Mattogno wrote, in Crematoria at Auschwitz:
Originally, only one new crematorium with 15 muffles was planned to be erected in Birkenau (crematorium II), but this plan was extended in 1942 to four crematoria with altogether 46 muffles. There were two related reasons for extending the cremation facilities in Birkenau. The first reason was an order given by Himmler during his visit to Auschwitz on July 17 and 18, 1942, to enlarge the camp so that it could hold 200,000 inmates. The second factor was the inmates' mortality, caused by a terrible typhus epidemic that broke out in July 1942.
Yes, the recent past is a guide to the anticipated future. The actual future is a guide we never have, even though Zimmerman wrote:
....the actual expansion of the camp was accompanied by a substantial decrease in registered prisoner deaths from the summer of 1942. This means that the authorities anticipated fewer deaths on a higher camp population as the camp expanded, not a higher number of deaths of registered prisoners than occurred in the summer of 1942. (Body, 13, 14)
- My Response to Carlo Mattogno
“This means” they had foreknowledge of things known by Professor Zimmerman only with the vulgar wisdom of hindsight. It is true that the peak death rates of August 1943 when the population had reached 74,000 were lower than peak death rates of August 1942 when camp population was smaller than 30,000. But the authorities in August 1942 would have no grounds to “anticipate” any such a happy thing. Even today, nobody can say what the maximum death rates might have been if the Birkenau population had reached its target figure. Chances of epidemics in concentrated populations grow faster than numbers.
The proposal for an additional fifteen muffles was made in October 1941, according to Pressac to match a proposal to expand the Auschwitz II POW camp population to 125 thousand. I am not sure where exactly the figure 125,000 came from. Two auxiliary three-muffles ovens were then added to these proposals in January 42 according to Pelt as a result of “catastrophic conditions” recently experienced among Russian prisoners. Against this, John Zimmerman argues the six base camp muffles would have met the needs of the POW camp as originally planned in March 41. In October fifteen new muffles were added to cope with a future extermination of thousands of ordinary (non-Commissar) Russian POWs:
“”the planned expansion of Auschwitz in March 1941 to 130,000 was not accompanied by any proposal to expand the cremation capacity from the existing four ovens. (Body, 12) The only proposal for additional ovens came in the following September for one more double muffle oven which was added in the Spring of 1942. Auschwitz was not an extermination camp in the Spring of 1941. However, in October 1941 as Auschwitz became an extermination camp for Soviet POWs there is a proposal for an additional 15 ovens. This number jumps to 46 additional ovens as the camp becomes an extermination center for Jews.”
[As for the planned camp expansion to 200 000...]
“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"
[Emphases by nathan.]
As for natural mortality – the “second factor” – there was, well, no natural mortality. According to Zimmerman the infernal death rates of summer 1942 were due, not to what Pressac called “disastrous health conditions” but to a massive murder campaign secretly waged against the registered prisoners. It resembles his secret murder campaign envisioned for future Russian prisoners in October 41. I would dispute all these descriptions, but here there is no need to do so here. Any secret murders of registered prisoners - most of whom would have been Gentiles - would have been themselves a function of camp numbers and camp illnesses. The murders of any prisoners who became too sick to be cheaply cured would require only a marginal increase in cremation capacity - unlike those pre-meditated mega-murders of unregistered and healthy people who were killed simply because of their race. It would have been a feature of “ordinary” camps and can be included among the other things being equal.
Zimmerman’s source for 130,000, as an earlier target population for both camps, is Danuta Czech, Auschwitz Chronicle, who cites Hoess’ Polish trial testimony. It is not impossible that a plan for a vast camp to pool POW labour for nearby industries was mooted three months before the attack on Russia, though it would be interesting to know of any contemporary documentation. Even those who swear by Hoess’s narratives are sometimes obliged to denounce his chronology.
In his published Autobiography Hoess wrote:
“Himmler during his visit of March 1941 made things perfectly plain: the camp for 100 thousand prisoners of war[Birkenau], the enlargement of the old camp to hold 30,000, the earmarking of 10,000 prisoners for the synthetic rubber factory, all this emphasised his point. The numbers envisaged were at this time something entirely new in the history of concentration camps.”
