration made to the French authorities, Gerstein stated the medium weight of the victims as 65 kg[50]. The reliability of Gerstein’s stories has been contested even by Tregenza, who classifies “Gerstein’s material” as “questionable” and “even belonging to the realm of fantasy in some places”[51]. In the same document which gives the medium weight as 35 kg, Gerstein, among other things, estimated the number of the victims of Hitler and Himmler to “at least 20,000,000” (twenty million)[52] and talks of a heap of clothing at Bełżec measuring “35 or 40 meters in height”[53], while on the other hand Wilhelm Pfannenstiel, who accompanied Gerstein on his visit to the camp, spoke of a ”pile of textiles with a height of 3 to 4 m”[54]. Thus Gerstein’s 35 kg estimate is of little value. Provan on his hand has assumed a still lower medium weight: (63 + 62 + 49 + 25 + 26 + 19 + 15 + 7 [the doll!]) ÷ 8 = 33.25 kg! Considering that the weight of the doll is equivalent to that of a 5-6 months baby, and that the weight of one of the adults corresponds to the medium weight of children between 14 and 16 years of age, this means that in actuality Provan’s experiment is founded on the assumption that the Jews deported to Bełżec were exclusively babies and children of 16 or under, whose medium weight, as has been noted, was 35 kg – without any adults. This in turn would mean that 5/8 of the approximately 434,000 deported, that is 271,250, would have been children from small babies up to 8 years of age, while the remaining 3/8, that is 162,750, were children between 14 and 16 years old!

This absurd claim is further refuted by other testimonies, which are also quoted by Muehlenkamp. As an example, Rudolf Reder states in his abovementioned account:

"In our transport there were many men, including employed ones with various kinds of certificates, supposedly “safe ones”, little children and bigger ones, young girls and older women"[55].

Another “eyewitness”, the former SS-Scharführer Heinrich Gley, declared that at Bełżec there had existed two barracks used as undressing rooms, one for the men, the other for the women, and that during his service as a guard at those barracks he had never seen small children[56], as those, together with the sick and those unable to walk, constituted a hindrance to the gassing procedure and thus were not brought to the gas chambers (nicht in die Gaskammern geschafft worden ist) but likely shot instead[57].

As seen from these testimonies, Provan’s experiment lacks a solid foundation.

Muehlenkamp draws the following flawed conclusion from the flawed experiment:

"If 703 living persons could fit into a space of 5 × 5 × 1.9 = 47.5 cubic meters, this meant a density of ca. 15 persons per cubic meter in the Belzec gas chambers. What applies to living people certainly applies to corpses, so it can be assumed that 15 corpses out of a transport to Belzec made up in more than half by children could be made to fit into one cubic meter of burial space in the Belzec mass graves. Assuming such composition for all transports to Belzec, and without taking into consideration the emaciation and size factors mentioned by Provan, the 21,310 cubic meters of burial space estimated by Kola could have taken in 319,650 corpses – if they had been thrown in there all at once."

Thus, based on a conjecture made by a witness who is completely unreliable, above all with regard to figures (the percentage of children among the supposed victims), and who is contradicted by other witnesses; another conjecture by the same witness (the medium weight of the supposed victims); an invalid experiment based on two said false conjectures (Provan); and finally on a conjecture of Gerstein concerning a single transport, but here arbitrarily extended to apply to all transports to Bełżec, Muehlenkamp deduces that it was possible to bury 319,650 corpses in the mass graves identified by Kola. Concise logic indeed!

Yet, after such a skillful speculation, my critic still finds himself with (434,508 - 319,650 =) 114,858 corpses left to bury, and thus has to resort to still more foolish speculations. 

I will add here that Muehlenkamp’s second principle, “what applies to living people certainly applies to corpses”, is in fact not as obvious as it appears to him, because while the Provan family tightened their muscles as much as possible in an effort to match Gerstein’s record, it would have been extremely difficult to manage the same thing with corpses, due to the effects of rigor mortis.

According to observations on 113 corpses, rigor mortis appeared between 2 and 13 hours after death, and within 9 hours in 90% of the cases[58]. In the context of homicidal gassings it is, however, worth noting 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."[59]

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.

On the other hand, according to Reder, it took up to two hours until all of the victims had entered the gas chambers (“By the time they filled all six chambers, the people in the first chamber had been suffering two hours already”)[60]. In this case rather the opposite of the aforementioned principle applies, so that “what applies to living people certainly does not applies to corpses”, especially since the bodies had to be dragged from the gas chambers to the mass graves, something which according to Reder's account happened thus:

"It took two workers to drag one corpse away. We had leather straps with buckles. We put the straps over the arms of the corpses and pulled. The heads often caught in the sand"[61].

If it took 2 hours for the living victims to enter the gas chambers, extracting the corpses from the chambers and dragging them to the graves must have required a far greater time. Under such circumstances, the majority of the corpses would have been found in the state of rigor mortis, making it extremely arduous to place 15 of them per cubic meter into a mass grave.

Muehlenkamp now skillfully tries to find the space to bury the 114,858 corpses left over from his first calculation. He asserts that the corpses at Bełżec were not buried at the same time, but over a period of eight months, explaining:

"The mass murder at Belzec took place in the period between the first transport on 17 March 1943 and November 1942, when according to the deposition of SS-Scharführer Heinrich Gley on 7 January 1963, quoted by Mattogno, the general exhumation and incineration of the corpses began. The corpses from each transport were placed into the graves and often covered with a layer of quicklime, which reduced the bodies to a horrible, disintegrating mess. In addition to the effect of the quicklime there was that of natural decomposition, which will be addressed in more detail further on. These effects can be assumed to have caused the corpses in a mass grave’s “older” layers to have considerably lost volume by the time “newer” layers of corpses were placed on top of them. In Belzec and the other camps of “Aktion Reinhard(t)”, Sobibor and Treblinka, the corpses were not simply thrown into the mass graves but carefully arranged in layer upon layer to make the most of the available burial space, as was for instance stated in regard to Treblinka by the Düsseldorf County Court in its judgment at the first Treblinka trial [here follows a reference to court material]:

[...]Zur Aufnahme der aus den Gaskammern kommenden Leichen der getöteten Juden dienten riesige Gruben, in denen die Leichname reihenweise abgelegt und jeweils mit einer dünnen Sand- oder Chlorkalkschicht abgedeckt wurden.[...], “For taking in the corpses of the dead Jews coming from the gas chambers there were gigantic pits, in which the corpses were placed in rows and in each case covered with a thin layer of sand or quicklime”.

There is evidence suggesting that the mass graves at Belzec were filled to or even beyond the rim, the upper layer being covered with further layers of bodies or with sand after the corpses had sufficiently matted down due to decomposition. In his report dated 4 May 1945, a translation of which is available here, Kurt Gerstein wrote the following: 

“The naked corpses were carried on wooden stretchers [auf Holztragen] to pits only a few metres away, measuring 100 × 20 × 12 metres. After a few days the corpses welled up and a short time later they collapsed, so that one could throw a new layer of bodies upon them. Then ten centimetres of sand were spread over the pit, so that a few heads and arms still rose from it here and there.”[62]

Despite the obviously exaggerated statement about the depth of the pits, Gerstein’s description is interesting in its reference to a procedure, that of filling the graves to the rim and then adding further bodies when the collapse due to decomposition of those already inside the grave freed some space at the top, which was probably at the root of the following ghastly phenomenon observed at Belzec described by the later commander of Treblinka, Franz Stangl [i.e. decomposing bodies and liquids overflowing from a mass grave]."

I observe here first that, when it suits him, Muehlenkamp refers to a trial verdict relating to another camp (Treblinka), while on the other hand he carefully avoids that of the Bełżec trial when this goes contrary to his thesis. For an example, as remarked on above, the Munich District Court established the number of presumed victims in each gas chamber – a figure essential for the argument – to have been 200-300, not 750 or 703.

The argument that the “old” corpse layers would have decreased in volume because of decomposition and thus creating space for “new” layers is based on four false premises.

False premise number one: The argument only makes sense given that the mass graves would have remained opened for weeks or months, thereby allowing the volume of the corpses in the graves to be reduced substantially due to decomposition.

However, if Muehlenkamp believes Gerstein’s declarations, and in particular the claim that 750 persons were killed in each gas chamber per gassing, to be true, then he must also believe that, during the course of Gerstein’s visit, a total of “4 times 750 people in 4 times 45 cubic meters”[63], that is, 3,000 people were killed there. If all six gas chambers were utilized the victims would have numbered 4,500, but Gerstein only speaks of four chambers being used, although it is implied that the murdered victims totalled 5,250, as he describes 6,700 deportees, 1,450 of them already dead, arriving to the camp[64]. As already noted the 33 mass graves identified by Kola have a total volume of 21,130 cubic meters. The individual graves are of various dimensions, but their medium volume is (21,130 ÷ 33 =) 640 cubic meters. If, for the sake of argument, we accept Muehlenkamp’s absurd figure of 15 corpses per cubic meter, and further assume that each gassing claimed at least 4,500 victims (like Muehlenkamp we presume that all transports to the camp consisted more than half of children, with the medium weight of all deportees being 35 kg) we reach the following results:

  1. After one day there would be 4,500 dead Jews, whose corpses would occupy (4.500 ÷ 15 =) 300 cubic meters of the mass grave and after (640 ÷ 300 = 2.1) little more than two days the grave would be completely filled up and no longer usable. 
  2. The number of victims considered certain by Muehlenkamp – 434,508 – would have been killed in (434,508 ÷ 4.500 =) approximately 96 gassings.
  3. The camp was operative for approximately 240 days (8 months), therefore in average there was (240: 96 = 2.5) one gassing every two days.

Thus, based on the conjectures used by Muehlenkamp, a mass grave would have been filled in little more than four days.

False premise number two: The story of the “old” and “new” corpse layers is lifted from Gerstein. As already emphasized, this argument presupposes that the mass graves remained opened for weeks or months. Gerstein instead declares:

"After a few  days the bodies would swell up and the whole contents of the ditch would rise 2-3 meters high because of the gases that developed in the bodies. After  a few more days swelling would stop and the bodies would collapse. The next day the ditches were filled again, and covered with 10 centimeters of sand"[65].

Hence, we are dealing here with the brief period of a few days, contrasting with the slow decomposition process invoked by Muehlenkamp.

False premise number three: The conclusion drawn from Gerstein’s account is fallacious also in that it misinterprets the contents of the quoted statement. Gerstein does not say that the lowering of the “older” layer consisted in the reduction of the original volume, but that the corpses first swelled to a height of 2-3 meters before they deflated, all this supposedly taking place within a period of merely a few days, when the process of decomposition would hardly have begun. In fact, the emphysematous stage of the putrefaction process

"Begins 3-6 days after death under warm conditions, later when cold. The sulfuric acid produced by anaerobic gasogens (perfrigens and butyric acids) is diffused throughout the intestines, the subcutaneous layers, inner cavities and viscera, swelling the corpse to huge proportions."

However, “once the production of gas has stopped, the corpse loses its huge appearance”[66].

Muehlenkamp further omits to consider another certainly not insignificant aspect of Gerstein’s account, namely the covering of the corpses with sand. From the quoted account we might infer that a layer of corpses was thrown into the mass graves which after some day swelled and then, following the same period of time, deflated, whereafter another layer of corpses was thrown in and all of it covered with a 10 centimeter layer of sand.

The medium depth of the mass graves at Bełżec is (21,130 ÷ 5,490 =) 3.84 meters and a section of 1 square meter (3.84 cubic meters) would therefore, according to Muehlenkamp, have contained (15 × 3.84 =) 57.6 corpses or ([57.6: 384] × 10 =) 1,5 corpses per decimeter of height. By throwing in a 10 centimeter layer of sand for every two corpse layers, 1/3 of the height – and volume – would have been filled up with sand, that is (3.84 ÷ 3 =) 1.28 meters of the average depth and (1.28 × 5,490 =) 7,027 cubic meters, sufficient to bury (7,027 × 15 =) 105,405 corpses. Pfannenstiel, who mentions the partial combustion of corpses, speaks instead of one layer of sand for every layer of corpses, so that the sand would have filled up half the volume of the grave, that is (3.84 ÷ 2 =) 1.92 meters of the average depth and (1.92 × 5,490 =) 10,541 cubic meters, sufficient to bury (10,541 × 15 =) 158,115 corpses. By this omission, Muehlenkamp avoids losing a volume equal to the burial space of 105,000 or even 158,000 corpses, and at the same time, he attempts to increase the burial capacity by referring to a volume decrease in decomposing corpses!

Regarding the abovementioned statement of Gerstein, Muehlenkamp makes the following comment:

"Despite the obviously exaggerated statement about the depth of the pits...."

Thus he considers as “exaggerated” Gerstein’s claim regarding the depth of the graves, but curiously not that regarding their length (100 meters, as compared to the maximum length of 40 meters specified by Kola) and even more so the claim of 750 persons crammed into 25 square meters! Muehlenkamp further cherry picks the claims regarding the composition of the gassing victims and their medium weight.

His comment on my argument is moreover dishonest, since in my study I had noted that:

"In his famous report of April 26, 1945, Gerstein wrote:

“Then the naked bodies were thrown into large trenches about 100 by 20 by 12 m, situated near the death chambers.”

And in the report he wrote on May 6, 1945, he affirmed:

“The naked corpses were thrown onto wooden carts [and then] into pits only a short distance away and measuring 100 by 12 by 20 meters.”

One trench thus had a surface area of 2,500 m² for Reder and 2,000 m² for Gerstein, a volume of 37,500 m³ for the former and 24,000 m³ for the latter. However, from Kola’s research we can deduce that the largest trench in area (#27) had a surface of 540 m³, whereas the most capacious (#10) had a volume of only 2,100 m³. Furthermore, as Kola has determined, the majority of the trenches had a depth of 4 to 5 meters; below this level there was ground water. Hence, the depth of 12 to 15 meters asserted by the two witnesses could not be confirmed by the diggings"[67].

Muehlenkamp could not admit that Gerstein’s statements are in blatant contradiction with the assessments of Kola, as this would undermine the credibility of the witness on whose declarations he has based his argument. But there is a still more serious “exaggeration” which Muehlenkamp does not speak of: the volume of a single mass grave of Gerstein’s (24,000 cubic meters) is greater than the total volume of all the graves identified by Kola (21,310 cubic meters)!

This enormous volume constitutes the fourth false premise of Muehlenkamp, as only a grave of these vast dimensions would have allowed for the time necessary to have the corpses decompose. Returning to our previous calculation, Gerstein’s single grave would have been filled up with (24,000 × 15 =) 360,000 fresh corpses in a period of (24,000 ÷ 300 × 2,5 =) 200 days. But such a grave has never existed.

Therefore, Muehlenkamp’s argument is nothing but quadruple foolishness.

Muehlenkamp moreover asserts that at Bełżec “the corpses were not simply thrown into the mass graves but carefully arranged in layer upon layer to make the most of the available burial space”, but this claim is contradicted by the very witness to whose statements he refers to in his calculations, i.e. Gerstein. He namely speaks of the corpses being “thrown” – in the German report “geworfen”[68], in the French one “jetés”[69] – into the grave - a far cry from being “carefully arranged” in layers. No witness to Bełżec has ever made a claim to such effect. Indeed, as will be seen below, the more important ones have made claims to exactly the contrary effect. This evidently has a lot of influence on the burial volume: it is not the same thing to arrange corpses carefully in a grave and to simply throw them inside. This renders Muehlenkamp’s assumption of 15 corpses per cubic meter even more dubious.

Muehlenkamp writes that “there is evidence suggesting that the mass graves at Belzec were filled to or even beyond the rim”, but this claim is also false, as no such “evidence” exists, only a single piece of testimony, which in turn refutes his assumption regarding the careful arrangement of the corpses in the mass graves. During his interrogation by the investigative magistrate Jan Sehn, Rudolf Reder made the following declaration:

"The corpses were thrown into the graves in a disorderly way [w nieładzie] and only the upmost layers, which protruded 1 meter above ground, were arranged systematically, one corpse next to another. Prisoners covered the heaps of corpses thus arranged with sand. Before being covered, the corpses were sprinkled with burnt lime. During the first days the earth above the grave would rise like a mound. As time passed this earth sank and the ground was slowly flattened"[70].

But this witness also “saw” 30 mass graves that were 100 meters long, 25 meters wide and 15 deep, each containing 100,000 corpses[71]. Thus 100,000 fresh corpses were buried using a volume of (100 × 25 × 16 =) 40,000 cubic meters, that is on average (100,000 ÷ 40.000 =) 2.5 corpses per cubic meter, which, due to the effects of decomposition, lost 1/15 of their volume, so that they came to rest in a pit of (100 × 25 × 15 =) 37,500 cubic meters, giving a medium density of (100,000 ÷ 37.500 =) 2.67 corpses per cubic meter.

Muehlenkamp is therefore refuted even by the most important of the Bełżec “eyewitnesses”! As a way to escape this predicament, he could possibly renounce the Holocaust dogma of eyewitness infallibility and declare this testimony to be false, but then he would also have to declare as false that of Gerstein – and thus the entire basis of his argument – as did Tregenza, who had the courage to declare both Gerstein and Reder “unreliable”[72].

Apparently aware of the inconsistency of his argument, Muehlenkamp tries to grab hold of another hypothesis no less groundless:

"Besides those described above, another procedure that may at least occasionally have been applied at Belzec in order to stretch the capacity of the mass graves is that of partially burning the corpses in the graves to make room for further corpses. This procedure is suggested by the following statements, quoted in English translation by Mattogno himself on page 61 of his book, from depositions made on 9 November 1959 and 25 April 1960 by Prof. Wilhelm Pfannenstiel, who according to these and earlier depositions had visited Belzec on 18/19 August 1942 in the company of the Kurt Gerstein."

He then quotes a passage from a deposition made by Pfannenstiel on April 25, 1960 (italics by Muehlenkamp):

"Through these [doors] Jewish detainees took out the corpses and threw them into large pits. The corpses were burned in these pits. […] From my point of view, the incineration of the corpses at the time was still quite imperfect. […] From the inspection site the corpses were taken directly to deep mass graves that had been dug in the vicinity of the extermination installation. When the pits were rather full, the corpses were doused with gasoline – it may have been some other flammable liquid – and were then lit. I could only determine that the corpses burned just partly. Then another layer of earth was thrown over the corpses and then fresh corpses were placed into the same pit"[73].

Here Muehlenkamp is truly unbelievable!

As he very well knows, Pfannenstiel is the only witness to have mentioned corpse burning taking place prior to December 1942 at Bełżec, and on this detail he is refuted not only by Gerstein, but also by himself. Gerstein and Pfannenstiel allegedly witnessed the same event in each other’s company, yet the first one only “observed” the burial of the corpses followed by a swelling-deflation of the ground, while the other was the only one to see them burned. Muehlenkamp not only omits this contradiction, but pretends that both procedures took place!

But even if Aristotle spoke nonsense about the principle of non-contradiction, the claim that the corpses “burned just partly” means that they were for the most part only carbonized, so that the reduction of their volume would have been insignificant.

Muehlenkamp next concerns himself with the section of my study devoted to the testimony of Pfannenstiel. Needless to say, my arguments are dismissed as “absolute nonsense”. My critic writes:

"While it may well be that both Gerstein and Pfannenstiel were at Belzec more often and/or for other reasons than either of them was prepared to admit, that Pfannenstiel and/or Gerstein confounded various gassings they were witness to, that they indulged in speculations about certain details of the events witnessed that they weren’t quite sure about and that especially Pfannenstiel tried to play down the extent and/or the horror of the events he witnessed, the only reason why either of these witnesses and especially Pfannenstiel should have wholly invented mass murder actions he didn’t witness, as Mattogno surmises, would be that they felt pressured by conspiratorial entities hell-bent on putting together a false record of what had happened at Belzec during World War II. These sinister entities, according to Mattogno’s speculations, would have included or enlisted the support of the criminal justice authorities of the German Federal Republic. The utter absurdity and baselessness of such “Revisionist” conjectures, which go back to older “Revisionist” gurus like Butz and Stäglich, is succinctly expressed by John Zimmerman in chapter 6 of his book Holocaust Denial... ."

Of course “it may well be” that way, but in the field of history one must concern oneself with that which is documented. In this particular case, what is documented (in the sense of being supported by their testimonies) is that Gerstein and Pfannenstiel visited Bełżec together and on one single occasion. With this childish trick, Muehlenkamp tries to eliminate with a single blow all the contradictions arising from the statements of Gerstein and Pfannenstiel, two witnesses who contradict each other as well as themselves.

As for the claim of “conspiratorial entities hell-bent on putting together a false record of what had happened at Belzec during World War II”, this is merely a foolish invention of Muehlenkamp’s. My hypothesis is different. The black propaganda spread during the war, which I describe in the first chapter of my study, had already created the idea that Bełżec was an extermination camp (and it matters little that at the time killing by means of electrocution and other fanciful systems were spoken of). In my second chapter, I describe when and how these propaganda stories evolved into a much more developed version of the alleged events at Bełżec. By October 1944, the Soviet commission of inquiry for the Sokal territory had at their disposal only Bełżec testimonies such as that of Rozalja Schelewna Schier, who related what her late husband had told to her:

"When the bath house was completely full with 100-120 people, gas and high-voltage electric current are fed into it. Within 5 minutes, all the people in the bath house were dead. Inside the shed, the floor folds automatically, and the corpses fall into a previously dug trench where the victims are doused with a flammable liquid and burnt"[74].

