Irving v. Lipstadt


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

Pages 46 - 50 of 205

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 1 MR IRVING:     Is that the only change made on this deck plan?
 2 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     There are two other changes, I already indicated. A
 3second important change is that stair going down. Now,
 4why would the -- why was the slide in this original
 5entrance removed and why was the stairs moved to the other
 7 Q. [Mr Irving]     Are you saying that the slide was permanently removed and
 8there was never any slide left there?
 9 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     There is a problem because Tauber at certain moments
10mentions a slide in his testimony. The big problem with
11-- the question is, and this is a problematic point in
12Tauber's testimony because we know that the sonderkommando
13of No. (ii) and No. (iii) were able to basically make use
14of those buildings, that when there were no gassings
15taking place, that these two compounds were in connection
16because some of the facilities used by the sonderkommando
17No. (ii) were in No. (iii) and in No. (iii) that slide is
18still there. The slide was actually constructed.
19     To what extent actually he was in his testimony,
20I mean, the assumption in his testimony in German is that
21he talks about two, but if he introduces that, if he
22describes the subterranean level, if he actually describes
23something he saw in No. (iii) which is identical except
24for the fact that left and right are reversed, and it is
25particularly detail of the slide, it is very difficult to,
26you know, actually get a real handle on that. One of the

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 1buildings has a slide, the other buildings does not have a
 3 Q. [Mr Irving]     Just to be perfectly plain, the entrance which is moved to
 4the street side of the building did not have a slide, did
 6 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     No. The entrance which is -- this other entrance does not
 7have a slide.
 8 Q. [Mr Irving]     Would it not be a reasonable inference that the architects
 9had decided that, being good architects, they ought to
10design a building where people had ways of getting in
11there where they might not have to mingle with corpses
12going in?
13 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Can you repeat that?
14 Q. [Mr Irving]     They decided that they need, for matters of taste and
15decency, to have a clean side of the building where people
16could go in without having to jostle with corpses that
17might be infected going down the steps and they decided,
18therefore, for pure hygiene reasons to move the staircase?
19 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     That would be perfectly -- that would be perfectly fine.
20The problem is how do you get then the corpses into the
21building, because this corpse access seemed to have been
22removed. So what we have here is that there is no way any
23more to get corpses into this building, according to this
24drawing, and that the only way to get corpses into the
25build is that a staircase which has been narrowed to such
26an extent that it is certainly very difficult to carry a

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 1stretcher inside.
 2     I also want to point out to you that in the
 3original design -- sorry again -- there was enough space
 4either when you slide the corpse downstairs or when two
 5men are carrying the stretcher, there is not enough space
 6for you to turn around. However, here, this turn around,
 7I mean, first of all, it is much narrower, as you see. We
 8are talking here about one metre width of, I think one
 9meter 60, one metre 80, there is much less space actually
10for two people actually carrying a stretcher, there is no
11slide at all. Then we get the problem actually of turning
12here. It gets very, very tight.
13 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     So do you deduce from that that it is live
14people who are going to go down to that morgue?
15 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Yes.
16 MR IRVING:     But is there not also an elevator or a hoist being
17installed which, we are told, is capable of carrying large
18numbers of bodies from the basement up to the furnaces?
19Could that elevator not also have been used to carry them
20down in the first place?
21 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Ah, yes, but the problem is how do you get them in that
22space? I mean, I am happy to go back to the original
23ground plan which we -- my Lord, do you want me to go back
24to the original ground plan?
25 Q. [Mr Irving]     The elevator is just next to your shoulder on that design
26and there appears to be a lot of space in front of it.

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 1 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Sorry.
 2 Q. [Mr Irving]     The elevator is just next to your shoulder, is it not?
 3 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Yes, but if you bring down the corpses by the elevator,
 4and I will go down because again it is an important issue
 5you raise and an important alternative explanation.
 6 Q. [Mr Irving]     A plausible alternative, and you have not established ----
 7 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     The problem of the plausible alternative in this case is
 8that the elevator is here. Now, the only entrance we have
 9now, the only way to get to the elevator, is to go through
10the entrance here, right next to the dissection room. Go
11through the foreground, go now into the washing room for
12the corpses and then turn around into the elevator.
13     This elevator was meant to give direct access to
14the washing room. When a corpse comes up, it can be
15washed and dissected. But I would say that this is an
16extremely, and especially these doors here -- I mean, how
17do you actually -- these doors are not wide enough, these
18are not double doors which you get in the original design
19right here. This is a double door. So again, stretcher,
20two people carrying it, four people carrying it, there is
21enough width here for them all to go down.
22     But this is a very, very awkward way to get
23corpses actually in and then down in the elevator. The
24alternative is that you have to go, there is no direct
25entrance into the incineration room. The alternative is
26to go through this door, through this door, walk over the

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 1coke supply between the incinerators and go to that
 2elevator. Or the third possibility is to -- no, that is
 3actually it. That is it.
 4 Q. [Mr Irving]     Your evidence for saying that there was no corpse slide in
 5the building as built is?
 6 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     It is not in the drawing. In this drawing and it does not
 7seem to be there. So, I mean, I can see it, well, I can
 8still see it in crematorium (iii).
 9 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     What would it have been made of? Metal?
10 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     The corpse slide?
11 MR IRVING:     No, a concrete slide.
12 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Concrete.
13 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Just a concrete slide?
14 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Yes.
15 MR IRVING:     So there is no evidence there was something in the
16building now and it was never there -- Mr Rampton, I am
17asking the questions here.
18 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     We have a blueprint. We have the remains of the building.
19 Q. [Mr Irving]     Will you answer my question? There is no evidence that
20there is something in the building now and it was never
22 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     No, and I have not seen any evidence. The only evidence
23there is -- let me be more precise. There is evidence in
24Tauber. Tauber says there is a corpse slide. But I have
25addressed this problem already as a problem in the
26testimony, that I think he refers back to the corpse slide

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