Irving v. Lipstadt


Holocaust Denial on Trial, Trial Transcripts, Day 25: Electronic Edition

Pages 161 - 165 of 212

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    I am stating here that Globocnik had not yet received the
 1conclusion by looking actually at the size of this
 3 Q. [Mr Irving]     In Belzec?
 4 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     Belzec.
 5 Q. [Mr Irving]     So we do not have very much information on the size
 6anyway, do we? We are very ill informed about it.
 7 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     Because these camps were destroyed systematically by the
 8Nazis at the end of the war.
 9 Q. [Mr Irving]     Can I just take you back, and I am sure my Lord will
10understand why, to page 53, paragraph 1.2, the third
11line. There is a sentence there: "750 Jews were killed in
12gas vans." Do you see that? The beginning of the
13sentence says: "In an action lasting several days at the
14end of November 700 Jews were killed in gas vans". So, if
15it took several days to kill 700 Jews in gas vans, can you
16estimate how long it would take to kill 97,000?
17 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     They were just experimenting at this time. They improved
18their technique. This statement does not say that they
19were trying to kill as many Jews as possible. It just
20says they killed 700 Jews in a couple of days. It does
21not make any sense to draw conclusions from that to their
22capacity, to their ability to kill Jews in gas vans.
23 Q. [Mr Irving]     So this was just experimental at this stage, was it?
24 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     If you like to call the killing of 700 people as
25experimental, yes, then I have to agree, in comparison to
26what happened after that 97,000.

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 1 Q. [Mr Irving]     Dr Longerich, you yourself used the phrase, and I quote
 2verbatim, they were just experimenting at this stage. I
 3did not use the word. You did.
 4 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     I tried to put it to you, I have to admit, in a kind of
 5cynical way, to say, well, they were improving, wait a
 6little bit, wait a couple of months and they were able to
 7kill 97,000 people within six months.
 8 Q. [Mr Irving]     With the same numbers of gas vans? Three gas vans could
 9kill 97,000?
10 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     I think in the meantime they changed the models. They
11worked on the models, as the report from June 1942 shows
12us. They tried their best to extend the capacity of the
13gas vans. Of course the use of Chelmno was a kind of
14improvement because they were able to deceive people, to
15say to them: Well, actually only entering a shower room,
16the shower room was in fact the gas, so this whole thing
17was much more effective a couple of months later than this
18one here.
19 Q. [Mr Irving]     Do you sometimes get the impression, Dr Longerich, that
20some of these figures that are put in letters and
21documents, or even eyewitness statements, are just fantasy
22figures? They have very little relation to fact?
23 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     That is not my general view.
24 Q. [Mr Irving]     Can I take you to page 56 please, line 8. There is a
25sentence there on line 8 which says: "On 12th October
261941, 10,000 to 12,000 Jews were murdered in one town".

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 1Is that right?
 2 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     Yes.
 3 Q. [Mr Irving]     Would you likes to comment on the logistics of an
 4operation of that scale? How many men would be involved?
 5How many shooters? How many trucks? How many pits?
 6 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     I went through the history of mass executions for quite a
 7time. I studied this for the book I wrote extensively.
 8I looked at dozens of German court proceedings and I have
 9a kind of idea how it was feasible to do that. You
10actually needed to kill thousands of people, even 10,000
11people, you needed actually ----
12 Q. [Mr Irving]     In one day?
13 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     Yes, on one day.
14 Q. [Mr Irving]     It just says on one day.
15 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     Yes, it was possible. You only needed a quite limited
16number of people who would shoot these people on the pits.
17 Q. [Mr Irving]     1,000 tons of bodies?
18 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Mr Irving, when I asked you -- I am sorry to
19interrupt -- about 20 minutes ago, when we were on this
20paragraph before, whether you disputed the indiscriminate
21shootings in Galicia, you said no. You are now putting to
22him that in some way it would have been impossible to
23dispose of the corpses and you are now challenging the
25 MR IRVING:     Your Lordship may not have heard the introductory
26question which is does this witness have the impression

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 1sometimes that these figures are fantasy figures.
 2 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     So you are challenging the figures?
 3 MR IRVING:     I am challenging globally these kinds of statistics
 4which are in the history books and in the reports on the
 5basis of what is practicable, and what is, on the basis of
 6common sense, likely.
 7 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     I do not know as far as one can speak about common sense
 8when it comes to mass killings, but this is called the
 9bloody Sunday of Stanislaw. So it is a tragedy which is
10well-known. It is well-researched.
11 MR IRVING:     How many men were involved in the actual killing
13 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     I think, as far as I am aware, several hundred at least.
14Is it really necessary that I --
15 MR IRVING:     No, I have left that point now.
16 MR RAMPTON:     Without deigning to wait for the witness's full
17answer, I have to say.
18 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Actually, what you would not have seen is
19that I rather suggested to Dr Longerich that we might move
20on from Galicia.
21 MR IRVING:     I did not see that either but I had already decided
22to move on.
23 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     We are all agreed. Let us move on.
24 MR IRVING:     If your Lordship thinks that was not a valid point
25to make, then I will avoid making points like that in

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 1 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     I think the killings in Galicia are a bit of
 2a side issue, I am afraid.
 3 MR IRVING:     It is the figures, the statistics, my Lord.
 4 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Even that.
 5 MR IRVING:     If somebody is accused of Holocaust denial because
 6he says the figures are too high.
 7 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     We are talking about that particular
 8obviously ghastly incident in Galicia, and I do not really
 9think that that is what this case is centrally about.
10 MR IRVING:     Page 59, paragraph 3, please. Two days later
11Rosenberg spoke at a press conference about the
12eradication of the Jews of Europe. Was this supposed to
13be secret or not, this operation?
14 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     The operation was secret.
15 Q. [Mr Irving]     He orders a press conference and talks about it.
16 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     This was quoted yesterday. I quoted this yesterday
17again. This was under the heading "secret". The
18journalists were not allowed to write about it. There was
19a section of the press conference where it actually was
20said: This is now confidential, a confidential
21information, you are not allowed to write about this
23 Q. [Mr Irving]     I do not want to labour the point, but what kind of top
24secret issue is it? I do not remember General Leslie
25Groves holding top secret background briefings to the
26press about the Manhattan project, for example. Either

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