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

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The Defendants' response ... >>

The Defendants' critique of the Leuchter Report

7.113 The Defendants are highly critical of Irving for having attached any credence to the Leuchter report. Van Pelt included in his report a detailed critique of Leuchter, his methodology and his conclusions. His criticisms echo those contained in a reasoned rebuttal sent to Irving late in 1989 by a Mr Colin Beer (which at that time Irving acknowledged had some force).
7.114 According to both van Pelt and Beer, the fundamental flaw in the report was Leuchter's assumption that the concentration of cyanide in the killing chambers would have needed to be greater than the concentration in the delousing chamber, that is, in the region of 3,200 ppm or higher. According to them that assumption is simply wrong. Moreover it demolished or at least undermined a number of the reasons advanced by Leuchter for denying the existence of the killing chambers. Basing himself on the high concentration of cyanide which he assumed would have been needed to gas humans, Leuchter had argued that the ventilation system of the chambers would have been wholly inadequate. But, say the Defendants, if the concentration required was much lower, it would follow that the ventilation requirements would be correspondingly reduced. Irving accepted that this was a logical conclusion. Similarly Leuchter's argument that the high concentration of cyanide required to kill humans would have created a high risk of toxic contamination of the sewers is invalidated if the concentration required was a fraction of that assumed by Leuchter. Irving again agreed that this is a logical conclusion. He also agrees that the need for elaborate safety precautions, also relied on by Leuchter, would be radically reduced.
7.115 The Defendants relied on the content of an interview of Dr Roth, the scientist at the Massachusetts laboratory which carried out the tests on Leuchter's samples. According to Dr Roth, cyanide produces a surface reaction which will penetrate no further than one tenth of the breadth of human hair. The samples with which he was provided by Leuchter ranged in size between a human thumb and a fist, so they had to be broken down with a hammer before analysis. Roth asserts that the resulting dilution of any cyanide traces effectively invalidates the test results.
7.116 Apart from what the Defendants regard as the fundamentally flawed assumption by Leuchter about the concentration of cyanide required for killing purposes, they identified numerous errors of fact in his report. He wrongly stated that there was no provision for gas-fitted (that is, sealed) doors and windows in the gas chambers. Tthe walls of the Leichenkeller were, contrary to what Leuchter claimed, sealed with a coating of plaster. Leuchter wrongly assumed that there was a mains sewer. He wrongly stated that there was no exhaust or ventilation system and that the facilities were damp and unheated. He asserted unjustifiably that there would have been a risk of death to those inserting Zyklon-B pellets into the roof vents. Irving accepted the validity of most of these criticisms of the Leuchter report.
7.117 Basing himself on the arguments which I have rehearsed in abbreviated form, van Pelt, not mincing his words, dismissed the Leuchter report as "scientific garbage".
The Defendants' response ... >>

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