No authentic contemporary documents speak about the capacity of the ovens at Birkenau
Holocaust Deniers Say:
There are no authentic contemporary documents available that speak about the capacity of the ovens at Birkenau.
Holocaust deniers refuse to accept the Germans' own documentation about the capacity of the ovens. They denounce this authoritative evidence as forgeries.
German documents about the capacity of the ovens
A letter dated June 28, 1943 from Karl Bischoff, the head of the Central Building Administration in Auschwitz-Birkenau, to Hans Kammler in Berlin, summarized the ideal cremation capacity for all 52 muffles in a 24-hour period (including down time for cleaning and maintenance):
Crema 1 340 persons
Crema 2 1,440 persons
Crema 3 1,440 persons
Crema 4 768 persons
Crema 5 768 persons
Total per 24 hours 4,756 persons
Bischoff arrived at his figures by assuming that each of the 52 muffles could cremate four bodies an hour, which by definition required multiple cremations.1
This document is available at: http://www.holocaust-history.org/~dkeren/cremation/Furn-cap.shtml.
David Irving, whom the High Court in London declared to be a Holocaust denier, racist and antisemite, argues that the letter was forged by the Russians to embarrass the Germans. But the figures which the Russians released after the war were much higher. Why would the Russians forge a letter that confirmed less than half of their own official calculations? Why would they forge a letter that contradicted their own higher calculations?2
In a letter written to the Auschwitz authorities in July 1941, Topf and Sons, the designers and makers of the ovens, stressed that continuous burning lengthened the life of the ovens between maintenances. "It is not harmful to operate the incinerator day and night, if requested, since the fireclay lasts longer when an even temperature is maintained."3
The Germans' own calculations and operating instructions reflect the ability to burn as many 4,756 bodies in a 24 hours period. This was more than enough to handle the transports that arrived with about 3,000 persons per day.
1. Robert Jan van Pelt, The Case for Auschwitz: Evidence from the Irving Trial (Indiana University Press, 2001), p. 345.
2. Ibid., p. 344.
3. John C. Zimmerman, "Body Disposal at Auschwitz: The End of Holocaust Denial," www.holocaust-history.org/auschwitz/body-disposal/: p. 16 of 42 citing Danuta Czech, Auschwitz Chronicle 1939-1945 (Henry Holt, 1989): pp. 71, 72.