John C. Zimmerman and
"Body Disposal at Auschwitz":
Preliminary Observations by

Translated and Copyrighted © MCMXCIX Russ Granata. All Rights Reserved.
POB 2145 PVP CA 90274 USA
[email protected]

John C. Zimmerman published an article entitled Body Disposal at Auschwitz [1] which is supposed to be a refutation of my arguments concerning cadaver cremations at Auschwitz; or better still, even a definitive refutation, as he makes clear from the sub-title of his article: The End of Holocaust-Denial.

Zimmerman disputes my study The Crematoria Ovens of Auschwitz and Birkenau, [2] regarding which he writes:

    "It appears that this was intended to be the definitive denier argument on the issue" (p. 2).

This is merely one of the grand illusions of our professor. The work he cites is a translation of my article "Die Krematoriumsöfen von Auschwitz" which is published in the anthology edited by Ernst Gauss, Grundlagen zur Zeitgeschichte. [3]

That work is a synthesis (carried out by the editor) of a text of approximately 80 pages which at the same time is a synthesis of a larger work which I had compiled in 1993 with the collaboration of Engineer Franco Deana.[4] It is obvious to me that "omissions" of which Zimmerman accuses me depended upon sudden drastic reductions of that anthology.

Whereas that work arose from a period of limited availability of sources, since 1995 I have had access to a vastly more amount of material, therefore The Crematoria Ovens of Auschwitz and Birkenau is not a place of arrival, as Zimmerman believes, but merely a point of departure.

My "definitive" study concerning cremations at Auschwitz - assuming that I would speak of a "definitive study" - is the two-volume work being published: I forni crematori di Auschwitz. Studio storico-tecnico, con la collaborazione del Franco Deana. This work comprises 500 pages of text, 270 documents, and 360 photographs.[5]

The major parts of the objections raised by Zimmerman have already been refuted with ample documentation in that work.[6]

Actually, our professor has drawn a blank and therefore must start all over again with his "refutation", but this time his task will be much more difficult because it is not coincidental to repeat here what has been already demonstrated in that work to which I refer Professor Zimmerman.

At this time I shall limit myself to raising some preliminary observations.

The Competence of Zimmerman.

First of all, let us assess the competence of this critic who presents himself as "Associate Professor, University of Nevada, Las Vegas" (p. 1).

The first qualification required of one who wants to seriously occupy himself with this alleged holocaust is knowledge of the German language, but instead our professor does not know German and for interpretations of texts written in that language, entrusts translations to others. He in fact declares:

    "The author wishes to thank Judith Jenner and Karola Raab, both of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, for their translations of the German language material used in this study" (p. 52).

It is as though a professor wanted to explain obscure passages of the Bible without knowing Hebrew and Aramaic!

This already qualifies Professor Zimmerman as a dilettante.

From the historiographical point of view, the Zimmerman information is for the most part second-hand and filtered through various ones such as Pressac, Piper, van Pelt, Czech, etc. The original documents which our professor knows are few and irrelevant. We shall subsequently show what blunders result from such documentary ignorance.

From the technical point of view, Zimmerman walks in the dark. He has not the faintest idea of structure and function of crematory ovens in general and those of Auschwitz in particular, going off into absolutely unfounded conjectures as if they were sacred truths. This fact shall be illustrated with appropriate examples.

As to methodology and professional honesty, Zimmerman demonstrates a truly worrisome deficiency, and while he charges that Mattogno "basically reverts to the common denier tactics of omission and misrepresentation" (p. 2) - an accusation of specious methodology against me - we are about to see just how honest are the Zimmerman "refutations":

Zimmerman fabrications and deceptions.

We begin with the case of aerial photographs.

First of all, the Zimmerman conjectures concerning my alleged second-thoughts after the publication in books of aerial and surface photographs of Auschwitz are absolutely ridiculous. Being a dilettante, he evidently believes that I am as he and go looking for the documents in books and not in the archives.

I possess all the Auschwitz aerial photographs he mentioned (and many others he doesn't know, or is even aware exist) as well as surface ones from 1989 which he mentioned.

If I change opinion concerning interpretation of specific points, that depends only upon the progression of my studies, and not due to the fact that later books have published documents which I had already possessed.

We shall examine in more detail the Zimmerman "definitive refutation":

  • 1. Zimmerman writes that Mattogno

    "claimed in 1995, the year following the publication of the May 31 photo, that the smoke was not from burning bodies but most probably from trash" (p. 41).

Zimmerman cites as a source my booklet Auschwitz Holocaust Revisionist Jean-Claude Pressac: The "Gassed" People of Auschwitz: Pressac's New Revisions. [7]

This is false. I never wrote such a thing; not in that booklet nor elsewhere.

    [Note from Russ Granata: An online Internet version includes these words: "The small column of smoke rising from the courtyard near Crematory V which appears in the aerial photographs of May 31, 1944 is consistent with outside trash incineration in an open-air container where lower level combustion air is able to enter; we know of no aerial photographic evidence of pit incineration where burning would have been very slow because of poor air circulation."]

  • 2. Our professor claims that "Mattogno simply had no explanation for the presence of this smoke (p. 41)." This is also false; anyone may read my "explanation" on page 43 of my book My Banned Holocaust Interview. [8]

  • 3. Regarding the photographic note which Zimmerman reports in microscopic format in his article, Zimmerman declares that "it is possible to see 14 Sonderkommandos in uniform" (p. 45).

This too is false. The photograph in question, shows only 8 persons (almost certainly prisoners) standing, and a 9th [person] on the left, who is probably a guard. As I have explained in My Banned Holocaust Interview (pp. 41-44), this photograph doesn't only NOT demonstrate, but refutes the story of mass cremation of "gassed". This lie serves to advance the number of prisoners in that photograph of "25 Sonderkommandos" declared by Filip Müller (p. 46).

  • 4. Still, Zimmerman writes that "Mattogno never addressed this photo" (p. 46), to which I respond once again: See My Banned Holocaust Interview (pp. 41- 44).

  • 5.. He furthermore declares that

    «Mattogno had also assured his readers that Red and White Bunkers were not found in any German documents and that they had "been created by postwar witness"» (p. 42).

