Between 5.4 million and 5.8 million Jews are estimated to have been murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust, most of them between 1941 and 1945. A new study found that nearly a quarter of them, 1.47 million, were killed in a single, extreme phase of 100 days, including 1.32 million (78%) in the 92 days of August to October 1942 — or 15,000 murders per day, twice the rate of killing during the 1994 Rwanda genocide.
The study was published Wednesday in Science Advances. Lewi Stone, a biomathematician in Tel Aviv University, analysed railway records of mass transportation of Jews. He places this hyperintense rate of killing during Operation Reinhard (1942-1943), which is known to be the largest single murder campaign — some 1.7 million Jews from Poland were killed, mostly in the death camps Belzec, Sobibór, and Treblinka.
What had not been researched so far, however, was whether the victims were murdered uniformly over time, or whether there were specific phases of extensive killing. With detailed records having been destroyed by the Nazis, Stone relied on records of Deutsche Reichsbahn, the German National Railway. Yitzhak Arad, an Israeli historian, compiled data on 480 train deportations from 393 Polish towns and ghettos to the three death camps and estimated the number of victims on each transport. Using Arad’s data, Lewi Stone estimated the rate at which Jews were killed during Operation Reinhard.
Fact Check, Ground reality | How voice analysis differs from polygraph in lie detection
On Wednesday, Delhi’s Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) introduced a layered voice analysis (LVA) system for lie detection. Procured from Mossad and also used by the FBI, LVA will aim to phase out the polygraph test, which has been in use since the 1970s at the Central FSL, also in Delhi.
A polygraph test measures parameters like blood pressure, pulse rate, breathing and sweat gland activity. Seen as a reflection of one’s emotional state, these are used to infer whether a suspect is lying.
An LVA, on the other hand, measures 14 parameters including emotional level, cognitive level, stress, and willingness or fear of discussing a topic. When the subject speaks and air from the lungs is pushed into the vocal chords, FSL officials say, it causes vibrations at specific frequencies and produces a sound that is further manipulated by the tongue. An LVA seeks to analyse these unique patterns to ascertain deception, if any.
In a polygraph test, tubes are placed over the chest and abdomen, and metal plates attached to the fingers. In an LVA, the audio recording is enough: a program will assess if the subject is lying.
While FSL officials claim LVA has a higher accuracy, questions have often been raised over the efficacy of both systems. In a 1985 paper on the polygraph, Boston University scientists stressed there is no such device as a lie detector per se. “Whether a person is collectively identified as being truthful or deceptive depends largely on the scale of the examiner and a number of characteristics and behaviours of examinee,” they wrote. Again, a 2009 paper in the Journal of Forensic Science looked at LVA. “As with the polygraph, it may be noted that some field successes reported from the LVA system (ie by law enforcement agencies and intelligence personnel) may actually be because of the skill of the interrogator, rather than the validity of system output…” —Anand Mohan J