Breaking the Spell by Nicholas Kollerstrom Review and Commentary Part Six

In the last post I discussed the death toll in Auschwitz. Kollerstrom writes that the corpses were cremated (Nicholas Kollerstrom, Breaking the Spell, Castle Hill Publishers, Uckfield, 2014, p 56),

“All bodies had to be cremated, because the ground around was too swampy for burial.” (Breaking the Spell, p 72).


However, he also writes that “there are no trace of bodies anywhere as remains from the six million gassed.” (Breaking the Spell, p 52, see also p 30, 54, 220)

As I have said earlier, only ignorant revisionists say six million Jews were gassed in the Holocaust.

He also claims there have been no diagnosis or autopsies showing anyone died from hydrogen cyanide gassing (Breaking the Spell, p 28, 30, 61, 70).

If he says the corpses were cremated, how is anyone supposed to diagnose whether they died from HCN poisoning? The Nazis cremated the bodies of their gassed victims and then their apologists argue we cannot tell if they were gassed.

In an article “The Plunder of Victims and Their Corpses” Andrzej Strzelecki writes,

“Ashes and bones from the bodies incinerated in the crematoria were crushed with wooden mortars, then buried in pits or sunk in the Sola and Vistula rivers or in ponds near Birkenau. The ashes and bones were also used as fill in the terrain and bogs as fertilizer for fields belonging to the camp. Camp authorities sought to scatter the remains as broadly as possible  to prevent their being used as evidence of the crimes committed in the camp.” (Andrzej Strzelecki, “The Plunder of Victims and Their Corpses” in Yisrael Gutman and Michael Berenbaum (editors), Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death Camp, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 1998, p 261)


There are trace of their remains. Franciszek Piper writes,

“In 1965, Hydrokop, a chemical mining technical enterprise based in Kracow, was commissioned by the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum to carry out geological tests at Birkenau aimed at determining the location of incineration pits and pyres. Specialists at Hydrokop bored 303 holes up to 3m deep. Traces of human ashes, bone and hair turned up in 42 sites. Documentation of all the holes and the diagram of their distribution are preserved in the Conservation Department of the museum.” (Franciszek Piper, “Gas Chambers and Crematoria”, Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death Camp, p 179)

During the 2000 David Irving Trial, Robert Jan van Pelt described how he had visited Auschwitz in 1990 with Jean Claude Pressac  and was able to pick up burned bones.

Kollerstrom writes that victims of hydrogen cyanide gassing should have pink skin, but witnesses said the victims had blue skin (Breaking the Spell, p 44-45, 63). He does not give any examples of witnesses saying the corpse were blue, but  Henryk Tauber, a member of the Sonderkommando, who worked on the gas chambers, said in his post-war testimony, “We found heaps of naked bodies, doubled up. They were pinkish and in  places red” (Robert Jan van Pelt, The Case for Auschwitz, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 2002, p 197)

Shlomo Venezia, another member of the Sonderkommoando, said, “Some bodies were all red, others very pale, as everyone reacted differently.” (Shlomo Venezia, Inside the Gas Chambers, Polity, Cambridge, 2009, p 64)

Kollerstrom makes similar claims about skin colour and the absence of remains at Treblinka where the Jews were gassed using carbon monoxide. He claims the skin of carbon monoxide poisoning victims should also be pink, not blue, so all the witnesses, who described blue skin, which he does not give any examples of, cannot be trusted (Breaking the Spell, p 45, 63).

