March 14, 1991

Charles D. Provan 410 West Main St. Monongahela, PA 15063 412-258-7775 Home: 258-3419


Ted O'Keefe and/or Mark Weber

Institute for Historical Review

1822 1/2 Newport Boulevard Suite 191 Costa Mesa, California 92627

Dear Mark or Ted,

Enclosed please find my article on the capacity of the gas chambers, according to Kurt Gerstein. I hope that you will find it fairly thorough and reasonable, as well as respectful of Revisionism. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to let me know. Feel free also to call me collect. Do I sound eager enough?

As I mentioned on the phone, the article is copyrighted, as are the photographs. Of course, I approve heartily of sending the manuscript to Professor Faurisson or Fritz Berg, or whoever else you may wish to examine it before publication. As I've stated before, I wish it to be published by you fellows first, should you judge it worthy. In this way, Revisionism will present itself willing to examine all sides of various controversies, and will greatly soften any "anti-Revisionist" criticism which could possibly result from this discovery. It is the least I can do in return to your courtesy towards myself and Pastor Otten.



By Charles D. Provan


Some of the most amazing statements found in literature dealing with the Final Solution concern the number of persons who could fit in various rooms and buildings said to be used as gas chambers. Out of the various written accounts which mention person to area ratios, one the largest one I have observed is contained in the various accounts of the SS officer, Kurt Gerstein.

According to Gerstein, he was present at a gassing near the Polish town of Belzec in August of 1942. A train of 45 cars arrived at the SS camp, containing 6,700 Jews, 1,450 of whom were already dead. Those who were alive (5,250) were told to undress and proceed naked to a building with steps in front of it. Here an SS man told the victims that they would have to enter the rooms of the building to be disinfected, after which time they would be put to work building roads and houses.

Gerstein says, "As for me, I stay with Captain Wirth up above on the ramp, between the death chambers. ...The mothers with their babies at the breast, the little naked children, the adults, men and women, in confusion, all naked -- they hesitate -- but they enter into the death chambers, pushed forward by the others behind them or by the leather whips of the SS. The majority without saying a word. Like a lamb led to a slaughterhouse! ...The chambers are filling. Pack well, that is what Captain Wirth has ordered. The people are stepping on each other's feet, 700-800 persons to 25 square meters, 45 cubic meters. I make an estimate:

average weight at the most 35 kg, more than half are children, specific gravity 1, thus 25,250 kg of human beings per chamber. Wirth is right, if the SS men push a little, one can cram 750 persons into 45 cubic meters! -- and the SS men push them with their horsewhips and compel them to enter, as many as is physically possible. The doors close." (Manuscript T6)1

The people, after a delay of several hours, were then gassed to death with the exhaust of a diesel engine piped into each gas chamber used.

It is noted by Henri Roques that all six of the Gerstein manuscripts are agreed that the Belzec gas chambers each had an area of 25 square meters, and a cubic volume of 45 cubic meters. Further, all six manuscripts agree that the SS forced 700-800 persons into each chamber.2 It should be noted that these figures result in a ratio of from 28 to 32 persons per cubic meter. Therein lies one of the most serious problems for the historians of the "Final Solution". Let us now observe how historians have handled this ratio of people to area.

Gerstein's figures in Exterminationist Literature

One manuscript of Gerstein's story was submitted as evidence to the


International Military Tribunal (the main Nuremberg War Crimes Trial). After some legal maneuvering, the manuscript was accepted into evidence, but was referred to on only one occasion; not, however, in regard to the Belzec gassings.3

At the American Military Tribunal (war crimes trials under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Army, which tried "lesser war criminals"), the Gerstein "Confession" was used as Prosecution evidence to prove that the personnel of the Euthanasia Program had carried out the task of exterminating the Jews of the Eastern areas after the Euthanasia Program was discontinued in the summer of 1941. The AMT volume correctly reproduces Gerstein's ratio: "700-800 crushed together on 25 square meters, in 45 cubic meters!"4 There is, however, no comment upon the 28-32 persons per square meter statistic.

