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Defense Documents

[The Van Pelt Report]: Electronic Edition, by Robert Jan van Pelt

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CONCLUSION


In the case of David John Cawdell Irving, plaintiff, and Penguin Books Limited and Deborah E. Lipstadt, defendants, there are a number of points of contention that touched my own expertise as ascholar of Auschwitz. At the end of my report, I believe that it is indeed possible to reduce the issues at stake to the ten questions asked in the Introduction. Four of which concern the history ofAuschwitz:
  • (i) Has it been proven beyond reasonable doubt that Auschwitz was equipped withhomicidal gas chambers, and has it been proven beyond reasonable doubt that these gas chambers were systematically used?
  • (ii) Has it been proven beyond reasonable doubt that Auschwitz functioned between the summer of 1942 and the fall of 1944 as an extermination camp for Jews?
  • (iii) Has it been proven beyond reasonable doubt that most of the Jews who arrived in Auschwitz were murdered shortly after their arrival in the aforesaid gas chambers?
  • (iv) Has it been established beyond reasonable doubt how many Jews were killed in the gas chambers upon arrival in Auschwitz, how many Jews were killed or died from the effect of general deprivation, exhaustion or disease whilst in the camp, and how many others died in the camp as the result from various causes?
Six questions concern the plaintiff:
  • (v) Did David John Cawdell Irving deny that Auschwitz have homicidal gas chambers and that these gas chambers were systematically used?
  • (vi) Did David John Cawdell Irving deny that Auschwitz functioned between the summer of 1942 and the fall of 1944 as an extermination camp for Jews?
  • (vii) Did David John Cawdell Irving deny that most of the Jews who arrived in Auschwitz were murdered shortly after their arrival in the aforesaid gas   chambers?
  • (vii) Did David John Cawdell Irving frivolously deny, without having done any serious research in the matter, the results of responsible scholars into the number of people who died in Auschwitz?
  • (ix) Did David John Cawdell Irving ally himself with well-known Holocaust deniers, including individuals such as Dr Robert Faurisson, and Ernst Zündel?
  • (x) Is David John Cawdell Irving a Holocaust denier?
I will review these questions one by one:
  • (i) Has it been proven beyond reasonable doubt that Auschwitz was equipped with homicidal gas chambers, and has it been proven beyond reasonable doubt that these gas chambers were systematically used?
The answer is yes: the "intentional evidence" given by former inmates and the mostimportant perpetrators is corroborated by the "non-intentional evidence" provided by the documents in the archive of the Auschwitz Central Construction Office, the results of the forensic investigationsdone in 1945 by Jan Sehn and Roman Dawidowski, and the testing of samples of the walls of the gaschamber of crematorium 1 and the ruins of the gas chambers of crematoria 2, 3, 4 and 5. The attempts by Holocaust deniers such as Rassinier, Faurisson, Butz, Stäglich and Leuchter to discredit the evidence on the basis of hermeneutic analysis of "intentional evidence" and scientific analysis of the "non-intentional evidence" has been shown to be of little or no significance, and do not discredit the overwhelming evidence that converges on the conclusion that Auschwitz was equipped with homicidal gas chambers and that these gas chambers were systematically used.
  • (ii) Has it been proven beyond reasonable doubt that Auschwitz functioned between the summer of 1942 and the fall of 1944 as an extermination camp for Jews?
The answer is yes: the "intentional evidence" given by former inmates and the   most important perpetrators is corroborated by the "non-intentional evidence" provided by the records of transports to Auschwitz. The attempts by Holocaust deniers such as Christophersen and Stäglich to discredit the evidence on the basis of their own eye-witness testimony has been shown to be of no significance, and do not discredit the overwhelming evidence that converges on the conclusion that Auschwitz was a place where Jews were systematically put to death.
  • (iii) Has it been proven beyond reasonable doubt that most of the Jews who arrived in Auschwitz were murdered shortly after their arrival in the aforesaid gas chambers?
The answer is yes: the "intentional evidence" given by former inmates is corroborated by the "intentional evidence" given by the perpetrators. Deliberate murder was the main cause of death in Auschwitz, and not the effects of general deprivation, exhaustion or disease, or the effects of allied bombing on inmates evacuated as Irving speculated to Dresden in early 1945.
  • (iv) Has it been established beyond reasonable doubt how many Jews were killed inthe gas chambers upon arrival in Auschwitz, how many Jews were killed or died from the effect of incidental cruelty, general deprivation, exhaustion or disease whilstin the camp, and how many others died in the camp as the result from variouscauses?
The answer is probably: the "intentional evidence" given by Höss is can be largely corroborated by the "non-intentional evidence" provided by the records of the transports to Auschwitz, and demographical studies that study total Jewish mortality of all causes during the Holocaust and subtracts from this number the mortality caused by deprivation in the ghettos, open-air shootings, and killings in the Operation Reinhard camps and other concentration camps. Probably between 800,000 and 900,000 Jews were killed in Auschwitz upon arrival at the camp as part of the state-initiated and state-sponsored "Final Solution of the Jewish Question," to whichmust be added another 100,000 Jews who died in the camp from the effect of incidental cruelty, general deprivation, exhaustion or   disease. This brings a total of between 900,000 and 1,000,000 Jewish victims of Auschwitz. In addition to which 120,000 other 120,000 inmates died in the camp as the result of German policy or negligence. The largest sub-group of these victims were the Poles (74,000), followed by Romani people (21,000) and Soviet prisoners-of-war (15,000). Holocaust deniers such as Irving have not been able to create a substantial challenge against this assessment of the total mortality of Auschwitz.
Six questions concern the plaintiff, and I will consider them one by one:
  • (v) Did David John Cawdell Irving deny that Auschwitz have homicidal gas chambers and that these gas chambers were systematically used?
The answer is yes: He has done so at various occasions, for example in the flyer that announced the publication of the Leuchter Report (1989), in his open letter to Hugh Dykes, M. P.(1989), in his lectures in Moers and Toronto (1990), in his presentation at the Tenth International Revisionist Conference (1990), and in his lecture in Milton, Ontario (1991).
  • (vi) Did David John Cawdell Irving deny that Auschwitz functioned between thesummer of 1942 and the fall of 1944 as an extermination camp for Jews?
The answer is yes: he did so explicitly or implicitly at the occasions mentioned above.
  • (vii) Did David John Cawdell Irving deny that most of the Jews who arrived in Auschwitz were murdered shortly after their arrival in the aforesaid gas chambers?
The answer is yes: whenever he addressed the issue specifically, he preferably sought to blame the responsibility for their deaths on the effects of the allied bombing raids. See the Leuchter Reportpress conference (1990) and his lecture "The Search for Truth in History Banned" (1993).
 
