Irving v. Lipstadt


Holocaust Denial on Trial, Trial Transcripts, Day 11: Electronic Edition

Pages 131 - 135 of 205

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 1 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     No.
 2 Q. [Mr Irving]     May I say that if the Auschwitz authorities were now to
 3agree to clean off that rubble off the top of that
 4concrete slab and find the holes I would tomorrow halt
 5this case and abandon my action.
 6 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Right, on that note we will adjourn until 2
 8 (Luncheon Adjournment)
 9(2.00 p.m.)
10 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Mr Irving, just so we know what we are doing
11with this bundle which I think you have finished with now,
12have you not?
13 MR IRVING:     I have, my Lord, yes. I may, of course, wish to
14come back to it later on.
15 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Of course, but then we will know where it is.
16 MR IRVING:     In J, I believe.
17 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     J13?
18 MR RAMPTON:     13, my Lord.
19 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Yes.
20 MR IRVING (To the witness):     Before we adjourned for lunch
21I asked you about whether you were able to see certain
22smudges on certain photographs, and I also invited you to
23spend a few minutes in the adjournment looking at the
24original photographs. Did you have a chance to do that?
25 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     I just went very quickly over them, yes.
26 Q. [Mr Irving]     Did you see anything on those photographs that would

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 1indicate there were still smudges on these 1944
 2photographs of this roof?
 3 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     I am very sorry. I cannot see it, but the problem is that
 4it is so small. You know, yours are really enlarged in
 5the ones you showed, so I find it really difficult to see
 6anything on these photographs right now.
 7 Q. [Mr Irving]     But you were capable, you told the court, of seeing the
 8smudges on the four blown up photographs that I showed to
 9the court; you thought you saw smudges on them?
10 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     I did not put those right next to these ones since I do
11not know which one belonged to these I just looked in
12general at them, and it seemed that these came from those,
13that is what I could say, but these ones are three times
14larger, four times larger, than those. So, without a
15magnifying glass, I cannot come to any conclusion.
16 Q. [Mr Irving]     But you accept that all these photographs were taken in
171944? None of them were taken before the construction of
18that particular roof or before the holes were put in the
20 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     No, they are '44 except that the German one is '45.
21 Q. [Mr Irving]     The German one was taken in February 1945 after the
22building was demolished, yes. So, really, the holes you
23are talking about should have been visible in the roof if
24they were of any substantial size?
25 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     I do not know. I mean, first of all, one of the things
26I looked at was that, in fact, there are many smudges on

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 1these negatives anyway, one way or another. It seems that
 2there is a lot of, I mean, these are not clean negatives.
 3There are black things on it also which can come from
 4another source, not from the crematoria, but from other
 6 Q. [Mr Irving]     But you accept that these are the original prints, maximum
 7magnification, produced from the original film in the
 8national archives in America?
 9 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     When you say that, I accept that.
10 Q. [Mr Irving]     It has the national archive stamp on the back?
11 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Yes, but, I mean, I cannot really see one way or another
12what is on that roof.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]     Professor van Pelt, you have been to Auschwitz in
14connection with your researches how many times? Once or
16 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     No. I have been there yearly since 1990. I have
17sometimes twice or three times yearly.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]     Have you frequently visited this roof of the alleged
19factory of death, the mortuary No. ----
20 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Yes, I have been there, yes.
21 Q. [Mr Irving]     --- 1?
22 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Certainly every trip I go there.
23 Q. [Mr Irving]     Have you never felt the urge to go and start scraping just
24where you know those holes would have been because you
25know approximately where, like a two or three foot patch
26of gravel to scrap away?

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 1 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     I have authored the report already in 1933 for the Poles
 2in which I actually argued that they needed very, very
 3strict preservation standards; and the last thing I would
 4ever have ever done is start scraping away at the roof
 5without any general plan of archeological investigations.
 6 Q. [Mr Irving]     But now that these serious doubts have been raised as to
 7the integrity of the gas chamber notion, and now that
 8neo-Nazis around the world are benefiting from these
 9doubts, would it not be in everybody's interests if this
10last element of uncertainty should be so easily removed,
11that the gravel there should be scraped off the
12virgin concrete slab beneath to see if those holes were
14 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     With all respect, I do not think you are going to get a
15virgin concrete slab there. This concrete slab has been
16-- water has been seeping through it. I mean, a concrete
17road -- I mean, I have been travelling a lot through
18Germany where they still have the concrete roads created
19in the 1930s, the concrete autobahn.
20 Q. [Mr Irving]     Are those concretes roads made of reinforced steel
22 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Yes.
23 Q. [Mr Irving]     Are there reinforcing bars in those roads?
24 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     I do not know if they are reinforced, but, I mean, but
25things are growing through the concrete, so...
26 Q. [Mr Irving]     But my experience of roads is that they have no

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 1reinforcing bars in them, do they?
 2 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     But the thing is that I do not think, and maybe I can be
 3completely wrong, that if you go under all the top layer,
 4if you remove the top layer of that concrete, you would
 5have to remove a top layer, that you are going to get a
 6piece that is in tact because the roof itself already is
 7terribly fragmented.
 8 Q. [Mr Irving]     Would I be right in suspecting that the Defence in this
 9case has spent a substantial sum of money in trying to
10establish the rights and wrongs of this particular
11allegation about the factory of death?
12 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     You will have to ask someone else. I do not know what the
13Defence has spent on money.
14 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     What do you mean by "this particular
15allegation"? The roof?
16 MR IRVING:     Well, if they could have proved that I was wrong on
17this particular matter, this would really knock out the
18pillars from beneath my case.
19 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Mr Irving, you did the four holes ----
20 MR RAMPTON:     No, I can speak about that. I happen to know the
21truth of it. Goodness knows how much money has been spent
22on the case as a whole, but the roof has cost practically
23nothing, except a little bit of my thinking time recently,
24because it has only just cropped up.
25 MR IRVING:     Professor van Pelt, approximately how much is an
26air ----

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