After the war crimes trials, the Gerstein account has taken some very interesting and convoluted paths. Quite early after the war it was acknowledged as a major proof for the National Socialist extermination of the Jews. Because of this, it has been referred to in quite a few Exterminationist books. Many of the early books, in company with the AMT, published the amazing statement we are examining without comment. Beginning in 1951, however, Leon Poliakov, published Breviary of Hate, which contained a version of Gerstein which differed radically from the available texts; the area of the gas chambers appeared as 93 square meters, thus cutting down Gerstein's figures to a much more believable 7.5-8.6 persons/m2.5 How Poliakov obtained the "93" was not stated at the time, and his book made no mention of the "25" in all texts of Gerstein. At the very least, Poliakov was thereby guilty of introducing a glaring error, and at the worst, of fabricating a phony text in order to prevent any doubts about Gerstein's trustworthiness.6

Sad to say, other historians have dealt in similar fashion with the critical figures we are examining here. In 1961, Robert Neumann changed the number of persons in the gas chambers from 700-800 to 170-180, thus producing 6.8-7.2 persons/m2, again a much more believable figure than 28-32/m2. Henri Roques deals with the metamorphosis of the Gerstein figures in more detail in his excellent sourcebook, The 'Confessions' of Kurt Gerstein.7

While studying this particular issue, I collected several Gerstein references appearing in Exterminationist literature. They are as follows:

1. Yitzhak Arad, Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka, pg. 102: cuts out "700-800/25 square meters", but retains 750/45 cubic meters. On page 73, mentions size of gas chambers at Belzec as 4m X 8m, while giving a capacity of c. 333 people per gas chamber on pg. 74. Ratio: 10.4/m2. (It should be stated that Arad mentions some accounts of chamber dimensions of 4m X 5m.)

2. Gerald Astor, The Last Nazi, pg. 46: mentions 700-800, eliminates room dimensions and even rooms; has the 700-800 go into "the building" to be gassed. Ratio: None.

3. Yehuda Bauer, A History of the Holocaust, pg. 211: cuts Gerstein's account shortly before the statistical section. Ratio: None.


4. Lucy S. Dawidowicz, The War Against the Jews, pg. 148: says that "the Jews were crammed in, one person per square foot." Ratio: 10.8/m2.

5. Martin Gilbert, The Holocaust, pg. 427: quotes Poliakov's "93" creation: "Seven to eight hundred people in ninety-three square meters." Ratio: 7.5-8.6/m2.

6. Glenn B. Infield, Secrets of the SS, pg. 73: "About seven to eight hundred people in an area of about a hundred square meters." Ratio: 7-8/m2.

7. Arthur D. Morse, While Six Million Died, pg. 46: "About seven to eight hundred people in an area of about a hundred square yards." Ratio: 8.4-9.6/m2.

8. John Toland, Adolf Hitler, pg. 515: Eliminates numbers of persons and dimensions of the gas chambers. Ratio: None.

One may easily see that all of the above historians have dealt with the problem of 28-32 persons/m2 by either eliminating some or all of the data necessary to obtain the number of persons per m2, or else by inserting or adapting Poliakov's 93/m2 creation. All of the above historians have eliminated Gerstein's actual ratio; or substituted a figure much easier to accept, resulting in a ratio of c. 11/m2 or less. Roques testifies to much the same phenomenon in the literature he has surveyed. Hence we may conclude that, where Exterminationist writers have examined Gerstein's actual figures, none has believed them to be possible, yet all have retained Gerstein's account as an important proof of Nazi extermination of the Jews.

Gerstein's Statistics in Revisionist Literature

The first Revisionist historian to call attention to the unbelievable nature of Gerstein's ratio was of course Paul Rassinier, the father of Revisionism, himself committed to a concentration camp by the National Socialists for helping Jews escape occupied territory. In 1964 he wrote The Drama of the European Jews, in which he attacked Kurt Gerstein's account of Belzec as "the worst and most immoral forgery of all"! Note the importance attached by Rassinier to Gerstein's 28-32 people/m2 statistic in the following quote. After mentioning the statement of Gerstein that the Nazis had killed some 25 million victims (which was rejected by the Exterminationists), Rassinier says, "It really was a little unbelievable. What is astonishing is the fact that those who made use of this singular document did not discover that gas chambers 25 meters square with a capacity of 700 to 800 persons was an even more shocking exaggeration. This oversight reveals quite a lot about their intellectual faculties as distinguished 'professors'"8 According to Rassinier, the ratio of people to area was of paramount importance in proving the fraudulent nature of the Gerstein statement.

