Now that Mr. Jansson is with us ...

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Roberto
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Now that Mr. Jansson is with us ...

Post by Roberto » Mon Jun 03, 2013 1:37 pm

... I'll publish my comments to one of his CODOH articles, which I've been keeping in the drawer for some time.

http://forum.codoh.info/viewtopic.php?f ... rto#p54687
Decomposition of bodies in mass graves
by friedrichjansson » Mon Nov 12, 2012 3:47 pm
FJ wrote:Roberto Muehlencamp has argued that the bodies in the Reinhardt camps would have decomposed rapidly. He uses this argument to reduce estimates of the required burial space and the fuel needed for cremation.
Regarding the influence of decomposition on required grave space, I wrote the following in Part 3 of the blog series «Mattogno, Graf & Kues on the Aktion Reinhard(t) Mass Graves» (which was the basis for Chapter 7 of the paper Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka. Holocaust Denial and Operation Reinhard. A Critique of the Falsehoods of Mattogno, Graf and Kues.):

At Bełżec:
Modeling the effects of corpse decomposition on the amount of grave space available at Bełżec should ideally be done on the basis of a day-by-day or at least month-by-month breakdown of the 434,508 deportees delivered at that camp according to the Höfle Report. Unfortunately no such breakdown is available. The next best thing is a table in Appendix A of Arad’s study on the Reinhard(t) camps[113] that adds up to a higher number (513,142, according to my summation) and allows for a day-by-day breakdown of this number, albeit with certain assumptions and the inaccuracies inevitably resulting from such assumptions. Based on this table, I modeled a scenario of mass grave space management at Bełżec taking into account the loss of body volume due to decomposition, the results being that even 513,142 dead bodies could have been buried in 20,670 cubic meters of burial space (the volume of the burial graves according to Prof. Kola’s investigation results, see section 2.1) considering decomposition-related grave space economy, and that it was therefore also possible to bury the much lower number of documented deportees to Bełżec (434,508) in the same burial space.[114] The model assumed a density of 14.8 non-decomposed corpses per cubic meter,[115] which means that with the density calculated above (19.51 per cubic meter) the saving of burial space due to decomposition would be even higher. While of reduced relevance to demonstrating sufficiency of the burial space estimated by Prof. Kola for the number of corpses corresponding to Höfle's report of 11 January 1943 (as the concentration of 19.51 bodies per cubic meter established above means that 415,758 out of 434,508 bodies could have been buried in all Bełżec mass graves and 403,272 could have been buried in the 20,670 cubic meters of the burial graves alone even if all bodies had been buried at the same time or maintained their original mass and weight), the model shows what significant contribution the decomposition process could have made – and probably did make – to the SS' management of the burial space they had available Bełżec.[emphasis added – RM]
At Sobibór:
If 22.1 corpses per m³ are MGK’s benchmark for using available burial space as effectively as possible, the Sobibór staff certainly fell behind what their colleagues at Bełżec managed to achieve, which may be related to Sobibór having handled much less "traffic" than Bełżec and the Sobibór body disposal procedure having changed from burial to burning at a relatively early stage. But the difference in efficient use of burial space was not as large as MGK make it out to be, for only graves 3, 4, 5 and 6, with a total volume (corrected for sloping) of 9,525 cubic meters, were used for burial at Sobibór extermination camp (see section 2.2). The total area of these graves was 2,310 m², so deducting 2,310 x 0.3 = 693 m for the 0.30 cm sand cover assumed by MGK[124] there would be 8,832 cubic meters available for burial. Assuming 80,000 buried corpses this would mean a density of 9.1 corpses per cubic meter – more than the "maximum" claimed by Mattogno & Graf in their Treblinka book and by Mattogno in his book about Bełżec.[125]
At Treblinka:
At Treblinka, the people killed during the year 1942 and buried in mass graves amounted to 713,555 mentioned in the Höfle Report plus some 8,000 deportees from Theresienstadt between 5 and 25 October 1942[126]. The Bełżec mass graves identified by Prof. Kola had an area of 5,391.75 square meters and a volume of 21,310 cubic meters (see section 2.1, Table 2.1.1), with 5,101.75 square meters corresponding to the burial graves, whose volume was 20,670 cubic meters. If all 434,508 victims of Bełżec extermination camp were buried in these graves[127], this would correspond to an average of 85 bodies for each square meter of grave area and 21 bodies for each cubic meter of grave space. Burying the total number of 721,555 Jews killed at Treblinka in 1942 would have required 721,555 ÷ 85 = 8,489 square meters and 721,555 ÷ 21 = 34,360 cubic meters, if the same density that was achieved at Bełżec could also be achieved at Treblinka (the deportee population was also essentially from miserable ghettos in the General Government, and the victims that had been killed between July and October 1942 had been lying in the mass graves for at least four months when the overall exhumation and incineration of the corpses began after Himmler’s visit in late February/early March 1942). However, the fact that ashes, bone fragments and larger remains covered an area of at least 1.8 ha when Judge Łukaszkiewicz investigated the site in November 1945 (see section 2.3) suggests that the mass graves alone covered an area larger than 8,489 square meters, while on the other hand the depth to which human remains were found in the crater that Łukaszkiewicz ordered to be further excavated (7.5 meters) suggests that the burial pits at Treblinka were deeper than the deepest burial pits at Bełżec.
[...]
Bay projected 9 areas representing mass graves with an area of 50 x 25 meters into the "Death Camp" sector just to show that that the same could comfortably fit into the "Death Camp"[135]. These mass graves could take in at least 900,000 corpses, according to Bay’s calculations and estimate[136]. The surface area of these projected graves is 9 x 1,250 = 11,250 m², and their volume was calculated by Bay as being 9 x 8,502 = 76,518 cubic meters. The grave space accordingly required to bury the ca. 721,555 Jews murdered at Treblinka in 1942, with the density of ca. 12 corpses per cubic meter assumed by Bay, was somewhat smaller: 721,555 ÷ 12 = 60,130 cubic meters, corresponding to a surface area of 60,130 ÷ 76,518 x 11,250 = 8,841 m² (roughly 21-22 % of the "Death Camp" sector’s entire area).
We see that
a) decomposition plays a part in my considerations and calculations chiefly as concerns Bełżec;
b) I consider my decomposition-related calculations an argument «of reduced relevance to demonstrating sufficiency of the burial space estimated by Prof. Kola for the number of corpses corresponding to Höfle's report of 11 January 1943».

And regarding the influence of decomposition on fuel required for cremation, I wrote the following in Part 2 of the blog series «Mattogno, Graf & Kues on Aktion Reinhard(t) Cremation» ((which was the basis for Chapter 8 of the paper Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka. Holocaust Denial and Operation Reinhard. A Critique of the Falsehoods of
Mattogno, Graf and Kues.
):
The conclusions that the above leads to are the following:

a) Fuel expenditure in cremating corpses or carcasses essentially depends on applying the correct method.

b) MGK presented no arguments that would make a wood weight to corpse/carcass weight ratio of 2:1 seem inappropriate.

c) There are good reasons to assume that the fuel-weight to carcass-weight ratio achieved in burning corpses at Nazi extermination camps was much lower than 2:1. Aggarwal’s "raised human-sized brazier" may have achieved a ratio of 100 kg of wood vs. 70 kg of corpse = 1.43:1, and the carcass-burning experiments I to III conducted by Dr. Lothes and Dr. Profé in the early 20th Century (the comparatively less fuel-efficient of their experiments) showed an average ratio of 0.56:1. Descriptions of the burning process at Sobibór actually suggest a similarity to the more fuel-efficient of Dr. Lothes & Dr. Profé’s experiments, the ones at which a ratio of 0.48:1 was achieved.

d) There's no reason why SS - expert Floss (the man who according to the Stangl judgment "brought the grid into the right position"[83] at Treblinka) could not have achieved in mass burning a ratio equal to or lower than what had been achieved by Dr. Lothes & Dr. Profé burning individual carcasses in the early 20th century.

Therefore the ratio of 0.56:1 that the veterinarians achieved in the comparatively less fuel-efficient of their experiments – ignoring the possibility of a lower ratio at Sobibór, for good measure – shall in the following be considered as the likely expression of wood or wood-equivalent expenditure on cremation grids at Bełżec, Sobibór, Treblinka and Chełmno, as soon as they had been properly arranged. [emphasis added – RM]

The importance of bringing the grid into the "right position", one that provided for good air circulation and in which the corpses burned largely on their own combustible substances because they were suspended over a fire fed by body fat, is illustrated by the experimental burning of two carcass in two different cars described in a 1969 scientific article by Bruce V. Ettling.[84] One of the experimental carcasses burned rather incompletely whereas the other was mostly consumed by fire. The reason for the difference was that the latter carcass "was still suspended on the seat springs with a lot of char and ash underneath. The fat being rendered from the carcass dripped onto the char which acted like a candle wick and kept the fat burning." This burning rendered more fat, which in turn kept alive the fire consuming the carcass. Ettling concluded that a carcass, and presumably also a human body, "can be rather thoroughly consumed by fire from its own fat", a necessary condition being that "the body be suspended in such a way that it is over the fire which is fed from the body fat". He drew the following parallel with burning procedures at the Aktion Reinhard(t) camps (emphasis added):[85]
Some related information was found in an article concerning a Nazi extermination camp and its trouble destroying the corpses (3). Burning gasoline on piles of corpses on the ground did not consume the corpses. Eventually an "expert" was brought in who arranged the bodies on a rack with the corpses that appeared to contain some fat being placed on the bottom of the pile. A good fire beneath the rack caused fat to drip down and burn. The corpses which were thus over the fire instead of on the ground were reduced to ashes.
Considering the numbers and average weights of corpses to be burned established above (Table 3.3), the amounts of wood required for cremation would thus be as shown in Table 3.4. The average life weights of deportees[86] and the wood-to-corpse weight ratio assumed by MGK lead to considerably higher wood requirements, as also shown in this table for the same numbers of deportees.

Table 3.4
Image

The conclusion is that one would overestimate wood requirements by a factor of almost ten using the life weights and wood-to-corpse weight ratios assumed by MGK. [emphasis added – RM] To be fair, it should be pointed out that regarding Bełżec and Treblinka the respective authors (Mattogno in the former case, Mattogno & Graf in the latter) don’t use the corpses’ assumed life weight for their calculations but what they claim was the corpses’ decomposed weight – 45 kg[87]. This leads to the question what impact the corpses’ decomposition - the corpses at Bełżec, most of the corpses at Treblinka and a significant part of the corpses at Sobibór were in some stage of the decomposition process at the time of cremation – is likely to have had on wood requirements for cremation.
[...]
The categories of dead bodies according to calorific profile that have been established above are the following, by increasing absolute amount of required wood:
A - Decomposed/dehydrated corpses of sufficiently nourished deportees (Table 3.15). Average weight: 28.88 kg. Weight of wood required for cremation: 8.25 kg. Weight ratio: 0.29.
B – Decomposed/dehydrated corpses of malnourished deportees (Table 3.13). Average weight: 16.96 kg. Weight of wood required for cremation: 10.54 kg. Weight ratio: 0.62.
C – Non-decomposed corpses of malnourished deportees (Table 3.11). Average weight: 34 kg. Weight of wood required for cremation: 29.60 kg. Weight ratio: 0.87.
D - Non-decomposed corpses of sufficiently nourished deportees (Table 3.14). Average weight: 57 kg. Weight of wood required for cremation: 31.92 kg. Weight ratio: 0.56.
We see that

a) I reduced MGK’s overestimation of wood requirements by a factor of almost ten before considering the effects of the decomposition process at the time of cremation on wood requirements;

b) I considered that decomposition would, in the corpses of sufficiently nourished deporteers, reduce
• the average corpse weight from 57 kg to 28.88 kg;
• the wood weight to corpse weight ratio from 0.56 to 0.29; and
• the wood weight required for cremation per corpse from 31.92 kg to 8.25 kg.

c) I considered that decomposition would, in the corpses of malnourished deporees, reduce
• the average corpse weight from 34 kg to 16.96 kg;
• the wood weight to corpse weight ratio from 0.87 to 0.62; and
• the wood weight required for cremation per corpse from 29.60 kg to 10.54 kg.
FJ wrote:He bases his argument on the behavior of a 1.5kg [!] piglet left out in the open, apparently in Australia, together with a rule of thumb that decomposition takes place at 1/4 the rate underground as it does out in the open. His main reference is here:
http://australianmuseum.net.au/Stages-of-Decomposition
Actually my sources are the following (see Part 3 of the blog series «Mattogno, Graf & Kues on the Aktion Reinhard(t) Mass Graves»):

1. The Australian Museum’s webpage Stages of Decomposition. This source states the following:
To illustrate the process of decomposition, we use the piglet as the model corpse. Piglets are used because a 40 kg pig resembles a human body in its fat distribution, cover of hair and ability to attract insects. These factors make pigs the next best things to humans when it comes to understanding the process of decay of the human body.
The "[!]" aside, FJ doesn’t explain what’s supposed to be wrong with using a 1.5 kg piglet as a model corpse to illustrate human decomposition, as is done by the Australian Museum.

