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

Table of Contents
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Irving's case in summary

7.8 As it was originally formulated, the case advanced by Irving was that no convincing evidence exists that gas chambers were at the material time in existence at Auschwitz and that there is no evidence that such chambers   were commissioned. Further, said Irving, there is no convincing evidence that any Jew at Auschwitz lost his or her life as a result of being gassed (though he conceded from the outset that many died as a result of the epidemics which, due to the appalling lack of hygiene, regularly swept the camp).
7.9 The reason why Irving originally adopted that stance was that he was enormously impressed by a report compiled in 1988 by a Mr Fred Leuchter, described by Irving as a professional consultant who routinely advised penitentiaries on electric chair and gas-chamber execution procedures. His report entitled "An Engineering Report on the Alleged Execution Gas Chambers at Auschwitz, Birkenau and Majdanek Poland" concluded that no gas chambers operated at Auschwitz. Irving regarded that report as an important historical document and he adopted its major conclusions. He contended that subsequent tests had replicated the results obtained by Leuchter.
7.10 At this trial Irving appeared to place less reliance on the Leuchter report than he had done in his written statement of case. He advanced a variety of arguments for discrediting the evidence relied on by the Defendants. He relied heavily on the argument that the roof of morgue 1 at crematorium 2 (which is where on the Defendants' case in excess of 500,000 Jews were gassed to death) shows no sign of the wire-mesh columns through which the Defendants maintain that the gas was introduced into the chamber below.
7.11 In the course of the trial Irving modified his position: he was prepared to concede that gassing of human beings had taken place at Auschwitz but on a limited scale. However, he continued to assert that it was not a death factory (totesfabrik). He maintained that there is certainly no question of 500,000 Jews having perished in morgue 1 of crematorium 2 as the Defendants contend.
7.12 In support of his modified denial that Jews were put to death in the gas chambers on any significant scale, Irving relied on the fact that in all the surviving contemporaneous archival and other documentary records of the Third Reich, there is no reference to the commissioning, construction or operation of the gas chambers. He emphasised that amongst the voluminous documentary material relating to Auschwitz, there is only one document which contains what might be regarded as a reference to the genocidal use of the crematoria. Irving argues that the lack of (as he put it) incriminating   documents is extraordinary, if indeed gas chambers were in operation on the scale alleged by the Defendants.
7.13 Amongst the arguments advanced by Irving in support of his case that killing by gas took place at the camp on no more than a limited scale was the fact that the top-secret daily reports sent from the camp to Berlin in cypher, which purport to record the numbers of inmates, arrivals and 'departures by any means', including deaths, make no mention of any inmate having been gassed, although they contain many references to deaths from illness, by shootings and hangings. The number of deaths recorded in these reports is far smaller than the number of those who, on the Defendants' case, lost their lives in the gas chambers. Moreover, asked Irving, if so many were led to their deaths in the gas chambers, what has become of the cadavers. Why, Irving continued, should Eichmann, whose diaries were remarkably frank in regard to the killing of Jews, omit to mention gas chambers when recording his visit to Auschwitz in early 1942.
7.14 According to Irving the evidence simply fails to establish that Jews were killed in gas chambers at Auschwitz on anything approaching the scale claimed by the Defendants.
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accessed 11 March 2013