Since the time of Rassinier, Revisionists have repeatedly confronted Exterminationists with various statements by Gerstein; by far the most popular attack point has been the 28-32/m2 statistic. We shall now list some of the most notable Revisionist statements.


1. Friedrich P. Berg, "The Diesel Gas Chambers: Myth Within a Myth": "To try to analyze the problem by determining actual quantities of CO produced, rather than 'concentrations,' would be futile since the little that one is told, in the case of Gerstein's description, about the actual size of the chamber or chambers is so incredible to begin with."9

2. Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century, pg. 256: "It also may seem impossible to squeeze 700 or 800 people into a chamber 20 or 25 meters square and 1.9 meters high, but it is feasible if one uses a scrap press, but in that case the victims would be literally, just as the document asserts, 'crushed' and gassing would be quite superfluous."

3. Robert Faurisson, "Response to a Paper Historian": "To begin with, the 'Le Monde' text reproduced an extract from the 'confession' of SS-man Kurt Gerstein. The extract was intended to persuade us that it contained an 'indisputable' and 'striking' testimony about the nazi 'gas chambers.' In halting French, Gerstein has, we are told, written: ...'Seven to eight hundred in 25 square meters, in 45 cubic meters; the doors are closed.' Any reader alert to reality would conclude: 28-32 men standing on one square meter -- that is physically impossible; the admissibility of that strange testimony is at least questionable." Later in the same article, Professor Faurisson says, "In the different and seriously contradictory versions of the 'confessions' of Kurt Gerstein, the incongruities, the stupidities, the nonsensical things (see above the 28 to 32 persons per square meter) are so numerous that one cannot believe that the Gerstein argument is still used."10

4. Dittlieb Felderer, "Auschwitz Notebook": "What is even more amazing however, is the number of people who supposedly went into each chamber to be exterminated. A total of 700 to 800 people are supposed to have been placed in each chamber. ...we can truly agree with Gerstein that the people were literally 'crushed together' which in reality should have made the gassing by Diesel fumes entirely unnecessary."11

5. Henri Roques, The 'Confessions' of Kurt Gerstein, pg. 149-150: "The figures of 700-800 persons standing on 25 m2, in 45 m3 (this is a constant of all the versions). Can one imagine a room of this area and this volume which would contain about 750 persons standing one against the other? Thirty persons on one square meter?"

6. "Richard Harwood", Nuremberg and Other War Crimes Trials, pg. 31: "It is physically impossible to pack 700-800 people into a gas chamber of 25 square metres..."

Other Revisionists have commented on Gerstein's ratio, but the above should clearly show the Revisionist position on 28-32 people per square meter. Revisionists don't believe it is possible, to put it mildly. But while the Exterminationists (who also disbelieve Gerstein on this point), downplay or hide Gerstein's statement to preserve the Exterminationist thesis, the Revisionists openly show Gerstein's original statement, using it as proof of the very unreliable nature of Gerstein's Belzec gassing account.

Revisionist Criticism of Exterminationist Handling of Gerstein's Ratio


Not only have Revisionists openly attacked Gerstein on the capacity of the gas chambers, they have attacked Exterminationist historians for misuse of Gerstein's statements.

Both Rassinier and Faurisson have thrown scathing attacks at Leon Poliakov for his "93 meter substitution".12 L.A. Rollins has criticized Yehuda Bauer for eliminating "most of the blatant absurdities of the Gerstein 'report', such as the claim that the Nazis gassed a total of 25 million people."13 Michael Hoffman II (The Great Holocaust Trial, pg. 54-55) commented upon Raul Hilberg's editing out Gerstein's 700-800/m2 statement (among other things), while mentioning other excerpts from Gerstein's statement: "When Hilberg stated that he 'did not rely on any statements' by Gerstein that he 'regarded as imaginative or incredible' he means that he edited out of his history book those statements of Gerstein's that would have seemed too insane to his readers and which would have cast doubt on the parts of the confession Hilberg did use." Henri Roques, in The 'Confessions' of Kurt Gerstein, pg. 165, says the following about the German book entitled National-Socialist Mass Killing by Poison Gas. "In this work, guaranteed by the three highest non-Revisionist authorities of West Germany and Austria (Kogon, Langbein, and Ruckerl), the account of which they persist in calling 'Der Gerstein Bericht' (The Gerstein Report) is carefully purged of every statement not susceptible of belief. Only in the first lines of the excerpt reproduced are there figures difficult to accept; these concern the train made up of 45 cars with 6,700 persons, of whom 1,450 were already dead on arrival, which works out to almost 149 persons per car, of whom more than thirty are dead!

