Machines of mass incineration in fact, fiction, and forensics
Robert Jan van Pelt
In 1942 engineers of the German crematory oven builder Topf and Sons in Erfurt developed a design for an oven that could incinerate up to 7,000 corpses per day with a minimal use of fuel. This design was based on their experiences in Auschwitz. Was the design viable, and who would have been the likely customer? This chapter investigates the motivations behind such an architectural project and the intentions of the Nazis towards the bodies of those they sought to eradicate. It will explore the technologies used and sought, as well as the difficulties created by attempting to commit atrocities on such a large scale.