Here our very virtuous professor falsifies my affirmation. I have in fact textually written:

    "Before examining Jean-Claud Pressac's statements on Bunkers 1 and 2, it is well to specify that this designation (like those of "red house" and "white house") is not found either in the German documents or in the reports of the clandestine resistance movement of the period at Auschwitz; it has been created by postwar eyewitnesses". [9]

I referred to names, while Zimmerman declares that I referred to things.

  • 6. On the same page, our professor of integrity again falsifies my assertions, claiming that:

    "He [Mark Van Alstine] has identified three burning pits in the area of the White Bunker (Mattogno states that there were four)".

In reality I referred to traces of four mass graves filled with soil located approximately 200 meters west of area BIII of Birkenau. I did not speak of "burning pits", nor of open graves, nor of graves "in the area of the White Bunker"; these are simply Zimmerman deceptions.

  • 7. On page 44, referring to one of my citations concerning an article by H. Fröhlich entitled Zur Gesundheitspflege auf den Sclachtfeldern, Zimmerman wrote that Mattogno

    «cited a study by H. Frohlich [sic] in an 1872 German military journal that the attempt to dispose of the bodies of soldiers by opening mass graves and filling them with tar "resulted in charring of the uppermost layer of the corpses, the baking of the intermediate layer and no effect on the bottom layer". He ignored the fact that the author of the study gave guidelines for the effective disposal of bodies in pits by using gasoline. Frolich wrote that the grave had to be drenched with gasoline in a tar pit. After three hours, 250 to 300 bodies were disposed of.»

But actually in the cited pages, the military medic Fröhlich expounds a criticism of a disinfestation procedure after the Battle of Sedan which was carried out by the chemist Créteur, and above all, of the results which he pretended to have obtained. Créteur opened mass graves, poured in liquid tar which was then ignited. Fröhlich objected that with such a procedure, cadavers at the bottom of the grave remained practically intact.

One of two passages mentioned by Zimmerman (in reference to his note 278) references a citation by Fröhlich concerning a writing by Créteur, but the "guidelines" of which he expounds are those typically critical of the military medics. Moreover this passage does not contain any mention of "gasoline". The only combustible liquid of which Créteur writes (other than tar) is mineral oil (Steinöl), which however served only to ignite the tar:

    "Darauf enzündete ich den Teer mit Hilfe von mit Steinöl angefeuchtetem Stroh." [10]

    [Thereupon I ignited the tar with the help of straw soaked in mineral oil.]

The other passage is the citation of a letter appearing in Belgian script which states that the cadavers were soaked with tar and mineral oil (Steinöl) which were then ignited. [11]

But in the Fröhlich article, "gasoline" is never mentioned.

  • 8. To this falsehood, Zimmerman then also adds another deception, writing:

    "In 1887 Dr Hugo Erichsen, one of the world's leading experts in body disposal in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, wrote of the Belgian government's efforts along these lines in a battle in 1814. The individual charged with body disposal was named Creteur."

In reality, Zimmerman presents the same source - the affirmations of Créteur - as if they were two different sources ! This also shows our poor professor making a rather stupid historical chronological blunder: the fact is of course that the Créteur activities occurred at the time of the Franco-Prussian War: 1871, not in 1814 !

And if that is not enough, we have Zimmerman referencing Créteur - this alleged world expert of cremation - who, according to Zimmerman, was declaring that the cadavers of the soldiers were "saturated with kerosene" (p. 44), which is false, because Créteur speaks only of "mineral oil". So here is our Professor Zimmerman relying upon a world "expert" who is incapable of distinguishing mineral oil from kerosene !

  • 9. Conclusions which Zimmerman draws from things such as the above, are just the beginning of classic examples of his crass ignorance of subject-matter while assailing me :

    "Deniers like Mattogno would have people believe that the Germans of World War II were incapable of replicating the achievements of an early 19th century European country" (p. 45).

My response to that is that if Professor Zimmerman had made a serious research in this regard, he would have known that the scope of the disinfestation in the battlegrounds never had been the cremation of the cadavers, but only the more or less complete carbonization of their soft tissue in an attempt to ward off the onset of epidemics. Therefore this concerns completely different problems. If he wanted, our professor could fill a gap in his ignorance by reading Chapter X of Part One of my work cited at the beginning of this article.

  • 10. Zimmerman affirms that

    "Mattogno claimed the maximum cremation capacity of the six original ovens was 120 per day, even though he was familiar with evidence from another concentration camp that showed a Topf double muffle oven could burn 52 per day or 26 per muffle" p. 4).

In this case, the Zimmerman falsification consists in the omission of factors which permit such a cremation capacity. [12] I wrote:

    "The average cremation time of a continuously operating oven was about forty minutes of principal combustion (in the chamber), obtainable with the aid of the installation of an intake draft system (data relative to the Gusen oven). The average time of cremation without an intake draft system (taking into account the combustion capacity of the furnace grill) was sixty minutes, as is evident from the statement by Engineer Prüfer (in the 01 November 1940 letter), as well as from the diagrams published by Engineer R. Kessler concerning the principal combustion in the chamber". [13]

Naturally Zimmerman does not mention the documents which I referenced in this cited passage because they refute in a very categorical manner his thermotechnical fantasies.

  • 11. To "demonstrate" that Bunker 2 continued to function even after Crematory II at Birkenau started functioning, Zimmerman presents an argument which is truly a masterpiece of deception as well as bad faith. He affirms:

    «Another useful piece of information is a report from the Bauleitung on June 13, 1943. It states that doors for Krema II are "urgently needed for the execution of the special measures... Likewise, the completion of windows for the reception building and the doors for 5 [barracks] for the accommodation of prisoners [Häftlingsunterkünfte] is urgently required for the same reasons". There is no further information about the five barracks in the memo. Recall, however, that Höss mentioned five barracks in his memoirs for the two bunkers in the area where prisoners were gassed, and this is the same number referred to for "special treatment" in the Bauleitung memo of July 15, 1942. It would appear that the five barracks in the June 1943 memo are the same ones used for undressing in the areas where the two bunkers were located. Thus, their continued usage after the crematoria were built and before the Hungarian operation was undertaken is strongly suggested" (pp. 36-37).»