Exterminationist Response to Revisionist Criticism of Gerstein's Ratio

One thing which is quite frustrating in the whole Exterminationist/Revisionist debate is the fact that Exterminationists rarely engage the Revisionists in open debate or discussion. Rarely do they concede any points or deign to reply to any issues brought up. Name-calling is used most frequently, with the usual names, as well as trite sayings about the flat earth people or denying the Civil War.

However, in the case of the people/area statement by Gerstein, the Exterminationists have been forced to answer Revisionism. Let us now examine their defense of Gerstein's veracity, even while they admit that he was wrong on 28-32 people/m2.

1. George Wellers, responding to Paul Rassinier, in "The Existence of the Gas Chambers": "Gerstein says twice that 700-800 or 750 persons had been piled into each of the chambers. It is evident that here, too, he gives not a precise figure which, besides, he had no means of establishing, but rather an estimate expressing an extreme piling up, underscored in the context: 'In the chambers, the SS push the men. "Fill up well" -- Hauptmann Wirth has ordered (it). The naked men are standing at each other's feet...' And further on he adds again: 'At Belzec and Treblinka the trouble was not taken to count in any exact manner the number of Jews killed.'" "As for the accuracy of engineer Gerstein's eye, there is every chance that no one had ever taught him nor given him the opportunity before his journey to calculate with precision the area of the chambers of


a slaughter-house for men, nor the number of persons that could be piled in there by force to exterminate them. It is perhaps more exact to say that confronted with the sight this engineer lost his calmness to the point of forgetting all of the compasses in the world, which is rather 'flattering' for him." "There is also the affirmation that 700 or 800 people were piled up in premises of an area of 20 or 25 m2. This is very difficult to believe if one takes literally both the number of persons indicated and the area given. That is what Rassinier did naturally and triumphantly, without taking into account the real circumstances described in the 'report' and which exclude the possibility of Gerstein's having determined with precision the area of the chambers and the exact number of persons. What the text of the 'report' does allow one to conclude is that the chambers were not very vast and that the number of persons who filled them up to the very maximum attained the hundreds."14

2. Raul Hilberg versus Doug Christie (the able attorney of Ernst Zundel), The Holocaust on Trial, pg. 53: "Christie raised the problem of Hilberg's extensive reliance on the wild postwar statements of SS officer Kurt Gerstein. Hilberg conceded that some of the things Gerstein said about Auschwitz and Belzec were 'pure nonsense,' but stressed that he had selected only Gerstein's rational remarks. As an example of Gerstein's craziness, Christie mentioned his claim that, in the gas chambers, 800 people would sometimes be packed into an area of five by five meters. 'Well,' said Hilberg, 'I have made the calculation and it is amazing how many people can be squeezed in...' Hilberg later emphasized that the Germans never made a count at the point where people entered the gas chambers."

3. Yitzhak Arad, Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka, pg. 103: "The number of people murdered per day in Belzec, Sobibor, and Treblinka as given by Globocnik [in Gerstein's account; C.P.] was also exaggerated. This could only be an estimate of the theoretical absorption capacity of the gas chambers in the camps if they were to operate twenty-four hours a day without pause or disturbance."

4. Leon Poliakov and Pierre Vidal-Naquet versus Robert Faurisson ("Le Monde", 8 March, 1979, pg. 30): "We have written that the account of Kurt Gerstein, ardent Christian and member of the SS, who had, in performance of his duties, visited the extermination camps of Belzec and Treblinka in the month of August 1942, was 'indisputable as to the essentials.' This meant, in good French, that, as for the majority of human evidence, one could discuss details of it. It is clear in fact that in a room of 25 square meters one can hardly cram, taking into account the number of children, more than three hundred people. This signifies quite simply that Gerstein was mistaken either on the dimensions of the room or the number of the victims. This mistake is easily explained: precision in the matter of figures was not Gerstein's predominant quality, and he had dramatically lived his visit to Belzec."15

An Examination of the Exterminationist Explanations of Gerstein's Mistaken Ratio

The Exterminationists may be observed to be in a very rough spot, as one may see from their explanations of Gerstein's enormous ratio. If the proffered explanations are in fact correct, the Exterminationists are


merely jumping from the frying pan into the fire, because their comments destroy the trustworthiness of Gerstein's statements as much as the criticisms of the Revisionists. Let us now see why this is so, by examining the aforesaid quotes.

