Irving v. Lipstadt

Transcripts

Holocaust Denial on Trial, Trial Transcripts, Day 8: Electronic Edition

Pages 126 - 130 of 191

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    I think that is probably right. You will
 1though, presumably, have to deal, and I think probably in
 2general terms only, with the other bodies of evidence,
 3categories of evidence, for the existence of the gas
 4chambers? For example, we have had a bit of evidence
 5about eyewitnesses, but we have not had anything, for
 6example, about the drawings made by -- I cannot remember
 7his name, the Frenchman.
 8 MR RAMPTON:     Dayaco and Eiffel who were two of the Auschwitz
 9architects.
10 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     No, I was thinking actually of the inmate.
11 MR RAMPTON:     Oh, Dave Olaire.
12 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Olaire. Things of that kind will have to be
13put in general terms, will they not, as to whether
14Mr Irving knew about them, whether he attached any
15credibility to them.
16 MR RAMPTON:     I suppose so, though, frankly, given his public
17stance in relation to Leuchter, I am not sure it any
18longer has much point. I am not here to debate whether
19the gas chambers existed. To my mind, I may be wrong --
20your Lordship may disagree and we have still to hear the
21cross-examination -- van Pelt demonstrates that with
22admirable clarify.
23 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Yes, I agree, but I do think one or two
24questions, and I hope it does not come to much more than
25that, along the lines of, well, the evidence does not
26consist only in, as it were, rubbishing Leuchter's report;

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 1there is a whole body of positive evidence which you have
 2put forward as establishing beyond the possibility of
 3doubt that the gas chambers did exist, so that Mr Irving
 4can then make either a general or a more detailed response
 5to that.
 6 MR RAMPTON:     I will start in the most general way. (To the
 7witness): Ignoring the eyewitness accounts, Mr Irving, do
 8you agree that the most suggestive effect of the
 9contemporaneous documentary evidence, by which I mean the
10plans, the memoranda and the correspondence, retrieved
11from Auschwitz, the most suggestive effect of that is that
12these were, indeed, homicidal gas chambers?
13 A. [Mr Irving]     No.
14 Q. [Mr Rampton]     Why not?
15 A. [Mr Irving]     From the Auschwitz archives and from the Moscow archives,
16historians have now retrieved many hundreds of thousands
17of pages of documents, and we are entitled to at least one
18explicit, non-ambiguous, non-reading between the lines,
19non-euphemism type of document which would gives us the
20clear smoking gun. That document does not exist.
21 Q. [Mr Rampton]     No, it is bit like the order by Adolf Hitler for the
22beginning of the Final Solution: Since it does not exist,
23it did not happen; is that right?
24 A. [Mr Irving]     I did not say that.
25 Q. [Mr Rampton]     I thought that was nature, the effect of your
26evidence ----

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 1 A. [Mr Irving]     No.
 2 Q. [Mr Rampton]     --- about Hitler and the Final Solution?
 3 A. [Mr Irving]     I am saying that because two bodies of documents -- you
 4may not appreciate this point -- of such integrity have
 5been captured, presumably intact, on the one hand, there
 6in the Auschwitz state archives, on the other hand, they
 7are captured by the Red Army, the entire records of the SS
 8construction unit, and now they linger in the Moscow
 9archives ever since, and, presumably, no incriminating
10documents have been removed by anyone, one would have been
11entitled to expect that by now when historians have had
12some 10 years to go through every single page many times,
13they would have found a document slightly more
14incriminating than those you have so far been able to
15surface.
16 Q. [Mr Rampton]     Leaving aside the absence of an actual document
17saying, "Now we must build some homicidal gas chambers at
18the order of SS Reichfuhrer Himmler ----
19 A. [Mr Irving]     I try to avoid sarcasm like that. I try to look at it at
20a more serious and objective level.
21 Q. [Mr Rampton]     No, but, I am sorry, it does seem to me perhaps
22appropriate to use sarcasm in this area?
23 A. [Mr Irving]     Sarcasm is the last resort of the scoundrel.
24 Q. [Mr Rampton]     Leaving that on one side, do you agree that otherwise the
25tendency of the surviving contemporaneous evidence -- by
26this I include the remains of the buildings such as they

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 1are -- is to suggest that, yes, indeed, these were
 2homicidal gas chambers?
 3 A. [Mr Irving]     The tendency of?
 4 Q. [Mr Rampton]     Surviving documentary evidence and the ruins is to suggest
 5that these were, indeed, homicidal gas chambers?
 6 A. [Mr Irving]     No, I do not agree that.
 7 Q. [Mr Rampton]     Why not?
 8 A. [Mr Irving]     Because there are alternative explanations which are
 9equally plausible.
10 Q. [Mr Rampton]     No, I am talking about tendency.
11 A. [Mr Irving]     It depends how tendentious you are.
12 Q. [Mr Rampton]     We have dealt with the word "vergasungskeller"?
13 A. [Mr Irving]     Yes.
14 Q. [Mr Rampton]     Which you say means, oh, well, that was only for gassing
15clothes or corpses?
16 A. [Mr Irving]     Perhaps I can put it the other way round. A German would
17never translate "gas chamber" "vergasungskeller", never
18ever. Not any German in this room would translate the
19German word "gas chamber" by "vergasungskeller".
20 Q. [Mr Rampton]     What do you take to be the meaning of the phrase found in
21Wetzel's letter to Lohse of 25th October 1941,
22"vergasungsapparate"?
23 A. [Mr Irving]     Gassing equipment -- whatever it was.
24 Q. [Mr Rampton]     You saw on the second page of that letter, did you not,
25the statement to this effect, "We have no objection if you
26use that equipment to dispose of Jews who are unable to

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 1work"?
 2 A. [Mr Irving]     Now, you have drawn a link between the
 3"vergasungsapparate" and the second page which does not
 4exist. I am familiar, you remember, with the Tesh trial.
 5Bruno Tesh himself went to Riga, as the head of the Zyklon
 6B manufacturing company, to train the staff in the
 7operation of the fumigation chambers which were installed
 8in Riga. So we know precisely what the vergasungsapparate
 9were.
10 Q. [Mr Rampton]     What would a German mean -- I am not in any sense
11deferring to you on this, Mr Irving, I am afraid; I just
12want to know what your answer is -- what would an ordinary
13German, who actually did not even get his grammar right,
14by saying that he had concreted the floor in gaskammer?
15 A. [Mr Irving]     Can we see that document, please?
16 Q. [Mr Rampton]     Yes, if you like. It is ----
17 A. [Mr Irving]     Because, of course ----
18 Q. [Mr Rampton]     It is the time sheet of a humble workman at crematorium
19(iv) in March 1943, 2nd March 1943.
20 A. [Mr Irving]     Well, every German in this room will be able to tell you
21what is wrong with that phrase, of course.
22 Q. [Mr Rampton]     We know that he has the gender wrong.
23 A. [Mr Irving]     It is not the kind of thing one gets wrong.
24 Q. [Mr Rampton]     It is, perhaps, if you are a humble workman in southern
25Poland. It perhaps is the sort of mistake which our
26humble workmen, if I may call them that without offence,

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