Irving v. Lipstadt

Transcripts

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

Pages 136 - 140 of 205

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 1 MR RAMPTON:     The roof came up about two days ago for the first
 2time.
 3 MR IRVING:     Approximately how much does an air ticket to Warsaw
 4cost or Cracau? £100, £200?
 5 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     What, from Canada?
 6 Q. [Mr Irving]     Well, from London or from Canada?
 7 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     I have no idea.
 8 Q. [Mr Irving]     It is an infinitesimal amount compared with the expenses
 9so far expended on this case?
10 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Well, if Mr Rampton is right in what he just
11said, then really these questions get nowhere, do they,
12because if it was not raised as an issue until two days
13ago, how much money has been spent on it is really an
14irrelevant consideration.
15 MR IRVING:     If this matter had not occurred to the Defence, my
16Lord, then might I suggest with the utmost respect it
17ought to have occurred to the Defence. They have been
18negligent to that degree, that they could have gone and
19knocked the pillar out from underneath me by going and
20persuading the local Auschwitz authorities who, by all
21accounts, have been very compliant with them -- the very
22opposite of their attitude to me -- to have a look at just
23one of the sites where the holes should have been. We
24know what the underside of that slab looks like, my Lord.
25Your Lordship has seen the photograph.
26 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     I am looking at the photograph now. The

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 1difficulty I have with that -- I do not know whether you
 2can help, Professor -- is that I cannot -- it is this
 3one. I have no idea where you have it because I have it
 4floating free.
 5 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     It is probably floating around. I have it right here.
 6 Q. [Mr Irving]     What I simply cannot work out at all is how much of the
 7roof one is actually seeing. I just have not a clue,
 8whether it is a quarter of it ----
 9 MR IRVING:     Indeed, my Lord ----
10 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     --- half of it.
11 MR IRVING:     --- but an examination of the top surface of the
12roof would, undoubtedly, have provided the answers because
13I think it is common sense, and certainly any engineer
14would back this up, would they not, Professor van Pelt,
15that if the roof is going to fragment and splinter in any
16way as a result of a demolition, the fractures would have
17started at the holes where the roof had been weakened by
18the holes being placed ----
19 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     I should have thought that was very
20speculative.
21 MR IRVING:     I beg your pardon?
22 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     What is the answer? Would he have a clue
23about that?
24 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Where the fracture would have started?
25 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     The suggestion is that if there were holes, the fracture
26would have started around the holes ----

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 1 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     I have no idea.
 2 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     --- because it would be a weak point.
 3 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     It is beyond my competence.
 4 MR IRVING:     Well, my Lord, it is like a pane of glass; if you
 5put a hole in a plane of glass, a bullet hole or
 6something, that is going to be the place where the cracks
 7start.
 8 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Well, whether that is true of reinforced
 9concrete, I think neither of you can really say at the
10moment.
11 MR IRVING:     I will not press the matter further, my Lord. On
12that issue I will abandon (and I am sure the Defence will
13be grateful) the question of the holes in the roof which
14are central to my case.
15 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     How do you mean, you are going to abandon
16them?
17 MR IRVING:     I will abandon the discussion on the holes in the
18roof point, my Lord.
19 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     I see. Bring it to an end.
20 MR RAMPTON:     Can I understand what Mr Irving means when he says
21the holes in the roof were central to his case? I ask the
22question rhetorically, what case? This is a case about
23Mr Irving's state of mind at the time when he made certain
24utterances s. If the roofs are a new feature of the case
25in the last five or 10 days, they have really got very
26little to do with the case which your Lordship is trying

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 1which is not the question, were these gas chambers?
 2 MR IRVING:     So suddenly once again the Defence is shifting its
 3ground and suddenly what actually happened is of less
 4moment.
 5 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     No, I think you are not doing justice to the
 6point Mr Rampton is making. He is really making what is,
 7I suppose, in a way an historical point. The case against
 8you is that, historically, you have not approached the
 9issue of the gas chambers in an honest, conscientious way
10as an historian. That is either right or wrong, looking
11at the history, but this holes in the roof point seems to
12have cropped up terribly recently and, although I might be
13entitled to draw inferences perhaps ----
14 MR IRVING:     My Lord, it has not cropped up recently.
15 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     --- about your approach from the way you are
16dealing with it, Mr Rampton is right, is he not?
17 MR IRVING:     My Lord, the Defence has been aware of this
18particular difficulty, shall I put it, with this story for
19many, many years ----
20 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     But if you were not ----
21 MR IRVING:     --- that there were no holes in that roof.
22 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     If you were not, it cannot have coloured your
23thinking.
24 MR IRVING:     I have long been familiar with this particular
25argument, my Lord.
26 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Oh, have you?

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 1 MR IRVING:     The fact that I only raised it five or six days
 2into the case during the cross-examination of this witness
 3does not mean to say that I did not have a reason for
 4delaying it. It is plain that I have been aware of this
 5holes in the roof problem for a very long time.
 6     If I can just summarize in two lines what my
 7position was and always has been? I have never argued
 8that there were probably gassings at Auschwitz -- I have
 9never disputed that, rather, that there were probably
10gassings on some scale or other, probably a limited scale
11at Auschwitz. What ----
12 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     A limited experimental basis, I think.
13 MR IRVING:     Well, I hesitate to use those words. I was going
14to concede to the second part of the sentence which is to
15say that what I have disputed is that there were factories
16of death, that it was a factory of death and that we heard
17at the beginning of this witness's evidence that, in his
18view, most of the killing -- today he said half the
19killing which was a reduction -- 500,000 people in this
20one room; and my contention would be that if I can knock
21holes in that, then I do not really have to look at the
22rest of the allegations because I have never disputed the
23rest, my Lord, although we will very briefly look at
24Auschwitz 1 this afternoon before I cease this
25cross-examination.
26 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     

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