2. The webpage How long does it bring for a human body to completely disintegrate after it's be embalm?, which contains the following information:
Decomposition in the atmosphere is twice as fast as when the body is lower than water and four times as hastily as underground.
3. Alan Gunn, Essential Forensic Biology, 2009 John Wiley & Sons Ltd., Chichester, West Sussex, UK, p. 30: "Buried corpses decay approximately four times slower than those left on the surface, and the deeper they are buried, the slower they decay (Dent et al., 2004)."

4. The article «Beyond the grave - understanding human decomposition», by forensic anthropologist Arpad A. Vass. Vass and his colleagues have "worked out a simple formula, which describes the soft tissue decomposition process for persons lying on the ground. The formula is y=1285/x (where y is the number of days it takes to become skeletonized or mummified and x is the average temperature in Centigrade during the decomposition process). So, if the average temperature is 10 °C, then 1285/10 = 128.5 days for someone to become skeletonized". According to Vass's formula, the time to skeletonization at Bełżec in the late spring, summer and autumn of 1942, at temperatures presumably ranging between 20 and 30 degrees Celsius, would have been 43 to 64 days for bodies exposed to air and insects, as bodies lying in open mass graves can be expected to have been. The time until the bodies were reduced to less than half their original volume and weight through loss of fluids and other factors would be even lower.
FJ wrote:Other sources suggest that decomposition underground in fact takes place at 1/8 its surface rate , but most warn against reliance on any such heuristics, as behavior can be dramatically altered by individual conditions.
What other sources would those be?
FJ wrote:Knight's Forensic Pathology gives this description of decomposition:
In broad terms, a corpse outdoors in a temperate climate is likely to be converted to a skeleton carrying tendon tags within 12-18 months, and to a 'bare-bone' skeleton within 3 years; there are, of course, numerous exceptions, depending mainly on the local environment.
The rate of decay of bodies buried in earth is much slower than of those in either air or water. In fact the process of putrefaction may be arrested to a remarkable degree in certain conditions, allowing exhumations several years later to be of considerable value. [...] The speed and extent of decay in interred corpses depends on a number of factors. If the body is buried soon after death, before the usual process of decay in air begins, putrefaction is less and may never proceed to the liquefying corruption usually inevitable on the surface. A lower temperature, exclusion of animal and insect predators, and lack of oxygen are important factors. Although most bacteria originate in the intestine, there is less access for secondary invaders and the restriction of oxygen inhibits aerobic organisms. If the body is rotting before burial then, although the process slows down, it will still severely damage the corpse, as enzymatic and bacterial growth have had initial encouragement from a higher ambient temperature and free access of air, thereby producing conditions in which secondary invaders (including anaerobes) can continue their work in a good culture medium that is already partly liquefied by the earlier stages.
I have taken the liberty of emphasizing the parts of FJ’s quote that I consider relevant for applying this quote to the decomposition process in the mass graves of the Aktion Reinhard(t) camps.

As I pointed out in my above-quoted blogs, the mass graves of the Aktion Reinhard(t) camps remained open until they had been completely filled, which took some time to happen. In my blog Belzec Mass Graves and Archaeology: My Response to Carlo Mattogno (4,1),
[...] I considered that the first grave used was grave # 10, with a volume of 2,100 cubic meters and a burial capacity of 2,100 x 14.8 x 34 ÷ 1000 = 1056.72 tons of body mass to start with on 17 March 1942. The capacity used that day, shown in column (b) "(Additional) burial capacity used up on day (in tons)" was 119 tons (input from column (c) "Total cumulated body weight (in tons)" of Table 4 - "Cumulated burial weight per day"), so that the burial capacity remaining for the next day, shown in column (c) "Burial capacity of burial space not yet used on day (in tons)" was 1056.72 – 119 = 937.72 tons of body mass. On the next day, 18.03.1942, there were no burials, so that the available burial capacity at the end of the day was the same as at the beginning. Then on the following day, 19.03.1942, an additional 85 tons of body mass were placed in that grave, bringing the burial capacity still available down to 937.72 – 85 = 852.72. And so on, day after day, until on 30.03.1942 the burial capacity of grave # 10 was down to 40.12 tons of corpse mass and new burial space had to be added to that of grave # 10 in order to cope with the next day's load of corpses.
According to this calculation, the initial burial capacity (without considering later "recovery" of burial capacity due to the corpses’ decomposition) of Bełżec grave # 10 the would be used up "only" after two weeks. While the largest of the Bełżec mass graves discovered in 1997-1999 by Prof. Andrzej Kola (see Table 2.1.1 in Part 1 of the blog series «Mattogno, Graf & Kues on the Aktion Reinhard(t) Mass Graves»), Bełżec grave # 10 was by no means the largest grave of the Aktion Reinhard(t) camps. Sobibór grave # 4 (see Table 2.2.1 in the same blog) had a volume available for burial of more than 6,800 cubic meters, and the Treblinka mass graves, if they were the size of the graves modeled by Alex Bay, would have an available burial space of 8,502 cubic meters, enough to take in (at a comparatively conservative concentration of about 12 bodies per cubic meter) "at least 100,000 people" – meaning that it would take at least 20 days to fill one of these graves with the 5,000 deportees per day from Warsaw mentioned in Secretary of State Ganzenmüller’s letter to the head of Himmler’s personal staff, SS-Obergruppenführer Karl Wolff, dated 28 July 1942, and in Wolff’s reply to Ganzenmüller dated 13 August 1942 (both quoted in the judgment LG Hagen vom 20.12.1966, 11 Ks 1/64, see translated excerpt from that judgment).

A dead body starts rotting very soon after death, as pointed out on the Australiam Museum’s page Initial Decay:
Although the body shortly after death appears fresh from the outside, the bacteria that before death were feeding on the contents of the intestine begin to digest the intestine itself. They eventually break out of the intestine and start digesting the surrounding internal organs. The body's own digestive enzymes (normally in the intestine) also spread through the body, contributing to its decomposition.
Insects start their activity right away:
From the moment of death flies are attracted to bodies. Without the normal defences of a living animal, blowflies and house flies are able to lay eggs around wounds and natural body openings (mouth, nose, eyes, anus, genitalia). These eggs hatch and move into the body, often within 24 hours.
Between day 4 and day 10 after death, decomposition is in the stage of putrefaction:
Bacteria break down tissues and cells, releasing fluids into body cavities. They often respire in the absence of oxygen (anaerobically) and produce various gases including hydrogen sulphide, methane, cadaverine and putrescine as by-products. People might find these gases foul smelling, but they are very attractive to a variety of insects.
The build up of gas resulting from the intense activity of the multiplying bacteria, creates pressure within the body. This pressure inflates the body and forces fluids out of cells and blood vessels and into the body cavity.
Claas Buschmann describes the early stages of the human corpse’s decomposition process as follows:
The decomposition of a corpse occurs as a combination of bacterial putrefaction and enzyme-induced autolysis. The first visible sign is green skin discolouration that appears after 2 – 3 days, usually on the right lower abdomen – here the bowel lies close to the abdominal wall. Rigor mortis is completely resolved after 4 – 5 days; the eyeballs sink backwards, and the green skin discolouration increases and spreads over the entire body with venous marbling. After 10 – 14 days, putrefactive blisters form on the epidermis; the abdominal walls are distended, and reddish putrefactive fluid exudes from the mouth and nose. Two to three weeks after death, the skin falls off in shreds; the hair and nails can be pulled off; and fluid-filled putrefactive blisters also form in the soft tissues. The body is strongly distended.
If a mass grave was filled over a period of two weeks, 20 days or more than that, it stands to reason that the corpses in that grave, except for those added last and lying in the upper layers, would by the time the graves were closed (assuming they were completely closed after having been filled and not left semi-open for further use after the body mass inside lost volume – see below) have started rotting and be somewhere in between the stage of green skin discolouration and the state of putrefactive blisters, distented abdominal walls and reddish putrefactive fluid exuding from mouth and nose, described by Buschmann. Decomposition having started before burial – i.e. before the respective mass grave was closed – it would, according to FJ’s quote from Knight's Forensic Pathology, continue below ground (albeit more slowly) and "severely damage the corpse, as enzymatic and bacterial growth have had initial encouragement from a higher ambient temperature and free access of air, thereby producing conditions in which secondary invaders (including anaerobes) can continue their work in a good culture medium that is already partly liquefied by the earlier stages".

When and to what extent mass graves at the Aktion Reinhard(t) camps were closed after having been filled is uncertain. As I pointed out in Part 3 of the blog series «Mattogno, Graf & Kues on the Aktion Reinhard(t) Mass Graves»,
There is evidence suggesting that the mass graves at Bełżec were filled to or even beyond the rim, the upper layer being covered with further layers of bodies or with sand after the corpses had sufficiently matted down due to decomposition. In his report dated 4 May 1945 Kurt Gerstein wrote the following[108]:
The naked corpses were carried on wooden stretchers to pits only a few metres away, measuring 100 x 20 x 12 metres. After a few days the corpses welled up and a short time later they collapsed, so that one could throw a new layer of bodies upon them. Then ten centimetres of sand were spread over the pit, so that a few heads and arms still rose from it here and there.
Despite the obviously exaggerated statement about the depth of the pits, Gerstein’s description is interesting in its reference to a procedure, that of filling the graves to the rim and then adding further bodies when the collapse due to decomposition of those already inside the grave freed some space at the top, which was probably at the root of the following ghastly phenomenon at Bełżec described by the later commander of Treblinka, Franz Stangl[109]:
Wirth was not in his office, they said that he was up in the camp. The man I talked to said that one of the pits had overflown. They had thrown too many bodies inside, and the decomposition had gone too fast, so that the liquid gathering below had pushed the bodies up, to the surface and above, and the corpses had rolled down the hill. I saw some of them. – Oh God, it was awful …


What is more, body disposal at the Aktion Reinhard(t) camps didn’t always run smoothly, especially at the early stages of these camps’ operation. Regarding the early phase of Treblinka’s operation, Yitzhak Arad wrote the following (Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka. The Operation Reinhard Death Camps, pages 65 f.:
The trip from Warsaw and other ghettos to Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka, which should have lasted a few hours, sometimes lasted a day or two. The combination of conditions in the freight cars and the extended journey led to mass deaths.
[…]
Due to lack of coordination between the size of the transports, their frequency, and Treblinka’s absorptive capacity, the deportees would be held in the trains for days en route, and in the interim many died. Even at the last station, Treblinka village, they would be delayed for hours. Franciszek Zabecki, a Pole in Treblinka village, noted that:
There were days when two or three trains stood at Treblinka station with their unfortunate cargo, waiting their turn to be sent to the death camps. The transports sometimes waited all night, because transfer to the camp was not carried out in darkness. The cruelty of the security guards, Germans, Latvians, and Ukrainians, is difficult to describe. Sadism and torture seemed to know no bounds. I saw how guards, who were always drunk, would open the freight-car doors at night and demand money into the valuables. Then they would close the doors and fire into the cars … During the day, the corpses remaining at the station were collected, loaded onto a car and sent to the death camp. This task was attended to by a group of Jews from the camp, under SS and Ukrainian supervision.


The train delays en route to the death camps were not planned in advance by those in charge of the transports and extermination. Rather, they were the result of inefficient planning, and they in turn caused additional overloading of a railway system already overburdened by the logistical requirements of the eastern front. However, the extreme crowding in the freight cars, which, indeed, was a deliberate act on the part of the deportation authorities, and the inhuman behavior of the train guards turned the journey into a shocking nightmare. Treblinka’s initial “running in” difficulties contributed to additional delays. These factors, taken together, accounted for the high mortality rate of the Jews on the trains to the death camps.
People who died on the trains might already arrive at the camp in a state of beginning decomposition, which might be furthered by the chaotic conditions inside the camp, where many bodies were decomposing prior to accommodation in the mass graves. During his interview by filmmaker Claude Lanzmann, former Treblinka SS-man Franz Suchomel remembered the following (emphases added):
We wept too, yes. The smell was infernal because gas was constantly escaping. It stank horribly for miles around. You could smell it everywhere. It depended on the wind. The stink was carried on the wind. Understand? More people kept coming, always more, whom we hadn't the facilities to kill. The brass was in a rush to clean out the Warsaw ghetto. The gas chambers couldn't handle the load. The small gas chambers. The Jews had to wait their turn for a day, two days, three days. They foresaw what was coming. They foresaw it. They may not have been certain, but many knew. There were Jewish women who slashed their daughters' wrists at night, then cut their own. Others poisoned themselves.
They heard the engine feeding the gas chamber. A tank engine was used in that gas chamber. At Treblinka the only gas used was engine exhaust. Zyklon gas...that was Auschwitz. Because of the delay, Eberl, the camp commandant, phoned Lublin and said: "We can't go on this way. I can't do it any longer. We have to break off." Overnight, Wirth arrived. He inspected everything and then left. He returned with people from Belzec, experts. Wirth arranged to suspend the trains. The corpses lying there were cleared away. That was the period of the old gas chambers. Because there were so many dead that couldn't be gotten rid of, the bodies piled up around the gas chambers and stayed there for days. Under this pile of bodies was a cesspool three inches deep, full of blood, worms and shit. No one wanted to clean it out. The Jews preferred to be shot rather than work there.
Abraham Krepicki, a deportee who managed to flee from Treblinka during the early stages of the camp’s operation, recalled similar scenes (emphasis added):
Ten Thousand Corpses In One Place. Here we beheld a horrible sight. Countless dead bodies lay there, piled upon each other. I think that perhaps 10,000 bodies were there. A terrible stench hovered in the air. Most of the bodies had horribly bloated bellies; they were covered with brown and black spots, swollen and the surfaces of their skin already crawling with worms.
The lips of most of the dead were strangely twisted and the tips of their tongues could be seen protruding between the swollen lips.