The situation among the Polish judiciary was no better, as I have shown in my study by citing several of their statements:

"On the other hand, the investigations conducted toward the end of 1945 and in early 1946 by Regional Investigative Judge Czeslaw Godzieszewksi of the court at Lublin and by the prosecutor of the Zamość court, Jan Grzybowsky, who interrogated dozens of witnesses, not only did not determine what the alleged method of extermination had been, but managed to create total confusion in this regard. In fact, the indirect witnesses who reported hearsay mentioned a jumble of various methods of execution without, however, being able to state which one was the actual or the prevailing one"[75].

The only camp survivor among the eyewitnesses, Reder, made the following disarming statement:

"The air in the chambers, when they were opened, was pure, transparent and odorless. In particular, there was no smoke from the exhaust gas of the engine. The [exhaust] gas was evacuated from the engine directly into the open air, and not into the chambers [Gazy te były odprowadzane z motoru wprost na dwór a nie do komór]."[76]

How the deportees to Bełżec were killed thus remained a mystery.

Still at the Nuremberg trial, during the session of February 19, 1946, the Soviet Prosecutor Smirnov mentioned electrocution as the killing method employed at Bełżec[77]. In the immediate post-war period practically everyone was convinced that mass exterminations had taken place at Bełżec, but this general conviction was essentially based on the black propaganda spread during the war. In 1947, the Główna Komisja Badania Zbrodni Niemieckich w Polsce (Central Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes in Poland) fraudulently decided on which killing method was to be attributed to the camp at Bełżec: “the Germans killed by means of the exhaust gases from an engine set up in the execution building”. This finding was based on only two testimonies: that of Stanisław Kozak, who did not mention the method of extermination, and that of Rudolf Reder, who had spoken of exhaust gas from a gasoline engine that was not evacuated into the gas chambers.[78] This was surely no “conspiracy”, but definitely an imposture.

In the West, the so-called “Gerstein Report” had come into the public domain already by January 30, 1946, when the Assistant General Prosecutor of the French Republic Charles Dubost presented to the Nuremberg tribunal a group of documents, classified as PS-1553, which included a report in French signed by Kurt Gerstein and dated April 26, 1945. Furthermore, on January 16, 1947, the German translation of Document PS-1553 was presented as evidence at the ‘Doctors Trial’ as Exhibit 428.[79] This marked the judicial and historiographical birth of the Gospel according to Gerstein about the extermination of Jews at Bełżec.

With this we now come to the “criminal justice of the Federal Republic of Germany”, on which I have written as follows:

" 1965, when the Bełżec trial was conducted at Munich, the official legal and historical framework in relation to this camp had already been consolidated; hence, in their efforts to minimize their sentences, the defendants were compelled to accept this framework"[80].

This is true also for Pfannenstiel, who, during his first interrogation (on October 30, 1947), initially denied ever having been to Bełżec, but then made a vague admission in which he moreover confused Bełżec with Lublin! His subsequent confessions made to the German judiciary were colorless adaptions of the “Gerstein Report”, as he could no longer dispute the official version if he not wished to prejudice the outcome of his trials. However, in a private letter to Paul Rassinier dated August 3, 1963, Pfannenstiel described the report in question as “this most incredible piece of trash in which ‘poetry’ far outweighs truth”[81].

In the 1950s, Pfannenstiel

"began his career as the official guarantor of the truth of the Gerstein report, much to the benefit of the growing German historiography on the Holocaust. Pfannenstiel did not have to wait long for the results. He was acquitted for lack of proof in three proceedings against him by the prosecutor at Marburg on Lahn (a small act of gratitude on the part of the leaders of the judiciary), and all passages placing him in a bad light were expunged from the first official German publication of Gerstein’s report of May 4, 1945, prepared by historian Hans Rothfels in 1953 (a small act of gratitude on the part of historiographers). It is therefore not surprising that, after 1950, Pfannenstiel would guarantee officially and publicly the admissibility of the Gerstein report (with the exception of the passages regarding himself)"[82].

He was thus the most important living witness, and as such he appeared at the Bełżec trial in 1965. I have concluded my examination of Pfannenstiel’s testimonies with the following remark:

"Pfannenstiel’s task was to rescale Gerstein’s report, to eliminate its outrageous exaggerations in order to reduce it to an acceptable nucleus. Today, some official historians, such as Tregenza, consider Pfannenstiel’s testimony more important than Gerstein’s, which is (finally) regarded as inadmissible. But why was Gerstein, if describing an actual event, constrained to provide an account so demented as to render it inadmissible?"[83]

I leave the answer to Muehlenkamp.

My critic next asserts:

"For all his valiant attempts to discredit Pfannenstiel as a witness using “Revisionist” arguments that are as well-known as they are miserable, Mattogno fails to provide a faith-conform explanation for the above-mentioned statements he quotes on page 61 of his book, the second of which (from 25 April 1960) goes further than the first one (from 9 November 1959) in that it expressly mentions the reason why corpses were burned in the mass graves, from top down using a flammable liquid, when “the pits were rather full”: in order to make room for more bodies in the grave. Why should Pfannenstiel have invented this detail, which, as Mattogno’s conspiratorial phantoms lead him to point out, “was in contradiction both with his own statements, with the Gerstein report, and with official historiography (G. Reitlinger)”? Mattogno had better not quoted this “observation” of Pfannenstiel’s, which belies his speculations about the compliant nature of Pfannenstiel’s accounts and thus damages Mattogno’s own stance."

The last allegation could very well be a description of Muehlenkamp’s own methodological principle: to not quote a document or testimony when it damages his own stance.

My comment on Pfannenstiel’s statement read:

"This ‘observation’ by Pfannenstiel was in contradiction both with his own statements, with the Gerstein report, and with official historiography (G. Reitlinger), and Pfannenstiel realized it full well. This could only be intentional. Why should Pfannenstiel want to deny this tenet of the Holocaust dogma?."

I have indeed pointed out the fact that, in his interrogation from June 6, 1950, Pfannenstiel claimed that the corpses were simply “piled up in a grave”, not burnt, but of this Muehlenkamp mention nothing, as this would damage his stance. However, the question remains: why on June 6, 1950 would the witness mention only interment, but then on November 9, 1959 speak of corpse burning? As both Pfannenstiel and Gerstein had spoken previously only of interment, it is foolish to assume that he spoke the truth from the following infantile reasoning: “Why should Pfannenstiel have invented this detail”?

Muehlenkamp instead should have asked: “Why did Pfannenstiel make a statement contradicting his previous declaration as well as that of Gerstein”?

Not knowing what to take hold of, he resorts to a legal treatise, claiming that:

"Additions or changes of details in various depositions made by a witness are nothing uncommon in forensic practice, and that forensic psychology even considers such additions or changes to speak in favor rather than against the witness’s reliability regarding the core of its testimony."

But what we are talking of here are not “additions” or “changes of details”, but a contradiction: the corpses were either interred or burnt.

Another reason for Muehlenkamp to pose this question is the fact that Pfannenstiel only made this claim on a single occasion, namely in 1959. Perhaps his “memory” improved with the passing years?

Here we arrive at my explanation, which perhaps may not be “unquestionable” but at least reasonable. My observation that Pfannenstiel’s statement regarding the corpses being burnt is “in contradiction both with his own statements, with the Gerstein report, and with official historiography (G. Reitlinger)” has nothing to do with Muehlenkamp’s “conspiratorial phantoms”, as he well knows. As a matter of fact, I have explained that the “Bericht vom 26, April 1945” (Gerstein’s report from April 26, 1945) served as the basis for the interrogation of November 9, 1959, as is evident from the fact that Pfannenstiel expressly mentions it. I further explain:

"During the interrogation, Pfannenstiel also referred to Gerald Reitlinger’s book Die Endlösung (The Final Solution)[84]; he was, therefore, well informed about the historiographical dogma of the time and knew well what he had to say. Pfannenstiel’s ‘confirmation’ was no doubt copied from the ‘Gerstein report,’ although he found a way of inserting (on purpose?) additional contradictions and absurdities."

Gerstein had mentioned only the interment of corpses, and Reitlinger writes on Bełżec:

"In November - or soon after - it was out of action for good, but the Jewish Sonderkommando was occupied in effacing the mass graves till the following June."

He continues that, when in 1943 these were opened, “the stench of the exhumated bodies”[85] was still perceptible, which evidently means that the corpses had not been previously cremated. Therefore, not the “conspiratorial phantoms” of Muehlenkamp, but the reality of facts makes manifest the disagreement between the statements of the foremost witness and the foremost historian – Gerstein and Reitlinger – and those of Pfannenstiel.

Muehlenkamp’s tedious insistence on the presumed top-down burning method does not eliminate the main objections which I have already stated:

  • the unreliability of the witness (Pfannenstiel), who is contradicted by himself as well by Gerstein
  • the irrelevance of the result obtained by a simple carbonization of the corpses.

Muehlenkamp’s conjecture becomes even more foolish if one consider that the SS at Bełżec are supposed to have carbonized the corpses prior to their interment, thus making them much more difficult to incinerate, rather than having them directly burned on pyres!

Muehlenkamp continues:

"Apart from being incompatible with Mattogno’s conspiracy theories, Pfannenstiel’s description of how the capacity of the mass graves was stretched by top-down burning is corroborated by the already mentioned notes of Wehrmacht noncom Wilhelm Cornides. In his entry of 31 August 1942, Cornides recorded his encounter with Belzec extermination camp as follows: “6.20 pm. We passed camp Belzec. Before then, we travelled for some time through a tall pine forest. When the woman called, “Now it comes!” one could see a high hedge of fir trees. A strong sweetish odour could be made out distinctly. “But they are stinking already”, says the woman. “Oh nonsense, it is only the gas”, the railway policeman said laughing.

Meanwhile - we had gone on about 200 metres - the sweetish odour was transformed into a strong smell of something burning. “That is from the crematory”, says the policeman.”"

The citation finishes with the following sentence, similarly emphasized by my critic:

"The woman says that sometimes, while going by, one could see smoke rising from the camp, but I could notice nothing of the sort. My estimate is that the camp measures about 800 by 400 metres."

On which he comments:

"Cornides’ male interlocutor attributed the “strong smell of something burning” noticed by Cornides to what he called a “crematory”, an improper designation of the incineration facilities of the Aktion Reinhard(t) camps (which were not crematoria in a strict sense of the term, but open-air facilities) that is also found in some eyewitness testimonies. Where could this “strong smell of something burning” have come from at that time, long before the general exhumation and incineration of the corpses at Belzec, other than the top-down burning process described by Pfannenstiel?."

Muehlenkamp then refers to another diary entry dated September 1, 1942, in which “a policeman” in Chelm relates to Cornides that “they [the corpses] are immediately burned”. He concludes:

"Although neither of what Cornides recorded is direct eyewitness testimony of the top-down burning process described by Prof. Pfannenstiel, it is certainly a strong indication that Pfannenstiel’s description of this procedure was not just a figment of his imagination."

I observe first that none of the other sources quoted by Muehlenkamp confirm Pfannenstiel’s statement. The Cornides diary speaks of passengers on a train noticing a “strong smell of something burning” but on this occasion no smoke was seen. That the smell necessarily had to come from “the top-down burning process described by Pfannenstiel” is a claim wihout foundation. From the orthodox point of view, it could very well be an effect of the work of the “clothing commando [Lumpenmeister], and fire specialists [Feuermeister]” who, as O’Neil reports, “destroyed all personal possessions [of the deportees] and spoilt items by burning them”[86].

That the term “crematory” is an “improper designation” for an open air pyre is really nothing more than quibbling, as a crematory is a building containing one or more crematory ovens and has nothing to do, either in the “strict sense” or more broadly speaking, with open air incineration. Here Muehlenkamp demonstrates his arrogance by trying to correct (as he did with the alleged number of gassed) the Holocaust historians. 

The declaration of Pfannenstiel to which Muehlenkamp attributes such importance dates from 1960, while Cornides’s notes were published in 1959: this material has therefore been known for decades. Despite this, none of the major exterminationist experts on the Bełżec camp has ever drawn the same unjustified conclusion as Muehlenkamp.

Yitzhak Arad writes:

"The opening of the mass graves in Belzec and the cremating of the corpses removed from them began with the interruption of the arrival of transports and of the killing activities there in mid-December 1942. At that time there were about 600,000 corpses of murdered Jews in the pits of the camp"[87].

The same is true for those who have published their writings after Kola’s excavations. Tregenza, who has carefully studied the testimonies of local Poles interrogated by Polish and Soviet authorities in 1945, the testimonies of the former SS camp staff, as well as statements from a group of local Poles whom he himself interviewed, limits himself to asserting:

"The extermination camp of Bełżec operated until the beginning of December 1942. Beginning in November, the hundreds of thousands of corpses were exhumed and cremated"[88].

How many corpses were there exactly? Tregenza gives the following answer:

"As for the number of pyres at Bełżec there is serious divergence. Witnesses from the village maintain that up to five pyres were used, while the SS at the trial in Munich 1963-1964 spoke of two pyres. According to their statements at least 500,000 people were burnt on these two pyres. If we assume a minimum of 500,000 cremated corpses for two pyres, then for five pyres we must assume a victim figure much higher – possibly even twice as high – as the hitherto officially held figure of 600,000"[89].

Thus Tregenza believes it to be a certainty that 500,000 corpses were cremated at Bełżec, but likely that their real number was 1,200,000!

R. O’Neil mentions nothing of the alleged “top-down burning process” in the section he devotes to the cremation of the corpses:

"The ‘resettlement’ transports to the Belzec death camp ceased on December 11, 1942, but preparations were already in place to trigger the corpse burnings. […]

The number of pyres used in Belzec is not clear as witnesses refer to 2-5 pyres. These had been constructed in mid-November 1942 and were in continual use until March 1943. […]

The Belzec trial testimonies refer to at least 300,000 bodies being cremated on the first pyre and a further 240,000 on the second pyre; therefore, at least 540, 000 corpses were cremated on pyres in Belzec"[90].

Regarding this issue, I have already quoted in my study the following declaration of Heinrich Gley from January 7, 1963:

"As far as I can remember, the gassings were stopped toward the end of 1942, when we already had snow. Then the general exhumation and cremation started; it may have lasted from November 1942 through March 1943. The cremations went on day and night without interruption, first on one and then on two hearths [pyres]. One hearth allowed some 2,000 corpses to be burned in 24 hours. The second hearth was erected about four weeks after the beginning of the cremation operation. Thus, on average, the one hearth burned a total of 300,000 corpses over a period of some 5 months, the other 240,000 over some 4 months. Of course, these are only general estimates"[91].

Gley therefore speaks of approximately 540,000 cremated corpses, a number which far exceeds that of 434,508 advanced by Muehlenkamp. We thus have a conspiracy theory according to which the witnesses and historians have agreed to not lend credence to the story of the “top-down burning process”. It is indeed fortunate that Muehlenkamp has uncovered this disturbing “truth” which apparently has been “hidden” up to now!

I will make a last note on the observations of Cornides from the railway line which passes in front of Bełżec (and which, until the construction of the new memorial, ran approximately 80 meters from the camp’s fence). With regard to this, I note in my study:

"Indeed, what strikes the visitor’s eye most of all is the proximity of the camp to the road (the present national road 17, linking Zamość to Rava Russkaya and continuing on to Lviv, called Lemberg by the Germans at the time and Lwów by the Poles) and to the railroad from Lublin to Rava Russkaya. Since the camp was laid out on the side of a small hill, with the gas chambers of the second phase as well as the mass graves allegedly located in the upper portion, a 3-meter-high fence, even if it had been interwoven with pine or fir branches, would not have prevented anyone from observing all phases of the alleged extermination from some distance. The ‘terrible secret’ of Bełżec would therefore have become known immediately"[92].

I will return to and deepen my discussion of this important issue in Section 5 below.

I give now finally Muehlenkamp’s conclusion:

"If, as is to be assumed according to the above-quoted testimonies, the capacity of the graves was stretched by the means mentioned in these descriptions, this means that calculating the number of bodies placed in the Belzec mass graves based on the geometrical space available only is no more than speculation, whereby speculation supported by the testified composition of transports to Belzec and the experiment made by Charles Provan is at any rate more realistic than Mattogno’s claim supposedly derived from “experimental data”."

Disregarding the already remarked on inconsistencies of Gerstein’s testimony and Provan’s experiment, the reasoning of Muehlenkamp is further flawed as it is based on an illicit generalization. Pfannenstiel speaks of a single grave which he claims to have observed for a single day in August (18 or 19), yet Muehlenkamp applies this assumed procedure of top-down burning to all graves and to all days of the camp’s operation. From which testimony does he draw this conclusion? And could it seriously be considered “realistic”?

Even if we accept as valid the absurd conjectures of Muehlenkamp, fact is that the decrease of volume in the corpses due to partial combustion would have been more than compensated for by the sand thrown into the graves according to the same testimonies on which my critic relies, the volume of which, as I have shown, would have equalled the space sufficient to bury at least 105,405 corpses.

The essential and undemonstrated premise of Muehlenkamp’s argument is that the camp authorities took care to “make the most of the available burial space”, so that no burial volume was wasted. This false premise is resoundingly refuted by the results of Kola’s survey. Muehlenkamp should take a new look at plan of the mass graves drawn by O'Neil[93]: who can seriously believe that the camp administration would have arranged the mass graves in such a confused and irrational fashion, if they had wanted to save burial space?

The entire argument of Muehlenkamp is rendered still more foolish from the following simple observation: which need was there to save space if the surface of the mass graves identified by Kola hardly covers 11% of the camp area? What prevented the Bełżec SS from using a larger section of the camp or to enlarge the area already available, if they indeed needed more space?

The same kind of absurdity is found in Gerstein’s declaration which forms the basis for Muehlenkamp’s calculations. The SS at Bełżec, who were to gas 5,250 Jews, had available six gas chambers but used only four of them, so that they had to cram 750 persons into each gas chamber, or 30 persons per square meter. This, if it had been possible, would have required a long and patient technical “interlocking” of the victims in order to take advantage of the minimal free space – but were they really worried about capacity if then they left two gas chambers empty?

Muehlenkamp still objects that

"the depths of the mass graves established by Kola through his cautious drillings, avoiding as much as possible the contact with layers of corpses, need not have been the original depths of the mass graves."

He then cites the following passage in Kola’s book, which I have already quoted myself:

"The majority of graves situated here reached the depth between 4,00-5,00 m. One can suppose that those depths were regarded as the optimum ones; underground waters appeared at bigger depths"[94].

Muehlenkamp then comments:

"If 4 to 5 meters was the optimum depth, this makes it likely that the mass graves were as a rule dug to this depth."

Here Muehlenkamp forgets about the specific meaning of Kola’s statement: “12 graves were reported here (about 36% of the total number)”[95]. Therefore, out of the total 33 graves,  "as a rule" only those 12 had a depth of 4-5 meters. Muehlenkamp next quotes from the deposition of former SS Alfred Schluch, who stated that a grave “may have been 5 to 6 meters deep”. “May have been”, not “was”, thus a mere estimate, not a measurement.

As for the preceding comment, it may also be considered “likely” that “as a rule” the mass graves had a depth of 4-5, but in that case, assuming a depth of 5 meters with a sand cover of 30 centimeters, said mass graves could have contained at most 226,000 corpses[96], not approximately 434,000. 

This, however, is not the problem. I must here repeat the statement of Michael Tregenza:

"Today it is officially spoken of “at least 600,000 murdered people”. However, in the light of new research and excavations, one must assume a considerably higher victim figure – possibly up towards one million."

Tregenza has drawn this conclusion from the actual, published results of Kola’s survey, and like mine, it is based on these actual results leaving aside any “possibilites” and “probabilities”. As for the graves, the actual result is that they are 33 in number, that their total surface is approximately 5,490 square meters, and their total volume approximately 21,310 cubic meters. The rest is simply useless, inconsistent talk.

Muehlenkamp’s general conclusion – “there are weighty reasons speaking against the assumption that the volume of the mass graves existing at Belzec was not sufficient to take in the corpses of the ca. 434,000 Jewish deportees mentioned in Höfle’s report to Heim of 11 January 1943” – is completely devoid of value.

Assuming as valid all his arbitrary and fallacious premises (15 corpses per cubic meter, a grave depth of 5 meters) the graves of Bełżec could have contained approximately 417,400 corpses[97], while the presumed practice of incomplete combustion would have taken away space corresponding to about  158,000 corpses which the volume decrease of the carbonized corpses would have made up for only partially.

Finally, it is unclear how Muehlenkamp reconciles his figure of 434,000 with that established by the Bełżec trial, that is 540,000 cremated corpses. Wouldn't he have to think that the accused Heinrich Gley lied deliberately only to have the court back up this untruth? But if that was true, what value would the Bełżec trial verdict then have? Or does he seriously believe that the witness made an “error” regarding 106,000 victims?

4.2. “Wood Requirements”

In my analysis I have assumed, based on calculations, that the “average assumed weight, including allowance for presumed children” for a corpse would be 45 kg[98], referring to the book on Treblinka written by me in collaboration with Jürgen Graf, in which I have presented in detail the technical data later used in my study on Bełżec. In the Treblinka book I have observed, among other things, that the American Holocaust historian Konnilyn G. Feig  speaks of 700,000 corpses weighing 35,000 tons and occupying a volume of 69,000 cubic meters, that is 10 corpses per cubic meter, noting erroneously that Feig assumes a medium weight of 50 kg per corpse.