Well, first of all Zimmerman falsifies the date of that document, which is a letter from the "Leiter der Zentralbauleitung" (Bischoff) to the "Deutsche Ausrüstungswerke" Auschwitz dated 13 January 1943. [14] To this falsification Zimmerman then adds an interpretation which is not only absolutely unfounded, but decidedly ridiculous: the "5 accommodations for prisoners"[15]mentioned in this letter were supposed to have been the alleged "undressing barracks"of the alleged homicidal bunkers. The foundation for this interpretation is the simple presence of the number "5" in the two cited documents and the affirmation of Höss!

Moreover, Zimmerman here furnishes another proof of his ignorance of documents, because "in the Bauleitung memo of July 15, 1942" it is clearly specified that one of the "5 Baracken für Sonderbehandlung u. Unterbringung von Häftlingen" was meant for the village of Bor, a little settlement located about 4 km south of Birkenau:

    "4 Stück Baracken der Häftllinge in Birkenau 1 Stk. Baracken zur Unterbringung v. Häftl. in Bor".[16]

So maybe in Bor there was a branch office of the alleged gassing Bunker of Birkenau?

  • 12. Zimmerman wrote "the total number of prisoners registered in Auschwitz in 1941 is not known", but the Kalendarium of Danuta Czech, which he keeps citing, states explicitly that in 1941 there were 17,270 "registered" (eingeliefert) prisoners and 9,997 Soviet captives. [17]

  • 13. On page 12, Zimmerman declares:

    "Mattogno and other deniers often argue that a planned expansion of the camp to 200,000 was the catalyst for the new crematoria. However, the Bauleitung began negotiating with firms for construction of the four crematoria in July 1942, while the first evidence of the planned expansion to 200,000 is on August 15".

This involves another Zimmerman deception. In the Aktenvermerk of 21 August 1942, which Zimmerman cites on page 9, one reads (cited from the translation of the Pressac book to which our professor refers):

    "Regarding the construction of a 2nd crematorium with 5 3-muffle furnaces, together with the ventilation and air extraction systems, it will be necessary to await the result of negotiations already under way with the Reich Security Main Office [RSHA] on the subject of rationed materials."[18]

Therefore no decision to construct Crematory II had yet been made.

On this same document there is evidence that the Prüfer proposal to transfer two 8-muffle ovens from Mogilew to Auschwitz was made on 18 August. The proposal (proved by a handwritten note in the margin) was accepted by the WVHA on 24 August.

So this signifies that the number of oven muffles for Crematory IV and V had not yet been decided upon at that time.

Therefore Zimmerman knows he lies.

Regarding augmenting the camp population, the Zimmerman affirmations are refuted by Pressac, his main source, who writes:

    "Himmler had ordered that the camp should accommodate 200,000 inmates, and the Zentralbauleitung had completed a design for the enlarged camp at the end of July." [19]

In the original edition of that book, Pressac declares again more explicitly:

    "Fixer, selon les ordres de Himmler et de Kammler, l'effectif du KGL de Birkenau à 200000 détenus entraînait un nouvel agrandissement du camp et un renforcement de sa capacité d'incinération [...]. Fin juillet, une quatrième section de 600000 prisonniers fut ajoutée, placée au sud de la première, portant ainsi la capacité du camp à 200000".[20]

So according to Professor Zimmerman, Pressac is also a "denier" !

The historical-documentary ignorance of Zimmerman.

  • 14. Zimmerman writes "the Auschwitz Construction Agency, known as the Bauleitung" (p. 3). In his entire article he always writes 'Bauleitung' of Auschwitz. The poor professor has no idea of the fact that the Bauleitung was promoted to Zentralbauleitung on 14 November 1941 [21] and remained Zentralbauleitung until the end of the war in 1945.

  • 15. On page 20, Zimmerman presents another classic example of his historical-documentary ignorance.

After citing a Topf letter from the Mauthausen SS-Neubauleitung of 14 July 1941 - which he knows only from its appearance in Kalendarium by Danuta Czech and the erred reproduction of which appears in the book by R. Schnabel, Macht ohne Moral, [22] Zimmerman continues:

    "On the same day that the Gusen instructions were issued, two Topf engineers stated that the double muffle furnace could incinerate 60 to 72 bodies [30 to 36 per muffle] in a 20 hour period with three hours of maintenance required".

This time his source is the Pressac article "The Machinery of Mass Murder at Auschwitz".

But our poor professor didn't know that the cited Pressac document is exactly the same document mistranslated by R. Schnabel, so Zimmerman thought they were two different documents!

  • 16. On page 28, citing H. Tauber through Pressac, Zimmerman repeats without any comment, that foolishness according to which in the three-muffled oven, "the flames went first round the two side muffles", and which, as I have explained elsewhere, [23] got started from a translation error [24] and is technically false. [25] From this one may surmise Professor Zimmerman's comprehension of cremation technology and sources !

  • 17. On page 26, Zimmerman writes that "Miecyslaw Morawa, a worker in the crematoria, testified that..."

But there is no existing testimony from Morawa. Our poor professor, being incapable of correctly interpreting the sources indicated by Danuta Czech in her Kalendarium of Auschwitz, had picked up a stupid blunder and confused Morawa with Tauber!

  • 18. Zimmerman writes "the two structures in the wooded area [the alleged Bunkers of Birkenau] were completely destroyed by the Germans and no trace remains" (p. 3). But our professor ignores the fact that there still exists purported solid traces of alleged Bunker 2 - ruins of perimeter and interior walls - as seen by visitors to Birkenau.

  • 19. To the question of "Sonderbehandlung", "Sonderaktion", etc., here Zimmerman, who only refers to second hand documents, is referred to my study which is currently being prepared for publication, Sonderbehandlung ad Auschwitz. Genesi e significato. If Zimmerman deludes himself into thinking that he could be able to liquidate the revisionist arguments by repeating like a parrot that which has been given to him by Pressac and van Pelt, he is making a big mistake. Our poor professor can not even imagine how many difficulties he would yet have to face in order to be able to "refute" the revisionist writings.

Here I limit myself to a few glaring errors which Zimmerman presents:

On page 9, in reference to the Aktenvermerk of 21 August 1942, he declares:

    "The letter is saying that these special actions are taking place in the "bathing installation". Just so there is no misunderstanding as what these words mean, they are the only ones in this lengthy two page memo which are underlined".