However, according to the Red Cross, blue skin is a symptom of carbon monoxide poisoning,

“A pale or bluish skin colour that indicates a lack of oxygen may indicate carbon monoxide poisoning. For years, people were taught that carbon monoxide poisoning was indicated by a cherry-red colour of the skin and lips. This, however, is a poor initial  indicator of carbon monoxide poisoning.” (Australian Red Cross, First Aid Responding to Emergencies, Mosby Lifeline, Sydney, 1995, p 161)

Kollerstrom says that Jews were gassed in Treblinka by carbon monoxide from diesel engines and this is impossible because diesel engines do not produce enough carbon monoxide to kill (Breaking the Spell, p 135, 182, 188, 222-223). This is based on the arguments of the revisionist Friedrich Berg. Actually, although Berg said diesel engines did not produce enough carbon monoxide to kill under normal circumstances, he said it could produce a fatal amount with a full load on the engine, i.e., put a heavy load on a diesel truck and drive it up a steep hill as fast as possible (Friedrich Berg, “The Diesel Gas Chambers: Ideal for Torture – Absurd for Murder” in Ernst Gauss (editor), Dissecting the Holocaust, Theses and Dissertations Press, Alabama, 2000, p 445-451). Berg said this could be replicated on  a stationary engine by reducing the air supply to the engine which would produce more carbon monoxide, He writes,

“It must be conceded that it would have been theoretically possible to commit the deeds alleged for Treblinka, Belzec and Sobibor with Diesel engines.” (Dissecting the Holocaust, p 464)

However, there may have actually been petrol engines at Treblinka, not diesel. The authors of Belzec, Sobibor, and Treblinka, Holocaust Denial and Operation Reinhard writes,

“[W]itnesses who had closer experiences to the actual gassing engine share a large agreement that they were run by gasoline/petrol, while those witnesses with only an indirect hearsay knowledge of the engine were more likely to identify it as diesel.” (Jonathan Harrison, et al., Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka, Holocaust Denial and Operation Reinhard, 2011, p 315)

At Treblinka and the other Operation Reinhard camps, Belzec and Sobibor, the corpses were buried, then dug up and cremated on pyres. Kollerstrom doubts this is possible and actually says that “human bodies are not flammable” because they are 70% water (Breaking the Spell, p 17, 135) He writes that Treblinka “enjoys not one but two Holo-miracles: there was the gassing of 875,000 Jews by diesel exhaust, a non-lethal gas, followed swiftly by their thousands of somehow flammable corpses burning in the huge, Hellish pyres (just watch Schindler’s List, O scoffing Unbeliever).” (Breaking the Spell, p 135)

I have focused on Kollerstrom’s arguments, rather than his angry tone.

As mentioned earlier, the most reliable witnesses said the Jews at Treblinka were gassed using petrol engines. Moreover, they were not cremated “swiftly” after being gassed. Many of the corpses would have been buried for several months and become dehydrated so they would have easier to burn (Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka, Holocaust Denial and Operation Reinhard, p 469, 475).

It is still possible to mass cremate bodies  even when they have just died. Here is a photo from David Irving’s website of the mass burning of bodies after the bombing of Dresden in February 1945


Kollerstrom also discusses the archaeological work of Dr Caroline Sturdy Colls at Treblinka beginning in 2006. He writes that Sturdy Colls did not find a single body at Treblinka (Breaking the Spell, p 73, 183), even though he also discusses how the bodies were cremated (Breaking the Spell, p 73, 135, 183). What does he expect?

Treblinka is now basically a park. It has been tidied up since 1945 when there was a lot more evidence of human remains. In 1946 the Central Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes said about Treblinka,

“For example, in the north-eastern part, over a surface covering about 2 ha. (5 acres), there are large quantities of ashes mixed with sand, among which are numerous human bones, often with the remains of decomposing tissue.

As a  result of an examination made by an expert it was found that the ashes were the remains of burnt human bones. The examination of numerous skulls found in the camp has shown that they bear no external injuries. Within a radius of several hundred yards from the camp site an unpleasant smell of burnt ash and decay is noticeable, growing stronger as one approaches.” (German Crimes in Poland, Vol. I, Central Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes in Poland, Warsaw, 1946, p 96-97)

Kollerstrom does not mention these earlier findings nor the mass graves  which were discovered at Belzec between 1997 and 1999. The revisionist response to the Belzec findings is discussed here.

