Irving v. Lipstadt


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

Pages 126 - 130 of 215

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     No. Kurt Gerstein has made no statement whatsoever about
 2 Q. [Mr Irving]      Have you placed any reliance on Kurt Gerstein in your
 4 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      I did not need to place any reliance in my work on
 5Auschwitz since he has never made any testimony about
 7 Q. [Mr Irving]      Although he made some very detailed allegations about how
 8many people were killed in the gas chambers elsewhere, and
 9he gave figures for the quantities killed in the other gas
10chambers in the other camps, you are not prepared to draw
11conclusions about the general reliability of this kind of
13 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      No. I do not think that at the moment the statement you
14made can be supported. I think that Kurt Gerstein has
15made a detailed account of a visit to Treblinka where he
16came in the summer of 1942. He made a detailed
17description of that.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]      Professor Vananstiel, that is correct?
19 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      Professor Vananstiel(?) Later Professor Vananstiel after
20the war confirmed that indeed he had been with Kurt
21Gerstein in Treblinka and confirmed more or less the
22account, except where it applies to his own role in this
23trip, a number of remarks he would have made while looking
24through the spy hole into the gas chamber, but apart from
25Kurt Gerstein has not made any calculations, as far as
26I know, I do not think he even made about Treblinka or

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 1for that matter he never mentioned Auschwitz in any
 2context of extermination.
 3 Q. [Mr Irving]      I am only deal with the Gerstein report in the context of
 4reliability of eyewitness evidence in general. This is
 5the only reason I am going to ask the next few questions.
 6Did Mr Kurt Gerstein, who was an SS officer, make any
 7statements about the number of people who were packed into
 8the gas chamber that he witnessed allegedly?
 9 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      I am not going to comment on that without the document in
10front of me.
11 Q. [Mr Irving]      You have not read the Gerstein report?
12 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      Of course I have read various editions of the Gerstein
13report, both the French and the German, but I am not going
14to comment on what Kurt Gerstein may have said or may not
15have said when I do not have the document in front of me.
16 Q. [Mr Irving]      Are you aware that there seven different versions of the
17Gerstein report?
18 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      I know there are various different versions. I did not
19know it was seven.
20 Q. [Mr Irving]      Are you aware that each successive version of the report
21became more lurid in French captivity and that the numbers
22grew larger like Topsy?
23 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      Mr Irving I do not remember ----
24 Q. [Mr Irving]      I should have asked how many versions of the report have
25you read?
26 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      I have read three versions of the report.

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 1 Q. [Mr Irving]      Did you notice any discrepancy between the figures and the
 2general scale of the atrocity he was describing?
 3 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      No. The reports are longer and shorter, so I have not
 4compared them on actual figures. In some reports he
 5includes more information, and in other reports he has
 6less. I have not made a comparative study of all the
 7reports together because they do not apply to Auschwitz.
 8 Q. [Mr Irving]      Very well.
 9 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      Professor van Pelt, this part of the
10cross-examination started off, I think, on the topic of
11how much Zyklon B went to Auschwitz, how much of it might
12have been used for delousing and disinfecting and all the
13rest of it, therefore how much was left, if any?
14 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      Yes.
15 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]      Can you ----
16 MR IRVING:      I was about to come back on to that main line with
17certain specific questions.
18 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      May I get the answer to my question,
19Mr Irving, first?
20 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      Can you give me in broad terms an answer, so far as your
21conclusions on that question go?
22 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      OK. May I use the document for that?
23 Q. [Mr Irving]      Of course. I just thought it was a convenient way short
25 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      There are two years on which we know, on the basis of the
26testimony of Alfred Sahen, supported by his notebook but

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 1also other information available at the trial of
 2distributors. They were not really distributors, people
 3that allocate Zyklon-B. The amounts of deliveries of
 4Zyklon-B to Auschwitz, that is 1942 and 1943. On page 22
 5of my additional report, one can read that in 1942, seven
 6and a half thousand kilos were delivered to Auschwitz, and
 7in 1943 12,000 kilos were delivered do Auschwitz.
 8 MR IRVING:      That is 12 tonnes?
 9 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      12 tonnes were delivered to Auschwitz. I have done a
10calculation. In 1942 this seven and a half thousand kilos
11to Auschwitz comes out of 9,000 kilos to the whole
12concentration camp system. Again, I do not draw the
13conclusion but I want to say the conclusion other people
14have drawn is that, since Auschwitz received more than
15three-quarters of all the Zyklon-B, something like 80 per
16cent of the Zyklon-B, this meant of course this could only
17have been caused by the use of Zyklon-B as a killing agent
18and I do not agree such a simple jump.
19 Q. [Mr Irving]      Can we be quite plain that you do not agree with that?
20 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      Not simply on the basis that there were seven and a half
21thousand kilos going to Zyklon-B, and 1,500 to the rest of
22the concentration camp system. I would not jump
23immediately to the conclusion. I think one has to be more
24careful when one comes to conclusions.
25 Q. [Mr Irving]      Can I ask you one question here? How many satellite camps
26were dependant on Auschwitz as their central distribution

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 2 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      In 1943 or 1942?
 3 Q. [Mr Irving]      Shall we say 1944?
 4 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      1944, 34, but many measures were very small. May
 5I continue to answer the question his Lordship has asked?
 6 Q. [Mr Irving]      This need not necessarily just have been going to
 7Auschwitz itself, they would have been possibly shovelling
 8it on to other places that needed it?
 9 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      Yes, but only few of those camps had actually delousing
10installations. Most of the delousing for the satellite
11camps were actually done back in Auschwitz.
12 Q. [Mr Irving]      When you delouse a barracks or a barrack room like this
13room here, do you need installation or do you just close
14all the doors and windows and do what the Americans call
16 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      My Lord, I am a little confused right now.
17 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      Yes. Come back to that, Mr Irving. I am
18getting an explanation of the total figures that went to
19Auschwitz. So you do not make the jump simply from
20relative quantities?
21 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      No. I have made the calculation and ultimately what I do
22is that I am making the two ways actually to determine
23what is a normal use for Zyklon-B? The first is to look
24at other camps. What would a camp of the same size use
25compared to Auschwitz? That is the first exercise I did
26on pages 25 and 26. For example, we have information for

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