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Judgement

Holocaust Denial on Trial, Trial Judgment: Electronic Edition, by Charles Gray

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The absence of chimneys protruding through of morgue 1 of crematorium 2

7.91 As the trial progressed, it appeared that one of the main arguments advanced by Irving for denying the existence of homicidal gas chambers at Auschwitz, if not his main argument, is that the remains of the roof of morgue 1 at crematorium 2 show no sign of the chimneys which, according to the Defendants' case penetrated through the roof so as to enable Zyklon-B pellets to be tipped down into the morgue below. It will be recalled van Pelt claimed that crematorium 2 was the most lethal building of Auschwitz. In excess of 500,000 Jews lost their lives there, more than in any other place on the planet. It is the Defendants' case that the Zyklon-B pellets were fed into the chamber by means of wire mesh column which ran upwards through the roof of the chamber with the chimney protruding above roof level. The roof was made of reinforced concrete about 18-20cm in thickness with reinforcing bars within the concrete. If the chimney passed through the roof, argued Irving, the roof would to this day have five holes in it where the chimneys passed through the roof.
7.92 It is common ground that the roof of Leichenkeller 1 was supported by seven concrete pillars. The Defendants allege that adjacent to four of these pillars there ran hollow ducts or chimneys made of heavy wire mesh which protruded through holes in the roof where the pellets were poured into them and ran down into the chamber below. These ducts were 70 square centimetres in size but tapered at the top where they passed through the roof. It is Irving's case that these ducts never existed. He made that assertion because, he said, there is no trace in what remains of the roof of any holes through it. Furthermore the chimneys do not appear in the blue prints for the construction of the crematoria. Part of the roof of Leichenkeller 1 is intact, although it has pancaked down on to the floor. Irving produced a photograph which appears to show no sign of any hole in the roof. Van Pelt conceded in   one of his supplementary reports that there is no sign of the holes. It would be impossible for chimneys of the size described by Tauber and Kula to have disappeared. Irving contended that, if the holes exist, it would be a simple matter to uncover the roof so as to find out if they are there. But no one has attempted this task and he wondered why not.
7.93 As for such evidence as there is of the existence of the ducts, most of it comes from some of the eye-witnesses. But, claimed Irving, they give varying accounts of the manner in which the pellets were introduced into the gas chamber and most of them (including Bimko and Bendel) have turned out to be liars. Irving claimed to have destroyed the credibility of all of them in his cross-examination of van Pelt. Olere's drawings were probably influenced by what he was told by others and in any event he was a fantasist. The photograph taken in 1942 and relied on van Pelt does not show the chimneys. The smudges on which van Pelt relies were probably barrels of tar parked on the roof during building operations. No such smudges were visible on aerial photographs taken in 1944.
7.94 At one stage in his evidence Irving appeared to concede that Leichenkeller 1 of crematorium 2 was a gas chamber but that it was used solely for delousing purposes. In the end, however, it was his position that he had not seen any evidence that there were any gas chambers at all there whether for delousing or extermination purposes. In his evidence he went so far as to say that, if anyone detected holes in the roof, he would abandon his libel action. As he graphically put it in his closing submission, Irving argued that "[the Defendants'] entire case on Krema 2 - the untruth that it was used as a factory of death, with SS guards tipping canisters of cyanide-soaked pellets into the building through those four (non-existent) holes ... had caved in, as surely as has that roof".
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