Irving v. Lipstadt


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

Pages 51 - 55 of 205

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    No, and I have not seen any evidence. The only evidence
 1in crematorium No. (iii) which was installed.
 2 Q. [Mr Irving]     But is there not a lot of evidence that Tauber was being
 3questioned on the basis of drawings put to him by Jan
 4Sehn, the prosecutor? When you read his interrogation, he
 5is actually being interrogated on the basis of ----
 6 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     If we would have seen the drawing which was this drawing
 7and was available also to Dawidowski and so to Jan Sehn,
 8then I presume that he would not have invented the corpse
 9slide when it is not in the drawings. See here, the
10corpse slide is still in this one, in the design.
11 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     I suppose Jan Sehn may have used the drawings
12for crematorium No. (iii) when he was taking Tauber
13through it, if that is what happened?
14 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     No, there is not a special set for crematorium No. (iii).
15 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     There is not?
16 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Crematorium (iii), they use the same drawings as No. (ii),
17but they just reverse the building.
18 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     Yes.
19 MR IRVING:     The same as in the days of the British Empire when
20we built our buildings in India with blueprints that had
21been designed for England -- just reversed them, in fact?
22 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Yes. I do know exactly what you did there, but they did
23make a new set of blueprints.
24     So the first problem is the way the doors are
26     The second issue, of course, is why is there a

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 1convenient way of accessing corpses in the morgues
 2removed, and why at least they are bringing in corpses a
 3very inconvenient and awkward way is replaced, but a
 4staircase which seemed to be optimally useful to bring in
 5human beings who are alive.
 6 Q. [Mr Irving]     Can I ask you, were the corpses that resulted from the
 7great epidemic of 1942, where were they cremated?
 8 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     The corpses from the great ----
 9 Q. [Mr Irving]     The typhus epidemic, the 8 or 9,000 that we know about?
10 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     In August 1942, there were two ways to get rid of corpses
11and then the question is where these people died? In
12Auschwitz 1, the crematorium was functioning at the rate,
13an official rate, of 340 corpses per day. So, certainly,
14the people who died in Auschwitz 1 -- at that moment
15Auschwitz 1 was still somewhere in the main camp.
16Birkenhau had not grown so much here. It was still under
17construction. So the crematorium in Auschwitz 1, No. (i),
18dealt with the corpses of people who died there. In
19Birkenhau, the major way of getting rid of corpses at that
20time was to bury them.
21 Q. [Mr Irving]     And the epidemic of 1943, January 1943, in Birkenhau,
22where were those corpses cremated?
23 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     They had incinerators that open, these things which had
24been adopted by the Zentrale Bauleitung in the camp after
25the trip to Chelmo in mid September 1942 when they went to
26see Goebbels' ovens.

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 1 Q. [Mr Irving]     The fire grate?
 2 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     So they then created something like that in Birkenhau, and
 3that is how they got rid both of the corpses which had
 4been buried earlier ----
 5 Q. [Mr Irving]     But are you telling the court then that no external deaths
 6were brought into this crematorium?
 7 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     No, I do not want to say -- I am talking about the design.
 8I am talking about their intentions. This crematorium,
 9obviously, undergoes a modification in which it is much
10more difficult, I do not want to say impossible because
11everything is possible, much more difficult, where a
12convenient system of bringing people who have died outside
13the building has been removed, and a new convenient system
14has been installed in order to bring people down who had
15not yet died.
16 Q. [Mr Irving]     But if you answer my question? Large numbers of people
17died outside this building, we know that, in the camp in
19 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     When?
20 Q. [Mr Irving]     In 1943, from various causes, and how would they have been
21brought into this building?
22 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     This is the most likely reason why the slide remains in
23crematorium No. (iii).
24 Q. [Mr Irving]     So, no natural deaths were disposed off in this?
25 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     We do not know, but, I mean, when I said in the movie
26which is the clip we saw that, in my judgment, almost half

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 1of the people who died in Auschwitz, who were gassed in
 2Auschwitz, died in crematorium No. (ii) ----
 3 Q. [Mr Irving]     In this very ruined gas chamber we are looking at here?
 4 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     The gas chamber, it is based on a number of assumptions.
 5It is not a calculation made on the back of an envelope.
 6It is made on which building functioned when, during what
 7operation, which building was solely dedicated to bring
 8people in this way, and also at a certain moment, you
 9know, which buildings broke down at what time? There is,
10of course, a clear problem with crematoria (iv) and (v)
11where the ovens broke done constantly.
12 Q. [Mr Irving]     So this building is one of the main factories of death in
13the camp?
14 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Yes, but it is a building which, as we have seen now, it
15was case of adaptive reuse, and here we see exactly that
16piece of adaptive reuse. I just want to -- I have various
17kinds of details of this drawing again to show the kind of
18texture of this particular one. So, I think this is a
19very, very important drawing in the context of other
20drawings and in the context of testimony.
21 Q. [Mr Irving]     But you do accept there could have been perfectly harmless
22reasons why the basement entrance was transferred from one
23side of the building to the other? For example, in
24connection with intensification of the air war, the need
25to bring people in in a hurry from the street rather than
26making them go all the way around the buildings, round to

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 1the back, to a pokey little entrance around the back to
 2get into an air raid basement?
 3 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     I think if you want to go, I mean you raise the air raid
 4issue right now, I mean, I do not want to -- I have
 5studied ----
 6 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     No. I think you ought to deal with that
 7because that is really an issue on the drawings. I mean,
 8we have a modification and the point has been put to you.
 9Is one possible explanation for that that they wanted to
10make it easier to get in in a hurry when there is an air
11raid coming?
12 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     It is a possible explanation, but I also want to point out
13that since I have to give this answer, but since I am
14happy to give some, a possible explanation but improbable
15for a drawing like that to be made in December 1942, since
16all the other drawings and all the documentation in
17Auschwitz relating to air raid shelters come from mid and
18late 1944. So we are two years, a year and a half, more
19than a year and a half out of synch.
20 MR IRVING:     Profess van Pelt, I showed you about five days ago
21a list, or I introduced to the court, a three-page list of
22documents from the Moscow collection which clearly show
23planning for the air raid precautions in Auschwitz
24beginning in August 1942?
25 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     1942? Mr Irving, I have to disappoint you on this point,
26that I actually studied that particular file and I have it

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