Irving v. Lipstadt


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

Pages 141 - 145 of 215

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 1 Q. [Mr Irving]      When was that? Roughly what year was that?
 2 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      This was 1880s, 1890s.
 3 Q. [Mr Irving]      So it has been a problem over the decades, there has been
 4a problem in that region?
 5 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      I mean, the German ----
 6 Q. [Mr Irving]      It is a very swampy region, is it?
 7 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      No, I mean, but this was happening all over the East, that
 8people who were, that Jews, migrants who were leaving the
 9Russian Empire were subjected to German hygienic measures
10as they crossed the border or came into the harbours of
11Bremen and Hamburg where they were placed in quarantine.
12There were special areas of the harbour where these Jews
13were quarantined. There were these kinds of
14installations. However, Auschwitz was slightly different
15because while Auschwitz, at the one side, had these
16transmigrants who went over the border there, because it
17was a border town, the camp was not created with that in
18mind. The camp was created, the Sturmlager was created to
19very specifically house transmigrant workers who all
20converged on Auschwitz in March and April of every year
21looking for seasonal work in Germany. There were only
22three little hotels in the town, and the hotels said these
23people were living on the street, and there were 10 or
2415,000 people living on the street.
25     So, the Austrian Government decided to create a
26centre at the border where these people could be housed

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 1and where then also German agents for the various
 2employment opportunities, like the Jungkris(?) in the
 3estates, could come, send people on and then the most
 4important function there was to actually check if all the
 5young men had done their military service and were allowed
 6to leave the country.
 7 Q. [Mr Irving]      And that was Auschwitz, right?
 8 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      That was in Auschwitz.
 9 Q. [Mr Irving]      Yes. Just to round off this topic of the Zyklon
10consumption figures, you have done very interesting
11calculations, and I have to admit they are admirably done,
12the calculations. You arrive overall at the end of these
13very lengthy and complicated calculations at a probable
14consumption of nine tonnes?
15 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      Nine tonnes in the camp in 1943, yes.
16 Q. [Mr Irving]      As opposed to the 12 tonnes that we know to have been
17delivered. Is this a meaningful difference, in your view,
18in view of the fact that you are totally inexperienced in
19pest control?
20 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      I invite other people to redo the calculations again.
21I thought that, as far as an historian, I must say that
22using the maximum delousing capacity of the camp and the
23maximum -- and how much it will take on the basis of
24German documents to delouse the whole camp ----
25 Q. [Mr Irving]      Does it make any allowance for inefficiencies of any
26measures anywhere? Does it make your usual engineer's

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 1allowance for inefficiencies somewhere or mistakes?
 2 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      I think that I have made a very generous assumption in the
 3amount of Zyklon-B which was being used.
 4 Q. [Mr Irving]      Or for quantities being sent on to the satellite camps?
 5These are things which you did not -- in my submission,
 6there is no significant difference statistically over that
 7range of calculations and figures and, given the
 8uncertainty of the starting points between nine tonnes and
 912 tonnes, on the one hand, is that correct?
10 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      Nine tonnes can be justified, but it is a very high number
11because I am assuming two complete delousings of the camp,
12of all the buildings in the camp, per year.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]      If you had assumed three, of course, you would have come
14over 12 tonnes, would you not?
15 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      No, I would come over nine tonnes.
16 Q. [Mr Irving]      Yes. You said you were just assuming two?
17 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      Not over 12 tonnes. But at a certain moment the question
18is how many delousings of the whole camp were operated.
19 Q. [Mr Irving]      We just have two eyewitnesses, is this correct, who
20suggests that -- one of them was one of the eyewitnesses
21to whom, I have to say, I attach little credence and the
22other one I may or may not be correct in saying she only
23records three or four, is that correct, in the time ----
24 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      During her whole time in the camp.
25 Q. [Mr Irving]      --- during the whole time she was there? But against
26that, we set the evidence of Bruno Tesch in his trial, and

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 1he is the acknowledged leading German expert on
 2disinfestation who says, having been given the figures, he
 3is astonished that they managed to carry out the
 4fumigation of all these sets of clothing, given the number
 5of prisoners, because he knew how many kilograms of
 6Zyklon-B were needed for each 100 sets of clothing. That
 7is the calculation he did.
 8 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      Is that Tesch you are talking about now?
 9 MR IRVING:      I am talking about Bruno Tesch, T-E-S-C-H.
10 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      May I ask Professor van Pelt a question about
11that? The prosecution against Tesch, presumably, involved
12the prosecution establishing that he knew what the
13Zyklon-B was being supplied to Auschwitz for?
14 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      Yes.
15 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]      So he was likely to say that the quantity was the right
16amount to do the delousing?
17 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      The case, the evidence on which Tesch was ultimately
18convicted was not the quantity delivered to Auschwitz. It
19was actually a statement made by one of his employees who
20had said that Tesch knew about that what the Zyklon was
21being used for.
22 MR IRVING:      He said that he came back and he dictated a travel
23report on a trip which had indicated that he knew what was
24going on?
25 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      Yes.
26 Q. [Mr Irving]      This was hotly disputed by other members of Tesch's staff

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 1who knew the travel reports concerned, but he was hanged
 2on the basis of that one witness?
 3 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      You know, I do not want to redo the Tesh trial. I mean,
 4it may have been true that Tesch knew about it or it may
 5not have been true. But the issue was, the issue at stake
 6in the trial was not the quantity of the deliveries.
 7     Interestingly enough, if you go back to the
 8trial documents, what really made people very, very upset
 9about it is the profit they got out of the deliveries.
10There was constant talk about how many Reichs Marks
11actually were made out of his deliveries to Auschwitz.
12 Q. [Mr Irving]      I appreciate your Lordship's point and, of course, it is
13absolutely right, he would have had a motive for trying to
14minimize it, but against that is to be set the fact that
15whereas you and I are, no doubt, astonished to see nine
16tonnes of cyanide being delivered to any camp or any
17place, and you think, "Well, this can only mean one
18thing", the drift of my argument has been it could mean
19many things and it was by no means out of the ball park
20when you are looking at the other uses to which this
21domestic fumigant was very properly put.
22 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      Yes, I understand.
23 MR IRVING:      Can I now proceed to a different topic, my Lord?
24 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      Yes, of course.
25 MR IRVING:      We have dealt with the eyewitness in some detail,
26Professor van Pelt. I must say I am left unhappy at the

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