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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O. Air raid shelters

  • Rudolf pages 305-317
  • Van Pelt pages 151-173
  • Judgment 13.86
  • Libson paragraphs 56-60
  • Bateman paragraphs 85-90
There is clearly nothing new in this section: Irving was aware of the relevant source material and quoted it on his website (under Crowell's name); hence Van Pelt dealt with it in his original report.
Irving claimed to have documents from the Auschwitz construction files from late 1942 onwards on the construction of air raid shelters; he used this material in his cross-examination of both Van Pelt and Longerich (see Day 8 pages 88, 100-101, 119-120 140, 145-147; Day 10 pages 155,175; Day 11 pages 43-44 and 189-190; Day 25, pages 10-11).
The argument that the basements of crematoria II and III were constructed (and emergency exists installed) so that they could be used as air-raid shelters is untenable and unsupported by any evidence. Van Pelt has examined the documents from the Moscow files (the index of which Irving produced a trial and to which Rudolf refers): "there is no mention of any crematorium or morgue, or of a plan to convert a morgue of any crematorium into an air raid shelter" (page 161); there is evidence of the construction of splinter protection trenches from December 1943 (page 164); and concern about air-raids begins only in November 1943 (page 165). By contrast, the contemporary documents showing the adaptation of these spaces from morgues into undressing rooms and gas chambers all date from late 1942 and early 1943 and are wholly devoid of any reference, express or implied, to air-raid shelters. The documents Rudolf relies on do not show that there was concern about air-raids for Auschwitz inmates: for example, the memo from June 1944 (which is a year after the construction of the gas chambers in crematoria 11 and III) shows that there were 10 trench shelters, which would protect a maximum of about 5,500 people, in a camp of 96,000 people. Further, the so-called "emergency exits" are in fact sewer manholes.
The inconsistency between this argument and the previous argument is not addressed by Rudolf: if the cellars were to be air-raid shelters, they would need gas-tight doors -- but, on Rudolf's account, there were no such doors in Auschwitz. Moreover, as Rudolf himself   (citing Crowell) points out, the doors of the air-raid shelters were; for obvious reasons, generally made of steel; whereas the doors of the gas chambers (and delousing rooms) at Auschwitz were all made of wood. Nor does Rudolf explain why the glass spy-hole in the door of an air-raid shelter (or a delousing room) should need a protective hemispherical metal grille on the inside.
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