Day 9 Transcript: Holocaust Denial on Trial
Part I: Initial Proceedings (1.1 to 18.17)
1 IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE
1996 I. No. 113
QUEEN’S BENCH DIVISION
2 Royal Courts of Justice
3 Strand, London
4 Tuesday, 25th January 2000
7 MR JUSTICE GRAY
9 B E T W E E N: DAVID JOHN CAWDELL IRVING
10 Claimant -and-
11 (1) PENGUIN BOOKS LIMITED
12 (2) DEBORAH E. LIPSTADT
14 The Claimant appeared in person
15 MR RICHARD RAMPTON Q.C. (instructed by Messrs Davenport Lyons and Mishcon de Reya) appeared on behalf of the First and
16 Second Defendants
17 MISS HEATHER ROGERS (instructed by Davenport Lyons) appeared on behalf of the First Defendant Penguin Books Limited
18 MR ANTHONY JULIUS (of Mishcon de Reya) appeared on behalf of
19 the Second Defendant Deborah Lipstadt
21 (Transcribed from the stenographic notes of Harry Counsell
& Company,Clifford’s Inn, Fetter Lane, London EC4
22 Telephone: 020-7242-9346)
23 (This transcript is not to be reproduced without the written permission of Harry Counsell & Company)
25 PROCEEDINGS – DAY NINE
1 <Day 9 Tuesday, 25th January 2000.
2 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Mr Irving, I have your clip which I obviously
3 have not had time to read. Before we get into that, shall
4 we, as proposed, just look ahead and consider what is
5 going to be happening? We are going to have Professor van
6 Pelt today, is that right?
7 MR RAMPTON: Yes, my Lord, that right.
8 MR IRVING: Yes.
9 MR JUSTICE GRAY: So that the transcript is clear, that is him
10 being interposed in order to be called by the Defendants
11 and cross-examined because he has commitments elsewhere.
12 Is it expected he will be finished in a day?
13 MR IRVING: I doubt it, my Lord. I think two days.
14 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Right. So when will he resume? He cannot be
15 here tomorrow, Mr Rampton, can he?
16 MR RAMPTON: He can tomorrow but not Thursday.
17 MR JUSTICE GRAY: So we should get rid of him.
18 MR RAMPTON: If he can be done in two days, so much the better;
19 if he cannot, he can come back on Friday.
20 MR JUSTICE GRAY: We have to keep within reasonable bounds so
21 I hope he will be finished within two days.
22 MR RAMPTON: Mr Irving’s original estimate for him was three
23 days. We asked what the estimate was. But, if it is two
24 days, so much the better. If we have Friday a blank, as
25 it were, then I shall continue cross-examining Mr Irving
26 on Friday, I suppose.
1 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes.
2 MR RAMPTON: Then on Monday, Professor McDonald, and I do not
3 know about Dr Fox, it may be him too. I do not know.
4 That is in Mr Irving’s hands.
5 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I cannot remember who Professor McDonald is.
6 MR IRVING: My expert witness.
7 MR RAMPTON: He is a social scientist, I think.
8 MR JUSTICE GRAY: How long is he going to be, just so that you
9 are communicating about timing?
10 MR IRVING: I shall be submitting various documents to him with
11 your Lordship’s permission, my Lord, and it depends on
12 whether Mr Rampton wishes to cross-examine him or not.
13 MR JUSTICE GRAY: He may not know the answer to that until he
14 knows in more detail what he is going to say.
15 MR RAMPTON: I have a pretty good idea what he is going to
16 say. The answer is if I cross-examine him at all, it will
17 be quite shortly, I expect.
18 MR JUSTICE GRAY: And then Fox?
19 MR RAMPTON: I do not know about Mr Fox. That is Mr Irving’s
21 MR IRVING: I expect Dr Fox will be half a day, my Lord, if
23 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Right.
24 MR RAMPTON: Then, my Lord, I hope I will be able to complete
25 any outstanding issues arising out of Evans and the
26 political scientists in the remainder of the four days of
1 that week.
2 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes.
3 MR RAMPTON: I would be disappointed if I do not. I would hope
4 I would be quicker than that.
5 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I think I would too. I think you have been
6 through the most — if I can use the word “laborious”
7 without giving offence — laborious bit.
8 MR RAMPTON: No, not laborious, perhaps the most important
9 issues anyway.
10 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Distorting history on Hitler.
11 MR RAMPTON: Distorting Hitler and Holocaust denial by means of
12 Auschwitz denial.
13 MR JUSTICE GRAY: So at the end of those four days, will that
14 complete your cross-examination?
15 MR RAMPTON: Yes, it should do. As your Lordship knows,
16 Reichskristallnacht is a bit fiddly.
17 MR JUSTICE GRAY: It is quite convoluted.
18 MR RAMPTON: It is convoluted, exactly, so it may take a bit of
19 time. Then, my Lord, we are now being speculative, in a
20 sense, provisional, we would hope to start our evidence,
21 excluding Professor van Pelt, on Monday, whatever it is of
22 February, with possibly Professor Browning, possibly
23 Dr Longerich, possibly Professor Evans, I do not know.
24 Then I think perhaps the only political scientists we will
25 call as a witness is Fulkhan, the German. But that is a
26 little bit in the future.
1 I have put question marks against Levin and
2 Eatwell and also against the Russian witness Tarasov
3 because, quite frankly, having regard to the witness
4 statement of Mr Irving’s witness, the journalist, Peter
5 Miller, I do not think Mr Tarasov has anything to add at
7 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I will say again that I think in relation to
8 the Moscow diaries some sort of accommodation might be
10 MR IRVING: My Lord, I do wish to make certain fundamental
11 observations about the way the case is being conducted so
12 far. I do not know if this is the appropriate moment.
13 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I think now is probably the moment for you to
14 do that, unless you would rather reserve it for later?
15 MR IRVING: It is brief but to the point, my Lord. I am the
16 Claimant in this action. This is my action, and I spent
17 yesterday evening indulging in a little bit of light
18 reading in the Civil Procedure Rules and my eye alighted
19 on Lord Woolf’s wise words towards the beginning of the
20 introduction to the Rules which states that all steps have
21 to be taken to ensure complete equity between the parties.
22 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Of course. That is my major function.
23 MR IRVING: It is a major departure from the old system. He
24 said, he identified a range of defects in the existing
25 civil justice system, the third of which was that it was
26 too unequal in that there was a lack of equality between
1 the powerful, wealthy litigant and the under-resourced
3 My Lord, I am up against a powerful, wealthy
4 litigant here, as evidenced by the fact that I stand here
5 alone and on the other side of your Lordship’s court are
6 sometimes between 20 and 40 experts, researchers,
7 solicitors, learned counsel, arrayed against me —-
8 MR JUSTICE GRAY: That had not escaped my notice.
9 MR IRVING: — funded by the most enormous resources.
10 Somehow, the sequence of events has got reversed. Your
11 Lordship will remember that when we embarked on this two
12 and a half weeks ago, we were looking at the prospect of
13 holding off Auschwitz until towards the end of the
14 discussions, but now Auschwitz has somehow come right up
15 in front.
16 Their witnesses have been interspersed in the
17 middle of my presentation of the case. It now turns out
18 that Professor Robert Jan van Pelt is here at this time
19 purely because it is convenient to him because he is going
20 on a Holocaust junket to Stockholm on Thursday together
21 with the Second Defendant. I do not see why I should be
22 inconvenienced in this way, my Lord. I do not, frankly,
23 understand why your Lordship is tolerating it.
