Irving v. Lipstadt


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

Pages 176 - 180 of 194

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 1 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     I do not recall that right now.
 2 Q. [Mr Irving]     So if you have a wire mesh made of 3 millimetres, you have
 3in fact a 6 millimetre thickness of that particular layer,
 4because the wire mesh overlaps?
 5 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     I presume so, but again I would like to see -- there is
 6basically one very particular piece of eyewitness
 7evidence, so we can look at eyewitness evidence and then
 8we can reconstruct exactly how thick those wire mesh
 9columns are.
10 Q. [Mr Irving]     This is why I was asking what the overall dimensions of
11these alleged wire mesh columns were, so we could form an
12impression of their practicability.
13 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Let us look at Kuhler's testimony. If we can stop reading
14the Taiber testimony.
15 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     I want you at some stage to complete reading
17 MR IRVING:     Can we continue reading Taiber then, my Lord? That
18is probably a good idea.
19 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Then you come back to the wire mesh columns.
20 MR IRVING:     We have to come back to the wire mesh columns
22 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Page 183, just complete it to the end of
24 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     "The sides of these pillars which went up through the roof
25were of heavy wire mesh. Inside this grid, there was
26another other fine mesh and inside of that further very

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 1fine mesh. Inside this last mesh cage there was a
 2removable can that was pulled out with a wire to recover
 3the pellets from which the gas had evaporated. Besides
 4that in the gas chamber there were electric wires running
 5along the two sides of the main beam supported by the
 6central concrete pillars. The ventilation was installed
 7in the walls of the gas chamber. Communication between
 8the room and the ventilation installation proper were
 9through small holes along the top and bottom of the side
10walls. These lower openings were protected by a kind of
11muzzle, the upper ones by whitewash perforated metal
12plates", and these are plates, some of six were found and
13analysed by the Krakau Forensic Institute.
14 MR IRVING:     That is your presumption?
15 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     That is my presumption.
16 Q. [Mr Irving]     You have no reason for saying that, saying that these are
17identical, other than your presumption?
18 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     It seems that the description of these plates is exactly
19the same, of the ones which were analysed in Krakau.
20     "The ventilation system of the gas chamber was
21coupled to ventilation ducts installed in the undressing
22room. This ventilation system, which also served as a
23dissection room, was driven by electric motors in the roof
24space of the crematorium.
25     "The water tap was in the corridor and a rubber
26hose was run from it to wash floor of the gas chamber. At

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 1the end of 1943 the gas chamber was divided in two by a
 2brick wall to make it possible to gas smaller transports.
 3In the dividing wall there was a door identical to that
 4between the corridor and original gas chamber. Small
 5transports were gassed in the chamber furthest from the
 6entrance from the corridor.
 7 MR IRVING:     I would like to stop you there, if I may, and now
 8ask you what Taiber has actually told us about the gassing
10 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     We have not quite finished yet. Can we just
11go to the middle of 184, and then that is a convenient
12point I think to ask that question.
13 MR IRVING:     Very well, my Lord, yes.
14 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     "The undressing room and the gas chamber were covered
15first with a concrete slab and then with a layer of soil
16sown with grass. There were four small chimneys, the
17openings through which the gas was thrown in that rose
18above gas chamber."
19 Q. [Mr Irving]     So this is the roof we are looking at on these large
20colour photographs, is that correct?
21 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Yes, or the remains of the roof to be very precise.
22"These openings were closed by concrete covers with two
24 Q. [Mr Irving]     Not wooden, concrete covers?
25 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     That is what it says, yes. "Over the undressing room the
26ground was higher than the level of the yard and perfectly

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 1flat. The ventilation ducts led to pipes and the chimneys
 2located in the part of the building above the corridor and
 3undressing room. I would point out that at first the
 4undressing room had neither benches nor clothes hooks and
 5there were no showers in the gas chamber. These fittings
 6were not installed until Autumn 1943 in order to
 7camouflage the undressing room and the gas chamber as a
 8bathing and disinfestation facility. The showers were
 9fitted to small blocks of wood sealed into the concrete of
10the gas chamber. There were no pipes connected to the
11showers from which no water ever flowed.
12     "As I have already said, there was a lift in
13the corridor or rather a goods hoist. A temporary hoist
14installed pending delivery of the electric lift to carry
15the corpses to the ground floor." End of quotation.
16 Q. [Mr Irving]     That final paragraph is quite interesting, is it not,
17because we now have the documents giving the actual dates
18for the arrival of the provisional lift. I believe it was
19finally ready in September 1943, is that correct?
20 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     No, it was ready in March. The history of the lift is a
21very confused history, because they did not get the lift
22they wanted. They had the lift installed originally for
23750 kilograms carrying capacity, and then they tried to
24improve on that one, since it did not seem to be enough,
25by doubling the cables on which this lift, it was
26basically a kind of building site hoist, so that it could

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 1carry 1500 kilograms. This was all in something like
 2March 1943.
 3 Q. [Mr Irving]     Very well. So we have heard the description from Henrich
 4Taiber of the liquidation procedure. On what other
 5eyewitnesses did you base the ----
 6 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     I am sorry I will have to interrupt you,
 7Mr Irving. I think if you have a case to put in relation
 8to Taiber, that he is unreliable or that for some reason
 9his account is not to be credited, I think it is right
10that you should put it.
11 MR IRVING:     Very well.
12 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     It may be your case is simply that all the
13eyewitnesses are to be treated with caution and you go no
15 MR IRVING:     I was go to treat them all summarily, in the same
16manner, and just ask the simple question, did they all
17give the same description in broad terms of people going
18up on the roof opening these manhole covers, pouring the
19cyanide capsules in. If I may ask the question like that,
20the eyewitnesses that you have, Taiber, which other ones
21would you rely on?
22 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     In this case, as you mentioned Broad describes seeing it
23from some distance. Then later there are eyewitnesses who
24have been, other sonderkommando who would have made
25statements later, in 1960s, and of course Muller with his
26original statement for 1946 which is in the book by Kuhler

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