In Hoess’ account the proposal is “not accompanied by” any proposal for the expansion in the number of huts or latrines. Nobody except Zimmerman would deduce from this that the existing number of huts and latrines in the base camp would give us a “true picture” of future needs in the POW camp nearby. Zimmerman is abusing the argument from silence. The six muffles in the expanding base camp are inferred by him to offer a “true picture” of the future needs of a vast nearby camp for POWs. Then, reconceived as an extermination camp for Russians, this camp needed a further fifteen muffles; when reconceived again as an extermination camp for European Jews, the number jumps from fifteen to forty-six.
What does seem the case is that between June and October the Germans suddenly held masses of Russian prisoners of whom a huge fraction were dying like flies, largely in the long transit between capture and base camp and largely as a consequence of hunger and privation. “In all, at least one million German prisoners died out of the 3,150,000 taken by the Red Army." (S.P. MacKenzie, "The Treatment of Prisoners of War in World War II," The Journal of Modern History, 66: 3 [September 1994], p. 511.”
After muddy October 1941 a quick victory could no longer be expected, and Russian labour could less affordably be squandered. In Technique and Operation, Pressac quite casually mentions:
on 4th December 1941, Topf received an order from Himmler's headquarters for four-twinned four-muffle (or four eight-muffle) furnaces, giving 32 cremation muffles, for the Mogilew prisoner of war camp in the Soviet Union. On 9th December 1941, Topf accepted what was to be known as the "Mogilew Contract".
From Pressac’s precise dating I conjecture that term “prisoner of war camp” appears in some document. No doubt for some thinkers these thirty-two muffles would in themselves be evidence enough that Mogilev was to be an extermination camp - just as those six muffles installed in Buchenwald in late 1942 are for NickTerry evidence enough that plans were ongoing for the secret extermination of thousands of ordinary Russian prisoners in the course of 1943. If any “ordinary” camp proves to have a relatively comparable number of muffles with an alleged extermination camp, I imagine that it can always be argued that it was therefore not really an ordinary camp after all. All that can be said about that methodology is that there is no arguing with it.
Though opinions do differ. Zimmerman:
Mattogno did not reveal some crucial information about the installation of the additional six ovens[sic] in Buchenwald. Shortly after the installation of those ovens the camp began to undergo a dramatic expansion in its population. It rose from 9500 at the end of 1942 to over 37,000 by the end of 1943. Buchenwald continued to grow until by September 1944 it held over 84,000 prisoners. 74 Seen in light of the actual growth of the camp, the new six ovens were not unusual. The Buchenwald authorities certainly must have anticipated this growth when the oven additions were made. The prisoner to oven ratio in Buchenwald reached 10,000 to 1[sic]. Therefore, Mattogno is impeached by his own evidence.
Zimmerman uses “oven” interchangeably with “muffle.” He believes that recent death rates, which Mattogno had rightly calculated in terms of actual population, would not be a big enough factor to explain the six new muffles. Unlike Nickterry he does believe that anticipated population would be weigh heavily and therefore allows that these six new “ovens” were not unusual. Like Nickterry, as one can see, he is capable of eccentric arithmetic.
The Mogilev camp appears in Pressac as a projected labour camp for prisoners of war and in Zionist literature as an aborted extermination camp for Jews. Nobody really knows anything about it. As far as I can understand, sixteen of its thirty-two muffles were diverted to Birkenau and became Krema IV and Krema V. The other sixteen muffles, wherever else they went, did not go to Birkenau or Mogilev.