24 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Partly, Mr Irving, because you have not until
25 now raised any objection. We have been discussing for
26 some days now when Dr Van Pelt might give his evidence.
1 I had understood (and I will be corrected by reference to
2 the transcript if I am wrong about this) that you had not
3 raised any objection and, indeed, I had understood you to
4 concur with his being interposed at this stage.
5 MR IRVING: But the inevitable result is, my Lord, that this
6 means that Auschwitz has been brought right to the front
7 of this case purely for the convenience of one of the
8 witnesses who intends to fly to Stockholm on this lavish
9 junket Thursday for which the whole court is having to
10 hold its breath for a day.
11 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I am a bit puzzled, Mr Irving, about this
12 protest because you were cross-examined for the whole of
13 yesterday about Auschwitz, so there is no question of
14 Auschwitz having suddenly being brought to the forefront
15 of the case. It was brought to the forefront of the case
16 when cross-examination was embarked on yesterday morning.
17 MR IRVING: The inevitable result, of course, has been that it
18 has driven a cart and horses right through my preparations
19 for the major part of the case. Also, it has had the
20 unfortunate effect of putting in front of your Lordship
21 and, of course, the public the entire opposition case, so
22 to speak, without my being able to lead all the evidence
23 which I intended to lead in advance which is the normal
24 way that it should have been conducted.
25 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Of course that is right. In a case like this
26 where it is judge alone, in a way one is able to be more
1 accommodating with witnesses’ personal difficulties.
2 MR IRVING: Yes.
3 MR JUSTICE GRAY: The problem I have now is that you are
4 telling me really I think for the first time that you are
5 unhappy about Professor van Pelt being interposed, but he
6 is here. We have been proceeding on the basis that he
7 would be interposed without any dissent from you. I am
8 rather reluctant, unless you want to press it, to change
9 the schedule.
10 MR IRVING: Well, my Lord, it is obviously too late to change
11 the schedule now, but I wish to draw your attention purely
12 to the disadvantageous effect it has on me. Your Lordship
13 has now been presented with all the hostile evidence in
14 advance of the evidence which I would normally put first
15 as the Claimant.
16 MR JUSTICE GRAY: That is a bit unreal. I have read all the
17 expert reports before the case started, as you know and as
18 Mr Rampton knows. So I knew very well what the case on
19 Auschwitz against you is going to be.
20 MR IRVING: With the utmost respect, my Lord, of course, a lot
21 of our case depends upon the spin that various parties put
22 on words —-
23 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Of course that is true.
24 MR IRVING: — and on documents which your Lordship has not
25 even seen yet. The only way that I can introduce those
26 documents, I believe, is by putting them to the expert
1 witnesses. These are documents which your Lordship has
2 not even seen yet because, as far as I can see, the
3 bundles do not include them. This is the unfortunate
4 result. But I shall try to prepare it as well as can I
5 over the next few days, my Lord, but I cannot understand
6 why we are being held hostage to this convention in
7 Stockholm. It has nothing to do with this court. It
8 appears to be the only reason why Professor van Pelt was
9 come over at the beginning of the case rather than in the
10 proper timing.
11 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I must say I would have listened with great
12 sympathy to the point you are now making if you had made
13 it a bit earlier. Your problem is you have left it really
14 until the very last minute to raise this objection.
15 MR IRVING: If learned counsel had informed us that the only
16 reason why Professor van Pelt was over at this end of the
17 month rather than in the proper period was for his own
18 personal convenience in order that he can combine it with
19 this junket in Stockholm, then —-
20 MR RAMPTON: That is just not right.
21 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Let me hear Mr Rampton on this, Mr Irving.
22 What is the reason?
23 MR RAMPTON: It has always been my intention to start my
24 cross-examination with Auschwitz. Because Mr Irving fell
25 short in chief — I know not why — I started
26 cross-examining earlier than I had expected. His original
1 estimate for his own case was two to three weeks.
2 I, therefore, got Professor van Pelt over here
3 for Monday, 24th January, when I was expecting to start my
4 whole cross-examination with Auschwitz. Stockholm, as it
5 happened, came later, his appointment at Stockholm.
6 Incidentally, I add that the First Defendant, Professor
7 Lipstadt, is not going to Stockholm, despite what
8 Mr Irving says. That is why Professor van Pelt is here.
9 I then read, if I may, what Mr Irving said
10 on Tuesday, 11th January, at the beginning of this case.
11 This is page 5:
12 “I am perfectly prepared to have Professor van
13 Pelt come over in the middle of whatever else is going on
14 and we can take him as a separate entirety. He is
15 certainly an extremely interesting witness to be heard”.
16 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes. I had got the impression that this was
17 all happening by agreement really on both sides.
18 MR RAMPTON: Yes. There cannot be any question about it.
19 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Mr Irving, we are going to have Professor van
20 Pelt now for you to cross-examine. But one thing I have
21 said before now and I say it again, I am very conscious of
22 the burden that is being placed upon you. It must be
23 gigantic. I think it is going to get more difficult when
24 you are cross-examining. If you want more time when the
25 court is not sitting so that you have got the ability to
26 prepare and so on, all you have to do is ask and within
1 reason I will try to accommodate you.
2 MR IRVING: That would have been the request that I would
3 have ultimately submitted, my Lord.
4 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I think, when you have one expert after
5 another, as Mr Rampton was forecasting will happen in
6 about 10 days’ time, that is when I think your
7 difficulties will be at their worst. If then you want
8 time between the witnesses to prepare yourself, then again
9 within reason I will try to accommodate you.
10 MR IRVING: My Lord, as to my remarks about the Second
11 Defendant also going to Stockholm, that was based on the
12 Swedish government’s announcement that she was attending.
13 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Well, you have been told by Mr Rampton that
14 she is not.
15 MR IRVING: She is listed in all the agenda at the conference
16 as a speakered.
17 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, well, I think it is unlikely she will be
18 going in view of what Mr Rampton has said.
19 MR IRVING: Very well, my Lord. They are the only submissions
20 I had to make on that. I wished really to draw to your
21 Lordship’s attention, that is all, that things have been
22 taken out of my hands in an unsatisfactory way.
23 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, well, my function is to make sure that
24 you are not disadvantaged because you have no lawyers.
25 I cannot provide you with a back up team, obviously, but
26 I am trying to look after your interests, as judges always
1 do with litigants in person. But so far, I do not believe
2 you have suffered any disadvantage.
3 MR IRVING: Well, only inasmuch as I have not had the
4 opportunity to put before your Lordship the documents on
5 which I rely as yet which would be the normal sequence of
7 MR JUSTICE GRAY: You could have done that before the trial
9 MR IRVING: Well, my Lord, the bundles had been prepared
10 entirely by the Defence. They are not agreed bundles.
11 They have large lacunae in them, as your Lordship will see
12 when the time comes.
13 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, but you knew that you had the
14 opportunity to put before the court any bundles of
15 documents that you wanted to rely on.
16 MR IRVING: This is precisely what we were working on when the
17 Defendants came charging in with a reversal of the
18 timetable, my Lord. This is basically the problem, yes.
19 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes. Right now you want to take me through
20 some documents, do you, before Professor van Pelt goes
21 into the witness box?
22 MR RAMPTON: My Lord, can I, first of all, add one thing before
23 that discussion is closed? It is this. I think I need to
24 say it because inevitably sometimes Mr Irving has
25 attempted to use the court as a public platform. True it
26 is there is an inequality of resources; true also it is,
1 however, that my clients are defending a suit brought by
2 Mr Irving. It reminds one of the old French proverb:
3 “These animals are very naughty. They defend themselves
4 when they are attacked”.
