Irving v. Lipstadt


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

Pages 171 - 175 of 222

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    As for the wartime documents, to take them
 1drawing No. 1293, dated May 9th 1942, of the drainage and
 2water supply of the delousing barracks, building BW5b.
 3Here too there is a Gaskammer smack in the middle of the
 4drawing. So there goes that one too.
 5     The real handling capacity -- my Lord, of
 6course, we did look at other documents and I am sure your
 7Lordship will attend to that particular part of the
 8transcript in detail, but I just wanted to give the
 9flavour of the problem. The real handling capacity of the
10crematoria is also surprisingly difficult to establish,
11notwithstanding what Mr Rampton said this morning.
12Professor van Pelt produced a histogram on an easel for us
13which showed truly staggering protections of cadavers to
14be cremated in coming years; but on cross-examination the
15witness admitted that the projection was based solely on
16one document, the questionable "crematorium capacities"
17document of June 28th, 1943, and that all else was
18extrapolated backwards from that sheet of paper.
19Mr Rampton said that, as ever, I challenge that document,
20as though I had challenged many other documents. My Lord,
21to my knowledge, I have challenged ----
22 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Yes. If I may just intervene and say that
23I would find it easier if there were not such an overt
24reaction to what you are saying on the other side of the
26 MR RAMPTON:     I am sorry.

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 1 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Yes, sorry, you got to the Bischoff
 3 MR IRVING:     The Bischoff document. Professor van Pelt relies
 4heavily on this document. My Lord, you will notice that I
 5have given all the appropriate footnote references to
 6assist you in navigating through the transcripts, and so
 8 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Yes, thank you.
 9 MR IRVING:     Even if genuine, even if the actual paper itself is
10genuine, the handling figures which this document gives
11for the furnace installation in Crematorium No. II do not
12tally with any of the figures in the specifications
13provided by the manufacturers, the Topf Company, for this
14type of equipment. Furthermore, the document refers to
15some crematoria which were at that time shut down, and to
16others that were due to be taken out of commission, which
17is again a mystifying business.
18     I had shown the Court on the previous day that
19this one page of paper contained not just one or two, but
20four or five, four or even five, bureaucratic
21discrepancies which indicated to me that the document is
22not authentic. It was not just that the year date was
23wrong. Any one of those flaws would normally be enough to
24call its integrity into question: but five such flaws in
25one document, including the wrong rank for the highest man
26in the SS site-construction system, SS Gruppenfuhrer Hans

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 1Kammler? Professor van Pelt was unable to explain these
 2flaws; he had not noticed them. The document was first
 3published in East Berlin in the 1950s, and it is now to be
 4found in the Auschwitz archives, because it was sent there
 5from East Berlin in 1981. That alone is why it now bears
 6an Auschwitz archival stamp. It did not originate there,
 7but elsewhere. Even if the flaws can be explained, and
 8the figures were genuine, there is no indication of how
 9such huge numbers of bodies were to be handled within 24
10hours; nor of where the coke was to come from. There is
11no -- logistic problems defeat the document. (There is
12no acceptable evidence that the Auschwitz staff found any
13way of improving on the average coke consumption of 30 kg
14per cadaver achieved by other camps).
15     The bottleneck in the entire crematorium II
16"factory of death" story is however that little freight
17elevator that was installed between that morgue, the
18underground mortuary, Leichenkeller No. 1, as in any such
19state-of-the-art crematorium, to haul the bodies up from
20the basement-level morgue up to the crematorium furnaces
21on the ground floor. We are told by the Defendants that
22this elevator was never anything more sophisticated than
23something like a builder's hoist. The real elevator was
24never delivered. It had no door, no cage, no walls - it
25was just a platform jolting up and down that elevator
26shaft. We do know that as finally installed it had a

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 1specified load bearing capacity of 1,500 kilograms.
 2Professor van Pelt suggested that the hoist could,
 3therefore, have hauled 25 cadavers at a time. In
 4practice, as there was just a flat platform with no walls
 5or door, jolting up and down that narrow concrete elevator
 6shaft, I submit that it would have been impossible to
 7stack on to one small platform 25 naked cadavers in the
 8conditions of filth and slime, the horror, that had been
 9described by the eyewitnesses.
10     It does not bear thinking about, I agree, and
11that is why I am not going to dwell on it. We cannot
12produce hard figures for this part of the exercise, but
13one thing is plain: that one elevator in crematorium II
14was the inescapable bottleneck, and it makes plain that,
15whatever was happening downstairs in the mortuary,
16Leichenkeller No. 1, it was not on the huge scale, on the
17huge scale that history now suggests.
18     In response to your Lordship's helpful
19questioning, Professor van Pelt stated that the wartime
20documents to interpreted if they were to be relied on for
21this proof. These interpretations are quite tenuous. He
22produced to us a document referring to the special secrecy
23to be attached to the crematorium drawings. I am sure
24your Lordship remembers that document. It was at first
25blush quite an interesting document. He suggested that
26this was because of the mass gassings being carried on in

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 1the buildings, in the crematorium. It stressed that this
 2was because -- the document stressed that this was because
 3of the wehrwirtschaftlich importance [the importance to
 4the military economy] of the work being conducted in that
 5building or those buildings. But van Pelt confirmed under
 6my cross-examination that the homicidal Final Solution,
 7the genocide, was never regarded as being
 8wehrwirtschaftlich important, important to the economy.
 9I submitted that the reference was clearly to keeping
10secret the ugly business of the looting by the SS of the
11gold and valuables from the corpses being processed by the
12building, a system which was undoubtedly of economic
13importance to the SS.
14     Similarly, the architectural drawings seemed to
15provide the required "proof" only when one was compared
16with another. That was one of the other problems. As
17Professor van Pelt said: "... we can look now at two or
18three drawings together and ... We start to observe some
19very weird things and some modifications made between one
20drawing and the other drawing..." Those were his words, to
21which my comment is, is that the best level of proof that
22is available now, even after 55 years?
23     During his slide-show, Professor van Pelt told
24us that one cardinal piece of evidence in this drawings
25was the relocation of an internal double-door which sealed
26off Leichenkeller No. 1 from the interior of the building,

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