Irving v. Lipstadt


Holocaust Denial on Trial, Trial Transcripts, Day 9: Electronic Edition

Pages 106 - 110 of 194

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    I think that he was used -- while he was, after he was
 1of function in the camp as a translator.
 2 Q. [Mr Irving]     Yes, but he was on the British Army payroll?
 3 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     But he was an inmate in that establishment. I do not
 4think that one is on the inmate -- as an inmate of a camp
 5on the payroll of the captors.
 6 Q. [Mr Irving]     Very well. One more question on this line, Aide Bimko,
 7you have used the eyewitness of a lady called Aide Bimko,
 9 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Yes.
10 Q. [Mr Irving]     Real name Rosenberg, I believe, is that correct? She gave
11evidence, she provided eyewitness testimony?
12 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     At the Ludenberg trial.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]     What other eyewitnesses have you relied on, Mr Heinrich
15 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     May I ask you, are you talking about my book or are you
16talking about the expert report?
17 Q. [Mr Irving]     I am sorry. I will assume you used them in both. Do you
18wish to distinguish between your report and the book?
19 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     I do not think that I used Bimko in the book. I did use
20Bendel in the book for one particular thing. So, yes, but
21I have mentioned them in the expert report not, by the
22way, as a way to ascertain what happened. I think that
23should be very clear about the use of the eyewitnesses in
24my report. It is a section, a rather large section, of
25my report to reconstruct how knowledge became available
26about Auschwitz after the war. So the question is, when

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 1did people actually start to testify, at what moment and
 2where were they?
 3 Q. [Mr Irving]     And what might they have learned from other witnesses?
 4 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     And what kind of cross-referencing would there have been,
 6 Q. [Mr Irving]     What I call cross-pollination, yes.
 7 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Pollination, as you called it yesterday.
 8 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Or "convergence", I think that is the other
10 MR IRVING:     My Lord, I am steering clear of the word
11"convergence" because of its legal meaning. I think
12cross-pollination is nice because it implies that they
13picked up a tit-bit from a newspaper.
14 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     I follow. I think, Mr Irving, you tell me
15when you have reached a convenient breaking point.
16 MR IRVING:     One more question. (To the witness): Are you
17going to tell us about any more eyewitnesses on whom you
18rely, because you do say that in certain key points of
19this issue you are relying more on eyewitnesses than on
20documents because the documents do not help us.
21 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     I find this very difficult to answer right now because I
22do not really know where you are going to go and what
23issues you are going to raise, and when at a certain
24moment those issues are raised, I will introduce
25eyewitnesses I see fit.
26 Q. [Mr Irving]     All will become plain to you immediately after lunch,

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 2 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Then the trap will be set or it is sprung?
 3 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Yes, well, we will look forward to that at
 42 o'clock.
 5 (Luncheon adjournment)
 6Professor van Pelt, recalled.
 7Cross-Examined by Mr Irving, continued.
 8 MR IRVING:     My Lord, with regard to the remark I made earlier
 9this morning, might I ask or suggest that we might
10possibly consider ending slightly earlier this afternoon,
11to give me time to prepare in more detail for tomorrow.
12 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Yes. I think, if you need that, that is a
13perfectly reasonable request. How much earlier were you
15 MR IRVING:     Half an hour or one hour earlier.
16 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Shall we compromise? Shall we make it half
17an hour?
18 MR IRVING:     Yes.
19 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     So quarter to four. When you reach a
20convenient moment around quarter to four or a little
21earlier, we will break off then.
22 MR IRVING:     Yes. Professor van Pelt, you are probably the
23world's leading authority on Auschwitz. There is no need
24to be humble or modest about this. Is this correct?
25 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     It is difficult to say that. I think that the history of
26Auschwitz is a very big history, a very complex history.

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 1There are many parts of the history of Auschwitz about
 2which we know very little, the history of medical services
 3in Auschwitz, the history of children in Auschwitz. There
 4are many historians who have worked on different parts,
 5but I would say that, on the more limited issue of the
 6history of construction in Auschwitz, or the history
 7construction around Auschwitz, because, as you probably
 8realize, the book deals also with what happened outside of
 9the camp in great detail.
10 Q. [Mr Irving]     Yes.
11 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     I would say that probably one of the two people, yes, who
12was most comfortable with all the material.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]     You are certainly the best that money can buy and, as we
14shall see from, I think I am confident in saying, the
15other witnesses who are being called by the Defence, they
16are of an unusually high calibre, so anything that you do
17not know about Auschwitz is not worth knowing. Am
18I correct?
19 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     I do not think that is true. I think that the mass of
20material which is available in Moscow I have consulted.
21I have glossed these archives on microfilm, all of them,
22like the certain moment when I started my work in
23Auschwitz in 1990, I worked through the whole archive to
24build an archive there, but I have not studied every issue
25in detail.
26 Q. [Mr Irving]     But you get a feel for it though, do you not, by looking

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 1at this?
 2 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     I think you get a feel for it, yes.
 3 Q. [Mr Irving]     It is possible to scan very large bodies of documents at
 4high speed, at unusually high speed, and still get a feel
 5for what is in them?
 6 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     One gets a feel, but there were questions which I did not
 7ask when I went through these archives, both in Auschwitz
 8and in the Moscow archives, historical questions I did not
 9ask, at a time which of course made me pass over certain
10files which may be now I wish I had looked at in more
11detail, because of some of the issues you seem to raise or
12which I expect you to raise.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]     Is it true that most of these Auschwitz files have now
14been microfilmed and provided to the US Holocaust Memorial
15Museum in Washington DC?
16 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     The Auschwitz files from Moscow have all been unblocked
17microfilmed, and the museum is now working on a microfilm
18collection of the files in Auschwitz itself.
19 Q. [Mr Irving]     So there are probably not many pages of those archives
20that have not recently been turned by one researcher or
22 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     I do not know what other researchers are doing. I have
23read in some of, I think in material which comes from your
24web site, I think, Mr Montonia has done a lot of work in
25Moscow. I think that, a number of people in the Holocaust
26museum seem to have been intimidated by this book and

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