Irving v. Lipstadt


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

Pages 41 - 45 of 194

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    I do not really know. I have been teaching in
 1architectural juries and quick sessions, mostly on a
 2weekly, bi-weekly, kind of frequency. I did ----
 3 Q. [Mr Irving]     You have never learned architecture? You have never
 4studied architecture at university? You have never taken
 5a degree in architecture?
 6 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     I do not have a degree in it, but I have been confronted
 7with the architectural practice and, apart from that,
 8I have worked for various architects, one of them, Sir
 9Dennis Leston, here in England, when he was designing the
10Synagogue in Jerusalem. I have worked with Jack Diamond
11in Toronto. So I have been in architectural offices very
12often and other practices.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]     And, of course, you are now advising the present Auschwitz
14authorities on the reconstruction, if I can put it like
15that, of the Auschwitz site?
16 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     I was advising them, yes.
17 Q. [Mr Irving]     You are no longer doing so. Very well. So if I am called
18a pseudo historian, then you are a pseudo architect, if I
19can put it like that?
20 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Yes, except I have never claimed to be either an architect
21or a pseudo architect.
22 Q. [Mr Irving]     Except that you are a Professor of architecture, you
23announce you are a Professor architecture, you leave
24people with the impression that you are an expert on
25architecture, and yet you have never studied it and you
26have never qualified and you are not registered as such?

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 1 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     I must say that I probably would prefer to be called a
 2Professor of cultural history, but the fact of the matter
 3is that the university has given me an appointment as
 4Professor of architecture. So ----
 5 Q. [Mr Irving]     But you are not giving evidence here on the culture of
 6Auschwitz; you are giving evidence on the architecture of
 8 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     I am going to evidence, I hope, on the history of
 9Auschwitz, and the architectural documents are a very
10important historical source. I think we both agree on
11that. I think, as an historian, you can talk about
12various forms of evidence and the architectural documents
13is one of these forms of evidence.
14 Q. [Mr Irving]     I do not mean these questions in the least sense as a put
15down, but I think it is important to draw his Lordship's
16attention to the fact that your qualifications as an
17architect are, in fact, no greater or lesser than mine?
18 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     I agree that my formal qualifications are exactly the same
19as yours.
20 Q. [Mr Irving]     So when you look at light switches or architectural
21drawings or blue prints, as you call them, you are no
22better qualified than I am?
23 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     No, but I would say, your Lordship, that I have been doing
24this for the past maybe 15 years, and so there is a
25certain practical experience, I would say, which may be is
26going to be relevant.

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 1 Q. [Mr Irving]     Yes. There is only one other very general question on the
 2question of credit which I would ask you before we settle
 3back and watch the 10 minute video. Your report is
 4unusual in one respect, and your Lordship may have noticed
 5it, it has a copyright line on page 2. In other words,
 6you claim copyright in this document. Now, remembering
 7you are on oath, would you tell the court if you have
 8any intention eventually of publishing this?
 9 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     At the moment I do not have. I think it is an
10unpublishable document.
11 Q. [Mr Irving]     I disagree. It is set out in chapter form. It has
12literary quotations at the beginning of every chapter,
13quotations from Mediaeval poets and other authors in a way
14you do not normally find in an expert report, I would have
15thought. I would have thought it was designed explicitly
16for publication at some future date?
17 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     No. When the occasion would arise, I would be very
18pleased if some of the things could be used, but I have
19learned to respect a big difference, for example, between
20a Ph.D. dissertation and a book and there is a big
21difference between an expert report, and I understand this
22report as a means for an intelligent judge to make up his
23mind about Auschwitz who has never been there, which is
24quite a difference for when one writes a book for the
25general public.
26 Q. [Mr Irving]     So why the copyright line?

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 1 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Oh, it is a habit of mine which I do whenever I submit any
 2manuscript to anyone, and maybe this is inappropriate in
 3this case. None of the lawyers has told me that it was
 4inappropriate, so the copyright line remained there.
 5 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     You can have an argument about the copyright
 6after this case is over.
 7 MR IRVING:     My Lord, the reason I ask this, of course, if the
 8witness was intending to publish this work, and he has now
 9said on oath he has no intention of publishing it, then
10I would ask him the following question. (To the witness):
11If you were to write a report which came out with the
12conclusion that crematorium No. (ii) had never been used
13as a homicidal gas chamber, that Auschwitz was not a
14factory of death, that Leuchter was right, David Irving
15was right, whatever, what would the commercial prospects
16of that be as compared with the commercial prospects of
17the report that you have actually written? Would they be
18greater or less?
19 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     It is difficult to say. It seems to be that the book
20buying habits of the people who are believing that the gas
21chambers were not used for homicidal purposes seems to
22have been much more active than for the people who
23believed that they were used for homicidal purposes.
24After all, I think that you sell more books than I sell of
25my Auschwitz books.
26 Q. [Mr Irving]     Not currently I do not.

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 1 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     I mean, it is very difficult to say this. Certainly,
 2controversy seems to have served you well in the past in a
 3number of books. I have been, I believe, in some way less
 4controversial and controversy certainly helps sales
 5figures in general, so I probably put some more books.
 6 Q. [Mr Irving]     Very well. I will take your statement that you have no
 7intention of publishing this ever, as you have now told
 8the court. My Lord ----
 9 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     May I just come back to this? I said "in this form".
10 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Quite briefly, if you would.
11 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Sorry?
12 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     Quite briefly, if you would.
13 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     No, I said "in this form". I did not -- I did not write
14this with publication in mind as such.
15 MR IRVING:     Yes. Very well. My Lord if your Lordship will
16turn to the transcript ----
17 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Play the video?
18 MR IRVING:     --- which I provide your Lordship of the video,
19just so you can confirm what is actually said.
20 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Let me find it. Is that one of the documents
21you have handed in.
22 MR IRVING:     It is called Mr Truth -- Mr Death. There are two
23excerpts that I wish to play.
24 (The video was played)
25 MR IRVING:     My Lord, this is Fred Leuchter. My Lord, I think
26this is not the part I wanted in fact. I would speed the

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