Muehlenkamp, after citing this passage, comments:

"As one can see, Mattogno offers no explanation why he considers the 50 kg per corpse assumed by Konnilyn Feig to be an accurate average or how he arrived at the conclusion that dessication of the bodies over many months would reduce their average weight by only 10 % from 50 kg to 45 kg."

Here Muehlenkamp commits a real blunder, as in the book in question I write that I have assumed the medium weight of 45 kg for a corpse “since the corpses would have been buried for many months, leading to a loss of weight by desiccation”. However, the medium weight I assumed for a “fresh” corpse was not 50 kg, but 58.

If in Poland in 1931 the number of the children of 14 years of age and under made up 29.6% of the total population, that is little less than 1/3, and their medium weight was 35 kg, while that of an adult was 70 kg, then the medium weight of 3 persons (two adults and one child) would be ([70 + 70 + 35]: 3 =) 58,3 kg, giving a weight of 45 kg corresponding to a medium loss of 35% of the watery content due to desiccation. Since the major part of the alleged mass killings at Bełżec is supposed to have occurred within a period of four months, from August to November 1942[99], this hypothesis is not unreasonable.

Muehlenkamp, however, appeals again to the fallacious experiment of Provan, which as already noted assumes a medium weight of 32.25 kg per person, but then generously takes as his premise Gerstein’s figure of 35 kg.

Curiously, while expecting me to rigorously demonstrate every single figure I advance, my critic always accepts without questioning the figures advanced by his witnesses. How did Gerstein arrive at his estimate that more than half of the alleged victims were children? Had he counted them and then calculated their percentage? And how did he reach the conclusion that the medium weight of the victims was 35 kg? Did he weigh them all and then calculated their medium weight?

Even omitting those considerations, the figures of Gerstein are purely subjective estimates based on the still more foolish assumption of 750 persons crammed into 25 square meters. Provan has not dared to go that far, stopping himself at 703. But with a little good will, adding a Barbie doll and a Spiderman puppet...

Muehlenkamp next cites against me the result of burnings of dead or put down livestock because of epidemics. He quotes a report entitled “Options for the Mechanised Slaughter and Disposal of Contagious Diseased Animals – A Discussion Paper”, presented at a conference in Australia in 2000, according to which 504 pigs with a total weight of 41,300 kg were completely destroyed using 40 cubic meters of firewood.

He then asserts that the firewood to burn with the highest calorific power, namely dry oak, has a weight of 1,708-2,195 kg per “cord”, that is, stack of 3,625 cubic meters,

"So 40 cubic meters of firewood correspond to ca. 11 cords, which means that the weight of the wood used for burning these 41,300 kg of swine carcasses was at most ca. 11 × 2,195 kg = 24,145 kg - [21,145 / 41.300 =] 0.58 kg of wood per kg of carcass!."

Based on an experiment utilizing meat from a slaughterhouse (only soft tissue, no bones) I on my hand have established the required amount of fuel as 3.5 kg of firewood per 1 kg of meat.[100]

From a serious study of the literature relating to the burning of animal carcasses during epidemics, it turns out that the equivalent given for a human corpse weighing 70 kg is 140 kg of firewood[101], thus 2 kg of firewood per 1 kg of meat.

How then does Muehlenkamp arrive at his data?

The report he quotes from is available online[102]. It is accompanied by a sketch showing an installation used for the burning of pig cadavers[103]: an actual machine connected to a lower refractory chamber, or, as in this case, to a pit, above which is located an open chamber with refractory panels. A powerful blower insufflates air at the bottom of the lower chamber or pit and causes overoxygenation of the fire, leading to complete combustion without smoke at high temperature[104]. According to the article cited by Muehlenkamp, the pit temperature oscillated between 980°C and 1100°C. The Topf crematory ovens at Auschwitz-Birkenau had a working temperature of 800°C.

My critic then refers to a report of the US Department of Agriculture and the Texas Animal Health Commission on the same instance of cremation (carried out in Texas in 1994)[105], giving the impression that the 40 cubic meters of firewood mentioned above were used during all three days of burning, and that this

"Would mean that the average calculated before would have to be multiplied by 3, leading to a firewood amount of 1.74 kg of wood per kg of carcass",

which is approximately half the amount assumed by me.

Since the two reports are contradictory, Muehlenkamp wrote to the company Burners LLC in Flora. Their answer was that the firewood consumption was approximately equal to the weight of the carcass, that is 1 kg of firewood per 1 kg of carcass. Muehlenkamp notes:

"This statement refers to air curtain incinerations, which involve a machine that fan-forces a mass of air through a manifold, thereby creating a turbulent environment in which incineration is accelerated up to six times faster than in open-air burning. So the question arises whether the incineration of corpses on grids made of railway tracks, as performed in the camps of Aktion Reinhard(t), is comparable to air curtain incineration in what concerns the amount of fuel required. Air curtain incineration combines the advantages of avoiding heat loss, as the incineration takes place inside a trench or firebox, with the advantage of having a lot of oxygen around to assist the burning, which was a feature of structures like those used at the Aktion Reinhard(t) camps, so it is arguably more fuel-efficient than open-air incineration on a grid."

He then asserts that according to other sources

"air curtain incineration is not noted for its fuel-efficiency, but stated to be fuel-intensive, the wood-carcass-ratio being between 1:1 and 2:1."

Muehlenkamp then cites a study on the burning of carcasses in which is stated that in order to destroy 250 carcasses, the following was required:

  • 250 railway sleepers
  • 250 bales of straw
  • 6,250 kg of kindling firewood
  • 50,750 kg of coal
  • 1 gallon of diesel oil per meter length of pyre[106].

Accounting for the consumption of firewood, Muehlenkamp calculates the calorific value of the abovementioned quantity of fuel in BTU (British Thermal Unit, 1 BTU = 0,252 Kcal), reaching the following conclusion:

"Total energy required to burn 250 carcasses: 3,923,646,250 BTU. This would correspond to 3,923,646,250 ÷ 16,671 = 235,358 kg of kindling wood."

He then assumes for a (bovine) carcass a medium weight of 500 kg, with 250 carcasses weighing 125,000 kg and the medium requirement of firewood to be (235,358 ÷ 125,000 =) approximately 1,9 kg per kilo of carcass, in effect corresponding to the firewood requirements of cremations with air curtain. The total energy required corresponds to 988,758,855 Kcal, while the calorific value of 1 kg of kindling firewood corresponds to (16,671 BTU =) 4,200 Kcal. This is the weak point of Muehlenkamp’s calculation. The calorific value of the firewood assumed by him greatly exceeds that of even very seasoned firewood:

"The calorific value of different types of firewood derives to a large degree from their watery contents, so that the efficiency of boilers or stoves is directly influenced by the type of firewood used. On average well seasoned firewood possess a calorific value of 3,200 Kcal/kg"[107].

The following table gives the calorific value of firewood according to water content[108]:

Water content in % Calorific value (kcal/kg)
15% 3490
20% 3250
25% 3010
30% 2780
35% 2450
40% 2300

Owing to hygroscopy, “the wood absorbs water until its fibers are saturated. The watery content is up to 30% of the weight of the dry wood”. As for porosity, “the weight of the watery content will be greater than 30% of the weight of the dry wood. If the wood is immersed in, or in contact with water, this will gradually replace the air until the condition of total absorption is reached, where the water has replaced the air completely”[109].

Assuming a minimum water retention capacity of 30% (25% being that of a wood coffin with a calorific value of approximately 3,000 Kcal/kg) corresponding to 2,780 Kcal/kg, the fuel requirement for the abovementioned burning of bovine cattle would be (988,758,855 ÷ 2,780 =) 355,668 kg of kindling firewood, that is (355,668 ÷ 125,000 =) 2.84 kg wood per kilo of carcass, a figure near that given by me (3.5 kg).

Here I must clarify an issue of fundamental importance, namely that the method for burning the carcasses was developed essentially to destroy the infectious pathogenic germs which caused the epidemics in the cattle:

"The idea of rendering harmless the cadavers of disease-stricken animals by cremation first occurred to the veterinary Georg Feist, who was convinced that the burial only served to create a hotbed for the spread of the contagions, which were at the time ruining the country. Dr. Feist's concept was quickly approved by the local authorities, as well as by his colleague, the veterinary Zündel. The authorities in Strasbourg authorized the construction of a special furnace in each of the districts affected by the contagion, namely Johaness-Rohrbach and the canton of Saaralben"[110].

Feist thus constructed the first system for the burning of animal carcasses, which bear his name: the Feist apparatus. For this purpose incineration such as takes place in a crematorium furnace is not necessary, but merely the combustion of all soft tissues.

The second weak point of Muehlenkamp’s example is that he has not indicated the result of the abovementioned burning of 250 carcasses, that is, the weight and quality of the residues. It is obvious that carbonization, even intense such, demands less fuel than incineration. Burning with air curtain is moreover not comparable with burning on pyres, because of the enormously greater efficiency, as can be seen from the recorded combustion temperatures.

It must further be added that, in the case of Bełżec, the burning of corpses took place, according to Muehlenkamp, between November 1942 and March 1943. The “eyewitness” Reder writes: “It [a transport from Zamość] was around November 15, when the weather had already turned cold and snow and mud covered the ground”[111]. Gley, in the already quoted statement from January 7, 1963, claims that “the gassings were stopped toward the end of 1942, when we already had snow”. O’Neil informs us that the area where Bełżec is located has winter temperatures of down to -25°C[112]. This means that the firewood, used to burn frozen corpses on an open air pyre exposed to snow and rain, was soaked with water, covered with snow or frosty. To then ascribe to this wood a calorific value of 2,300 Kcal/kg is already an extraordinary concession[113]. To get an idea of the conditions during which the alleged cremation of 600,000 or 540,000 or 434,000 corpses took place, it is enough to look at some photographs taken at Bełżec in February 2004, that have been published at a noted Holocaust website[114].

Applying, therefore, this more realistic data to the calculation of Muehlenkamp, we find that the fuel requirement would equal at least (988,758,855 ÷ 2.300 =) 429,895 kg of kindling firewood, or (429,895 ÷ 125,000 =) 3,44 kg wood per kilo of carcass, a virtual confirmation of the validity of my assumption.

The abovementioned data is further confirmed by another concrete case in which the types of fuel used allows us to calculate more easily the demand of unseasoned firewood. In March 2001, near Lille, France, an enormous, 100 meter long pyre was constructed in order to burn the carcasses of 600 rams and 218 other sheep. This burning required:

  • 350 railway sleepers
  • 56 cubic meters of firewood
  • 10 tons of straw
  • 60 tons of coal and naphta[115].

I will make my calculation with reference to seasoned firewood (sleepers and straw: ~ 3,500 Kcal/kg), with exception for the 56 cubic meters of firewood, which I assume to be fresh (~ 2,300 Kcal/kg). For a sleeper Muehlenkamp calculates with a volume of 0.0975 cubic meters. The wood used is beech, oak or sessile oak, which, when dry, has a medium specific weight of approximately 0.7. The total weight thus turns out to be 350 × (0.0975 × 700) = ~ 23,900 kg. The weight of 1 cubic meter of firewood is, according to Muehlenkamp, (2,195 ÷ 3,625)[116] = 605 kg, therefore the total weight of the firewood used was (56 × 605 =) ~ 33,900 kg. Straw has a calorific value of approximately 4,000 Kcal/kg[117], which means that 10 tons of it corresponds to (10,000/3500 × 4000 =) approximately 11,400 kg of seasoned firewood. Coal has a minimum calorific value of 7,000 Kcal/kg, so that 1 kg of coal corresponds to 2 kg of seasoned firewood. Therefore, 60 tons of coal corresponds to 120,000 kg of dry firewood. I will omit the naphta, since no quantity is given, while noting that it has an even higher calorific value than coal (~ 10,200 Kcal/kg).

Altogether there was used the equivalent of 189,200 kg of firewood, of which 155,300 was dry and the remaining 33,900 unseasoned. As for the unseasoned firewood, the consumption was 33,900 + (155,300/2300 × 3500 =) ~ 270,200 kg.

A sheep of medium build weighs 60-75 kilo, a heavy one 75-90 kg[118]. Assuming the maximum weight, the 818 carcassed would have weighed (818 × 90 =) 73,620 kg and the firewood required to burn them would have corresponded to (270.200: 73.620 =) ~ 3.67 kg of firewood per kilo of carcass.

Regarding the cremation of a human corpse by means of firewood, the best criterion of judgement would be the operation of the gasifier based crematory ovens developed by the Indian Teri company in order to make possible a considerable reduction of the huge waste of firewood which the cremation of a single corpse with the traditional methods requires:

"It was observed that each cremation using the gasifier took approximately 60-80 minutes consuming 100-150 kg of wood as against 400-600 kg in the traditional system and about 250-300 in improved open fire system using a metal grate. After carrying out successful trials the gasifier based crematorium system has now been put into regular use at Ambernath. The time required for cremation ranged between 70–85 minutes while the specific fuelwood consumption ranged from 110 to 145 kg per cremation during trial runs"[119].

From this experimental data we can deduce the respective firewood requirements for an average corpse of 70 kg:

  • 7.14 kg of firewood per kilo of corpse in a traditional pyre
  • 3.9 kg of firewood per kilo of corpse in a pyre with a metallic grill
  • 1.8 kg of firewood per kilo of corpse in the crematory furnace.

As seen from a video available online[120], this Indian installation is an actual crematory furnace, complete with a closed incineration chamber, and an external gasifier in which the firewood is gasified before it is injected into the incineration chamber, generating a powerful flame. In the case of Bełżec, given that the cremation of the bodies of the alleged gassing victims was done on pyres built of railway tracks, as is asserted for Treblinka, the system of cremation would have been more similar to that of the pyre with a metallic grill, which requires 3.9 kg of firewood per kilo of corpse. Thus the validity of my original assumption of 3.5 kg remains intact.

Muehlenkamp draws the following false conclusions from his fallacious calculation:

"Assuming a 1:1 wood to corpse – ratio, the amount of wood required for the burning of 600,000 corpses with an average weight of 35 kg would have been ca. 21,000,000 kg = 21,000 tons, instead of the 96,000 tons assumed by Mattogno. For the corpses of the ca. 434,000 Jews whose delivery at Belzec can be established with absolute certainty, the amount required at this ratio would have been 434,000 × 35 = 15,190,000 kg or 15,190 tons of firewood. Assuming 2 kg of wood per kg of corpse mass, the amount would have been 30,380 tons."

Assuming the real quantity resulting from Muehlenkamp’s calculations (3.44 kg), while also accepting as medium weight for a corpse 35 kg, the firewood requirement would have been (35 × 3.44 =) 120.4 kg of firewood per corpse, thus for 600,000 corpses (600,000 × 120.4 =) 72,240,000 kg or 72,240 tons, or, in the case of 434,000 corpses (434,000 × 120.4 =) 52,253,600 kg or 52,253.6 tons.

If instead one assumes the data relating to the Indian system of cremation on a pyre equipped with a metallic grill, then the respective quantities of firewood turns out to be:

(35 × 3,9 =) 136,5 kg per corpse
(600,000 × 136.5 =) 81,900,000 kg or 81,900 tons, and
434,000 × 136.5 =) 59,241,000 kg or 59,241 tons.

Muehlenkamp’s conclusion is therefore completely groundless.

Continuing, Muehlenkamp notes that his assumed, and in fact arbitrary, medium weight of 35 kg refers to fresh corpses, while here we should take into account the loss of weight due to decomposition. He invokes first the website of an Australian museum, on which is shown six photographs of a piglet of a kilo and a half (!), going through the stages of decomposition[121]. The first photograph shows some living piglets. In the subsequent five photographs, the process of decomposition in a piglet is shown, without any exact specification for when each picture was taken. For each phase indicated, the span of time is depicted, ranging from 0-3 days after death for the second photo to 50-365 days (!) after death for the final photo. 

Muehlenkamp describes the final phase of decomposition as being finished after exactly 365 days in the open air. In the case of interment, said process will take more time. He then cites Dr. Trisha McNair, according to whom:

"Decomposition in the air is twice as fast as when the body is under water and four times as fast as underground. Corpses are preserved longer when buried deeper, as long as the ground isn’t waterlogged."

He then cites another source on forensic medicine which references the so-called Casper’s dictum, according to which:

"One week of putrefaction in air is equivalent to two weeks in water, which is equivalent to eight weeks buried in soil, given the same environmental temperature."

Muehlenkamp assumes it to be “reasonable” that the claim of Dr. McNair refers to the end of the black putrefaction or the butyric fermentation stage, and, still referring to the abovementioned piglet, argues that:

"What is decisive for our topic is that the corpses buried at Belzec should have had hardly any water left in them by the end of the stage of black putrefaction, which according to the above lasted between the 40th and the 80th days after they had been placed in the burial pits. The weight and mass of these corpses was reduced accordingly, as it is known that 60 – 70 % of the human body is water. According to a German encyclopedia site , a human being weighing 70 kg carries around 42 kg of water, which means that its corpse, after the water has left it, will weigh only about 28 kg or about 40% of its original weight."

After a drawn-out discussion which I will save my reader, Muehlenkamp finally decides that the medium watery content of the bodies of the presumed victims at Bełżec amounted to 60%, drawing the conclusion:

"Applied to our case this means that the average weight of the corpses buried in the Belzec mass graves would have diminished from 35 kg to 14 kg[122] by the stage of butyric fermentation. If, as seems plausible and could even be calculated more precisely on hand of a schedule of the transports to Belzec[123], about two thirds of the corpses of the ca. 434,000 people mentioned in Höfle’s report were in the advanced phases of decomposition when the general clearing of the mass graves started, while the rest was still at the stage of putrefaction, the average weight of the corpse mass to be incinerated was (289,000 × 14 + 145.000 × 35) ÷ 434.000 = 21 kg. If, on the other hand, one assumes the comparatively improbable scenario of an equal distribution between corpses at the stage of putrefaction and corpses at the advanced stages of decomposition, the calculation is (217,000 × 14 + 217,000 × 35) ÷ 434,000 = 24.50 kg."

He then assumes a scenario “more favorable to Mattogno”, with the medium weight of the disinterred corpses being 25 kg, thus reaching the following conclusion:

"Assuming a requirement of 1 kg of wood per kg of corpse mass, this would mean an amount of 25 × 434,000 = 10,850,000 kg = 10,850 tons of wood. Assuming 2 kg of wood per kg of corpse mass, the amount would have been 21,700 tons."

Muehlenkamp’s argument is based on the following:

  1. the decomposition process in the carcass of a 1,5 kg piglet, taking place in open air
  2. the assumption that the stage of black putrefaction in a human corpse buried in earth ranges from 40 to 80 days after interment
  3. the assumption that black putrefaction involves the total dehydration of the body
  4. the assumption that the medium weight of the bodies of the presumed Bełżec victims was 35 kg.

The first point, which constitutes Muehlenkamp’s fundamental criterion of judgment, is more than a little naive and is moreover easily refuted by reference to sources dealing with human corpses. For example, Dr. Luigi Maccone, in his classic work on cremation, dedicates a fully documented section to the “Parasitology of the corpse”, in which he summarizes the results of previous scientific studies on the subject, while providing as illustration five panels with drawings of the cadaverous fauna. Maccone finds that:

"According to Mégnin’s objective and subtle investigations, several types of maggots succeed each other in the corpse following a “fixed order”: there is a sarcophagic period lasting three months, a dermestic period lasting 3-4 months, a third sylphic period lasting 4-8 and finally an acarid period. […]

From 3 to 6 months after death, while still under the influence of microbial fermentation, there emerge from the fat products on which they feed a different kind of insects, gradually replacing the large flies who now seems to have completed their work. Those are small butterflies belonging to the genus anglosa and beetles of the genus dermestes, whose maggots are at most one centimeter in length. Their bodies, covered with hairs, are well known to grocers and furriers, since they destroy lard and furs. A short time after the butyric fermentation has occurred, generating “corpse fat”, an other, truly caseinic, fermentation begins in the albuminous substances. […] The butyric and caseinic fermentation is followed by the ammoniacal fermentation, whose exhalations attract a fifth team of detroyers which attack the not yet consumed substances. […] They complete the drying of the body, absorbing all humours left behind by their precedents"[124].

Thus, the stage of butyric fermentation is entered first during the period of 3-6 months after death. On the other hand, according to the Casper dictum invoked by Muehlenkamp[125], a week in the open air corresponds to eight weeks of interment, and since the stage of butyric fermentation in the case of the piglet ranged from 20 to 50 days after its death[126], this would mean that for the same process taking place underground the corresponding time range would be 160 to 400 days, or 5 to 13 months after death.

If instead the stage of black putrefaction is considered, the necessary time, according to Muehlenkamp’s source, is 10-20 days after death, which in the case of interment corresponds to 80-160. Although it is claimed by the Australian museum that during this phase “a large volume of body fluids drain from the body and seep into the surrounding soil”, the carcass shown on the website appears anything but desiccated: rather, it still retains some volume and some of its watery contents[127]. As for the fallacious medium weight of 35 kg, I refer to my above stated arguments.

The calculation of Muehlenkamp is therefore based on false conjectures and erroneous assumptions and is consequently of no value.