1. "Gerstein couldn't have known the real numbers of persons shoved into the gas chambers."

Examine Gerstein's narration again, and notice this sentence: "Wirth is right, if the SS men push a little, one can cram 750 persons into 45 cubic meters!" If the Gerstein statement is trustworthy, the following sequence is unavoidable: First, Wirth said that c. 750 people could fit into the chamber, and, second, Gerstein saw this to be true with his own eyes, thus realizing that Wirth was correct. It is also logical to infer from this that the SS counted the people as they entered this room.

Interestingly, after the war, only two Jews who had been to Belzec came forward to tell about it. One of them, Rudolf Reder, wrote a short book on his experiences at Belzec. Here is what he said about gassings at Belzec: "Several SS men pushed the women with whips and bayonets to the building housing the chambers; three steps led up to a hall, and Ukrainian SS men counted seven hundred and fifty people to each chamber. Those who did not want to enter were stabbed with bayonets and forced inside --there was blood everywhere."16 According to Reder, then, the victims were counted off in groups of 750. If in reality both Reder and Gerstein saw "a large number of people" and said, "Gee, there goes 750 people" for no particular reason other than "it was a large group", what kind of witnesses does that make them? Not very good witnesses.

2. "Gerstein had no way of figuring out the dimensions of the gas chambers," or "Gerstein accepted Globocnik's numbers without verifying them."

While it is true that many folks are quite poor in estimating distances, can we say this about Gerstein and still save his story? I think not. Gerstein says in his statement that he was sent to Belzec with a load of prussic acid for killing people. If you check the literature on how much airborne prussic acid is necessary to kill people, you will find that fatal levels are given in amounts per cubic volume of air.17 Hence, if Gerstein is telling the truth about his assignment, he would of necessity need to know the cubic volume of the gas chamber to determine the amount of poison to kill everyone inside.

Can the Exterminationists really imagine that Gerstein, who was in charge of poisonous gasses for the entire Waffen SS, would arrive at Belzec on his death mission, and "sort of guess" the dimensions of the room? That he would thereby "compute" the amount of prussic acid necessary, when this is one of deadliest of poisons? I find this to be quite unbelievable.

3. "Gerstein himself says that the Germans didn't know the exact numbers of the dead, and that proves he was just guessing."

We have already observed that Gerstein's statement infers that the Jews of Belzec were counted off in lots of c. 750 per gas chamber. This logical inference contradicts the interpretation of George Wellers.


Further, in another section of his writings, Gerstein gives the "daily output" for the various death camps he knew about. So, unless we say that Gerstein is mentally unbalanced, we cannot suppose that he is really saying that the SS had no idea at all about how many people were being killed, all the while counting Jews in groups of 750 and announcing "daily killing rates"! A much more reasonable interpretation of Gerstein has him saying that the authorities knew approximately how many were being killed, but that nobody there kept records of the exact number.

4. "Gerstein became mentally disconnected while on his mission, and so was unable to think correctly concerning people/area ratios."

Once again, how does this view of Gerstein fit in with other factors? Examining Gerstein's account, we see that though he says he prayed and went through great turmoil, yet, he only did so when nobody could hear him, and when he was out of view: "...I cannot help them, I pray with them, I squeeze myself into a corner and cry in a loud voice to my God and to theirs. There is enough noise around me, I can allow myself to cry in a loud voice to my God." (Manuscript T6)18 If 750 people were in reality in the gas chamber praying and crying, there certainly would be enough noise to drown out Gerstein's prayer. He certainly seems to be thinking rationally at that point.

