Mass Graves

The orthodox Holocaust narrative contains a plethora of claims about mass graves of Jewish victims which are said to have been emptied out later, when the order was allegedly issued to erase the traces of these mass crimes, by exhuming the corpses and burning them using large open-air incinerations. (See the entry for Aktion 1005.) For this reason, in many cases, the mass graves themselves cannot be investigated, but merely the area or volume where they are supposed to have been located. In order to establish how many corpses a certain volume of an alleged mass grave could have contained, it is important to know what the possible and most-likely packing density of such mass graves were – meaning how many bodies could or were commonly buried per given space, usually given as “bodies per cubic meter.”

Packing Density

Mass graves of known and well-documented cases of mass death or murder, such as those created in Hamburg after the Allied bombing in 1943, in the Bergen-Belsen Camp by the British to bury typhus victims, the mass graves of Polish officers exhumed at Katyn, or of Jewish victims of German mass shootings behind the Eastern front, show that the density with which bodies are commonly packed in them lies only between 1 to 2.5 bodies per cubic meter. (See Dalton 2020, pp. 29f.; Rudolf 2019, p. 264.) While higher density are physically possible, easily up to 6 or even 8 bodies per cubic meter, such values are rarely achieved, since usually layers of bodies get covered with soil before a new layer is added, and because graves are usually not filled higher than up to one meter beneath the surface in order to avoid accidental exposure of body parts – be it by weather and erosion, by wild life and human landscaping, or by horticultural and agricultural activities. Another limiting factor is the depth of a grave, which can be limited due to a location’s groundwater level; digging a pit deeper than that level would result in it filling up with water even during the digging process, and depending on the nature of the soil, may prevent the digging of deeper pits, as the side walls may become increasingly unstable.


Mass Graves, Birkenau Camp
Section enlargement of a German air photo of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Camp of 31 May 1944, showing four elongated rectangular shapes north (right) of Crematorium V, probably the traces of former mass graves. (Click on image to enlarge.)

Outside the Birkenau Camp, some 160 meters north of where Crematorium V was later located, air photos taken in 1944 show elongated rectangles that have a distinctively lighter color than the surrounding vegetation. All of these rectangles were some 10 meters wide, with two of them measuring 100 meters in length, two others some 130 meters.

It may be assumed that these rectangles are the visible remains of former mass graves containing the victims of the typhus epidemic raging in the Auschwitz Camp since mid-1942, some of which could not be cremated in 1942 due to a lack of cremation capacity.

Documents show that some 48,500 detainees died at Auschwitz during 1942. The documented coke supplies to the main-camp crematorium indicate that only some 12,000 could have been cremated by that facility. Hence, some 36,500 corpses had to be cremated using open-air incinerations, although many of them were probably first buried in mass graves. However, due to the high groundwater level in this area not drained by any ditches, these mass graves could not have been deeper than one or two meters at most. If we assume a net usable depth of one meter to bury corpses, and a common packing density of 1 to 2.5 corpses per cubic meter, this would result in (2×[100m×10m×1m] + 2×[130m×10m×1m]=) 4,600 m³ of usable space, with room for some 4,600 to 11,500 corpses. If we assume an extreme and unlikely packing density of some 8 corpses per m³, this would make room for 36,800 bodies. Either way, these numbers are compatible with the documented numbers of excess deaths of registered inmates who died mainly of diseases and whose bodies could not be cremated in the Main Camp’s crematorium.

The orthodoxy claims that, between early 1942 and late September 1942, up to 107,000 bodies were buried in mass graves – victims of the typhus epidemic plus those allegedly gassed in the so-called bunkers. However, the space that can be identified in air photos as possible mass graves could not have accommodated this many bodies. No systematic attempts to locate and excavate/investigate alleged mass graves or their remnants have been made at Auschwitz (or if they were made, the results have not been published). Starting in late September 1942, the mass graves are said to have been reopened, and the human remains they contained extracted and burned on huge pyres. (See Rudolf 2020a, p. 119; Mattogno 2016b, esp. pp. 35f., 56, 123.)

Aktion Reinhardt” Camps

At the Chełmno Camp, mass graves are said to have been filled with the victims of mass-murder since late 1941. In the summer of 1942, the decision was made – either for hygienic reasons or on Himmler’s order – to exhume and burn the remains of these buried victims. Several attempts were made to locate those claimed mass graves, but only in 2003-2004 were investigators able to locate some spots containing human ashes and bones. However, the spots where drilling core samples were taken were so far apart that no conclusion could be drawn about the shape and size of any (former) mass burial sites associated with these sampling locations. Therefore, the possible size and contents of potential former mass graves near that camp are unknown. (For details, see Mattogno 2017, esp. pp. 73f., 95-105.)

In the Sobibór Camp, some 80,000 victims of mass murder are said to have been buried in mass graves, which were supposedly exhumed and cremated with open-air incinerations starting in October of 1942.

In the Belzec Camp, all 441,000 deportees to this camp (presumably murdered there) are said to have been buried in mass graves, which were supposedly exhumed and cremated with open-air incinerations starting in January of 1943.