  • (vii) Did David John Cawdell Irving deny, without having done any serious research in the matter, the results studies into the number of people who died in Auschwitz done by responsible scholars?
The answer is yes: he did so in his presentation at the Tenth International Revisionist Conference (1990) and in his lecture "The Search for Truth in History Banned " (1993).
  • (ix) Did David John Cawdell Irving ally himself with well-known Holocaust deniers, including individuals such as Dr Robert Faurisson, and Ernst Zündel,andinstitutions like the Institute for Historical Review?
The answer is yes: since 1988 Irving has had a steady intellectual and business relationshipwith Ernst Zündel, was in frequent contact with Dr. Robert Faurisson, and essentially adopted the latter's brand of Holocaust denial when he endorsed and published the Leuchter report.
  • (x) Was David John Cawdell Irving by the time Debrah Lipstadt' Denying the Holocaust went to press a Holocaust denier?
The answer is yes.
 
I have been advised by my Instructing Solicitors of my overriding duty to the Court which I understand is paramount in my role as an expert of the Court. I understand that I am to assist the Court in all matters within my expertise regardless of whom my instructions are from and who is paying my fee. I confirm that this report is impartial, objective and unbiased and has been produced independently of the exigencies of this litigation.
I believe that the facts I have stated in this report are true, and that the opinions I have expressed are correct.
Waterloo, June 2, 1999 Robert Jan van Pelt, D.Lit. Professor of Architecture University of Waterloo Ontario N2L 3G1 Canada
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