Kollerstrom also writes about Treblinka,

“Miraculously enough, the wicked Nazis also removed completely from the site “all buildings, all concrete foundations, all fresh water and waster water pipes, all the rubbish. all glass fragments, all barbed wire fences, all narrow-gauge rails, all air0raid shelters and all roads, and they left the area as if the camp never existed.” (Breaking the Spell, p 186)

It sounds like Kollerstrom is saying that the Treblinka camp did not exist at all, but elsewhere he writes that Treblinka was only a transit camp. Kollerstrom claims that Treblinka, along with Belzec and Sobibor, were transit camps, the Jews were sent through them further East and resettled (Breaking the Spell, p 182, 187-189, 228).

In a section headed, “The Final Solution Finally Solved” (as though he is the one who thought of it and other revisionists have not been saying it for years) Kollerstrom quotes from Nazi documents, including Goebbels’ Diary, about deporting the Jews and resettling them in the East (Breaking the Spell, p 214-216).

As mentioned earlier, Kollerstrom ignores the passage from Goebbels’ Diary which said that 60% of the Jews would have to be liquidated.

I also mentioned earlier that there is no denying there are Nazi documents saying the Jews would be deported and resettled in the East. The “controversy” is what happened when they got there  – were they really resettled or were they killed? In his post-revisionist conversion book Goebbels, Mastermind of the Third Reich, David Irving described how the Jews in Germany were told they were going to be resettled and put on trains, but when they arrived, they were killed (David Irving, Goebbels, Mastermind of the Third Reich, Focal Point, London, 1996, p 374-403).

In 1943 Himmler commissioned the SS statistician Richard Korherr to prepare a report on the final solution to the Jewish question. Kollerstrom writes that the Korherr Report said that by the end of 1942,  1,274,166 Jews “were sifted through the camps in the General Government”, that is, Belzec, Lublin, Sobibor and Treblinka (Breaking the Spell, p 226-227).

This may sound like the camps were transit camps and the Jews were channelled through them and resettled further East. However, Kollerstrom does not tell his readers there are two versions of the Korherr report and he is only quoting from the second one.

In Hitler’s War David Irving describes how the original version the 1,274,166 Jews had bene subjected to “special treatment”, but Himmler told Korherr to change it. Irving writes,

“According to the new text, the Jews would have been “channelled through” the camps to Russia – not “subjected to special treatment” at the camps. As he wrote on April 9, the report would serve magnificently for “camouflage purposes” in later years.” (David Irving, Hitler’s War, 1942-1945, Macmillan, London, 1977, p 504)

As mentioned earlier, there are times when “special treatment” meant killing. If it only meant delousing as Kollerstrom claims, why did Himmler feel the need to change and camouflage it?

Modern day Holocaust revisionists are doing exactly what Himmler hoped they would do, using the second version to camouflage what happened to the Jews.

Kollerstrom admits in a footnote (literally in the fine print) that “there may be no records of where they went.” (Breaking the Spell, p 188) There are no records of where they went because they did not go anywhere, they were killed in Treblinka and the other camps.

Like other revisionists, Kollerstrom demands an impossibly high standard of proof from conventional historians, autopsies of cremated corpses and documentary proof of undocumented arrivals, but when it comes to their version, they put forward a theory for which there is no historical evidence.


In my 2011 article “What is Wrong with Holocaust Revisionism Part II” which was published in Hard Evidence, Volume 11, No 5, Sept-Oct, 2011, and can be found here, I argued that the fatal flaw with Holocaust revisionism is that they cannot show what “really” happened to the Jews, if they were not killed. There is a lot of speculation, but no evidence, i.e.. resettled Jews.

Kollerstrom is no different.



Author: Malcolm Nicholson

I am a small business owner and I live in northern Tasmania. I am a graduate of the University of Tasmania and I have a Master of Arts in Early Christian and Jewish Studies from Macquarie University. I attend a Reformed church. I have been a teacher librarian, New Testament Greek teacher, branch president and state policy committee chairman of a political party, university Christian group president. My interests include ancient history, early Christian history, the Holocaust, Bible prophecy, revival, UFOs, peak oil and science fiction.

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