The mouths resembled those of dead fish. I later learned that most of these people had died of suffocation in the boxcar. Their mouths had remained open as if they were still struggling for a little air. Many of the dead still had their eyes open.
As late as October 1942, the mass graves at Treblinka issued such a stench of decomposition that the Wehrmacht’s local commandant at Ostrow, a town 20 kilometers away from Treblinka, complained about the environmental disturbance:
OK Ostrow reports that the Jews in Treblinka are not adequately buried and as a result an unbearable smell of cadavers pollutes the air.
(Christopher R Browning, Evidence for the Implementation of the Final Solution, chapter V. Section C., quoting from the War Diary of the Oberquartiermeister, Mbfh Polen, 1.5..41-31.12.43, in National Archives, T-501/219/461. (OK Ostrow meldet, dass die Juden in Treblinka nicht ausreichend beerdigt seien und infolgedessen ein unerträglicher Kadavergeruch die Luft verpestet.))

Due to the factors mentioned above (graves were filled over a period of weeks and remained open until they were full to the brim or even beyond that, bodies were sometimes already in a state of decomposition before being even placed inside the graves), it can be assumed that decomposition of corpses in the mass graves at the Aktion Reinhard(t) camps was somewhat faster than in mass graves in which corpses were buried prior to the start of the decomposition process.
FJ wrote:But the decomposition of bodies in mass graves is different: mass graves preserve bodies! From Advances in Forensic Taphonomy, chapter 12: Recent Mass Graves: an Introduction
Mant clearly showed that bodies decompose at different rates depending on their condition at burial, method of burial, and soil conditions in and around the grave. He also pointed out that bodies in the center of mass graves decompose more slowly than those on the outer edge of the body mass, thus creating a feather edge effect, which ran contrary to the general consensus of medical opinion at that time.

A major factor in determining of the state of a particular individual in a mass grave is its relative position in relation to the body mass. Satellite remains are least preserved. Peripheral bodies of the body mass are less preserved (Figure 12.4) than individuals within the core of the assemblage (Figure 12.5). This dynamic was noted in the 1943 report of the International Medical Commission that investigated the Katyn Forest Massacre.
Despite FJ’s enthusiasm, all that becomes apparent from the text he quotes is that in mass graves bodies tend to decompose at different rates inside a mass grave, with those on the periphery decomposing more quickly whereas those "within the core of the assemblage" decompose more slowly than those on the periphery. Whether this means that mass graves tend to be better preserved in a mass grave than in an individual grave, as FJ claims, is another matter.

FJ shows two images from his source to support his claim:

Image

Image

The lower image is from the same site Figures 12.2 and 12.3, which show views of the mass grave in question suggesting a lesser preservation state of most corpses contained therein:
Image
Image
FJ wrote:Two examples from ex-Yugoslavia:
Under favorable conditions, a mass grave may yield partially to fully fleshed remains up to several years following the primary burial; for example, after 5 years of internment in the Ovcara Grave outside of Vukovar, Croatia, the majority of the 200 victims were fleshed remains, some retaining tattoos. On the other hand, the Bosnia-Herzegovina grave at Cerska, opened merely 12 months following burial, revealed 150 males in varying stages of advanced skeletonization.* The stark contrast of soft tissue preservation between these two examples can be attributed to several factors. The grave at Ovcara was relatively deep with clay soil that facilitated drainage from surrounding fields. The overburden had been firmly compacted. In locations of highest body density they had as many as eight bodies deep. Both the body mass and drainage conditions conspired to trap moisture. In contrast, bodies of the Cerska grave were deposited on a roadside embankment and had been covered by a relatively thin layer of dloosely compacted gravel overburden. The lack of compaction and incline of the surface upon which the bodies rested did not allow moisture to be trapped. Drainage was transient and encouraged rinsing and draining of bodily fluids and products of decomposition from the area. Decomposition was accelerated further because the grave surface was fully exposed to the sun. This allowed warming of the overburden and the remains, some deposited as little as 50 cm below the surface. The moisture-trapping ability of the remains was lessened due to their low density. Throughout most of the grave, with the exception of the foot of the embankment where bodies had piled up against each other, the density of the remains tended to be only 1 to 3 bodies deep.
(*) Some would advocate that the Cerska “grave” is not technically a grave. The bodies were simply deposited on the ground surface and covered with borrowed soil. No excavation or hole was made in which to deposit the remains. Regardless, preservation dynamics hold and are relevant to this discussion.
I have again taken the liberty to highlight, in FJ’s quote from Chapter 12 of Advances in Forensic Taphonomy, the characteristics of one and the other grave described that might help in determining how close to (or how far away fron) the "favorable conditions" of the Ovcara Grave, which led to the preservation of most corpses therein as "fleshy remains", the mass graves at the Aktion Reinhard(t) camps were as concerns decomposition of the corpses contained therein.

One difference – perhaps the most important one – has already been mentioned in my above comments regarding the excerpt from Knight's Forensic Pathology quoted by FJ: as the AR mass graves were not filled all at once but over periods that could reach two or three weeks or more, most the bodies lying in these mass graves would already have entered into decomposition by the time further bodies were added (or, at the latest, by the time the grave was considered to have been filled), all the more so as sometimes (namely during the early phase of Treblinka’s operation, according to the testimonies of Suchomel and Krepicki) dead bodies had already entered into decomposition before they were placed in the graves. Decomposition, once begun, would progress as long as the grave was open, and even after it was closed. The evidence mentioned in in Part 3 of the blog series «Mattogno, Graf & Kues on the Aktion Reinhard(t) Mass Graves» suggests that, at least at Bełżec, graves were filled to such an extent that the swelling of the bodies during the putrefaction process caused them to be pushed above the rim of the grave and even outside the grave, after which swelling the bodies "collapsed", allowing for "a new layer of bodies" to be added (Gerstein). The swelling presumably corresponded to the putrefaction stage of the decomposition process, the "collapsing" to the stage of black putrefaction, at which the bloated body "eventually collapses, leaving a flattened body whose flesh has a creamy consistency". No such processes presumably occurred in the Ovcara mass grave before it was closed. This relatively small mass grave was presumably filled within a short time with the victims of a massacre, which were covered with a soil overburden before decomposition had set in.

Other differences between the Ocvara mass grave and the Aktion Reinhard(t) mass graves concern the following aspects:

• Soil drainage: in the Ocvara grave, clay soil "facilitated drainage from surrounding fields", and drainage conditions contributed to "trap moisture". I understand this as meaning that moisture got into the grave from surrounding fields but did not so easily leave the grave in the direction of the subsoil below. By contrast, in the Cerska mass grave (the other of FJ’s "examples from ex-Yugoslavia"), "Drainage was transient and encouraged rinsing and draining of bodily fluids and products of decomposition from the area". This suggests that the better the drainage from the grave, the more liquids from the corpses will seep into the soil below the grave, and the more strongly the corpses will decompose/dessicate. What was drainage like at the Aktion Reinhard(t) camps, where the soil where soil was sandy (see, as concerns the composition of the soil at Sobibór, the film I made there on 14 October 2008)? Probably quite good, considering that sandy soil facilitates drainage, as is for instance mentioned on this page:
In soils dominated by large pores (i.e., sandy soils), water moves rapidly. Soils that allow rapid leaching (water movement down through the soil profile) also pose environmental hazards because rain or irrigation water moving through the soil profile takes water-soluble pollutants with it. Ground water pollution is a sensitive issue on coarse-textured sandy soils.
In comparison, in soils dominated by small-sized pores (i.e., compacted soils and soils with greater than 20% clay content), water is slow to move or may not move at all. Soils easily waterlog.


On this page, one reads that
Clay soil is a very dense type of soil. Its particles are closely packed together and clay generally does not allow water to drain through. This type of soil slowly releases air and allows water to seep down into it. Clay soil generally sits on top of a solid rock bed.

Once water draining slowly through clay reaches the rock bed, it no longer has an outlet and pools within the soil. Plants that grow in it are at risk for root rot. Roots that sit in standing water for long periods of time will become prone to disease and fungus and may wilt and die.

Sandy soil is very loose. Its particles allow for the passage of both water and air. This soil drains water very quickly, which allows air to circulate around the plants within it. This can also cause the plants to dry out and some varieties grown in sandy soil may need to be watered more frequently for this reason.
It thus seems safe to conclude that, as concerns drainage of liquids from the grave, the Aktion Reinhard(t) mass graves resembled the Cerska mass grave rather than the Ocvara mass grave.

• Thickness and compaction of overburden: The description of the Ocvara mass grave ("The grave at Ovcara was relatively deep with clay soil that facilitated drainage from surrounding fields. The overburden had been firmly compacted.") suggests that the overburden was quite thick, considering that this "relatively deep" grave contained "only" 200 dead bodies. The overburden had also been firmly compacted. By contrast, Gertein’s description of the mass graves at Bełżec, quoted in Part 3 of the blog series «Mattogno, Graf & Kues on the Aktion Reinhard(t) Mass Graves», suggests that the overburden was everything other than thick and compacted ("Then ten centimetres of sand were spread over the pit, so that a few heads and arms still rose from it here and there."). MGK, as quoted in the aforementioned blog, assume an overburden 30 cms thick for the Bełżec and Sobibór mass graves.

• Exposure to sun/heat, which facilitated decomposition at the Cerska mass grave (where the upper layer of corspes was still somewhat lower beyond the surface than at the AR camps according to Gerstein and MGK’s assumption, see previous bullet) was another factor contributing to decomposition at the AR mass graves, leading to hideous, far-reaching smell of decomposing corpses mentioned by the above-quoted sources (and presumably related to the practice of burning the corpses in the graves, addressed in my aforementioned blog and in Sergey Romanov’s blog The Clueless Duo and early corpse incineration in Treblinka and Belzec). At Sobibór, the problem of the corpse’s decomposition led to a change in the body disposal method at a relatively early stage, as mentioned in the judgment LG Hagen vom 20.12.1966, 11 Ks 1/64. From the translated excerpt:
Already in the summer of 1942 another reason had required a partial change of the extermination mechanism. Due to the heat the already filled corpse pits swelled up, gave off corpse fluid, attracted vermin and filled the whole area of the camp with a horrible stench. The camp command furthermore feared a poisoning of the drinking water, which was gained from deep wells in the camp building. A heavy excavator with a grabber extension was thereupon taken into the camp, Jewish working inmates having to help. The already decomposed corpses were extracted from the pits with the excavator’s help and burned on huge grids in an already dug, but still empty pit. The grids consisted of old railway rails laid on top of concrete foundations. Henceforth all corpses accruing from the gassing were immediately burned over these fireplaces, also at night. The glow of the fire could be seen not only inside the camp but also outside, and the smell of burned flesh filled the air over a long distance.


The differences pointed out above allow for concluding that, if conditions in the Ocvara mass grave were favorable to preserving the corpses contained therein, conditions in the AR mass graves were rather unfavorable to corpse preservation and more similar to those in the Cerska mass grave.
In my above considerations I have addressed the similarities or differences between the AR mass graves and FJ’s "examples from ex-Yugoslavia" only as concerns the factors mentioned in FJ’s sources.

Other factors that may have influenced the reduction of the corpse mass in the AR graves, with impacts on grave space availability and corpse cremation, have not been taken into consideration, namely the aforementioned practice of burning bodies in the graves (a practice that, incidentally, seems to have also been applied, in order to make room for more, regarding the corpses of African slaves dumped into a grave pit in Brazil – see the article Brazil: Cemetery of African slaves honored) and the use of quicklime, which according to FJ’s claims in another CODOH thread (to be discussed separately) would have hindered or slowed down decomposition.
FJ wrote:Has anyone studied the reports of the Katyn exhumations? What condition were the bodies in?
Watch a clip from the 1943 German documentary film Im Wald von Katyn, link to be found here.
Denial of generally known historical facts should not be punishable. For those who maintain, for instance, that Germany did not take part in World War I or that Adenauer fought at Issus in 333, their own stupidity is punishment enough. The same should apply to the denial of the horrors and crimes of the recent German past.
~ A German jurist by the name of Baumann in the German juridical magazine NJW, quoted in: Bailer-Galanda/Benz/Neugebauer (ed.), Die Auschwitzleugner, Berlin 1996, page 261 (my translation).

friedrichjansson
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Re: Now that Mr. Jansson is with us ...

