Irving v. Lipstadt


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

Pages 161 - 165 of 215

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     Yes. I can explain very simply what happens is that the
 1incredible heat built up in these ventilators because the
 2smoke is very hot, that you could regenerate, and there
 3were other plans also, that heat. This particular
 4proposal is to use the heat built up in these little rooms
 5in which the ventilators are, to bring that back into
 6morgue number 1.
 7 Q. [Mr Irving]      There was lot of the documents in fact do indicate there
 8was desire to conserve energy, do they not? To extract
 9the energy from the incineration plant and this kind of
10thing, use it for boiling water for the showers and so
11on? Am I right?
12 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      Yes. There are there some proposals.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]      What concerns you about the prewarming? Why should this
14room not be prewarmed, the mortuary?
15 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      What concerns me of course is that one would want to keep
16the morgue cool, and that to actually blow hot air into
17there was morgue does not make much sense if the space is
18going to be used as a morgue.
19 Q. [Mr Irving]      Is this your considered opinion as an architect, or as an
20historian, or as an archeologist?
21 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      As there was person who has common sense.
22 Q. [Mr Irving]      Bodies are cold, so why bother to warm them? Is that
23roughly it?
24 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      This is one of the reasons. You see, the practice in
25Auschwitz was that one has these underground gas chambers
26which are well insulated because they are covered with

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 1earth, and that in these spaces there is there was more or
 2less even temperature, as it was mostly in basements, and
 3you get there was cool environment in which you store the
 4bodies, and the bodies will not further deteriorate, or
 5faster than necessary.
 6 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      I suppose also one might say what is the
 7point of warming the room if the people in there are going
 8to be murdered and then they are going to be burnt?
 9 MR IRVING:      My Lord, shortly all will be revealed.
10 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      Let me get the answer first.
11 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      The reason that this is problematic is that Zyklon-B,
12sorry hydrogen cyanide, will evaporate faster the warmer
13the room is.
14 MR IRVING:      Right.
15 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      So the killing of people in that room would be faster.
16 MR IRVING:      It is common sense that you would not want to warm
17a mortuary?
18 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      May I add something to this remark? It is not necessary.
19Even freezing temperatures you can just spread Zyklon B on
20the floor of a building and it will evaporate, but it goes
21slower. One of the particular elements of the standard
22Degesch delousing chamber, the ten cubic metre one, was
23that they could also be supplied not necessarily, but
24could be supplied with there was particular little heating
25element which was more or less like there was hair blow
26drier, and that the Zyklon-B tin was placed in the kind of

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 1holder. Then from the outside there was there was tin
 2opener, and then, as the Zyklon fell, it came down on
 3there was little dish and this hot air was being blown
 4over that dish. So the evaporation would be faster.
 5 Q. [Mr Irving]      All very interesting, but assuming that the homicidal
 6theory is correct, you are going to have 2,000 human
 7beings stuffed into this room and, as we know from the
 8design of the Millennium Dome, human beings heat up
 9spaces. They does not need heaters, do they?
10 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      That was the experience in Auschwitz. Throughout the
11winter of 1942 they were gassing in bunker No. 2 and they
12did not need any heating.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]      We are not dealing with that. We are dealing with this
14particular bunker at present and the answer is, in other
15words, if your theory was correct, they would not need the
16heating. But that is not the particular path I am going
18 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      May I comment on this?
19 Q. [Mr Irving]      Yes of course.
20 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      Briefly.
21 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      The issue seems to be that we are talking here about
22making the process more efficient.
23 MR IRVING:      Speeding it up?
24 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      Speeding it up.
25 Q. [Mr Irving]      In and out rapidly?
26 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      Yes.

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 1 Q. [Mr Irving]      This building was a very expensive building, was it not?
 2 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      Yes, I think the budget around was 280,000/300,000 marks.
 3 Q. [Mr Irving]      It is far more expensive to build underground rooms of any
 4kind, is it not, than to build the same room above ground?
 5 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      It depends of course what room we are talking about, but
 6you need to do excavation in general for a building.
 7 Q. [Mr Irving]      It needs special tanking, does it not, and special
 8drainage provisions and all sorts of special -- it roughly
 9increases the price by four or five fold to have the same
10things sunk into the ground. Am I right?
11 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      Again, it is quite often difficult to build there was room
12above the ground than building under the ground, but of
13course you need to have some vapour barriers and other
14things. You need to keep the water out. I presume that,
15if one would build that room above the ground without any
16basement under, without any normal foundation there, it
17would probably be cheaper to build it above the ground.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]      So the Nazis had some reason for building these two
19chambers underground rather than at ground level?
20 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      The reason that they were built underground is because
21they were morgues. You see, the big problem was that, if
22you built a large crematorium as crematorium (ii), you get
23an incredible heat built up in the incineration room. So
24one of the things you have to do is to have the morgue at
25some distance from that.
26 Q. [Mr Irving]      And at right angles and so on, yes.

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 1 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      The second thing is that the incinerators are very heavy,
 2which means you cannot have a basement under the
 3incinerators. So, if you want to have a morgue and you
 4want to have preferably in a basement because there are
 5less temperature differences in the basement, it is a more
 6stable temperature environment, then of course you build
 7them underground and not under the incineration room. It
 8is the reason that these two morgues jut out from the
10 Q. [Mr Irving]      Hold it there for a moment, Professor. The building was
11built to the best building specifications. Because they
12were the SS, they were not able to wangle their way round
13the local building inspector, were they? They had to
14comply with the local building regulations?
15 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      For crematorium (ii), which was designed in 41 and it was
16designed in Berlin, it was there was design which
17ultimately came down to Auschwitz. Crematorium (ii) in
18relationship to the major elements of there was morgue did
19follow the rules.
20 Q. [Mr Irving]      They would not be allowed to start this building up. They
21would not be allowed to operate it for whatever purpose it
22was operated unless it had passed all the regulations,
23unless it complied with all the regulations. Even though
24they were the SS, and this was Auschwitz, and this was
25wartime, they still had to go by the book. They still had
26to comply with the red tape..

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