5 MR IRVING: That proverb cuts both ways, Mr Rampton.
6 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, well, that is enough of that. Now, do
7 you want to do this now? Is that what you are proposing?
8 MR IRVING: Do I wish to?
9 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Address me on these documents you handed in
10 this morning?
11 MR IRVING: One or two of them, my Lord. The others are there
12 purely for the purposes of being in your Lordship’s hands
13 when we start with Professor van Pelt.
14 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Just so we get things done in the right way,
15 I think you ought to go back into the witness box just to
16 deal with whatever evidence you want to give arising out
17 of yesterday. It is just so we know which hat you are
18 wearing, advocate or witness. It is difficult, but I
19 think it is quite important to keep an eye on the
21 <MR IRVING, recalled.
22 < Examined by the Court
23 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Right?
24 THE WITNESS:[Mr Irving]: The first document, my Lord, is the one headed
25 “Institute for Historical Review”. This is a letter
26 written by the Institute for Historical Review to
1 Professor Gerald Fleming who is an acknowledged expert on
2 the Holocaust.
3 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes.
4 A. [Mr Irving]: And I draw your Lordship’s attention purely to the
5 paragraph on the second page which I printed in bold face,
6 the last paragraph. Your Lordship was enquiring about
7 what other reports after the Leuchter report continued to
8 support that contention, and here is a very useful summary
9 of them: “Rudolf reached essentially the same conclusion
10 as had American gas chamber specialist, Fred Leuchter, in
11 his 1988 forensic investigation of the allied gas chambers
12 at Auschwitz and Birkenhau. You may also be aware that as
13 a result of Leuchter’s findings, the Institute of Forensic
14 Research in Cracow conducted a partial investigation and
15 that its forensic analysis, given in a
16 confidential September 1990 report, corroborated
17 Leuchter’s findings”. Your Lordship may remember that
18 I referred to the fact —
19 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, you did.
20 MR IRVING: — that the Auschwitz authority had locked it
21 away. “This report was published in the summer 1991
22 Journal of Historical Review. Moreover, Austrian
23 engineer, Walter Luftel, who was, in fact, the President
24 of the Austrian Federation of Engineers,
25 explicitly endorsed Leuchter’s findings in the detailed
26 March 1992 report published in the winter 1992 to 1993
1 Journal, and the German engineer, Wolfgang Schuster, and
2 the American research chemist, William Linsky, reached
3 conclusions similar to those of Leuchter and Rudolf”.
4 More of that is relevant, but that is the only paragraph
5 that I would just draw to your Lordship’s attention to
6 bear out the fact that Leuchter was not one lone voice
7 crying in the wilderness.
8 MR JUSTICE GRAY: We are taking a relaxed view of the rules
9 about evidence, but this is Mr Weber of the Institute for
10 Historical Review telling Professor Fleming what he says
11 these various individuals concluded.
12 A. [Mr Irving]: Yes.
13 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]: Are you going to show me the Rudolf report in due course?
14 A. [Mr Irving]: The Rudolf report —-
15 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]: Not now.
16 A. [Mr Irving]: I should have handed it to your Lordship.
17 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]: Do not worry now, but this is rather third hand, is it
18 not? That is what I am saying.
19 A. [Mr Irving]: It is, my Lord, but the Rudolf report is the glossy blue
20 publication which I brought in about a dozen copies this
21 morning, and through an oversight it obviously was not
22 listed in discovery for which I do apologise. That was an
24 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]: Yes, that is that?
25 A. [Mr Irving]: My Lord, the only other document I draw to your Lordship’s
26 attention is the one headed top left, it is an invoice
1 Vedag, V-E-D-A-G.
2 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]: Yes, I noticed that.
3 A. [Mr Irving]: And it is the United Cardboard Factory of Silesia. It is
4 an invoice to Auschwitz crematorium — I am sorry, it is
5 an invoice to the central construction office in
6 Auschwitz, 28th July, an invoice concerning the Auschwitz
7 crematorium for —-
8 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]: “Entwesungsanlage”?
9 A. [Mr Irving]: Just the first two or three lines inside the box on the
10 invoice shows that it is for sealing work, S-E-A-L-I-N-G
11 work, carried out for the Entwesungsanlage — E-N-T —-
12 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]: And that is the delousing chamber?
13 A. [Mr Irving]: Disinfestation chamber, or disinfestation installation,
14 strictly speaking. I mean, we may have an interesting
15 discussion with Professor van Pelt about precisely what
16 that was, but certainly it tends to bear out my contention
17 of one of the uses to which that building was being put.
18 My Lord, that is all I wish to say from the witness box.
19 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]: Just let me get that. Thank you very much. I think you
20 can go back and resume your role as —-
21 MR RAMPTON: Could I just ask one question before he does, my
23 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Arising out of that?
24 MR RAMPTON: Yes, it is only an administrative question.
25 < Cross-examined by MR RAMPTON
26 Q. [Mr Rampton]: I want to know, Mr Irving, whether you received yesterday
1 an invoice, I think it is, or something of that nature —
2 I cannot find it at the moment — dated 13th April 1943
3 from Topf to the Zentralebauleitung at Auschwitz
4 concerning [German – document not provided].
5 A. [Mr Irving]: I received just a loose document faxed through to me
6 sometime in the evening, yes.
7 Q. [Mr Rampton]: You did receive it? That is all I wanted to know.
8 A. [Mr Irving]: Yes.
9 Q. [Mr Rampton]: Good. Thank you very much.
10 MR JUSTICE GRAY: That does not tell me very much.
11 MR RAMPTON: Has your Lordship not got it?
12 MR JUSTICE GRAY: No, well, if I have, I am not aware of having
14 A. [Mr Irving]: Can I be shown a copy now in case there is any comment
15 I wish to make on it?
16 MR JUSTICE GRAY: There are an awful lot of spare bits of paper
17 flowing around. It seems extraordinary when —-
18 MR RAMPTON: This arose simply because yesterday for the first
19 time Mr Irving brought to our attention a document dated
20 20th August 1943 which on its second page, as we now see,
21 is a bill from Topf, or an invoice, it mentions
22 “Entwesungsanlage”, as does the piece of paper that he
23 has just given to us and to your Lordship. There is, in
24 fact, another piece of paper which is very likely related
25 to it which as its last item but one mentions two Topf
26 entwesungsofen —-
1 A. [Mr Irving]: Yes.
2 Q. [Mr Rampton]: — for crematorium (ii). Those are delousing ovens?
3 A. [Mr Irving]: Yes.
4 Q. [Mr Rampton]: I make no comment beyond that. I will hand that up to
5 your Lordship because I am sure your Lordship will need it
6 in due course. It goes with the other two documents from
7 Mr Irving’s side.
8 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Shall I put it in J as well because I am
9 really anxious we keep an eye — I seem to have the Rudolf
10 report at the same time.
11 A. [Mr Irving]: That is the Rudolf report, my Lord.
12 MR RAMPTON: It might be convenient to have them in
13 chronological order. That document I have just handed up
14 will be the first. The second would be the one that
15 Mr Irving has just handed in dated 28th July. The last
16 would be the document we got last night, if we did, which
17 is the invoice from Topf.
18 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes. That is the only questions, so would
19 you mind going back.
