Irving v. Lipstadt

Transcripts

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

Pages 111 - 115 of 194

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    I do not know what other researchers are doing. I have
 1thinks there is no more work to do, but I tell them that
 2there is enough work to do still.
 3 Q. [Mr Irving]     It is a very well written book, if I may say so. Certainly
 4for the last eight years they have been researching that
 5because, when I was in the archives working on the
 6Goebbels diary, at the table behind me were two
 7researchers from the Washington museum, working on
 8precisely the Auschwitz archives. They have had eight
 9years working specifically through those archives, turning
10all the pages, looking for things, so not much would have
11escaped their attention of any significance.
12 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     I think that of course the question is again, what
13question are you asking of the material? I mean what are
14people, when they look at these materials, looking for?
15 Q. [Mr Irving]     If they had found a smoking gun, if they had found
16evidence of a system establishing the link between Himmler
17and Hitler, anything like that, they would have caught the
18next plane back to Washington and held a press
19conference.
20 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Actually, I disagree with you on this, because now you
21assume that the issue which is so important to you, or the
22issue which is so important to maybe Mr Montonia, is also
23central to other people. I admit that, when Mr Pressac
24started his work on Auschwitz, he was very much inspired,
25so to speak, by the research agenda set by Robert
26Faurisson. For example, my own research agenda has been

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 1completely independent of the issues raised by Holocaust
 2deniers, revisionists or whatever name we want to give to
 3these people who look with a very particular perspective
 4into the files to find, as you call it, a smoking gun.
 5 Q. [Mr Irving]     Do you not agree that it is quite an important element of
 6the Holocaust story whether this was a series of arbitrary
 7actions committed by individual gangsters and Nazi
 8criminals, or whether there was an overall scheme or
 9system directed by Adolf Hitler himself?
10 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     I think that it is an important question in so far as you
11think this is an open question. I think that, if as an
12historian you have come to the conclusion, on the
13convergence of evidence and the work of many eminent
14historians, that it is not any more a great historical
15question, or a historical question at all, then I do not
16think that you are going to waste your energy researching
17that issue.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]     Is "convergence of evidence" another way of saying
19"reading between the lines"?
20 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     No. "Convergence of evidence" is exactly what it says.
21That is, at a certain moment, for example, I will give
22just the example of the morgue number 1 in crematorium 2,
23that is a convergence between what sonderkommandos say
24about it, what Germans say about it and what the blue
25prints tell us, and what the ruins tell us.
26 Q. [Mr Irving]     This is the building where you say 500,000 people were

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 1killed in round figures?
 2 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Yes.
 3 Q. [Mr Irving]     In the mortuary number 1 of crematorium number 2 in
 4Auschwitz, Birkenhau. Can I ask you, please, in your
 5report to turn to page 352? My Lord it is 352 of the van
 6Pelt report.
 7 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Thank you very much.
 8 MR IRVING:     Just going briefly back to the question of
 9priority, which is not entirely unrelated to this,
10Professor van Pelt, do you recognize this as what you
11might call the verboder document?
12 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Yes.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]     January 29th 1943?
14 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Yes, I do.
15 Q. [Mr Irving]     We have not read this document in court, my Lord.
16 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     I know I have read this but I am afraid it
17has gone out of my mind what exactly it is.
18 MR IRVING:     It is a conference held on January 29 1943 between
19the central construction office at Auschwitz and the local
20AEG branch at Kattowitz, the nearest town. "AEG informs
21this is the record made and signed by the two participants
22in the conference that it has not received valid iron and
23metal certificates in response to its iron and metal
24request, which were partly already filed in November
251942". Has your Lordship found it?
26 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     No. There are an awful lot of pictures

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 1around this section.
 2 MR IRVING:     Page 352.
 3 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     It is more difficult than it would appear.
 4I have it now.
 5 MR IRVING:     Page 352. It is a conference held on January 29th
 61943, concerning electricity supply and installation of
 7the concentrationslager, the concentration camp and the
 8prison camp, at Birkenhau. The conference was held
 9between the Auschwitz construction office and the local
10AEG office, the electric company, and I start at five
11lines downs:
12     "AEG informs that it has not yet received valid
13iron and metal certificates in response to its iron and
14metal request which were partly already filed in November
151942. Therefore it was not possible for this firm to
16begin construction of the ordered parts of the
17installation. There is a great likelihood that, due to
18the continued delay in the allotment of these requests,
19delivery will take much longer. As a result of this it is
20not possible to complete the installation and electricity
21supply of crematorium 2 (that is the building we are
22talking about) in Birkenhau by January 31st 1943. " I jump
23the next sentence: "This operation can only involve a
24limited use of the available machines whereby it is made
25possible burning with simultaneous special treatment".
26     Overlooking this, the overview of this document

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 1is that the defence relies on this document, I think I am
 2right in saying, as another pointer to the existence of
 3something called "special treatment" in crematorium 2,
 4sonderbehandlung. I am relying on the document for a
 5totally different reason, saying that even Auschwitz,
 6Birkenhau, had difficulty getting priorities. The purpose
 7of this document -- am I right, Professor van Pelt -- is
 8saying that they have difficulty running the electric
 9equipment with the existing power supply? They cannot do
10this and that simultaneously because they do not have
11adequate power supply. It will blow the fuses or
12whatever?
13 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Yes.
14 Q. [Mr Irving]     Is this not an extraordinary document, Professor van
15Pelt? Does that not indicate that they had difficulty
16obtaining priorities even for an extra 100 or 200 yards of
17copper cable or whatever it took?
18 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     I think it is not an extraordinary document at all,
19because the history of Auschwitz, or one of the histories
20of Auschwitz, is the history of the building department
21being unable to get anything done.
22 Q. [Mr Irving]     Because of lack of priorities?
23 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     No. I think we have to go back to one of the fundamental
24problems that the SS faced in the German wartime economy.
25That is that the SS at this moment does not have yet
26Wehrhoheit. This means that it is not yet recognized as a

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