Irving v. Lipstadt

Transcripts

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

Pages 41 - 45 of 212

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    The first thing, though, is to get clear and,
 1witnesses have described they were being employed?
 2 MR IRVING:     Let me put one more question then to the witness.
 3 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Well, I do not think the witness is really
 4going to be very happy to answer. I am really asking you
 5to tell me and tell the Defendants.
 6 MR IRVING:     In that case, if you look at the statistical table,
 7my Lord, which is the third page, it would be page 18,
 8I suppose.
 9 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     What, the yellow one?
10 MR IRVING:     No, the table with columns. You see that in one
11month, August, 1943, there were 2400 deaths in Auschwitz
12from whatever cause, and for the argument I would accept
13it is Auschwitz and not Birkenhau, then that is 2400
14bodies that have to be disposed of in that 31 days
15period. It is 200 tonnes of bodies which is a memorable
16task for the sonderkommandos who had the wretched task of
17cremating them. The suggestion I am making is that it is
18not beyond the bounds of probability that this is what
19they are recalling when they see -- one question which
20I think van Pelt would have to answer, if this question
21was to put to him, is did the Auschwitz camp, as opposed
22to Birkenhau, have the cremation capacity for disposing of
23bodies on that scale at this time or would the bodies have
24been sent to Birkenhau to be disposed of?
25 MR RAMPTON:     This is a terrible confusion in Mr Irving's mind,
26that the greater part of the workers, as opposed to what

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 1I might call the murderees, who were put into the labour
 2section after selection were housed at Birkenhau.
 3 MR IRVING:     So this is Birkenhau then we are talking about?
 4 MR RAMPTON:     No, no. When one talks about the extermination
 5facility at Auschwitz, one is talking mainly but not
 6exclusively of the two bunkers and the four crematoria
 7where the people went immediately after they got off the
 8train. They never went into the work camp.
 9     The work camp part housed the majority of the
10slave labour at Auschwitz Birkenhau. That has been
11clearly described by Professor van Pelt. We have seen the
12picture of the wire with the gate through it into the
13women's camp, and that is where the majority of those
14Auschwitz frauen would have been housed. That evidence is
15already in court.
16 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     I think we have to be clear, you see, you did
17not really, I think, actually quite explain, Mr Irving,
18what it was that you were saying was not beyond the bounds
19of possibility. I think we must really be absolutely
20clear about this. Are you saying that it is not beyond
21the bounds of possibility that all the evidence that we
22have heard about bodies being burnt in the ----
23 MR IRVING:     The eyewitness evidence.
24 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     --- crematoria, whether at Birkenhau or at
25Auschwitz, was the burning of bodies of those who had died
26through disease?

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 1 MR IRVING:     Of whom there are clearly a very large number.
 2 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Yes, but what is the answer to the question?
 3 MR IRVING:     The answer is yes.
 4 MR RAMPTON:     My Lord, again I think this is unsatisfactory for
 5this witness, I really do, because ----
 6 MR IRVING:     Except, of course, that I do accept that there were
 7gassings on a small scale in Auschwitz as well.
 8 MR RAMPTON:     This is most unsatisfactory because the evidence
 9of Professor van Pelt is, whether it be right or wrong,
10which this witness may or may not know but he is not the
11right person to deal with it, the incineration capacity in
12crematoria 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 at Auschwitz Birkenhau was by
13June 1943 something in the region 4,700 bodies a day, and
14this is a monthly figure.
15 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     I understand the point you are making, and
16that will be a point you will, no doubt, make later on,
17but I think we have got clear now from Mr Irving, because
18I am anxious that he states clearly what his case is and
19then it can be addressed by Professor van Pelt, but I
20think it is clear now that the suggestion is that, apart
21from a small number of gassings, which is something that
22has already been accepted by Mr Irving, he says that the
23crematoria were being used to -- everywhere were being
24used solely for the purpose of burning the bodies of those
25who died through disease or from overwork, I suppose.
26 MR RAMPTON:     Maybe, but on what appears to be, if we are right,

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 1a relatively insignificant scale.
 2 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Well, that is obviously the point to be made,
 3but I have not misrepresented your case, have I,
 4Mr Irving?
 5 MR IRVING:     No, that is correct, although I am not sure this
 6was the way to have elicited it. Let me ask two more
 7related questions then.
 8 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Yes.
 9 MR IRVING:     Dr Longerich, you said that the prisoners who
10arrived at these camps they were selected and some were
11sent to work and others were exterminated without being
12registered, this is the common consensus, is it not, among
13historians?
14 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     Yes.
15 Q. [Mr Irving]     Why would the Germans have gone to such enormous trouble
16to list down to the last digit the numbers of those who
17were dying in the camps if just 100 yards down the road in
18the same camps they were killing them like flies without
19any kind of registry at all?
20 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     Well, I think it is difficult to answer this question, you
21know, actually to reconstruct the rationality of this
22system. I think what -- they had a kind of proper
23concentration camp system. They wanted to know who was in
24the camp. They wanted to control whether people actually
25were able to flee from the camp, for instance, and they
26did not keep statistics about the people they were going

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 1to kill, as far as I am aware of.
 2 Q. [Mr Irving]     This generates two further questions, Dr Longerich. Have
 3you heard of Dr Conrad Morgan, the chief Judge of the SS
 4system?
 5 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     Yes, I have heard of him, yes.
 6 Q. [Mr Irving]     And he was a lawyer in Frankfurt after the war, was he
 7not? He was not prosecuted for war crimes, just so we can
 8establish his credentials.
 9 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     Yes.
10 Q. [Mr Irving]     He was an investigating judge who carried out
11investigations for the SS about atrocities in
12concentration camps, is that right?
13 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     Yes.
14 Q. [Mr Irving]     And were any concentration camp kommandants hanged by the
15SS as a result of having committed what I would call wild
16atrocities?
17 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     Yes, as far as I remember, Koch was, for instance, among
18them.
19 Q. [Mr Irving]     Buchenwald? The kommandant of Buchenwald?
20 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     Yes.
21 Q. [Mr Irving]     The husband of the notorious Elz Koch?
22 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     Yes.
23 Q. [Mr Irving]     He was hanged in front of the prisoners of his own camp
24for having committed atrocities?
25 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     I do not recall the circumstance, but I know that he was
26punished.

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