Muehlenkamp would do better to examine concrete cases of exhumation of human corpses from mass graves instead of devoting his attention to a 1.5 kg piglet. At Vinnytsya, for example, the exhumation of the bodies of the Soviet victims was carried out approximately three years after their interment. In the summary of the medico-legal expert we read:

"The corpses at the three discovered sites displayed various forms of decomposition according to their position. While the corpses found in the upper layers of the mass graves were prevalently skeletonized or partially to extensively mummified, the ones in the intermediate and deeper layers were found to be macerated dry with adipocere. Tissues and organs could be recognized and appeared well preserved, evidently because of the extraordinarily high pressure from the above soil layers, resulting in a relatively good state of conservation with a strong loss of water in the tissues"[128].

Regarding the intermediate and deep laters, the expert stated that the corpses in a state of adipocere did not display an “intense loss of water”[129], which means that after three years they were still not dehydrated. Consequently, the hypothesis of dehydration taking place in 100% of the Bełżec corpses within only a few months is indefensible.

Above I have assumed for the disinterred corpses a medium weight of 45 kg, corresponding to a medium loss of 35% of the watery content of the bodies. In terms of weight this means a loss of (58 - 45 =) 13 kg of water, this being a simple estimate without scientific pretensions, since determining this factor in a scientific manner would be much too arduous. But even assuming a 50% loss of water, the medium weight would come down to 40.6 kg. The order of magnitude would thus not change. There exists, however, another important factor to be considered, namely the loss of body fat in the corpses.

Muehlenkamp attempts to dig deeper into this issue, but neglects a fundamental aspect regarding the combustion of corpses. As noted above the process of decomposition at the stage of butyric fermentation involves a certain loss of fat substances, which are devoured by particular bugs. In the heat balance of a cremation, the fat content of the corpse is much more important than its watery content. Assuming that the human body consists in medium of 64% water and 14% fat (as well as 15.3% of proteins)[130] and supposing (but not conceding to) a medium weight of 35 kg for the bodies of the presumed victims, each corpse would contain (35 × 0.64 =) 22.4 kg of water and (35 × 0.14 =) 4.9 kg of fat.  Finally we assume a combustion temperature of 800°C, which is rather unrealistic for an open air pyre (as already noted, 800°C was the working temperature of the Topf crematory ovens in Auschwitz-Birkenau).

In the heat balance of the cremation, water is an obvious liability while the fat is an asset. I calculate the loss of heat due to evaporation of water in the corpse and the overheating of the vapor at 800°C thus:

22.4 × [640 + (0,493 × 700[131])] = ~ 22.100 Kcal.

Animal fat has a heat of combustion of 11.1 kWh/kg[132], i.e. approximately 9.500 Kcal/kg, therefore the abovementioned 4.9 kg of fat would result in (4.9 × 9500 =) 46,550 Kcal. This means that in the heat balance of the cremation the loss of heat due to water would correspond to (22,100: 22.4 =) 986 Kcal per kg of water, while the heat contributed by the fat would be 9,500 Kcal per kg of fat. The heat resulting from 1 kg of fat is therefore equivalent to that lost due to (9.500: 986 =) 9.6 kg of water.

Since the data relating to the loss of watery and fatty contents in the buried corpses are purely conjectural, Muehlenkamp’s objections are reduced to nothing. In fact, as we have already seen, the loss of fatty contents during the stage of butyric fermentation results from fat being devoured by particular bugs. Supposing but not conceding to a 100% loss of the watery contents of the corpses, a loss of (22,100 ÷ 9500 =) 2.3 or 47% of the fat would have been enough to bring the heat balance back in par. If instead one assume a water loss of 75%, equal to (22.4 × 0.75 =) 16.8 kg, the corresponding heat would be 16.8 × [640 + (0.493 × 700)] = ~ 16,500 Kcal, which is equivalent to (16.500: 9500 =) 1.7 kg or 34% of the fat.

Muehlenkamp next cites the testimony of Gley from January 7, 1963 which I have already discussed and that I now present once more:

"As far as I can remember, the gassings were stopped toward the end of 1942, when we already had snow. Then the general exhumation and cremation started; it may have lasted from November 1942 through March 1943. The cremations went on day and night without interruption, first on one and then on two hearths [pyres]. One hearth allowed some 2,000 corpses to be burned in 24 hours. The second hearth was erected about four weeks after the beginning of the cremation operation. Thus, on average, the one hearth burned a total of 300,000 corpses over a period of some 5 months, the other 240,000 over some 4 months. Of course, these are only general estimates."

In my study I have also quoted another testimony by Gley, dating from May 8, 1961:

"The mass gassings of Jews in the Belcec [sic] camp were terminated at the end of 1942. To answer your question, I say that I am sure no corpses were as yet being cremated when I arrived. In the beginning of 1943 – I can no longer say whether it was in January, February, or March – I was ordered to gather, with a work detail, regular and narrow-gauge rails and large rocks. This material was to serve for the construction of large grids, upon which the corpses were burned that had been buried initially. I was not part of the cremation detail"[133].

According to Muehlenkamp, I would have added the second citation “for reasons easy to understand, i.e. because it states a shorter incineration period that better allows Mattogno to make a fuss”. Muehlenkamp instead refers to the Höfle report, according to which no Jewish transports arrived at Bełżec during the last two weeks of December 1942. From this, he deduces that “the general clearing of the graves and incineration of the corpses was already going on at Belzec in December 1942”. This deduction is however contradicted by both declarations of Gley, as they state that the cremations commenced in November 1942 (when, according to Muehlenkamp, gassings were still carried out) or January 1943 respectively. If, however, one assumes that the exhumations and cremations began after the end of the alleged gassings, that is, towards the end of December, it seems more reasonable that they commenced just “in the beginning of 1943”. Muehlenkamp in fact alleges, in the form of a rhetorical question, that the SS authorities cancelled the deportations to Bełżec but continued those to the other “Aktion Reinhard(t)” camps “to allow for an undisturbed processing of the clearing of the graves and incineration of the corpses”, but even assuming (for the sake of argument)[134] this conjecture to be true, this would not contradict the dating of Gley given that the locating of the railway tracks, the construction of the pyres, the search for and transport of firewood and the exhumation of the bodies in the first mass graves must have required a few weeks of preparatory work. Consequently Muehlenkamp’s claim that such operations were “already going on at Belzec in December 1942” is groundless and in contrast with the declarations of Gley. Therefore, my assumption remains valid that “the cremations would not have started before January of 1943”[135].

Muehlenkamp continues his argument:

"Thus the average number of corpses burned daily at Belzec within five months = 150 days was ca. 434,000 ÷ 150 = 2,893, for which with an average weight of 25 kg per corpse and firewood requirements of 1 kg per kg of corpse there would have been required 72,325 kg = 72.3 tons of wood, instead of the 1,064 tons assumed by Mattogno."

He then adds that, given a requirement of 2 kg of firewood per kilo of corpse, one reaches a total of 144,6 tons. This calculation is based on the following false data:

  • the medium weight of a disinterred corpse being 25 kg
  • the requirement of 1 to 2 kg of firewood per kilo of corpse to be cremated
  • the number of presumed victims - approximately 434,000 - a figure still not accepted by the experts on Bełżec
  • the duration of the cremations.

The last point deserves a comment. From where has Muehlenkamp taken the duration of five months or 150 days? The answer is the abovementioned declaration of Gley from January 7, 1963, in which the witness states that the cremations lasted approximately from “November 1942 through March 1943...a period of some 5 months”. Muehlenkamp interprets this to mean from November 1, 1942 to March 31, 1943 = 5 months. This, however, is contradiction with his own statement that the deportations and gassings stopped halfway into December (i.e. Höfle not mentioning any deportations for the last two weeks of the year). In turn, this would indicate a period of three and a half months or 105 days, and therefore, “for reasons easy to understand” to use his own words, he has illicitly increased the duration of the cremations with a month and a half or 45 days. As already mentioned, Arad places the beginning of the cremations in mid-December[136].

Regarding the start of the cremations at Bełżec, Gley is in contrast not only with himself (November 1942 vs. beginning of 1943) but also with the “eyewitness” Reder, who declared that at the time he miraculously succeeded in escaping from the camp “towards the end of November” 1942 the cremation of corpses had still not commenced[137].

Finally, there is the contradiction regarding the number of bodies, with Gley mentioning 540,000 cremated corpses while Muehlenkamp considers only 434,000. However, following the logic of the testimony, time is a function of the figure, so that, reversing Tregenza's argument, if the cremation of 540,000 corpses required 105 days, that of 434,000 corpses would have required 85 days, with (434,000 ÷ 84 =) 5,166 corpses, not 2,893, being cremated daily. Assuming the official figure of 600,000 corpses, (600,000 ÷ 105 =) 5,714 corpses would have had to be cremated daily.

Regarding the origin of the huge quantities of firewood necessary for the cremation of the presumed corpses I note in the Italian edition of my study:

"To burn 600,000 corpses, one would therefore have needed (600,000 × 160=) 96 million kg of wood, or 96,000 tons; this corresponds to the harvesting of 192 hectares of a 50-year-old fir forest[138], about thirty times the surface of the Bełżec camp. Photographs taken of Bełżec from the air, published by John C. Ball, show that in 1944 the forests around the Bełżec camp were the same as in 1940[139]. Indeed, according to the inspection of the investigative judge of Zamość on October 10, 1945, a group of old pines was found in the middle of the camp, another group of similar pines extended toward the southern side, and a third group of 31 similar pines was found at the north-western edge of the camp"[140].

These trees were marked out on the abovementioned map drawn by Szrojt[141].

In order to refute this observation Muehlenkamp asserts that it has been made by John Ball “about whose reliability one can inform oneself” in an article written by Jamie McCarthy, “John Ball, Air Photo Expert?”[142] which attempts to discredit the person who published the two air photos (based on an article which do not refer to them at all), instead of examining them and contesting the remark in question.

Here we come back to the “criminal justice authorities of the German Federal Republic”. At the Bełżec trial no-one bothered to ask the defendants how they had managed to carry out this immense cremation of 540,000 corpses in the depths of winter: how the pyres were constructed, how much firewood had been required, from where this wood had been taken, the capacity of the graves in the camp, etc etc, questions of vital importance as they regard the elimination of the corpus delicti. This is a clear indication that this “justice” did not pursue even the judicial truth, but merely an ideological truth.

Muehlenkamp then advances another argument:

"The corpses in the advanced phases of decomposition not only weighed much less than “fresh” corpses, they also had no or hardly any water left in them. It is easy to understand that the burning of human corpses requires additional flammables mainly because the water, of which the human organism mainly consists, must be evaporated. But if – as can be assumed at least at the end of the stage of black putrefaction and especially at the stage of butyric fermentation, not to mention the stage of dry decay – there is no more or hardly any water around, if the substance to be burned consists of dried-up skin, rotten flesh, hair and bones, one can expect a considerable reduction of the amount of external fuel required. According to the above-quoted statement by Norbert Fuhrmann bones have about the same heating value as brown coal, for which reason the burning in the open of carcasses consisting mainly of bones requires much less wood waste than the burning of carcasses not yet decayed to little more than skin and bones: “Bones have a BTU of about the same as brown coal (ca. 11,000 BTU per pound). If you were to incinerate a lot of bones, much less wood waste would be needed”."

Converted, this results in a calorific value of 2,800 Kcal/kg. This, however, would be a gross miscalculation, as the data refers only to the calorific value of ossein, but the bones are composed also of mineral matters, as per the percentages below[143]:

  • Water: 12%
  • Organic substances: 28%
  • Fat substances: 10%
  • Minerals: 50%

The organic substances are mostly proteins and thus their calorific value, inferior to that of bone material (at 0°C), amounts to (9500 × 0.10) + (5400 × 0.28) – (600 × 0.12) = 2.390 Kcal/kg.

The claim that the combustion of bones would demand much less fuel than that of a whole corpse is simply an absurdity. As I have noted above, in the heat balance of a cremation the contribution of heat from the combustion of fats and, I add here, of proteins, more than compensates for the loss of heat due to the vaporization of water.

A corpse weighing 82 kg contains (82 × 0.64 =) 52.48 kg of water, (82 × 0.14 =) 11.48 kg fat, and (82 × 0,153 =) 12.54 kg of protein, thus

the loss of heat due to vaporization, at 800°C, equals 52.48[640 + (0.493 × 700)] = ~ 51.700 Kcal
the heat produced by the combustion of fat equals (9500 × 11.48) = ~ 109,100 Kcal
the heat produced by the combustion of proteins equals (5400 × 12.54) = ~ 67,700 Kcal
So that the net assets of the heat balance amounts to (109,100 + 67,700) – 51,700 = 125,100 Kcal

In spite of this, in a coke-fired crematory oven, according to engineer Wilhelm Heepke, one of the major German specialists on cremation during the first decades of the 20th century and the author of a very thorough scientific study on the heat balance in such installations, the cremation of the corpse required moreover the heat produced by a coffin of 40 kg with a calorific value of 3,000 Kcal/kg (well seasoned wood!) and about 30 kg of coke with a calorific value of 6,470 Kcal/kg[144], which roughly is equivalent to 135 kg of firewood with the calorific value of 2,300 Kcal/kg.

I have calculated with a weight of 82 kg (Heepke assumes 85 kg) because the issue regarding bones raised by Muehlenkamp relates to the abovementioned burning with air curtain of 504 pigs with a total weight of 41,300 kg and a medium weight of 82 kg, and since I also take into account his assertion that the pig is  “the animal most similar to the human organism”. Consequently what applies to the cremation of a human corpse also applies to Muehlenkamp’s pig carcasses.

In order to complete my argument I have assumed that the bone system of a human being in average equals 16% of the body weight[145], and thus the corpse would contain (82 × 0.16 =) 13.12 kg of bones, whereof (16 × 0.12 =) 1.92 kg of water, (16 × 0.28 =) 4.48 kg of proteins and (16 × 0.10 =) 1.6 kg of fat. Using my previous calculation, this means that the heat assets produced by the bones equals 37,500 Kcal, compared with the 125,100 Kcal of the entire body.

In terms of heat balance, leaving unchanged all the other parameters calculated by Heepke, with a hearth efficiency of 0.75 and the effective calorific value of coke being (6,470 × 0.75 =) 4,850 Kcal/kg, the cremation of a desiccated corpse compared to that of a normal corpse would demand (125,100 - 37,500): 4,850 = approximately 18 more kg of coke.

Here it must be noted that, while the fat of the bones corresponds to hardly 14%, the proteins amount to nearly 36% of the total material. However, as discovered by the engineer Klettner in the 1950s, the protein substances, with their relatively high nitrogen content, offer strong resistance to combustion, having (or rather the scission of nitrogen from the carbon-hydrogen compounds ) having a temperature of ignition of approximately 800°C[146], which means that the bones, with exception of the fat, has a temperature of ignition of 184°C, therefore burning only with a considerable contribution of external heat:

"When a bone is exposed to heat, the following mineralogic alterations can be observed: between 150°C and 300°C a slight reduction of volume is recognized due to the loss of mineral-bound constitutiobal water. Above 600°C the loss of CO2 begins, which finally leads to a quantitative expulsion of the organic matrix. As a result of the progressive dehydration a transformational reaction starts, where “pyrophosphate” with a molar Ca/P ratio < 1.5 appears. When temperatures reach 800°C and more this is combined with “hydroxylapatite” (Ca/P > 1.5), forming ß-tricalciumphosphate (Ca/P ~ 1.5, Whitlockit) in a solid-reaction. […]

An exposition to heat is only doubtful, if the incineration had been incomplete, i.e. the exposition temperatures did not reach 700°C – 800°C or did not have an effect on the bone for a sufficiently long period of time"[147].

The silliness of Muehlenkamp’s reasoning is proved already by the fact that, while brown coal burns easily inside a stove, it is impossible to burn bones in one without additional fuel.

For the sake of greater clarity I will here give the result of the heat balance in the terms used by engineer Heepke[148]:

the air heated during the cremation W1= 38,000 Kcal
the vaporization of water W2= 60,000 Kcal
the specific heat of the ashes W3= 800 Kcal
the heat in the upper part of the furnace W4= 900,000 Kcal
the heat in the lower part of the furnace W5= 454,000 Kcal
∑ (W1-W5)= 1,452,800 Kcal
Quantity of heat developed:
from the combustion of the coffin W6= 80,000 Kcal
from the combustion of the corpse W7= 105,000 Kcal
  W6 + W7 = 185,000 Kcal
Thus for the first cremation is required a heat of W1= 1,267,800 Kcal

Starting with the fifth or sixth cremation, the absorption of heat by the refractory masonry of the furnace diminishes until it reaches approximately the thermal equilibrium of the oven with regard to the loss of heat due to emission, so that from now on we can assume a lower limit of 15%. This value, which derives from the effective consumption of cremation ovens, is largely equivalent to the heat required for heating of combustion air, which is calculated in the thermal balance on the grounds of theoretical combustion air, but which in practice generally exceeds the coefficient 3 (= 3 times the theoretical combustion of air). From the combustion of the coffin and the corpse is developed W6 + W7 = 80.000 + 105.000 = 185,000 Kcal, of which ~ 15% leaves the chimney with the drainage of gas. Thus remains 0.85 (W6 + W7) = 0.85 × 185,000 = 157,250 Kcal.

For the nth cremation we therefore get the following value:

Wn = 0.15 × 1,354,000 + 98,800 – 157,250 = 144,650 and:

Bn = Wn = 144,650 =30 kg of coke
η Hu 4,850

If the heat supplied by the combustible material runs out, the heat required for the cremation is (144,650 + 105,000 =) 249,650, equivalent to

249,650 = ~ 51.5 kg of coke

Muehlenkamp now introduces another argument, based on the formation of methane gas in the decomposing corpse during the stage of butyric fermentation. He writes:

"I haven’t yet found a site[149] quantifying the methane set free during the decomposition of corpses, but we may obtain guideline values from a similar process – the decomposition of animal waste: 5.9 lbs (= 2.676195 kilograms) of cattle manure produce 30 cubic feet of biogas per day, consisting of 60% methane and 40% carbon dioxide, with a caloric value of 600 BTU per cubic feet or 18.000 BTU in total (the caloric value of natural gas, which consists mostly of methane, is a little higher, 850 to 1,000 Btu/ft3). Assuming that a decomposing human body generates half the amount of biogas per weight unit that a load of cattle manure does, and assuming an average weight of 35 kg per dead body (see above), every one of the victims buried in the mass graves of Belzec would during his or her putrefaction phase produce 35 ÷ 2.676195 * 15 = 196,17 cubic feet of biogas per day with a caloric value of 35 ÷ 2.676195 * 9000 = 117.704,43 BTU, the equivalent of ca. 0.003 cords of live oak wood (apparently the best there is, with a caloric value of 34.4 to 36.6 million BTU per cord, according to the above-mentioned online table about wood heating values. At the above mentioned incineration described by Lund, Kruger and Weldon and in the USDA/TAHC report they used at maximum 33 cords of dry oak/gum firewood to burn 504 carcasses weighing a total of 41,300 kg. Assuming the wood used in this experiment had the same caloric value as the live oak wood according to the aforementioned table, these 33 cords had a heating value of at most 33 × 36,600,000 = 1,207,800,000 BTU, or 1,207,800,000 ÷ 41,300 = ca. 29,245 BTU per kg of carcass weight, or 29,245 × 35 = ca. 1.023.575 BTU for each 35 kg of carcass weight. That would be 8.7 times the amount of BTU of the biogas generated per day by a corpse weighing 35 kg, according to my above calculation. In other words: the amount of biogas produced by a decomposing body weighing ca. 35 kg within roughly 9 days would have been enough to incinerate that body without recourse to other sources of fuel. If one assumes that, as stated in the paper by Lund, Kruger and Weldon and corroborated by the information about “Project Cost” on page 7 of the USDA/TAHC report and the above-quoted information from Mr. Norbert Fuhrmann, the amount of wood required for burning 41,300 kg of swine carcass in said experiment was only about 40 cubic meters or 11 cords of wood, these 11 cords had a heating value of at most 11 × 36,600,000 = 402,600,000 BTU, or 402,600,000 ÷ 41,300 = ca. 9.748 BTU per kg of carcass weight, or 9,748 × 35 = ca. 341.180 BTU for each 35 kg of carcass weight. That’s 2.9 times the amount of BTU of the biogas generated per day by a corpse weighing 35 kg, according to my above calculation. In other words: the amount of biogas produced by a decomposing body weighing ca. 35 kg within roughly 3 days would have been enough to incinerate that body without recourse to other sources of fuel!."

Let us convert the above into examples:

  • 2.67 kg of manure produces (30 × 0.28 =) 0,84 cubic meters of biogas per day, with a calorific value of (600 × 0.252) × (1 ÷ 0.028 =) 5,392 Kcal per cubic meter;
  • 1 kg of manure produces (0.84 ÷ 2.67 =) 0.31 cubic meters of biogas per day = 1,672 Kcal;
  • a corpse weighing 35 kg produces (35 × 0.31 / 2=) approximately 5.42 cubic meters of biogas per day with a total calorific value of (5.42 × 5,392 =) approximately 29,225 Kcal;
  • this heat is approximately equivalent to that produced by (0.003 × 2,195 =) 6.58 kg of oak wood, which has a calorific value of between ([34,400,000 × 0.252] ÷ 2195 =] 3,950 Kcal and (36,600,000 × 0.252] ÷ 2195 =] 4,200 Kcal per kg, that is, (4200 × 6.58 =) 27,636 Kcal;
  • in an experiment with the combustion of 33 animal carcasses were used (33 × 2195 =) 72,435 kg of firewood with a maximum calorific value of (72,435 × 4200 =) 304,227,000 Kcal, corresponding to (304,227,000 ÷ 41,300 =) 7,366 Kcal per kg of carcass;
  • the heat available for a corpse of 35 kg is (7,366 × 35 =) 257,810 Kcal, that is (257,810 ÷ 29,225 =) approximately 8.7 times the amount produced daily by a corpse weighing 35 kg;
  • if for the abovementioned combustion of pig carcasses a consumption of 40,000 cubic meters, or (11 × 2195 =) 24,145 kg of firewood is instead assumed, then the maximum calorific value will be (4200 × 24,145 =) 101,409,000 Kcal, that is (101,409,000 ÷ 41,300 =) 2,455 Kcal per kilo of carcass and (2,455 × 35 =) 85,925 Kcal for the total 35 kg;
  • this corresponds to approximately (85,925: 29,225 =)  2.9 times the heat produced daily by a corpse weighing 35 kg;
  • to conclude, “the amount of biogas produced by a decomposing body weighing ca. 35 kg within roughly 3 days would have been enough to incinerate that body without recourse to other sources of fuel”.