In the document which Zimmerman knows (through Pressac), the expression "Badeanstalten für Sonderaktionen is underlined effectively in pen or pencil. But - even supposing that this has a sinister significance - how does Zimmerman deduce that expression was underlined by the Germans and not by the Poles who had this in their hands for a whole decade? Our naive professor ignores that in the Moscow archives there exists another version of this document (signed regularly and with the same handwritten annotation in the left margin) in which however the expression in question is not underlined.[26] Another example of Zimmerman dilettantism!

  • 20. On page 9 while commenting on the "Fernschreiben" by Bischoff of 18 December 1942 in which it speaks of a "Sonderaktion" by the Gestapo in regard to civilian workers, Zimmerman considers the Pressac [27] interpretation possible, but adds:

    «It is quite possible that the camp administration sought to make an example of some of the civilian workers by executing them. This could explain why the memo is marked "secret"»

The original text states there was a "Sonderaktion der Gestapo bei sämtlichen Zivilarbeitern" [special action by the Gestapo of all civilian workers], that is "all", not "some." If the Zimmerman interpretation is correct, the Gestapo executed all civilian workers.

But what does one expect from an alleged Holocaust expert who doesn't know German?

The fact that the document bears the term "geheim"doesn't matter; for example, that does not appear at all on the letter by Bischoff of 29 January 1943 which would have been much more compromising in that it displays the term "Vergasungskeller".

  • 21. On page 7 Zimmerman offers another example of his technical, as well as his historical-documental ignorance. He writes:

    "The estimated capacity of cremation ovens for Mogilew was 3000 per day".

Our naive professor ignores that of the 4 Topf 8-muffled ovens originally ordered by the Hauptamt Haushalt und Bauten, Mogilew was restricted to only half of one 8-muffled oven which therefore amounted to 4 muffles.

And assuming that absurd cremation capacity shown in that Zentralbauleitung letter of 28 June 1943, those 4 muffles would have been able to cremate 384 cadavers in 24 hours! And also if the 3,000 cremated mentioned above were not one of the many Zimmerman falsifications but rather a blunder by his source, Zimmerman would still be guilty of a total lack of critical sense, because he reports this foolish lie as though it were the truth.

The Technical Competence of Zimmerman.

  • 22. To "refute" my arguments regarding duration of the cremation processes in coke-fueled ovens at Auschwitz, Zimmerman shares a document note relating to cremations carried out in the crematory at Gusen from 26 September to 12 November 1941 (p. 21), however due to his utter ignorance of camp thermotechnology, it is not surprising that he has not understood anything: First of all, the first column of the document bears the inscription "Uhr" "hour", but nowhere is it specified to what this "Uhr" corresponds. However Professor Zimmerman decides to authorize that the data contained in this column is to refer to the time of cremation, but this is not merely an unauthorized interpretation, it is also technically absurd, because if that were the case, the oven would have been able to cremate one cadaver in 8 (EIGHT) minutes with a grill speed [28] of 343 kg/hr, while the maximum speed (with an artificial maximum draught of 30 mm column of water) was 90 kg/hr and 8 minutes - which is really not very much even for our professor. He may read in my book cited at the beginning of this article, to what in reality the column "Uhr" actually refers.

With this artifice, founded on one day of cremations (that of 07 November 1941), [29] Zimmerman declares that "each oven could incinerate a body in 25.2 minutes" (p. 21), which is unfounded documentarily, and is truly technically absurd.

  • 23. Zimmerman writes moreover:

    "Kurt Prüfer, the Topf engineer who built the 46 Birkenau ovens, stated in a letter on November 15, 1942 that the ovens be installed in the Buchenwald concentration camp had a one-third greater output than had previously been thought".

The source of this is the Pressac book, Auschwitz: Technique and Operation of the Gas Chambers.

Professor Zimmerman continues:

    "Unfortunately, he does not say what number the one third is greater than. However, on the same day he informed the Bauleitung that five triple-muffle furnaces, 15 ovens, could incinerate 800 corpses in 24 hours" (p. 21).

The source is another writing by Pressac, "The Machinery of Mass Murder at Auschwitz", in which that French historian wrote:

    "Extrapolating the Buchenwald data for Auschwitz, Prüfer concluded that the five furnaces of the new crematorium in Birkenau could incinerate 800 corpses in 24 hours." [30]

The referenced day from Pressac is identical to that of the letter of 15 November 1941 mentioned above: "[Staatsarchiv] Weimar, 2/555a, letter Prüfer November 15, 1942." [31]

So Zimmerman in this case AGAIN has cited twice the same document as though there are two different documents! Considering his crass documentary ignorance, I do not believe that this is attributable to bad faith. Zimmerman is limited to only inventing the letter's addressee (Prüfer "informed the Bauleitung").

The alleged Prüfer "conclusion" ("Prüfer concluded...") is a simple invention by Pressac, because the letter in question, in which he himself has published the original text and the transcription, [32] does not mention any numerical figure.

  • 24. In that letter, the phrase which stirred up the imagination of both Pressac and Zimmerman, is: "Die Öfen leisten mehr, als von mir überhaupt vorgesehen war". Now, both Pressac and Zimmerman arbitrarily interpret this in the sense of "production"/output/yield - that is, the number of cremated cadavers - but this may be interpreted also in the sense of "efficiency"/good performance, which is in practice, the coke consumption. The way I understand it, I interpret the term "leisten" precisely in the sense of efficiency, and have already explained that in this article. Zimmerman pretends to refute the thermotechnical reasoning for this reduction of the coke consumption originally expected by Prüfer,[33] but instead neither Pressac nor Zimmerman have explained why this term in question should refer to the production of the ovens. The Pressac fabrication indicated above has an essential importance to the Zimmerman pseudo-demonstrative display to which he also returns on pages 25 and 27.

  • 25. On page 20 Zimmerman affirms:

    "Contrary to Legace and Leuchter, it is known that the Topf ovens could work on a continuous daily basis."

