Irving v. Lipstadt
Holocaust Denial on Trial, Trial Transcripts, Day 10: Electronic Edition
Pages 206 - 210 of 215
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1 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt] No. All these people, not even all the Hungarian Jews
2arrived in Auschwitz, the large majority, the great
3majority of them came to Auschwitz, I think the number of
4Hungarian Jews deported is even larger, but at Auschwitz
5we are talking about that number. These people were
6submitted to selection on arrival in Auschwitz. Then
7there were really three possibilities at that moment that
8could happen. Either one could be selected to die in the
9gas chambers or one could be selected to be admitted to
10the camp and given a number. There was a new numbering
11system created at the time to accommodate this and became
12a regular inmate of the camp or one of the satellite camps
13in Auschwitz. Or one could become durkhanstudent where
14one was housed temporarily in the camp without actually
15being officially admitted to the camp before being sent on
16to other concentration camps.
17 Q. [Mr Irving] Where large numbers of these Hungarian Jews put to work in
19 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt] The question is difficult to determine that, because there
20are different numbers of how many durkhanstudent there
21were, and this is in some way a point which certainly
22I would like to have seen, you know, more clearly
23established. One of the debates about the mortality
24during the Hungarian action of course ultimately has to
25relate, because when we know more or less how many
26Hungarian Jews were admitted to the camp and there are
1only two ways to explain what happened, only two ways one
2can explain what happened to the people who were not
3admitted to the camp, either they were killed or they were
4sent to the West. So the issue of the mortality of the
5Hungarian Jews in Auschwitz ultimately is tied up to the
6number of durkhanstudent there were, and the Auschwitz
7camp, the numbers I remember of around 25,000 as to the
8number of durkhanstudent who went from Auschwitz to the
10 Q. [Mr Irving] How many remained in the camp and were liquidated, in your
12 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt] I do not really want to give an opinion right now. I mean
13I am happy again to look at the figures. It seems to be
14that in May and June very high percentages of these
15transports were selected for death, but we are talking
16about hundreds of thousands of people who were killed in
17Auschwitz in the month of May and June.
18 Q. [Mr Irving] Let us just for two minutes talk about Sturmlager,
20 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt] Yes.
21 Q. [Mr Irving] Which is now the big tourist centre, is it not?
22 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt] This is where the reception building is where the film was
23shown and where there are exhibitions, yes.
24 Q. [Mr Irving] Yes. They have a building there which they describe as
25the gas chambers and they show it to tourists as a gas
26chamber, is that right?
1 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt] There is a crematorium there and in the crematorium is a
2room which is described as a gas chamber.
3 Q. [Mr Irving] There is a big chimney behind the building?
4 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt] Yes.
5 Q. [Mr Irving] Which is not connected in any way whatsoever to the
7 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt] The chimney there which is right next to it is a
8reconstruction of the original chimney which was in
9exactly the same position which was connected like the
10chimney in crematoria two and three by underground flue to
11the crematorium building. This is a way to increase the
12draft of the chimney by leading the gas at basement level.
13 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I am not quite sure what the point of these
15 MR IRVING: It is very brief, my Lord. The prisoner reception
16centre at Auschwitz one is where now the tourists arrive,
17am I right?
18 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt] That is where the cafeteria is.
19 Q. [Mr Irving] I have never been there, so I take your word for it. They
20are then taken into a building and at the end of the tour,
21"This is the gas chamber". They are invited to believe
22that this is the gas chamber, is that right?
23 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt] One is not taken into building. One can either visit the
24building yes or no.
25 Q. [Mr Irving] But they invited to believe hat this was the gas chamber?
26 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt] There is a sign which says "crematorium and gas chamber".
1 Q. [Mr Irving] Was that building that is described as tourists as a gas
2chamber ever used as a gas chamber?
3 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt] Yes, it was used as a gas chamber.
4 Q. [Mr Irving] This is not what you wrote in your book?
5 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt] That is exactly what I wrote. I have a very long
6description in my book about the use of that space, and
7the space is not exactly the same as in the war. I have a
8very long quotation. A number of different places.
9 Q. [Mr Irving] The space is what?
10 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt] At the moment the space is one bay bigger than it was
11during of war. I have extensive descriptions in my book
12of the transformation of that space into a gas chamber and
13of the use of that space into a gas chamber.
14 Q. [Mr Irving] If you go there as a tourist now and you ask the guides,
15they will admit to you that this was never used as a gas
16chamber, is that, is that right?
17 MR JUSTICE GRAY: That is really worthless, is it not.
18 MR IRVING: I beg your pardon?
19 MR JUSTICE GRAY: That is worthless as a point.
20 MR IRVING: The guides would know, my Lord.
21 MR JUSTICE GRAY: They might or they might not. I should think
22probably they were born 30 years after these events.
23 MR IRVING: My Lord, I will on Friday confront this witness, if
24I may, with what he wrote in his original book on
25precisely the building we are talking about, where he said
26in terms that this building is a fake.
1 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Even if it is, I just do not want you to
2build up a point that is not really at the moment
3impressing me enormously. Tell me if I am wrong. This is
4trying to convey to people, you call them tourists, all
5right, call them tourists if you want to, what things were
6like according to a lot of people's opinion.
7 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Is there anything wrong with that?
8 MR IRVING: Yes, it is called "passing off". The tourists are
9not told that is a fake. They are not told that this
10building was erected in 1948.
11 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Well, make of this point whatever you wish,
13 MR IRVING: My Lord, the point is quite clearly, of course,
14that later on you will be hearing how I have been fined a
15substantial amount for saying precisely this fact which
16turns out to be true.
17 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I am not concerned with what other courts
18have done, fined you or whatever.
19 MR IRVING: It will be held against me by the witnesses, my
21 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Well, not by me which is perhaps more
23 THE WITNESS: My Lord, may I just give Mr Irving one piece of
24advice as he prepares for this, that I know which sentence
25in the book you are going to refer to, but I also would
26invite you to read pages 293 and following of my book
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