First of all, to make a comparison of corpses with manure, as Muehlenkamp considers realistic (and not fictitious, as I do) can hardly be considered very respectful. Pigs and now manure! Besides this, his argument is also riddled with miscalculations and logical errors.

Muehlenkamp assumes that 1 kg of manure produces 0.31 cubic meters of biogas = 1,672 Kcal per day, and a corpse, he further presumes, half of that; therefore a corpse of 35 kg produces approximately 29,225 Kcal per day, and in three days (29,225 × 3 =) 87,775 Kcal. In addition, my critic has it, putrefaction underground would have taken 4 times (in reality 8 times according to Casper’s dictum) the duration of 4-10 days in open air, and therefore the putrefaction of the alleged Bełżec victims would have lasted from 16 to 40 days, so that

"About halfway through that phase at the latest, according to my above calculations, each corpse would have accumulated enough biogas to sustain its own combustion."

This means that a 35 kg corpse would have produced at minimum (8 × 29,225 =) 233,800 Kcal and at maximum (20 × 29,225 =) 584,500 Kcal.

In reality, as I have demonstrated above, the corpse would consist of 64% water (= 22.4 kg), 14% fat (= 4.9 kg) and 15.3% proteins (5.355 kg) and have a lower calorific value of ([4.9 × 9,500] + [5,355 × 5,400] – [22.4 × 539[150]] =) ~ 63,400 Kcal or (63,400 ÷ 35 =) ~ 1,800 Kcal/kg. Therefore the heat produced in one day from the putrefaction of a corpse of  35 kg is equivalent to ([29,225 ÷ 63,400] × 100 =) 46% of the total heat, and the process would be exhausted in (63,400 ÷ 29,225 =) little more than two days.

It follows that this also would be the length of the whole putrefaction process as far as the bones! In chemical terms, my argument could be simplified thus:

A corpse of 35 kg produces (35 × 0.31 / 2 =) approximately 5.42 cubic meters of biogas per day, which consists of 60% methane and 40% carbon dioxide. These 5.42 cubic meters correspond to (5,420 ÷ 22.4 =) approximately 242 moles of the second gas, which means that it contains 242 atomic grams of carbon, that is (242 × 12 =) approximately 2,900 grams or 2.9 kg carbon.

Carbon constitutes approximately 52% of the combustible material of the human body[151], which in our case amounts to 35 – (35 × 0.64) = 12.6 kg. Thus the corpse contains (12.6 × 0.52 =) 6.55 kg of carbon. Therefore the production of biogas from the body due to the putrefaction process would be exhausted in (6.55: 2.9 =) little more than two days!

From this is evident that Muehlenkamp’s arguments and calculations lack all sense.

  • The calorific value of the firewood, 4,200 Kcal/kg, is theoretical and unrealistic, since it corresponds to completely dehydrated timber.
  • The assumption that 41,000 kg of corpses could have been incinerated using 72,435 kg of firewood = 1.75 kg firewood per kilo of corpse, is groundless.
  • The assumption that this cremation could be carried out with only 24,415 kg of firewood = 0.58 kg of firewood per kilo of corpse, is still more groundless.
  • As demonstrated above, the results of Muehlenkamp’s calculations shows the actual ratio to be 3.44 kg of firewood per kilo of corpse.

Muehlenkamp’s conclusion is moreover logically unsound, as it stipulates that the biogas produced by the corpses buried in the Bełżec mass graves would have been sufficient to cremate the same corpses, now exhumed from their graves, on pyres without addition of further fuel! Perhaps he believes that a biogas plant was to be installed on top of a mass grave in order to cremate the corpses exhumed from another grave?

All this mishmash of numbers and calculations with neither head nor tail only betrays Muehlenkamp’s complete ignorance in the field of cremation. It is no wonder that he, who lacks even a minimum knowledge when it comes to the calorific value of the human body, has compared its decomposition process to the gasification of manure!

Finally, Muehlenkamp makes the following deductions:

"In conclusion of the above, it seems plausible to assume that in the case of the corpses at the stage of putrefaction the flammable substances contained in the corpses provided an essential contribution to the incineration; in mainly female corpses that still had a more or less high fat content there was also the body fat as additional fuel. In the case of the more or less waterless corpses in the more advanced stages of decomposition their dryness, in the case of the corpses in butyric fermentation together with the flammable properties of the butyric acid and in corpses in which adipocere had formed together with the flammable properties of adipocere, should have decisively promoted the incineration process. It can therefore be assumed that the wood requirements for burning the corpses taken out of the Belzec mass graves were even much lower than results from my above calculations. Additionally it must be considered that not only wood can be expected to have been used as incineration fuel, but also liquid flammables like gasoline, alcohol or diesel fuel, if necessary in larger amounts than those required to light the fires."

Speaking in technical terms, this infantile argument is reducable to the obvious observation that the calorific value of the human body’s combustible material by far exceeds the quantity of heat necessary to vaporize the water contained in it. In reality, this is not sufficient to carry out a cremation, but an enormous surplus of heat would be necessary: according to the above summarized heat balance calculations of Heepke this corresponds to the heat produced by 30 kg of metallurgical coke (with a lower calorific value of 6,470 Kcal/kg) plus a 40 kg coffin of seasoned wood with a lower calorific value of 3,000 Kcal/kg (of which only 2/3 is effectively usable). This is due to the huge losses of heat that take places in the course of the cremation (combustion air, radiation and conduction, incombustibles etc).

Let us now return to the example presented above. In the most favorable outcome of Muehlenkamp’s hypothesis, all the water in the body is lost during the putrefaction process while its combustible material remain intact, so that the higher calorific value of a dehydrated 35 kg corpse would have been approximately 75,500 Kcal. But in the heat balance of a crematory oven heated with coke, notwithstanding the 105,000 Kcal produced by the corpse there would still be needed for the cremation ([6.470 × 30] + [0.66 × 40 × 3.000] =) 273,300 Kcal, or 2.6 times the heat produced by the corpse.

Muehlenkamp’s statement that the consumption of firewood required to burn the corpses of the allegedly gassed at Bełżec would have been “even much lower” than his calculated 0.58 or 1.75 kg of firewood per kilo of corpse, is decidedly absurd, because his calculations are based on the burning of fresh pig cadavers with a necessarily higher proportion of combustible materials than that of the decomposed bodies at Bełżec. 

Muehlenkamp’s above-cited claim is moreover in contradiction with his own foolish argument, since the corpses would have lost all or the major part of their calorific value during the phase of putrefaction in the mass graves, and therefore on exhumation the corpses would have contained little or no combustible material. His conclusion is therefore not only based on a miscalculation, but also logically insensible and thermotechnically absurd, indeed worthy of comparison with a certain organic substance.

At the end Muehlenkamp resorts to Arad’s well-known book, brandishing it as proof that his “assumptions and conclusions are not merely of a theoretical nature but correspond to the experiences with the burning of the corpses testified to by camp staff and permanent inmates of the “Reinhard(t)” camps, on which Arad’s description is presumably based”.

He then makes two quotations from this book, of which he considers the following sentences to be of particular significance:

"At first an inflammable liquid was poured onto the bodies to help them burn, but later this was considered unnecessary; the SS men in charge of the cremation became convinced that the corpses burned well enough without extra fuel.[…]

These bodies [i.e. the fresh corpses] did not burn as well as those removed from the ditches and had to be sprayed with fuel before they would burn."

But if these statements are based on testimonies, this does not mean that they confirm Muehlenkamp’s foolish calculations, but only that they are false testimonies, since corpse cremation without additional fuel, that is autocombustion, or the greater combustibility of putrefied corpses compared to fresh corpses, are nothing but absurdities.

In addition to my above demonstration there are other real experiences which confirms my argument. For an example, the fact that in the 1930s a cremation without additional fuel was not possible even in the gas-fueled Volckmann-Ludwig ovens, considered the best constructions of that time, despite that they were advertised as a system working without additional heat, indeed as only using the heat produced by the corpse cremated[152]; or the fact that during seven months of 1930 the crematorium of Hamburg-Ohlsdorf, using ovens of the abovementioned type, cremated 2,500 corpses using 103 cubic meters of natural gas (coal gas) plus the heat supplied from a coffin of 35 or 40 kg.

One may further note that Holocaust historiography never has considered seriously the problems posed by the cremation of corpses at the “Aktion Reinhard(t)” camps. Instead, as in the case of Arad’s book, it has limited itself to reporting uncritically the absurd declarations of self-styled “eyewitnesses”. However, even admitting the data of Muehlenkamp, the administration of Bełżec would have had to have at their disposal an enormous warehouse for all the firewood required. The daily firewood requirement of 72,325 kg dreamt up by Muehlenkamp corresponds to approximately 120 cubic meters; a simple supply for three days would have occupied 360 cubic meters. Where was this firewood stored? And from where was it taken?

4.3. “Duration of the Cremations”

When it comes to the above issue, Muehlenkamp is curiously laconic in his statements. I present here first the argument from my study:

"No witness has described the structure of the pyres or the technique of cremation. Assuming that the pyres were identical to those allegedly used at Treblinka, the corpses would have been cremated on two or three grids made of railroad rails and measuring 90 square meters each[153]. Let us assume that there were three grids. The amount of wood which can be burnt per square meter of such a grid is approximately 80 kg per hour, hence (90 × 80 =) 7,200 kg per hour for one such grid, or 21,600 kg/h for three. This means that in order to burn the 1,064 tons of wood which were needed every day, the time taken would have been (1,064,000 ÷ 21,600 =) 49 hours of continuous combustion. If we add another day for the cooling of the pyre, the removal of the ash, and the construction of a fresh pyre, the cremation of 6,650 corpses would have taken no less than three days, and the whole undertaking would have stretched out over at least 9 months. The cremation would, therefore, not have ended in March of 1943 but in September of that year!

If, on the other hand, we assume only two grids, the cremation would have lasted more than 13 months!."

Muehlenkamp attacks my argument using only data which I have already exposed as false, namely the cremation of in total 434,000 corpses (instead of 600,000) during five months (instead of three months: January-March 1943) with 2,893 corpses (instead of 6,650) incinerated daily, and a daily fuel consumption of 72,355 kg (instead of 1,064,000), corresponding to 1 kg of firewood per kilo of corpse (instead of 3,5 kg), reaching the false conclusion that a cremation on one grid would have taken approximately ten hours, or, using two grids, approximately five hours, assuming a firewood/corpse ratio of 2:1. 

En passant, Muehlenkamp, while invoking descriptions “presumably” based on testimonies, omits to mention those of Motke Zaïdl and Itzhak Dugin, according to whom cremation pyres similar to those used at Treblinka “usually burned for seven or eight days”, that is, 9 times the duration conceded to by Muehlenkamp[154].

Considering the already mentioned circumstances caused by the Polish winter, the claim that the camp staff was able to cremate 2,893 corpses daily, without interruptions, during 150 consecutive days and nights, with the pyres exposed to snow, ice and rain, becomes, frankly speaking, ridiculous.

4.4. “The Soil Removed from the Graves”

This paragraph is likewise very brief. In regards to this issue I have written as follows:

"When a grave is being dug, the soil removed in the process, which was initially somewhat compressed, will normally dilate by 10 to 25% in volume. We have already seen that the burial of 600,000 corpses would have required mass graves having at least a total volume of 75,000 m³ and an area of 20,800 m². The 75,000 m³ of extracted sand, undergoing a dilation of 10%, would have increased to some 82,500 m³. Where would such an enormous quantity of sand have been put? If it had been spread evenly throughout the camp in a layer 2 m thick, it would have covered an area of (82,500 ÷ 2 =) 41.250 m²; in other words: equal to the total area of the camp minus the mass graves! Dry sand has a specific gravity of 1.4; therefore, the 82,500 m³ of sand mentioned above would correspond to (82,500 × 1.4 =) 115,500 tons, or the equivalent of more than 4,600 freight cars or more than 24,000 truckloads. If the mass graves were covered by a layer of sand 30 cm thick, this would have consumed (20,800 × 0.3 =) about 6,200 m³, but then where would the remaining (82,500 – 6,200 =) 76.300 m³ have gone?

This enormous quantity of sand could neither have been piled up in the camp nor transported out of the camp, therefore it was never actually extracted, and thus the respective mass graves were never dug."

Muehlenkamp now objects that we are not dealing with 75,000 cubic meters of soil, but with the 21,310 estimated by Kola, which he generously increases to 30,000 – but even with that volume, the mass graves could have received only 240,000 of the alleged 600,000 corpses.

As for the sand extracted from the graves, he calculates 35,700 cubic meters, instead of the 82,500 which would have resulted if 600,000 corpses really had been buried in the camp, further claiming that the SS at the camp:

"Could have piled it up in a layer 4 meters thick, covering 8,925 square meters or less than one-sixth of the camp area (most piles of soil at construction sites I have seen lately are at least 4 meters high). How? With trucks, of couse; if the soil taken out of the mass graves weighed 35,700 × 1,4 = 49,980 tons, one needed roughly 10,000 truckloads à 5 tons for that."

“Truckloads and not trucks”, Muehlenkamp ingenuously emphasizes, as if by speaking of “more than 24,000 trucks” I had meant that 24,000 trucks were necessary in order to carry away the sand!

He then continues:

"With 10 daily trips to a nearby storage place 1,000 trucks could manage this load in a single day, 100 trucks in 10 days and 10 trucks in 100 days. Even Mattogno’s “enormous quantity of sand” could have been removed within 100 days, which was much less than the gassing operations at Belzec lasted, with no more than 24 trucks!."

Here Muehlenkamp resorts to purely theoretical hypotheses based on mere possibilities, not to real facts. The certain fact, however, is that the accused Schluch is the only witness to have brought up the issue, explicitly stating that “the loose earth had been piled up along the edges”[155] of the graves, something which is evidently impossible. I have therefore remarked that his declaration “cannot be true” in regards to “a mass burial of this size”[156].

Muehlenkamp argues that part of the sand may have remained at the edge of the graves, while some may have been taken away, but such a procedure is not corroborated by testimony. My critic constantly makes the error of reasoning abstractly without any specific reference to concrete data, such as locations and testimony. When arguing abstractly, naturally everything becomes possible.

Neither the Soviet investigators, nor the Poles, nor the eyewitnesses knew anything about a “nearby storage place” belonging to the camp, or of “a layer 4 meters thick, covering 8,925 square meters or less than one-sixth of the camp area”, or of 10,000 “truckloads” of sand, or of the (10,850 ÷ 5 =) 2,170 or (21,700 ÷ 5 =) 4,340 “truckloads of firewood” mentioned by Muehlenkamp. But how could all of this have escaped the attention of all those witnesses that saw and knew all that went on in the camp?

4.5. “The Ash”

On this issue, I have argued as follows:

"The incineration of a corpse in a crematorium oven yields about 5% of ash having a specific gravity of 0.5. For a cremation in the open air the quantity of ash goes up considerably. The wood burnt produces about 8% of ash with a specific gravity of 0.34. Therefore, the alleged 600,000 victims would have left behind (600,000 × 45 × 0.05 =) 1,350,000 kg or 1,350 tons of ash, with a volume of (1,350 ÷ 0.5 =) 2,700 cubic meters, whereas the wood ash would have amounted to (96,000 × 0.08 =) 7,680 tons, corresponding to about 22,600 cubic meters. Altogether then, some (1,350 +7,680 =) 9,030 tons or (2,700 + 22,600 =) 25,300 cubic meters of ash would have resulted from the enormous incinerations.

However, the total volume of the graves identified by Kola is 21,310 cubic meters. Thus, even if all of the graves had been full to the brim with ash unmixed with sand, there would have been (25,300 – 21,310 =) about 4,000 cubic meters of pure ash left over, enough to fill some 290 trucks or 60 railroad freight cars.

But the graphs of the analyses of the 137 drill cores presented by Kola show that the ash in the graves is normally intermingled with sand, that in more than half of the samples the layer of ash and sand is extremely thin, and that at times the ash is close to being completely absent. Furthermore, out of the 236 samples, 99 are irrelevant, and among the 137 relevant ones more than half show only a very thin layer of sand and ash, whereas among the remainder the percentage of sand is not less than 50%, and the thickness of the sand/ash layer varies greatly. Finally – and Kola does not state this explicitly – besides the sand, the human remains are intermingled also with animal remains:

“These diggings produced also a large amount of human bones, which were partly intermingled with remains of animal origin.”

From all this it becomes obvious that the amount of ash actually located in the graves is absolutely incompatible with the cremation of 600,000 corpses."

Muehlenkamp concedes to the percentage of human ashes advanced by me (5%, as confirmed by literature on cremation[157]) and calculates that 434,000 bodies with a medium weight of 35 kg would have produced 759,500 kg or 759.5 tons of ashes, while remarking that:

"Of course it is not correct to calculate with the average weight of 35 kg at the time of killing instead of the decomposed corpses’ average weight of 25 kg established above",

He nevertheless does me the “favor” of assuming as correct my statement on the percentage of ashes. This observation only demonstrates the ineptitude of my opponent: he even ignores that those 5% refer to the fireproof substances contained within the human body, that is, inorganic material (potassium chloride, potassium sulfate, potassium phosphate, sodium chloride, sodium phosphate, calcium phosphate, magnesium phosphate) which do not diminish if a body of 35 kg loses 10 kg water and/or combustible substances! If a normal corpse of 35 kg gives 5% ashes = 1.75 kg, then the same corpse having lost 10 kg would simply mean ([1.75 ÷ 25] × 100 =) 7% ashes. I should add here that this percentage of ashes is practically obtainable only in a crematory oven; open-air cremation would result in a greater amount of uncombusted material.

Muehlenkamp calculates that the abovementioned 759.5 tons of ashes would have occupied a volume of 1,519 cubic meters, or 2,100 cubic meters if 600,000 corpses are considered. As for the firewood he claims, based on the results from his fallacious calculations, that (25 × 434,000 =) 15,190,000 kg of decomposed corpses would have required 10,850 tons of firewood to cremate, corresponding to 1 kg of firewood per kilo of corpse, alternatively the double amount, assuming a ratio of 2:1.

Muehlenkamp next generously grants me another “favor”, namely that of calculating with a medium weight of 35 kg per corpse or a total of (35 × 434,000 =) 15,190,000 kg or 15,190 tons, which in turn would result in 3,574 cubic meters of wood, that is, less than 17% of the grave volume of 21,319 cubic meters identified by Kola. Given a ratio of 2:1, the volume of wood ash would be 7,148 cubic meters, that is 34% of the grave volume. Thus the maximum total volume of the ashes would be (1,519 + 7,148 =) 8,667 cubic meters or less than 41% of the grave volume.

Instead of granting me “favors”, Muehlenkamp would do good to respect the dictates of historiography and assume a total of 600,000 corpses. In that case (600,000 × 35 × 2 =) 42,000,000 kg or 42,000 tons of firewood would have been required, resulting in (42,000 × 0.08 =) 3,360 tons or (3,360 ÷ 0.34 =) 9,882 cubic meters of wood ash, and a total ash volume of (2,100 + 9,882 =) 11,082 cubic meters, or 56% of the grave volume. The more realistic firewood to corpse ratio of 3.5:1 would result in 5,880 tons of wood ash, with a volume of 17,294 cubic meters, and a total ash volume of 19,394 cubic meters, that is 91% of the grave volume!

Muehlenkamp now refers to yet another description from Arad, presumably “based on eyewitness testimony”. I give here the most important part of it:

"Finally it was decided to throw the ash and the bone fragments back into the empty pits and cover them with a thick layer of sand and waste. In several layers the ash, alternating with layers of sand, was poured into the pits. The upper layer consisted of earth 2 meters thick."

This means that the upper layer of earth would have occupied (5,490 × 2 =) 10,980 of the 21,310 cubic meters of the graves, that is 51.5%. From this perspective, even the results of Muehlenkamp’s flawed calculations renders the mass extermination hypothesis absurd, since the ashes would have occupied (8,667 - [21,310 - 10,980] × 100 =) nearly 84% of the lower layers of the graves!

Muehlenkamp, however, does not take this into account, commenting that its not surprising that the human and wood ashes identified by Kola occupy only a meager volume, as this is consistent with his own eccentric calculations. But 51.5% of the total grave volume and 84% of the lower grave layers cannot be considered meager.

He then turns to my conclusion that:

"Out of the 236 samples, 99 are irrelevant, and among the 137 relevant ones more than half show only a very thin layer of sand and ash, whereas among the remainder the percentage of sand is not less than 50%, and the thickness of the sand/ash layer varies greatly. Finally – and Kola does not state this explicitly – besides the sand, the human remains are intermingled also with animal remains."