This is supposed to have been demonstrated by the Topf letter of 14 July 1941 mentioned above. However this actually refers to a forced functioning of an oven, which certainly could have continuously functioned for even more than 24 hours, but which, in this manner, would have progressively lost its efficiency until finally it would have stopped functioning altogether if slag had not been removed from the oven grills which restrict required combustion air. Even the expert Pole, Roman Dawidowski, at the Höss trial, in the calculation of a technically absurd cremation capacity, admits:

    "A continuous functioning in two shifts of 12 hours per day, considering 3 hours pause per day for the extraction of slag from the gasogenes and for various minor work, with the inevitable interruptions of continuous activity." [34]

Also Pressac admits a 3 hour pause in continuous activity. This affirmation also appears in the article "The Machinery of Mass Murder at Auschwitz," [35] but naturally Zimmerman prefers to ignore this.

Therefore Lagacé, Leuchter and those who write are in excellent company!

  • 26. Zimmerman works himself up, attempting to demonstrate with a series of illogical arguments that the cremation capacity of the crematories of Auschwitz were excessive for only the natural mortality of the prisoners, and that this demonstrates that they were planned and built for a criminal purpose; for mass extermination.

I shall spare the reader of this article the refutation of the Zimmerman technical foolishness, and shall limit this to mentioning one single document, and that concerns a letter of the head of the Zentralbauleitung dated 10 July 1942 from which results that a crematorium of type II/III, with 15 muffles was projected for 30,000 prisoners, whereby the muffle-prisoner ratio was 1:2,000. Thus the 46 muffles of Birkenau were projected for 92,000 prisoners, but according to the final plans of the SS, the Birkenau camp was supposed to contain 140,000 prisoners, and 70 muffles were supposed to have been requested. In practice, the number of muffles at Birkenau were really inadequate in regards to the projected expansion of the camp! [36]

  • 27. Zimmerman wrote one entire paragraph to the problem of "Durability of the Ovens."

He, among others, pretends to demonstrate that the Auschwitz ovens could have carried out without any damage, an enormously greater number of cremations than those I have put forward based upon the article by Engineer R. Jakobsköter which I cite below, that is, 3,000 cremations per muffle. Zimmerman writes:

    "In the late 1880s, two ovens were installed in a crematory in Southern Paris. These ovens were designed to cremate 5000 bodies per year or 2500 per furnace" (p. 16).

This is confirmation of the validity of my argument. Zimmerman refers to the Toisul and Fradet oven installed in the Paris cemetery by Père Lachaise in 1889. It consisted of a gigantic three-floor structure: on the ground floor was the provision for the recuperator; on the first floor, the cremation chamber; and in the basement, the gasogene. The oven was a single, and had one single cremation chamber. [37]

  • 28. Continuing to the reader:

    "Augustus Cobb, a leading cremation expert of the period, learned from the engineer who worked in the crematory that "[although nearly four hundred bodies are burned in these furnaces every month, a close inspection of their walls showed no traces of fissures, and the same remark applies to the walls of the furnaces in the crematory in Milan (in Italy)]" (p. 16).

The figure put forward by Zimmerman - 400 cadavers per month, is false. In the first 5 years of activity, in the Toisul and Fradet oven mentioned above, there were cremated respectively: 49 cadavers in 1889; 121 in 1890; 134 in 1891; 159 in 1892; and 189 in 1893 for a total of 652 in 5 years, [38] which averages 10 to 11 per month!

At the end of the 1920s, when the number of crematories in France increased, and the practice of cremation was more widespread throughout the country, during 1926 there were 877 cremations; in 1927 there were 861; in 1928 there were 945; and during 1929 there were 1,118. [39] In Germany, where cremation was more widespread, from 1889 to 1893 there were a total of 881 cadavers cremated, [40] averaging approximately 15 per month!

As for the crematory of Milan [Italy], from 1874 to June 30, 1884, there were 304 cremations, averaging approximately 3 per month! [41]

I don't know if the deception is from Zimmerman or from his sources; but that's of little importance: the topic is absolutely bogus.

  • 29. Professor Zimmerman continues like this:

    "Additional information on these ovens published in 1893 shows that from 1889 to 1892, 11,852 were cremated in these facilities" (p. 16).

But this involves another deception. As I related above, during the period indicated by Zimmerman, there were a total of 652 cadavers cremated in the Père Lachaise oven. Therefore the bogus figure put forward by Zimmerman is 18 times more than the real one.

In all of Germany, which was the European country where the practice of cremation was most widespread, from 1889 to 1893, there were a total of 881 cadavers cremated, [and furthermore, in all of Germany] the figure of 11,000 [sic] in one year was exceeded only in the year 1916 with 49 crematories! [42]

  • 30. Zimmerman triumphantly concludes:

    "As will be seen, Germany led Europe in cremation technology in the 1930s. It would appear logical to conclude that Germany of the 1940s had more durable ovens than France of 50 years earlier" (p. 16).

The bad faith of Zimmerman is quite evident because the article which I am referencing pertains to 1941! Rudolf Jakobsköter, by profession "Stadoberingenieur" [chief engineer of the city], was a cremation professional and an authoritative and reliable source (different from the popularized citations spread by Zimmerman). In that referenced article, Jokobsköter relates:

    "Da im zweiten elektrischen Öfen in Erfurt über 3000 Einäscherungen getätigt worden sind, während die Muffeln je nach ihrer Ausführungsweise bisland nur etwa 2000 Einäscherungen ausgehalten hatten, kann behauptet werden, dass sich die Bauweise hinsichlich der Haltbarkeit vollauf bewährt hat. Die Herstellerfirma rechnet künftig mit einer Lebensdauer von 4000 Einäscherungen je Muffel." [43]

    [Since 3000 cremations were performed in the second electrical oven at Erfurt, while up to now, the muffles, depending upon their operational effectiveness, withstood only 2000 cremations - one can come to the conclusion that the construction regarding the durability has been affirmed. The construction firm is counting on a life span of 4000 cremations per muffle.]

Therefore in October of 1941, German technology, which was in the leading position throughout the world in the field of cremation, had not yet developed fire-resistant muffle-walls which could withstand 4000 cremations.

Now Zimmerman claims to deny this factual data concerning1941 with false data concerning 1893! Another shining example of his utter bad faith.

