Irving v. Lipstadt


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

Pages 16 - 20 of 215

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    My second argument is that one can, if one looks
 1kind of activity already.
 2     We know that there were trials, the first trial
 3firing of the incinerators was, in fact, in late January
 41943. That was the first trial firing of the
 5incinerators. On the basis of that, it is very clear that
 6this photo must be taken after the first trial firing of
 7the incinerators. That is again the letter of 19, 29
 8talks about the trial firing of the incinerators,
 9otherwise there would be no soot on the top of the
11     On the basis of that, it is possible to date
12this photo at least after the end of January 1943 when the
13roof was completed and, therefore, would be no reason at
14that moment for any other kind of boxes with sealant to be
15on the roof.
16 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      Can I just ask one question and then I will
17stop? How do you date this photograph as February '43?
18 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      Because we know that by early March '43, the whole
19building was completed and, by implication, the gas
20chamber would have been covered with dirt. We know also
21-- so that is the last date that is possible. I mean,
22these photos are not dated.
23     We also know that the first experimental firing
24of the incinerators happened in end of January 1943. So
25it must have been, this photo must have been taken after
26the end of January 1943 and before the official completion

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 1of the building in early March 1943. This is why I say
 3 MR IRVING:      Professor van Pelt, have you seen a photograph of
 4that roof with just snow on it and no kind of
 5protruberances at all, that flat roof?
 6 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      Yes, I think there is a photograph of that, yes.
 7 Q. [Mr Irving]      What conclusions do you draw from examining that
 8photograph? Those protruberances were moveable?
 9 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      If you present me to the photograph, I will draw
10conclusions from it.
11 Q. [Mr Irving]      You say you have seen the photograph. If there is a
12photograph of that roof with flat snow on it, a pure sheet
13of white snow, and no protruberances on it, and that
14implies that the protruberances were mobile and could be
15carried around like drums of tar, for example?
16 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      Mr Irving, I am not going to speculate upon a photograph I
17do not have in front of me. If you present the photo, I
18am very happy to explain that photo and I have an
19explanation for that photo.
20 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      Professor, actually I think you are wrong on
21this point because you have accepted there is such a
22photograph. You have seen it. Can you not help Mr Irving
23-- he obviously has not got the photograph -- by giving
24the explanation that you obviously have?
25 MR IRVING:      I have the photograph but not immediately
26available, my Lord.

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 1 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      OK. Then the explanation is simple. What happens is that
 2after the dirt was brought on top of the roof of the gas
 3chamber or morgue No. 1, the protection of these chimneys
 4would have been less. If we then had snow on top of that,
 5it is very unlikely we would have seen much of these
 6little chimneys.
 7 MR IRVING:      I only have one more question going to these
 8protruberances on the roof. You say the Germans are
 9basically a very methodical and orderly kind of people
10when they design their buildings; they are not arty
11crafty. They do not put a pillar here and a pillar there
12and "Let us have two over there". They will put them in a
13straight line down the middle, as, indeed, we know they
14did in that very building, in the gas chamber, as you call
16 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      They are construction pillars we are talking about?
17 Q. [Mr Irving]      Yes, the construction pillars that go down the centre of
18the room, do they not, with one single reinforced concrete
19beam down the centre of the room?
20 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      Yes.
21 Q. [Mr Irving]      So these pillars go down the centre of the room.
22 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      Not only Germans. I presume even English architecture and
23Canadian architecture do the same.
24 Q. [Mr Irving]      I am sure they do. Therefore, the wire mesh columns that
25you talked about which went up the side of the pillars
26would also be running down the centre of the roof, would

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 1they not?
 2 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      No, not necessarily. I mean, you can put them either on
 3the left or on the right side of the columns.
 4 Q. [Mr Irving]      Can we have another look at that photograph, in particular
 5the one on page 10A? Is it your impression that those
 6four objects are evenly spaced?
 7 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      It seems that the second object is slightly more, the
 8second object from the right, seems to be slightly more to
 9the left -- it seems to be at a different line than the
10first and the third.
11 Q. [Mr Irving]      Very well. Do they appear to you to be running down the
12centre line of that roof?
13 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      No.
14 Q. [Mr Irving]      Or anywhere near the centre line of that roof?
15 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      I do not know, near. It is very difficult to say in this
16photograph exactly where they are, but it seems to be in
17this perspective that the interpretation is that No. 1 and
18No. 3 maybe would be in line, but certainly No. 2 would
19not be on the same line as No. 1 and 3, going from the
20right, and No. 4 it is very difficult to determine exactly
21what that thing is.
22 Q. [Mr Irving]      Professor van Pelt, have you received just now a copy of
23this photograph of the underside of the roof?
24 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      Yes. I have it right in front of me.
25 Q. [Mr Irving]      You accept that the underside of that slab we are looking
26at there in the colour photograph, which is Leichenkeller

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 1No. 1 of crematorium No. 2, is the room you identified as
 2the room where 500,000 people were gassed to death?
 3 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      Yes.
 4 Q. [Mr Irving]      Will you accept that we can indeed see a very large amount
 5of the space of that underside of that roof?
 6 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      It is very difficult from this photograph to say how much
 7space it is. I have been under the roof and it is a very
 8tight space when you go there, when you actually film it
 9or photograph it, the scale becomes very difficult to
10determine. What we certainly see here is that, if indeed
11what we see in the front of this photograph is the bricks,
12and pieces of bricks, then actually we are looking in a
13very, very narrow space, because these bricks are this
14size more or less, so we are talking about a space here, a
15crawl space right now.
16 Q. [Mr Irving]      Like speediology, is it not, like cave hunting? It would
17be like going down into a very narrow cave, but all the
18same the people manage to get down there and take the
19photograph of that large area of roof space and you can
20see the lines of the formwork, the wooden lines where the
21concrete has been moulded into the wet concrete as running
22between the boards of the formwork?
23 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      Yes.
24 Q. [Mr Irving]      You would expect therefore to find that interrupted in
25some way if there were these holes in the roof?
26 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     

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