Substance isn't sinister

March 17, 2011

In his article about whether or not Alfred Toepfer was a Nazi advocate ("Tainted money", 10 March), Richard Evans reports that "(Michael) Pinto-Duschinsky notes that a subsidiary of the Toepfer business supplied slaked lime to the German ghetto administration in Lódz, and that slaked lime is 'used among other things to cover cadavers'".

It seems Pinto-Duschinsky is unaware of the difference between "slaked lime" - calcium hydroxide, or Ca(OH)2 - and the relatively dangerous "quicklime" - calcium oxide, or CaO. Quicklime is used primarily because of its great affinity for water and its consequent corrosive effect on organic matter, in order to avoid putrefying smells and the attention of scavengers when deep burial is not possible.

The former, as its name suggests, is what results from "slaking" quicklime with water. It is in no sense to condone the actions of the Nazis to point out that slaked lime is an innocuous substance, the supply of which seems unlikely to be evidence of evil intent.

Paul G. Ellis, Management Science and Operations, London Business School

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Assistant Recruitment - Human Resources Office

University Of Nottingham Ningbo China

Outreach Officer

Gsm London

Professorship in Geomatics

Norwegian University Of Science & Technology -ntnu

Professor of European History

Newcastle University

Head of Department

University Of Chichester
See all jobs

Most Commented

men in office with feet on desk. Vintage

Three-quarters of respondents are dissatisfied with the people running their institutions

A face made of numbers looks over a university campus

From personalising tuition to performance management, the use of data is increasingly driving how institutions operate

students use laptops

Researchers say students who use computers score half a grade lower than those who write notes

Canal houses, Amsterdam, Netherlands

All three of England’s for-profit universities owned in Netherlands

As the country succeeds in attracting even more students from overseas, a mixture of demographics, ‘soft power’ concerns and local politics help explain its policy