Irving v. Lipstadt


Holocaust Denial on Trial, Statement of Mark David Bateman: Electronic Edition, by Mark David Bateman

Table of Contents
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G. Sonderaktion

  • Rudolf pages 36-41
  • Van Pelt pages 71-96
  • Judgment J7.66,13.76
  • Libson paragraphs 28-30
  • Bateman paragraphs 39-41
Rudolf's argument is that the references to Sonderbehandiung (special handling) related to hygiene at Auschwitz, not homicidal gassing (in particular, that it does so in the record of the meeting on 19 August 1942: Trial File K2, tab 4, pages 2-3, in German). In fact, the evidence shows that terms including Sonderbehandiung were often used to refer to killing (not that they always did so).
  • Evidence of the use of the term "special action" to mean killing is provided by, amongst other sources, Ertils testimony (van Pelt pages 78-80); and the war diary of Kremer (van Pelt pages 80-83).
  • The record in question, of the meeting of 19 August 1942, was dealt with in Ertl's testimony at his trial. In the document, the words "bathhouses for special actions" appear in quotation marks in the original, suggesting a euphemism (no other explanation is advanced by Rudolf). Further, the general context of that letter (including Himmier's visit to Auschwitz, as recounted by Hass) support the Defendants' interpretation. (The context of the document was in evidence at trial, see, for example, Van Pelt's original report at pages 346-355)
  • Other evidence of the use of such euphemisms for extermination or killing are found in other sources, for example:
    • a) "evacuation" in connection with Einsatzgruppen reports (van Pelt pages 91-92);
    • b) "special treatment" in a report sent to Rosenberg on 18 June 1943 (van Pelt page 92), in the Korherr Report (van Pelt pages 99-103) and in two Gestapo Directives from June 1944 (van Pelt pages 93-94).
    The use of euphemisms to cover up the execution of the policy of extermination was canvassed extensively at the trial. The expert historian Dr Longerich produced   a glossary, which summarised the position on a number of such words; this formed part of the evidence on this topic from the Defendants.
Rudolf's argument that the abbreviation "S.B." referred to the admission of an inmate to hospital is not supported by the documents he cites. The document of 3 October 1942 strongly suggests that "S.B." is a means of "departure" from the camp (not admission to a hospital within it): see Rudolf page 37 and Figure 8 (page 341) and van Pelt pages 87-88. Construed in this way, the document is consistent with other documents cited by Van Pelt, page 88ff (documents of 8 October 1944, 8 March 1943, 23 March 1943 and the Korherr report).
One of the documents ignored by Rudolf is the Kinna Report (16 December 1942, Trial File K2, tab 4, 19A(iv)-(v), English translation). That referred to a transport of 64 Poles to Auschwitz from Zamosc, the report noted that "only Poles capable of work should be delivered"; to relieve the camp, "limited people, idiots, cripples and sick people must be removed from the same by liquidation. This measure however becomes more difficult to implement because according to an order from the RSHA [in contrast to] the measures applied to the Jews. Poles must die a natural death. Therefore the camp leadership desires that people not capable of work should not be assigned." (emphasis added). The meaning of "liquidation" in this context is plain. Irving did not challenge the authenticity of that document in cross-examination (Day 29, pages 88-90).
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