From 1941 until today, in this field, progress has not been exceptional. Here is what the American firm, "Industrial Equipment & Engineering Co." writes in their description of its electrically heated "Ener-Tek II" crematory oven:

    "The refractory and insulating materials used in the construction of the Ener-Tek II are of a very high quality which will ensure many thousand of cremations before repair of the brick work is required".

Here it still refers to "many thousand", not to "tens of thousands", as would have been necessary at Auschwitz if the ovens had also cremated the cadavers of the "gassed".

Documentation concerning the "Ener-Tek II" oven comprising various technical designs is published by Fred Leuchter in his report [44] which Zimmerman well knows, but he prefers to ignore this data which contradicts his baseless conjectures.

  • 31. To "refute" my argument concerning the durability of the refractory walls in the Topf 2-muffled oven at Gusen after scarcely 3,200 cremations (1,600 per muffle), Zimmerman claims that

    "it is possible that the Gusen ovens may not have originally been built correctly" (p. 15).

an unfounded hypothesis which is based upon a simple analogy:

    "Topf admitted that Krema IV ovens were made defectively" (pp. 14-15).

But that is false. "Topf" did not ever make an "admission" of this sort. Zimmerman furnishes in this regard the erroneous reference to a "Topf letter of April 4, 1943 to the Bauleitung in APMO, BW 30/34 p. 43" (note 88), while this in reality deals with a letter of 10 April in which "Topf" does not even believe that the 8-muffle oven of Crematory IV had actually been damaged ("die angeblich in letzter Zeit entstandenen Risse") [45] [the supposed cracks to have occurred recently].

  • 32. To my affirmations that the Zentralbauleitung documents do not in the least attest to 4 complete replacements of the refractory walls of all the muffles of all the Auschwitz ovens which would have been necessary if there was also cadaver cremation of [alleged] "gassed", Zimmerman objects:

    "In fact, no information has surfaced from these archives, or any other archives, that even one cremation took place in Auschwitz. In other words, not one contemporaneous document has surfaced from any source showing that even one cremation took place in Auschwitz" (p. 15),

and concludes:

    "According to Mattogno's logic, this must mean that no cremation took place at Auschwitz!" (p. 15).

Perhaps Zimmerman finds this idiocy amusing; for me it is only pathetic. To begin with, the Zimmerman affirmation is false; those who have such documentary ignorance are able to refrain from affirming things categorically. There in fact exists a "Kontrollzettel für die Firma J.A. Topf & Söhne, Erfurt" concerning the first crematory oven at Auschwitz in which one reads:

    "Die Probeeinäscherung der ersten Leiche erfogte mit gleichen Tage". [August 15,1940] [46] 502-1-327, p. 215.

As to the rest, this unprofessional evidently ignores that the Moscow archival documents - among others - enable the reconstruction of the complete picture of the Topf Company commissions and invoice controls, and this picture categorically excludes that Topf had ever replaced the refractory walls of the Birkenau ovens.[47] One single replacement was probably carried out on the Auschwitz ovens.

  • 33. Nevertheless, when he takes it easy, Zimmerman insolently and opportunistically resumes my arguments against me, by adapting to the Gusen case:

    "If these overhauls had taken place, they would have certainly been detailed in this file because the information on the 1941 overhaul includes all correspondence with Topf on materials used, billing information and time sheets for the days and hours worked, including overtime" (p. 15),

but - as Zimmerman well knows but feigns to not understand - the same thing is valid for Auschwitz also!

It is true that for 1941 the correspondence between the Topf company and the SS-Neubauleitung (later Bauleitung) of Mauthausen is nearly complete, but one can not say the same thing for sure for the following years. As to 1941, after the replacement of the refactory walls of the Gusen oven, it cremated at the maximum approximately 1,900 cadavers, [48] therefore the oven could not cremate another 4,100. For the following years, because the documentation is fragmentary, one cannot affirm nor exclude anything.

  • 34. Still, Zimmerman objects that

    "from 1940 through April 1945 there were 27,556 cremations in Mauthausen. Yet, Mattogno was arguing that all 52 Auschwitz ovens could not have disposed of more than 162,000 bodies" (p. 16).

But let's say that figure is exact (this figure was supposed to result from the list of cremations conserved at Arolsen which no one has ever seen), the comparison just does not make any sense. The first crematory oven at Mauthausen was installed by the Kori Company and concerning this there doesn't exist any correspondence. Therefore, for all we know, the Kori Company could have replaced the oven refractory walls ten times.

The Topf two-muffled oven was not installed "in July 1944" (p. 16) as Zimmerman pretends, but during January-February of 1945. In the Topf-Mauthausen correspondence which Zimmerman knows well, there figures a letter from Topf to the Mathausen Bauleitung dated 20 December 1944 in which Topf advises to quickly begin the work for the oven foundation and for the smoke conduit, and a letter dated 03 January 1945 in which Topf gives advance notice of dispatching Oberingenieur Schulze for the 9th of January, [49] therefore the oven was constructed then.

But we must be understanding: our "Holocaust expert" doesn't know German!

  • 35. And to "demonstrate" the reality of multiple crematories at Auschwitz, our Professor Zimmerman can't find anything better to cite than a deposition concerning Dachau (!) according to which

    "an oven could burn 7 to 9 bodies in two hours when they were all introduced simultaneously" (p. 22). [50]

Well that's simply so foolish it doesn't merit a response - for a scientific discussion of multiple cremations at Auschwitz, refer to Chapter IX of Part Two of my book cited at the beginning of this article.

  • 36. Now we come to the Zimmerman awkward attempt to "refute" my thermic balance of the Birkenau ovens. The point of departure for the calculation of coke consumption is the effective consumption of the Gusen oven per 677 cremations (31 October-12 November), that is, on the average, approximately 30.5 kg of coke per cadaver.

Zimmerman states that from 26 September to 15 October in the same oven there were 203 cadavers cremated [in reality, there were 193] with a consumption of 153 wheelbarrows of coke, which amounts to 9,180 kg of coke, on the average, 45 kg per cadaver [in reality 47.5]. In the cremation lists at Gusen, in the column "Karren Koks", is clearly indicated: "1 K.= 60 kg" and allows the transformation in kg the number of wheelbarrows.