20 <(The witness stood down)
Part II: Professor Van Pelt’s Examination by Richard Rampton (18.18 to 37.19)
21 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Mr Rampton, you are going to call your
23 MR RAMPTON: Yes, my Lord, I am. I preface calling him with
24 this request, perhaps is the right word. I have the
25 impression, and so do others, that the question of the
26 various Polish reports may be a little bit confused.
1 The Rudolf report only came up yesterday.
2 Professor van Pelt has not read the Rudolf report. He
3 does not have a copy with him, but he does know something
4 about it. What I propose to do is to ask just a very few
5 questions in chief just to get that question straight, if
6 your Lordship permits it?
7 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Of course. Anything, as it were, that has
8 surfaced since he did his written report, I think that is
9 entirely proper.
10 MR RAMPTON: This arises out of two things, one the Rudolf
11 report mentioned for the first time yesterday, and second
12 what I perceive to have been a bit of a confusion about
13 the sequence of the Polish reports because there were, in
14 fact, three.
15 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes. The one we have had is —-
16 MR RAMPTON: That is 1945.
17 MR JUSTICE GRAY: — the 1945 zinc cover.
18 MR RAMPTON: That is right, and the bag of hair.
19 MR JUSTICE GRAY: But there is Dawidowski as well?
20 MR RAMPTON: No . My belief is — no, I am cautious about this
21 — that the 1945 report was done at the request of
22 Dawidowski. Then in 1990 there is a preliminary
23 Markievitch report which we do not have and then in 1994
24 there is what one might call the final Markievitch report,
25 a part of which is in that first volume of the bundle
26 I handed in yesterday.
1 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Right. Mr Irving, I think that is right,
2 that Mr Rampton should be able just to ask these
3 supplementary questions about a new aspect of the case.
4 MR RAMPTON: My Lord, I also make this request. Professor van
5 Pelt has a family Bible which has been in his family since
6 before the war. May he swear on that?
7 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Of course.
8 < PROFESSOR VAN PELT, sworn.
9 <Examined by MR RAMPTON, QC.
10 MR RAMPTON: Professor van Pelt, are your full names Robert Jan
11 van Pelt?
12 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
13 Q. [Mr Rampton]: Have you made a report for the purposes of this case?
14 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, I have.
15 Q. [Mr Rampton]: Are you content that that report, save for some few
16 questions which I shall ask you in a moment, shall stand
17 as your evidence-in-chief in this case?
18 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, I am content.
19 Q. [Mr Rampton]: Do you confirm its accuracy so far as it contains
20 statements of fact?
21 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, I do.
22 Q. [Mr Rampton]: And, so far as it contains expressions of opinion, do you
23 confirm that those expressions of opinion are fair?
24 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, I do.
25 Q. [Mr Rampton]: Professor van Pelt, there is only one thing I want to ask
26 you about. You heard what it was. Do you remember
1 yesterday that there was some discussion of the various
2 Polish investigations of the fabric at Auschwitz and
4 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, I remember.
5 Q. [Mr Rampton]: My Lord, may I lead on this? It is going to be much
7 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I am sure we had the evidence yesterday.
8 MR RAMPTON: Yes, we did. The first report was done in late
10 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, it was.
11 Q. [Mr Rampton]: That we looked at yesterday, you remember, and that was
12 the one which said that it had found traces of hydrogen
13 cyanide in the zinc ventilation covers from crematorium 2?
14 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
15 Q. [Mr Rampton]: You will have to say yes because you are recorded, you
16 see. And also in a 25 and a half kilogram bag of hair?
17 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
18 Q. [Mr Rampton]: Where was that hair found?
19 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The hair was found in Canada I.
20 Q. [Mr Rampton]: Explain to his Lordship what Canada I is, will you?
21 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Canada I was a part of the camp located halfway between
22 Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II in what is now an industrial
23 area, where property of people who had been admitted to
24 the camp or had been gassed was kept for some time and it
25 was sorted and prepared for transport to the Reichs.
26 Unlike Canada II, which was located between the crematoria
1 2, 3, 4 and 5, Canada I was not destroyed at the
2 evacuation of the camp.
3 MR JUSTICE GRAY: So, just to be blunt about it, what is your
4 inference as to how the cyanide came to be in the human
6 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I think the logical conclusion is that the people from
7 whom the hair came had been killed with cyanide.
8 MR RAMPTON: And the hair removed after death?
9 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: And the hair removed afterwards, yes.
10 Q. [Mr Rampton]: Now, if we can whiz forward to the early 90s, was there a
11 second Polish report done which we do not have?
12 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: It is a little difficult to say if it is a real report
13 since it was actually never completed or endorsed, as far
14 as I know. What happened was that, more or less within
15 months after Leuchter did his investigation in Auschwitz,
16 the conservator at Auschwitz, Mr Smerk, together with the
17 director decided to do their own investigation and they
18 got help from people from the forensic laboratory in
19 Cracow, the Jensen Institute, and a small investigation
20 more or less on the model of the Leuchter investigation
21 was done, which did confirm the Leuchter report in so far
22 that it found high cyanide traces in the delousing rooms
23 BW 5A and I think BW 5B. And much lower quantities
24 I think in crematoria 2 or 3.
25 Q. [Mr Rampton]: Pause there, just so that it is all clear. BW 5A is in
26 Birkenhau, in what became the women’s camp?
1 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes. BW 5A means Bowerk 5A; it is a delousing
2 installation in what is generally known as the women’s
3 camp in Birkenhau.
4 Q. [Mr Rampton]: Where is BW 5B?
5 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: It is an opposite location slightly to the West of BW 5A.
6 They are around 50 metres apart.
7 Q. [Mr Rampton]: Is it right that those are both brick built buildings?
8 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: These are both brick buildings.
9 Q. [Mr Rampton]: Do they have their roofs on them or not?
10 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: They have their roofs on them, yes.
11 MR JUSTICE GRAY: What puzzles me about this is that one of the
12 documents Mr Irving just handed in says that this further
13 Polish or Auschwitz investigation has been published in
14 the summer 1991 Journal of Historical Review.
15 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes. The history of that report was kind of a rude
16 wake-up call for the people at Auschwitz museum, because
17 what happened was that, one way or another, the document,
18 which had not been finalized as far as I know, was leaked
19 to people of the Institute of Historical Review and then
20 immediately published rather triumphantly as a Polish
21 investigation and/or sister Leuchter investigation. It
22 was this kind of experience which then made both the
23 people at the museum and the people at the Jansen
24 institute to decide to move with greater care in the
26 MR RAMPTON: Yes, pause there. Are you also familiar with
1 something called the Rudolf report?
2 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I am vaguely familiar with it. I have not read it in its
4 Q. [Mr Rampton]: How long is it?
5 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: 20 pages, something like that.
6 Q. [Mr Rampton]: Would you just have a look at this document? (Same
7 handed) like your Lordship, I have not seen this before.
8 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I am just trying to work out what
9 qualifications Dr Rudolf has.
10 MR IRVING: My Lord, perhaps I can help you there.
11 MR JUSTICE GRAY: He is a chemist.
12 MR IRVING: Rudolf is a chemist at the Max Bank Institute in
13 Germany, which is one most prestigious research
14 foundations. While he was there, he had a university
15 degree in chemistry, he was working for his doctorate, he
16 was halted in full tracks when he supplied an expertise
17 for a court action in Germany, which resulted in demands
18 from a certain community in Germany that he should be
19 instantly dismissed, which was resisted by the Max Bank
20 Institute. He was then dismissed, which brought to an end
21 his chances of getting a doctorate.
