Irving v. Lipstadt


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

Pages 36 - 40 of 194

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    My Lord, before cross-examination starts,
 1a supplemental or supplementary report from Professor van
 3 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     I remember that there was one.
 4 MR RAMPTON:     Mr Irving certainly has it.
 5 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     I am just wondering where I put it.
 6 MR RAMPTON:     It has to do with a very limited topic. It has to
 7do with B Zyklon deliveries to Auschwitz. What I will do,
 8if your Lordship does not mind, is hand up a file with it
 9in, which I have marked "van Pelt supplementary".
10 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     I think I have it, although I am a bit
11puzzled I have not put it in the existing file.
12 MR RAMPTON:     That there is not much room is perhaps one reason.
13 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     That could be true. It suggests to me that I
14perhaps have not had it.
15 MR RAMPTON:     I am not going to refer to it now.
16 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Mr Irving, you have seen this supplemental
18 MR IRVING:     I have indeed, my Lord.
19 MR RAMPTON:     My Lord, also in the file, which Mr Irving does
20not know about but I have a copy for him now, is a
21document produced in consequence of a critique that
22Mr Irving published on his web site of Professor van
23Pelt's book about Auschwitz. I suggested that it would be
24helpful for me if Professor van Pelt did answer to that
25critique which he has recently done and I have got, in
26case he was cross-examined on the basis of the critique.

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 1It emerged from the questions that I asked Mr Irving
 2yesterday that that indeed is going to be so. It seems to
 3me, since this is quite detailed, that everybody therefore
 4should have a copy.
 5 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Well maybe. I just am a little concerned
 6that every day we are generating more files. We have
 7enough files to keep most people happy for a long time.
 8 MR RAMPTON:     It is not something I am suggesting anybody should
 9read from beginning to end, but Professor van Pelt may
10want, as experts do, make reference to it for the detail.
11 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Shall we slot it into the same file.
12 MR RAMPTON:     I have done it.
13 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Thank you.
14 MR RAMPTON:     I have called it "van Pelt supplementary 2 and 3".
15 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     I am going to put the Rudolf report into J as
17 MR RAMPTON:     Yes, my Lord, that must be right. Miss Rogers
18thinks it is about ten.
19 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     We have to keep a track on it, actually.
20 <Cross-examined by MR IRVING
21 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Yes, Mr Irving?
22 MR IRVING:     My Lord, may I propose to proceed as follows with
23the cross-examination? That I briefly cross-examine the
24witness as to credit; I would then like to test your
25Lordship's patience by showing the court for about ten
26minutes a video film of Professor van Pelt visiting the

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 1Auschwitz site, which will serve a double purpose. There
 2are things which he says during that video and it will
 3also give us a sense of what the site looks like now.
 4 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Certainly. I am afraid I have not noticed
 5the video, but certainly do.
 6 MR IRVING:     I will then proceed after that to the court
 7examination. Professor van Pelt, you are a Dutch citizen
 8or Canadian citizen now?
 9 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     I am a Dutch citizen.
10 Q. [Mr Irving]     May I, first of all, pardon my rudeness, welcome you to
11our country and say what a great pleasure I had in reading
12your book on Auschwitz -- for what it is worth, it is one
13of the few books that I have read from cover to cover and
14it was a book that I found very difficult to put down.
15I do not know how much of the book was written by you and
16I do not know how much of the book was written by your
17partner, Deborah Dwork. However, a number of questions
18arise from the book and, after we have seen the video,
19I would ask you just in one paragraph to give the court a
20brief history of Auschwitz in the way you have done in the
21book so admirably on the basis of documentation. You
22studied at the University of Leiden, am I correct?
23 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Yes, I did.
24 Q. [Mr Irving]     And you are now Professor of the History of Architecture
25at the University of Waterloo in Toronto?
26 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     No. The issue of my appointment is kind of confusing.

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 1I am in the Department of Architecture and hence I am
 2officially a Professor of Architecture. Your title as
 3Professor depends on the department you are in. However,
 4I teach in what we call the Cultural History stream, so
 5normally, in order to prevent confusion in ordinary usage,
 6I would call myself Professor of Cultural History because,
 7both in my background, my PhD and my teaching duties,
 8I teach cultural history in the architectural school.
 9However, when I was advised about the way I had to create
10my curriculum vitae for this proceeding, I was told that
11I had been to be extremely precise in the legal sense of
12what I was, so again I put in Professor of Architecture.
13 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     So you are really a cultural historian?
14 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     I am really a cultural historian.
15 MR IRVING:     This is a point of some substance, my Lord. We
16need to know precisely what your qualifications are to
17offer your expertise to the court. I do not mean this in
18the least sense in a derogatory manner because, as I say,
19I have read both your book and your report with the utmost
20interest. However, we need to know what your areas of
21expertise actually are. In Britain, of course, we have
22the Royal Institute of British Architects. Are you
23familiar with the fact that it is illegal in England to
24call yourself an architect unless you are registered with
25the RIBA?
26 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     That is in most countries like that, yes, I know.

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 1 Q. [Mr Irving]     In Holland, the equivalent is the Bond van Nederlandse
 2Architecten, am I correct? I am sorry about my
 4 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Yes, Bond van Nederlandse Architecten.
 5 Q. [Mr Irving]     Which is the rough equivalent of the RIBA?
 6 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Yes.
 7 Q. [Mr Irving]     Am I right in saying that you are not registered with the
 8Bond van Nederlandse Architecten?
 9 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     I have never had any reason to do so since I never studied
10in an architectural school.
11 Q. [Mr Irving]     So you cannot legally pretend to be an architect, if I can
12put it like that?
13 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     No, I could be prosecuted.
14 Q. [Mr Irving]     You could be prosecuted?
15 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Yes.
16 Q. [Mr Rampton]     Rather like Mr Leuchter was prosecuted in Massachusetts
17for pretending to be an engineer?
18 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Yes.
19 Q. [Mr Irving]     You can probably see the thrust of this particular
20question. In other words, your expertise, as an
21architect, is the same as Mr Leuchter's expertise was an
23 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     I do not really know. I have been teaching in
24architecture school now since 1984. I have taught design
25courses, specially in small architecture schools one needs
26to chip in wherever one does. I have been on

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