Mass Incineration of so many bodies would have produced too much ash to fit in the mass graves


The Holocaust Deniers Say:

In Belzec the amount of human and wood ash that would have been created by the incineration of 600,000 or more corpses would have filled the entire volume of known mass graves with "60 railroad freight cars" left over. 1

Holocaust denier Carlo Mattogno asserts that his calculations, that there would have been too much wood and human ash from the mass incinerations to be reburied in the mass graves, proves his theory that Belzec (and Sobibor and Treblinka) was a "transit camp" for Jews being deported further east.
How Mattogno arrives as his figures for wood usage:
Why are Mattogno’s figures wrong?
As was demonstrated in LP 5, Parts 1 and 2 2 , Mattogno’s figures for both the total kilograms of human remains and the total kilograms of wood needed are many times too high. More accurate figures are:
Using these more realistic figures for the mass incinerations in Belzec, the total amount of human and wood ash produced was closer to:
Mattogno contends that open air burning would produce more ash than a cremation in a formal cremation oven. However, he offers no supporting evidence for this assertion nor does he tell the reader how much more ash open air burning would produce.
Even increasing the figures arbitrarily to 35 kilograms for the average body and increasing the ratio of wood to 2 kilograms of wood to 1 kilogram of human remains (a 2:1 ratio) would have produced a total of 9,760 cubic meters of ash, or 45% of the total volume available in the mass graves.
Recall, too, that the figure of 21,310 cubic meters is the minimum volume of the mass graves, as two of the largest graves extend outside the current area of the camp onto private land and could not be measured.
What we know about the disposal of the ashes in the camps
Yitzhak Arad, the primary scholar of the Operation Reinhard camps, summarizes generally the situation regarding the disposal of bone remnants and teeth that existed in all three camps:
"When the fire went out, there were only skeletons or scattered bones on the roasters, and piles of ash underneath. Another special prisoner team, known as the "ash group" (Aschkolonne), had the task of collecting the ash and removing the remains of the charred bones from the grill and placing them on tin sheets. Round wooden sticks were then used to break the bones into small fragments. These were then run through a tightly woven screen made of metal wire; those bone fragments which did not pass through the screen were returned for further smashing. Unburned bones which proved difficult to fragment were returned to the roaster and reignited with a new pile of bodies." 3
It is also possible that all of the ashes were not reburied on site but disposed of in other ways:
We have very little information about the handling of ashes in the three Operation Reinhard camps. Of the about 1.8 million Jews who passed through their gates, only two men who worked in the extermination area in Treblinka survived. One of these men, Yankiel Wiernik, who survived Treblinka, dwells on the horror of the incinerations and of working on the burning detail in his testimony but he does not speak in detail about ash disposal, other than it was returned to the mass graves and reburied. However, it is reasonable to conclude that some of the ashes from the Operation Reinhard camps may also have been dumped into rivers or used as fertilizer or in road building as occurred in other camps.
Mattogno’s backyard grill experiment does not even remotely resemble the conditions in the mass incineration process in the camps; as a result, his conclusions about the amount of ash produced are invalid and his figures about the amount of wood and human ash produced are grossly inflated.
Taking into account more realistic figures for the amount of wood and the total mass of the volume of the bodies buried in Belzec’s mass graves, there was more than adequate space to re-bury the human and wood ash that was produced from the mass incinerations.


1. Carlo Mattogno, Belzec in Propaganda, Testimonies, Archaeological Research, and History (Theses & Dissertations Press, 2004), p. 86.
2. (link here, with whatever you end up calling them)
3. Yitzhak Arad, Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka: The Operation Reinhard Death Camps (Indiana University Press, 1987), p. 176.
4. Simon Srebnik’s testimony in Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah. The film transcript is available in Claude Lanzmann, Shoah: The Complete Text of the Acclaimed Holocaust Film (Da Capo Press, 1995), pp. 10, 11.
5. Rudolph Höss, Death Dealer: The Memoirs of the SS Kommandant at Auschwitz, edited by Steven Paskuly (Prometheus Books, 1992), p. 45.
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