Irving v. Lipstadt


Holocaust Denial on Trial, Trial Transcripts, Day 10: Electronic Edition

Pages 101 - 105 of 215

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     The Germans had not done this before yet. Bloebel was the
 1Germans had not yet emptied mass graves and incinerated
 2corpses of people who had been buried for some time. We
 3know that afterwards this, indeed, is going to happen in
 4Auschwitz within weeks, the same procedure start to be
 5applied in Auschwitz to all the people who are buried in
 6the field of ashes next to bunkers 1 and -- bunker 2 in
 7this case.
 8 Q. [Mr Irving]      When I see the word "Versthutzstation", in my knowledge of
 9German documents, I usually think of a place like
10Panamunda or Passodena. I do not think of somebody
11mucking around with fire grates in a field?
12 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      I do not follow you, Mr Irving.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]      The word "Versthutzstation" does not tend to convey what
14you suggest in your evidence. That is all that we can
15usefully derive from that.
16 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      I think that maybe even if I have these documents on the
17trip to Chelmo. It is very well documented. Apart from
18that, Dejaco was questioned on that in detail during his
19trial, and he confirmed what you probably would call the
20very sinister interpretation of all these documents, that,
21indeed, yes, he was there present with Bloebel at the
22incineration site.
23 Q. [Mr Irving]      And yet he was, of course, acquitted, as we have heard
25 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      He was acquitted of the murder of one inmate who he was
26alleged to have drowned at a building site near

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 1crematorium (ii).
 2 Q. [Mr Irving]      And not charged with any further crimes after that, not
 3recharged on any other crime?
 4 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      No, he was not, but then we have discussed already the
 5nature of ----
 6 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      Mr Irving, may I just ask you, whilst it
 7occurs to me, who translated "ofen" as "kitchens"?
 8 MR IRVING:      I did, my Lord. Normally, "field kitchens" is the
 9only interpretation of [German - document not provided].
10I am willing to be lectured by Mr Van Pelt on this
11alternative meaning. He claims he has these documents
12which bear out his meaning, translation, of the word, and,
13of course, I put the original German to him so that he can
14correct it if we are wrong.
15     If I can just finally carry on on that point, if
16Dejaco was present on this trip and no consequences flowed
17from it in the law courts afterwards, can we draw any
18conclusions as to the nature of these pits that were being
19excavated or not, these mass graves, what the victims had
20died of or had been killed by? I am in your hands here
21because I know nothing. You have seen the documents and I
22do not.
23 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      OK. I have one of the documents right here in my hand,
24so, I mean, I could give it to you, I could quote it,
25I could read, because we have the report of the trip of
2617th September.

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 1 Q. [Mr Irving]      Very well.
 2 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      I do not want to spring this document on you, but since
 3you raised the issue of the significance of it, it gives
 4actually a description of the thing.
 5 Q. [Mr Irving]      While you are looking, I can tell my Lord the translation
 6was actually done at 2 o'clock this morning, so there is
 7an element of stress.
 8 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      Yes. Thank you.
 9 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      I think I have not answered the question yet, so maybe
10could the question be repeated because I ----
11 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      Shall I repeat it? Can we draw any
12conclusion as to the nature of these pits that were being
13excavated or not, these mass graves, what the victims had
14died of or been killed by? In other words, could you tell
15whether they had been gassed or whether they had been shot
16or whatever?
17 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      These people had gassed in gas vans.
18 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]      Why do you say that?
19 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      We know that on the basis of the report created by the
20Polish Commission of investigation in 1945, which itself
21did a forensic excavation at the site and also took many
22testimonies on this. These people who were brought to
23Chelmo were Jews from the Lischmannstadt ghetto. They
24started in very late 1941 when Germany was being emptied
25of Jews. I just want to remind the court, for example,
26Berlin was officially Judenreiden in early 1943. When the

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 1German Jews were transported to the East, one of the
 2places where they were concentrated was in the Rusch or
 3Lischmannstadt ghetto. In order to make place for these
 4people who came in, because it was already terribly
 5overcrowded, Polish Jews from the Lischmannstadt ghetto
 6were in early '42 brought to a little castle near Chelmo.
 7This castle in Chelmo was a place where they were brought
 8to this castle and then there were gas vans in that
 9compound and they were actually walked into gas vans.
10There was a description of the actual camouflage way in
11which they were brought in there, and then these gas vans
12drove from that castle to a forest which was a couple of
13miles away. By the time the gas vans arrived at the
14forest, all of the people in the back of these gas vans
15had died and then they were buried in that forest. So
16when the mass graves really had become very large there,
17because ultimately the Polish Commission established that
18around, I think, 180,000 people were killed in that way at
19Chelmno, Bloebel was given the task to start removing the
21 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      That does not appear to me to have much to do
22with the message, the radio message, of 15th September
24 MR IRVING:      We are rather branching out into other fields
26 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      It has a lot to do with that.

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 1 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      This is Auschwitz, not Chelmno?
 2 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      No, but the people in Auschwitz at that time, what has
 3happened is that at bunker 2 at that moment, which had
 4been in operation since early July, they have been burying
 5the people next to bunker No. 2. In the meantime, there
 6is the Himmler visit to Auschwitz and, while there is no
 7record of it, it is quite likely probably that he said
 8this burying of people very close to the camp, because
 9that is actually quite close to Birkenhau, is going to be
10an unhealthy business. So what happens then that
11immediately -- we are talking again at about the month of
12August and September when all these big changes are taking
13place in Auschwitz. So, in order to take counsel from the
14only man who is actually doing the incineration of buried
15corpses which is happening in Chelmno with this
16Studattenfuhrer Bloebel, the Auschwitz Kommandant, and
17this is a very high powered trip, the Kommandant, his
18adjutant Hoessler, and the chief designer, who ultimately
19must make sense of it on a practical, technological scale,
20all go for a whole day to Lischmannstadt, and it is not a
21small trip. They need to get special permission for that
22(because one always needs special permissions for these
23trips) to basically to see what Bloebel is doing there.
24     Then we have also another German, we have the
25original request from Auschwitz to Glucks, we have the
26permit now being produced and we have the final result, a

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