His prayer ended soon enough, for after the door was closed, Gerstein whipped out his stopwatch and began timing the execution: when the gassing engine refused to start, Gerstein writes, "Hauptmann Wirth arrives. One sees, he is frightened, because me, I see the disaster. Yes, I see all, and I wait. My 'stop' watch has timed everything. 50 minutes, 70 minutes, -- the diesel is not working! ...After two hours 45 minutes the stopwatch has recorded everything -- the Diesel starts. ...25 minutes pass: Many, it is true, are dead. ...After 28 minutes, still a few who survive. After 32 minutes, finally --, all are dead!" (Manuscript T2)19

One may see that, according to Gerstein, he put on "a good front" to the SS personnel of Belzec. When the engine won't work, thus ruining a "good gassing", Gerstein has his stopwatch running, scaring Wirth, the commander of Belzec(!) with his cold and serious demeanor. Is this the picture of a man so unhinged that he cannot measure, calculate, or count?

More pertinent information comes from Gerstein's superior in the SS, the highly intelligent Doctor Joachim Mrugowsky. In February of 1943 Mrugowsky recommended Gerstein for promotion, writing that officer Gerstein "had built up the technical section of the health service out of nothing; it was due to his personal ability and zeal that the delousing units and drinking water units for the Waffen-S.S. had been developed. In the course of his work, he had collaborated with an extremely wide range of Reich authorities and Wehrmacht services; he had overcome all difficulties and had given an excellent account of himself."20

Gerstein himself told his resistance and Confessional Church friends that when he was in the company of SS personnel, he made it a point to "talk their language",21 all the while gathering information to be used against them later. He must have been effective, for, in 1950, a Dr.


Munch of Auschwitz said that Gerstein to him "appeared brutal and one of the S.S. officers to be avoided." Other doctors had no idea that in reality Gerstein was opposed to National Socialist policies.22

All things point to a Gerstein who was very competent in his duties, telling only his friends about his hatred of the Reich leadership, while appearing to be National Socialist when in SS company. A Gerstein who became mentally unhinged while watching a gassing, yet was promoted a few months later by his SS superior for "overcoming all difficulties," and "giving an excellent account of himself," does not seem very likely.

We may observe that the Exterminationist explanations of Kurt Gerstein's mistaken ratio in reality ruin his credibility on other points, seriously undermining the trustworthiness of his report, a key proof of the Exterminationist Thesis. In their efforts to defend Gerstein, they have further damaged him.

Conclusion of Part One

From the beginning, nobody who has stopped to think about Kurt Gerstein's statement about 700-800 Jews into a room of 25 m2 has believed him. Both Revisionists and Exterminationists have agreed that Gerstein's ratio is impossible. While the Revisionists have always pummeled this particular point to discredit the gassing part of Gerstein's 'confessions', the Exterminationists have hidden and changed the real figures, only commenting on them when forced by Revisionist criticism to acknowledge that Gerstein was seriously wrong. The explanations given for this mistaken ratio in reality further weaken Gerstein's value as a witness to the extermination of the Jews.

Here is where the matter lies at the present time, some forty-five years after Gerstein wrote his report: nobody believes that 700-800 Jews could have been packed into a 25 m2 gas chamber.

This would be the end of the matter, except for one thing.

Gerstein was right: seven hundred to eight hundred people can fit into a 25 square meter room.



I had first read about Kurt Gerstein several years ago, and was soon confronted with his "700-800 people in 25 m2" statement. In the revisionist literature I was reading, it was pointed out that this is equivalent to 28-32 people per square meter. Since a meter is roughly the same as a yard, I could easily visualize this, and I knew that 28 people in a square yard was totally impossible. I immediately came to the conclusion that Gerstein was a lunatic, and was of not much value as an "eyewitness to the Holocaust".

One day in December of 1990, I was reading The 'Confessions' of Kurt Gerstein, by Henri Roques. (I had bought a copy as soon as it was


released, and had read over it several times since then.) While I was reading one of the six manuscripts of Gerstein contained in the above book, a phrase of Gerstein caught my attention: "more than half are children" (present in Manuscripts T5 and T6)23 It did not occur to me at that time that Gerstein's ratio could be possible, but it piqued my curiosity enough for me to assemble my five children and tell them to take off their clothes (except for underwear). I then went into one of my children's bedrooms and pushed two pieces of furniture closer together. Because Gerstein mentioned babies at the breast, I gave one of my children a large baby doll to hold. I found (by carefully positioning them) that I could get all five kids and the baby doll to fit in a square measuring 16 inches by 16 inches. My two-year-old squatted on the floor (and several toes!), while all the others could stand, the baby doll being held in between and above. Fitting them was easy, and no one was "squashed". Once I figured that 16" X 16" seemed to be the smallest area possible, I said that I was done, pushed the furniture back, and went downstairs to do some figuring.

