Irving v. Lipstadt


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

Pages 181 - 185 of 194

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    In this case, as you mentioned Broad describes seeing it
 1and then ----
 2 Q. [Mr Irving]     Of course if they make their statements in the 1960s there
 3is the danger of cross-pollination, is there not?
 4 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     That is why I limited myself at the moment for this
 5particular case to look at the very early ones. I must
 6say that as an historian I am quite delighted to find
 7people who seem to be as observant as Mr Taiber actually
 8as a witness giving with very fresh this thing in his
 9memory his statement in May 1945 to Judge Sehn.
10 Q. [Mr Irving]     It is almost as though Jan Sehn held the blueprints in
11front of him and said: "So they went from here, to there,
12through this door and then this and this and this
13happened", is that right?
14 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     I do not know. I mean I do not know what happened. I do
15not know what happened in that room. Certainly the Taiber
16testimony is largely convergent with the blueprints.
17However, when Taiber starts talking about, for example,
18either the gassing procedure or the incineration procedure
19of course, then that is not in the blueprints and very
20important the wire mesh columns are not in the blueprints
21either. We have that from a different source.
22 Q. [Mr Irving]     So these wire mesh columns, so it is plain what we are
23saying, what size were they? We have not nailed it down.
24In rough terms 10 inches across from side to side?
25 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     They were probably, I mean again I want to try to find
26Kuhler, but they were probably the same thickness as the

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 1structural columns supporting the roof.
 2 Q. [Mr Irving]     Which is quite a substantial size. These wire mesh
 3columns that are going to go up to the roof where the hole
 4is through which the cyanide capsules are being poured?
 5 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Yes. Yes.
 6 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Before we have leave Taiber, I am sorry to
 7interrupt you again, Mr Irving, he gives a detailed
 8account of the incineration procedure which you have set
 9out at page 186 of your report, is that right?
10 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Let me just get to 186.
11 MR RAMPTON:     Is the witness looking for Kuhler, in which case
12I can tell him where it is?
13 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     I am asking him to look for something else.
14 MR RAMPTON:     I am sorry. It is 196 to 198 and 516 to 517.
15 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     We will have to deal with Kuhler tomorrow.
16 MR IRVING:     I only wanted to know roughly what size of wire
17mesh we are talking about, what the width of this column
18going up to the ceiling was. We have probably got a
19pretty clear picture of kind of thing it was; larger than
20a drainpipe.
21 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Yes. Kuhler says these columns were around 3 metres high
22and they 70 metres square.
23 Q. [Mr Irving]     70 metres?
24 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     70 centimetres.
25 Q. [Mr Irving]     The wire mesh columns?
26 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Yes.

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 1 Q. [Mr Irving]     70 centimetres is of the order of 2 feet 6 inches?
 2 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Yes, a little less, 2 feet three inches.
 3 Q. [Mr Irving]     So this hole in the roof or these holes in the roof, how
 4many wire mesh columns were there, four?
 5 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Four.
 6 Q. [Mr Irving]     So the holes in the roof would have been up to 2 foot 6
 7inches across?
 8 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Absolutely not, because the whole column may be 2 feet 4
 9inches, but Zyklon-B is only introduced right in the
10centre piece. The centre piece, we have concentric
11columns, so ultimately the centre piece can be a rather
12narrow thing, so the hole through the roof could have been
13a relatively narrow pipe.
14 Q. [Mr Irving]     But we are told here he had a concrete cover with two
15handles covering this whole, which rather suggests
16something larger than a tennis ball?
17 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     But the concrete cover, we have a picture of these actual
18chimneys in the documents. Of course you do not when you
19create this pipe which comes up out the centre of the wire
20mesh columns, of course you take a larger kind of little
21chimney around it.
22 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     As a funnel?
23 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     As a funnel, yes. Like a chimney itself always is wider
24than the actual smoke channel going through it.
25 MR IRVING:     Yes. So you are saying there was a relatively
26small hole or four small holes smaller than 2 foot six

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 1inches across then, and after they had spent all this
 2money building this underground crematorium with all the
 3problems of damp that is implicit in that, somebody was
 4allowed to come along after the event, because it was not
 5included in the drawings, and knock holes in right next to
 6the supporting pillars?
 7 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     I did not say that. The crematorium roof, as we know from
 8other documents, there were problems with finishing the
 9crematorium, roofs of the Leichenkeller, in December of
101942 and January 1943. We actually have photos of the
11completion of the roof.
12 Q. [Mr Irving]     But this is not the question.
13 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     May I finish? No, but the thing is you assert that
14they knocked holes inside the roof of the gas chamber.
15 Q. [Mr Irving]     Through the roof.
16 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     That did not happen.
17 Q. [Mr Irving]     Through the roof?
18 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Through the roof. Well, the modification and design had
19been made before that roof was completed.
20 Q. [Mr Irving]     What modification?
21 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     The roof of the gas chamber, or morgue No. 1, and the roof
22of morgue No. 2, later the undressing room, were only
23completed in December and January, in December 1942 and
24January 1943, by which time the modification of the
25building into a genocidal extermination machine had
26already been decided on. But they did not have to make

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 1holes in the roof because the roof was not yet complete at
 2the time.
 3 Q. [Mr Irving]     But if you were an architect, and neither of us is an
 4architect, and some SS Rottenfuhrer comes along and says,
 5"I am going to knock four holes in the roof right next to
 6the supporting pillars", what would you have told that
 8 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     May I just point out that if we look here at, for example,
 9that column and that column, there is a beam supporting,
10connecting the two columns. Of course it is going to be a
11real problem when you go right through the beam you weaken
12the beam. That is one of the reasons that these columns
13are placed next to the column, so that they do not
14challenge the structural integrity of the main beam. If
15they had been -- may I point it out?
16 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Yes. I think I understand what you are
18 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     I am just going to make a drawing here. This is the gas
19chamber. The columns are right here. The structural beam
20sits right on top of that. So your point is absolutely
21valid if you put the columns right there, but if you put
22the grid columns right here, then there is absolutely no
23structural, the structural integrity of the roof is in no
24way challenged.
25 MR IRVING:     Professor van Pelt, we are wasting our time really,
26are we not? There were never any holes in that roof.

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