Irving v. Lipstadt


Holocaust Denial on Trial, Trial Transcripts, Day 32: Electronic Edition

Pages 161 - 165 of 222

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    Let us first look for those holes that they
 1I had the big photograph of that roof photographed from a
 2helicopter quite recently, standing here for some days or
 3weeks. The roof pillars beneath the roof were blown up in
 41945, and the reinforced concrete slab pancaked downwards
 5into the morgue basement, starred but otherwise intact.
 6By the word "starred" I mean what happens to a pane of
 7reinforced glass that has been hit by a stone.
 8     Van Pelt suggested that the Zyklon-B
 9introduction holes in the roof of Leichenkeller I were not
10much larger in diameter than tennis balls, but the
11evidence of his eyewitnesses, Henry Tauber and Michal
12Kula, was that they were closer to the size of manholes --
13"70 centimetres square". Kula testified that the wire
14mesh columns that he had made were of that cross section
15and three metres (ten feet) tall. One witness said that
16the concrete covers on top of the roof above these holes
17had to be lifted off "with both hands," with two hands.
18As the ceiling height in Leichenkeller I was 2.40 metres,
1960 centimetres of each column, which is 3 metres tall,
20would have had to extend through the holes in the concrete
21ceiling with about six inches poking up outside. As
22Professor van Pelt admits in his report, the part I was
23about to read out when your Lordship stopped me, there is
24no trace of those holes in the roof today. I am sorry, I
25was wrong. He did say that. He says it later on.
26 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     What did I stop you reading?

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 1 MR IRVING:     You did not. I made a mistake, my Lord. As he
 2admits in his report, there is no trace of those holes in
 3the roof today. The underside of that roof, which can be
 4inspected and photographed from beneath even today, is
 5intact. Even if one could lose sight of the much smaller
 6three inch diameter holes in the pancaked concrete roof of
 7which van Pelt spoke, and I do not accept that they were
 8that small, one could not possibly have lost sight of four
 9holes as large as manholes. Those holes would be
10perfectly obvious today on the ground that Auschwitz to
11any observer using the naked eye, without the slightest
12possible doubt as to their location, because, of course,
13Professor van Pelt told us where each hole was supposed to
14be. It was right next to the supporting columns.
15     Professor van Pelt accepts that those holes are
16not in that roof slab now.
17 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     I am not sure that is right, is it? I think
18what he says was that the state of the collapsed roof is
19so poor now that you simply cannot see where those holes
20would have been if they were there, which is a slightly
21different thing.
22 MR RAMPTON:     Not only that, my Lord. I sit here, I listen to,
23quite frankly, a continuous misrepresentation of the
24evidence of my witness.
25 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Let us concentrate on this one.
26 MR RAMPTON:     I will, but this is serious. Van Pelt said a

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 1number of things. He said, first of all, the fragmentary
 2condition of the roof prevents any kind of assessment one
 3way or the other. Then he says, anyway, even if it did
 4not, it is the wrong part of the roof. The third, of
 5course, is that there is no evidence on Mr Irving's side
 6of the court one way or the other. Mr Irving has not been
 8 MR IRVING:     May I now continue with preferably fewer
10 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     No, I think that is not fair. Mr Rampton
11I think has been restrained.
12 MR IRVING:     My Lord, restraint is what I showed.
13 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     There are the odd things which I have noticed
14which I do not think are quite borne out. I think the
15best thing is not to interrupt you, but that is quite an
16important misstatement of van Pelt's evidence.
17 MR IRVING:     I will come to the alleged misstatement in a
18moment. Of course, I sat with the utmost restraint this
19morning ----
20 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     You did.
21 MR IRVING:     -- while numerous things were said. My Lord, I put
22to your Lordship at the time photographs of the underside
23of that roof. To say that the underside of that roof is
24fragmented is a gross distortion of what one could see
25with one's own eyes. The underside of that roof was as
26pristine as the concrete which is in this room today,

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 1every inch of the underside of that roof which can be
 3 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Yes, I remember the photograph quite well and
 4quite how much of the roof it shows and which bit of the
 5roof, it is impossible, I think, on the evidence to say.
 6 MR IRVING:     I did, as your Lordship will know, make one very
 7grand offer and very generous offer to the Defendants in
 8this case saying, "Come back with photographs of those
 9holes and I will stop the case within 24 hours because my
10position will be indefensible". I made that offer, not
11once, but twice. It is in the transcript. They did not
12take it up, and that would have saved ----
13 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Press on.
14 MR IRVING:     It reminds me of the early days in this action when
15every time I was making a killer point, Mr Rampton was up
16and it is happening again. Professor van Pelt: In his
17expert report, and for this honesty I give him full
18credit, he writes: "Today, these four small holes" --
19this is his expert report which he provided in this case
20-- he did not have to write this, my Lord, but he put it
21in and it is a great testimony to his honesty, I think -
22"that connected the wire-mesh columns and the chimneys
23cannot be observed in the ruined remains of the concrete
24slab. Yet does this mean they were never there? We know
25that after the cessation of the gassings in the fall of
261944 all the gassing equipment was removed, which implies

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 1both the wire-mesh columns and the chimneys. What would
 2have remained would have been the four narrow holes and
 3the slab. What would have remained would have been the
 4four narrow holes and the slab. While there is no
 5certainty in this matter, it would have been logical to
 6attach at the location where the columns had been some
 7formwork at the bottom of the gas chamber ceiling, and
 8pour some concrete in the hole and thus restore the
10     That is why I listened with relative patience,
11my Lord, to Mr Rampton's interruption because it very
12largely bears out what I said. The point at which he rose
13to his feet was when I said van Pelt accepted those holes
14are not in that roof slab now. I think that his
15interruption was ill-called for.
16     Professor van Pelt thus asserts, without any
17evidence at all, that late in 1944, with the Russian Army
18winding up to launch their colossal final invasion only a
19few miles away on the River Vistula, the Nazi-mass
20murderers would remove the "Zyklon introduction columns"
21and then fill in the holes in the ceiling, as he says, to
22"restore the slab" (before dynamiting the pillars
23supporting it anyway). He again asserted when
24I cross-examined him on January 25th as follows: "It would
25have been logical to attach", he then reads out what he
26said, "pour some concrete in the hole and thus restore the

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