Gerhard Adametz was in U.S. captivity after the war at Dachau, where he was interrogated, most likely using the customary torture applied by the Americans to many, if not most of their captives. (See the entry on torture.) He signed a 36-pages-long handwritten statement on 17 October 1945. However, that original has disappeared. All that survived is an alleged transcript of 12 pages. A Russian translation of it was given the document ID USSR-80 at the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal.
According to this transcript, Adametz claimed to have reached Kiev around 10 September 1943 with a group of 40 policemen called “Detachment 1005 b.” There he was led “to an old cemetery about 5 km from Kiev,” where he was led “into the adjacent field.” There he saw about 100 inmates whose legs were shackled with a chain.
One hundred, later some 330 inmates, he claimed, were extracting corpses from mass graves and piling them up on stacks containing about 700 or even about 2,000 bodies each – with no wood in between. These bodies, merely placed “on a wooden base,” were then surrounded by wood leaning against the finished pile, after which the whole pile was set ablaze. This work ended around 1 October 1943. All in all, about 100,000 bodies were exhumed and burned this way.
Rather than placing the mass graves and the resulting pyres in the ravine named Babi Yar, Adametz has this event take place in a field. He never mentions Babi Yar. This indicates that he was describing an event at a location he had never seen.
His description of the incineration technique allegedly used is technically impossible. His piles of corpses, allegedly two to three meters high, were merely sitting on a wooden base and then surrounded by wood leaning against the pile. The wooden base, covered by these large piles of corpses, would never have caught fire, and the wood leaning against the pile would have burned down without transferring any noticeable amount of heat to the bodies in the center.
The survivor witnesses who were interrogated by the NKGB after the war at least had their pyres built by alternating layers of wood and corpses, so in theory those could have worked. However, their calculated sizes would have made them technically impossible, too. (See the entries on Semen Berlyant, Isaak Brodsky, David Budnik, Vladimir Davydov, Iosif Doliner, Yakov Kaper, Vladislav Kuklia, Leonid Ostrovsky, Yakov Steyuk, Ziama Trubakov.)
The total number of 100,000 bodies allegedly cremated accidentally happens to coincide with the number of bodies allegedly buried at Babi Yar, according to the Extraordinary Soviet Commission.
Cremating an average human body during open-air incinerations requires some 250 kg of freshly cut wood. Cremating 100,000 bodies thus requires some 25,000 metric tons of wood. This would have required the felling of all trees growing in a 50-year-old spruce forest covering almost 56 hectares of land, or some 125 American football fields. An average prisoner is rated at being able to cut some 0.63 metric tons of fresh wood per workday. To cut this amount of wood within the five weeks (35 days) that this operation supposedly lasted would have required a work force of some 1,134 dedicated lumberjacks just to cut the wood. Adametz says nothing about huge piles of firewood, and where it came from.
In his affidavit, Adametz made statements about other locations where his unit supposedly guarded other inmate groups exhuming and burning corpses from mass graves. However, his claims as to where his unit went, and how long they stayed at which location, how many corpses were exhumed and burned are highly erratic and inconsistent. Moreover, his unit took extended breaks, recovery periods and furloughs. After having wrapped up Babi Yar, his unit was involved, from 16 October 1943 to 20 January 1944, in the exhumation and cremation of… 6,000 bodies! This is less than 62 bodies per day – a fraction of the hundreds of thousands of bodies that he allegedly just processed. It is also noteworthy that 40 to 50 inmate slave laborers were deployed at each location he mentions, no matter the number of corpses to be processed or the time available for it. In other words, his narrative was invented from scratch with no connection to reality.
The German text of Adametz’s statement is riddled with anglicisms both by choice of words and by sentence structure. Hence, the original text of Adametz’s statement was not written by a German in German, but in English, after which it was incorrectly translated into German by an inexperienced translator. Hence, even if Adametz handwrote this text, he did not write down his own words, but copied a poorly translated, originally English-language text. He would never have done this voluntarily. It therefore stands to reason that the American investigators cobbled together a text in English, translated it to German, softened up Adametz to make him cooperative, and had him sign it. This was probably done with assistance from the Soviets to make sure Adametz’s story about Babi Yar aligned with the Soviet version, as the Soviets evidently planned to use it, and then indeed introduced it, as evidence. Hence, they may even have requested this affidavit from the Americans.
Finally, no person by the name of Gerhard Adametz is known to historiography in any other historical context. The whole thing may just have been made up from beginning to end by the Americans and Soviets.