Mogilev was not the only projected prisoner of war camp that required many muffles. In his pamphlet Concentration Camp Stutthof, which can be found online, Mattogno writes:
A document from the Central Building Administration of Auschwitz offers a background explanation: on June 15, 1942, the Bauleitung of Stutthof concentration camp requested the Central Building Administration of Auschwitz for information on the installation of a crematorium. The head of the Central Building Administration, SS Hauptsturmführer Karl Bischoff, replied on July 10, enclosing the plans for the future Crematorium II of Birkenau, providing for the construction of "5 three-muffle crematory ovens"
In other writings Mattogno seems to claim that this unseen document establishes another Zulu-esque standard muffle/prisoner ratio: fifteen every 30,000, or one to every 2,000. Mattogno can never think of a conclusion without jumping to it, however distant be it from his premises. This July 10 document cited by Mattogno concerning muffle/prisoner ratio is not to be confused with a July 15 document quoted by Zimmerman as evidence of a temporary freeze on the Auschwitz population at 30,000. Mattogno makes heavy weather of that document in the passages quoted above by Warden. It is of no interest here
It is not clear whether the figure 30,000 is specifically mentioned by Bischoff in the July 10 document, nor which camp - Stutthoff or Auschwitz - was in his mind. But Mattogno does usefully reproduce in his Stuthoff pamphlet a Himmler letter, dated December 41 in which Himmler proposes to add on to the small Stuthoff camp a POW camp for 20,000 Russian prisoners. So perhaps this whole camp, staff included, might be expected to grow to 30,000. But also in July there were some fewer than 30,000 prisoners in Auschwitz/ Birkenau itself. Until we see this July 10 document, all we can say is that any camp would need a lot more muffles if it was expected to house as many as twenty thousand Russian prisoners
Zimmerman says that the “first evidence” of the plan to house no less than 200,000 prisoners at Birkenau is on August 15. But this first evidence is an elaborate and completed “situation plan” for a camp the size of a large but overcrowded town, a project which had to have been authorised weeks earlier. It can be inspected in Pressac’s “Technique..” as Document 15 on page 203, linked below, along with mention of a letter by Bischoff which apparently confirms the 200,000 figure. For polemical ends, Zimmerman and Danuta Czech need an earlier date for the 46 muffle proposal, and a later date for the 200,000 proposal. Forty-six muffles conceived in July: 200,000 prisoners planned in August: effect cannot precede cause. But these proposals and plans were not events but processes with gestation periods between first suggestion and first excavation. An earlier date within one process will easily come before a date of decision in the other.
Zimmmerman , (My Response...) writes:
Mattogno then quotes Pressac as writing in his essay on "The Machinery of Mass Murder at Auschwitz" that "Himmler 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." However, Pressac did not cite a source. Pressac also wrote about Himmler's visit to the camp on July 17:
“...Himmler ordered Hoss [the camp commandant] to speed up the work, to raise the camp's population capability from 100,000 to 200,000, and to get rid of the repugnant pits full of corpses behind the bunkers. Hoss also received a promotion to the rank of lieutenant colonel in the SS.”
However, the only source Pressac cites is a document dated July 2, which means that it could not have dealt with Himmler's visit which occurred more than two weeks later.
A document dated July 2 might actually serve the revisionist case better than anything dated two weeks later. But I do not know what this document was, or what it was in it. Zimmerman says that Pressac cites it on page 215 of the English translation of Crematories of Auschwitz, which I cannot get hold of. As to the crematoria, Zimmerman accepts the authority of Danuta Czech, "Origins of the Camp, Its Construction and Expansion", in Franciszek Piper and Teresa Swiebocka, Auschwitz: Nazi Death Camp (Oswiecim: 1996), 34. Where, according to him she emphasises that in July already the Bauleitung - he seems to be quoting some of her exact words "had already begun negotiating with several firms over the construction of four - not two - large crematoria and gas chambers." Zimmerman demands sources of Pressac for an initial date of the expansion plan; he does not demand sources of Czech for the initiating date of the “four large crematoria and gas chambers” negotiations; he simply accepts her conclusion. We have to wait to see how she derived it. It is possible that she has included negotiations for the two small auxiliary “crematoria”, each with three muffles, which had been pending since January.
Zimmerman would like to argue that the decision to expand from about 100,000 to200,000 came only after Himmler’s visit in July 17, and therefore well after negotiations for all “four large crematoria” had been initiated – or so he says Danuta Czech says..
There is a Situation Plan on page 195 of Pressac's Technique (document 10B page 195, linked below) which Pressac conjecturally dates as July 6. It pictures a camp which in my guess might well serve of 100,000. It shows what we call Krema II in roughly the place where it did end up. Later this plan is superseded by our big Situation Plan at document 15 page 203, which shows a camp suitable for 200,000. It pictures two crematoria resembling what we call Krema II and Krema III flanking the western (top) side of the camp. Duplicating Krema II is just what one might expect if it were suddenly proposed to double of the size of the planned POW camp. Hoess had described a camp population of 100,000 as something new in the history of concentration camps. The new plan was for a doubly unheard-of 200,000. A typically totalitarian project.
The bigger Situation Plan for this huge undertaking was signed off on August 15, but would hardly have been knocked off that very morning. There is more to a big plan than a big drawing. The drawing has to embody weeks of consultations and discussions. Hoess in his Autobiography describes how Himmler on July 17 inspected the Birkenau site, including water drains still under construction “and he was shown the extent of the proposed expansion.” That extent had already been demarcated for his inspection. The idea that Himmler, having expressed general satisfaction, went home on the 18th and waited for August 15 to order another proposed expansion doubling the previous proposed expansion is itself unlikely; that Hoess would have made no mention such an amazing disruption in his memoirs is unthinkable. It is just the sort of thing Hoess’ captors would have encouraged him to complain about.