In the Treblinka Camp, some 764,000 of the Jews deported to this camp (presumably murdered there) are said to have been buried in mass graves, which were supposedly exhumed and cremated with open-air incinerations starting in April of 1943.

Modern archeological research by mainstream scholars was done on all three camp areas since 1999. The effective volume of mass graves located in those camps, the claimed number of corpses once buried in them, and the resulting packing density is summarized in the following table:

Camp claimed no. of buried corpses effective grave volume [m³] no. of bodies per m³ of grave no. of victims at 3 bodies/m³


~ 18,565

~ 23.8

~ 56,000



~ 13,275

~ 6.0

~ 40,000



~ 14,300

~ 53.4

~ 43,000

From this, we see that there simply wasn’t enough space in the Belzec and Treblinka camps to bury anywhere near the number of corpses claimed. Even the resulting packing density for Sobibór is at the high end. If we assume a more-realistic packing density for all camps of 3 bodies per cubic meter, the resulting numbers of victims possibly buried are given in the last column. But even if we push the packing density to the physical extreme of 10 bodies per cubic meter, still only some 40% of all deportees sent to Belzec and only 20% of those deported to Treblinka could have been buried there. Where are the remaining bodies?

However, the grave-volume figures given by the mainstream researchers are inflated, because they did not detect mass graves, but rather regions with disturbed soil. This includes soil regions disturbed by previous archeological digs and by many years of wild diggings by local residents, some of which were not done in areas of former mass graves. Therefore, the true figures of total mass-grave volume must have been even smaller than this. (For details, see Mattogno 2021e, pp. 274-278.)

Soviet Union

The Eastern-European Theater of World War Two had been a region of many mass murders and deaths ever since the outbreak of World War One. War casualties during the First World War were complemented by civilian deaths due to epidemics. The war transitioned into a bloody revolution that cost the lives of millions on the battlefield, due to Red Terror and White counter terror, starvation and more epidemics. After the victory of the Red Terror, Leninist and then Stalinist terror led to mass executions of dissidents and citizens resisting forced collectivization.

Ukraine was hit particularly hard with all this, and it escalated in the 1930s with Stalin’s attempt to subdue the Ukrainians with a starvation policy, leading to the death of millions in the ensuing famine called the Holodomor. The ongoing Stalinist terror leading to more and more mass graves of killed (alleged) dissidents and opponents transitioned straight into the mass slaughter of World War Two, with millions of military deaths on both sides, with hundreds of thousands of non-combatants killed by both sides, and with subsequent violent ethnic and political cleansings in areas re-conquered by the Red Army. Hence, the soils of Ukraine, Belarus, the Baltic countries and Western Russia are littered with mass graves altogether containing tens of millions of corpses from all these conflicts and disasters.


Somewhere among these mass graves are those of Jews killed for whatever reasons by German units such as the Einsatzgruppen.

Considering that a large amount of mass graves in these areas contain victims of Soviet terror and oppression, it cannot surprise anyone that the Soviet Union and today’s Russia have never had any interest in systematically searching for mass graves, then exhume and forensically investigate their contents to determine the nature of the victims, their cause of death and their perpetrators. However, as the Red Army advanced in previously German-occupied territories since 1943, Soviet investigators did locate numerous alleged mass graves presumably containing victims of German mass executions, carried out exhumations and forensic excavations, and eventually published some of the results.

Unfortunately, none of these investigations were conducted with the involvement of international observers, as the Germans did when investigating the Katyn and Vinnitsa mass graves. In fact, the commissions had a similar composition and setup as the one that committed the Soviet fraud of pinning the Katyn Massacre on the Germans toward the end of the war. Hence, the credibility of these commission reports about mass graves with alleged victims of presumed German atrocities is rather low.

Very few forensic investigations have been conducted after the collapse of the Soviet Union, because both Jewish organizations and modern Russia oppose them, as neither have much, if anything, to gain from a revision of the current narrative. After all, both groups managed to establish their narrative of what happened under German occupation as the “truth” without the need of any kind of forensic proof. This narrative, which for the most part is based merely on anecdotal evidence, is even enforced by penal law in many countries, Israel and Russia included. Hence, there is little prospect, if any, of any relevant forensic research being conducted in the foreseeable future.

The mass graves containing victims of German mass executions are said to have been opened, and any human remains burned almost tracelessly, starting in the summer of 1943, presumably due to a Himmler order to efface all evidence. For more on this operation dubbed “Aktion 1005,” see the entry on this.

(For details on mass graves in the former Soviet Union and their investigation, see Mattogno 2022c, Part 2.)


Note the inconsistent and irreconcilably different times at which the exhumations and cremations of mass graves of claimed German atrocities are said to have begun, although Himmler’s order was allegedly issued in early 1942:

Location/Unit Claimed start of mass-grave exhumation

summer 1942


late September 1942


October 1942


January 1943


February 1943


April 1943


July 1943

Note also that none of this is based on any documents. The one document by Himmler that speaks of what to do with the bodies of deceased Jews dates from 20 November of 1942 and clearly specifies that the bodies of deceased Jews have to be either cremated or buried. Hence, still in late 1942, no order existed to exhume and cremate all buried bodies. (See Mattogno 2022c, p. 450.)

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