22 MR JUSTICE GRAY: That is very helpful, thank you.
23 MR RAMPTON: Would you look on the inside so that we can see
24 what this is? I can tell you, Professor van Pelt, that
25 this is not the Rudolf report. Can you look on the inside
26 page? At the bottom there is a line and immediately under
1 the line we see this: “A German language edition of the
2 complete Rudolf report, 120 A4 pages on gloss paper etc.
3 etc., is now available for £8″. If that be right,
4 Professor van Pelt, we can be confident, can we not, that
5 this is not the Rudolf report?
6 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I presume so, if this disclaimer is placed at the
7 copyright page.
8 Q. [Mr Rampton]: Tell me this. What do you know of Rudolf’s conclusions
9 concerning the residues, if any, of hydrogen cyanide in
10 whatever compounds it was he tested for in, first of all,
11 BW 5A — if he went there? Did he?
12 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I think he went there, yes.
13 Q. [Mr Rampton]: What did he found in BW 5A?
14 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I would be hesitant to give any kind of definite opinion
15 on this because it is a very long time ago that I read a
16 gloss on the Rudolf report, but I think that he found that
17 in substance the Leuchter results were substantiated by
18 Rudolf, which means a high level of Prussian blue.
19 Q. [Mr Rampton]: So he tested for Prussian blue?
20 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
21 Q. [Mr Rampton]: He found high residues in the delousing facility?
22 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
23 Q. [Mr Rampton]: What did he find in the gas chambers at the crematoria?
24 Did he go to crematoria 2 and 3?
25 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, I think so.
26 Q. [Mr Rampton]: What did he find there?
1 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: As far as I remember, but again I have not consulted this
2 report for a long time or the gloss on it, he did not find
3 much there.
4 Q. [Mr Rampton]: Right. You have your report there, I think, that you made
5 for this case?
6 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: My report, yes.
7 Q. [Mr Rampton]: I am not going to read out any great amount of this.
8 Could you turn to page 545?
9 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I have done so.
10 Q. [Mr Rampton]: Thank you. This is the passage, is it not, in which you
11 discuss, first of all, what I might call the Markievitch
12 prototype or provisional report, and then the Markievitch
13 main report which I think came in 1994?
14 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
15 Q. [Mr Rampton]: That has been published, has it?
16 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
17 Q. [Mr Rampton]: In how many languages?
18 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: It was published in Polish and in English.
19 Q. [Mr Rampton]: I think you already told us that he Markievitch, or rather
20 his team, went back and redid it, because they were
21 unhappy about the first rather hurried or botched
22 attempt. Is that right?
23 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: That were quite unhappy, yes, and they did the tests
25 Q. [Mr Rampton]: What substances or compounds did they test for? Did they
26 test for Prussian blue?
1 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No. I am not a chemist so forgive me if I am not going to
2 give great detail on this. What I do know is that they
3 found that the Prussian blue test was problematic and this
4 was —-
5 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Can I interrupt you just to make sure I am
6 understanding? The Prussian blue is simply the physical
7 manifestation of a chemical reaction caused by the acid in
8 the cyanide, is that right?
9 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: With iron. It is an iron compound and ultimately it is
10 one of the things which can occur when you, for example,
11 have hydrogen cyanide being applied to iron, but also
12 other reactions can follow.
13 MR RAMPTON: Can you just pause there? I want to take it
14 slowly so that we are quite sure we understand so far as
15 you are able to tell us because, as you say, you are not a
16 chemist, what the reasons may be for what we are going to
17 see in a moment. Can you turn to page 552? Page 553
18 I hope is the opposite page. Is it?
19 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, but I will be able to turn the page.
20 Q. [Mr Rampton]: We are lucky because we have them on facing pages. On the
21 left-hand side of your report you have put a table with
22 crematorium 2 at the top. Yes?
23 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, I have.
24 Q. [Mr Rampton]: Where did that come from?
25 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I made the tables on the basis of the English language
26 edition of the 1994 Markievitch report. The only change
1 I made was that I basically formatted all the tables in
2 the same way because in the Markievitch report they were
3 formatted differently. So I wanted that the way the
4 information was going to be presented was going to be
5 identical throughout the tables.
6 Q. [Mr Rampton]: Do you have the complete original of the Markievitch
7 report here if anybody should want to look at it?
8 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I have one copy here.
9 Q. [Mr Rampton]: Just put it down for the moment, please?
10 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Mr Rampton, before plunging into these
11 tables, would it be helpful for me to know what exactly it
12 was that the revised Markievitch report decided or
14 MR RAMPTON: That it concluded?
15 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes.
16 MR RAMPTON: Yes, all right. Will you tell his Lordship,
17 Professor van Pelt, broadly speaking, what its findings
18 were by reference, first, please to the crematoria and
19 then to the delousing?
20 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: There were three parts to the Markievitch report. First
21 of all, there was a test of the crematoria, was there
22 really cyanide compound in the walls of the crematoria?
23 Second of all, were there cyanide compounds in the
24 delousing building BW 5A and the delousing building which
25 was used in Auschwitz I? Then finally there was a test
26 done with a control sample to see if in the building of
1 which they knew there had been no Zyklon B, and the idea
2 was would there be a kind of random cyanide content in the
3 walls, which was one of the claims which had been made
4 about the cyanide contents in the crematoria.
5 Q. [Mr Rampton]: Pause there, and take that last feature first. What did
6 they find when they looked in a place where there was
7 neither gassing of humans nor of lice?
8 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Negative.
9 Q. [Mr Rampton]: Nothing?
10 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Nothing.
11 Q. [Mr Rampton]: So that eliminates that. Where they were aware that it
12 has been suggested that you could find it anywhere because
13 at one stage during the typhus epidemic in 1942 the whole
14 camp had been fumigated?
15 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I think so, yes. I do not remember exactly.
16 Q. [Mr Rampton]: What conclusion did they draw about that, do you know?
17 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: About these buildings?
18 Q. [Mr Rampton]: Yes.
19 MR JUSTICE GRAY: It is pretty obvious. A single fumigation
20 does not leave any cyanide presence.
21 MR RAMPTON: That is what Markievitch said in his conclusion.
22 Then if you look now at, first of all, we are going back
23 to 551, and notice, please, that all these concentrations
24 are given in micrograms per kilogram of cyanide compound,
25 is that right?
26 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
1 Q. [Mr Rampton]: Is what is measured in micrograms the actual cyanide
2 content of the samples?
3 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I think that it is actually the combination. It is not
4 the cyanide content, but I think the whole, whatever it
5 has bonded with.
6 Q. [Mr Rampton]: If you look at the second table on page 551, it concerns
7 crematorium 1. Do you see that?
8 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
9 Q. [Mr Rampton]: And only in one column, under sample 20 — my Lord, the
10 first block in the table is the number of the sample, and
11 the second block is the readings beside B, the second row
12 of blocks. Only in one, number 20, does one find
13 significant quantities of cyanide.
14 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
15 Q. [Mr Rampton]: Then look over the page, please and look, please, at 553
16 first. Now, samples 53 to 55, you tell us, were taken
17 from blue staining on the outside of the building?
18 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
19 Q. [Mr Rampton]: And two of those, 53A and 55, have relatively high
20 readings, particularly number 55?
21 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
22 Q. [Mr Rampton]: From 57 and 58 the readings, you tell us, are taken from
23 the plaster, from dark blue stains on the inner side of
24 the wall; in the building, in other words?
