Steiner, Jean-François

Jean-François Steiner (born 17 Feb. 1938) is a French-Jewish author who in 1966 published a novel, to some degree ghost-written by Gilles Perrault, which is allegedly based on statements of former inmates of the Treblinka Camp. In spite of it being presented as fiction, it was initially nevertheless highly praised by the orthodoxy and was very successful in France, but also with its German and English translations.

The most-glaring untrue claims about the Treblinka Camp concern the alleged mass cremation of the victims of the purported mass murder. It tells the tale of how the “specialist in the cremation of bodies” Herbert Floss found out about self-immolating bodies, and how to make use of that discovery to burn the bodies that resisted cremation:

“all the bodies did not burn at the same rate; there were good bodies and bad bodies, fire-resistant bodies and inflammable bodies. The art consisted in using the good ones to burn the bad ones.”

The mountain of human corpses piled upon the grate was ignited with small campfires lit underneath. Once the corpses had caught fire, the entire pyre soon became a gigantic inferno:

“The bodies burst into flames. […] The spectacle had an infernal quality […]. Floss beamed. This fire was the finest day of his life. […] An extraordinary party began. […] ten times the men raised their arms, each time shouting ‘Heil Hitler.’ […] The party lasted until the funeral pyre was entirely consumed. After the toasts came the songs, savage and cruel, songs of hatred, songs of fury, songs of glory to Germany the eternal.”

After a later change of mind, even one of the most dogmatic orthodox Holocaust scholars, the French Jew Pierre Vidal-Naquet, re-categorized Steiner’s anti-German hate fest as “sub-literature” tending towards sadism. (For more details, see Mattogno/​Graf 2023, pp. 27-29.)

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