Irving v. Lipstadt


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

Pages 171 - 175 of 194

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    "To go from one cellar to the other there,
 1the corner, there was a little room with hair spectacles
 2and other effects were stored. On the right there was
 3another small room used as a store for Zyklon-B. In the
 4right-hand corner of the corridor, on the wall facing the
 5door from the undressing room, there was a lift to
 6transport corpses. People went from the crematorium yard
 7the undressing room via a stairway, surrounded by iron
 8rails. Over the door there was a sign which the
 9inscription 'Zum Baden und Desinfektion' (to bath and
10disinfection), written in several languages. In the
11undressing room, there were wooden benches and numbered
12clothes hooks along the walls. There were no windows and
13the lights were on all the time. The undressing room also
14had water taps drains for the waste water. From the
15undressing room people went into the corridor through a
16door above which was hung a sign marked 'Zum Bade',
17repeated in several languages. I remember the [Russian]
18word 'banya' was there too. From the corridor they went
19through the door on the right into the gas chamber. It
20was a wooden door, made of two layers of short pieces of
21wood arranged like parquet. Between these layers there
22was a single sheet of material sealing the edges of the
23door and the rabbets of the frame were also fitted with
24sealing strips of felt.
25     "At about head height for an average man this
26door had a round glass peephole. On the other side of the

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 1door, that is on the gas chamber side, this opening was
 2protected by a hemispherical grid. The grid was fitted
 3because the people in the gas chamber, feeling they were
 4going to die, used to break the glass of the peephole.
 5But the grid still did not provide sufficient protection
 6and similar incidents recurred. The opening was blocked
 7with a piece of metal or wood. The people going to be
 8gassed and those in the gas chamber damaged the electrical
 9installations, tearing the cables out and damaging the
10ventilation equipment.
11     "The door was closed hermetically from the
12corridor side by means of iron bars which were screwed
13tight. The roof of the gas chamber was supported by
14concrete pillars running down the middle of its length."
15 MR IRVING:     This is roof we can see on the big photograph here,
17 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Yes.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]     It is that self-same roof?
19 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     That same roof, yes, but we look now at the top. "On
20either side of these pillars there were four others, two
21on each side. The sides of these pillars which went up
22through the roof were of heavy wire mesh."
23 Q. [Mr Irving]     What does it mean when it says "the pillars went up
24through the roof"? Went up to the roof, presumably?
25 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Yes, but they popped out above the roof.
26 Q. [Mr Irving]     The pillars popped out?

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 1 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Yes, so the pillars went through a hole in the roof and
 2then they went in through, basically the earth which was
 3assembled on top of the roof, and then there was a little
 4kind of chimney on top of that.
 5 Q. [Mr Irving]     On top of a pillar?
 6 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     On top of a pillar.
 7 Q. [Mr Irving]     What was the purpose of that, architecturally speaking?
 8 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Because these were hollow pillars and these were the
 9pillars where Zyklon-B was inserted into the gas chamber.
10 Q. [Mr Irving]     Just so the court can hear what Professor van Pelt is
11saying, these were hollow pillars?
12 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     These were hollow pillars.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]     Made of what, concrete?
14 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     These were made of metal.
15 Q. [Mr Irving]     These are the wire mesh pillars you are now talking about?
16 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Yes.
17 Q. [Mr Irving]     Not the concrete pillars supporting the roof?
18 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     No, these are the wire mesh pillars which are connected on
19either side of these pillars. These pillars, that is in
20the sentence before, we have concrete pillars which go
21down the middle of the length and one of these pillars is
22still there holding up a bit of the roof, and then
23connected to these concrete pillars, there are seven of
24them, connected to four of them were wire mesh metal
25pillars, two on one side and two on the other side.
26 Q. [Mr Irving]     My Lord, I gave you a large yellow map which shows the

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 1layout. You can see the pillars there with the wire mesh
 2columns next to them. It is one of the large yellow maps.
 3There are two yellow maps. That is the one, my Lord. If
 4I can just interrupt you, there is a room there numbered
 5No. 9 and No. 10. What do you call that, an axonometric
 7 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     An axonometric view, yes.
 8 Q. [Mr Irving]     In other words, a kind of exploded view of the
 9Leichenkeller No. 1, am I correct? This is, just to
10remind the court, the one we have seen in the photographs
11with the collapsed roof?
12 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Yes, No. 9 and 10.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]     Yes. It has a number of concrete columns, and you have
14drawn in those wire mesh columns, have you not?
15 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     I mean the whole thing is a drawing by one of my students
16of the whole building.
17 Q. [Mr Irving]     Yes, but the wire mesh is an addition; it is not based on
18any drawings or blue prints, is it?
19 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     It is drawn on, it is based on the drawing made by the man
20who actually made these pillars and who gave testimony in
21Poland shortly before Mr Taiber.
22 Q. [Mr Irving]     Are they round pillars or square pillars?
23 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Square pillars.
24 Q. [Mr Irving]     Have you any idea, can you tell the dimension of the
25pillar was, the wire mesh?
26 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     I will have to consult Mr Kuhler's testimony which is ----

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 1 Q. [Mr Irving]     It is quite important.
 2 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Then I will consult his testimony on that.
 3 Q. [Mr Irving]     While you are consulting, can you tell us was it just one
 4layer of wire mesh or several concentric layers of wire
 6 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     There was concentric layers of wire mesh.
 7 Q. [Mr Irving]     Two, three, four, five, six?
 8 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     I think there were -- basically there were two layers
 9creating, basically, a narrow space inside, a wire mesh
10cage around it and another air space with a wire mesh cage
11around it, and then there was a kind of thing which moves
12up and down inside that inner hollow space.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]     So let me get this straight, how many actual concentric
14tubes are we concerned with or wire tubes, two or three
15inside each other?
16 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     There is an outer one. There is an inner one and I think
17then there was one inside that, and there was this movable
18thing which could go up and down.
19 Q. [Mr Irving]     What is the purpose of having so many layers?
20 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     According to the testimony, it was to allow for a more
21even spread of the Zyklon-B in the gas chamber.
22 Q. [Mr Irving]     What was the thickness of the wire?
23 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     The thickness of the wire changed as you went from the
24inside to the outside.
25 Q. [Mr Irving]     Is it not right that the thickness of the wire was 3
26millimetres the whole way through?

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