Holocaust Denial on Trial, Skeleton Argument of the Claimant (long): Electronic Edition, by Adrian Davies

Table of Contents
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The eye witnesses

124.Gray J poses the question at 6.80:--
"What is the evidence for mass extermination of Jews at those camps? The consequence of the absence of any overt documentary evidence of gas chambers at these camps, coupled with the lack of archeological evidence means that reliance has to be placed on eye witness and circumstantial evidence..."
125.Yet even the Defendants had some reservations about the testimony of the handful of eye witnesses. Irving for his part explains the evidence of the former camp officials as extracted under torture or given in a desperate attempt to ingratiate themselves with their captors by confessing in the terms expected of them. The six or so inmates who have come forward with their accounts are an infinitesimal percentage   of the survivors, and Irving dismisses their evidence as invented, exagerated, or the product of what is now called false memory syndrome. The question is not whether he is right in that view, but rather, whether he came to it honestly and reasonably.
126.By way of examples of the value (or lack of it) of the eye witness testimony, at 13.77 Gray J is impressed with Tauber, though (contrary to Gray J's slip of the pen at 7.110, when he wrongly attributes this tale to Olère), it was Tauber who made the absurd claim that the SS manufactured sausages out of human flesh in the crematoria.
127.As to Gray J's observation at 7.40 that: "Van Pelt considered that Tauber's testimony is almost wholly corroborated by the German blueprints of the buildings," that is scarcely surprising, as it is said that Tauber was questioned by the Polish prosecutors on the basis of the blueprints which were before them and him. Sometimes he described things which existed only on the blueprints, and which were never actually installed. All this material was put to the Defendants' experts in cross-examination.
128.As to 7.31, Pery Broad, whom Gray J generously describes as "an officer in the Auschwitz Political Department" had been a Gestapo agent operating at Auschwitz. He later became a paid agent of the British occupation government in Germany. He was thus a man of dubious antecedents and flexible allegiances, whose evidence is plainly open to question on these grounds. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he was not produced for cross-examination at any of the war crimes trials, e.g. at the Tesch trial his affidavit alone was produced. He is one of the witnesses   to the critical "holes" in the roof of Krerniatrozium which Van Pelt conceded do not now exist; see para. 7.92.
129.At 13.49, Gray J praises "Vaillant-Couturier's vivid, detailed and credible evidence about the women's camp at Auschwitz". Marie-Claude Vaillant-Couturier was a demonstrably political woman. Much of this Communist agitator's past is still shrouded in mystery. In her essay Women in the French Resistance Rebecca G. Halbreich concedes: "It is not clear from any source what her exact role was in the Resistance."
130.The evidence of her heroism is her own uncorroborated testimony at Nuremberg: she was (she said) arrested by Petain's French police on 9 February 1942, questioned by the Germans on 9 June 1942, and arrived with 230 other French women at Auschwitz on 27 January 1943; of these, 49 survived, the rest dying of disease (though her testimony is vague on this point); she herself caught typhus and was in quarantine from 15 July 1943 to May 1944, returned to the main camp for two months, then being transferred to the women's camp at Ravensbruck.
131.For her IMT testimony, see Trial of the Major War Criminals before the International Military Tribunal, Nuremberg, 28 January 1946 (Nuremberg, 1947), p. 219.
132.It seems likely that Judge Biddle wrote "this I doubt" of her testimony generally, for example:--
  • (i) her preposterous account of the SS flagellation machine, which requires Freudian rather than legal analysis; and
  • (ii) her lurid suggestion that a guard called Tauber had encouraged his SS dog to kill prisoners for fun.
133.It scarcely seems likely that Judge Biddle was referring to her account of women being selected for SS brothels. That part of her testimony was unquestionably true. Such brothels were a feature of most concentration camps.
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