Flames, out of Crematory Chimneys

All crematorium furnaces in German wartime camps, including Auschwitz and Birkenau, were fired by coke (which is a purified, high-carbon form of coal). Even those furnaces initially equipped with oil burners were retro-fitted with coke hearths during the war, due to lack of oil. Coke is a fuel that burns clean and develops only very short flames, if any. Such flames are hardly able to leave the hearth of a cremation furnace, let alone traverse the length of a cremation muffle. They certainly could neither reach the smoke ducts nor enter the chimney, let alone exit from it.

The only other source of flames in a coke-fired cremation furnace is therefore the corpse burning inside of it. However, as shown in both controlled experiments and civilian crematoria, flames could never travel the entire length from the muffle through the smoke ducts and the chimney stacks – a distance of some 21 to 26 meters (70 to 85 feet) in case of Birkenau Crematoria II and III – unless an enormous amount of fat were released and burned in the muffle in a very short period of time. This happens only during the cremation of severely obese people, whose cremation can indeed lead to an entire cremation building catching fire. Since severely obese people were virtually nonexistent among the impoverished Jewish masses deported to Auschwitz during the war, and because the small muffle doors would not have allowed the introduction of severely obese people in any case, such a scenario can safely be excluded.

Another possible scenario is a brief flaming-out of thick layers of soot deposited on the inside of a chimney duct, but it takes years of operation for so much soot to deposit – and a lack of chimney maintenance by chimney sweeps. Since the Auschwitz crematoria existed only for a few years, they did not have enough time to accumulate significant amounts of soot for such chimney fires to occur.

Any flames exiting a crematorium chimney would have meant that the entire system of ductwork was exposed to extreme heat, given that such flames create temperatures easily beyond 1,000 °C. Neither ducts nor chimneys were designed to resist such temperatures and would have quickly cracked and collapsed, leading to the affected facility being incapacitated for weeks or months. Hence, if any flame had ever been observed exiting from a cremation chimney, it would have alarmed all those trying to keep those facilities operational, and preventative measures would have been implemented instantly. (For details, see Mattogno 2004b; Mattogno/Deana 2019, pp. 382-387.)

For some reason, claims of flame-belching chimneys are limited almost exclusively to the cremation facilities of Auschwitz and Birkenau. The following witnesses have testified about this (see the person’s entry for sources, if none is given here):

A review of French literature has found more examples, among them (see Plantin 2023):

  • Lucie Adelsberger
  • Adolf Bartelmas
  • Margarete Buber-Neumann
  • Henry Bulawko
  • Gilbert Debrise
  • Fania Fénelon
  • Nelly Gorce
  • Nadine Heftler
  • Denise Holstein
  • Oswald Kaduk
  • Annette Kahn
  • C. Kalb
  • Sylvain Kaufmann
  • Primo Levi
  • Renée Louria
  • Françoise Maous
  • Edmond Michelet
  • Liana Millu
  • Pierre Nivromont
  • Elisa Springer
  • Paul Steinberg
  • Georges Straka
  • Germaine Tillion
  • Béatrice de Toulouse-Lautrec

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