Irving v. Lipstadt


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

Pages 136 - 140 of 194

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 1 Q. [Mr Irving]     I thought they exterminated all the sick prisoners?
 2 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     We can deal with that later, if you want to put that to
 3me, Mr Irving. By that time, the inmate population in
 4Auschwitz itself has risen to 75,000.
 5     Now, if we now look at what if a typhus epidemic
 6of the same scale would have occurred (and this is a big
 7"if") one would have been wise to have available
 8one-third of that, which is 25,000, and, theoretically, to
 9have available -- sorry, 50,000. So this is 25,000
10available if such a typhus epidemic occurs again, and if
11the camp is going to be completely free, one would expect
12at least to have an incineration capacity of 50,000
14     Instead, the available incineration capacity in
15the camp at that moment -- and this is available, this is
16not any more planned -- is 120,000 corpses per month.
17 Q. [Mr Irving]     What is that based on?
18 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     This is based on the calculation that the Taiber itself
19gives of the incineration capacity of the four crematoria
20-- may I finish?
21 Q. [Mr Irving]     Based on the document that we are challenging?
22 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     That is based on the documents you are challenging, but
23the document which seems to be supported also by
24eyewitness testimony.
25     The only point I want to make right now at this
26moment is that the incineration capacity in the camp on

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 1the monthly basis in Auschwitz in 1943 far and far exceeds
 2the absolutely worst case scenario of typhus developing,
 3typhus developing in this camp; and I have to stress here
 4the worst case scenario because, in fact, the SS doctors
 5have worked very hard to limit the possibility for typhus
 6to occur.
 7 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Right. Thank you very much then. That was
 8all an answer, Mr Irving, to your question -- actually
 9I put it for you -- whether the increase in capacity might
10have been nothing to do with Himmler's visit, but solely a
11response to the typhus epidemic. It was a long answer but
12that is what it was answering.
13 MR IRVING:     We share the guilt for inviting that answer, my
15 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Well, if "guilt" is the right word.
16 MR IRVING:     I would only draw attention to two or three aspects
17of it.
18 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Yes, of course. Ask questions.
19 MR IRVING:     Firstly, if we are to believe these figures, then
20the SS, or whoever, were planning to wipe out over
21three-quarters of the entire camp population and
22incinerate them which seems a rather pointless exercise as
23this is a slave labour camp?
24 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Sorry, is this a question?
25 Q. [Mr Irving]     Yes.
26 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     The issue, of course, is that they are not intending to

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 1wipe out the camp population; they are intending to wipe
 2out people who do not belong to the camp population,
 3because people are arriving in Auschwitz and who are not
 4going to be registered in the camp.
 5 Q. [Mr Irving]     So the left-hand column in that case, is it not, is
 6irrelevant to the calculations because that left-hand
 7column refers to a totally different body of people, to
 8people who are living there and not the arrivals, shall we
10 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     No, but the left-hand graph refers to the situation before
11the visit of Himmler on 19th July. The right-hand graph
12represents a situation after Himmler's visit, and the big
13change in incineration capacity is, in fact, the decision
14taken at that meeting which is confirmed by the document
15to actually not only have crematorium (ii) but also
16crematorium (iii) and crematorium (iv) and crematorium
18 Q. [Mr Irving]     But the figures that you are relying on here with these
19two histograms, if I am right in saying, they rely
20entirely on that document which, you may remember, I was
21challenging the integrity of yesterday?
22 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     I mean, if you want me to rely on, for example, Hirst's
23testimony, I would say that the green bar would even
24higher, or if I have to rely on Mr Taiber, we actually get
25very close to that. It is not only the document; it is a
26convergence of the document with eyewitness testimony,

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 1both of sonderkommandos and of German officials.
 2 Q. [Mr Irving]     Professor van Pelt, we will be hearing a little bit more
 3about the quality of the testimony given by Taiber and
 4Hirst later on. But the fact remains that in all the
 5construction department records that you have read,
 6including that August 1942 memorandum you are relying on,
 7there are no figures that anywhere come near these. It is
 8speculation by yourself and back of envelope calculations,
 9projections of what might have been and a kind of rough
10and ready kind of scaling up and extrapolation for which
11we have no basis in epidemiology (because neither of us is
12an expert in that field); we do not know the way that
13epidemics grow or whether they grow exponentially or in
14any other manner, is that not so?
15 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Mr Irving ----
16 Q. [Mr Irving]     There is no basis in the archival record that you have
17seen for the figures you gave, apart from that one
18document that we challenge?
19 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Mr Irving, the point is, I think, very simple. You claim
20that the epidemic in August 1942 -- you raised the issue
21of the epidemic in 1942, then you say that we can -- you
22suggest that we can, and others have said, that you can
23explain the enormous incineration capacity in Auschwitz by
24looking at the typhus as being the reason to plan this
26     Now, we are talking here about a typhus

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 1epidemic, an enormous typhus epidemic, I agree, it was a
 2disaster. In August 1942, the camp was in a very bad
 3shape. But if you start to plan on the basis of that
 4worst possible scenario, or would you want to suggest then
 5a typhus epidemic which wipes out in one month almost a
 6whole camp population of 120,000 out of 150,000 projected;
 7so if you want to use the typhus argument (and you
 8introduced it and I did not) I can refute that by looking
 9at the incineration capacities.
10 Q. [Mr Irving]     Well, the facts are staring you in the face. This
11conference is taken in the middle of a camp which is in
12quarantine, subjected to, as you yourself admit, the most
13appalling typhus epidemic, and you are determined not to
14see any connection between the two facts?
15 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Well, I think the point here -- we do not
16want to spend too long on this -- he is really making is
17that the incineration capacity was three times the
18projected population of Auschwitz in 1943?
19 MR IRVING:     My Lord, can I ask one question on that?
20 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Is that right, Professor van Pelt?
21 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     No, I do not -- no, the incineration capacity is 4/5ths
22per month. It is 4/5ths of the total projected population
23of the camp. So in order to justify this by typhus, we
24would have to start to assume typhus epidemics which start
25to wipe out in one month 4/5ths of the total camp
26population, which means that, in terms of filling this

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