I calculated the square inches in a 5 meter by 5 meter room (approx. 39" X 39" X 5 X 5): 38,025 square inches. By dividing this by the area of my test space (16 X 16 = 256 square inches), I obtained the number 148.5, which I multiplied by six (the number of children in my experiment). According to my calculations, then, 891.21 children could have fit into Gerstein's gas chamber! I was shocked, having no idea beforehand of the mathematical outcome.

On December 29, I repeated the experiment, this time using a wooden frame a friend built, and this time I took pictures. In January, I carried my research further by renting three dummies from an area department store. Though my two year old refused to participate (she was scared of the dummies), I was able to get all three dummies, four of my children, and a large baby doll, into a space measuring 22 inches by 22 inches. From these statistics, I calculated that well over 600 people could fit into a 25 square meter room, at a ratio of 25.6 people per square meter! This experiment was hampered by the fact that I couldn't position the dummies so as to minimize space, the dummies being stiff with non-moving appendages.

For my last experiment (February 8, 1991), I was able to recruit three adults, and (as usual) my children. The adults were two males (27 years, 34 years), and one woman in her seventies; the men asked only that I block out their faces in the photographs and not list their names in my report. I had my woodworking friend construct a plywood box with a floor space of 21 inches by 21 inches, one glass side, one open side, and an open top. The inner dimensions of 21" X 21" were necessary to hit slightly above 700 people per 25 m2 room (28/m2), provided that I could get eight people into the box. All people in this experiment kept their clothes on and were measured (height, waist, shoulders) and weighed, except for the baby doll, whose weight was "estimated". Weights were converted to kilograms in order to compare the average to Gerstein's statement in Manuscript T6: "I make an estimate: average weight at the most 35 kg".

By carefully positioning the eight people, all eight were able to fit easily into the box. All were able to breathe just fine, and I continually


asked how everyone was feeling. Two children sat down (Susanna, age 6, and Tabitha, age 2), one hunched over (Tobias, age 4), while all three adults and my eight-year-old son Nathanael stood. Adult male T.J. held the large baby doll. We took photographs from various angles (including the open top), and then took pictures as we removed various people. These photos were necessary because when all eight persons were in the box, the positions of some people were almost impossible to see. In fact, Susanna was so hard to see that we had to tell her to stick her hand out to show where she was. Evelyn Nagy (the adult female) was visible only by looking into the top of the box, while Tabitha was visible only from the right (glass) side.

One interesting thing we noticed was this: although the box was open on one whole side and on the top, in a few minutes both adult males were sweating noticeably. The children said that it was hot but not too bad, in agreement with Evelyn.

After the photographs were taken, I averaged out the weights of the eight subjects. Amazingly, the average was 33.25 kgs. (Gerstein estimated the average of the persons in the gas chamber at 35 kgs "at the most".)

All of the data we recorded are listed in the Appendix of this article.


All of the seven people in my experiment were healthy and well nourished. The Jews of eastern Poland (and specifically, Lvov/Lemberg, which is where the Jews of Gerstein's account are said to have come from) were, in August of 1942, ill-fed and even starving.24

In addition to the above, according to ethnological studies done by Dr. Otto Von Verschuer, the Jews of Poland were about three inches shorter than the average German.25 This comparative smallness is confirmed by other authorities, notably John R. Baker and Lothrop Stoddard.26 Since Jews are smaller, this would probably reduce their cubic volume by approximately 5%, when compared to non-Jews of European descent, the ethnic background of all the people in my experiment.

While the people in my final experiment were clothed, the people described in Gerstein's account were stark naked. Another point to consider is this: all of the people in the 21" X 21" box were not compressed or pushed together, while the people described by Gerstein were whipped and physically pushed into the chamber. Though it is possible that hysteria could actually disrupt "smooth fitting" of people into a 25 square meter room, yet in my opinion, brute force would overcompensate for this.

Keeping in mind all of the above, as well as the fact that Gerstein's lower ratio of 28 people/m2 was reached in the final experiment conducted by myself and my friends, we may conclude that the number of persons, the dimensions of the chambers, and even the weight estimates of Kurt Gerstein are well within the realm of the possible, and are believable. Seven hundred and fifty starving Jews, over half of them children, could fit into a 5 meter by 5 meter room, 1.9 meters tall.


