Irving v. Lipstadt


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

Pages 166 - 170 of 222

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    Professor van Pelt thus asserts, without any
 2     How would this have been more logical than
 3completely removing the roof of Leichenkeller 1 just as
 4the Nazis had removed the roof of Leichenkeller 2,
 5identified by Professor van Pelt as the "undressing
 6rooms", as shown in the aerial photographs taken on
 7December 21st 1944 that one can see on page 15 of this
 8book "The Holocaust Revisited", the book published by the
 9CIA. The originals of this photograph were shown to
10Professor van Pelt in court. I showed them to him. To
11believe his version, we would have to believe that the
12Nazis deliberately created relics, architectural relics,
13of Leichenkeller No. 1 to confound later generations of
14tourists and Holocaust researchers.
15     The fact is that the holes are not there - at
16least they are not visible from a distance of 0 to 4 feet
17or when photographed from the underside of that slab.
18Unable to point them out to us in close up at ground
19level, the Defendants invited us to consider instead
20either their vertical aerial photographs taken from 35,000
21feet up, or a horizontal photograph taken from several
22hundred yards away, past a locomotive, where three (not
23four) unidentified objects are placed irregularly on the
24rooftop (the fourth "object" turns out to be a window on
25the wall behind). The Court will recall what my response
26was to the not unexpected discovery that during building

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 1works such subjects as barrels of tar were placed on a
 2large flat slab, and I will not repeat it here. The
 3notion that the high flying plane could have photographed
 4an object of 27 centimetres, let alone of tennis ball
 5size, protruding from six inches above the ground from
 6that roof is quite absurd. The four smudges seen on one
 7photograph are evidently many feet long, nothing to do
 8with these so-called holes.
 9     Your Lordship will remember that on day 11
10I brought into the Court half a dozen very large vertical
11aerial photographs, black and white photographs, taken by
12the Americans or the South African Air Force during 1944,
13and invited Professor van Pelt to find those same smudges
14on that roof, the same dots.
15     Where until this moment he had seen dots on
16another photograph with no difficulty, the witness van
17Pelt now pleaded poor eyesight: ("I have now reached the
18age I need reading glasses", he said, "and I do not have
19them with me. I did not expect this kind of challenge".
20Precisely). Had he used even a microscope, he would not
21have found the dots in the 1944 pictures I showed him.
22Because the holes were not there and are not there, and he
23and the Defendants know it.
24     Even if the Nazi architects who designed the
25building had willingly agreed to the weakening of the roof
26by having makeshift holes cut that size right through the

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 1slab next to the supporting pillars - I say "makeshift"
 2because there is no provision for them in any of the
 3architectural drawings that were shown to us - we should
 4certainly expect to see those holes now. My Lord, the
 5court will recall two things:
 6     Firstly, I asked the witness van Pelt if he was
 7familiar (in view of the fact that he is not qualified
 8architecturally, as it turned out) with the expression
 9"fair faced concrete finish". He confirmed that it is
10concrete that has been left untreated. In other words, it
11is not covered with cement or pebble dash or tiling. He
12confirmed also that it is the most expensive such finish
13that an architect can specify because the concrete has to
14be poured right first time because blemishes like holes
15and cavities can never be retouched afterwards. Filling
16in the holes with cement, as van Pelt suggested in an
17extraordinary piece of naivete, would have been evident in
18the concrete face for ever after by differences in general
19appearance, colouring, wear and fracturing; there would
20have been a visible "drying line" as a ring around the
21patch, and the wood grain pattern left by the wooden
22formwork would have been interrupted. Common sense tells
23us all of this as well.
24     The second point is, of course, we photographed
25the underside of that slab and there is no trace of any
26such blemish on the concrete roof's underside, and there

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 1are supposed to have been four of those filling holes.
 2Those holes are a major problem for this entire case.
 3     On two occasions I stated a challenge in Court,
 4including to the witness van Pelt, as I said earlier.
 5I challenged the Defendants to send somebody to Auschwitz
 6even now, to scrape the thin layer of gravel and dirt off
 7the topside of the roof slab where they "know" the holes
 8must be because they know where the pillars - because the
 9eyewitnesses agreed they were next to the main columns -
10and bring back a photograph of one of the holes or
11evidence that it had been filled in.
12     If they did, I said, I would abandon my action
13forthwith because my position would have become quite
14indefensible. To my knowledge, the Defendants have not
15attempted this exercise. They know and they knew from the
16outset that I was right about that roof. Their entire
17case on crematorium No. II - the untruth that it was used
18as a factory of death, with SS guards tipping canisters of
19cyanide-soaked pellets into the building through those
20four (non-existent) manholes - has caved in, as surely as
21that flat roof.
22     Accordingly, the eyewitnesses who spoke of those
23holes also lied, or bluffed, and I have called their
24bluff. In the absence of the holes themselves, and minus
25his "eyewitnesses", Professor van Pelt's only remaining
26proofs that Leichenkeller 1 of Crematorium No.II was an

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 1instrument of mass murder - a factory of death, as he
 2said, in which 500,000 Jews were gassed and cremated - are
 3these: architectural drawings (rather oddly for a
 4"professor of architecture" he calls them blueprints) and
 5wartime documents. He confirmed this to your Lordship
 6when your Lordship asked.
 7     As for the wartime documents, to take them
 8first, he referred, for instance, to the - to him,
 9sinister requirement that the morgue should be vorgewarmt,
10prewarmed, by a central heating plant.
11In cross-examination I drew his attention to the relevant
12section of the wartime Neufert, which is the architect's
13handbook or building code which was standard for the SS
14architects, which specifies that morgues, mortuaries, must
15have both cooling and central heating facilities to avoid
16damage to the corpses in the kinds of extremes of
17temperature which exist in Central Europe. Document after
18document fell by the wayside in this manner. Mr Rampton
19introduced the timesheet of one humble workman in March
201943, showing him actually concreting "the floor in the
21Gaskammer", the gas chamber. But Birkenau camp was full
22of gas chambers. In his fine facsimile building of the
23camp documents, Jean-Claude Pressac has printed drawing
24No. 801 of November 8th, 1941, for an Entlausungsanlage
25(delousing installation) for the prison camp, right in the
26middle of which is a Gaskammer. He also reproduces

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