Irving v. Lipstadt


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

Pages 116 - 120 of 215

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     I do not exactly know the technology but I trust your
 2 Q. [Mr Irving]      This was basically a high voltage system using a lot of
 3electric power that was going to be installed in
 5 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      It was going to be installed but, as far as I know, it
 6actually never was installed.
 7 Q. [Mr Irving]      It arrived. It was delivered.
 8 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      It was actually meant for Auschwitz I. What happened was
 9that in Auschwitz I a very large Zyklon-B delousing
10installation was created at the aufnahmegebaude which is
11the reception building for prisoners. There were 19
12standard delousing cells, each of 10 cubic metres which
13uses two hundred grammes of Zyklon-B, the smallest tin,
14and as this building was being completed, the SS decided
15to change the method of disinfection in those cells, at
16least in four of those cells. There were 19 so 15 would
17remain Zyklon-B, and four of them would be the Siemens.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]      What word would they use to describe that kind of room or
19building? Would it be a Vergasungsraum or a
21 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      In general these rooms are called Gaskammer.
22 Q. [Mr Irving]      They are also called Gaskammer?
23 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      Yes. In 1944, however, I have to go because in 1944
24actually the language changes. They called them normal
25Gaskammer, which means on the type sheets which were
26produced by the SS and, if you allow me, my Lord, I will

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 1just make ----
 2 Q. [Mr Irving]      Normal means standard, does it not, in that context?
 3 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      Yes. The SS produced standard designs for concentration
 4camps which were handed out to people who were building in
 5the field. What happens is that these sheets were
 6produced in 1941 to give a local concentration camp
 7kommandant some guidelines of where to start when he was
 8ordered to create a concentration camp. These designs
 9include two designs for delousing facilities and in those
10designs these spaces are called Gaskammer, for example.
11 Q. [Mr Irving]      Would there be very much talk of these gas chambers
12amongst the prisoners, do you think? Would there be a lot
13of gossip about them?
14 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      May I complete the answer because we were talking about
15the name of the thing? They use Gaskammer. Then in 1944
16at a certain moment in Auschwitz they started to use the
17cells specially in relationship to the building where
18these four cells are being adjusted to the Siemens
19procedure. They start to call them normal Gaskammer, which
20means standard or normal gas chambers. So then the
21question is in relationship to what? Is it in
22relationship to an abnormal one, which is a homicidal one,
23which some people have concluded, or is it in relationship
24to some other gas chamber?
25 Q. [Mr Irving]      Professor van Pelt, you are familiar with the fact that
26the German world "normal" is not translated as "normal",

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 1it is translated as "standard"?
 2 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      Standard.
 3 Q. [Mr Irving]      "Normalfilm" is 35 millimetre film, for example.
 4 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      I think the first translation I give was "standard".
 5 Q. [Mr Irving]      In other words, you cannot draw adventurous conclusions
 6from the fact that they called something a standard gas
 8 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      I said some people have done that. I did not say I did
10 Q. [Mr Irving]      Would it not be just a standard piece of equipment
11delivered by Degesch or by Tesh who actually manufactured
12gas chambers for precisely this purpose and they had
13standard sizes?
14 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      You interrupted me. My own conclusion was indeed that
15"normal Gaskammer" probably referred to the ten cubic
16metre standard Degesch gas chambers.
17 Q. [Mr Irving]      That has nothing to do with the fact that, because we are
18calling this one the normal one, therefore there were
19abnormal ones somewhere else in the camp. This was
20misleading for you to state that, was it not?
21 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      No. He said to the contrary. He does not
22himself subscribe to the theory that normal Gaskammer
23implies an abnormal Gaskammer where homicidal events took
25 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      If I can just finish this in one sentence, then another
26word is being used in Auschwitz at the time. We find it

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 1on many bills and also documents by Degesh at the time in
 21944 which actually is about the Zyklon-B gas chambers in
 3Auschwitz I, and they used the word Begasungskammer. This
 4is very unusual, but there are a number of documents which
 5use the word Begasungskammer.
 6 MR IRVING:      The sense of that would be the gassing chamber,
 7would it not?
 8 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      Yes. It is almost like adding gas, like applying gas to,
 9the gas supplying chamber, maybe that would be a
11 Q. [Mr Irving]      I agree with that, yes.
12 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      I am sorry, I am interrupting as well.
13 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      I have finished.
14 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      Is there any significance in the V E R at the
15beginning of Vergasungskammer as a German speaker?
16 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      I am not a German. I am not a native German speaker.
17Dutch is still ----
18 Q. [Mr Irving]      You seem fairly familiar with it.
19 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      I would say no. Vergasung seems to be a transitive verb.
20I do not attach any particular significance to the fact
21that it is used like that.
22 MR IRVING:      My Lord, I will be putting to your Lordship a
23number of documents with the word Vergasung in, which
24obviously are completely innocent, in an attempt to
25persuade your Lordship in that direction.
26 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      Good.

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 1 MR IRVING:      Professor van Pelt, have you seen invoices or
 2delivery notes from the Degesch company relating to
 3supplies of Zyklon-B shipments to the concentration camps
 4at Auschwitz and at Oranienburg?
 5 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      Yes. I think 12 of these invoices were submitted in the
 6Nuremberg trials.
 7 Q. [Mr Irving]      The original documents are there, are they not?
 8 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      Yes. I have seen a number. All the invoices are for the
 9same one amount, except one,, which is a slightly higher
10amount, so I have seen a copy of the standard amount and
11one for the higher amount. I have not seen all the
12invoices in the original.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]      Had you seen these at the time you wrote your book, or
14just between writing your book and writing your expert
16 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      No. I have seen these earlier.
17 Q. [Mr Irving]      Before you wrote your book?
18 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      Yes.
19 Q. [Mr Irving]      Yes. Did you do any kind of analysis of those invoices to
20see the rate at which these supplies were being delivered
21to Auschwitz as compared with Oranienburg?
22 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      No. The invoices themselves, and I have made a particular
23comment on it once you raised the issue in your letter of
24December, I do not think are particularly important as
25evidence one way or another about the use of Zyklon-B in
26Auschwitz, because there are actually much better sources

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