P.S. I realize that even with photos and data, it is understandable that this experiment would be "hard to believe". I think that this is due to the fact that it is very difficult to visualize 28 people in a square meter. I cannot as yet "visualize" it myself. Nonetheless, the above conclusion is mathematically sound. Readers may be assured of my ability and willingness to repeat this experiment in the presence of others when called upon to do so. I made sure to save the box.


1 Roques, The 'Confessions' of Kurt Gerstein, IHR, 1989, pgs. 77-78

2 Roques, pg. 149 and Table D

3 International Military Tribunal, Vol. 6, pgs. 360-364, 30 Jan. 1946

4 American Military Tribunal, Vol. 1, pgs. 804, 868

5 Roques, pgs. 7-8 and Table D

6 Poliakov later stated that his error was based upon a very poor quality copy of Gerstein's confessions. In support of the "accidental" view of Poliakov's change is the fact that in a 1962 book by Poliakov, he correctly copied "25 m2" from an Israeli copy of Gerstein's manuscript (Rassinier, The Holocaust Story and the Lies of Ulysses, IHR, 1988, pgs. 251-252). Further, he had Breviary of Hate reprinted several years later with the "93 m2". (Roques, pg. 9) This seems hard to fit with deliberate falsification, and in my opinion poor and quite convenient scholarship in this case appears likely, thus introducing a major error into the Gerstein issue. Readers may observe the 93 m2 text in English in Harvest of Hate, by Leon Poliakov.

7 Roques, pgs. 7-11 and Table D

8 Rassinier, pg. 257

9 The Journal of Historical Review, Vol. 5, #1, Spring 1984, pg. 22

10 JHR, Vol. 7, #1, Spring 1986, pg. 44

11 JHR, Vol. 1, #2, Summer 1980, pg. 170

12 JHR, Vol. 7, #1, Spring 1986, pg. 44; JHR, Vol. 6, #2, Summer 1985, pg. 159; Rassinier, pgs. 255-256; Lenski, The Holocaust on Trial, pg. 321

13 JHR, Vol. 4, #3, Fall 1983, pg. 364 (cf. JHR, Vol. 4, #1, Spring 1983, pgs. 114-115)

14 Klarsfeld, The Holocaust and Neo-Nazi Mythomania, pgs. 132-133

15 Roques, pgs. 165-166

16 Gilbert, The Holocaust, pgs. 415-416

17 See, for example, Nuremberg Document NI-9912, reproduced in David Irving's edition of The Leuchter Report, pg. 24

18 Roques, pg. 78

19 Roques, pgs. 31-32

20 Friedlander, Counterfeit Nazi, pgs. 172-173

21 Friedlander, pg. 80

22 Friedlander, pg. 173

23 Roques, pgs. 62, 78

24 Shonfeld, The Holocaust Victims Accuse, pg. 43ff.; Wells, The Death Brigade, pg. 49

25 Von Verschuer, Racial Biology of the Jews, pg. 4

26 Baker, Race, pgs. 241-242; Stoddard, Racial Realities in Europe, pgs. 171-172




BOX BASE AREA: 21" X 21"

HEIGHT: 60 1/2"











138 lbs/ 63 kgs






138 lbs/ 62 kgs



Evelyn Nagy



108 lbs/ 49 kgs



Nathanael Provan



56 lbs/ 25 kgs



Susanna Provan



58 lbs/ 26 kgs



Tobias Provan



41 lbs/ 19 kgs



Tabitha Provan



33 lbs/ 15 kgs



Baby Doll


Theo: 15 lbs/ 7 kgs


Total Weight of eight people: 266 kgs

Average Weight: 33.25 kgs

Gerstein's Estimate: "average weight at the most 35 kg."

Number of Persons able to fit into a 5 meter by 5 meter room, based upon the above ratio of eight persons per 21" by 21" space:

21" by 21" = 441 sq. in.

8 people per 441 sq. in. = 1 person per 55.125 sq. in.

5 meters by 5 meters = 5 x 5 x 39.37" x 39.37" = 38,750 sq. in.

38,750 divided by 55.125 = 703 people

Therefore 703 people, over half children, can fit into an area of 25 m2.

See the photos.