Irving v. Lipstadt


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

Pages 91 - 95 of 205

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 1 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     No. They certainly had reason to be ashamed of the
 2genocidal use of the buildings, but I mean crematoria,
 3there is no -- you see, the date is 5th May 1943. By that
 4time, these buildings have all been committed to genocidal
 5use. I presume and I am speculating now, and I do not
 6know if you are interested in my speculation, my Lord.
 7 MR IRVING:     Try us.
 8 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     OK, my speculation will be the following: that
 9"Vorsontercommander" for inmates before these buildings
10had been brought into operation. There would have been
11little reason for them at that moment necessarily to want
12to steal these plans. We know that the camp resistance
13actually stole a set of these plans in 1944. There was a
14Czech woman, who was able -- ultimately working in the
15Bauleitung. She stole the set of plans in order to warn
16the outside world.
17 Q. [Mr Irving]     Which crematorium are we talking about?
18 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Crematorium 2 and I think crematorium 4.
19 Q. [Mr Irving]     Of the factory --
20 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     A set of plans, which are smuggled outside of the camp.
21There is eyewitness testimony about that, about
22everything. So my speculation would be -- and it is not
23more than speculation -- that once these buildings had
24been committed to genocidal use somebody must have said
25"we must prevent any information of these buildings
26getting to the outside world. We want these plans to be

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 1under lock and key".
 2 Q. [Mr Irving]     -- can I interrupt you at this point and say, was the
 3genocide of the Jews or of the other minorities being
 4liquidated by the Nazis in some way a contribution to
 5German's war economy? I am putting it in your language,
 6it was just part of the Nazi programme, or was it a
 7fundamental contribution to the German war economy? My
 8Lord, you will appreciate why I am asking the question. It
 9is from the document.
10 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     I think so. I am just wondering in what
11sense the contribution, you mean mouths to feed, something
12like that?
13 MR IRVING:     I am reading the words from the document, my Lord,
14that is before us.
15 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     Certainly, many trains with valuables of the deportees
16which had been -- we gathered in Canada one -- and then
17later in Canada two also were sent back to the Reich.
18I do not think -- and, of course, we know from Operation
19Reinhardt that an incredible amount of loot was
20ultimately --
21 Q. [Mr Irving]     Precisely.
22 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     -- sent back --
23 Q. [Mr Irving]     Can I draw your attention to the first sentence of the
24third paragraph: "furthermore, it must be pointed out we
25are concerned here with works that are connected with the
26war economy and to be kept secret"; the genocide was not

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 1connected with the war economy, but the looting of the
 2corpses was, was it not?
 3 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     -- it was not the looting of the corpses, because the
 4looting of the corpses themselves was almost
 5insignificant; what was important, ultimately, was when
 6people were taken off the trains their luggage remained in
 7the trains. Now ultimately that luggage, that stuff, was
 8the important stuff which was being transferred to Canada
 9No. 1. It was the vast bulk of the stuff. Not the stuff
10which was actually found on the corpses.
11 Q. [Mr Irving]     Do you not rely on the witness, Dr Bendel, as an
13 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     No, no, this is --
14 Q. [Mr Irving]     Will you answer my question, please.
15 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     -- no, I am not.
16 Q. [Mr Irving]     You have not relied --
17 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     For this particular statement?
18 Q. [Mr Irving]     -- no. You will understand the reason why I ask this
19question: have you relied on the witness, Dr Bendel?
20 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     In my book Bendel is only mentioned one, with a
21description of bunker No. 2.
22 Q. [Mr Irving]     Are you aware that Dr Bendel has testified under oath that
23the Nazis extracted 17 tonnes of gold in teeth from their
24victims? Whatever you make of that figure, would that not
25be a contribution to the war economy?
26 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     What happened to it?

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 1 MR IRVING:     My Lord, I respectfully submit that is not material
 2to this issue, the whole point is we are trying to work
 3out what the Germans were ashamed of and what they did not
 4want the outside world to know.
 5 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Well --
 6 MR IRVING:     And if it is something that is a contribution --
 7 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     I am not sure I agree with that; was it
 8still there when the Russians arrived?
 9 MR IRVING:     No, of course, not, my Lord. Whatever the quantity
10was, it went initially to the SS, as part of operation
11Reinhardt, and we will be introducing the documents to
12substantiate that along with all the other pathetic,
13personal effects of the victims; the watches, the fountain
14pens the spectacles. Everything else was recycled and
15turned into a mass cash spinning operation by Heinreich
16Himmler. The gold was a major part of it. Hence that room
17set aside which you, yourself, showed us drawn on the maps
18that they want to keep secret, showing a gold working room
19with the smelting furnace in the corner.
20 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     If this is a question, my Lord, I am happy to answer.
21 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Yes, it is a question.
22 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     I think that given the amount of investment being done in
23building the crematoria and the labour being expended and
24money being expended and especially the material in the
25war, in a war economy and a possible yield of that in
26terms of dental gold, I think that the Germans were, to

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 1say the least, not very smart in economic sense.
 2 MR IRVING:     I have only one final question on this document
 3then; in that case, Professor, will you please tell the
 4court what were the jobs connected with the war economy
 5which had to be kept secret which were connected with the
 6crematorium then? If it was not the genocide and it was
 7not the gold?
 8 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     I mean the question of course we have to face here is, if
 9he means -- if they mean literally war economy. If they
10mean literally war economy, in 1943 the SS wanted -- they
11were building a plant right next to Auschwitz No. 1.
12 Q. [Mr Irving]     That was not in the crematorium, was it?
13 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     That was not in the crematorium.
14 Q. [Mr Irving]     This paragraph is purely concerned with the plans of the
15crematorium, which they are trying to keep away from
16prying eyes for some reason which they indicate, in my
17submission, by the use of words "vital to the war economy"
18or "important to the war economy". My Lord, I have no
19further questions on this document.
20 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     The only question I was going to ask you,
21I think you may in a way have answered; it is the dating
22of it is slightly odd, is it not, in a way if this sort of
23instruction is going to go out, you rather expect it to go
24out when they are deciding they are going to convert
25crematorium No. 2 to genocidal use?
26 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     

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