Irving v. Lipstadt


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

Pages 181 - 185 of 215

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     I appreciate your earlier point. Of course far more
 1that point, let there be no doubt about that. We are
 2looking at this building where, as you yourself said, more
 3people died in this gas chamber than in any in other place
 4on earth?
 5 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      But bottleneck, of course, the bottleneck of course -- if
 6there is going to be a bottleneck, let us say this door is
 7going to be a bottleneck, a real serious bottleneck, if
 8somebody screams "fire" in this room and we all try to get
 9out as quickly as possible and some do not notice there is
10another room, another exit which says "fire exit" there,
11but if people file out, as they do at the end of these
12sessions, in a relatively orderly fashion, this is not a
14 Q. [Mr Irving]      If everyone here is dead, then they have a problem, then
15things slow down?
16 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      But the question is, the issue is, is it a bottleneck,
17also has to be considered in relationship to how long it
18will take to incinerate those bodies. So if at a certain
19moment it would take, let us say, 20 hours to incinerate
20the bodies of the people who have been gassed in the
21morgue, you have 20 hours to move the bodies upstairs. So
22then question is over that time would there be a
23bottleneck, yes or no, because the incineration room
24upstairs cannot also take all the 1500 bodies, whatever
25number of people were gassed downstairs. So only if you
26want to get all the bodies up simultaneously is this going

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 1to be a serious bottleneck.
 2 Q. [Mr Irving]      So they used the mortuary, however the people died, for
 3the time being as a mortuary then?
 4 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      I mean corpses were removed in small batches from the
 5mortuary to the incineration room to feed the
 7 Q. [Mr Irving]      Yes. Can we get some idea of the speed of the operation,
 8because your eyewitnesses differ, do they not, as to how
 9frequently this procedure was repeated?
10 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      Which procedure?
11 Q. [Mr Irving]      The liquidation procedure, people being rammed into the
12gas chamber 2,000 at a time. We are looking at figures
13basically here. We not concerned with the "if". We are
14looking at how many.
15 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      Again I am happy to discuss these testimonies when I have
16them in front of me. I thought we were talking about the
17elevator right now.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]      We are talking about the elevator. If the people are
19being rammed in at one time into the gas chamber and they
20are being liquidated and then they are being taken out
21through that one exit, up that relatively small lift
22shaft, this is the bottleneck which is going to be like
23the bottleneck in an hour glass. You cannot speed up the
25 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      But the bottleneck in an hour glass is only a bottleneck
26if you want all the sand to go down simultaneously. If

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 1you want the sand to go down in an hour it is not a
 3 Q. [Mr Irving]      But it is a controlling factor on the speed of the whole
 4liquidation programme, is it not?
 5 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      But there are much more important factors like the speed
 6of incineration in the ovens.
 7 Q. [Mr Irving]      You say it is more important, but let us look at the
 8elevator. To make it absolutely plain, there was no other
 9way of bringing the bodies from downstairs up to the
10furnace stage level?
11 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      There is another way. You could take the stairs, but that
12would have been very, very ----
13 Q. [Mr Irving]      But that was not used?
14 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      --- it would be very inefficient and awkward.
15 Q. [Mr Irving]      Yes.
16 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      My Lord, I presume that a question is coming.
17 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      I am presuming. I am waiting for it.
18 MR IRVING:      Yes. What do we know about the carrying capacity
19of that elevator?
20 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      There is a document for that. The elevator, this document
21in March for that, I think it is March 1943, they carried
22the original one which was installed for 750 kilos.
23 Q. [Mr Irving]      750 kilos.
24 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      They immediately asked to increase the carrying capacity
25of that elevator by providing extra cables to 1500 kilos.
26 Q. [Mr Irving]      What do we know about the provision of the motors for

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 1those elevators?
 2 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      Again I do not want to talk about that right now. I do
 3not have the document. But I do know, because I actually
 4looked it up this morning, that they were adapting that
 5particular -- it was a temporary elevator -- to a weight,
 6to a carrying load of 1500 kilos. So I presume if they do
 7that, that indeed there is a motor which will be able to
 8hoist 1500 kilos.
 9 Q. [Mr Irving]      This was made by Daemarg, I believe, the company?
10 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      Yes.
11 Q. [Mr Irving]      The provisional one. Why was there a provisional one
12installed, because the final ones were not ready?
13 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      Because the SS, despite whatever they were doing in
14Auschwitz, were unable to get an elevator in early 1943.
15 Q. [Mr Irving]      They could not get the priority.
16 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      Anyway, carrying a load of 1500 kilos, that
17would be how many corpses?
18 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      An average one 60 kilos. It seems a little high, by that
19would be -- the theoretical carrying capacity would be,
20let us say, 20 corpses, so that would be 20, 25 corpses.
21 MR IRVING:      The same question of course is how many people you
22can pack into a telephone box, but packing them in takes
23time. It would be difficult to envisage having a working
24lift system with people piled four or five or six or seven
25high, because quite simply the doors would not close?
26 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      There were no doors.

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 1 Q. [Mr Irving]      There were no doors?
 2 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      No. It was simply a platform which went up and down.
 3 Q. [Mr Irving]      That would be even worse then. The bodies would
 4presumably get jammed against the side of the lift shaft
 5if they piled them too high. I am just looking at
 6practicalities here, that although technically the final
 7version of the lift, and I emphasise that, was going to
 8have the 1500 kilogram capacity, in theory, when was that
 9lift actually installed?
10 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      The 750 kilograms was installed by the time the building
11was finished and immediately they asked to double the
12capacity the oven.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]      And the 1500 one was not of course installed at this
15 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      It was not immediately, but they asked immediately for the
16increase in the carrying capacity. So obviously they
17wanted, whatever they were bringing up from the morgue,
18they probably wanted, they felt they needed more capacity
19for this lift.
20 Q. [Mr Irving]      Yes. It was not in fact installed until the end of 1943,
21the bigger the one?
22 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      The final one, no. This is only a modification to add
23extra cables. This is not the final elevator which is put
24in when finally the factory gets around to deliver them.
25 Q. [Mr Irving]      Is it not odd that once again the question arises here,
26that here is one of the most important killing centres in

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