Irving v. Lipstadt


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

Pages 76 - 80 of 215

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     I presume that is crematorium chimney smoke, indeed, yes.
 1I would like to see it but I assume on your authority that
 2the crematorium chimneys do smoke, yes.
 3 Q. [Mr Irving]      From your memory, presumably you have read Mr Tauber's
 4testimony in detail, is it right that he describes it as
 5being possible to cremate five or eight bodies
 6simultaneously in one furnace?
 7 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      I think that we can probably go to the passage itself.
 8 Q. [Mr Irving]      Well, he does say that, does he not?
 9 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      Let us go to the passage, because he is very particular in
10his description.
11 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      Is this in your report at page 194?
12 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      194 yes.
13 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      I cannot see the bit at the moment.
14 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      194. We go to 192 and 193. I can read the whole passage,
15or Mr Irving can read the passage, starting: "The
16procedure was to put the first corpse with the feet
17towards the muffle, back down and face up". Then he gives
18a very detailed description of that procedure.
19 MR IRVING:      So he is the source of the information that five to
20eight bodies were cremated simultaneously or quickly?
21 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      No. I think that Mr Hirst also talks about that, that
22more bodies are inserted in the muffles at one time.
23 Q. [Mr Irving]      Does Mr Tauber also describe the bodies of those gassed as
24being red with green spots?
25 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      I do remember that he gives a quite a longish description
26of the ----

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 1 Q. [Mr Irving]      If you remember it, there is no need to look it up.
 2 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      I do not any more remember if it is Tauber or any other
 4 Q. [Mr Irving]      Do you know what a body that has been gassed with hydrogen
 5cyanide looks like, what colour it turns?
 6 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      I understand it starts to look slightly reddish.
 7 Q. [Mr Irving]      Like a radish? Red with green spots?
 8 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      No, reddish.
 9 Q. [Mr Irving]      With green spots. Would you think that that is possibly
10the victim of some epidemic?
11 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      I am not an epidemiologist. I do not know how people who
12have died from typhus or other epidemics look like.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]      Cyanide victims do not go red with green spots, not if
14they have just been gassed. If they have been left lying
15around for a few days, perhaps they might.
16 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      I have no comment on that. I cannot possibly comment on
18 Q. [Mr Irving]      Does he describe a prisoner being dowsed with naphtha
19which is a flammable substance?
20 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      This is Tauber still?
21 MR IRVING:      This is Tauber, yes, and then being burned alive in
22a crematorium muffle, and then they let him out and he ran
23around screaming?
24 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      He has a particular incident. Again, I do not know where
25it is.
26 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      Is it in your report?

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 1 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      It is in my report, yes.
 2 MR IRVING:      Does he describe another prisoner being chased into
 3a pool of boiling human fat, which sounds like an almost
 4Talmudic kind of quotation.
 5 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      I am not quite sure, Mr Irving, perhaps you
 6can explain to me. You are putting various things which
 7you say Mr Tauber described.
 8 MR IRVING:      Well, my Lord, the inference is ----
 9 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      With what object? Are you suggesting all of
10this is invention?
11 MR IRVING:      I am not suggesting they are all invention, but
12they test a reasonable historian's credulity, and one
13should therefore be inclined to subject this particular
14testimony to closer than normal scrutiny, if I can put it
15like that.
16 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      Let us ask Professor van Pelt what he makes
17of that suggestion.
18 MR IRVING:      I have two more of these episodes to put to him.
19 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      Put two more and then answer the general
20question, would you?
21 MR IRVING:      The prisoner was chased into a pool of boiling
22human fat -- does he describe that?
23 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      Mr Irving, if you give me the passage, I will----
24 Q. [Mr Irving]      He is your principal eyewitness, or one of your principal
25eye witnesses.
26 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      He wants the reference, Mr Irving, which is

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 1not unreasonable. I am trying to find it and I must say I
 3 MR IRVING:      Certainly if I had read the Tauber report, I would
 4be able to say yes or no to that.
 5 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      I am looking in Professor van Pelt's report.
 6 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      Mr Irving, we are in a court of law here and whatever
 7I say does matter. It means that I need to respond to the
 8exact quotation of what Tauber says, and then I am
 9prepared to say yes or nay.
10 MR IRVING:      Very well. We will look up the exact quotation in
11time for lunch. Let us proceed then to the final one. Do
12you agree that Mr Tauber also attests to the figure of 4
13million killed in Auschwitz?
14 MR RAMPTON:      We thought we had found the passage in question.
15It is page 190 of the report.
16 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      Thank you very much.
17 MR IRVING:      Yes. This is the problem with writing with word
18processors. Things tend to go through the finger tips
19rather than through the memory and brain. In other words,
20he does have this rather lurid description of the man ----
21 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      Mr Irving, I do not deny that I put this in, and I do
22remember the incident, but I do not want to comment on a
23very general description you give of the incident when
24I do not have the text in front of me.
25 Q. [Mr Irving]      Can I read it to you? It is on page 190 of your own
26report. "When the shifts were changing over, they had

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 1found a gold watch and wedding ring on one of the
 2labourers, a man Wolbrom called Lejb. This Jew, aged
 3about twenty, was dark and had a number of one hundred
 4thousand and something. All the Sonderkommando working in
 5the crematorium were assembled, and before their eyes he
 6was hung, with his hands tied behind his back, from an
 7iron bar above the firing hearths. He remained in this
 8position for about an hour, then after untying his hands
 9and feet, they threw him in a cold crematorium furnace.
10Gasoline was poured into the lower ash bin... And lit.
11The flames reached the muffle where this Lejb was
12imprisoned. A few minutes later, they opened the door and
13the condemned man emerged and ran off, covered in burns.
14... This fat was poured over the corpses to accelerate
15their combustion. This poor devil was pulled out of the
16fat still alive and then shot."
17     Does that sound to like a completely neutral and
18plausible account of an atrocity?
19 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      Leave aside "neutral". That is an unhelpful
20word. Do you think it is plausible?
21 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      Yes.
22 MR IRVING:      Very well. The figure of 4 million to which Tauber
23attested, do you call that also plausible at the time he
25 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      The figure of 4 million? Not, because nowadays we have
26very detailed information on what actually the figure is

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