Irving v. Lipstadt


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

Pages 116 - 120 of 194

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    No. I think we have to go back to one of the fundamental
 1part of the armed forces. The armed forces can get
 2supplies relatively easily in the wartime economy because
 3they are given this priority status and the SS is not.
 4     On top of that, the crematorium we are talking
 5about, the building which we are talking about, is a
 6building which was commissioned, the original design had
 7been created and all the paperwork had been done in early
 81942, for this building, that is before there were plans
 9to bring the Final Solution to Auschwitz.
10     So one of the reasons that happened exactly at
11crematorium number 2 and not any of the other crematoria
12is because crematorium 2 is quite literally, both in its
13design and in its whole administrative history, a holdover
14of an earlier history of the camp, that is an history
15which is not connected to Final Solution because the Final
16Solution only comes in Auschwitz in 1919, the paperwork is
17not the right paperwork. So you do not find a document
18like that for crematorium 3 or crematorium 4 or
19crematorium 5.
20 Q. [Mr Irving]     It says here: "Because of this, it is absolutely
21impossible to supply crematorium 3 with electricity".
22They are referring again to the shortage of metal to build
23the extra copper cable to keep these things going.
24 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Yes, but crematorium 3 is an appendix to crematorium
25number 2. I was maybe a little too hasty on that thing.
26The problem is that, throughout the form, we are faced

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 1with a situation in Auschwitz in which, in some way, this
 2building in August 1942, there is a switch in the kind of
 3design office after the Himmler visit of July 1942 which
 4suddenly they will have to start to accommodate the Final
 5Solution one way or another. There was a meeting on 19th
 6August where these problems are discussed.
 7 Q. [Mr Irving]     1942?
 8 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     1942, and crematoria 4 and 5 are then in some way brought
 9up as a solution to that particular problem. Then, for a
10number of months, crematoria 2 and 3 remain in limbo in
11some way. It is not exactly clear, for a number of
12months, if these buildings will be fully committed to the
13Final Solution or not. Then what you see is that it is
14only by December that the final papers are drawn up for
15the transformation of the basement.
16     Again, I think that we are dealing in this
17document with requests which have been made in November.
18It is the end document of a long history of problems.
19There continued to be problems in 1943 and 1944 with
20getting anything to Auschwitz. I am not surprised by it.
21This is basically the nature of getting things done in
22Auschwitz at the time.
23 Q. [Mr Irving]     But all this implies, certainly to any objective observer,
24does it not, that here you have a document dealing with
25sonderbehandlung, which either means liquidating people or
26it does not. If it does mean liquidating, then it is part

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 1of the Final Solution which this court is told was ordered
 2by Adolf Hitler, or by the system, or by Himmler at the
 3very least, yet they cannot get the priority for 200 yards
 4of copper cable.
 5 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     It seems also that what we hear from the historical record
 6is that trains with Jews were parked on sites for days and
 7days while other trains went by because the trains did not
 8get priority to send the Jews to the extermination camps.
 9 Q. [Mr Irving]     Would I be right in inferring from that remark and from
10this document that whatever sonderbehandlung was, or
11whatever these trains were going towards, was not being
12done in the highest priority ordered by Adolf Hitler or by
13the system?
14 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     I do not think you can draw that conclusion. I think the
15only conclusion you probably can do is that
16administratively, and I am only talking administratively
17and maybe even technically, the Final Solution was
18piggybacked on some other larger infrastructure, technical
19infrastructure, something like that, which was already in
20place, and which of course makes sense because the Final
21Solution, by its very nature, is a short-term process.
22I mean already by the end of 1943 the Germans had been
23able to kill more or less all the Jews they had been able
24to lay their hands on. Only Hungarian Jewry were still
25there intact because they had been able to go to Hungary
26yet. So in that sense there is no need to make this ----

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 1 Q. [Mr Irving]     Professor, that is rather an exaggerated statement to say
 2the Germans had been able to kill all the Jews they had
 3been able to lay their hands on. Do you wish to
 4reconsider that statement?
 5 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     No, I do not. I think that this is a very fair
 6description of the historical situation.
 7 Q. [Mr Irving]     There were very large numbers of Jews in Germany still
 8alive at that time and performing useful tasks in the
 9munitions factories.
10 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     If you provide the evidence for all this very large number
11of Jews, I am happy to consider it, but at the moment ----
12 Q. [Mr Irving]     Very large numbers of German Jews actually survived in
13Germany for one reason or another.
14 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     If you give me the evidence, if you mention ----
15 Q. [Mr Irving]     Is it not so that in some cities like Berlin or Stuttgart
16the round up was pursued with great energy and verve and
17in other cities it was not pursued with much energy or
18verve at all?
19 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     My Lord, I am not a specialist on round-ups in Berlin and
20I prefer not to ----
21 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     May I ask you a question and it is this. Do
22you accept that when, or shortly after, Himmler visited
23Auschwitz in July 1942, a decision was taken to accelerate
24the extermination programme, what you call bringing the
25Final Solution to Auschwitz?
26 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     No, I do not agree with the way you formulate it right

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 2 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     You do not?
 3 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     No. I think a distinction we made in the book, and which
 4maybe I should make right now, is that there was a
 5practice of killing Jews in Auschwitz before 4th July
 61942, that from 4th July to 19th July, 18th July 1942, a
 7kind of inbetween situation emerged, it is only a 14 day
 8period, and that after 18th July, the Himmler visit,
 9Auschwitz was really directed to become a place where a
10policy of extermination exists, so we move from practice
11to policy, and where the practice of killing Jews in
12Auschwitz before 4th July 1942, and maybe in a more larger
13sense before 19th or 18th July 1942, is the result of a
14number of contingent situations that the SS in general and
15particularly the SS in Auschwitz sees itself confronted
16with when certain groups of Jews arrived.
17 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     So it becomes policy but it does not become urgent
18policy? Is that what you are saying?
19 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     It is certainly very urgent for the people on the ground
20in Auschwitz. They tried to get things done.
21 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     I meant for those directing the policy.
22 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     I wonder what your Lordship means by "urgent for the
23people who are directing the policy"?
24 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     Well, they regarded it as a priority -- this is my
25question -- that the extermination programme should
26proceed faster and on a broader basis than it had

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