Rachel Auerbach (18 Dec. 1903 – 31 May 1976) was a Jewish Holocaust propagandist from Volhynia who spent the war years in the Warsaw Ghetto until March 1943, when she somehow moved to the non-Jewish side of Warsaw, thus surviving the war. For years after the war, she collected various witness accounts, with a focus on survivors of the Treblinka Camp, uncritically recording and repeating the most bizarre claims and assertions.
While still in the Warsaw Ghetto in 1943, she wrote a long manuscript, in which she claimed about Treblinka that mass murder was carried out there in “steam chambers.” By 1946, Auerbach had access to a range of literature and testimonies about Treblinka, which she used to create her own spiced-up propaganda version of Treblinka in a long article. Here are several of her peculiar claims:
- Real showers in a nicely equipped “public bath” emitted not water but engine-exhaust gas. She took that from Abraham Krzepicki’s story.
- She combined the vacuum chambers claimed by some Treblinka witnesses with the exhaust gas version claimed by others:
“First, a suction pump was brought into play to draw the pure air from the chamber. Then the tank reservoir, where the engine’s combustion gas is collected, is attached.”
- The gassing victims were either white or blue and bloated. However, the victims of exhaust-engine gassings (with carbon monoxide as the active toxin) are neither of these. If they are discolored, then they are reddish-pink.
- During the incineration of corpses on pyres,
“pans would be placed beneath the racks to catch the fat as it ran off, but this has not been confirmed. But even if the Germans in Treblinka or at any of the other death factories failed to do this, and allowed so many tons of precious fat to go to waste, it could only have been an over-sight on their part.”
However, extracting, collecting and using fat from corpses burning on a pyre would have been physically impossible for a number of reasons. (See the entry on the myth of fat extracted from burning corpses.)
We saved the best for last:
“In Treblinka, as in other such places, significant advances were made in the science of annihilation, such as the highly original discovery that the bodies of women burned better than those of men.
‘Men won’t burn without women.’ […] [T]he bodies of women were used to kindle, or, more accurately put, to build the fires among the piles of corpses […]. Blood, too, was found to be first-class combustion material. […] Young corpses burn up quicker than old ones. […] [W]ith the help of gasoline and the bodies of the fatter females, the pile of corpses finally burst into flames.”
Since blood is more than 90% water, it is safe to say that it is not a “first-class combustion material.” Moreover, the human body (depending on its condition) is at least 65% water, it is also not good kindling material at all, but requires a lot of fuel to burn, particularly in open fires where heat losses are huge; for details on this, see the entry on open-air incinerations and self-immolating bodies. Auerbach moreover claimed that a total of 1,074,000 Jews died at Treblinka, which is at the high end of current orthodox estimates.