Post by friedrichjansson » Tue Jun 04, 2013 6:24 am

Yet another cut-and-paste job, I see, and of limited relevance to the original post in question.

1. Roberto actually thinks that the decomposition of a 1.5 kg piglet on the surface of the ground in Australia is a good basis for predicting the decomposition of tens or hundreds of thousands of human bodies in deep mass graves in Poland. Really, it's hard to argue against such stupidity. One can only laugh at it.

Decomposition is highly sensitive to environment. if you want to predict the decomposition of human bodies in mass graves, then look at how humans decompose in mass graves. Relevant examples: Katyn, Vinnytsia.

2. Bodies in the interior of a mass grave are better preserved than individual burials. Roberto is fighting very hard not to understand this point, despite having apparently read a source (Advances in Forensic Taphonomy, chapter 12) that lays it out very plainly for him. If he must see someone put it in as many words, try here.

(Incidentally, Roberto's sequence of photos entirely misses the point of my use of them. The photos were shown to illustrate the difference in preservation between tissue exposed to the body mass of the mass grave and tissue exposed to the outside earth. Tissue exposed to the body mass is better preserved, because mass graves preserve bodies.)

3. Roberto goes through a long and tedious series of statements intended to show that the Reinhardt graves are like one grave in ex-Yugoslavia rather than another. This is one of his usual topic changing maneuvers, as I never made any comparison along those lines, and he engages in a number of vulgar tricks, such as conflating the amount of soil put over a single layer of bodies with the total amount of soil that covered the entire grave. It is worth mentioning that the grave he wants to compare the Reinhardt graves to was not dug into the ground at all. It contained 150 bodies, for the most part in 1 to 3 layers, over which some loose gravel removed from the other side of the road was dumped. Roberto asserts that the drainage at the Reinhardt camps was similar to this grave, but it was situated on a road embankment with the bodies lying on inclined ground, and they weren't even below the original ground level of the site. That isn't even remotely similar.

Now, Roberto, how many layers of bodies do you think there were at the Reinhardt camps? One to three? Ok, then maybe we are in agreement.

Cerska (the grave Roberto is comparing with) had 150 bodies. It was 32.5 meters long (source: Encyclopedia of Forensic and Legal Medicine). I don't know the other dimension, and I haven't seen a map of it. The arrangement of the bodies seems to have been quire irregular, so it wasn't a simple case of lining up one row of bodies. That said, let's suppose that the width of the grave was only enough for the length of one body - 2 meters. That means an area of 65 square meters for 150 bodies, or some 2.3 bodies per square meter. Is this comparable to the Reinhardt camps? If so, then you've become a revisionist.

The depth of burial thing is important. Knight's Forensic Pathology notes that
Deep burial, as in the usual cemetery interment, preserves the corpse better than the shallow grave seen in some concealed homicides. The deep burial is colder (except in extremely cold weather), it excludes air better and, unless waterlogged, is not directly affected by rain.
Forensic anthropology by Peggy Thomas states that
Bodies buried one to two feet underground may become skeletonized in a few months to a year, but the same process may take years for bodies buried deeper (three to four feet).
Again, the grave Roberto wants to draw a comparison with had 50 cm of overburden, which is less than 20 inches - and it wasn't even below the original soil level.


4. Roberto asks for references:
Roberto wrote:
FJ wrote:Other sources suggest that decomposition underground in fact takes place at 1/8 its surface rate , but most warn against reliance on any such heuristics, as behavior can be dramatically altered by individual conditions.
What other sources would those be?
Factor of eight for difference in rate of decomposition in burials versus on surface is known as Caspar's dictum, and is cited in e.g. Encyclopedia of Forensic Sciences, e.d. Siegel, Knupfer, & Saukko. It even has a song, if the word can apply (lyrics).
Banished from the medical community
One brilliant German forensic pathologist
Johann Casper, his nascent methods on
The rate of rot made him a cunning medico-criminalist
The heady chemical stench of decay set him free
To discover putrefaction patterns others failed to see
Internal and external bacteria coalesced
And illustrated their wisdom in a semi-liquid mess
Professor of Forensic Pathology
Disgraced by Berlin doctors
Misunderstood forensic genius
Nineteenth century medicine
Rejected forensics and outlawed him
Amongst reeking gassy corpses
Casper hatched his dark science
Medical examiners now unite
Bring Casper's Dictum to scientific light

[Casper's Dictum:]
"A week in air-two weeks in water
Two weeks in water-eight weeks in ground!"

Ballooning stiffs and liquescent corpses
Bursting models for Casper's Dictum
Streptococci and Clostridium Welchii
Battle for postmortem bacterial supremacy
Autolytic conversion hosts and breeds
While putrefactive ooze squirts from the seams
Casper draped in a rotten viscera
Popping bleb and bullae sebum
Navigating the semi-fluid black mess
Charting decay for his seminal dictum
He noticed that corpses found submerged
Decay half as fast as those uninterred
Exhumed carcasses revealed to him
Four times less rot than those in the swim
He penned a text in 1850
Called Forensic Dissection (naturally)
His dictum was touted a medicolegal success
Even Rudolf Virchow was begrudgingly impressed

[Casper's Dictum:]
"A week in air-two weeks in water
Two weeks in water-eight weeks in ground!"

Ballooning stiffs and liquescent corpses
Bursting models for Casper's Dictum
Sulphemethaemoglobin stains, putridity marbles
Blood is haemolysed
The unyielding hot logic of decay persists
Casper is immortalized
Before predation can strip the corpse clean
Casper graces the grisly crime scene
From waterlogged stiffs soughing their flesh
To exhumed partially skeletonized mulch
His ghastly rule of thumb is well known
From recently deceased to sun-bleached bone
Forensics and anatomy are hideously wed
Casper's science of the dead

Knight's Forensic Pathology warns against making predictions of stages.
As in all putrefaction, it is unrealistic to try to construct a timetable for the stages of decay in burials.
He simply observes that
The rate of decay of bodies buried in earth is much slower than of those in either air or water.
Wiley encyclopedia of forensic science states that
The interval between the time of death and final skeletonization is governed by the environment in which these processes occur, while the processes of degradation on the soil surface, which is biologically highly active, usually reach completion within several weeks, the time required for the decomposition of interred bodies takes between 3 and 12 years under favorable conditions. Under unfavorable conditions, the processes might require up to a hundred or even thousands of years before completion.

Roberto
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Re: Now that Mr. Jansson is with us ...

Post by Roberto » Tue Jun 04, 2013 12:15 pm

friedrichjansson wrote:Yet another cut-and-paste job, I see, and of limited relevance to the original post in question.
The only "cut and paste" job was meant to quote evidence and to clarify the arguments that FJ is arguing against, where he has addressed them at all, namely that decomposition is only part of my argument regarding mass grave occupancy. Additionally I examined what can be concluded from FJ's mass grave examples and other sources regarding the particular cases under observation, the mass graves at the Aktion Reinhard(t) camps. That being so, FJ's babbling about "yet another" (what other has there been?) "cut and paste job" (see before), supposedly "of limited relevance to the original post in question" (which has actually been addressed in all its "relevant" points) is a showpiece of the fellow's intellectual dishonesty. More will follow.
friedrichjansson wrote:1. Roberto actually thinks that the decomposition of a 1.5 kg piglet on the surface of the ground in Australia is a good basis for predicting the decomposition of tens or hundreds of thousands of human bodies in deep mass graves in Poland. Really, it's hard to argue against such stupidity. One can only laugh at it.
Here is the first. First of all accusing an opponent of "stupidity" is not what I would call an argument. Second, as I pointed out, my assessment is not only based on the piglet. It is based on:

1. The Australian Museum’s webpage Stages of Decomposition. This source states the following:
To illustrate the process of decomposition, we use the piglet as the model corpse. Piglets are used because a 40 kg pig resembles a human body in its fat distribution, cover of hair and ability to attract insects. These factors make pigs the next best things to humans when it comes to understanding the process of decay of the human body.
2. The webpage How long does it bring for a human body to completely disintegrate after it's be embalm?, which contains the following information:
Decomposition in the atmosphere is twice as fast as when the body is lower than water and four times as hastily as underground.
3. Alan Gunn, Essential Forensic Biology, 2009 John Wiley & Sons Ltd., Chichester, West Sussex, UK, p. 30: "Buried corpses decay approximately four times slower than those left on the surface, and the deeper they are buried, the slower they decay (Dent et al., 2004)."

4. The article «Beyond the grave - understanding human decomposition», by forensic anthropologist Arpad A. Vass. Vass and his colleagues have "worked out a simple formula, which describes the soft tissue decomposition process for persons lying on the ground. The formula is y=1285/x (where y is the number of days it takes to become skeletonized or mummified and x is the average temperature in Centigrade during the decomposition process). So, if the average temperature is 10 °C, then 1285/10 = 128.5 days for someone to become skeletonized". According to Vass's formula, the time to skeletonization at Bełżec in the late spring, summer and autumn of 1942, at temperatures presumably ranging between 20 and 30 degrees Celsius, would have been 43 to 64 days for bodies exposed to air and insects, as bodies lying in open mass graves can be expected to have been. The time until the bodies were reduced to less than half their original volume and weight through loss of fluids and other factors would be even lower.

FJ ignores 2, 3, and 4 and makes a fuss about the piglet, which fuss essentially consists of calling his opponent "stupid". Bravo, FJ! I'm sure our readers are beginning to realize what you're all about.
friedrichjansson wrote:Decomposition is highly sensitive to environment. if you want to predict the decomposition of human bodies in mass graves, then look at how humans decompose in mass graves. Relevant examples: Katyn, Vinnytsia.
Relevant examples are very nice, but none of the relevant examples is exactly comparable with the conditions in which the AR mass graves were used. The AR mass graves remained open for what could be a period of several weeks before they were closed, and when they were closing apparently amounted to covering them with a thin layer of soil. Comparing these graves to the Katyn and Vinnytsia graves is comparing apples with oranges.
friedrichjansson wrote:2. Bodies in the interior of a mass grave are better preserved than individual burials. Roberto is fighting very hard not to understand this point, despite having apparently read a source (Advances in Forensic Taphonomy, chapter 12) that lays it out very plainly for him. If he must see someone put it in as many words, try here.
It may be that bodies in the interior of mass graves observed in the cited publications, at least those in the center of the mass grave, tend to be better preserved than bodies in individual burials. The issue here is why that is so and whether the factors that account for this better preservation in the mass graves observed in those publications were equally present at the AR mass graves. Mass graves mentioned in said publications were mass graves that were closed soon after the bodies had been dumped inside, before the decomposition process started. Mass graves at the AR camps could remain open for a period of weeks, depending on their size and the number of deportees killed every day during a given period in the respective camp. The decomposition process of corpses already inside the still open mass graves would have started by the time further bodies were added, and by the time the grave was full many if not most of the bodies inside may have been in a fairly advanced stage of decomposition. What is more, as I pointed out on hand of evidence, many bodies dumped into the AR mass graves were already at some stage of the decomposition process by the time they were thrown into the mass graves. FJ's Knight's Forensic Pathology source tells us that "If the body is rotting before burial then, although the process slows down, it will still severely damage the corpse, as enzymatic and bacterial growth have had initial encouragement from a higher ambient temperature and free access of air, thereby producing conditions in which secondary invaders (including anaerobes) can continue their work in a good culture medium that is already partly liquefied by the earlier stages.". This was exactly what happened in the AR mass graves. A large part of the bodies were rotting before the graves were closed, some even before they reached the mass graves. Comparing mass burial under these conditions with mass burial in which bodies are still more or less fresh when covered with soil is comparing apples with oranges.
friedrichjansson wrote:(Incidentally, Roberto's sequence of photos entirely misses the point of my use of them. The photos were shown to illustrate the difference in preservation between tissue exposed to the body mass of the mass grave and tissue exposed to the outside earth. Tissue exposed to the body mass is better preserved, because mass graves preserve bodies.)
Yeah, I know that may be the case in the mass graves mentioned in the sources quoted by FJ, though one sees pretty little of it (unless I missed something) in the figures 12.2 and 12.3:

Image
Image

The question still is, to what extent are mass graves in which the preservation phenomena mentioned by FJ were observed comparable to the mass graves at the AR camps?
friedrichjansson wrote:3. Roberto goes through a long and tedious series of statements intended to show that the Reinhardt graves are like one grave in ex-Yugoslavia rather than another. This is one of his usual topic changing maneuvers, as I never made any comparison along those lines, and he engages in a number of vulgar tricks, such as conflating the amount of soil put over a single layer of bodies with the total amount of soil that covered the entire grave.
What "topic changing maneuvers" is FJ talking about? It's fully legitimate to establish whether and to what extent the AR mass graves compare to the Yugoslavia mass graves in FJ's example, and if FJ "never made any comparison along those lines", he failed to do something he should have done in the first place, instead of drawing conclusions from mass graves which, as I have demonstrated, are rather different (one less so than the other) from the mass graves at the AR camps, especially as concerns the state of decomposition of their contents at the time of their closure.