First of all, he accuses me of illicitly considering as “irrelevant” the 99 samples for which Kola has not published diagrams. Needless to say, I have not “dismissed” those samples, but merely drawn attention to the fact that Kola has not reported on them.

The 137 diagrams published takes up four pages in a book with 84 pages (each of the pages show 32 diagrams) and therefore all 236 samples would have required no more than 8 pages, that is three more. Perhaps Kola wanted to save paper? Why did he not publish them, if they were not, in fact, irrelevant?

Muehlenkamp goes on to provide a citation from Kola's book, which according to him “considerably diminishes the significance of his [Mattogno’s] claims about the amount of ashes found”:

"The excavations proved many layers of body ashes mixed with sand in turn, which indicated that the pits were used in many stages, each time covered with a new sand layer. One can suppose that the ashes filled the pits completely, and only a very thin layer of surface soil was used as a cover. Therefore during the camp closing in 1943 year and levelling works taken up at that time, as well as robbery digs around the camp area directly after the war, the most part of body ashes was placed over the surface, and even now the presence of burnt bodies’ traces[158] is quite clear in the surface structures, particularly in the western and northern part of the camp. In those very parts the zone of graves was located."

In reality, this is a simple pretext used to “demonstrate” that the quantity of ashes detected confirm the alleged mass gassings and cremations, as Kola also explicitly states:

"The total volume of the graves is estimated for about 21,000 m³. The big number contains mainly ashes of bodies, which made killing and burying hundreds of thousands of people in one place possible."

Thus, Kola has accomplished one of his tasks.

The issue of ash being present on the surface of the camp site is mentioned in the section The Polish Findings of 1945 of my study[159], where I cite an “Account of the diggings in the cemetery of the Bełżec extermination camp” drawn up on October 12, 1945 by Czesław Godziszewski, Regional Investigative Judge of the district court of Zamość. The excavations (not drillings!) of 9 graves from 2 to 8 meters depth yielded the following results:

  • grave No. 1 (depth: 8 m): a first layer of ashes mixed with sand at a depth of 2 meters with a thickness of 1 meter; a second layer at a depth of 4-6 meters;
  • grave No. 2 (6 m): a layer of human ashes at a depth of 1.5 to 5 meters;
  • grave No. 3 and 4 (3 m): at a depth of 1 to 3 meter ashes mixed with sand and fragments of incompletely burnt human bones;
  • graves No. 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 (2 m): sand mixed with human ashes and human bones, such as jawbones and shinbones.

These results refute Kola’s assumption that “the ashes filled the pits completely”.

Regarding the ashes present on the camp surface, I have moreover observed:

"Furthermore, as we see from Kozak’s testimony, the soil removed from the graves was spread across a large area of the camp, leaving ash and human remains exposed. When the graves were refilled, this mixture of soil, ash, and human remains ended up both in places which had originally been earthen walls separating the graves, and in holes where there were originally neither remains nor ash, thus creating the illusion of more numerous and more extensive mass graves. The presence of saponified corpses in limited areas of three large graves (see section 3.1.) can be explained in this way, or by the enlargement of graves that had initially been smaller"[160].

At the time Kola went to Bełżec to carry out his drillings, the surface of the camp had been smoothened, causing the ashes to end up all over the site, where they were subsequently detected by Kola.

Muehlenkamp next quotes Kola’s descriptions of the individual graves and draws the conclusion:

"As one can see, the descriptions of the mass graves provide no more indications for establishing the amount of ash found or the thickth of the ash layers than the exemplificative schematic representations of a part of the drill samples. This means that Mattogno’s findings in this respect are obviously based on nothing but self-serving guesswork."

Since Kola does not provide numerical data based on the diagrams of the drillings, they are not simply “exemplificative schematic representations”, but scale diagrams representing the contents of the graves and their respective thickness. On the other hand, I have not claimed that the samples considered irrelevant by me did not contain ashes, but merely stated that

"The graphs of the analyses of the 137 drill cores presented by Kola show that the ash in the graves is normally intermingled with sand, that in more than half of the samples the layer of ash and sand is extremely thin, and that at times the ash is close to being completely absent. Furthermore, out of the 236 samples, 99 are irrelevant, and among the 137 relevant ones more than half show only a very thin layer of sand and ash, whereas among the remainder the percentage of sand is not less than 50%, and the thickness of the sand/ash layer varies greatly."

Even if the remaining 99 samples showed the same results, the order of magnitude would not change at all, as the percentages would remain unchanged.

To my reproach that Kola keeps silent on the fact that “the human remains are intermingled also with animal remains”, Muehlenkamp raises two objections. The first one is truly amusing:

"First of all, if Mattogno really looked as attentively at the schematically represented soil samples as he implies, he should hardly have missed sample 484/XV-30-55 from grave # 10 in Figure 13 on page 15 of Kola’s book, in which, a little above the drill’s blockade (obviously by a layer of human corpses)[161] there is expressly mentioned the finding of canine tooth. This means that Kola had no problem with mentioning animal remains in the mass graves"

Thus for Muehlenkamp a “canine tooth” is not a tooth in the human mouth (the dentes canini), but the tooth of a dog! The term used by Kola in the Polish text is “kieł” which means (a human) canine tooth. In Polish “dog” is “pies” and the adjective “canine” is genitive to the noun; a “dog tooth” is therefore “ząb psa”.

After making a fool of himself, Muehlenkamp presents his second objection: 

"Second and more important, Mr. Mattogno, who took the information about animal remains, allegedly omitted by Kola, from Tregenza’s above-mentioned article about Belzec (see footnote 270 on page 87), either didn’t read this article very attentively or is trying to mislead his readers. For the animal remains that Tregenza mentions in the Postscriptum to his article were found (together with a huge amount of human bones, according to Tregenza) not in the mass graves, but in excavations around the remains of the camp’s buildings"

But if what Muehlenkamp says is true, what are we then to make of the “large amount of human bones” found in “excavations around the remains of the camp’s buildings”?

4.6. “The ‘Actual’ Surface Area of the Graves”

In this section of my study I have made the following observation:

"Kola’s assertions concerning the area and the volume of the mass graves are actually rather arbitrary. He himself, as we have seen in section 4.1. above, has remarked:

“In the first zone, as we can suppose, connecting smaller neighbouring graves into bigger ones by destroying earth walls separating them was observed.”

And a few pages further along he adds:

“Additional disturbances in archeological structures were made by intensive dig-ups directly after the war while local people were searching for jewellery. The facts make it difficult for the archeologists to define precisely the ranges of burial pits.”

The Germans closed Bełżec in September 1943. The Soviets arrived in October 1944. In October 1945, the district court at Zamość opened an inquiry on the alleged extermination camp. On October 14, the witness Stanislaw Kozak stated:

“After the removal of the fences, the local population started to search for gold, jewels, and other valuables that might have been left behind by the Jews, by digging in the area of the camp. That explains the great number of human bones spread all over the site of the former camp, as well as the great number of holes in the ground.”

Other witnesses, like Eustachy Ukraiński[162] and Eugeniusz G.[163], confirmed this statement. In his report of April 11, 1946, the Zamość prosecutor wrote:

“At the moment, the camp site has been completely dug up by the local population in their search for valuables. This has brought to the surface ash from the corpses and from wood, charred bones as well as bones that were only partially charred.”

What’s more, as we have seen above, nine graves had been opened by order of Regional Investigative Judge Godzieszewski on October 12, 1945. The local population continued to dig in the area of the camp until the early sixties, at which time it was transformed into a monument and surrounded by the present enclosure[164]. How many graves were dug up in those twenty years?"[165].

To this Muehlenkamp replies:

"As becomes apparent from Mattogno’s quote of Kola’s statement at the beginning of this section, Kola’s team was well aware, in locating the mass graves, of the difficulties created by postwar robbery digs. It can thus be assumed that, contrary to Mattogno’s accusations at the end of this section, Kola and his team did consider the possibility of a modification of the original shape and/or size of the graves due to robbery digs."

In reality, my “accusation” reads like this:

"Andrzej Kola, who was supposed to furnish the ‘material proof’ of the alleged extermination at Bełżec, did not take these facts into account; because of this the layout he gives for the graves is completely random, as is their surface area, their volume, and even their number."

In other words, I have argued that the 33 graves with a surface 5,490 square meters and a total volume of 21,310 cubic meters identified by Kola comprises all the abovementioned grave pits and diggings, while Muehlenkamp maintains that Kola “did consider the possibility” of such activity having enlarged the graves, something which I also note. The problem is that, for Kola, this remains a mere theoretical possibility that does not translate into reality, not even as a doubt regarding the probability that the surface and volume of the original mass graves were smaller than assessed by him.

Muehlenkamp moreover claims that

"The modifications of the grave structure due to robbery digs don’t change the fact that the area of most of the graves identified by Kola (26 out of 33 […]) has a regular geometric shape (square, rectangle, trapezoid)"

And goes on to conclude:

"It stands to reason that these regular shapes can hardly have been the work of grave diggers."

I will here take the opportunity to further explore this important issue. In reality the geometric forms of the mass graves delineated by Kola does not constitute factual data, but are merely arbitrary conjectures. On page 70 of his book, Kola has published a map showing the drillings executed in the camp area with 5 meter intervals[166]. The round dots on it represent the 2,227 drillings made by Kola. Those colored red are drillings that detected the presence of mass graves. While Kola in his text states that there were 236 such drillings, they number 229 on the map. By joining the dots together, one obtains 21 areas, to which Kola has ascribed numbers and the shapes of graves. These areas are, however, quite unrelated to Kola’s numbers and shapes, as is apparent from a comparison with O’Neil’s map of the graves[167]:

  • The areas no. 1 and 2 would have to correspond to graves no. 13, 22, 32 and 9,
  • area no. 3 to grave no. 29,
  • area no. 4 and 5 to grave no. 26,
  • area no. 5 to grave no. 25,
  • area no. 6 to graves no. 27, 28, 30 and 31,
  • area no. 7 to graves no. 12 and 24,
  • area no. 8 to grave no. 10,
  • area no. 9 and 11 to grave no. 14,
  • area no. 10 to graves no. 16 and 17,
  • area no. 12 to graves no. 15, 18 and 19,
  • area no. 13 to grave no. 20,
  • area no. 14 to grave no. 8,
  • area no. 15 to grave no. 7,
  • area no. 16 to grave no. 22,
  • area no. 17 to graves no. 6 and 23,
  • area no. 18 and 20 to graves no. 5,
  • area no. 19 to grave no. 3,
  • area no. 21 to graves no. 1 and 4
  • the 3 drillings to the right of area no. 19 to grave no. 2,
  • the (single!) drilling below area no. 14 to grave no. 11,
  • the (single!) drilling below area no. 15 to grave no. 21.

As seen from the above, it was so “difficult” to “define precisely the ranges of burial pits” that Kola had to define them in an imaginative, completely arbitrary way. The outlines of Kola’s 33 mass graves, 26 of which have “geometric shape” according to Muehlenkamp, are therefore purely fictitious and do not correspond at all to the result of the drillings. On the other hand, since the drillings are arranged along orthogonal lines running north-south and west-east, it is easily presumed that the aforementioned straight lines and angles do not follow the actual contours of the graves, but rather the orthogonal drilling lines.

As mentioned above, the location and shapes of the graves as identified by Kola are clearly incompatible with the scientific rationality ascribed to the alleged extermination process, something I note with irony, writing that “if the camp commander had had the mass graves dug in such an irregular fashion, he would have been shot for sabotage”. This fact becomes especially obvious when comparing the map drawn by O’Neil with that of Arad[168], which I have oriented in the same direction. On Arad’s map the mass graves are indicated by the rectangles numbered 18 and 19, the later representing an anti-tank trench used as a mass grave[169]. As I have observed in my study,

"An examination of the map of Bełżec as published by Arad forces one to conclude that the quarters of the Ukrainian guards, the hygienic installations (barbers, infirmary, dentists for the SS and the Ukrainians), the kitchen for the Ukrainian guards, the garage, and the shoemakers’ and tailors’ workshops (shown on the map as numbers 3, 4, 5, 7 and 8) were located right next to mass graves or even on top of them!."

Arad’s map is at least rational and, as Muehlenkamp would have it, “presumably based” on observations made by the “camp staff and permanent inmates” of the Bełżec camp, together with the other claims made by Arad.

Comparing O’Neil’s map further with that drawn by the former SS-Unterscharführer Robert Jührs[170], we must moreover conclude that the area with mass graves was limited exclusively to the north-west quadrant of the camp, which covered less than a quarter of the total surface, leaving outside Kola’s graves No. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 15, 18, 19 and half of No. 14. As those graves have a total volume 7,775 cubic meters, it would follow that the original graves did not occupy more than (21,310 – 7,775 =) 13,535 cubic meters, with a surface of approximately 3,500 square meters.

To conclude, the number, shapes and dimensions of the mass graves allegedly identified by Kola are completely arbitrary, and their positions irrational and in contradiction with the testimony of former inmates (Reder) as well as accused perpetrators (Jührs), with Polish examinations (the Central Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes in Poland) and historiography (Arad). 

4.7. “Density of Corpses in the Graves”

In this section of my study I have drawn a comparison with the actual exhumation of corpsed from the mass graves near the labor camp Treblinka I:

"In August 1944 the Soviets found three mass graves with a total surface area of some 150 m² and a volume of some 325 m³, of which 250 m³ were actually used (the graves were covered with a layer of sand about 50 cm thick), containing 305 corpses, or 1.2 corpses per cubic meter[171]. A year later, the Poles discovered, in the forest of Maliszewa, about 500 m south of the Treblinka I camp, 41 mass graves having a total surface area of 1,607 m², which, according to the estimate of the judge Łukaszkiewicz, contained 6,500 corpses. In the opinion of the forensic physician, a grave of 2 × 1 × 1 m³ contained, in fact, 6 corpses, i.e., 3 corpses per cubic meter[172].

Therefore, the purely theoretical assumption that the original mass graves could have contained 170,500 corpses is without physical basis, and the actual figure should be considerably lower."

Muehlenkamp asserts that this comparison is “simply ridiculous”, giving as explanation:

"It should be easy to understand that the number of bodies buried per cubic meter in other mass graves at other places, using other methods and with other purposes in mind, is of no relevance whatsoever to how the available grave volume was used at Belzec or at another of the camps of Aktion Reinhard(t). The graves from the work camp Treblinka I near the extermination camp Treblinka II, which Mattogno mentions, obviously contained the corpses of deceased or killed forced laborers, all or most of them grown-up men, that were simply thrown into the graves without regard for making the most of the available grave volume. At Belzec, on the other hand, the victims were mostly women and children, and like at the other camps of Aktion Reinhard(t) the bodies were carefully placed into the graves at Belzec in such a way as to make the best possible use of the available grave volume, as was already shown in section 4.1.."

Muehlenkamp is so immersed in his inconsistent conjectures that a comparison with reality appears “ridiculous” to him. His argument is based on nothing more than just a conjecture, namely that the alleged corpses at Bełżec were “carefully placed into the graves” so as to “make the best possible use of the available grave volume”. As I have already demonstrated, this conjecture is not only unsupported by evidence, but also categorically refuted by the testimonies of Reder and Gerstein.

From the comparison with the mass graves of Treblinka, I do not conclude that the mass graves at Bełżec could only have contained 3 corpses per cubic meter, but that the purely theoretical maximum of approximately 170,500 interred bodies, based on the assumption of 8 corpses per cubic meter (21,310 × 8), is surely excessive. 

Above I have found that 6 corpses of adults are equivalent to 7.2 corpses of adults and children in a ratio of 2:1. The three corpses per cubic meter of the Treblinka I mass graves thus correspond to 3.6 corpses of adults and children per cubic meter of the hypothetical Bełżec mass graves. Therefore Kola’s mass graves could have contained (21,310 × 3.6 =) 76,716 of the alleged 434,000 or 600,000 alleged gassing victims.

Next Muehlenkamp attempts an incursion into reality that is, indeed, “simply ridiculous”:

"Further illustrating to what extent the graves were filled at these camps there is the complaint raised in October 1942 by the Wehrmacht local commander of Ostrow about the unbearable stench from the corpses of the “not adequately” buried Jews at Treblinka, which apparently carried as far as this gentleman’s command post, 20 kilometers away from the camp."

The original text of this document has “nicht ausreichend beerdigt”[173], that is “not sufficiently buried”, which can only mean that the bodies had been covered with an insufficient layer of soil, thus causing the diffusion of the stench. But how does this relate to the presumed “best possible use of the available grave volume” or the allegedly careful placement of the corpses in the graves?

Moreover, nothing excludes that the document in question referred to the abovementioned 6,800 corpses buried near Treblinka I, a possibility which renders Muehlenkamp’s comparison still more ridiculous.

Muehlenkamp concludes by alleging that I am “comparing apples with oranges, a popular tactic “Revisionist” hoaxing”. As I have shown above, it is my critic who is comparing manure with human bodies, a popular tactic of “Holocaust” hoaxing.

5. “Alternative Explanations”

Muehlenkamp declares that:

"The conclusions of historiography (to which I don’t think Mattogno belongs) about the murder of at least 434,000 people at Belzec extermination camp are compatible not only with the mass graves located by and described by Kola, but also with all the remaining evidence, consisting of eyewitness testimonies, defendants’ depositions, documents and demographic data."

I have above demonstrated the total inconsistency of Muehlenkamp’s counterarguments and consequently also that of his conclusions. What I most of all want to emphasize here is the fact that Muehlenkamp omits all my arguments regarding the archeological findings (building structures) reported by Kola, that is, the entire fifth subchapter (“The Buildings”)[174] of “Bełżec in Polish Archeological Research (1997 to 1999)”, which is the chapter of my study he has set out to refute. This omission is serious, because Kola has not found even the slightest trace of the two presumed gas chamber buildings, as admitted by R. O’Neil:

"We found no trace of the gassing barracks dating from either the first or second phase of the camp’s construction"[175].

I will here repeat the conclusions of my analysis of Kola’s findings.

Regarding the alleged first gas chamber building:

"To summarize: The barrack described by Kozak [the alleged gas chamber building] was at a different location than the traces of “Building D.”[176] It was built expressly as a gassing structure, whereas “Building D” had a different purpose. It measured 12 by 8 m as opposed to the latter’s 26 by 12 m. It was divided into three rooms rather than the six in “Building D,” and finally there is no trace of a camp railway: Thus, Kozak’s description is in absolute disagreement with the archeological findings."

Regarding the alleged second gas chamber building:

"To recapitulate: On the one hand, the archeological findings contradict the testimonies and the judicial findings, making them inadmissible; on the other hand, Kola’s hypotheses regarding the functions of “Building G”[177] are in disagreement with the testimonies and the judicial findings. However, if we are to accept the official thesis, we cannot free ourselves from these sources: Either the gas chambers did exist the way the witnesses have described them, or they did not exist at all. And because the archeological findings contradict the witnesses, the gas chambers of the second phase of the camp never existed."

Kola’s painful and inane efforts to identify the alleged gas chambers wholly confirms my hypothesis that this, together with the locating of the mass graves, was the primary goal of the excavations.

Muehlenkamp, who has otherwise dwelled on every detail of my arguments, remains silent on this issue, apparently because he knows that he cannot refute me. He keeps quiet on the much too embarassing fact that the “eyewitness” statements on the gas chambers have been clearly refuted by Kola’s archeological surveys, and that therefore no-one can say that they existed without resorting to an act of faith. He also doesn’t want to come out and say that of all the buildings in the camp, the SS would have destroyed only the foundations of the alleged gas chambers, leaving the foundations of the other buildings intact, perhaps because they sensed that over half a century later Kola would come looking for them with his manual drill? 

However, there will be no more such drillings. As can be seen from photographies published online[178] the intense activities in connection with the construction of the memorial have disturbed the soil of the fomer Bełżec camp. A trench with walls of reinforced concrete, serving as a path, intersects the camp, and the surface of the camp has been covered with large stones[179], so that any verification of Kola’s data has now become impossible.

Muehlenkamp also quietly skips over all the arguments demonstrating the foolishness of the story of the mass gassings with diesel exhaust put forward by me on pp. 111-136 of Treblinka. Extermination Camp or Transit Camp, to which I also refer in my Bełżec study:

"I did not, on the other hand, think it necessary to reiterate the technical objections valid with respect to the use of diesel exhaust gases for homicidal gassings; they apply for the Treblinka camp just as much as for Bełżec"[180].

I will give here the titles of the respective subchapters and briefly reiterate their contents, while reminding my reader that we are dealing here with an allegedly top secret operation ordered by the highest National Socialist authorities:

Planning and Construction of the Eastern ‘Extermination Camps’: “extermination camps” constructed without a precise planning and a specific budget;
Diesel engine or Gasoline Engine?: the inadequacy of the exhaust gas from a Diesel engine for extermination purposes, compared to that of a gasoline engine;
The ‘Struggle’ between Engine Exhaust Gases and Hydrogen Cyanide Gas: the choice of Diesel exhaust as killing method in spite of the knowledge that it was inadequate compared to Zyklon B;
The ‘Mission’ of Kurt Gerstein: the absurd episode of an SS official sent to replace, because of its inadequacy, the Diesel exhaust gas used as method of extermination in the eastern extermination camps with prussic acid (HCN), returning without carrying out his mission and without leaving any report of his undertaking;
Russian Engines or German Engines?: the absurd use of old Russian Diesel engines for the alleged extermination, which, if broken, would have required either the capture of intact Russian tanks or the request to Stalin for spare parts;
Gas Chambers or Asphyxiation Chambers?: the absurdity of constructing gas chambers where the victims are gassed to death within approximately 30-40 minutes, while asphyxia would have killed them in approximately 20-30 minutes;
The Problem of Air Pressure in Gas Chambers: the overpressure generated by the Diesel engine (working as a compressor) would either have made the gas chambers explode or balanced out the engine, disabling it within minutes.