The consumption differential depends upon the fact that during the period from 26 September to 15 October the cremations were less frequent: on the 27th, 28th and 30th of September, and on the 2nd, 4th, 5th, 7th, 9th, 11th, and the 12th of October there were NO cremations and the oven cooled-down; on the rest of the days the average daily number of cremations was very low - hardly 19 - amounting to approximately 9 to 10 per muffle.  However from 31 October to 12 November cremations occurred every day for a daily average of 52 which averaged 26 per muffle.

A cold oven, before resuming the production temperature, accumulates a considerable quantity of calories in its refractory walls, therefore when the frequency of cremations is meager, the consumption of fuel is greater. For example, the 8 consecutive cremations carried out by Engineer R. Kessler on 05 January 1927 in the Dessau crematory (regarding which he published very detailed diagrams of the cremation process and of coke consumption), required on the average 54.5 kg of coke per cremation, of which however, a good 25 were debited to the heating up of the oven. (The consumption of coke was 200 kg of coke for pre-heating of the oven, and 236 kg for the 8 cremations).  If the oven was already cold, the coke consumption would be at 29.5 kg per each cadaver.

Professor Zimmerman, who does not even possess this elementary knowledge, instead reveals from that mentioned fact, an arbitrary and unfounded conclusion:

    "There is some reason, however, to suspect that each wheelbarrow did not contain 6o kilograms of coke but that this was a generic number based on the theoretical maximum that each delivery could hold" (p. 24).

But it is not seen in fact for what reason this "generic" quantity must be exactly "the theoretical maximum" instead of the quantitative average; and moreover, if this were true, the wheelbarrows during that period of 31 October to 12 November would have contained only the (30.5 ÷ 47.5 × 100 =) 64% of the coke contained in the wheelbarrows of the period from 26 September to 15 October, but this is definitely a senseless conjecture.

On the other side, the head of the Gusen crematory was drafting the reports concerning "Brennstoffverbrauch" [fuel consumption] in kilograms, and in one of these documents, the coke consumption from 26 September to 15 October is indicated as being exactly 9,180 kg, [51] which signifies that one wheelbarrow of coke corresponded on the average to 60 kg. And with this, all the Zimmerman conjectures collapse.

  • 37. Zimmerman objects that

    "the practice of multiple cremation was known outside of Germany well before World War II. In Osaka, Japan in the 1880s there were 20 cremation ovens, each of which could incinerate three bodies simultaneously in a period of four hours" (p. 26)

I point out first of all that the average duration for the cremation of one cadaver here is 80 minutes per cadaver, and not 25 minutes or less. Here Zimmerman offers another sample of his incompetence. By completely ignoring cremation history and crematory installations, our professor cannot know that there existed group/collective ovens which really could cremate more cadavers together, but which had a structure completely different than those at Auschwitz, so therefore any comparison in this regard is meaningless. [52] It's like attributing to a runabout, the performance of a Ferrari Formula 1!

The Zimmerman Methodological Errors.

  • 38. Zimmerman dedicates a sprawling two- page paragraph to the question of the "Necessity of the Crematoria." He claims that

    "The only way to test the necessity is to compare it to deaths in other concentration camps and the cremation capacity of those camps"
    (p. 9).

So Zimmerman thereupon makes a comparison between the ovens of Mauthausen-Gusen and those of Auschwitz, and concludes that the crematories of Auschwitz had an excessive cremation capacity for prisoners deceased from natural causes.

If however he makes the comparison with the crematory of Buchenwald, he arrives at the opposite conclusion. The two Topf 3-muffled ovens of that crematory went into operation during the second half of August and the beginning of December of 1942. Now, from 03 May to 29 November of 1942, 1,691 prisoners died at Buchenwald, averaging approximately 241 per month, with a maximum point of 335 (3rd to the 30th of August); the average population of the camp was approximately 8,660 prisoners, with a maximum point of 9,777 (2nd to 29th of November).[53] Making the same calculations of Zimmerman (based upon data of 26 cremations per muffle per day), the ovens would have been able to cremate (26 x 6 x 30=) 4,680 cadavers per month which is almost 14 times more than the maximum mortality actually registered!

Yet in the case of Auschwitz - still following the Zimmerman reasoning - the cremation capacity would have been (30,000 : 9,000=) or approximately 3 times greater.

So for a camp which was NOT for extermination, the German authorities "anticipated" a mortality rate 14 times more than the actual maximum, but for a camp which WAS for extermination, the German authorities "anticipated" a mortality rate 3 times more than the actual maximum!!

  • 39. Contesting the alleged "Typhus Myth", Zimmerman objects that "only 2,060 of the 68,864 deaths were from typhus" (p. 5), claiming that the cause of death which appear on the "death certificates" was very often falsified by the SS, and Professor Zimmerman concludes:

    "How then can they be explained if the stated causes do not conform to physical reality? The only explanation is that camp authorities were engaged in a massive killing campaign of registered prisoners" (p. 5).

Well, two facts are incontestable: that at the beginning of July 1942 a typhus epidemic broke out in Auschwitz, and during that month the mortality of the prisoners increased enormously. Now if Professor Zimmerman doesn't want to see a cause and effect connection between these two facts, that's his business. Of course it's true that some survived the typhus epidemics, such as Lucie Adelsberger and Ella Lingens Reiner (p. 5), but it's equally true that the poor devils who were not "Prominent" - even if they survived that sickness - because of the general prostration of their physique, the weakening of their immune system, and because of the scarcity of medicinals, they could easily incur other ailments and died from other causes. In my opinion this explains the relatively small number of deaths from typhus in the Sterbebücher of Auschwitz.

Regarding babies that "were said to have died from 'decrepitude' " (p. 5), it is difficult to believe that doctors were falsifying in this idiotic way. Grotum and Parcer, the Zimmerman sources, even by making a computerized analysis of the data contained in the Sterbebücher, indicated one single case of this kind,[54] and that is reason to believe that this one is the only one,[55] therefore this most probably deals with an ordinary error here.

  • 40. One last observation concerning the connection between the deceased and the coke supplies to the crematories. Zimmerman writes in conclusion of his analysis of the problem:

    "Therefore, the month of the second-highest recorded coke delivery also corresponds with the month of either the lowest or one of the lowest monthly death totals of registered prisoners" (p. 23).

