Holocaust Denial on Trial, Trial Judgment: Electronic Edition, by Charles Gray

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The Defendants' response to Irving's argument in relation to the documentary evidence

7.127 The Defendants accept that there are few overt references to gas chambers at Auschwitz in contemporaneous documents but suggest that the absence is readily understandable. I have already alluded to the evidence of Ertl, the architect employed at the Auschwitz Central Construction Office, that he was told by Bischoff that no reference should be made to gassing and that such terms as "special action" or special measure" should be used instead. The Defendants contend that it was standard procedure to disguise the existence of genocidal gas chambers either by the use of such innocuous terms or referring to their having a delousing function.
7.128 In answer to Irving's claim that documents exist which are irreconcilable with a programme of mass extermination at Auschwitz (for example urging that measures be taken to reduce the mortality rate), Longerich asserted that these documents have no bearing whatsoever on the treatment of those who were gassed on arrival at Auschwitz without becoming registered as inmates of the camps. The documents simply reflect a degree of caution in carrying out the policy of extermination by slave labour which had been proceeding in parallel with the gassing. The Nazis were becoming concerned at the rate at which the supply of labour was being reduced by death from typhus. Longerich further pointed out that the figures contained in the documents relied on by Irving were apt to mislead because they relate to both Jews and non-Jews: if the figures were confined to Jews, the picture would be very different.
7.129 But the Defendants contend that there are in the contemporaneous documents incriminating references. I have already made reference to some of them. Invited to comment on the catalogue of reasons given by Irving for denying the authenticity of Bischoff's letter of 28 June 1943 (see paragraph 7.106 above), van Pelt testified that the letter is in the Moscow archive. It first surfaced in the 1950s, that is, before any issue had been raised about the incineration capacity of the ovens, so that at the time there was no reason to have forged it. Van Pelt produced another version of the document which came from the Domburg archive. He suggested that no forger would have inserted the forged document into two different archives. Moreover, van Pelt would not accept that what Irving perceived to be oddities about the document suggesting it is a forgery were in truth anything of the kind. He assembled a clip of Auschwitz documents which display most of the odd features upon which Irving founded his argument that the letter is not   genuine. He was unable, however, to produce another example of an error in the designation of the rank of an SS officer. In addition he agreed he had not come across another document which had the abbreviation "Ne" for the name of the secretary who typed it. Van Pelt concludes that there was no standard format for documents at the camp. His overall conlusion was that he had no doubt about its authenticity.
7.130 In answer to Irving's reliance on the absence of references to deaths by gassing in either the decrypts or the camp "death books", the Defendants contend (as already noted) that both relate to registered inmates at the camp and not to those who were gassed on arrival. There was moreover a natural concern to observe the greatest secrecy about the gassing operations.
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