Faitelson, Alex

Alex Faitelson was a Lithuanian Jew who was incarcerated at Fort IX near Kaunas, Lithuania. This was a 19th-century fortress used by the Soviets and the Germans as a prison. Faitelson claims to have escaped from this fortress on 25 December 1943. A day later, he signed a declaration together with ten other escapees. In it, the signatories stated that they had been involved in the exhumation and cremation of some 12,000 bodies from several mass graves, which presumably contained some 40,000 bodies altogether. However, German documents of the Ein­satz­grup­pen report “only” some 16,000. Therefore, 4,000 bodies should still be there, but evidently they were not discovered so far.

One of the other ten signatories, a certain Makar Kurganov, wrote an affidavit on 12 May 1959, in which he claimed that they had been “forced to unearth and burn on pyres hundreds of thousands of shot Soviet citizens.”

Every pyre they built allegedly measured 4 m × 4 m in length and width, and contained 300 bodies. The density of green wood is roughly 0.9 tons per m³, and its stacking density on a pyre is 1.4 (40% for air and flames to go through). Assuming a requirement of 250 kg of green wood per body for open-air incinerations, the required wood would have a volume of some 117 m³. Laid out on a square measuring 4 m × 4 m, the resulting pyres would be more than 7 meters high, reaching 8 meters when adding the bodies. It would have been impossible to build such a pyre, and also impossible to burn it down without it collapsing and spilling burning wood and corpses all over the place.

In 1996, an autobiography by Faitelson appeared. It is full of references to other sources, hence obviously a mixture of memories propped up or replaced with tenets of the orthodox narrative. He even has a bulldozer clear out cremation remains, although such vehicles did not exist in eastern Europe during the war. Here are some more peculiar claims in his book:

  • “A narrow ditch was dug around the fire, into which the fat and fuel from the bodies would drip.” However, fat catches fire and burns as soon as it comes into contact with fire or embers, so no fat can be extracted from a corpse on a pyre.
  • The pyres were allegedly lit by placing “mines under the lowest layer of wood.” This would have blown the pyre apart and scattered corpse parts all over the place. A similar story by as certain Dmitrii Gelpern was published in 1948 in the Yiddish periodical Der Emes published in Moscow. Faitelson may have plagiarized this nonsense directly or through some intermediate source.
  • The 64 inmates involved had to haul dry firewood from Fort IX to the cremation site every day. However, burning 300 bodies per day, as Faitelson claimed, would require almost 40 metric tons of wood. Therefore, every inmate had to carry some 600 kg of wood.
  • The inmates filled up the stash of firewood at Fort IX by collecting branches on the way back to the fort – 600 kg of branches every day.

The only event that is backed up by documents is the escape of 63 Jews from Fort IX on 25 December 1943. However, the rest of Faitelson’s testimony, which relates to one of many events claimed to have been part of the alleged German clean-up operation which the orthodoxy calls Aktion 1005, is not backed up by anything. The above-critiqued peculiar claims indicate that Faitelson’s entire scenario is completely detached from reality. It cannot be based on experience, but on mere imagination and delusion.

(For more details, see Mattogno 2022c, pp. 656-665.)

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