Irving v. Lipstadt


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

Pages 121 - 125 of 194

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    Well, they regarded it as a priority -- this is my
 2 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     I would say that the extermination programme, yes, should
 3become all inclusive at the moment. There are great
 4discussions about when the decision for the Final Solution
 5was taken. Professor Browning will be able to talk on
 6that. But certainly what we see is that, in the summer of
 7-- and we are only talking about Auschwitz right now.
 8I would like to be very careful because I do not want that
 9the discussion about what happens in Auschwitz in some way
10is going to be the discussion about the Final Solution as
11a whole. We are talking here about one camp. Other
12things are happening elsewhere. The Operation Reinhardt
13camps are being built, Treblinka common operation days
14later, Belzac has already been in operation before.
15     So in the case of Auschwitz, and that is
16something which Deborah Dwork and I tried to demonstrate
17in our book, Auschwitz was not meant to be an
18extermination camp. It is in some way almost hijacked by
19that programme when other things which are happening in
20Auschwitz are not going to be realisable during the war.
21So certainly, yes, Auschwitz now, which is a place where
22these other projects are collapsing, these projects which
23Himmler had envisioned of settlement and so on, Auschwitz
24is now made available and it is going to be made available
25administratively, in the sense that within the next months
26you see that decisions are taken, of which there are

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 1significant traces in the records of the architectural
 3 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Thank you very much.
 4 MR IRVING:     Can I ask you what kind of significant traces we
 5are talking about there? I was hoping to obtain from you
 6during that statement some kind of indication of what
 7documentary basis you were making those remarks on,
 8because of course you have now stepped beyond the barbed
 9wire of Auschwitz, so to speak, and are talking about
10grand policy and grand decisions. Is this what you have
11acquired from reading other people's books, or from what
12you have read from the archives in Auschwitz or Moscow?
13 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Let us forget, if you like, other people's books. It is
14going to be a kind of longish discussion.
15 Q. [Mr Irving]     I hope we can keep it short.
16 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     No.
17 Q. [Mr Irving]     You made certain remarks in response to his Lordship's
18question about July 1942, and you said that, no, you did
19not think that a decision; was taken at that time, or
20words that effect, and I just wanted to know what your
21basis for saying that was?
22 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     I said a decision was taken.
23 Q. [Mr Irving]     What was your basis for that statement?
24 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     There are a number of things. We know from Commandant
25Hirst's account that Himmler came, and we know he visited
26the site. Hirst says that he watched a gassing.

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 1 Q. [Mr Irving]     There is an inference then from cause and effect?
 2 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     No. Himmler does not like to go to Auschwitz at that
 3time. I mean, it seems to be that Himmler is not going to
 4go out of his way from the Wolffschanze, wherever the
 5headquarters are in Russia, to Auschwitz on the way to
 6Globocnik in Lublin.
 7 Q. [Mr Irving]     He wrote to his mistress on the day before and said:
 8"I have a very unpleasant journey to undertake. I am
 9going to visit Auschwitz and there are certain things one
10has to do for Germany", a rather odd sentence.
11 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Whatever he writes to his mistress, I agree this probably
12was a trip he did not look forward to. Then, among the
13various meetings he has, he has a meeting with Kummler,
14which also he is going to.
15 Q. [Mr Irving]     Can you explain to the court who Kummler is, please?
16 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Kummler is the head of SS Construction, who is there and
17also they have a long meeting in the construction office,
18in the Auschwitz construction office with Bischoff, where
19they are discussing obviously construction matters. Now
20we see that within a month the first design for what will
21become crematorium 4 materialises, which is a document
22signed 14th August, which only shows the incineration part
23and part of whatever is connected to the incineration
25 Q. [Mr Irving]     Can I interrupt there and ask you to inform the court what
26happened to Bischoff after the war? Was he put on trial?

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 1 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     No, he was not put on trial. He died in Bremen in 1950.
 2 Q. [Mr Irving]     He died in his bed in 1950?
 3 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     I do not know where he died, but he was never prosecuted.
 4 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Finish your answer, Professor van Pelt. You
 5said they meet together and, as a result of that meeting,
 6crematorium 4 was built?
 7 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     As a result of that meeting we first see a first drawing,
 8blue print copy, whatever it is, for an incineration
 9installation which had not been on the table before that.
10That is the very first thing. It is one for an
11incineration installation with eight ovens or two muffle
12ovens, a complete new concept.
13 MR IRVING:     Which one was that?
14 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     This was crematoria 4 and 5. Then there is a letter.
15I think it is in the bundle but I do not know where it is
16in the bundle. I would like to maybe take the letter
17out. It is about a meeting which is five days later after
18this drawing appears, which actually discusses these
19buildings. It is famous and notorious letter which talks
20about the Bader anstalten versonderbehandlung.
21 MR RAMPTON:     Your Lordship will find that, as amongst other
22places, as the document in K 2 at tab 4, page 2. It is
23also reprinted in the report, but I cannot find where it
24is in the report at the moment.
25 MR IRVING:     This is August 1942?
26 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     This is 19th August 1942.

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 1 Q. [Mr Irving]     Will you tell the court, while they are looking for the
 2documents, what was happening at this time in Auschwitz?
 3 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Our transports were arriving.
 4 Q. [Mr Irving]     Would it not be right to say that Auschwitz was in the
 5grips of the most appalling epidemic, one of the biggest
 6epidemics in a concentration camp in history?
 7 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Yes, an epidemic was happening, but I am happy to come
 8back to the epidemic or any other matter because actually
 9we have to ----
10 Q. [Mr Irving]     I think possibly it would be more frank with the court if
11you had mentioned this as you went along rather than try
12to draw inferences which the court might otherwise be
13misled into taking.
14 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Give him a moment. He is at the moment
15describing the meeting that took place with Kummler and
16Bischoff and Himmler.
17 MR IRVING:     My Lord, I am very forgetful and, by the time he
18gets to the end of his remarks, I might forget to make
19this point.
20 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     I understand that. Go on. How does this
21document fit in with that?
22 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     This document is a remarkable document because, first of
23all, it introduces in the history of the camp suddenly two
24buildings of which there is no other kind of earlier
25records. It is in clause number 2 that it talks about the
26creation of two, three-muffle ovens, near or next to the

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