This fact, which to Zimmerman appears an implacable contradiction, is nevertheless perfectly normal, as I explained in point 36. Few cremations signify major cooling of the oven and major consumption of fuel for maintaining operating temperature; many cremations signifies instead minor cooling down of the oven.

For now I am confining myself to these preliminary considerations which already are sufficient to assess the qualifications, competence, and above all the polemic honesty of this professor.

The three days I spent on this, thus deterring me from more serious studies, are also too many.

                                                           CARLO MATTOGNO




3.  Grabert Verlag, Tübingen 1994, pp. 281-320.

4.  For this reason he is cited as co-author although I alone wrote that

5.  The release year of that publication is 2000.

6.  Documents cited here except those so indicated, are published and
    discussed in this book.

7.  Granata Publishing, Palos Verdes 1995.

8.  Granata Publishing, Palos Verdes 1995.

9.  Auschwitz: The End of a Legend. Institute for Historical Review, 1994,
    p. 72.

10.  H. Fröhlich, Zur Gesundheitspflege auf den Schlachtfeldern, in:
      Deutsche Militärärtzliche Zeitschrift, I, 1 - 4, Januar - April 1872,
      p. 101.

11.  Ibidem, p. 100.

12.  Another factor no less important was the special structure of the
      Gusen oven muffle grill.

13.  Auschwitz: The End of a Legend, p. 23.

14.  Auschwitz Museum Archive, BW 30/34, pp. 78-79.

15.  Evidently for Zimmerman "Häftlingsunterkünfte" is a code-word
      The imagination of these people is limitless!

16.  Kostenanschlag für Bauvorhaben Konzentrationslager Auschwitz O/S
      dated 15 July 1942. Moscow, 502-1-220, p. 36.

17.  Danuta Czech, Kalendarium der Ereignisse im Konzentrationslager
1939-1945. Rowohlt Verlag,
      Reinbeck bei Hamburg 1989, p. 160.

18.  J.C. Pressac, Auschwitz:
      Technique and Operation of the Gas Chambers
, New York 1989, p. 204.

19.  J.C. Pressac, The Machinery of Mass Murder at Auschwitz, in:
      Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death Camp, Indiana University Press,
      1994, p. 210.

20.  J.C. Pressac,
      Les crématories d'Auschwitz. La machinerie du meurtre de masse.
      CNSR Editions, Paris 1993, p. 48.

21.  See in this regard, my study La "Zentralbauleitung der Waffen-SS und
      Polizei Auschwitz
". Edizioni di Ar, 1998.

22.  Incredibly, Schnabel wrote "10-35 cadavers" whereas the original text
      states "30-36". Danuta Czech, who relied on this source, reproduced
      the same error and the same goes for Zimmerman.

23.  Auschwitz: The End of a Legend, p. 91.

24.  The Polish preposition "przez", ["through"], yield/productivity with

25.  The Auschwitz crematory ovens cremated by direct process, to be
      precise, the gasogene combustion products entered directly into the

26.  Moscow, 502-1-313, pp. 159-160.

27.  Pressac justifiably thinks that the term signified interrogation by the

28.  The quantity of coke burned in one hour on the furnace grate.

29.  On the other days - if the Zimmerman interpretation were correct -
      the resulting duration fluctuates between 8 and 30 minutes.

30.  J.C. Pressac, The Machinery of Mass Murder at Auschwitz,
      op. cit
., p. 212.

31.  Ibidem, note 74 on page 243.

32.  Auschwitz: Technique and Operation of the Gas Chambers, pp. 98-99.

33.  The Crematory Ovens of Auschwitz and Birkenau, pp. 15-16.

34.  The Höss Trial, volume II, p. 47.

35.  J.C. Pressac, The Machinery of Mass Murder at Auschwitz, op. cit.,
      p. 189-190.

36.  Text and document discussion in my book mentioned
      at the beginning of this article.

37.  Malachia de Christophoris, Etude pratique sur la crémation moderne.
      Treves, Milano 1890, pp. 121-124.

38.  Zentralblatt für Feuerbestattung, 1929, p. 64.

39.  Luigi Maccone, Storia documentata della cremazione, Bergamo 1932,
      p. 66.

40.  Theodor Weinisch, Die Feuerbestattung im Lichte der Statistik.
      Zirndorf 1929, p. 33.

41.  G. Pini, La crémation en Italie et à l'etranger de 1774 jusqu'à nos jours.
      Hoepli, Milano 1885, p. 30.

42.  Theodor Weinisch, Die Feuerbestattung im Lichte der Statistik, p. 33.
      To the question of the statistics of cremations in Germany, I have
      dedicated Chapter IX of Part One of my book cited at the beginning
      of this article.

43.  Rudolf Jakobskötter, «Die Entwicklund der elektrischen Einäscherung
      bis zu dem neuen elektrisch beheizten Heisslufteinäscherungsofen in
      Erfurt», in: Gesundheits Ingenieur, 25. Oktober 1941, Heft 43, p. 583.

44.  Also in the abbreviated American version, The Leuchter Report,
      Decatur, Alabama, 1998.

45.  Auschwitz Museum Archive, BW 30/34, p. 42.

46.  Moscow, 502-1-327, p. 215.

47.  In my book cited at the beginning of this article, I publish the list
      of the commissions at Auschwitz carried out by the Topf Company.

48.  In the Gusen camp, 887 prisoners died in November 1941, and
      986 died in December.
      H.Marsalek, Die Geschichte des Konzentrationslagers Mauthausen,
      Wien 1980, p. 156.

49.  Bundesarchiv Koblenz, NS4 Ma/54.

50.  This comes from a deposition of Eugen Seibold dated
      10 November 1945. Dachau Museum Archives, 767, p. 84.

51.  Mauthausen Museum Archives, 3 12/31, 350.

52.  Concerning this, I refer to Chapter X of Part One of my study
      mentioned at the beginning of this article.

53.  Konzentrationslager Buchenwald, Thüringer Volksverlag GmbH,
      Weimar, no date, p. 85.

54.  Sterbebücher von Auschwitz, Saur Verlag, 1995, p. 242.

55.  It should have been very easy for these two analysts to indicate the
      exact number of these cases, just as they had indicated the exact
      numbers concerning a great deal of other data.