Irving v. Lipstadt


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

Pages 61 - 65 of 194

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    The section process in 1943 was different since it
 1otherwise were taken on trucks to the gas chambers of the
 2crematoria or the gas chambers of bunker 1 and 2.
 3 MR IRVING:     May I ask you some questions about that selection
 4process now, please? On what basis was the selection for
 5life or death conducted?
 6 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     It would depend really on the situation. The policies of
 7the Germans seem to have been different at different
 8times. To give one example, as a general rule, let us
 9first say for a general rule, one could say that, as far
10as gentiles was concerned, and gentiles were sent to
11Auschwitz, there was no selection on arrival. For
12example, Poles, a large group of Polish children came to
13Auschwitz from the Zamoska area and were admitted to the
14camp, and you can go to the present women's camp and there
15are barracks specially for children with paintings and the
16bits of school, and so on.
17 Q. [Mr Irving]     At what age does one cease to be a child?
18 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     In Auschwitz, I would say around 12 or 13 years.
19 Q. [Mr Irving]     What age was Anne Frank when she arrived in Auschwitz?
20 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Oh, she would have been 15.
21 Q. [Mr Irving]     About 15?
22 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Yes.
23 Q. [Mr Irving]     Yes. Did she fall ill in Auschwitz?
24 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     I do not think so. I think she fell ill when she came to
26 Q. [Mr Irving]     Did any members of her family fall in Auschwitz and where

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 1they housed in a hospital in Auschwitz, her father or her
 2sister, Margot?
 3 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Her mother fell ill and ultimately died, and her father
 4fell ill and was admitted to the Lazarett.
 5 Q. [Mr Irving]     So these were six Jews, unemployable six Jews, who were
 6housed in the hospital in Auschwitz?
 7 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Yes, but again one -- as I started to give my original
 8presentation, my Lord, and maybe I can finish it?
 9 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Yes, we will come back to Anne Frank if you
10want to. You have dealt with ----
11 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     I would like ----
12 Q. [Mr Irving]     He was dealing with the various ways in which the
13selection process occurred. If it was non-Jews, then
14there was no selection process. That is as far as you
15have got.
16 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     There was no selection process. If it were Jews, then it
17depends on which town we are speaking of and what is the
18kind of transport that arrived. For example, in early
191942 transports arrived of Jews who were sent to Auschwitz
20under the umbrella of what is called the Operation Schmelt
21which was a local work programme for Jews in Upper
23     There the selection took place at the factories
24and people who could not work any more in the Operation
25Schmelt were sent to Jews and were killed there without
26selection. So there was no selection there in Auschwitz.

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 1Selection had happened somewhere else.
 2     In general, what happened was that transports
 3arrived and sometimes transport arrived in Auschwitz where
 4again the selection had taken place somewhere else. For
 5example, the Slovac transport which arrived in 1942, most
 6of the early Slovac transports were Jews who had already
 7been selected back in Slovakia in transits camps as being
 8fit for work in Auschwitz. No selection was applied to
 9these transports.
10     Then at a certain moment transports start to
11arrive where no selection takes place at the point of
12departure, and then the selection will take place in
13Auschwitz, where again the situation can be different.
14Sometimes all children and all old people are selected to
15die and younger people are selected to live, but again
16there are exceptions.
17 MR IRVING:     May I interrupt you at this point and ask you what
18is the documentary basis for these remarks you have been
19making over the last two or three minutes? Is it all
20eyewitness evidence or are there any documents at all in
21the captured archives to support this, any document
23 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     The main source of this is eyewitness evidence. There are
24documents which talk about that, that transport arrives
25and only so many arbeitsfahige Juden have been admitted to
26the camp, which means Jews were fit to work. It does not

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 1specify the fate of the others.
 2 Q. [Mr Irving]     So far as the documents go, we are left in suspense as to
 3what happens to them and we rely entirely on the
 4eyewitness evidence of those left behind, so to speak, as
 5to what happened to their loved, nearest and dearest?
 6 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     It is obvious that, when a transport of, let us say, 2,000
 7Jews arrived and only 900 or 600 people are committed to
 8camp, of course the question is raised what happens to the
 9other people. Then at that moment I think eyewitness
10testimony, both from Jews and Germans, becomes quite valid
11as a historical source.
12 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     You get the disparity between those two
13figures from the numbers given on the documents relating
14to the trains that were arriving at Auschwitz?
15 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Yes.
16 MR IRVING:     So, in other words, we are reliant entirely on the
17eyewitness testimony?
18 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     We do not rely entirely. We know at a certain movement
19that so many people arrived, so many people were
20considered fit for work and then, of course, there are the
21registration numbers. There is a great disparity between
22what we know about the number of transports arrived there
23and the number of Jews who worked at Auschwitz, and the
24number of people who were registered there, because, with
25two exceptions again, registration happened consecutively,
26which means a number that had been given out once was not

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 1given out a second time.
 2 Q. [Mr Irving]     What is the total number of registration numbers that we
 3know about in Auschwitz, in round figures?
 4 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Around 400,000.
 5 Q. [Mr Irving]     So around 400,000 of these hapless people arrived in
 6Auschwitz, were given registration numbers and officially
 7existed, and the rest had no registration numbers and they
 8just were disposed of in some way. Is that what you are
10 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Yes.
11 Q. [Mr Irving]     Yes, but as to how they were disposed of, alas, the
12archives tell us nothing, neither the Moscow archives nor
13the Polish archives. We are reliant on eyewitness
14testimony and on our own common sense?
15 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     And at a certain moment a careful investigation of the
16machinery of murder, in this case the crematoria.
17 Q. [Mr Irving]     Which comes back to crematorium number 2 effectively?
18 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     I think the Professor wants to add
20 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     I would like maybe to complete my account of selection.
21There are one or two other categories, I think, that
22I need to mention before we close on this.
23 MR IRVING:     We have not closed on it. We are going to come
24back to it.
25 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Let him finish with the various

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