Irving v. Lipstadt

Judgement

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

Table of Contents
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The scale on which Jews were gassed to death camps including the Reinhard Camps but excluding Auschwitz (paragraphs 6.73-144 above)

13.60 There is no dispute that the use by the Nazis of gas to kill human beings had its origins in the euthanasia programme. When that ended, the gas vans were diverted to the Eastern territories where (as Irving accepts) they were used to kill healthy Jews in substantial numbers. Again there is some argument as to the numbers killed in the gas vans: Irving was reluctant to commit himself to an estimate of the number killed but he accepted that it ran into thousands. In the circumstances I do not intend to explore any further the evidence as to the number of those killed in vans.
13.61 Although strictly the camps at Chelmno and Semlin did not form part of Operation Reinhard, which was confined to the area of the General Government, I shall for convenience refer collectively to those two camps and to the camps at Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka as "the Reinhard Camps". In relation to the Reinhard camps there are two issues: the first is how many Jews were gassed to death at these camps. The second is whether Hitler knew or approved of the extermination of Jews at these camps. (I will deal separately with the evidence about Auschwitz).
13.62 Addressing first the issue of the scale of the killings by gas at the Reinhard camps, it was Longerich's opinion that the policy of exterminating Jews by the use of gas was an extension or development of the programme of shooting Jews which had commenced in the late autumn of 1941. As has been seen, Irving conceded that Jews were shot in enormous numbers over the ensuing months. In paragraphs 6.75 to 6.105 above I have endeavoured to trace and summarise the evidence on which the Defendants rely in support of their case that the gassing which took place at the Reinhard Camps was on a truly genocidal scale. The evidence can be categorised as documentary (although most of the Reinhard documents were destroyed); demographic and the accounts of eye-witnesses. On the basis of this evidence both Browning and Longerich conclude that many hundreds of thousands died in the gas chambers at the Reinhard camps.
13.63 I have summarised at paragraphs 6.106-8 above some of the arguments deployed by Irving for saying that the killing at the Reinhard camps was on nothing like the scale contended by the Defendants. But, as pointed out at paragraph 6.109-110, Irving did ultimately accept that the camps at Chelmno, Treblinka, and Sobibor were Nazi killing centres. He claimed, disingenuously in my opinion, that he made this concession so as   progress the trial and thereby to enable the issue regarding Auschwitz to be examined in greater detail. Be that as it may, I understood Irving to accept that hundreds of thousands of Jews were killed at the Reinhard camps to which I have referred. I readily acknowledge that he disputed the estimates put on the number gassed to death by Longerich and Browning. But, given the huge number of deaths accepted by Irving, little appears to me to turn on the disparity in their respective estimates.
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