Irving v. Lipstadt


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

Pages 176 - 180 of 222

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    During his slide-show, Professor van Pelt told
 1from the inside of the Leichenkeller doorframe to the
 2outside. The door was moved in the drawings from the
 3inside of the wall to the outside. I pointed out that in
 4the new layout, the doors were shown as being actually
 5rebated into the doorframe and I suggested to the witness
 6that this was indicative of a gas-tight door being fitted
 7as in any standard air raid shelter design. Air raid
 8shelter doors are routinely fitted outside the shelter, to
 9open outwards, so as to withstand blast. Neufert, which
10is the wartime architects' handbook, bears this out.
11     The witness seems not to have considered this
12possibility. As Mr Rampton again mentioned, the doors
13allegedly found around the Birkenhau and Auschwitz sites
14subsequently are fitted with peep holes. But I say that
15that is the standard air raid shelter design complete with
16the obligatory peep hole that is fitted to air raid
17shelter doors. The amendment of the drawings to provide
18for an external door, leading from the far end of the
19subterrranean morgue to the open air, Leichenkeller No. 1,
20was also consonant with its dual use as an air raid
21shelter, and I put this to the witness on Day 11, as was
22the relocation of the main entrance staircase from the
23back of the building to the street-side. Among the
24architectural drawings provided to us from the Auschwitz
25archives is one entitled "Modification of the old
26Crematorium", namely crematorium No. 1 in Auschwitz,

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 1subtitled: "Air Raid Bunker for SS Station HQ with an
 2Operating Theatre". So such modifications of the morgues
 3to provide air raid shelter capacity were clearly nothing
 4extraordinary. Mr Rampton made a lot of the order for the
 5doors with peep holes both during the hearings and this
 6morning, but peep holes were standard fittings, not only
 7on the gas-tight air raid shelter doors, but also on the
 8delousing facilities. Jean-Claude Pressac prints
 9photographs of two such doors on the "Canada" delousing
10chamber at Birkenhau.
11     Looking specifically at the possible use of
12crematorium No. II and the underground basement area as
13being adapted for future air raid shelter use:
14Crematorium No. II, like its mirror image Crematorium
15No. III on the other side of the road, was originally
16designed as a state-of-the-art crematorium, possibly not
17just for the camp but for the whole catchment area of
18Auschwitz which had for centuries been an area of
19pestilence and plague. No expense was spared in its
20design. This was German tax-payer money and they did not
21care. The best equipment and architects were used on what
22was clearly a permanent facility. Building the morgue,
23the mortuary, underground, instead of above ground,
24increased construction costs by several times, but
25provided for keeping the morgue cool during the baking hot
26Central European summers. Had the building been designed

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 1from the start as a human slaughterhouse, it would
 2certainly not have been designed on several levels with
 3resultant handling problems. Slaughterhouses are normally
 4built on one level.
 5     We saw in Professor van Pelt's slide-show the
 6pouring of the concrete roof, the roof slab, of the
 7subterranean Leichenkeller No. II; the roof was
 8undoubtedly much the same as Leichenkeller No. 1 with a
 9six inch reinforced steel mesh. This undoubtedly made the
10new building one of the most robust on the site:
11certainly more robust and fireproof in an air raid than
12the flimsy wooden horse-barracks in which the prisoners
13and slave labour were housed.
14     We were told by Mr Rampton this morning this
15seemed improbable to establish an air raid shelter
16facility for the SS who were 1.5 miles away. Well, the
17early warning posts were in Holland, and they were
18probably 1,500 miles away. So they would provide more
19than adequate time for the SS to gallop that 1.5 miles to
20this building with the concrete roof.
21     The captured Bauleitung records of Auschwitz
22housed in Moscow confirm that from mid 1942 onwards they
23began to consider the construction at the camp of
24shelters, splinter trenches, and other ARP, Air Raid
25Precaution, measures. To be fair to the witness, when
26these Moscow catalogue entries were put to Professor van

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 1Pelt he seemed unfamiliar with them. After the air raids,
 2our British air raids, on Cologne, Rostock and Lubeck -
 3that was in March/April 1942 - the German High Command
 4recognized the likelihood that air raids would spread
 5across Poland and Central Europe, and they ordered the
 6construction of extended ARP facilities throughout the
 7occupied Eastern territories insofar as they can within
 8bomber range. Existing basements, this document said,
 9were to be converted into shelters, and anti-gas equipment
10provided, and personnel trained in anti-gas warfare, as
11gas attack was widely expected. I have given your
12Lordship the reference. I put the document to Professor
13Longerich and on Day 10 I said to him: "[...] the Defence
14rely on a number of photographs of doors found scattered
15around the compound of Auschwitz and Birkenhau, and we
16will show that these are standard German air raid shelter
17doors complete with peep holes". And, my Lord, I
18have provided photographs of such air raid shelter doors
19in various bundles.
20     These precautions were not in vain. In May
211943, there was an air raid on the nearby Auschwitz Buna
22plant. This is reflected in the Auschwitz documents. At
23least one of the American aerial photographs that I
24produced to the Court, the black and white photographs,
25the big ones, and to the witness, Professor van Pelt,
26shows a stick of heavy bombs just released by the plane

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 1that took the photograph descending over the camp. By the
 2end of the war, there was also an anti-aircraft unit
 3assigned to defending the region, as shown by the
 4reference in Judge Staglich's membership of the Flak unit
 5that manned it.
 6     Your Lordship will also remember that during his
 7slide-show, van Pelt showed the court a series of most
 8interesting computer-generated "walk-through"
 9reconstructions of the interiors of Crematorium IV and V.
10Your Lordship had actually memorized the dimensions of the
11shutter, the wooden shutter, of 30 centimetres by 40
12centimetres. There were also said to be steps leading up
13to the openings. The wartime civil defence journal
14Luftschutz shows precisely this arrangement of gas type
15shutters and steps as a standard air raid shelter feature
16designed for the event of gas warfare.
17     I put this fact to the witness van Pelt: "Would
18you agree that those shutters that have been found in the
19Auschwitz camp are, in fact, standard German air-raid
20shutters supplied by manufacturers to a standard design?"
21     The eyewitnesses stated that thousands of
22victims were gassed in these rooms, however, and their
23bodies burned in large pits to the building's rear. But
24the contemporary air photographs taken by the Americans
25show no such pits, nor are they evident today. Confronted
26with what your Lordship has yourself referred to as the

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