Irving v. Lipstadt


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

Pages 56 - 60 of 194

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 1 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     The aerial photographs because I have marked
 2up one of them and I cannot actually find the -- rather
 3than start again with another one.
 4 MR RAMPTON:     It is towards the end, I think.
 5 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Yes, I thought it was. I am so sorry. Will
 6you forgive me, Mr Irving, just tracking this down?
 7 MR RAMPTON:     If your Lordship were to start at 370?
 8 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Page 49 does show the plant just referred to.
 9 MR IRVING:     Very well. These two buildings down here, the T
10shaped buildings, they are the two crematoria (ii) and
11(iii), is that correct?
12 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     That is correct. May I make one kind of caveat as far as
13the numbering is concerned? There are documents where
14these crematoria called (i) and (ii), so sometimes they
15are called (ii) and (iii), sometimes (i) and (ii). It
16depends if one crematorium (i) in the stammlager is
17included in the numeral.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]     We have here, my Lord, a photograph taken relatively
19recently, within the last few months, from a helicopter
20showing the site as it now is of these two crematoria, the
21ruins of the two crematoria. You can see the outline of
22the two T shaped buildings like they are mirror images of
23each other. Crematorium (ii), is that correct?
24 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Yes, that is correct.
25 Q. [Mr Irving]     Crematorium (iii), and they are largely in ruins. What is
26this path that has been laid here? Was that a wartime

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 1path, Professor?
 2 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     No, that is a recent path that has just been created
 3because many of the tourists go first to the former
 4women's camp and then they go through a new bridge and a
 5new opening through the barbed wire fence which surrounds
 6crematorium (ii) to crematorium (ii).
 7 Q. [Mr Irving]     While we are just looking at this map, you mentioned the
 8word "tourist". Is Auschwitz a major tourist attraction,
10 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     At the moment, the tourism has been reduced in past years
11because it used to be that the Polish Government insisted
12that all Polish school children would go there. That has
13changed. So I think that around 500,000 people per year
14come there.
15 Q. [Mr Irving]     Whilst we are holding this particular map, can you
16identify what these two circular objects are?
17 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     These are part of a sewage treatment plant.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]     A water purification plant?
19 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Yes -- no, a sewage treatment plant.
20 Q. [Mr Irving]     Well, it is the same thing. It converts sewage into
21drinkable water?
22 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     No. This was not meant to convert sewage into drinkable
23water. This was created, and we see another one right
24here, and there was another one started right there,
25because there were complaints in 1942 when the Birkenhau
26population started to increase by the authorities in the

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 1province of Upper Silesia that the camp was throwing its
 2untreated sewage in the Zola River. So what happened was
 3that the building inspectors of the county said, "If you
 4want to continue to run this concentration camp, you have
 5to take care that you throw cleaned water or the clean
 6sewage into the river".
 7 Q. [Mr Irving]     While we are dealing with the water, this is crematorium
 8(ii), this is the Leichenkeller No. 1 -- we will come back
 9to that in a minute on a larger photograph -- am
10I correct?
11 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Yes.
12 Q. [Mr Irving]     This is the water treatment plant?
13 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     It is a water treatment plant.
14 Q. [Mr Irving]     If eight kilogrammes of cyanide were put into the water
15system there, of that particular building, it would not do
16the water treatment plant any good?
17 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Sorry, this is a sewage treatment plant.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]     Yes, but if it was to be established that there was a link
19between that building and the sewage treatment plant, the
20drainage of the one building went into the sewage
21treatment plant, then this would create a serious problem
22for the environment, eight kilogrammes on a regular basis
23of hydrogen cyanide being fed ----
24 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     I cannot comment on how much cyanide -- how
25quickly cyanide would be diluted. Certainly, a sewage
26treatment plant is taking many kinds of refuse in its

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 1operation. One would have to talk to a chemist what
 2ultimately the kind of danger of the dilution of hydrogen
 3cyanide would be, but we must not forget that most of the
 4hydrogen cyanide in the Leichenkeller 1 was used as a gas
 5and was evacuated through a chimney and not through the
 7 Q. [Mr Irving]     Very well. But we have heard that it is a heavier than
 8air gas?
 9 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     No. It is slightly lighter. It is not much lighter. It
10rises slowly, but there was a large ventilation system in
11the crematorium and there was an exhaust pipe on top of
12the crematorium through which the air in the Leichenkeller
131 or gas chamber could be evacuated.
14 Q. [Mr Irving]     While we are looking at this particular map, will you show
15us, please, the railroad spur which ends between the two
17 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     We see the end of the railroad spur right there.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]     Which is the platform, therefore, where the notorious
19selections are said to have taken place?
20 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     This is the end of the platform where the selections took
22 Q. [Mr Irving]     So they would be marched off then -- what happened to the
23people who arrived by train on that railroad platform?
24 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Yes.
25 Q. [Mr Irving]     What happened to them?
26 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     That was a question.

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 1 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     A selection took place at a particular point halfway, that
 2platform, and this is, we are now talking about a
 3situation in 1944, since the spur was only completed in
 41944 for the Hungarian action, and the most usual
 5operation was that the selection took place halfway, that
 6platform, in which men and women were lined up in four
 7rows. One row of women to the east and a line of women to
 8the west of that point, and two lines of men, again one to
 9the east and one to the west, and right in the centre
10selection took place and then people were either sent into
11the camp or sent to the crematorium.
12 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     My impression is that a similar, the spur may
13not have been there, selection process operated during
141943 as well, did it not?
15 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     The section process in 1943 was different since it
16happened at the so-called Judens rampe. A Juden rampe
17was, basically, an unloading point along the main railway
18corridor. I can point it out on this aerial photo. This
19is the main railway corridor connecting, basically, Vienna
20and there is one going to Berlin here and Cracow and
21Warsaw; and exactly at this point, at this point, there
22are still the remains also of a rampe, a platform, where
23the trains with Jews would be unloaded and then a
24selection took place here. Then people who were admitted
25to the camp walked to the camp and the people who were
26selected to die, if they still could walk, would walk, but

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