Dr Robert Jay Lifton THE NAZI DOCTORS:
                        Medical Killing and the
                            Psychology of Genocide ©
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that, for many reasons, is the worse problem if they are in the working camp ... where there is only so much possibility [for keeping limited numbers of people alive] .... Then the camp leadership comes ... and says, “You‘re sending us people we can’t do anything with. They'll only croak.” . . . You understand that about these purely technical issues there were heated and intense discussions 
Dr. B. told me that "the doctors really became active" in confronting the overriding technical problem of burning large numbers of corpses. With the crematoria unable to take care of the enormous new load, trenches were dug and piled high with corpses.  
One had to burn ... great piles — enormous piles. Now that is a great problem, igniting piles of corpses. You can imagine — naked — nothing burns. How does one manage this? ...

They had been through the gas chambers and now thousands were lying there and had to be burned. How does one do that? One tested numerous methods — and here the doctors were drawn in to try to solve this problem and they helped find solutions.
Ernst B. himself became a bit excited as he explained in more detail the technical problem:  
The gas chambers were sufficient, you see, that was no problem. But the burning, right? The ovens broke down. And they [the corpses] had to be burned in a big heap .... The problem is really a large technical difficulty. There was not too much room, so first one thought one would have to take small piles.... Well, ... that would have to be tried out .... And then everyone contributed his knowledge of physics, about what might possibly be done differently. If you do it with ditches around them, then the air comes up from below and wooden planks underneath and gasoline on top — or gasoline underneath and wood in between — these were the problems. Well, the solution was not to let the fire die. And maintain the cooperation between the gas chamber and the crematorium. When [the fire] reached a certain intensity, then it was just right — but then you could not get to it, so it was still too hot, etc. Those were the problems. 
He went on to explain how different people did different things to help: 
And the actual work was of course done by the subordinate commanders [Unterführer], you understand, the NCOs [Unteroffizier] — people who were experienced in cleaning out [wegräumen], who ... had to deal with these prosaic [hausbackenen; literally, "home-baked"] problems. There are technically talented people ... physicians as well as  
Medical Killing and the
Psychology of Genocide

Robert J. Lifton
ISBN 0-465-09094
© 1986
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