As to my supposed "vulgar tricks", what is this accusation other than vulgar rhetoric? The comparison that FJ is presumably referring to is the following:
Thickness and compaction of overburden: The description of the Ocvara mass grave ("The grave at Ovcara was relatively deep with clay soil that facilitated drainage from surrounding fields. The overburden had been firmly compacted.") suggests that the overburden was quite thick, considering that this "relatively deep" grave contained "only" 200 dead bodies. The overburden had also been firmly compacted. By contrast, Gertein’s description of the mass graves at Bełżec, quoted in Part 3 of the blog series «Mattogno, Graf & Kues on the Aktion Reinhard(t) Mass Graves», suggests that the overburden was everything other than thick and compacted ("Then ten centimetres of sand were spread over the pit, so that a few heads and arms still rose from it here and there."). MGK, as quoted in the aforementioned blog, assume an overburden 30 cms thick for the Bełżec and Sobibór mass graves.
So, am I comparing the overburden of a single layer of bodies in one set of graves (AR) with the overburden of covering the entire grave (Ocvara)? No, I'm comparing the layer that covered the former graves with the layer that covered the latter, apples with apples. If FJ has any evidence that in the AR mass graves layers below the topmost layer of bodies were covered with something comparable to the Ocvara grave's final cover, as opposed to a thin layer of sand that didn't hinder further decomposition, he may accuse me of making inappropriate comparisons. If not, the only vulgar trick here is FJ's misrepresentation of my argument.
friedrichjansson wrote:It is worth mentioning that the grave he wants to compare the Reinhardt graves to was not dug into the ground at all. It contained 150 bodies, for the most part in 1 to 3 layers, over which some loose gravel removed from the other side of the road was dumped. Roberto asserts that the drainage at the Reinhardt camps was similar to this grave, but it was situated on a road embankment with the bodies lying on inclined ground, and they weren't even below the original ground level of the site. That isn't even remotely similar.
Sorry, but why exactly is the low depth of the Cerska grave supposed to rule out comparing drainage? Drainage essentially depends on the composition of the soil below the bodies. Thus it is perfectly legitimate to determine whether the Cerska or the Ocvara grave was more comparable to the AR graves in this respect, the result of this examination being the following:
Soil drainage: in the Ocvara grave, clay soil "facilitated drainage from surrounding fields", and drainage conditions contributed to "trap moisture". I understand this as meaning that moisture got into the grave from surrounding fields but did not so easily leave the grave in the direction of the subsoil below. By contrast, in the Cerska mass grave (the other of FJ’s "examples from ex-Yugoslavia"), "Drainage was transient and encouraged rinsing and draining of bodily fluids and products of decomposition from the area". This suggests that the better the drainage from the grave, the more liquids from the corpses will seep into the soil below the grave, and the more strongly the corpses will decompose/dessicate. What was drainage like at the Aktion Reinhard(t) camps, where the soil where soil was sandy (see, as concerns the composition of the soil at Sobibór, the film I made there on 14 October 2008)? Probably quite good, considering that sandy soil facilitates drainage, as is for instance mentioned on this page:
[...]


On this page, one reads that
[...]
It thus seems safe to conclude that, as concerns drainage of liquids from the grave, the Aktion Reinhard(t) mass graves resembled the Cerska mass grave rather than the Ocvara mass grave.
Mark that I'm not saying that the Cerska mass grave is altogether like the AR mass graves as concerns soil drainage. The argument is that, of the two graves presented by FJ (Cerska and Ocvara), the former comes closer to the AR graves as concerns drainage than the latter.
friedrichjansson wrote:Now, Roberto, how many layers of bodies do you think there were at the Reinhardt camps? One to three? Ok, then maybe we are in agreement.
What's that supposed to mean, except a dishonest straw-man set up by FJ? My dishonest opponent is acting as if I had argued that Cerska and the AR mass graves are exactly the same in every respect, which of course I did not. Following my main argument that neither of the two Yugoslavia graves can be compared to the AR graves as concerns what I consider the essential aspect (decomposition of bodies inside the graves before the graves were closed), I additionally pointed out that the Cerska graves, in which corpses were less well preserved, had more things in common with the AR graves (as concerns drainage and exposure of at least the top layer(s) to sun/heat) than the Ocvara grave, in which corpses were better preserved.
friedrichjansson wrote:Cerska (the grave Roberto is comparing with) had 150 bodies. It was 32.5 meters long (source: Encyclopedia of Forensic and Legal Medicine). I don't know the other dimension, and I haven't seen a map of it. The arrangement of the bodies seems to have been quire irregular, so it wasn't a simple case of lining up one row of bodies. That said, let's suppose that the width of the grave was only enough for the length of one body - 2 meters. That means an area of 65 square meters for 150 bodies, or some 2.3 bodies per square meter. Is this comparable to the Reinhardt camps? If so, then you've become a revisionist.
Another silly straw-man, which speaks volumes about my opponent's intellectual (dis)honesty. Of course there are differences between the Cerska grave and the AR graves, especially as concerns size and concentration of corpses, which may have favored decomposition in the Cerska grave as compared to the AR graves. On the other hand, one important factor completely ignored by FJ (decomposition of corpses in the grave before the grave was closed, sometimes even before the corpses were thrown into the grave) favored further decomposition inside the AR mass graves (once begun, decomposition will continue even if the grave is closed, according to Knight's Forensic Pathology) in a manner that was not observed in either of the Yugoslavia mass graves. Additionally there were factors favoring decomposition (soil drainage, exposure of at least the top layers to sun/heat) that rendered the AR graves more comparable to the Yugoslavia grave in which the corpses were much decomposed than to the Yugoslavia grave in which the corpses were well preserved. More but not wholly comparable, as size on the one hand and decomposition before closing on the other means that the AR graves are not wholly comparable to either of the Yugoslavia graves.
friedrichjansson wrote:The depth of burial thing is important. Knight's Forensic Pathology notes that
Deep burial, as in the usual cemetery interment, preserves the corpse better than the shallow grave seen in some concealed homicides. The deep burial is colder (except in extremely cold weather), it excludes air better and, unless waterlogged, is not directly affected by rain.
Forensic anthropology by Peggy Thomas states that
Bodies buried one to two feet underground may become skeletonized in a few months to a year, but the same process may take years for bodies buried deeper (three to four feet).
Again, the grave Roberto wants to draw a comparison with had 50 cm of overburden, which is less than 20 inches - and it wasn't even below the original soil level.
Depth of burial may slow down decomposition in mass graves where bodies had not started decomposing before the mass grave was closed, but would it make much of a difference where the grave consists of layer upon layer of corpses that mostly started decomposing before the grave was closed, in many cases even before they entered the graves? I don't think so, but maybe FJ can provide some data about the decomposition-slowing effect of deeper burial under such conditions.
friedrichjansson wrote:4. Roberto asks for references:
Roberto wrote:
FJ wrote:Other sources suggest that decomposition underground in fact takes place at 1/8 its surface rate , but most warn against reliance on any such heuristics, as behavior can be dramatically altered by individual conditions.
What other sources would those be?
Factor of eight for difference in rate of decomposition in burials versus on surface is known as Caspar's dictum, and is cited in e.g. Encyclopedia of Forensic Sciences, e.d. Siegel, Knupfer, & Saukko. It even has a song, if the word can apply (lyrics).
Banished from the medical community
One brilliant German forensic pathologist
Johann Casper, his nascent methods on
The rate of rot made him a cunning medico-criminalist
The heady chemical stench of decay set him free
To discover putrefaction patterns others failed to see
Internal and external bacteria coalesced
And illustrated their wisdom in a semi-liquid mess
Professor of Forensic Pathology
Disgraced by Berlin doctors
Misunderstood forensic genius
Nineteenth century medicine
Rejected forensics and outlawed him
Amongst reeking gassy corpses
Casper hatched his dark science
Medical examiners now unite
Bring Casper's Dictum to scientific light

[Casper's Dictum:]
"A week in air-two weeks in water
Two weeks in water-eight weeks in ground!"

Ballooning stiffs and liquescent corpses
Bursting models for Casper's Dictum
Streptococci and Clostridium Welchii
Battle for postmortem bacterial supremacy
Autolytic conversion hosts and breeds
While putrefactive ooze squirts from the seams
Casper draped in a rotten viscera
Popping bleb and bullae sebum
Navigating the semi-fluid black mess
Charting decay for his seminal dictum
He noticed that corpses found submerged
Decay half as fast as those uninterred
Exhumed carcasses revealed to him
Four times less rot than those in the swim
He penned a text in 1850
Called Forensic Dissection (naturally)
His dictum was touted a medicolegal success
Even Rudolf Virchow was begrudgingly impressed

[Casper's Dictum:]
"A week in air-two weeks in water
Two weeks in water-eight weeks in ground!"

Ballooning stiffs and liquescent corpses
Bursting models for Casper's Dictum
Sulphemethaemoglobin stains, putridity marbles
Blood is haemolysed
The unyielding hot logic of decay persists
Casper is immortalized
Before predation can strip the corpse clean
Casper graces the grisly crime scene
From waterlogged stiffs soughing their flesh
To exhumed partially skeletonized mulch
His ghastly rule of thumb is well known
From recently deceased to sun-bleached bone
Forensics and anatomy are hideously wed
Casper's science of the dead
Ah, good old Casper. Nice song, but there are also different data, e.g. the following:

2. The webpage How long does it bring for a human body to completely disintegrate after it's be embalm?, which contains the following information:
Decomposition in the atmosphere is twice as fast as when the body is lower than water and four times as hastily as underground.
3. Alan Gunn, Essential Forensic Biology, 2009 John Wiley & Sons Ltd., Chichester, West Sussex, UK, p. 30: "Buried corpses decay approximately four times slower than those left on the surface, and the deeper they are buried, the slower they decay (Dent et al., 2004)."
friedrichjansson wrote:Knight's Forensic Pathology warns against making predictions of stages.
As in all putrefaction, it is unrealistic to try to construct a timetable for the stages of decay in burials.
He simply observes that
The rate of decay of bodies buried in earth is much slower than of those in either air or water.
That's all very fine, but when if one is trying to model decomposition rates one needs a rule-of-thumb figure, and I haven't yet seen a demonstration from FJ or anybody else that the decomposition rates I considered for the AR graves are out of the question considering the particularities of these graves. Besides, none of these data are obviously considering scenarios in which many or more of the corpses are already decomposing when the grave is closed.
friedrichjansson wrote:Wiley encyclopedia of forensic science states that
The interval between the time of death and final skeletonization is governed by the environment in which these processes occur, while the processes of degradation on the soil surface, which is biologically highly active, usually reach completion within several weeks, the time required for the decomposition of interred bodies takes between 3 and 12 years under favorable conditions. Under unfavorable conditions, the processes might require up to a hundred or even thousands of years before completion.
3 to 12 years for skeletonization, according to Wiley. This source, on the other hand, tells us that "inside a year all to be precise usually left is the skeleton and teeth". And of course we're not talking about skeletonization here but about dehydration and size reduction. And we are talking about decomposition that largely occurred in open graves before they were closed and continued thereafter, which is not what either Wiley or my source had in mind. In this blog I wrote the following:
The four phases described above take place in the open air respectively 4 to 10 days, 10 to 20 days, 20 to 50 days and 50 to 365 days after death. If the corpses are buried, these processes take four times longer[111]. However, in the open Bełżec mass graves the corpses – at least those in the upper layers – were still in contact with air, so decomposition must have been faster than with bodies buried underground, if not necessarily as fast as with bodies lying in the open. Forensic anthropologist Arpad A. Vass and his colleagues have "worked out a simple formula, which describes the soft tissue decomposition process for persons lying on the ground. The formula is y=1285/x (where y is the number of days it takes to become skeletonized or mummified and x is the average temperature in Centigrade during the decomposition process). So, if the average temperature is 10 °C, then 1285/10 = 128.5 days for someone to become skeletonized".[112] According to Vass's formula, the time to skeletonization at Bełżec in the late spring, summer and autumn of 1942, at temperatures presumably ranging between 20 and 30 degrees Celsius, would have been 43 to 64 days for bodies exposed to air and insects, as bodies lying in open mass graves can be expected to have been. The time until the bodies were reduced to less than half their original volume and weight through loss of fluids and other factors would be even lower.
Denial of generally known historical facts should not be punishable. For those who maintain, for instance, that Germany did not take part in World War I or that Adenauer fought at Issus in 333, their own stupidity is punishment enough. The same should apply to the denial of the horrors and crimes of the recent German past.
~ A German jurist by the name of Baumann in the German juridical magazine NJW, quoted in: Bailer-Galanda/Benz/Neugebauer (ed.), Die Auschwitzleugner, Berlin 1996, page 261 (my translation).