Furthermore we have the inexplicable contradictions between the two key “eyewitnesses”: Gerstein speaks unequivocally of a “Diesel engine” (Dieselmotor); Reder, with equal certitude, describes an “engine running on gasoline” (motor pędzony benzyną) which consumed “about 4 jerricans of gasoline per day” or “about 80 – 100 liters of gasoline per day”. Gerstein moreover attributes the death of the victims in the alleged gas chambers to Diesel exhaust gas, while Reder asserts that the exhaust gases of his gasoline engine were vented not into the gas chambers, but into the open air![181]

What I have demonstrated in chapter V of my study has to be considered in the light of the above facts and the discussion of Muehlenkamp’s critique found below.

Regarding the actual mortality at Bełżec, I have assumed that

"Although it is impossible to establish the number of these deaths, it is nonetheless possible to infer, from what has been discussed above, an order of magnitude of several thousands, perhaps even some tens of thousands."

Muehlenkamp then asks why the SS would have needed 33 graves with a surface of 5,919 square meters and 21,310 cubic meters in order to bury “some tens of thousands” when “already according to Mattogno’s own calculations [those graves] could take in about 170,000 corpses”.

This argument is clearly specious, as the 170,000 figure is a polemic concession, not something I accept as real but the result of a calculation based on a certain corpse density, likewise assumed for the sake of argument, and a surface and volume of the mass graves which, as I have shown, are completely arbitrary.

Here it is important to note that, while the argumentation of the exterminationists demands the assumption of a theoretical maximum limit of burial volume (which, if insufficient, would invalidate the mass gassing thesis and render all eyewitness testimony false and useless), the argument of revisionism demands nothing and remains opened to every possibility. My above estimate of “some tens of thousands” of victims may, however, be an excessive concession to the exterminationist thesis.

Muehlenkamp’s argument could well be turned on its head: why would the SS at Bełżec, having to bury a rather limited number of corpses, make any great efforts to save burial space? What would have prevented them from burying 3 or even 2 corpses per cubic meter? Or from adding extra layers of sand in the mass graves? For this reason a calculation of the number of victims based on the theoretical maximum limit of burial volume does not make sense, since one cannot exclude that the real number is a much lower one. However, what my estimate of 170,000 corpses constitute is exactly this: a theoretical maximum number of victims.

Muehlenkamp next plays on my words to deride me. In my study I have spoken about the “very severe German attitude toward the Jews”[182], which my critic reduces to “severe”, an adjective he considers a “euphemism” in regards to the transport from Kolomea to Bełżec on September 10, 1942, where 8,200 Jews were packeded into 51 wagons, but I have also described this as a “catastrophic” transport[183] - another “euphemism”?

He then notes “there is nothing “humane” about transporting 100 people in a railroad car as in the transport on 7 September 1942”. In fact, what I write in the passage referred to is that “when it was possible, transports took place under less inhuman [more humane in the English translation] conditions”[184], which is certainly not the same thing as calling such transports humane.

Muehlenkamp dwells minutely upon mere conjectures formulated by me for the lack of any documentary evidence, while opposing them with contrary conjectures of the same value. The following is however the objection he considers most important:

"This is an essential question one would expect Mattogno to dedicate most of his book to answering, for unless he is able to plausibly account otherwise for the fate of ca. 434,000 deportees he claims were not murdered at Belzec, all his nitpicking against his selection of the evidence to Belzec extermination camp is rather pointless. Yet Mattogno dedicates a full six pages (103 to 106) to “Belzec as Part of the German Policy of Deporting Jews to the East”, and nowhere in this chapter does he even attempt to trace the trajectory of any part of those 434,000 “to the East” he claims they went to, i.e. to the occupied territories of the Soviet Union."

Such an objection is, to use Muehlenkamp’s own words, “simply ridiculous”. As he very well knows, there exists merely a handful of documents on the Bełżec camp, most of them going back to March 1942, and from these only hypotheses can be drawn. 

If there were documents on “at least 434,000 Jews” being transported from Bełżec “to the east”, the controversy which has caused me to write my study would not exist: Bełżec would unquestionably be considered nothing more than a transit camp. But since no such documents can be found, the six pages devoted to this issue are a lot already.

Muehlenkamp asserts moreover that

"Apparently Mattogno didn’t realize that Kolomea is located in Galicia, to the east [in reality south-east] of Belzec, and that the reports on this transport are therefore documents showing the pretense that Belzec was a place from where unemployable Jews would “cross the border and never return to the General Government” [this is indeed a literal translation of Fritz Reuter’s report from March 17, 1942] to be the cynical lie that it was."

In fact, at the beginning of the subchapter “The Bełżec Camp in Documents”, in the very passage from which Muehlenkamp isolates the adjective “severe”, I write:

"Only a few original documents concerning the deportations to Bełżec (from Galicia) have survived. While they show a very severe German attitude toward the Jews, they do not confirm the alleged extermination policy."

And a few pages below in the Italian edition of my study I note:

"In the second half of October a number of transports from western Galicia - most likely bound for Bełżec – departed carrying considerably lower numbers of deportees than that from Kolomea on September 10"[185].

However, my reproach to Muehlenkamp is not due to this, but on account of a serious correlated omission. I have found in this context that on October 28, 1942, the SS-Obergruppenführer Friedrich Wilhelm Krüger, in his position of Höherer SS- und Polizeiführer of the General Government, promulgated a “Police Decree on the Establishment of Jewish Residence Zones in the Districts Warsaw and Lublin” (Polizeiverordnung über die Bildung von Judenwohnbezirken in den Distrikten Warschau und Lublin) which established 12 Jewish residence zones in those districts. On November 10, 1942 another 4 Jewish residence zones were designated in the district of Radom, 5 in the district of Kraków, and no fewer than 32 in the district of Galicia, whereof two in the Rawa Ruska area (the Rawa Ruska ghetto and Lubaczów). In the Italian edition of my study I have listed all these residence zones[186]. This means that on November 10, 1942 there still existed a ghetto in Rawa Ruska, a location situated approximately 20 km from the Bełżec “extermination camp”!

According to Hilberg, the Bełżec camp was intended for the extermination of the Jews in the districts Kraków and Galicia[187], of which the latter were the far more numerous. The report of SS-Gruppenführer Fritz Katzmann from June 30, 1943 mentions that, by November 10, 1942, a total of 254,989 Jews had been “evacuated or transferred” from Galicia, while by June 27, 1943, this figure had risen to 434,329[188]. As seen, the Höfle report mentions 434,508 deported to Bełżec up until December 31, 1942. On this date there were in Galicia (the district of Lemberg) still left 161,514 Jews[189], or 37%, who were therefore never sent to the “extermination camp” intended for them!

  • Why were Jewish residence zones created in Galicia on November 10, 1942?
  • Why did Bełżec stop its alleged extermination activity a month later?
  • Where were the remaining 161,514 Jews in Galicia “evacuated or transferred” to if they were not sent to Bełżec?

Muehlenkamp aggravates these contradictions by claiming that the exhumation and burning of bodies at Bełżec began in November 1942.

Before clarifying the truly essential issue, I will stop for a moment to discuss Muehlenkamp's insinuations regarding my presumed “selection of the evidence to Belzec extermination camp”, that is, omission of “evidence”:

"Mattogno mentioned neither Goebbels diary entry of 27 March 1942 (for reasons that should be easy to understand for who reads Browning’s translation of its first paragraph) nor the other documents quoted by Browning, except for the report by Reserve Lieutenant Westermann, who seems to be the same person as “Leutnant der Schutzpolizei der Reserve (lieutenant of the reserve protection police) Wassermann” quoted on page 101 of Mattogno’s book."

The note of Goebbels does not mention Bełżec, whereas the subject of my discussion is documentation on this camp. Browning, in his expert opinion quoted by Muehlenkamp[190], simply assumes that it is speaking of Jews “sent to Bełżec”. This is therefore not a document on Bełżec. In my critique on the work of Hilberg[191] I have discussed in detail this note, which has a meaning very different from that ascribed to it by Browning.

The remaining five documents mentioned by Browning, but not discussed by me, do not shed much light on the matter.

A weekly report of the Propaganda Department from March 20, 1942 mentions the evacuation on March 16, 1942, of 35,000 - 38,000 Jews from the Lublin ghetto who were “brought eastward” (nach Richtung Osten geschafft).

A note by Richard Türk from March 20, 1942 speaks of the “existence of a collection camp [Sammellager] at a certain distance from the Bełżec station, on the almost completely closed district border”, and of the arrival of a 60 person strong Kommando.

Another report, dating from March 19, 1942, mentions the evacuation of 30,000 elderly Jews and the infusion of others into the industrial production “in the region of Lublin” while specifying that “from that viewpoint this evacuation will be equivalent to a decimation [Dezimierung]”, a reference to the potential partial mortality of the Jewish deportees due to the evacuation process, not to a complete extermination at Bełżec.

The protocol of a conference concerning the evacuation of Jews, held on September 26 and 28, 1942, announces the likelihood that from November 1, 1942 onward, “1 train [would be sent] daily from the district of Lublin north of Bełżec”. Finally, a report from October 17, 1942 concerning the evacuation process states that the Jews had been informed of their destiny, and that a member of the Jewish Council of Lemberg had declared that all Jews would be carrying in their pockets death certificates, blank except for the date of death filled in; a hyperbole relating to the fear and expection of the abovementioned “decimation”.

Here we come finally to the truly essential issue, namely the answer to the question: in what context should the deportations to Bełżec, including the catastrophic transports like that from Kolomea, be interpreted?

In my study I have first of all analyzed the “origins and development of the official historical version”, delineating the history of the black propaganda surrounding the camp, which was appeared already in the first months of 1942. I have recounted “eyewitness testimony” on electrocution installations at Bełżec, consisting of a “barrack with an electric plate where the execution occurs”; or of “a metal platform operated as a hydraulic elevator which lowered them into a huge vat filled with water up the victims’ necks [...] They were electrocuted by current through the water. The elevator then lifted the bodies to a crematorium above”; or of a “barrack, which contains an electric oven. The executions take place in this barrack”. I have moreover related a testimony on trains of Jewish deportees being driven into “a tunnel” leading to “the underground premises of the execution building”:

"This hall had no windows and its flooring was of metal. Once the Jews were all inside, the floor of this hall sank like a lift into a great tank of water which lay below it until the Jews were up to their waists in water. Then a powerful electric current was sent into the metal flooring and within a few seconds all the Jews, thousands at a time, were dead.

The metal flooring then rose again and the water drained away. The corpses of the slaughtered Jews were now heaped all over the floor. A different current was then switched on and the metal flooring rapidly became red hot, so that the corpses were incinerated as in a crematorium and only ash was left.

The floor was then tipped up and the ashes slid out into prepared receptacles. The smoke of the process was carried away by great factory chimneys."

Alternatively the Jews were asphyxiated in “an underground encampment”; or in a barrack by means of “gas and high-voltage electric current”; or “the floor of the gas chamber (...) opened up after the Jews had been killed, thereby letting the corpses drop into carts, which took them to a common grave”; or “along the walls, the Germans had strung uninsulated electric wires. The same wires were in the floor. When the hall was full of naked people, the Germans switched on the current. It was a gigantic electric chair”; or “the floor of the ‘bathhouse’ was made of metal, and showers hung down from the ceiling. When the space was full the SS delivered a 5,000-volt current to the metal plate. At the same time, the showers spewed out water. A brief scream and the execution was over”; or, as the “eyewitness” Jan Karski has it, there was no killing installation at Bełżec, and the Jews there were rather packed on trains, covered with quicklime, sent away to a location 80 miles from Bełżec, and there left to die in the immobile train wagons. One should also not forget the “soap factory using human fat” which, of course, utilized the corpses of “the fattest people”[192]

Muehlenkamp mentions nothing of these macabre fantasies, and this for the good reason that they have a devastating consequence for the official thesis. As Tregenza makes clear:

"From the very beginning, every single villager [in Bełżec] knew what was going on in the camp. This resulted from the fraternization between the camp staff and the Ukrainian village population, many of whom entertained members of the SS and ‘Trawniki men’ in their homes and were well paid for their ‘hospitality’. This apparently included prostitution as well. Some young women – according to statements by local people – were said to have done so with the ‘Trawniki men’ for jewelry and other valuables. Furthermore, prostitutes from other towns came to  Bełżec. In the files of the Polish People’s Police there are indications concerning a number of villagers who served in various departments of the camp SS. In particular, three sisters of the J. family worked in the SS staff kitchen and in the SS laundry which belonged to the B. family. The village bakery, owned by the Ukrainian N. family, provided the daily supply of several hundred loaves of bread for the SS staff, the ‘Trawniki men,’ and the thousand or so Jews working in the camp. A number of villagers took the bread by farm cart to the camp gate. One of them was the Jew Mojesz Hellman, who lived clandestinely in Bełżec under the name of Ligowski. The wages consisted of valuables and cognac.

Four men were employed within the camp proper, among them Dmitri N., who checked and repaired the showers and baths of the ‘Trawniki men.’ Mieczyslaw K. and Waclaw O. worked as mechanics in the garage of the SS or as electricians. The electrician Michał K. installed cables and lighting in the second gas building, the so-called ‘Stiftung Hackenholt’ and is said to have occasionally assisted in the gassings. To the knowledge of the author, this is the only case of a Pole directly [involved] – voluntarily and with pay – in the mass murder of Jews in an extermination camp. It is also worth mentioning that the villagers Eustachy U. and Wojciech I. were not only allowed to own cameras but were even allowed, nay, encouraged, to take pictures of the guards of the extermination camp. Some of the photographs were even taken within the camp. The SS men and the ‘Trawniki men’ would also take pictures of one another and give the films to Wojciech I. for development and printing"[193].

But if everyone knew “what was going on in the camp”, how do we explain the macabre fantasies? Why was the “truth” not quickly exposed? Why did this “truth” prevail with difficulty only in 1947? It is also more than a little strange with all these “eyewitnesses” moving freely through the camp as if in their own homes, and even being permitted to take photographs!

  1. The only conclusion that can be drawn from this is that in 1942 there was no such “truth” to reveal. This is my first point.
  2. My second point is that the result of Kola’s archeological survey demonstrates that neither 600,000 nor 434,508 corpses could have been buried at Bełżec. This fact is not diminished by the inconsistent arguments of Muehlenkamp.
  3. The third point is that the same survey shows the alleged gas chamber buildings described by witnesses to have never existed.
  4. The fourth point is the inconsistency of the entire story of the eastern extermination camps and of the alleged gassings with Diesel engine exhaust, as demonstrated in the study on Treblinka written by me in collaboration with Jürgen Graf and briefly summarized above.

The fifth point, which I have developed in another study[194], relates to the origin of the Bełżec camp within the framework of the so-called “Generalplan Ost”. SS-Brigadeführer Odilo Globocnik, the SS-und Polizeiführer of Lublin, was in fact named by Himmler, then not still head of Aktion Reinhardt, as “Person in charge of the constructions of bases for the SS and Police in the new eastern territories” (Beauftragte für die Errichtung der SS- und Polizeistützpunkte im neuen Ostraum), with the task of creating the chain of command necessary for this construction. On November 26, 1941 Globocnik, in virtue of the assignment conferred on him by Himmler, ordered the Lublin Zentralbauleitung to construct “a transit- and supply camp” [Durchgangsnachschublager] for the Höhere SS- und Polizeiführer of Southern Russia and Caucasia, comprised of 13 barracks, whereof 11 warehouses. The camp was completed and delivered on September 11, 1942. Its purpose was to resupply a number of offices responsible for construction in the eastern territories. During the same period construction on the Bełżec camp began. Höfle, acting as Globocnik’s deputy, operated within the framework of “Generalplan Ost”, which planned for large population transfers to the east.

This is the real context in which to consider the complex of issues relating to Bełżec, including the fate of those deported to the camp. What is most important, however, is that these Jews were not killed at Bełżec.

Regarding their precise destination there exist – as noted by me – no documentation, but there are several indications, as shown in my book on Treblinka, and in particular the sixth section of Chapter VIII[195]. Below I will present some of them.

In 1943, Professor Eugene M. Kulischer, who was a member of the International Labour Office in Montreal, Canada, published a documented demographic study entitled The Displacement of Population in Europe[196], which gives an account of the National Socialist policy of Jewish resettlement. As an example, in a section concerning “Territories of Destination and Methods of Confinement”, Kulischer stresses the basic principle of the Jewish deportations:

"Some of the Jews from Belgium were sent to a neighbouring part of Western Europe for forced labour, but generally speaking the tendency has been to remove the Jews to the east. Many Western European Jews were reported to have been sent to the mines of Silesia. The great majority were sent to the General Government and, in ever growing numbers, to the eastern area, that is, to the territories which had been under Soviet rule since September 1939 and to the other occupied areas of the Soviet Union."[197]

According to Radio Moscow, several thousand French Jews were resettled in the Ukraine. In its issue Number 71 of April 1944, the Jewish underground paper Notre Voix published the following news item:

"Thank you! A news item that will delight all Jews of France was broadcast by Radio Moscow. Which of us does not have a brother, a sister, or relatives among those deported from Paris? And who will not feel profound joy when he thinks about the fact that 8,000 Parisian Jews have been rescued from death by the glorious Red Army! One of them told Radio Moscow how he had been saved from death, and likewise 8,000 other Parisian Jews. They were all in the Ukraine when the last Soviet offensive began, and the SS bandits wanted to shoot them before they left the country. But since they knew what fate was in store for them and since they had learned that the Soviet troops were no longer far away, the deported Jews decided to escape. They were immediately welcomed by the Red Army and are presently all in the Soviet Union. The heroic Red Army has thus once again earned a claim on the gratitude of the Jewish community of France"[198].

Apparently, Muehlenkamp did not realize that the district of Galicia was part of the General Government, which was bounded on the east by Reichskommissariat Ukraina. Thus Höfle’s statement, according to Fritz Reuter’s report of March 17, 1942, that he could “accept 4-5 transports of 1,000 Jews to the terminal station Bełzec daily. These Jews would cross the border and never return to the General Governement” was not necessarily a “cynical lie”, since the Jewish transports arriving from the west (districts of Cracow and Lublin) or those coming from the south-east (district of Galicia) could cross the eastern border, to return no more to the General Government.


I would like to thank Roberto Muehlenkamp for providing me with an occasion to reconfirm and deepen the results of my study on Bełżec, and for indirectly demonstrating, thanks to the foolishness of his criticisms, its value and soundness.


Click on document to open larger version.

Map of Belzec
Document 1: Map of the Bełżec camp drawn by Józef Bau based on the description of the eyewitness Rudolf Reder.
Source: R. Reder, Bełżec, Centralna Żydowska Komisja Historiczna przy C.K. Żydów Polskich – Oddział w Krakowie, Kraków 1946, p. 43.

Offiicial map of Belzec
Document 2: Official map of the Bełżec camp by the Central Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes in Poland.
Source: E. Szrojt, Obóz zagłady w Bełżcu, in: Biuletyn Głównej Komisji Badania Zbrodni Niemieckich w Polsce, III, Poznań 1947, on inserted, unnumbered page.

Map of Belzec
Document 3: Map of the Bełżec camp indicating areas with mass graves (shaded) and positions of building remains (in black).
Source: Hitlerowski obóz zagłady Żydów w Bełżcu w świetle źródeł archeologicznych. Badania 1997–1999, Rada Ochrony Pamięci Walk i Męczeństwa, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Warszawa/Waszyngton 2000, p. 19.

Belzec map showing mass graves
Document 4: Map showing the positions and orientations of the mass graves.
Source: R. O’Neil, Bełżec – the “Forgotten” Death Camp, in: “East European Jewish Affairs”, vol. 28, No. 2, 1998-9, p. 59.

Section of grave No. 10
Document 5: Planimetry and section of grave No. 10.
Source: Hitlerowski obóz zagłady Żydów w Bełżcu w świetle źródeł archeologicznych. Badania 1997–1999, op.cit., p. 27.

Air Curtain Destructor
Document 6: Air Curtain Destructor.
Source: R.D. Lund, I. Kruger and P. Weldon, Options for the mechanised slaughter and disposal of contagious diseased animals - a discussion paper. Paper Presented at Conference on Agricultural Engineering, Adelaide, 2-5 April, 2000,

available online at:–paper.pdf

Map of the drillings at Belzec
Document 7: Map of the drillings made by A. Kola at the site of the Bełżec camp.
Source: Hitlerowski obóz zagłady Żydów w Bełżcu w świetle źródeł archeologicznych. Badania 1997–1999, op.cit., p. 70.

Comparison of the map of drillings
Document 8: Comparison of the map of drillings made by Kola (Document 7) with the map drawn by O’Neil showing the positions and orientations of the mass graves (Document 4).

O'Neil's map of mass graves at Belzec
Document 9: O’Neil’s map showing the positions and orientations of the mass graves (Document 4), compared with the map of Bełżec published by Y. Arad.
Source: Y. Arad, Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka. The Operation Reinhard Death Camps, Indiana University Press, Bloomimgton and Indianapolis 1987, p. 437.

