Irving v. Lipstadt
Holocaust Denial on Trial, Trial Judgment: Electronic Edition, by Charles GrayTable of Contents
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The logistical impossibility of extermination on the scale contended for by the Defendants
7.100 Irving produced an enlarged photograph depicting what he claimed to be the Auschwitz coke bunker. He argued that it is far too small to have been capable of accommodating the huge amount of coke which would have been needed for the incineration of thousands of bodies. (Van Pelt pointed out that each crematorium had its own coke storage bunker). Irving advanced the further related argument that it would have required 35kg of coke to incinerate a single body. He based that argument on evidence that at another camp at Gussen that that was the weight of coke required. On that premise he contended that it was logistically impossible for sufficient coke to have been supplied and stored at Auschwitz to burn bodies at the rate envisaged in a letter of 28 June 1943 written by Bischoff, the Chief of the Central Construction Management at Auschwitz. Irving disputed the authenticity of that document for reasons which I set out at paragraph 7.105. Alternatively he contended that in any event it can be explained by the urgent need for capacity to incinerate the bodies of those who succumbed during the typhus epidemic which raged through Auschwitz in the summer of 1942.
7.101 Irving asserted that the only way of transporting corpses from the morgue up to the incinerators was by lift. He maintained that the lift was incapable of supplying the incinerators with bodies at rates which would have enabled the incinerators to burn the number of Jews claimed by the Defendants to have been gassed at the camp. In other words, the lift was a bottleneck which demonstrated the Defendants' figures for the numbers killed and incinerated to be flawed. In addition, since the incinerators would not have reduced the corpses to ash, Irving questioned how the bones and other unburned parts of so many bodies could have been disposed of.