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Re: Now that Mr. Jansson is with us ...

Post by Ilol'd » Tue Jun 04, 2013 12:50 pm

If you have a layer of corpses at the bottom and throw new corpses over them, that prevents air getting to them, no? So even if they weren't covered with earth, the decomposition would be slowed down anyway. Obviously not as much as if there was a layer of earth over them, and only for the bottom corpses, but comparing them to a pig carcass on the open is not a fair comparison.

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Re: Now that Mr. Jansson is with us ...

Post by friedrichjansson » Wed Jun 05, 2013 4:14 am

1. Roberto tries to defend his use of the decomposition of a 1.5 kg piglet lying on the surface of the ground in Australia as the foundation of a calculation of how tens or hundreds of thousands of human bodies will decompose in deep mass graves in Poland. This is extremely silly. I'll respond to just one point.
Roberto wrote:
To illustrate the process of decomposition, we use the piglet as the model corpse. Piglets are used because a 40 kg pig resembles a human body in its fat distribution, cover of hair and ability to attract insects. These factors make pigs the next best things to humans when it comes to understanding the process of decay of the human body.
No-one questions the suitability of pigs as analogues of humans for decomposition studies. If you wanted to extrapolate from the decomposition in a pig burial, you should use a burial. For instance, use the one in the paper on lime which I've cited before
Screenshot-4.png
The weight of the pigs used was 14-20 kg, which makes them a little more relevant. The burial was in a shallow grave (31-37 cm deep) for six months (February to August) in Belgium. And no, Roberto, the bodies weren't dessicated. What's more, they had been decomposing on the surface for 3 to 10 days before burial (more on this later).

Speaking of this paper, it offers us another look at why the small size of a 1.5 kg piglet makes it an unsuitable analogue.
Research revealed that larger tissue pieces desiccate at a slower rate than smaller ones because of the relation between surface area and volume. [...] Tissue depth also has a significant effect, with a longer time needed to transfer moisture from the internal organs (such as the heart tissue) of the body core to the skin surface than it will to remove moisture from the muscle of more peripheral structures overlying the limbs.
Of course, this was already pretty obvious to everyone except Roberto.

2. On the preservative effect of mass graves, some clarification is needed. Why and how do mass graves preserve bodies? They preserve bodies in their interior, inside what's known as the body mass, because of its chemical environment. The preservation occurs when you have body on body contact, and a region whose chemistry is dominated by the bodies and their fluids. The decay of bodies on the exterior of a mass grave is not subject to this effect.

Now, let's compare the different mass graves with respect to their geometry, and the the consequent presence or absence of a large interior of their body masses.

Grave..............................number of layers of bodies...............................preservation of bodies
Katyn..............................up to 12..........................................................good
Vinnytsia..........................many - any one have exact figures?..................good
Ovcara............................up to 8............................................................good
Cerska.............................1 to 3..............................................................mostly bad, but better in the interior of the grave (where there was an interior)
Reinhardt (alleged)............several dozen....................................................?????

Roberto is trying to compare the Reinhardt graves with the Cerska grave. Hmm....

3. Roberto states
friedrichjansson wrote:Decomposition is highly sensitive to environment. if you want to predict the decomposition of human bodies in mass graves, then look at how humans decompose in mass graves. Relevant examples: Katyn, Vinnytsia.
Relevant examples are very nice, but none of the relevant examples is exactly comparable with the conditions in which the AR mass graves were used. The AR mass graves remained open for what could be a period of several weeks before they were closed, and when they were closing apparently amounted to covering them with a thin layer of soil. Comparing these graves to the Katyn and Vinnytsia graves is comparing apples with oranges.
Not at all. Katyn and Vinnytsia weren't the work of a single day. At Vinnytsia in particular there were several separate layers marking the separate rounds of burials.

What's more, the Reinhardt graves only differ in being larger (and hence more suitable for the mass grave preservation effect). Consider a hypothetical 500 square meter grave. Bodies can be placed in the grave at a density of 2 per square meter, so one layer is 1000 bodies. You kill 3000 people each day, so every day 3 layers of bodies go into the graves. The bodies are therefore rapidly deeply buried. Half of the pigs in the study cited above weren't buried until 10 days postmortem. At that time - when these pigs were just being buried - there would have been some 30 layers of bodies covering the corresponding corpses in our Reinhardt example. But Roberto treats this as though the bodies were on the surface.

4. Roberto states
What is more, as I pointed out on hand of evidence, many bodies dumped into the AR mass graves were already at some stage of the decomposition process by the time they were thrown into the mass graves.
Remember that the same guy who claims that the bodies were already decomposing before burial also claims that they were buried so quickly after they were gassed that no-one managed to see the red lividity associated with CO poisoning! That is, they were all buried and covered with earth within the hour after gassing.

The decomposition before burial only applies to those who died on the trains, or other irregular deaths. In any case, see the example of the study with pigs cited above, with burials 10 days postmortem (addressed further in the next section).

5. Roberto states
FJ's Knight's Forensic Pathology source tells us that "If the body is rotting before burial then, although the process slows down, it will still severely damage the corpse, as enzymatic and bacterial growth have had initial encouragement from a higher ambient temperature and free access of air, thereby producing conditions in which secondary invaders (including anaerobes) can continue their work in a good culture medium that is already partly liquefied by the earlier stages.". This was exactly what happened in the AR mass graves. A large part of the bodies were rotting before the graves were closed, some even before they reached the mass graves. Comparing mass burial under these conditions with mass burial in which bodies are still more or less fresh when covered with soil is comparing apples with oranges.
Degree of decomposition at burial affects decomposition, but mainly in the early stages. It does not seem to make too much of a long term difference. Consider the study on lime cited above. They worked with one group of pigs buried 3 days after death, and another group of pigs buried 10 days after death. In two out of three parallel cases, including the one in the unlimed grave, the bodies buried 3 days postmortem were more decomposed after six months of burial than the ones buried 10 days postmortem.
Screenshot-44.png
Screenshot-301.png
6. Roberto is still trying to ignore the differences in drainage at the Reinhardt camps versus Cerska, in particular the fact that the Cerska grave was on an incline. In fact it was on the lower bank of the road in this photo
Screenshot-45.png
The bodies were simply deposited on the surface of the slope, and gravel from the other side of the road was deposited on top of them.

The difference in drainage associated with the slope is obvious.


--edit: fix formatting, typo

Roberto
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Re: Now that Mr. Jansson is with us ...

Post by Roberto » Wed Jun 05, 2013 11:38 am

friedrichjansson wrote:1. Roberto tries to defend his use of the decomposition of a 1.5 kg piglet lying on the surface of the ground in Australia as the foundation of a calculation of how tens or hundreds of thousands of human bodies will decompose in deep mass graves in Poland.
A misrepresentation in that the piglet's decomposition isn't my only foundation, and FJ's hammering the pig's weight also seems inappropriate. The issue here is
a) how long it takes for human or animal carcasses to decompose in the open, and
b) to what extent data from human or animal decomposition in the open can be applied to conditions in the AR mass graves, considering that they remained open for longer periods of time before being full, that the bodies inside started decomposing during that time, and that even after the graves were closed they were covered with such a shallow layer of soil that decomposition was hardly checked, at least in the upper layers.

As concerns a), it's irrelevant whether you model calculations on one 1.5 kg piglet or on hundreds or thousands of such piglets lying all over the landscape. Hundreds or thousands of such piglets will decompose at the same rates as one, and I also don't expect much of a difference in decomposition rates between a piglet and an adult pig, which means that the same applies to hundreds of thousands of such pigs. Pigs having an organism very similar to that human being, they are a good model to study human decomposition, as pointed out by the Australian Museum.

As concerns b), it may be that corpses lying in lower layers of an open grave and covered by other corpses are not as much exposed to decomposition as corpses in upper layers, but I don't see any indication that decomposition will be stalled in those lower layers. In my calculations I made an allowance for eventual lower decomposition rates in lower layers by assuming a lesser degree of decomposition than would correspond to what the Australian Museum or Arpad Vass's article suggest for the time elapsed since placing the corpses in the graves. According to Vass's formula, the time to skeletonization at Bełżec in the late spring, summer and autumn of 1942, at temperatures presumably ranging between 20 and 30 degrees Celsius, would have been 43 to 64 days for bodies exposed to air and insects, but I don't remember having assumed that any corpse was skeletonized after 43 to 64 bodies in the mass graves; IIRC I considered bodies to have been in the stage of butyric fermentation after such times, or even in that of black putrefaction. I also didn't consider any intermediate stages of the decomposition process, meaning that, if the time of lying in a grave didn't correspond to the time at which a given state of decomposition is present according to the Australian Museum or Arpad Vass's calculations, I considered the bodies to have not been decomposed. Thus I for instance wrote the following regarding the mass graves at Bełżec in the related article:
Applying the same criterion as in regard to Sobibór, it is assumed that the corpses buried until August 1942 inclusive were in an advanced state of decomposition in which they had lost all or most of their water content (category "B"), while those buried later, despite having presumably also undergone significant dehydration, are for good measure counted as non-decomposed corpses of malnourished deportees (category "C").
For these reasons I consider my model to more or less accurately reflect the degree to which the corpses in the AR mass graves decomposed over the relevant periods.
friedrichjansson wrote:This is extremely silly. I'll respond to just one point.
You may respond to as many points as you like, but try to do without the misrepresentations of my arguments and without weasel-words. Both are indications of an inadequate argument.
friedrichjansson wrote:
Roberto wrote:
To illustrate the process of decomposition, we use the piglet as the model corpse. Piglets are used because a 40 kg pig resembles a human body in its fat distribution, cover of hair and ability to attract insects. These factors make pigs the next best things to humans when it comes to understanding the process of decay of the human body.
No-one questions the suitability of pigs as analogues of humans for decomposition studies. If you wanted to extrapolate from the decomposition in a pig burial, you should use a burial.
The reason why I am considering above-ground rather than below-ground decomposition times has been explained.
friedrichjansson wrote:For instance, use the one in the paper on lime which I've cited before
Screenshot-4.png
The weight of the pigs used was 14-20 kg, which makes them a little more relevant. The burial was in a shallow grave (31-37 cm deep) for six months (February to August) in Belgium. And no, Roberto, the bodies weren't dessicated. What's more, they had been decomposing on the surface for 3 to 10 days before burial (more on this later).
And what is still more, they (or at least the less decomposed ones) have been buried with quicklime, which (as FJ pointed out in another CODOH thread) inhibits or slows down decomposition. Quicklime is also reported to have been used at the AR camps, but I doubt it was used in concentrations (compared to the body mass in the graves) that even remotely compare to the concentrations suggested by the above images. Quicklime, please correct me if I'm wrong, is used to reduce or control the stench of decomposition, and what is known from witness testimonies and documentary evidence about the infernal stench that emanated from the AR mass graves does not suggest an abundant let alone effective use of quicklime. Franz Suchomel, for instance, remembered that the corpses in the Treblinka mass graves "stank horribly for miles around". And as late as October 1942, the mass graves at Treblinka issued such a stench of decomposition that the Wehrmacht’s local commandant at Ostrow, a town 20 kilometers away from Treblinka, complained about the environmental disturbance:
OK Ostrow reports that the Jews in Treblinka are not adequately buried and as a result an unbearable smell of cadavers pollutes the air.
(Christopher R Browning, Evidence for the Implementation of the Final Solution, chapter V. Section C., quoting from the War Diary of the Oberquartiermeister, Mbfh Polen, 1.5..41-31.12.43, in National Archives, T-501/219/461. (OK Ostrow meldet, dass die Juden in Treblinka nicht ausreichend beerdigt seien und infolgedessen ein unerträglicher Kadavergeruch die Luft verpestet.))
friedrichjansson wrote:Speaking of this paper, it offers us another look at why the small size of a 1.5 kg piglet makes it an unsuitable analogue.
Research revealed that larger tissue pieces desiccate at a slower rate than smaller ones because of the relation between surface area and volume. [...] Tissue depth also has a significant effect, with a longer time needed to transfer moisture from the internal organs (such as the heart tissue) of the body core to the skin surface than it will to remove moisture from the muscle of more peripheral structures overlying the limbs.
Interesting, but of limited use without quantitative data about how much longer than smaller organisms larger organisms tend to decompose. And also of limited relevance insofar as I didn't base my calculations on the piglet alone but also considered, among others, Arpad Vass's formula regarding the decomposition of human corpses.
friedrichjansson wrote:Of course, this was already pretty obvious to everyone except Roberto.
Careful with the "obvious to everyone" and other such rhetoric, which is the mark of the charlatan.
friedrichjansson wrote:2. On the preservative effect of mass graves, some clarification is needed. Why and how do mass graves preserve bodies? They preserve bodies in their interior, inside what's known as the body mass, because of its chemical environment. The preservation occurs when you have body on body contact, and a region whose chemistry is dominated by the bodies and their fluids. The decay of bodies on the exterior of a mass grave is not subject to this effect.
And to what extent is the decay of bodies on the interior of a mass grave subject to this effect, if it has already started before the body mass in the mass grave created this special chemical environment?
I again refer to FJ's own quote from Knight's Forensic Pathology, which includes the following information:
If the body is rotting before burial then, although the process slows down, it will still severely damage the corpse, as enzymatic and bacterial growth have had initial encouragement from a higher ambient temperature and free access of air, thereby producing conditions in which secondary invaders (including anaerobes) can continue their work in a good culture medium that is already partly liquefied by the earlier stages.
friedrichjansson wrote:Now, let's compare the different mass graves with respect to their geometry, and the the consequent presence or absence of a large interior of their body masses.