25 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
26 Q. [Mr Rampton]: And both of those have relatively high readings, do they
1 not, particularly sample 57?
2 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
3 Q. [Mr Rampton]: 840, 792, 840. Then, please, look at the table on page
4 552 and look at sample 25 which comes from crematorium 2.
5 In the text on page 550 you tell us that samples 13 to 52
6 were taken from places which served as homicidal gas
8 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
9 Q. [Mr Rampton]: So that includes the reading in the first table of
10 crematorium 1, and it includes the readings under
11 crematorium 2, does it not?
12 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
13 Q. [Mr Rampton]: The first sample 25 under crematorium 2, has relatively
14 high readings, does it not?
15 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, it does.
16 Q. [Mr Rampton]: Not quite as high as sample 57 from the delousing
17 building, but higher, I think, than any others in these
19 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
20 Q. [Mr Rampton]: 30 and 31 also have what is medium high readings?
21 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
22 Q. [Mr Rampton]: Crematorium 3, nothing of any significance, yes?
23 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, I agree.
24 Q. [Mr Rampton]: Crematorium 4, samples 41 and 46, particularly 41 again
26 MR JUSTICE GRAY: That is crematorium 5.
1 MR RAMPTON: Yes, that is 4 and 5. In 4 again relatively high
3 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
4 Q. [Mr Rampton]: Do you have an explanation? I know you are not a chemist,
5 but do you have an explanation, perhaps supplied to you by
6 others, why it is that in these gas chamber remains
7 Professor Markievitch’s team found readings of cyanide
8 which are almost as great as the Prussian blue readings in
9 the delousing building?
10 MR JUSTICE GRAY: He could read out page 555 of his report,
11 could he not, on that?
12 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: May I correct you there? Actually he did not test on
13 Prussian blue. You just said the readings of Prussian
15 MR JUSTICE GRAY: This is the analysis of the material as
16 opposed to the colour?
17 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes. But he did not test Prussian blue because there are
18 problems with Prussian blue analysis in this.
19 MR RAMPTON: You say he did not test Prussian blue?
20 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Markievitch did not test Prussian blue.
21 Q. [Mr Rampton]: Did not test Prussian blue? Do you know why not?
22 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: One of the things which is very problematic, and again
23 I am not speaking as a chemist, but I am speaking more or
24 less on the basis of knowledge I have glossed from
25 others. It seems that there is a problem in the formation
26 of Prussian blue which relates to one of the main things,
1 the acidity of the environment.
2 Q. [Mr Rampton]: Wait a minute, take it in stages. None of us is a
3 chemist. At least I am certainly not, I do not know about
4 his Lordship, and I do not think Mr Irving is. Prussian
5 blue is a compound?
6 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
7 Q. [Mr Rampton]: A combination produced by a reaction between hydrogen
8 cyanide and iron?
9 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
10 Q. [Mr Rampton]: Is that right?
11 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: That is right.
12 Q. [Mr Rampton]: Now, what is the difference between Prussian blue then and
13 other substances which react with hydrogen cyanide?
14 Sorry, it is a bad question. You were starting to talk
15 about the acidity being a problem. What do you mean by
17 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The PH level of the environment.
18 Q. [Mr Rampton]: Yes?
19 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Prussian blue seems only to be formed in very, very
20 specific conditions, in which a number of environmental
21 factors need to be present. It seems to be that, in order
22 for Prussian blue to be formed, one needs to have a PH
23 level which is higher than 7.
24 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Can we cut this short? The PH level varied
25 according to which chamber you were looking at, is that
1 MR RAMPTON: No, my Lord.
2 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Very particularly in the case of the gas chambers the PH
3 level would have been much lower than 7, because of the
4 carbon dioxide being brought into the environment by
5 people who are brought into the gas chambers.
6 Q. [Mr Rampton]: So an acidity or a PH lower than about 6, high acidity,
8 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
9 Q. [Mr Rampton]: Is this that you are telling us interferes in such a way
10 with the chemistry that the hydrogen cyanide does not
11 react with iron?
12 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
13 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Going back to what you were being asked
14 about, namely the conclusions to be drawn from the
15 readings which Mr Rampton has just taken you through, am
16 I right, just to short circuit it again, that at page 555
17 of your report you in a few sentences summarise what the
18 conclusion of Markievitch report was?
19 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, I do, and the conclusion was that it was a positive
20 proof that the spaces in the crematoria they had tested
21 had been used with Zyklon B, hydrogen cyanide had been
22 brought in those rooms, and I would like to make maybe one
23 kind of caveat to this whole report, and this is if you
24 allow me?
25 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Of course.
26 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: It is a problem which relates to crematoria 4 and 5, and
1 this is a problem which goes back to the Leuchter report.
2 It goes back to any tests which have been done. That is
3 the fact that the crematoria 4 and 5 which are above
4 ground buildings, brick buildings on a concrete slab were
5 completely demolished at the end of the war, and that all
6 the bricks were brought to a big heap behind crematorium
7 5, and that whatever we see there now has been
8 reconstructed with those bricks, but that these bricks in
9 some way come from a random pile. So it is very difficult
10 to know which brick was originally where.
11 MR RAMPTON: So the reading on page 552 on crematoria 4 and 5,
12 the relatively high readings, numbers 41 and 46, there is
13 no way of being able to say that those pieces of fabric
14 that are now in what is supposed to be the gas chambers
15 were there originally?
16 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, there is no way one can say that. So I would say that
17 any investigation of crematoria 4 or 5 on residual
18 hydrogen content would be, as far as I am concerned, a
19 useless exercise.
20 MR JUSTICE GRAY: So we concentrate on the other crematoria?
21 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
22 MR RAMPTON: But the same problem does not beset the samples
23 taken from crematorium 2. Thank you very much, Professor
24 van Pelt.
25 My Lord, before cross-examination starts,
26 I should have done this earlier, your Lordship has I hope
1 a supplemental or supplementary report from Professor van
3 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I remember that there was one.
4 MR RAMPTON: Mr Irving certainly has it.
5 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I am just wondering where I put it.
6 MR RAMPTON: It has to do with a very limited topic. It has to
7 do with B Zyklon deliveries to Auschwitz. What I will do,
8 if your Lordship does not mind, is hand up a file with it
9 in, which I have marked “van Pelt supplementary”.
10 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I think I have it, although I am a bit
11 puzzled I have not put it in the existing file.
12 MR RAMPTON: That there is not much room is perhaps one reason.
13 MR JUSTICE GRAY: That could be true. It suggests to me that I
14 perhaps have not had it.
15 MR RAMPTON: I am not going to refer to it now.
16 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Mr Irving, you have seen this supplemental
18 MR IRVING: I have indeed, my Lord.
19 MR RAMPTON: My Lord, also in the file, which Mr Irving does
20 not know about but I have a copy for him now, is a
21 document produced in consequence of a critique that
22 Mr Irving published on his web site of Professor van
23 Pelt’s book about Auschwitz. I suggested that it would be
24 helpful for me if Professor van Pelt did answer to that
25 critique which he has recently done and I have got, in
26 case he was cross-examined on the basis of the critique.
1 It emerged from the questions that I asked Mr Irving
2 yesterday that that indeed is going to be so. It seems to
3 me, since this is quite detailed, that everybody therefore
4 should have a copy.
5 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Well maybe. I just am a little concerned
6 that every day we are generating more files. We have
7 enough files to keep most people happy for a long time.
