Impossible to arrive at figures claimed

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 31 January, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 31 January, 1996, 12:00am

IN the aftermath of war, as the events of the Holocaust became widely known, the world was horrified by the atrocities committed against the Jewish people by the Nazis.


Due to the enormous scale of the war and the indescribable carnage in Europe it would not have seemed unreasonable that six million Jews were exterminated and there would be no need to question the numbers claimed.


However 50 years on, with controversy still raging about the evidence (or lack of), it would seem that the simplest way to answer the question is to take a long, hard, logical and practical look at the industry, construction, transport, manpower etc, necessary to kill and dispose of six million people in 31/2 years.


The logistics are staggering.


In simple terms 5,000 people would have to be killed and their bodies disposed of every single day for 1,250 consecutive days.


The necessity for such a conveyor-belt-type operation becomes obvious as one examines the available facilities. Details are gruesome but necessary.


Given that the Nazis had 10 death camps ready at the start of the operation it would mean that each camp would require to 'process' 500 people per day.


A packed Hong Kong MTR train at rush hour holds 500 people, so it would mean that every single morning one such train would arrive at each of the 10 camps and they would need to be disposed of on that same day.


They would have to be killed by noon and the bodies buried or burned in the afternoon or evening to make way for the next day's arrivals.


It can be seen that such a system would bear no interruptions or delays, otherwise the claimed figures could not be achieved as the system would be overloaded in no time.


The human body does not burn easily. It requires a lot of fuel and oxygen to reduce it to ashes.


A very efficient incinerator (oven) could probably burn about 500 bodies in about a four-hour cycle, so each camp would require about seven such 'ovens' each.


It would require an additional train once a week to each camp just to supply enough coal.


Those bodies which could not be burned would need to be buried. It can be deduced that after about 300 or 400 consecutive days of this operation there would be little room left in the vicinity of the death camp for mass graves so at some point there would be no other option than to burn all of the bodies.


Bearing in mind that if this operation could be successfully maintained for 1,200 consecutive days it would be successful. However it is patently obvious that the operation would be fraught with difficulties.


In the first place Germany was at war on all fronts and train movements were difficult, to say the least.


It is recorded that some journeys took up to seven days and in the winters delays were frequent. Thus, about 40 trains would need to be dedicated to this sole task for a period of 31/2 years. This is highly improbable.


In the second place, the facilities previously described did not exist. The 'ovens' that were in existence were much fewer in number and less efficient and according to accounts they were only used periodically.


So the conveyor belt-type system did not work and accounts show that people were not killed instantly on arrival but, in fact, were detained for long periods before extermination.


So what alternative method could be used to achieve the extermination of six million in 31/2 years? There is none. Bearing in mind that the process described made no allowance for registration, selection, documentation etc and assumed that six million people (that is, the total population of Scotland or Hong Kong) complied in every way possible with the wishes of their killers.


No matter how hard you try to juggle with numbers, time, facilities etc, it is impossible to arrive at the figures claimed.


Whereas there is no doubt that the Holocaust did happen it is regrettable that certain people felt the need to exaggerate, thus sowing doubt in people's minds.


Probably between one million and 11/2 million is a more realistic figure and is such an abomination anyway that it requires no further fabrication.


RONALD A. MACEACHAN Sai Ying Poon