Hektor wrote:My personal take is that some of the Auschwitz prisoners aren't lying, but confusing things with the industrial chimneys in that area. That's me giving them some benefit of the doubt.
These witnesses' flaming crematoria chimneys are—with possibly one of two exceptions amongst the very early ones—the result of cross-pollination, to borrow Irving's phrase. A factor in survivor narratives that Justice Gray recognised in his Judgment of the Irving v. Penguin and Lipstadt trial.
Perhaps the tale has it's origin in a burn-off chimney somewhere in the Buna Works (there's some panorama photos of the area which were submitted to the IG Farben trial: Walter Dürrfeld defence exhibits 134 and 135
) but the overwhelming majority of these witnesses were repeating what they'd heard once the war was long-finished about what was supposedly present at Birkenau; having convinced themselves that they must have seen them too. My very first post on this thread was about the 1947/8 Polish film Ostatni etap (The Last Stage) in which there's a memorable scene featuring flaming crematoria chimneys. The film was shown in the U.S.
and probably in Western Europe too.
The Birkenau flaming chimneys are seemingly present in a relatively small percentage of the testimonies given in (or, questionably dated) 1945. The ones I can think of right now are: Dora Szafran; Henyrk Tauber; Berthold Epstein; Perry Broad; Pelagia Lewińska and David Olère (drawings).
Almost 600 affidavits were taken by the British War Crimes investigators (who had an awful lot of German-born Jews on staff) at Belsen during the late spring/summer of 1945. Some of these affidavits were given by the German camp staff, some by the Hungarian guards, others by the British soldiers who first arrived at the camp, but the vast majority of them were given by former prisoners—Jewish former prisoners. I've not yet counted how many of these affidavits are about, or mention, Auschwitz, but if I had to estimate I'd say that it was well-over a hundred. But despite that, I've only found one, a single one, that mentions flaming chimneys: Dora Szafran, whilst a huge number of them mention the crematoria, selections, gas chambers, Dr. Mengele, etc., etc.