8 MR RAMPTON: It is not something I am suggesting anybody should
9 read from beginning to end, but Professor van Pelt may
10 want, as experts do, make reference to it for the detail.
11 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Shall we slot it into the same file.
12 MR RAMPTON: I have done it.
13 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Thank you.
14 MR RAMPTON: I have called it “van Pelt supplementary 2 and 3”.
15 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I am going to put the Rudolf report into J as
17 MR RAMPTON: Yes, my Lord, that must be right. Miss Rogers
18 thinks it is about ten.
19 MR JUSTICE GRAY: We have to keep a track on it, actually.
Part III: Professor Van Pelt’s Examination by David Irving, Morning Session (37.20 to 108.4)
Section 37.20 to 59.21
20 <Cross-examined by MR IRVING
21 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, Mr Irving?
22 MR IRVING: My Lord, may I propose to proceed as follows with
23 the cross-examination? That I briefly cross-examine the
24 witness as to credit; I would then like to test your
25 Lordship’s patience by showing the court for about ten
26 minutes a video film of Professor van Pelt visiting the
1 Auschwitz site, which will serve a double purpose. There
2 are things which he says during that video and it will
3 also give us a sense of what the site looks like now.
4 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Certainly. I am afraid I have not noticed
5 the video, but certainly do.
6 MR IRVING: I will then proceed after that to the court
7 examination. Professor van Pelt, you are a Dutch citizen
8 or Canadian citizen now?
9 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I am a Dutch citizen.
10 Q. [Mr Irving]: May I, first of all, pardon my rudeness, welcome you to
11 our country and say what a great pleasure I had in reading
12 your book on Auschwitz — for what it is worth, it is one
13 of the few books that I have read from cover to cover and
14 it was a book that I found very difficult to put down.
15 I do not know how much of the book was written by you and
16 I do not know how much of the book was written by your
17 partner, Deborah Dwork. However, a number of questions
18 arise from the book and, after we have seen the video,
19 I would ask you just in one paragraph to give the court a
20 brief history of Auschwitz in the way you have done in the
21 book so admirably on the basis of documentation. You
22 studied at the University of Leiden, am I correct?
23 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, I did.
24 Q. [Mr Irving]: And you are now Professor of the History of Architecture
25 at the University of Waterloo in Toronto?
26 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No. The issue of my appointment is kind of confusing.
1 I am in the Department of Architecture and hence I am
2 officially a Professor of Architecture. Your title as
3 Professor depends on the department you are in. However,
4 I teach in what we call the Cultural History stream, so
5 normally, in order to prevent confusion in ordinary usage,
6 I would call myself Professor of Cultural History because,
7 both in my background, my PhD and my teaching duties,
8 I teach cultural history in the architectural school.
9 However, when I was advised about the way I had to create
10 my curriculum vitae for this proceeding, I was told that
11 I had been to be extremely precise in the legal sense of
12 what I was, so again I put in Professor of Architecture.
13 MR JUSTICE GRAY: So you are really a cultural historian?
14 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I am really a cultural historian.
15 MR IRVING: This is a point of some substance, my Lord. We
16 need to know precisely what your qualifications are to
17 offer your expertise to the court. I do not mean this in
18 the least sense in a derogatory manner because, as I say,
19 I have read both your book and your report with the utmost
20 interest. However, we need to know what your areas of
21 expertise actually are. In Britain, of course, we have
22 the Royal Institute of British Architects. Are you
23 familiar with the fact that it is illegal in England to
24 call yourself an architect unless you are registered with
25 the RIBA?
26 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: That is in most countries like that, yes, I know.
1 Q. [Mr Irving]: In Holland, the equivalent is the Bond van Nederlandse
2 Architecten, am I correct? I am sorry about my
4 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, Bond van Nederlandse Architecten.
5 Q. [Mr Irving]: Which is the rough equivalent of the RIBA?
6 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
7 Q. [Mr Irving]: Am I right in saying that you are not registered with the
8 Bond van Nederlandse Architecten?
9 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I have never had any reason to do so since I never studied
10 in an architectural school.
11 Q. [Mr Irving]: So you cannot legally pretend to be an architect, if I can
12 put it like that?
13 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, I could be prosecuted.
14 Q. [Mr Irving]: You could be prosecuted?
15 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
16 Q. [Mr Rampton]: Rather like Mr Leuchter was prosecuted in Massachusetts
17 for pretending to be an engineer?
18 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
19 Q. [Mr Irving]: You can probably see the thrust of this particular
20 question. In other words, your expertise, as an
21 architect, is the same as Mr Leuchter’s expertise was an
23 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I do not really know. I have been teaching in
24 architecture school now since 1984. I have taught design
25 courses, specially in small architecture schools one needs
26 to chip in wherever one does. I have been on
1 architectural juries and quick sessions, mostly on a
2 weekly, bi-weekly, kind of frequency. I did —-
3 Q. [Mr Irving]: You have never learned architecture? You have never
4 studied architecture at university? You have never taken
5 a degree in architecture?
6 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I do not have a degree in it, but I have been confronted
7 with the architectural practice and, apart from that,
8 I have worked for various architects, one of them, Sir
9 Dennis Leston, here in England, when he was designing the
10 Synagogue in Jerusalem. I have worked with Jack Diamond
11 in Toronto. So I have been in architectural offices very
12 often and other practices.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]: And, of course, you are now advising the present Auschwitz
14 authorities on the reconstruction, if I can put it like
15 that, of the Auschwitz site?
16 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I was advising them, yes.
17 Q. [Mr Irving]: You are no longer doing so. Very well. So if I am called
18 a pseudo historian, then you are a pseudo architect, if I
19 can put it like that?
20 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, except I have never claimed to be either an architect
21 or a pseudo architect.
22 Q. [Mr Irving]: Except that you are a Professor of architecture, you
23 announce you are a Professor architecture, you leave
24 people with the impression that you are an expert on
25 architecture, and yet you have never studied it and you
26 have never qualified and you are not registered as such?
1 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I must say that I probably would prefer to be called a
2 Professor of cultural history, but the fact of the matter
3 is that the university has given me an appointment as
4 Professor of architecture. So —-
5 Q. [Mr Irving]: But you are not giving evidence here on the culture of
6 Auschwitz; you are giving evidence on the architecture of
8 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I am going to evidence, I hope, on the history of
9 Auschwitz, and the architectural documents are a very
10 important historical source. I think we both agree on
11 that. I think, as an historian, you can talk about
12 various forms of evidence and the architectural documents
13 is one of these forms of evidence.
14 Q. [Mr Irving]: I do not mean these questions in the least sense as a put
15 down, but I think it is important to draw his Lordship’s
16 attention to the fact that your qualifications as an
17 architect are, in fact, no greater or lesser than mine?
18 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I agree that my formal qualifications are exactly the same
19 as yours.
20 Q. [Mr Irving]: So when you look at light switches or architectural
21 drawings or blue prints, as you call them, you are no
22 better qualified than I am?
23 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, but I would say, your Lordship, that I have been doing
24 this for the past maybe 15 years, and so there is a
25 certain practical experience, I would say, which may be is
26 going to be relevant.
1 Q. [Mr Irving]: Yes. There is only one other very general question on the
2 question of credit which I would ask you before we settle
3 back and watch the 10 minute video. Your report is
4 unusual in one respect, and your Lordship may have noticed
5 it, it has a copyright line on page 2. In other words,
6 you claim copyright in this document. Now, remembering
7 you are on oath, would you tell the court if you have
8 any intention eventually of publishing this?