Grave..............................number of layers of bodies...............................preservation of bodies
Katyn..............................up to 12..........................................................good
Vinnytsia..........................many - any one have exact figures?..................good
Ovcara............................up to 8............................................................good
Cerska.............................1 to 3..............................................................mostly bad, but better in the interior of the grave (where there was an interior)
Reinhardt (alleged)............several dozen....................................................?????
Interesting comparison, but flawed insofar as an essential factor present in the AR mass graves, decomposition prior to the graves' closure (and presumably also afterwards as concerns the upper layers, considering how thin the cover was) was not present, or not present to a comparable extent, in the graves that the AR graves are being compared with.
friedrichjansson wrote:Roberto is trying to compare the Reinhardt graves with the Cerska grave. Hmm....
I compare the Reinhard(t) graves with the Cerska grave only as concerns soil conditions and the top layers' exposure to sun/heat, as FJ well knows. FJ also knows that my comparison is meant to demonstrate that the AR graves had more in common with the Cerska grave than with the Ovcara grave. Finally and most important, FJ is aware that my comparison is secondary to the essential argument that decomposition prior to the mass graves' closure, at least on the extent it can be assumed to have occurred in the AR mass graves, was absent in the mass graves that the AR graves are being compared with. So what FJ is doing here is called setting up a straw-man, caricaturing his opponent's position to make it easier to attack.
friedrichjansson wrote:3. Roberto states
friedrichjansson wrote:Decomposition is highly sensitive to environment. if you want to predict the decomposition of human bodies in mass graves, then look at how humans decompose in mass graves. Relevant examples: Katyn, Vinnytsia.
Relevant examples are very nice, but none of the relevant examples is exactly comparable with the conditions in which the AR mass graves were used. The AR mass graves remained open for what could be a period of several weeks before they were closed, and when they were closing apparently amounted to covering them with a thin layer of soil. Comparing these graves to the Katyn and Vinnytsia graves is comparing apples with oranges.
Not at all. Katyn and Vinnytsia weren't the work of a single day. At Vinnytsia in particular there were several separate layers marking the separate rounds of burials.
Aha. And do we know how long it took in total to get the corpses underground at Katyn and Vinnytsia?
friedrichjansson wrote:What's more, the Reinhardt graves only differ in being larger (and hence more suitable for the mass grave preservation effect). Consider a hypothetical 500 square meter grave. Bodies can be placed in the grave at a density of 2 per square meter, so one layer is 1000 bodies. You kill 3000 people each day, so every day 3 layers of bodies go into the graves. The bodies are therefore rapidly deeply buried.
3,000 bodies per day, assuming that this number of people were killed every day (which wasn't necessarily the case, as transports didn't always arrive at regular intervals and/or were not always this large) would mean 10 days to fill a mass grave with a capacity of 30,000 dead bodies. Mass graves at Treblinka, and at least one of the mass graves at Sobibór, were much larger than that. As concerns Treblinka, the defendant Suchomel at the 1st Düsseldorf Treblinka trial mentioned that at least one of the mass graves had contained no less than 80,000 corpses at the time it was closed. At a rate of 3,000 corpses per day, it would take 27 days to fill that grave, assuming that transports arrived every day, longer if transports arrived at longer intervals. Sobibór mass grave # 4, according to my calculations, had a volume available for burial of ca. 6,800 cubic meters. This mass grave probably contained all about 80,000 corpses buried at Sobibór between mid-May and late July 1942. Regarding Bełżec, I calculated the mass graves' filling rate here, based on Arad's timeline of transports to that camp.
friedrichjansson wrote:Half of the pigs in the study cited above weren't buried until 10 days postmortem.
But then they were buried in quicklime, right? Which makes them unsuitable for comparison for the reasons explained. Were they also sprinkled with quicklime prior to burial?
friedrichjansson wrote:At that time - when these pigs were just being buried - there would have been some 30 layers of bodies covering the corresponding corpses in our Reinhardt example.
Depending on the size of the grave. The area of Sobibór mass grave # 4, see here, was about 1,575 square meters, so the number of layers would have been correspondingly lower. For the Treblinka mass graves, Alex Bay calculated an area of 50x25 = 1,250 square meters.
friedrichjansson wrote:But Roberto treats this as though the bodies were on the surface.
No I don't. Allowances for slower decomposition rates in bottom layers are made in my calculations, as explained above.
friedrichjansson wrote:4. Roberto states
What is more, as I pointed out on hand of evidence, many bodies dumped into the AR mass graves were already at some stage of the decomposition process by the time they were thrown into the mass graves.
Remember that the same guy who claims that the bodies were already decomposing before burial also claims that they were buried so quickly after they were gassed that no-one managed to see the red lividity associated with CO poisoning! That is, they were all buried and covered with earth within the hour after gassing.
The red lividity associated with CO poisoning (to the extent that the victims succumbed to CO poisoning and not to suffocation, that lividity was not bleached out by pressure, and that it came into being at all despite the conditions mentioned here) might take several hours to become confluent, i.e. so prominent that one of the relatively few eyewitnesses who described the corpses' removal from the gas chambers and their burial might have noticed it if that witness had paid much attention to this detail, which considering the overall horror of the scene and the scant difference in conspicuousness to "normal" livor mortis is rather unlikely. And it's not like bodies placed in mass graves had been covered with a thick layer of earth hindering exposure to air and thus decomposition. Sources report a rather thin layer of sand or quicklime poured over each layer of corpses.
friedrichjansson wrote:The decomposition before burial only applies to those who died on the trains, or other irregular deaths.
Of which there were a lot, especially in the early stages when processing of transports was rather chaotic and many of the deportees perished in the trains already. See the sources quoted in my OP on this thread.
friedrichjansson wrote:In any case, see the example of the study with pigs cited above, with burials 10 days postmortem (addressed further in the next section).
Not an appropriate example for the reasons explained.
friedrichjansson wrote:5. Roberto states
FJ's Knight's Forensic Pathology source tells us that "If the body is rotting before burial then, although the process slows down, it will still severely damage the corpse, as enzymatic and bacterial growth have had initial encouragement from a higher ambient temperature and free access of air, thereby producing conditions in which secondary invaders (including anaerobes) can continue their work in a good culture medium that is already partly liquefied by the earlier stages.". This was exactly what happened in the AR mass graves. A large part of the bodies were rotting before the graves were closed, some even before they reached the mass graves. Comparing mass burial under these conditions with mass burial in which bodies are still more or less fresh when covered with soil is comparing apples with oranges.
Degree of decomposition at burial affects decomposition, but mainly in the early stages. It does not seem to make too much of a long term difference.
Says who?

And how does this change the fact that decomposition, once begun, will continue underground?
friedrichjansson wrote:Consider the study on lime cited above. They worked with one group of pigs buried 3 days after death, and another group of pigs buried 10 days after death. In two out of three parallel cases, including the one in the unlimed grave, the bodies buried 3 days postmortem were more decomposed after six months of burial than the ones buried 10 days postmortem.
Under the same soil and other environmental conditions, or under different soil and other environmental conditions?
friedrichjansson wrote:6. Roberto is still trying to ignore the differences in drainage at the Reinhardt camps versus Cerska, in particular the fact that the Cerska grave was on an incline. In fact it was on the lower bank of the road in this photo
Screenshot-45.png
The bodies were simply deposited on the surface of the slope, and gravel from the other side of the road was deposited on top of them.

The difference in drainage associated with the slope is obvious.
I don't remember having stated that the Cerska mass grave was exactly like the AR mass graves as concerns soil drainage. My argument was that it resembles the Cerska mass grave more than it does the Ovcara mass grave in this respect.
Denial of generally known historical facts should not be punishable. For those who maintain, for instance, that Germany did not take part in World War I or that Adenauer fought at Issus in 333, their own stupidity is punishment enough. The same should apply to the denial of the horrors and crimes of the recent German past.
~ A German jurist by the name of Baumann in the German juridical magazine NJW, quoted in: Bailer-Galanda/Benz/Neugebauer (ed.), Die Auschwitzleugner, Berlin 1996, page 261 (my translation).

Ilol'd
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Re: Now that Mr. Jansson is with us ...

Post by Ilol'd » Wed Jun 05, 2013 12:09 pm

Roberto wrote:But then they were buried in quicklime, right? Which makes them unsuitable for comparison for the reasons explained.
Roberto wrote:Sources report a rather thin layer of sand or quicklime poured over each layer of corpses.
I lol'd.

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Re: Now that Mr. Jansson is with us ...

Post by friedrichjansson » Wed Jun 05, 2013 1:55 pm

Roberto wrote:
friedrichjansson wrote:For instance, use the one in the paper on lime which I've cited before
Screenshot-4.png
The weight of the pigs used was 14-20 kg, which makes them a little more relevant. The burial was in a shallow grave (31-37 cm deep) for six months (February to August) in Belgium. And no, Roberto, the bodies weren't dessicated. What's more, they had been decomposing on the surface for 3 to 10 days before burial (more on this later).
And what is still more, they (or at least the less decomposed ones) have been buried with quicklime, which (as FJ pointed out in another CODOH thread) inhibits or slows down decomposition.
READ, man! Read the article, or at least read the images I posted, or failing that read what I wrote:
friedrichjansson wrote: In two out of three parallel cases, including the one in the unlimed grave, the bodies buried 3 days postmortem were more decomposed after six months of burial than the ones buried 10 days postmortem.
Again: one of the 3 day postmortem and one of the 10 day postmortem pigs were buried in graves without lime as a control group. After six months, the pig buried 3 days postmortem was more decomposed than the one buried 10 days postmortem.
Roberto wrote:
friedrichjansson wrote:Half of the pigs in the study cited above weren't buried until 10 days postmortem.
But then they were buried in quicklime, right? Which makes them unsuitable for comparison for the reasons explained. Were they also sprinkled with quicklime prior to burial?
Yet again:
friedrichjansson wrote: In two out of three parallel cases, including the one in the unlimed grave, the bodies buried 3 days postmortem were more decomposed after six months of burial than the ones buried 10 days postmortem.
Again: one of the 3 day postmortem and one of the 10 day postmortem pigs were buried in graves without lime as a control group. After six months, the pig buried 3 days postmortem was more decomposed than the one buried 10 days postmortem.
Roberto wrote:
friedrichjansson wrote:At that time - when these pigs were just being buried - there would have been some 30 layers of bodies covering the corresponding corpses in our Reinhardt example.
Depending on the size of the grave. The area of Sobibór mass grave # 4, see here, was about 1,575 square meters, so the number of layers would have been correspondingly lower. For the Treblinka mass graves, Alex Bay calculated an area of 50x25 = 1,250 square meters.
But this is not the case at Belzec. And just how large were the pits at Treblinka reported by Sturdy Colls? Were they larger or smaller than 500 square meters?
Roberto wrote:
friedrichjansson wrote:4. Roberto states
What is more, as I pointed out on hand of evidence, many bodies dumped into the AR mass graves were already at some stage of the decomposition process by the time they were thrown into the mass graves.
Remember that the same guy who claims that the bodies were already decomposing before burial also claims that they were buried so quickly after they were gassed that no-one managed to see the red lividity associated with CO poisoning! That is, they were all buried and covered with earth within the hour after gassing.
The red lividity associated with CO poisoning (to the extent that the victims succumbed to CO poisoning and not to suffocation, that lividity was not bleached out by pressure
The "bleached out by pressure" thing is yet another imbecile blunder of Roberto's. Pressure only prevents the formation of lividity at the point where it's applied. It does this because it pushes the blood elsewhere, where the lividity just gets more intense. It's just like pushing on your arm: the skin where you're pushing turns pale, but the rest of your body doesn't turn pale. Unless you think the Jews were kept deep underwater, this argument is inapplicable.