O'Neil's map compared with Juehrs map
Document 10: O’Neil's map showing the positions and orientations of the mass graves (Document 4), compared with the map drawn by the accused Robert Jührs on October 11, 1961.


[1]Carlo Mattogno on Bełżec Archaeological Research, in:
[2]Bełżec in Propaganda, Testimonies, Archeological Research, and History, Theses & Dissertations Press, Chicago, 2004.
[3]Hitlerowski obóz zagłady Żydów w Bełżcu w świetle źródeł archeologicznych. Badania 1997-1999, Rada Ochrony Pamięci Walk i Męczeństwa, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Warszawa-Waszyngton, 2000.
[4]Bełżec. The Nazi Camp for Jews in the light of archeological sources. Excavations 1997-1999, The Council for the Protection of Memory and Martyrdom, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Warsaw-Washington, 2000.
[5]Bełżec in Propaganda, Testimonies, Archeological Research, and History, op. cit., p. 71.
[6]Bełżec nella propaganda, nelle testimonianze, nelle indagini archeologiche e nella storia, Effepi, Genoa 2006, p. 95, note 1.
[7]S. Wiesenthal, “RIF,” in Der neue Weg, No. 17/18, Vienna 1945.
[8]Bełżec in Propaganda, Testimonies, Archeological Research, and History, op. cit., p. 21-22, 33-34. 
[9]E. Testa, Usi e riti degli Ebrei ortodossi, Franciscan Printing Press, Jerusalem 1973, p. 168.
[10]G. Wigoder (ed.), Dictionnaire encyclopédique du Judaïsme, Cerf/Robert Laffont, Paris 1996, p. 319.
[11]Michael Tregenza, “Bełżec – Das vergessene Lager des Holocaust”, In: Wojak, Irmtrud, Peter Hayes (eds.), “Arisierung” im Nationalsozialismus, Volksgemeinschaft, Raub und Gedächtnis, Campus Verlag, Frankfurt/Main, New York, p. 242.
[12]Edizioni Shtetl, Milan, 2004.
[13]Ibid., chapter 9, pp. 100-103.
[14]Bełżec in Propaganda, Testimonies, Archeological Research, and History, op. cit., p. 92.
[15]This map is accompanied by the following note: “A map for Belzec extermination camp became available too late in the book's publication process to be placed in the book's proper chapter. Because of it's historical significance, however, the map, with it's key, is appended here”. Y. Arad, Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka. The Operation Reinhard Death Camps, Indiana University Press, Bloomington and Indianapolis 1987, p. 436. The note indicates that Arad had written his work without having at his hand a map of the camp.
[16]Bełżec in Propaganda, Testimonies, Archeological Research, and History, op. cit., pp. 75-76.
[17]Cf. Document 1.
[18]Bełżec in Propaganda, Testimonies, Archeological Research, and History, op. cit., p. 74.
[20]Cf. Document 2.
[21]Cf. Document 3.
[22]Cf. Document 4.
[23]Bełżec in Propaganda, Testimonies, Archeological Research, and History, op. cit., pp. 76-79.
[24]Ibid., p. 77.
[26]Ibid, Document 11 on p. 123.
[27]Cf. Document 5.
[28]Bełżec in Propaganda, Testimonies, Archeological Research, and History, op. cit., p. 92.
[29]Cf. Section 4.6.
[30]Bełżec in Propaganda, Testimonies, Archeological Research, and History, op. cit., pp. 79-81.
[31]Ibid., pp. 81-82.
[32]Ibid., p. 77.
[33]Ibid., p. 50.
[34]R. Sforni, Il sabba di Bełżec. Con la traduzione italiana della testimonianza del sopravvissuto Rudolf Reder, op. cit., p. 107.
[35]Bełżec in Propaganda, Testimonies, Archeological Research, and History, op. cit., p. 88.
[36]John Clive Ball, “Air Photo Evidence”, in: Germar Rudolf (ed.), Dissecting the Holocaust. The Growing Critique of ‘Truth’ and ‘Memory’, Second corrected edition, Theses & Dissertations Press, Chicago 2003, p. 270.
[37]Carlo Mattogno, Jürgen Graf, Treblinka. Extermination Camp or Transit Camp?, Theses & Dissertations Press, Chicago 2004, p. 137.
[38]R. Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews, 3rd edition, Yale University Press, New Haven and London 2003, Vol. III, p. 936.
[39]Bełżec in Propaganda, Testimonies, Archeological Research, and History, op. cit., p. 104.
[40]L. Poliakov, J. Wulf (eds.), Das dritte Reich und die Juden. Dokumente und Aufsätze, Arani Verlag, Berlin-Grunewald 1955, p. 231.
[41]Carlo Mattogno & Franco Deana, ”Die Krematorien von Auschwitz-Birkenau”, in: Ernst Gauss (= Germar Rudolf) (Ed.), Grundlagen zur Zeitgeschichte. Ein Handbuch über strittige Fragen des 20 Jahrhunderts, Grabert Verlag, Tübingen 1994, p. 447. [The table in question is not present in the English language translation of this article – Translator’s note].
[42]In: Vierteljahreshefte für Zeitgeschichte, No. 3, July 1959, pp. 333-335.
[43]For example, Uwe Dietrich Adam, in a paper on “the gas chambers” presented at a conference held at the l’École des Hautes Études en sciences sociales in Paris in 1982, states that “Gerstein’s account of the number of victims killed in Bełżec is so improbable that it prompts disbelief even in the layman: he speaks of 700-800 persons gassed in a space measuring 25 square meters”; Colloque de l’École des Hautes Études en sciences sociales, L’Allemagne nazie et le génocide juif, Gallimard, Paris 1985, note 85 on p. 260.
[44]Bełżec nella propaganda, nelle testimonianze, nelle indagini archeologiche e nella storia, op. cit., p. 84.
[45]Institute for Historical Review, 1989.
[46]H. Roques, The “Confessions” of Kurt Gerstein, op. cit., p. 78.
[47]Ibid., p. 277.
[48]Ibid., p. 223.
[49]Ibid., p. 224.
[50]France Soir, July 4, 1945, p. 1.
[51]Bełżec in Propaganda, Testimonies, Archeological Research, and History, op. cit., p. 52.
[52]H. Roques, The “Confessions” of Kurt Gerstein, op. cit., p. 280.
[53]Ibid., p. 277.
[54]Bełżec in Propaganda, Testimonies, Archeological Research, and History, op. cit., p. 60.
[55]Rudolf Reder, Bełżec (Polish-English bilingual edition), Fundacja Judaica, Państwowe Muzeum Oświęcim-Brzezinka, Kraków 1999, p. 117.
[56]”Ich habe im Rahmen meiner aufsichtführenden Tätigkeit in den Baracken bei der Entkleidung nie kleine Kinder gesehen”.
[57]Interrogation of Henrich Gley from May 8, 1961. Zentrale Stelle der Landesjustizverwaltungen (Central Office of the State Justice Administration for the Investigation of National Socialist Crimes), Ludwigsburg (hereafter: ZStL), 208 AR-Z 252/59, vol IX, pp. 1290-1291.
[58]Postmortem changes and time of death, at:
[59]Le modificazioni tanatologiche del cadavere, at:
[60]Rudolf Reder, Bełżec, op. cit., p. 126.
[61]Ibid., p. 131.
[62]Cf. the original text in: H. Roques, The “Confessions” of Kurt Gerstein, op. cit., p. 236.
[63]Ibid., p. 236.
[64]Ibid., p. 277.
[65]PS-2170. For the original French text, cf. H. Roques, The “Confessions” of Kurt Gerstein, op. cit., p. 225.
[66]Le modificazioni tanatologiche del cadavere, at:
[67]Bełżec in Propaganda, Testimonies, Archeological Research, and History, op. cit., p. 74.
[68]H. Roques, The “Confessions” of Kurt Gerstein, op. cit., p. 279
[69]Ibid., p. 225.
[70]Archiwum Głównej Komisji Badania Zbrodni w Polsce, at present Główna Komisja Ścigania Zbrodni przeciwko Narodowi Polskiemu (Archive of the Central Commission for the Investigation of Crimes against the Polish People - National Memorial), Warsaw, OKBZN Kraków, 111, p. 4.
[71]Bełżec in Propaganda, Testimonies, Archeological Research, and History, op. cit., p. 74.
[72]Ibid., p. 52.
[73]Ibid., p. 61.
[74]Ibid., p. 20.
[75]Ibid., p. 36.
[76]Ibid., p. 38.
[77]Ibid., p. 36.
[78]Ibid., pp. 39-41.
[79]Ibid., p. 40.
[80]Ibid., p. 63.
[81]Ibid., p. 55.
[82]Ibid., pp. 54-55.
[83]Ibid., pp. 61-62.
[84]The book was published in Berlin in 1956 by the Colloquium Verlag.
[85]G. Reitlinger, The Final Solution, The Beechurst Press, New York 1958, p. 140.
[86]R. O’Neil, Bełżec: Stepping Stone to Genocide; Hitler’s answer to the Jewish Question, online at:
[87]Y. Arad, Bełżec, Sobibor, Treblinka. The Operation Reinhard death camps, op. cit., p. 172.
[88]Michael Tregenza, “Bełżec – Das vergessene Lager des Holocaust”, In: Wojak, Irmtrud, Peter Hayes (eds.), “Arisierung” im Nationalsozialismus, Volksgemeinschaft, Raub und Gedächtnis, Campus Verlag, Frankfurt/Main, New York, p. 252.
[90]R. O’Neil, Bełżec: Stepping Stone to Genocide; Hitler’s answer to the Jewish Question, online at:
[91]Bełżec in Propaganda, Testimonies, Archeological Research, and History, op. cit., p. 84.
[92]Ibid., pp. 42-43.
[93]Cf. Document 4.
[94]Bełżec in Propaganda, Testimonies, Archeological Research, and History, op. cit., p. 72.
[95]See the full citation in Bełżec in Propaganda, Testimonies, Archeological Research, and History, op. cit., p. 72.
[96]I have made a quick calculation thus: if a depth of 3,6 m corresponded to approximately 170,500 corpses, a depth of 4,7 m would correspond to approximately 222,600.
[97]Also here I make a quick calculation based on proportions: if 8 corpses per cubic meter results in a burial space sufficient for approximately 222,600 corpses, then 15 corpses per cubic meter would correspond to approximately 417,400 buried corpses.
[98]Bełżec in Propaganda, Testimonies, Archeological Research, and History, op. cit., p. 72. Note that the figure 45 on this page is misprinted as “46”. As seen from the calculations on the following pages, as well as in . Treblinka: Extermination Camp or Transit Camp?, p. 145f., 45 is the correct figure. R. Muehlenkamp then later on at least one place in his argument mistakes the misprint for the correct figure. (Translator’s note).
[99]For example, Sforni attributes to these four months a total of 373,200 victims, for the months of March and July 103,900, and for December 5,500 victims. Il sabba di Bełżec. Con la traduzione italiana della testimonianza del sopravvissuto Rudolf Reder, op. cit., p. 107.
[100]C. Mattogno, ”Verbrennungsexperimente mit Tierfleisch und Tierfett. Zur Frage der Grubenverbrennungen in den angeblichen Vernichtungslagern des 3. Reiches”, in: Vierteljahresehefte für freie Geschichtsforschung, Volume 7, Issue 2, July 2003, pp. 185-194.
[101]Heinrich Köchel, “Leichenverbrennung im Freien”, in: Vierteljahreshefte für freie Geschichtsforschung, Volume 8, Issue 4, December 2004, pp. 427-432.
[102]R.D. Lund, I. Kruger and P. Weldon, Options for the mechanised slaughter and disposal of contagious diseased animals - a discussion paper. Paper Presented at Conference on Agricultural Engineering, Adelaide, 2-5 April, 2000, at:–paper.pdf.
[103]Cf. Document 6.
[104]The Use of Air Curtain Destructors for Fuel Reduction, at:
Air Curtain Destructor and Refractory Pit, at:
Air Curtain Destructor Operating Procedures, at:
[105]Swine carcass disposal evaluation using Air Curtain Incinerator System, Model T–359, at:–FILES_Tech/ab_swine_report.pdf
[106]Burning of carcasses, at: http://www–$EAFull?ID=67
[107]La legna, in:
[109]Bernardo Hellrigl, Il potere calorifico del legno, in:
[110]M. de Cristoforis, Etude pratique sur la crémation, Imprimerie Treves Frères, Milan 1890, p. 125.
[111]Rudolf Reder, Bełżec, op. cit., p. 134.
[112]R. O’Neil, Bełżec: Stepping Stone to Genocide; Hitler’s answer to the Jewish Question, at:
[113]G. Salvi, La combustione. Teoria e applicazioni, Tamburini Editore, Milan 1972, p. 786, ascribes to unseasoned firewood a calorific value of 2.330 Kcal/kg.
[115]Valérie Cormont, ”Un bûcher de 100 m de long pour 600 moutons”, in: La Voix du Nord, March 6, 2001.
[116]The volume of 1 cord of firewood.
[119]Teri Development of gasifier based crematorium, TERI Project Report No.1999BE63, New Dehli 2003.
[121]Decomposition, at:
[122]That is (35 - [35 × 0,6] =) 14 kg of dry tissue and 21 kg of water.
[123]In reality there exist no original transport lists. Those existing have been arbitrarily drawn up by the Holocaust historians, such as the list of Arad, counting approximately 517,000 deported (Y. Arad, Bełżec, Sobibor, Treblinka. The Operation Reinhard Death Camps, op. cit., pp. 383-389) or that of O’Neil with 800,555 deported (R.O’Neil, “Bełżec: A Reassessment of the Number of Victims”, in: East European Jewish Affairs, vol. 29, n. 1-2 1999, pp. 89-100). However, as already mentioned, the documented number of deportees is 434,508.
[124]L. Maccone, Storia documentata della cremazione presso i popoli antichi ed i moderni con speciale riferimento alla igiene, Istituto Italiano di Arti Grafiche, Bergamo 1932, pp. 158-159.
[125]For a maximum accepted by specialists in the field, cf. Postmortem changes and Time of death, at:
[128]Amtliches Material zum Massenmord von Winniza, Berlin 1944, p. 86.
[129]Ibid., p. 63.
[130]Encyclopedia of cremation, edited by Douglas J. Davies and Lewis H. Mates, Ashgate, London 2005, p. 134.
[131]I multiply here with 700 and not 800, since 640 represents already the thermal content of 1 kg water at 100°C, so that the steam must be superheated to more than 700°C.
[132]Heizwerte, at:–
[133]Bełżec in Propaganda, Testimonies, Archeological Research, and History, op. cit., p. 84.
[134]This conjecture is in open contrast with the inexplicable fact that the deportations to Bełżec were stopped at a stage when more than a third of the Jews in the district of Galicia still remained. Cf. Section 5.
[135]Bełżec in Propaganda, Testimonies, Archeological Research, and History, op. cit., p. 84.
[136]Y. Arad, Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka. The Operation Reinhard Death Camps, op. cit., p. 172.
[137]Rudolf Reder, “Bełżec”, in: Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, Volume 13, London – Portland (OR) 2000, p. 283.
[138]G. Colombo, Manuale dell’ingegnere civile e industriale, Enrico Hoepli Editore, Milan 1926, p. 161.
[139]J.C. Ball, Air Photo Evidence. Auschwitz, Treblinka, Majdanek, Sobibor, Bergen Belsen, Belzec, Babi Yar, Katyn Forest, Ball Resource Services Limited, Delta, B.C., Canada 1992, pp. 94–95.
[140]Bełżec nella propaganda, nelle testimonianze, nelle indagini archeologiche e nella storia, op. cit., pp. 113-114.
[141]Cf. Document 2.
[142]Found online at: http://www.holocaust––ball/
[143]M. Giua and C. Giua Lollini, Dizionario di chimica generale e industriale, Unione Tipografico-Editrice, Turin 1948, vol. II, p. 128.
[144]W. Heepke, ”Die neuzeitlichen Leicheneinäscherungsöfen mit Koksfeuerung, deren Wärmebilanz und Brennstoffverbrauch”, in: Feuerungstechnik, Volume XXI, August 15, 1933, No. 8, pp. 123-128.
[145]F. Goppelsroeder, Ueber Feuerbestattung, Verlag von Wenz & Peters, Mülhausen 1890, p. 90. I have calculated the average between the percentages stated for one man, one woman, one boy, and two newborns.
[146]Description of patent no. 861731, class 24d, group 1, T 1562/V24d. Procedure and device for the cremation of corpses, cadavers and parts of them. Patented in the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany on June 24, 1950.
[147]M. Lange, H. Schutkowski, S. Hummel, B. Herrmann, A bibliography on cremation, Pact (Journal of the European Study Group on Physical, Chemical, Biological and Mathematical Techniques Applied to Archeology), 19, 1987, p. 10 and 14 (German text), 18 and 21 (English text).
[148]Meaning of the symbols: W = Wärme, heat; Bn: = Brennstoff, the combustible fuel necessary for n cremations; η = yield of the furnace; Hu  = the lower calorific value of the fuel.
[149]My critic has evidently not heard of books.
[150]In this case the evaporation heat is estimated separately, excluding the overheating of the vapor as a factor on the combustion temperature.
[151]W. Heepke, “Die neuzeitlichen Leicheneinäscherungsöfen mit Koksfeuerung, deren Wärmebilanz und Brennstoffverbrauch”, op. cit., p. 124.
[152]According to an article from 1931 entitled “The human body as fuel” (Stort, “Der menschliche Körper als Heizstoff”, in: Die Umschau im Wissenschaft und Technik, No. 26, 1931).
[153]Carlo Mattogno, Jürgen Graf, Treblinka. Extermination Camp or Transit Camp?, op.cit., pp. 147-148.
[154]Claude Lanzmann, Shoah, Da Capo Press, New York 1995, p. 10.
[155]Bełżec in Propaganda, Testimonies, Archeological Research, and History, op. cit., p. 68.
[156]Ibid., p. 88, note 274.
[157]Cf. the above referred to Encyclopedia of cremation, p. 134.
[158]At the time of mine and Jürgen Graf's visit to Bełżec in June 1997, there were no traces of burnt bodies to be seen at the former camp site.
[159]Bełżec in Propaganda, Testimonies, Archeological Research, and History, op. cit., pp. 79-81.
[160]Ibid., p. 89.
[161]This is not at all obvious, because when such is the case, the diagrams specify this as “blockade (human corpses)”, while here we only read “blockade”.
[162]ZStL, 252/59, vol. I, p. 1119.
[163]Ibid., p. 1135.
[164]Bełżec nella propaganda, nelle testimonianze, nelle indagini archeologiche e nella storia, op. cit., pp. 118-119.
[165]Bełżec in Propaganda, Testimonies, Archeological Research, and History, op. cit., pp. 88-89.
[166]Cf. Document 7.
[167]Cf. Document 8.
[168]Cf. Document 9.
[169]Y. Arad, Bełżec, Sobibor, Treblinka. The Operation Reinhard death camps, op. cit., pp. 436-437.
[170]Cf. Document 10.
[171]C. Mattogno, J. Graf, Treblinka. Extermination Camp or Transit Camp?, op.cit., p. 77.
[172]Ibid., op. cit., p. 88.
[173]National Archives, Washington D.C., T 501, Roll 219, photogram 461.
[174]Bełżec in Propaganda, Testimonies, Archeological Research, and History, op. cit., pp. 92-96.
[175]Ibid., p. 96.
[176]The remains of a structure which Kola seeks to pass off as the alleged first gas chamber building.
[177]The remains of another structure which Kola seeks to pass off as the alleged second gas chamber building.
[180]Bełżec in Propaganda, Testimonies, Archeological Research, and History, op. cit., p. 7.
[181]Ibid., p. 40.
[182]Ibid., p. 99.
[183]Ibid., p. 100.
[184]Ibid., p. 101.
[185]Bełżec nella propaganda, nelle testimonianze, nelle indagini archeologiche e nella storia, op. cit., p. 139.
[186]Ibid., pp. 139-141.
[187]R. Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews, op.cit., Vol. II, p. 504.
[188]Report from Katzmann to Krüger. L-18.
[189]The Korherr Report, NO-5194, p. 11.
[190]Evidence for the Implementation of the Final Solution: Electronic Edition, by Browning, Christopher R..V.C, Documentary Evidence concerning the Camps of Bełżec, Sobibor, and Treblinka, at:
[191]Raul Hilberg e i ”centri di sterminio” nazionalsocialisti. Fonti e metodologia, 2008. Chapter I, Section 9: “Goebbels e il presunto sterminio ebraico”, pp. 38-39, available online at:
[192]Bełżec in Propaganda, Testimonies, Archeological Research, and History, op. cit., pp. 11-34.
[193]Ibid., p. 43.
[194]Genesi e funzioni del campo di Birkenau, 2008. Available online at:
[195]Treblinka. Extermination Camp or Transit Camp?, op. cit., “Final Destination of Jews Deported to the East", pp. 253-261.
[196]E. M. Kulischer, The Displacement of Population in Europe, Published by the International Labour Office, Montreal 1943.
[197]Ibid., p. 107.
[198]Reproduced in: La presse antiraciste sous l’occupation hitlérienne, Préface de A. Raisky, Paris 1950, p. 179.

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Author(s): Carlo Mattogno
Title: Belzec or the Holocaust Controversy of Roberto Muehlenkamp
Published: 2009-01-01
First posted on CODOH: June 29, 2009, 7 p.m.
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