The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Many Jewish survivors of the "death camps" say they saw bodies being piled up in pits and burned. How much gasoline would have to be used to perform this?


40. Many Jewish survivors of the "death camps" say they saw bodies being piled up in pits and burned. How much gasoline would have to be used to perform this?

The IHR says:

A great deal more than the Germans had access to, as there was a substantial fuel shortage at that time.

Nizkor replies:

"Access"? The Auschwitz III camp, Monowitz, was an industrial work camp where fuel was produced! The IHR even admits this in their revised answer to question 6. How much better "access" could there possibly be?

Anyway, the question is misleading: a high-energy, refined fuel like gasoline was not required. Cheap and relatively plentiful imflammables like motor oil and methanol were used instead. Höss describes the open-air burning process at Treblinka (Bezwinska and Czech, KL Auschwitz Seen By The SS, 1984, p. 133):

[After the gassing at Treblinka] the gas-chambers were opened up and the bodies taken out, undressed and burnt on a framework made of railway lines.

The fires were stoked with wood, the bodies being sprayed every now and then with petrol refuse.

He also describes the process at his own camp, Auschwitz (Kogon et al., Nazi Mass Murder, 1993, pp. 168-169):

As late as the summer of 1942, the corpses were still carried to mass graves. It was only toward the end of the summer that cremation began to be used -- first by means of a wood pyre with about two thousand corpses, and later in the ditches, with the corpses that had been buried there earlier and then been exhumed. Used motor oil was poured over them, and later methanol.

It was not a serious hardship for the Nazis to sacrifice a little used motor oil.

The IHR changed the question from the blatant invention "gasoline" in the original, to the merely-inaccurate "fuel" in the revised version. It's still misleading. The term "fuel" can refer to many things, but used motor oil is not one of them.


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