Learning Tools

Myth/Fact Sheets

Where are the teeth that once belonged to that multitude of incineration victims

 

The Holocaust Deniers Say:

If about 1.8 million people had been murdered in the death camps of Operation Reinhard there would be millions of teeth in the mass graves: at least 28 million at Treblinka, 8 million at Sobibor, and 19 million at Belzec.1

NAFCASH (National Association of Forensic Criminologists, Archaeologists, Skeptics and Historians), a Holocaust denial website which offers $100,000 to anyone who can prove there are mass graves in Treblinka, asserts that "not even a single tooth out an alleged 27 million!" has ever been found.
Am American Holocaust denier also notes that ". . . the teeth of the supposed victims could not have been destroyed by the primitive methods attested to . . . Even if each of the alleged victims had only 20 of the usual 32 teeth left at the time he or she died, there would have been at least 17.5 million teeth to be disposed of at Treblinka. This means that we should still be able to find some 5 teeth per cubic foot of the 3.53 million cubic feet of material excavated at the alleged site of the crime." 2
What we know about the destruction of teeth by fire
The destruction of teeth by fire is a matter of professional interest to forensic dentists involved in the identification of bodies. A study conducted by German forensic dentists in 2001 found the following:
  • After 30 minutes in fires with temperatures of 752 degrees Fahrenheit (400 degrees Celsius) the front teeth are totally destroyed. The molars (the grinding teeth in the back of the mouth) start to crack.
  • At between 45 and 70 minutes in fires with temperatures between 1832 degrees Fahrenheit (1000 degrees Celsius) and 2012 degrees Fahrenheit (1100 degrees Celsius), all the teeth are totally carbonized. 3
  • In a civilian crematorium furnace, a temperature between 1400 to 2100 degrees Fahrenheit (760 to 1150 degrees Celsius) is generated to ensure the disintegration of the remains. Even then teeth and some bones are still intact and are crushed in a machine. 4
In the mass incinerations in the camps it is possible that a few of the sturdier back teeth of adults might have remained in the ashes along with some larger remnants of bone. However, these teeth would be cracked, weakened or fallen from the jaw and could have been destroyed relatively easily in the bone crushing process. Certainly, the milk teeth of babies and the teeth of children (which made up a large percentage of the victims) would have been largely destroyed in the fire.
Have teeth been found in the camps?
Surprisingly, some teeth have been found. The various investigative bodies that surveyed the camps after the war and modern day investigations found traces of intact teeth, most specifically in Belzec, which has been subject to the most forensic scrutiny in the last decade and for which detailed reports exist:
  • Polish judicial authorities performed excavations on the site in October 1945. They dug nine holes or trenches in the area believed to the extermination part of the camp. They found ". . . a large number of human bones . . . such as skulls, parts of skulls, vertebrae, ribs, collarbones, shoulder blades, arm bones, lower legs, wrists, fingers, pelvic bones, thigh bones, lower legs and foot bones. Some of the bones mentioned are either partly burnt or had not been burnt at all . . . From the size of the various bones one can conclude that they belong to persons of different age groups, from two-year-olds up to very old people, as borne out by toothless jaws and numerous dentures. Among the jawbones found there was one partially burnt specimen containing milk teeth as well as incipient permanent teeth, which indicates that it belongs to a person 7 to 8 years of age." 5
  • Andrezj Kola, together with a team of professionals, drilled 2,000 core samples throughout the area of the camp in Belzec in 1997 and 1998. He found 33 mass graves filled with whole bodies, parts of bodies (some burned, others not) and huge areas of human ash, bone remnants, and wood ash. It is reasonable to believe that some of the ash and bone remnants are probably the remains of teeth although Kola did not identify them separately. 6
Why have not the remains of more teeth been found by investigators?
There are several reasons why we cannot find the "millions" of intact teeth:
  • Most of the teeth would have been destroyed in the fires and the rest would have been pretty well crushed. Their presence today is indeterminable from the rest of the human ashes in the graves.
  • The few whole teeth that would have gotten through the burning and pulverization process are scattered across or buried under acres of land. Finding them in the thousands of tons of human and wood ash would be purely accidental.
We will never know how many teeth may still be in the graves and surface sand of the camps without digging up every single cubic meter of ground to the depth of 25 feet across many acres at each of the camp sites. It is unreasonable to expect that every cubic meter of ground should be dug up and sifted for evidence of teeth in these camps-even if it were possible given that these graves are the final resting place of some 1.8 million souls.
Conclusion
The Holocaust deniers erroneously base their arguments on a false speculation: That human teeth cannot be destroyed by fire or crushed into dust.
  • The research of forensic dentists-whose business it is to know precisely what happens to teeth in fire conditions-shows that exactly the opposite of the Holocaust deniers’ claims are true. In fires with temperatures high enough to cremate bodies, most of the teeth are destroyed. Any remaining teeth that did not burn are weakened and so are more easily ground to dust.
  • The Holocaust deniers did not do their research-or if they did they ignored it-preferring instead to trumpet the alleged damage to the "Holohoax" that the spectacular image of 55 million teeth missing from the grounds and mass graves of the Operation Reinhard camps provides.
  • The intact teeth of 1.8 million murdered Jews in the three camps of Operation Reinhard cannot be found because they are part of the deep layers of human ash in the mass graves or are scattered or were dumped into local rivers and ponds.
The fact that millions of teeth are not immediately visible in the graves is not proof of the Holocaust deniers’ arguments that the camps were only transit camps, but is rather a terrible testament to the efficiency of the incineration process and the ruthless desire of the Germans to obliterate their crimes.

Notes

1. See NAFCASH website at .
2. See Clip 18: "Physical Evidence, Part" at www.onethirdoftheholocaust.com.
3. Klaus Rotzscher, Claus Grundmann, Sven Benthaus, "The effects of high temperatures on human teeth and dentures: Conclusions regarding the degree on destruction and the influence of time," Journal of Dentistry and Oral Medicine, No. 6(1), 2004 at . Warning: This study contains color photographs.
4. "Cremation" in Wikipedia ("Burning and ashes collection") at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cremation.
5. "Protokoll der Leichenschau" (Report of Coroner), October 13, 1945. ZStL, 252/59, vol. I, pp. 1123f. Translated into English by Carlo Mattogno in Belzec in Propaganda, Testimonies, Archaeological Research, and History (Theses & Dissertations Press, 2004), p. 80.
6. Kola’s report was written in Polish but you may read the English translation of portions of it and see the detailed map of the mass graves found on the site and the meticulous diagrams of the dimensions and contents of the mass graves at: http://holocaustcontroversies.blogspot.com/2006/05/carlo-mattogno-on-belzec.html.
Popups by overLIB