Irving v. Lipstadt

Transcripts

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

Pages 76 - 80 of 194

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 1 Q. [Mr Irving]     Not very large bunker for holding the fuel supplies for
 2fuelling a mass incineration programme, I believe
 3Mr Rampton would have called it, for incinerating hundreds
 4of thousands of bodies?
 5 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     May I remind you, Mr Irving, that also in the crematorium
 6itself was a very large coke storage space right next to
 7the incineration building.
 8 Q. [Mr Irving]     Yes, I am familiar with the position of that in the
 9drawings of the building. Not very much larger than that
10little hut outside?
11 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     I think it will be probably possible to establish the size
12of that when we consult a plan, and I am happy to consult
13the plans in my trial bundle.
14 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Was there a coke bunker in each crematorium
15or just one?
16 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Each crematorium has its own coke bunker, yes.
17 MR IRVING:     It is also right to say that these crematoria were
18adapted to burn trash as well, the regular camp trash that
19came in?
20 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     The trash furnace in crematorium 2 was never installed.
21There was a trash furnace in crematorium 3, largely used
22to burn identity papers of people, and there were no trash
23incinerators in 4 and 5.
24 Q. [Mr Irving]     Very well. The last picture that I wish to show the court
25and the witness and ask a question on is this large
26picture. This is crematorium number 2. You can see the

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 1scale of it from the people standing down there, the
 2tourists who arrived up that path, and this is
 3Leichenkeller number 1, morgue number 1, on which we have
 4now zeroed in, in other words.
 5 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Yes.
 6 Q. [Mr Irving]     Mortuary number 1?
 7 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Morgue number 1.
 8 Q. [Mr Irving]     Will you describe the condition of that building, that
 9particular mortuary, which is the one that you pointed at
10and said 5 "00,000 people died here", or you also said
11"this is the instrument with which millions were
12killed".
13 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     We just saw the state of that room in more detail when we
14looked at the film clip. When we see Fred Leuchter
15measuring, together with his assistant, the size of the
16ruins, and there is my voice-over saying that Fred
17Leuchter is no Sherlock Holmes, we are actually looking at
18the site of the morgue 1 of crematorium 2.
19 Q. [Mr Irving]     Was this building destroyed by the Nazis or by the
20Russians, I think there is some dispute on this, at the
21end of World War II?
22 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     The evidence points to the fact that the Nazis destroyed
23this building in two phases, and specially morgue 1.
24First of all, that when the gassing ceased in late 1944 we
25have the testimony of sonderkommandos and others that the
26gas chambers were dismantled, which means that the actual

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 1installation within the morgue number 1 and of crematorium
 22 and number 3, which had been created to adapt this room
 3into a gas chamber, was removed, and that later the shell
 4of the room, so to speak, was destroyed by dynamiting. It
 5was a very detailed account of one sonderkommando, how
 6they actually made holes in the columns. Dynamite is put
 7in it and ultimately, in the case of crematorium 2, all
 8the columns collapsed, with the exception of one. In
 9crematorium 3 they were more successful and virtually
10everything collapsed there. So what you have now in
11crematorium 2 is that we have the remains of a concrete
12roof, which is basically collapsed on the floor.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]     It is pancaked downwards?
14 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     It is pancaked downwards. One column is still there and
15in some way it has folded over, that one column.
16 Q. [Mr Irving]     So there are reinforced steel bars inside the roof?
17 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Reinforced steel bars in the roof yes, and there is a hole
18right next to the column, and that is the hole through
19which Fred Leuchter climbed into that space at a certain
20moment. It is a very tiny space under that roof.
21 Q. [Mr Irving]     When do you say this happened? In 1945?
22 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     The demolition of the gassing equipment happened in late
231944, November 44, and the ultimate demolition, the final
24demolition, of the crematoria happened in January 45.
25 MR IRVING:     Just so that we can get this quite straight, the
26evidence for this is verbal evidence from a member of the

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 1sonderkommando?
 2 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Yes. There are no construction documents about the
 3demolition. Also, the construction office had been closed
 4for some time.
 5 Q. [Mr Irving]     Are there any written orders from the camp commandant or
 6from Liebehenschel or from some other official saying,
 7I order that this building must be destroyed for whatever
 8reason?
 9 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     There are no records but I have to point out that the
10archive of the commandant, which was virtually
11systematically destroyed, began in that same period of the
12evacuation and that only by accident the bauleitung papers
13survived because they were forgotten.
14 Q. [Mr Irving]     I was about to come on to that, Professor. Is it not
15extraordinary that the Nazis in their ruthless efficiency
16would go round destroying buildings and removing
17incriminating equipment which might have helped us very
18much today in this courtroom otherwise, but at the same
19time they allowed the Red Army to capture the entire
20construction files without the slightest murmur?
21 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     There are reasons for that which have to do with first the
22fact that the construction office was closed at the end of
231944 but none of the architects any more dared to oversee
24the destruction of the archive. They have been drafted
25back into the SS to fight on the Eastern Front, which by
26then had more or less come to Auschwitz. Second of all,

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 1that the architecture office was at some distance from the
 2camp itself and that there were two archives in the camp,
 3one archive which was kept in the kommandantur, where
 4people were until the very end, people who could attend to
 5the destruction of incriminating evidence, and then there
 6was in the Bauleitungbaracke, which was at some distance
 7and I can point it out on the air photo if you want, this
 8second archive which had been bundled up and simply was
 9forgotten.
10 Q. [Mr Irving]     So the Nazis remembered to destroy the buildings and
11remembered to take out every nut and bolt which might have
12helped us today, but they allowed the Russians to capture
13all the incriminating paperwork, except that it is not
14very incriminating either?
15 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     I do not think that simply they allowed. I do not think
16that by early 1945, as the Russian Army was pushing
17through and Silesia was on the point of collapse, that the
18German Army was still very efficient or the SS in
19Auschwitz. I mean they were on the run and they were in a
20panic.
21 Q. [Mr Irving]     A bit of panic and these things just got left behind?
22 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Yes.
23 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Mr Irving, I have a feel there is a
24suggestion lurking there and I want to try and put my
25finger on it. Are you suggesting that what the Russians
26captured were not authentic documents, or what the

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