On the "succumbed to suffocation" thing, see these notes. They wouldn't have.
Roberto wrote:
friedrichjansson wrote:In any case, see the example of the study with pigs cited above, with burials 10 days postmortem (addressed further in the next section).
Not an appropriate example for the reasons explained.
Ok, once again from the top.

READ, man! Read the article, or at least read the images I posted, or failing that read what I wrote:
friedrichjansson wrote: In two out of three parallel cases, including the one in the unlimed grave, the bodies buried 3 days postmortem were more decomposed after six months of burial than the ones buried 10 days postmortem.
Again: one of the 3 day postmortem and one of the 10 day postmortem pigs were buried in graves without lime as a control group. After six months, the pig buried 3 days postmortem was more decomposed than the one buried 10 days postmortem.
Roberto wrote:
friedrichjansson wrote:Consider the study on lime cited above. They worked with one group of pigs buried 3 days after death, and another group of pigs buried 10 days after death. In two out of three parallel cases, including the one in the unlimed grave, the bodies buried 3 days postmortem were more decomposed after six months of burial than the ones buried 10 days postmortem.
Under the same soil and other environmental conditions, or under different soil and other environmental conditions?
The same, obviously.

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Re: Now that Mr. Jansson is with us ...

Post by Roberto » Thu Jun 06, 2013 9:27 pm

Ilol'd wrote:
Roberto wrote:But then they were buried in quicklime, right? Which makes them unsuitable for comparison for the reasons explained.
Roberto wrote:Sources report a rather thin layer of sand or quicklime poured over each layer of corpses.
I lol'd.
Genius missed what's in between:
Quicklime is also reported to have been used at the AR camps, but I doubt it was used in concentrations (compared to the body mass in the graves) that even remotely compare to the concentrations suggested by the above images. Quicklime, please correct me if I'm wrong, is used to reduce or control the stench of decomposition, and what is known from witness testimonies and documentary evidence about the infernal stench that emanated from the AR mass graves does not suggest an abundant let alone effective use of quicklime. Franz Suchomel, for instance, remembered that the corpses in the Treblinka mass graves "stank horribly for miles around". And as late as October 1942, the mass graves at Treblinka issued such a stench of decomposition that the Wehrmacht’s local commandant at Ostrow, a town 20 kilometers away from Treblinka, complained about the environmental disturbance:
OK Ostrow reports that the Jews in Treblinka are not adequately buried and as a result an unbearable smell of cadavers pollutes the air.
(Christopher R Browning, Evidence for the Implementation of the Final Solution, chapter V. Section C., quoting from the War Diary of the Oberquartiermeister, Mbfh Polen, 1.5..41-31.12.43, in National Archives, T-501/219/461. (OK Ostrow meldet, dass die Juden in Treblinka nicht ausreichend beerdigt seien und infolgedessen ein unerträglicher Kadavergeruch die Luft verpestet.))
Denial of generally known historical facts should not be punishable. For those who maintain, for instance, that Germany did not take part in World War I or that Adenauer fought at Issus in 333, their own stupidity is punishment enough. The same should apply to the denial of the horrors and crimes of the recent German past.
~ A German jurist by the name of Baumann in the German juridical magazine NJW, quoted in: Bailer-Galanda/Benz/Neugebauer (ed.), Die Auschwitzleugner, Berlin 1996, page 261 (my translation).

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Re: Now that Mr. Jansson is with us ...

Post by Roberto » Thu Jun 06, 2013 9:36 pm

friedrichjansson wrote:
Roberto wrote:
friedrichjansson wrote:For instance, use the one in the paper on lime which I've cited before
Screenshot-4.png
The weight of the pigs used was 14-20 kg, which makes them a little more relevant. The burial was in a shallow grave (31-37 cm deep) for six months (February to August) in Belgium. And no, Roberto, the bodies weren't dessicated. What's more, they had been decomposing on the surface for 3 to 10 days before burial (more on this later).
And what is still more, they (or at least the less decomposed ones) have been buried with quicklime, which (as FJ pointed out in another CODOH thread) inhibits or slows down decomposition.
READ, man! Read the article, or at least read the images I posted, or failing that read what I wrote:
friedrichjansson wrote: In two out of three parallel cases, including the one in the unlimed grave, the bodies buried 3 days postmortem were more decomposed after six months of burial than the ones buried 10 days postmortem.
Again: one of the 3 day postmortem and one of the 10 day postmortem pigs were buried in graves without lime as a control group. After six months, the pig buried 3 days postmortem was more decomposed than the one buried 10 days postmortem.
Interesting, but what does this mean for our case? It means that a longer time during which a corpse has been decomposing before burial does not necessarily mean a more intensive decomposition after burial. Why that is so, even though one would expect the opposite, I don't know. Any idea, FJ? Maybe there's an explanation for this counter-intuitive phenomenon that can also be applied to other cases, or maybe it was just due to certain conditions (e.g. soil texture, insect activity) in this particular case.
friedrichjansson wrote:
Roberto wrote:
friedrichjansson wrote:Half of the pigs in the study cited above weren't buried until 10 days postmortem.
But then they were buried in quicklime, right? Which makes them unsuitable for comparison for the reasons explained. Were they also sprinkled with quicklime prior to burial?
Yet again:
friedrichjansson wrote: In two out of three parallel cases, including the one in the unlimed grave, the bodies buried 3 days postmortem were more decomposed after six months of burial than the ones buried 10 days postmortem.
Again: one of the 3 day postmortem and one of the 10 day postmortem pigs were buried in graves without lime as a control group. After six months, the pig buried 3 days postmortem was more decomposed than the one buried 10 days postmortem.
Which means that the time of decomposition before burial is not necessarily a predictor of how fast decomposition will be after burial, but does this change the rule pointed out by KFP?
KFP wrote:If the body is rotting before burial then, although the process slows down, it will still severely damage the corpse, as enzymatic and bacterial growth have had initial encouragement from a higher ambient temperature and free access of air, thereby producing conditions in which secondary invaders (including anaerobes) can continue their work in a good culture medium that is already partly liquefied by the earlier stages.
This doesn't suggest that less rotting before burial generally means more rotting afterwards, does it? On the contrary, a "good culture medium that is already partly liquefied by the earlier stages" one is likelier to find in a more advanced stage of decomposition. It may be that in the particular case examined, 3 days of decomposition for some reason created a better "culture medium" for subsequent decomposition than 10 days of decomposition. If so, I don't think this can be generalized. If it could be generalized, this would be favorable for my argument in a sense, however. For while some smaller AR mass graves may have been filled within less than 10 days, especially in times of intensive "traffic", there was hardly a mass grave in the three camps (except perhaps for the smallest Bełżec mass graves) that was filled within 3 days or less.
friedrichjansson wrote:
Roberto wrote:
friedrichjansson wrote:At that time - when these pigs were just being buried - there would have been some 30 layers of bodies covering the corresponding corpses in our Reinhardt example.
Depending on the size of the grave. The area of Sobibór mass grave # 4, see here, was about 1,575 square meters, so the number of layers would have been correspondingly lower. For the Treblinka mass graves, Alex Bay calculated an area of 50x25 = 1,250 square meters.
But this is not the case at Belzec.
Maybe not, but then traffic at Bełżec wasn't so intensive in the early stages. See my model calculation of grave filling rates here.
friedrichjansson wrote:And just how large were the pits at Treblinka reported by Sturdy Colls? Were they larger or smaller than 500 square meters?
The pits reported by CSC are far from representing the full size of the mass graves, as explained here. I don't think a single mass grave had been mapped in its full size at the time of CSC's first reporting of her finds. We'll see how far she has advanced since when she publishes her full study next year.
friedrichjansson wrote:
Roberto wrote:
friedrichjansson wrote:4. Roberto states
What is more, as I pointed out on hand of evidence, many bodies dumped into the AR mass graves were already at some stage of the decomposition process by the time they were thrown into the mass graves.
Remember that the same guy who claims that the bodies were already decomposing before burial also claims that they were buried so quickly after they were gassed that no-one managed to see the red lividity associated with CO poisoning! That is, they were all buried and covered with earth within the hour after gassing.
The red lividity associated with CO poisoning (to the extent that the victims succumbed to CO poisoning and not to suffocation, that lividity was not bleached out by pressure
The "bleached out by pressure" thing is yet another imbecile blunder of Roberto's. Pressure only prevents the formation of lividity at the point where it's applied. It does this because it pushes the blood elsewhere, where the lividity just gets more intense. It's just like pushing on your arm: the skin where you're pushing turns pale, but the rest of your body doesn't turn pale. Unless you think the Jews were kept deep underwater, this argument is inapplicable.
The Jews were not kept deep underwater but pressed against each other, first in the gas chamber, then in the mass graves. Buschmann writes:
Lividity can be completely blanched by finger pressure within the first twenty hours after death, since part of the blood can still move within the vascular system. This mechanism no longer functions 36 hours post mortem as the escape of serum from the vascular system increases blood viscosity, and the vessel walls become increasingly unstable and permeable.
But let's assume FJ is right about the bleaching. In this case his hysterical bitching ("yet another imbecile blunder") about just one of several factors I mentioned:
The red lividity associated with CO poisoning (to the extent that the victims succumbed to CO poisoning and not to suffocation, that lividity was not bleached out by pressure, and that it came into being at all despite the conditions mentioned here) might take several hours to become confluent, i.e. so prominent that one of the relatively few eyewitnesses who described the corpses' removal from the gas chambers and their burial might have noticed it if that witness had paid much attention to this detail, which considering the overall horror of the scene and the scant difference in conspicuousness to "normal" livor mortis is rather unlikely. And it's not like bodies placed in mass graves had been covered with a thick layer of earth hindering exposure to air and thus decomposition. Sources report a rather thin layer of sand or quicklime poured over each layer of corpses.
... would still clearly show who is being an imbecile here.
friedrichjansson wrote:On the "succumbed to suffocation" thing, see these notes. They wouldn't have.
Interesting piece of techno-babble, but it would be better with a demonstration of how soon concentrations of 0.5 % CO would be reached in the gas chamber and how soon oxygen levels would drop below survival minimums in a situation of death panic among people packed into the gas chamber like sardines, especially among weaker specimens crushed by the crowd, while a gas containing little or no oxygen further reduced the chamber's oxygen already reduced by the breathing of many people. You might also want to explain that and why cherry-red discoloration of livor mortis and not cyanosis tends to show even when the blood is low on oxygen because of insufficient oxygen intake.

Anyway, I'm glad to see that you've begun to do your namesake's homework.

And that what I have written apparently figures prominently among your concerns.

By the way, I took a peek at your cremation wisdom and was quite amused by two paragraphs. This is one:
As we see in the above table, Muehlenkamp asserts that he can burn 24,360 – 57,850 kg of wood on a 66 – 90 square meter pyre. This many times the amount of fuel consumed in fire C4. Look at the pictures and ask how reasonable it is to think that the every day for months the Germans burned multiple fires, each of which consumed many times the fuel consumed in fire C4. Wouldn’t the neighbors have noticed? I mean, really noticed? Maybe even taken some pictures?
The neighbors did notice, genius. There are several accounts by people living in the areas surrounding the camp that mention big fires, smoke and a big stink. IIRC I quoted some of them in Chapter 8 of what you (emulating a certain mendacious psychopath, and thereby making a fool of yourself) call the "cut and paste manifesto". Taking pictures was a bit more difficult, as I wouldn't expect Polish peasants to have many cameras and the Germans to have confiscated what cameras there were in the area. And besides, interest in what was being done not to good Polish Christians but to Jews was limited. So limited it actually was that the surrounding population took part in the fun, as mentioned here.

But the pinnacle of your glory is this remark:
Arguing that there were enormous – but totally undocumented – deliveries to the Reinhardt camps puts anti-revisionists into a bind, in that they rely heavily on the argument that there is little or no documentation of Jews being shipped onward from the Reinhardt camps, But if enormous deliveries of fuel can occur without leaving documents, so too can similar shipments of Jews.
Looks like your brain takes a rest as soon as you are through with your nicely illustrated techno-babble, my friend. How about taking my Challenge to Supporters of the Revisionist Transit Camp Theory?

Also of interest is this note of yours. While my gasoline calculations are merely theoretical as concerns the AR camps, where they didn’t burn corpses with gasoline alone, you may want to explain how they burned the bodies so well on a grid set up at the Dresden Altmarkt after the bombing on 13/14 February, essentially using gasoline as fuel.

Anyway, I hope your techno-babble will be included in MGK's response to the "cut and paste manifesto". If not, I'll address it anyway in the comments to that response. Or maybe earlier.
Denial of generally known historical facts should not be punishable. For those who maintain, for instance, that Germany did not take part in World War I or that Adenauer fought at Issus in 333, their own stupidity is punishment enough. The same should apply to the denial of the horrors and crimes of the recent German past.
~ A German jurist by the name of Baumann in the German juridical magazine NJW, quoted in: Bailer-Galanda/Benz/Neugebauer (ed.), Die Auschwitzleugner, Berlin 1996, page 261 (my translation).

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