Irving v. Lipstadt


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

Pages 161 - 165 of 205

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    It may be quicker, Professor van Pelt, rather than your
 1if we turn to one which is not nearly so boring, although
 2it is much longer, which is your report at page 538.
 3 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     OK.
 4 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     I am afraid I have completely forgotten what
 5is supposed to be the significance of the patent
 6application one way or the other.
 7 MR RAMPTON:     I could tell your Lordship but then I would be
 8giving evidence and I cannot do that.
 9 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     I am simply asking what case is sought to be
10made, but perhaps it is better elicited from Professor van
12 MR RAMPTON:     The case sought to be made is that it explains how
13it was that they were able to incinerate as many corpses
14as they could, and also how they managed to use as little
15fuel a these were able to do.
16 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Yes, I was looking for that particular sentence, because
17I did not want to quote the sentence from memory.
18 Q. [Mr Rampton]     I think you will find it in translation on pages 538, 539.
19 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     This is what it says here at page 540, it says:
20"Pre-heating of such an oven should take at least two
21days. After this pre-heating the oven will not need any
22more fuel due to the heat produced by the corpses."
23 Q. [Mr Rampton]     Read on, will you.
24 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     "It will be able to maintain its necessary high
25temperature through self-heating".
26 Q. [Mr Rampton]     Carry on.

.   P-161

 1 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     "But to allow it to main a constant temperature it would
 2have become necessary to introduce at the same time
 3so-called well fat and so-called emaciated corpses,
 4because one can only guarantee continuous high
 5temperatures through the emission of human fat. When only
 6emaciated corpses are incinerated, it will be necessary to
 7add heat continuously. The result of this will be that
 8insulation could be damaged because of the dust created
 9temperatures and one would expect shorter or longer break
11 Q. [Mr Rampton]     That document, Professor, is this right, is in its origin
12quite unrelated to what went on at Birkenhau?
13 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     It is quite unrelated you say?
14 Q. [Mr Rampton]     Unrelated.
15 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     No, its origin is of the fall of 1942 and the ovens in
16crematoria 2 and 3 only came into operation in April
171943. However, the multi-muffle ovens were already used
18in crematorium No. 1 since August 1940. So the principle
19is the same in the ovens in crematorium 1. So clearly
20they are using the principle which has been the experience
21that has been gained in crematorium 1 in creating this
22patent application.
23 Q. [Mr Rampton]     I am grateful. There is no doubt about the authenticity
24of this, is there, as an original German document written
25by Topf for their patent agents?
26 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     No, it is registered in whatever the patent ----

.   P-162

 1 Q. [Mr Rampton]     How well does that document what we see here on page 540,
 2I do not need you to look at them, how well from memory
 3does that chime with the descriptions given by the
 4eyewitnesses, including Hirst, of how this procedure was
 5carried out in practice?
 6 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     What is very important in the descriptions of the
 7sonderkommandos is that they talk about, with a certain
 8kind of care, they would bring corpses of people of
 9different sizes into the muffles, exactly to -- no,
10I cannot say that because they do not actually give that
11explanation. But here actually is given an explanation, a
12thermodynamical explanation why that would have been done.
13 Q. [Mr Rampton]     I think Tauber was quite specific about it, was he not,
14about using fat corpses?
15 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Yes.
16 Q. [Mr Rampton]     Indeed on the trial run I think they were given fat
17corpses, says Tauber, in March 1943, were they not?
18 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     I would like to see that thing.
19 Q. [Mr Rampton]     We can look at it later.
20 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     What you quote in your report does not read
21like a patent application. Is it a quote from the patent
23 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     We go to 808 ----
24 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     I think you are quoting another author, are you not?
25 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     No, this is the comment. Sorry.
26 MR RAMPTON:     This is the interpretation.

.   P-163

 1 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     This is the comment written by a number of engineers.
 2 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     It probably does not affect the point.
 3 MR RAMPTON:     My Lord, one can see how they have dealt with it,
 4how Topf dealt with in the last paragraph of the quote on
 5page 539.
 6 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Yes, one of the important lines in that thing, of course,
 7is they are actually not incinerating any more, but they
 8are literally burning corpses.
 9 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Yes.
10 MR RAMPTON:     The passage from Tauber's evidence or testimony,
11call it what you like, is on page 535. At the top: "The
12corpses of wasted people with no fat burned rapidly in the
13side muffles and slowly in the centre one. Conversely,
14the corpses of people gassed directly on arrival not being
15wasted burnt better in the centre muffle. During the
16incineration of such corpses we used the coke only to
17light the fire of the furnace initially, for fatty corpses
18burn of their own accord thanks to the combustion of body
19fat". It is the same opposite on the previous page in
20relation to crematorium 1.
21     He actually says in relation to crematorium 2
22and 3: "I know from the experienced gained by observing
23cremation in crematoria 2 and 3 that the bodies of fat
24people burned very much faster. The process of
25incineration is accelerated by the combustion of human fat
26which thus produces additional heat."

.   P-164

 1     While we are on Tauber, as a matter of fact,
 2Professor van Pelt, I think Mr Irving said he was
 3emotional or something of that kind. Do you remember that
 5 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Emotional?
 6 Q. [Mr Rampton]     Yes, emotional or unreliable because he was
 8 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Yes, vaguely.
 9 Q. [Mr Rampton]     I do not know what it was. You have never interviewed
10Mr Tauber, yourself I take it?
11 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     No.
12 Q. [Mr Rampton]     He is not still alive I suppose?
13 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     No.
14 Q. [Mr Rampton]     Do you know Jean-Claude Pressac ever met him?
15 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     No.
16 Q. [Mr Rampton]     Are you familiar with the introduction to the Tauber
17chapter in Pressac's book?
18 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     I remember vaguely.
19 Q. [Mr Rampton]     Would you like to have a look at it? It should be in H2
20(vi) I think, at tab 5. I am using my own copy of
21Pressac. You use yours as well, if you like.
22 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Do I need to look at this?
23 MR RAMPTON:     Yes, I think so. I am not going to read it out.
24 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Every time Pressac is mentioned I mean to ask
25who he is?
26 MR RAMPTON:     He is a Frenchman.

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