Irving v. Lipstadt


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

Pages 26 - 30 of 212

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    Yes. Can I ask, if you have finished with your
 1December 28th 1942, and this is a letter addressed to the
 2camp doctors of the concentration camps. Let me tell you
 3where this comes from. It comes from a book called "Macht
 4Ohne Moral". It is, obviously, not a wartime transcript.
 5It has been transcribed, presumably, from a microfilm or
 7 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     Yes, it is, I think somebody ----
 8 Q. [Mr Irving]     Typed a copy?
 9 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     --- typed a copy, yes.
10 Q. [Mr Irving]     But it is a letter written to the camp doctors of the
11concentration camps, including Auschwitz. That is the
12fifth one. Ravensbruck, Flosenburg and Nattsweileicken
13and I can see there Mauthausen at the end. It is saying
14to them in the second sentence, is it not, well, it begins
15by saying, "I am attaching", which is not attached here,
16"a list of the current editions and departures in all the
17concentration camps for your attention. From the latter,,
18you can see that of 156,000 arrivals, around 70,000 have
19died". He goes on to say: "This is completely
20unacceptable and the camp doctors have to stop their rough
21and ready measures and they have to start making sure the
22prisoners survive". What would you make of that kind of
23document? Are there any other passages you want to read
24from that document or translate?
25 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     Well, it says here that one can read from the statistics
26that from 156 prisoners who came into the camp, 70,000

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 1died, and with this kind of high death rates, one is not
 2able to keep the number of prisoners on the same level.
 3I think this is the main concern, to keep, because the
 4people died in the concentration camps, it is not possible
 5to keep, you know, to keep this number of prisoners in the
 6camp. This is nothing to do, of course, with
 7extermination and gas chambers in Auschwitz. It is what
 8happens in the camp.
 9 MR RAMPTON:     Can I, perhaps, interrupt and ask Dr Longerich,
10not Mr Irving, Dr Longerich, to translate the rest of that
11paragraph when he has read it?
12 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     Yes. "The concentration, the camp doctors have to make
13sure with all means at their disposal that the death rate
14in the single camps has to decline, not the one is the
15better doctor in the concentration camp who believes that
16through unresponsible, that he has to", well ----
17 MR IRVING:     "Inappropriate callousness"?
18 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     "Inappropriate".
19 Q. [Mr Irving]     "Harshness" or "hardness"?
20 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     "Harshness to, he has to..."
21 MR RAMPTON:     Maybe the lady translator can do it.
22 THE INTERPRETER:     Yes. "Not he is the better physician or
23doctor in a concentration camp who believes that through
24inappropriate, that he has to stand out through
25inappropriate hardness, but he who achieves, he who
26maintains the ability to work in the various workplaces

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 1through supervision and exchange on a level as high as
 3 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     Yes, and I think "exchange" is here the key word, so what
 4they are trying to achieve is they are trying to keep a
 5certain number of prisoners to use them as slave labours
 6to work them to death, but, of course, unfortunately, they
 7have too many people died in a too short time, so they
 8have to make sure they got supply from outside. This is,
 9I think it is quite, the reference is here, "exchange of
10prisoners", yes? It is not the duty of the doctors to,
11you know, keep the people, to keep the prisoners on life
12-- alive, sorry, alive, so I think this is ----
13 MR IRVING:     Is this document declaring war on the callousness
14of the camp doctors?
15 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     I do not think they would be -- just reminded them, the
16document reminded them to perform their duties as
17concentration camp doctors, and it is quite clearly what
18their duties are.
19 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     What, to keep them alive?
20 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     Well, to maintain that always, you know, there is the same
21number of prisoners in the camp, yes? So to make sure
22that the effectiveness of a worker is, the effectiveness
23of the workforce is as high as possible by supervision and
24exchange of individual workers. So his responsibility is
25to care for the entire camp population, but not for the
26single worker. He has to make sure that the individual

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 1workers are exchanges so that the number of workers in the
 2camp is a kind of ----
 3 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     Well, that has nothing do with the doctors, has it,
 5 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     Well, of course, the doctor has to -- this is the prime
 6responsibility of the doctor.
 7 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     No, I mean the exchange is not really the doctor's
 9 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     No, but he is part of this process.
10 MR IRVING:     Can I now, if Mr Rampton does not mind, translate
11the next sentence which is: "Camp doctors have more than
12hitherto to supervise the nourishment of the prisoners and
13to make suggestions for improvement in accordance, in
14conformity, with the administration of the camp
15commandants". Then further down that paragraph, does it
16not say, "The Reichsfuhrer SS", that is Heinreich Himmler,
17"has ordered that the mortality rates are without
18question to be held down. They have got to be reduced".
19     So that is the overall tenor of this letter.
20The camp doctors are not doing their job properly. They
21have got to pay attention to the feeding and the health of
22the prisoners. Himmler is getting angry because they are
23losing so much of their valuable slave labour through
25 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Where do you get Himmler from?
26 MR IRVING:     The Reichsfuhrer SS. It is the last sentence but

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 1one, my Lord. The Reichsfuhrer SS es hat befuhlen.
 2 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     The bottom line for me is "The programme to exterminate
 3prisoners for work is going too fast. We have to make
 4sure that we do not kill too many in a short timeframe.
 5I think this is the context of the document".
 6 Q. [Mr Irving]     Dr Longerich, it does not actually say that in the
 7document, does it? That is the spin you have put on it.
 8 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     No, but again, you know, if you ask me as an expert and
 9you just put one document in front of me, I have to say
10that you have to see it in the context of the history of
11the concentration camps, and it is not the prime
12responsibility -- this was not the prime responsibility of
13concentration camps doctors to look for the health and
14welfare of the prisoners. One has to say that, and you
15cannot ----
16 Q. [Mr Irving]     To your knowledge, was there a large camp hospital in
18 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     I would not call it a hospital. It was a kamp
19baracken. So this is a place where sick prisoners, sick
20prisoners, were forced to go to the kamp baracken and, of
21course, there the main purpose of this so-called hospital
22was, of course, to select the prisoners not fit for work
23and to send them into the gas chambers. So the whole
24notion of a hospital, I think, is rather bizarre, as far
25as prisoners are concerned.
26     I have to say I am not really an expert for

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