Irving v. Lipstadt


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

Pages 71 - 75 of 194

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    I am not an expert on Austrian law, but certainly under
 1back up before the beak but yet they did not. He was set
 2free. Both Defendants were set free and never prosecuted
 3again although they were the architects whose names appear
 4on those blue prints which were in your hands in
 5Auschwitz. Is this not a remarkable comment on the state
 6of the evidence?
 7 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     I think it is a remarkable comment on the way the Austrian
 8court operated. I have all the files in my possession.
 9Certainly after I came out of months of studying the files
10in the courtroom there, I must say that I lost much of my
11respect at least for Austrian justice. They had all the
12documentation from Auschwitz. They had all the blue
13prints. They had all the documents which had been
14under discussion, for example, in my expert report with
15two or three exceptions only. They got material from
16Moscow for this trial. They had the blue prints there and
17they were never consulted.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]     And yet they were acquitted. So it was a perverse result,
19in other words?
20 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     It was a very perverse result and I think that, if indeed
21an expert witness had been brought in to look at those
22documents carefully, they would not have been acquitted.
23 Q. [Mr Irving]     Very well. You had these documents before you at the time
24you wrote your book "1270 to the present"?
25 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Which documents?
26 Q. [Mr Irving]     The Ertl trial document. I had the Ertl trial documents.

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 1 Q. [Mr Irving]     Were you aware of the 1947 figure of 300,000?
 2 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     I was aware of that figure.
 3 Q. [Mr Irving]     And that the German newsreel in January 1948 again said
 4that in the judgment passed on these 40 men, many of whom
 5were hanged, they were hanged for the murder of 300,000
 6people in Auschwitz?
 7 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     I did not know the newsreel.
 8 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     The 300,000 were not grassed, presumably, if
 9they were registered prisoners?
10 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Some of them would have been gassed. Others would have
11been beaten to death. Some of them would have been killed
12with phenyl injections. People would have been shot and
13people maybe would have died from beatings or other
15 MR IRVING:     Did you make any reference to these lower figures
16at all in your book on Auschwitz?
17 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     No, I did not, because I think these figures were
19 Q. [Mr Irving]     Were irrelevant?
20 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Were irrelevant. The book ultimately presents a cumulative
21figure of all the deaths in Auschwitz, both of people who
22have died as a result of murder immediately after their
23arrival and of people who have died after having been
24registered in the camp.
25 Q. [Mr Irving]     You are familiar, no doubt, with the book written by
26Professor Arno Mayer, "Why did the heavens not darken", in

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 1which this Professor of Princetown University, who was
 2himself Jewish and who cannot be called a Holocaust denier
 3presumably, said that most of the deaths at Auschwitz in
 4his opinion were from what he called natural causes, and
 5that a very small percentage had been criminally killed in
 6the accepted sense. What is your response to that?
 7 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     That I am very happy to discuss the exact statement of
 8Professor Mayer if I have the text in front of me. I have
 9referred to him in my expert report. If you are happy to
10deal with my excerpt in the expert report, I am happy to
11look for it, but I am not going to comment in general on
12what Professor Mayer said without having the text.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]     So are you saying in other words that you think Mayer is
14wrong? He got it wrong?
15 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     No. I think he is saying, I cannot comment
16on a document which is not in front of me. Unfortunately,
17it is not a document, it is a book.
18 MR IRVING:     Do you not agree that I accurately precis-ed what
19he said?
20 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     I do not think you do that. I do not think this is
21accurate, what you said.
22 Q. [Mr Irving]     That Arno Mayer said that, in his opinion, most of the
23deaths in Auschwitz were through natural causes rather
24than from criminal intent?
25 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Again, I am not going to comment on this text. The
26question was, did you appropriately precis Mayer's

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 1argument? I do not think so. It is a rather long
 2argument. I know it has been taken out of context many
 3times, and Mayer's text has been taken as "in admission"
 4that indeed Auschwitz was not an extermination camp.
 5 Q. [Mr Irving]     It is difficult to see how you can take that remark out of
 6context. It seemed to be a very pithy summing up by him,
 7which has been very widely quoted and caused much
 8indignation, I agree, in the Jewish community. He may of
 9course be totally wrong.
10 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Professor van Pelt's position is again,
11I think, a fair one. If you want him to comment on what
12Mayer concluded, then he must have the right to look at
13the document.
14 MR IRVING:     Very well, my Lord. I will not delay the court by
15looking for that document now, but certainly we will refer
16to it ----
17 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     I am trying to find the reference to it in
18Professor van Pelt.
19 MR RAMPTON:     Page 590, my Lord.
20 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     It is not where I would have expected.
21 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     It is at page 629, 620.
22 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     I assumed it was at the beginning.
23 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     It a little earlier also. It is actually in 89 that Mayer
24published his book. And so here, 594 and 592, all Mayer,
25590. It starts at 590.
26 MR IRVING:     My Lord, I think possibly I shall leave this until

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 1after the luncheon adjournment and come back with chapter
 2and verse.
 3 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Whichever you wish.
 4 MR IRVING:     Because we are rather drifting away from the actual
 5camp site, which is the way I was hoping to take this
 6cross-examination. If I may produce the photographs
 7again, we had concentrated on crematorium number 2, where
 8you said that 500,000 people (in round figures) had been
 9killed by the Nazis in that one buildings, this you called
10the geographical centre of any map of atrocities, a very
11telling phrase. Would you tell the court what this little
12building is down there?
13 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Yes. It seems to be a pump building.
14 Q. [Mr Irving]     No. Would you accept from me that this is a coal bunker?
15 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     A coal bunker?
16 Q. [Mr Irving]     Or coke bunker.
17 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     I thought you meant another one. This particular thing
19 Q. [Mr Irving]     Yes.
20 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Yes.
21 Q. [Mr Irving]     That is a coke bunker. I have not got equipment here for
22measuring the size of that bunker, but it appears to be
23about 10 feet square, in other words a very small space.
24 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     It seems to be a larger to me from what I remember but,
25again, 10 feet, 13 feet square, whatever. It is not a
26very large bunker.

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