Irving v. Lipstadt


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

Pages 81 - 85 of 194

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    Mr Irving, I have a feel there is a
 1Russians had produced were not authentic documents?
 2 MR IRVING:     No, my Lord, totally the opposite. I am sorry I am
 3being so frightfully obtuse in my cross-examination.
 4 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     No, you are not. You are doing very well but
 5I want to understand the suggestion.
 6 MR IRVING:     I am indebted to my Lord. The reason I am asking
 7this is for two reasons. I am laying a bit of a trap, if
 8I may put it like that, which will be sprung either before
 9or after lunch.
10 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     I see. Then I will not enquire any further.
11 MR IRVING:     I wanted to bring to your Lordship's attention the
12detail that the incriminating equipment that had
13apparently been carefully dismantled, every nut and bolt,
14and yet they had allowed all these records to fall into
15Russian hands, which does seem odd.
16 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     I know, but I was wondering what the
17underlying suggestion is. You develop it after lunch.
18 MR IRVING:     We have discovered in fact that the Nazis were in a
19blue funk and in a terrible panic and just anxious to get
20away. How far away? Was the Russian line stationary for
21sometime on the River Vistula?
22 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     The Russian offensive of either the second Ukrainian Front
23and the Russian Front started moving on 12th January.
24 Q. [Mr Irving]     12th January 1945, yes, in the early hours?
25 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Until then it had been stationary. That is also one of
26the reasons that the Auschwitz camp remained from, let us

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 1say, November 1944 until that offensive began on 12th
 2January in a kind of limbo state. Then, after that
 3offensive started on 12th January, in fact the decision
 4was taken, no document again but a decision was taken, to
 5actually evacuate the camp population and to destroy the
 6most incriminating parts of the crematorium.
 7 Q. [Mr Irving]     So how far away was the Russian front during that limbo
 8period, in rough terms, 20 miles, 50 miles?
 9 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     No. I think they were -- they were substantially east of
10Cracow still at the time.
11 Q. [Mr Irving]     On the River Vistula that basically was not there -----
12 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Yes -- no, no, but the River Vistual more to the east. At
13that time they would have been as south as Auschwitz.
14They would probably have been, I would say, 100/150
15kilometres away.
16 Q. [Mr Irving]     Very well. So we have narrowed it down to this building
17which has collapsed. The roof, as we see it in the air
18photographs, is in a mess. Beneath that roof we would
19have found all the equipment, bits and pieces, that would
20have been incriminating, but the Russians -- somebody blew
21up the building and it pancaked downwards, this roof, and
22for some reason the archeologists have never gone in there
23to find out what is still there, have they?
24 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     No. People, I mean, Fred Leuchter went down there. I
25mean, it is on this tape.
26 Q. [Mr Irving]     Hats off to Fred Leuchter, in other words ----

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 1 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     But, I mean, which archeologist, I mean, what kind of
 2expedition are you looking at? I mean, I do not think
 3that many archeologists would have been particularly
 4interested, given all the choices available in doing
 5archaeology, in actually going down into that very small
 6space under the roof to do their investigations there.
 7 Q. [Mr Irving]     Not only in this particular building, of course, there are
 8many archaeological sites around the Auschwitz camp,
 9I would have thought, which would have helped to solve a
10lot of questions. For example, mass graves, burning pits,
11which could have been investigated with modern
12archeological means like proton magnetometers, something
13which would detect the pattern of burning, things like
14this. Has any investigation like that been conducted by
15the Polish or any other authorities?
16 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     As far as I know not.
17 Q. [Mr Irving]     Yes. But investigations like that have been conducted at
18one or two other sites, though, have they not? I think
19recently at Treblinka or Maidanek?
20 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     At the moment very big investigations have been done in
21Belzec, and part of this is as a result of the
22transformation of Belzec, to create actually a monument in
23Belzec, and like many of these, you know, when, in fact,
24you are going to make a change to the site, you want to
25know, first of all, what the site is, and let us say in
26Rome, when you put up a new apartment building, you first

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 1send in the archeologist to see what is below there. So
 2Belzec is -- actually still very serious work is being
 3done right now.
 4 Q. [Mr Irving]     Am I right in saying the investigations being done at
 5Belzec are roughly into discovering the size of any mass
 7 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     They are finding large mass graves and I have not seen
 8detailed results.
 9 Q. [Mr Irving]     Have they been able to quantify the size of the mass
11 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     I have only this by hearsay, what the size of mass graves
12are. I mean, that these are large mass graves, I cannot
13further comment on it.
14 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     But would investigating to find if there are
15any mass graves at Auschwitz cast light on the problem we
16have here, which is whether there were gas chambers
17because, as I understand it, if you have gas chambers and
18you have crematoria, you are not going to need mass
19graves. Indeed, that was one of the reasons why they were
20built in the first place.
21 MR IRVING:     My Lord, if I may interrupt your Lordship, the
22victims of these mass liquidations, like the liquidation
23of the Hungarians in the spring of 1944, as I understand
24it, alleged to have been partly cremated in the equipment
25we see here and partly cremated in open burning pits or,
26alternatively, buried for a time and then dug up again and

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 1cremated subsequently. These alleged sites, would it be
 2correct to say, Professor van Pelt, cannot be identified
 3on any aerial photographs or have not been identified on
 4any aerial photographers, large pits or mass graves?
 5 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     I do not think that the right analysis has been done on
 6air photographs. Certainly when you go to the site, when
 7you go to what is called the field of ashes, you walk
 8through it, you see it, you see the remains of large
 9burning pits. So, I mean, and I can testify with some
10knowledge, I have been at that site and I have seen the
11remains of these enormous burning pits, and I have picked
12up remains at the site.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]     What kind of remains?
14 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Of burnt bodies.
15 Q. [Mr Irving]     Of bodies?
16 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Yes. I mean, I have picked up burned bones which,
17obviously, have in some way been reduced to ashes. This
18was in 1990. I went there with Mr Pressec. Mr Pressec
19showed me the site. We spent a lot of time at the site.
20I have been there many times since.
21 Q. [Mr Irving]     Of course, when you operate a crematorium, they do not
22reduce the cadavers to pure ash, do they? They do
23generate bone as well as ash? Not many people know this,
24but they generate large lumps of bone which have to be
25pulverized or milled down?
26 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Yes.

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