On the face of it, we have a proposal in July to create a camp of unprecedented scale, to be burdened with a population twice that of a large overcrowded town, to be situated on a near-swamp and to be peopled by tens of thousands of forced labourers imported from that lice-ridden east of horrendous World War I memory. In parallel we have a proposal to expand its cremation capacity, also on an unprecedented scale. Both proposals transpired around July and gestated in tandem. No surprises there.
The enlargement plan may possible have resulted from a decision not to build a large prisoner of war camp at Mogilev. That is mere speculation on my part. But it is hard to see how the two eight-muffle Krema could have been part of any negotiations “for four large crematoria and gas chambers” in early July, as Danuta Czech is said to have argued. According to Pressac (Technique.. linked below, page 202) it was suggested by Prufer on the 10th August that these two eight-muffle Krema should replace the two “auxiliary” three-muffle ovens or “crematoria” left over from pre-genocidal proposals and which nobody had yet decided where to locate. Pressac says Prufer was “exploiting to the full the disastrous health conditions in the camp.” If Pressac has been accurate, these ten (16-6) extra muffles clearly postdated the visit of Himmler and coincided with the crisis of the epidemic.
If so, any July negotiations can have involved no more than thirty-six muffles for the POW camp, twenty-one of which were inherited from the old days and fifteen of which (the proposed Krema III) can be very naturally explained by the proposed expansion as shown on the bigger Situation Plan. But in the Zimmerman/Czech view, remarkably, the decision to double the size of the camp had no influence at all on plans for cremation capacity. None. Neither did what Pressac calls “disastrous health conditions”. The negotiations for the 46 muffles had already begun because at some (always unspecified) date in the Spring of 1942 it had been already been decided by Himmler that Auschwitz was to become a centre for the extermination of millions of west and central Europeans. By July, Bunker 1 and Bunker 2 were already producing their output, at least doubling the normal source of corpses.
Faced with such events and prospects, it is a big surprise that on July 6, by Pressac’s dating of the earlier Situation Plan, the Bauleitung was still faffing around with a plan for 21 (15 plus 6 unshown auxiliary) muffles which derived from an earlier pre-genocidal moment. But it would be no big surprise that many more muffles than 21 would be needed if the camp was to be doubled in size. That something would be Krema III, which appears on the plan for a 200,000 camp but does not appear on the plan for a 100,000 camp. The further net addition ten muffles according to Pressac did not enter the picture until a time of “disastrous health conditions.” I wait to see if Danuta Czech’s article can change my mind.
An objection I have to answer is that at the end of October 1942 it was decided to reduce the population target from 200,000 to 140,000 ; but there was no corresponding reduction in the target of 46 muffles.
The date of 15th August 1942 is to be considered as the end of the gestation period for the FOUR KREMATORIEN of the POW camp and the beginning of their construction. In fact the contracts for the building work on Krematorien II and III were awarded on 29th July The first drawing for the future Krematorium IV [PMO file BW 30b 30c/22, drawing 1678] was produced on 14th August. The contract for the construction of the four chimneys for the TWO OTHER KREMATORIEN (IV and V], of a different model from II and III, was awarded to Messrs Robert Koehler on 20th August 1942 [file BW 30/26, pages 52 and 53]. Thus the incineration capacity of the camp was to be increased to 52 muffles while on 19th August 1942 at the evening roll call there were EMPHASIS 22,925 prisoners in the camp. AS AT MID AUGUST 1942, the criminality of the Krematorien, normally by definition installations planned for health reasons, is evident from the fact that THEIR CAPACITY WAS EXCESSIVE IN RELATION TO THE REAL NEEDS OF THE CAMP, without there being any need to demonstrate the presence of homicidal gas chambers inside them, which is in fact difficult to establish at that date.
Technique....p200. Pressac’s emphases
One must concede to Pressac that fifty two muffles, if built for a camp of 22,925, would be clear evidence of criminality. The fact that he resorts to such arguments shows that he has need of them. If all contracts were signed at the end of August then the number in the Bauletung mindset at the time of decision, and which would govern that decision, must have been 200,000. When at the end of October it was decided to lower the number to 140,000, the forty six muffles were a done and dusted deal involving private companies; disastrous health conditions had not ceased to be a likely prospect. And those sixteen Mogilev muffles, which had long ago been contracted for, probably had no better place to go.