Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Photos of the Nazi bone-grinder

An superb article by Klaus Schwensen in the Fall 2013 edition of Inconvenient History Journal inspired me to visit the Ukraine for the first time recently. I was anxious to see several items that he mentioned were displayed in the Museum of the Great Patriotic War in Kiev.
His article is about the device the Nazis supposedly invented to crush the bones of murdered Jews in the Yanovska (Janowska) labour camp in the city of Lviv (aka Lwów; Lemberg; L'vov), but was in reality a ball mill dating from the late nineteenth century, likely used during the German-occupation of the city for road construction.
The machine is situated in Hall 7 in an exhibit called "The Regime in Occupied Ukraine", and the English translation of the guide to the exhibiton describes the machine as "... a dreadful tool, a bone grinder, for crushing bodies. It was used by the Nazis in the concentration camp, Lviv, to process the bones of executed prisoners into fertiliser."

Text reads:
Використовувалася нацистами для виготовлення добрива з кісток страчених в’язнів у Янівському концтаборі (Львів). Лише за 2 місяці 1942 р. нацисти знищили тут до 60 тисяч ув’язнених, у т.ч. близько 8 тисяч дітей. Через табір у 1941-1944 рр. пройшло понад 200 тисяч мирних мешканців і радянських військовополонених. Крім українців, росіян, поляків, у ньому були громадяни французького, чеського, югославського, італійського, а також американського та англійського підданства..


  1. "No one can say to me we can't send them [the Jews] into the swamp! Who then cares about our people? It is good if the fear that we are exterminating the Jews goes before us." (Laurence Rees, Auschwitz, p. 109)

    The source given in the footnote is the Table Talk (but no page is given). The quote is on p. 87. Check it out and see if you can spot any differences. ;)

    I would appreciate it if you make a post on this.

    Peter Mandas

    1. Edit: I meant p. 87 in this edition:


  2. You would expect something capable of crushing human bones to be, I don't know, a little more compact. We are presented with small gas chambers and crematorium to explain away mass casualties, but this one object is permitted to maintain it's size with that questionable title ("bone grinder"). Gotta love the inconsistency.


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