9 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: At the moment I do not have. I think it is an
10 unpublishable document.
11 Q. [Mr Irving]: I disagree. It is set out in chapter form. It has
12 literary quotations at the beginning of every chapter,
13 quotations from Mediaeval poets and other authors in a way
14 you do not normally find in an expert report, I would have
15 thought. I would have thought it was designed explicitly
16 for publication at some future date?
17 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No. When the occasion would arise, I would be very
18 pleased if some of the things could be used, but I have
19 learned to respect a big difference, for example, between
20 a Ph.D. dissertation and a book and there is a big
21 difference between an expert report, and I understand this
22 report as a means for an intelligent judge to make up his
23 mind about Auschwitz who has never been there, which is
24 quite a difference for when one writes a book for the
25 general public.
26 Q. [Mr Irving]: So why the copyright line?
1 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Oh, it is a habit of mine which I do whenever I submit any
2 manuscript to anyone, and maybe this is inappropriate in
3 this case. None of the lawyers has told me that it was
4 inappropriate, so the copyright line remained there.
5 MR JUSTICE GRAY: You can have an argument about the copyright
6 after this case is over.
7 MR IRVING: My Lord, the reason I ask this, of course, if the
8 witness was intending to publish this work, and he has now
9 said on oath he has no intention of publishing it, then
10 I would ask him the following question. (To the witness):
11 If you were to write a report which came out with the
12 conclusion that crematorium No. (ii) had never been used
13 as a homicidal gas chamber, that Auschwitz was not a
14 factory of death, that Leuchter was right, David Irving
15 was right, whatever, what would the commercial prospects
16 of that be as compared with the commercial prospects of
17 the report that you have actually written? Would they be
18 greater or less?
19 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: It is difficult to say. It seems to be that the book
20 buying habits of the people who are believing that the gas
21 chambers were not used for homicidal purposes seems to
22 have been much more active than for the people who
23 believed that they were used for homicidal purposes.
24 After all, I think that you sell more books than I sell of
25 my Auschwitz books.
26 Q. [Mr Irving]: Not currently I do not.
1 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I mean, it is very difficult to say this. Certainly,
2 controversy seems to have served you well in the past in a
3 number of books. I have been, I believe, in some way less
4 controversial and controversy certainly helps sales
5 figures in general, so I probably put some more books.
6 Q. [Mr Irving]: Very well. I will take your statement that you have no
7 intention of publishing this ever, as you have now told
8 the court. My Lord —-
9 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: May I just come back to this? I said “in this form”.
10 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Quite briefly, if you would.
11 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Sorry?
12 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]: Quite briefly, if you would.
13 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, I said “in this form”. I did not — I did not write
14 this with publication in mind as such.
15 MR IRVING: Yes. Very well. My Lord if your Lordship will
16 turn to the transcript —-
17 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Play the video?
18 MR IRVING: — which I provide your Lordship of the video,
19 just so you can confirm what is actually said.
20 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Let me find it. Is that one of the documents
21 you have handed in.
22 MR IRVING: It is called Mr Truth — Mr Death. There are two
23 excerpts that I wish to play.
24 (The video was played)
25 MR IRVING: My Lord, this is Fred Leuchter. My Lord, I think
26 this is not the part I wanted in fact. I would speed the
1 court along, I think, if I ask the witness if he remembers
2 what was said.
3 MR JUSTICE GRAY: It is not your fault. Shall we turn it off?
4 MR IRVING: Yes. If I could borrow a transcript from someone?
5 Professor van Pelt, you remember appearing in a video
6 which is part of a film now called “Mr Death”. Do you
7 remember the filming of that project?
8 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
9 Q. [Mr Irving]: When exactly was that filmed? A year ago? Half a year
11 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: We went to Auschwitz in April 1998 — was it 1998? 1999,
12 I think. 1999.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]: ’98?
14 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: 1999. No, 1998. I am sorry.
15 Q. [Mr Irving]: Do you remember saying: “Auschwitz is like the Holy of
16 Holies. I have prepared for years to go there, and have a
17 fool come in, coming completely unprepared, it is
18 sacrilege, somebody who walks into the Holy of Holies and
19 doesn’t give a damn”?
20 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, I remember saying that.
21 Q. [Mr Irving]: This was a reference to Mr Leuchter, was it not?
22 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, it was a reference to Mr Leuchter.
23 MR RAMPTON: Should not the witness have a transcript like
24 everybody else?
25 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Do you feel the need for a transcript?
26 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, I remember the — it is useful, but I remember this.
1 MR RAMPTON: Except that some pages down the road we come to
2 some German, so it might be helpful.
3 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Thank you.
4 MR IRVING: You were deeply moved to visit the actual location
5 where these atrocities had occurred?
6 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: More than moved. I was frightened. I —-
7 Q. [Mr Irving]: Ghosts of the dead were still all around?
8 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, I do not believe in ghosts and I have never seen in
9 ghosts in Auschwitz, but it is an awesome place in many
10 ways, and it is also an awesome responsibility one takes
11 upon oneself when one starts to engage this place as an
12 historian. For many years I felt I was not up to that
13 task. It was only after very careful preparation that
14 I finally decided to go there and to start work in
15 Auschwitz. As many things in life, it became easier to
16 work on it as I was there as you actually start
17 confronting what the place is.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]: Can I ask you about a part on the next page of the
19 transcript, the page beginning with the words, “Very
20 little left”, “to suddenly have in that room that
21 concentration of evidence, you are sitting in the
22 archives, to actually hold the stamps in your hand which
23 you see on the drawings”. Am I right in understanding
24 that the Auschwitz archives have the original wartime
25 rubber stamps still?
26 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, there is a box with all the rubber stamps.
1 Q. [Mr Irving]: You yourself took one of the stamps and you put it on an
2 ink pad and tried it out on one of your note pads?
3 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
4 Q. [Mr Irving]: You had exactly the same stamp that had been used by
5 architects like Dejaco and Ertl and the rest?
6 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, I made a copy of that stamp.
7 Q. [Mr Irving]: You could have had a lot of fun with one of those stamps,
8 could you not, if you had so chosen?
9 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: If one wants to falsify evidence, one could have fun, yes,
11 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I do not think that suggestion is being made,
12 is it?
13 MR IRVING: Well, my Lord —-
14 MR JUSTICE GRAY: That was lighthearted or was it not?
15 MR IRVING: — I wanted to leave that lingering suspicion in
16 your Lordship’s mind.
17 MR JUSTICE GRAY: No, it is better to come out with it if you
18 are going to make that allegation.
19 MR IRVING: We referred to one document yesterday, my Lord, the
20 one on cremation rate capacities, and I strongly implied
21 that this document is suspect.
22 MR JUSTICE GRAY: But not originating from Professor van Pelt?
23 MR IRVING: Good Lord, no. For heaven’s sake, no. I deeply
24 regret that that impression should have been given.
25 MR JUSTICE GRAY: No, I just wanted to clarify that.
26 MR IRVING: Of course not. It is just that if those rubber
1 stamps had been in a Polish archive which was Communist
2 until quite recently, in the Auschwitz State Museum,
3 rattling around in a cardboard box —-
4 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Somebody could do it.
5 MR IRVING: — somebody could have done it. Rubber stamps
6 played a great part in the falsification of the
7 Demanuke(?), identity card, and the final revealing of the
8 falsification. (To the witness): You continue to say at
9 the bottom of that paragraph: “This is like holding the
10 weapon of destruction in my hand, the gun that killed the
11 victim, except these blue prints did not kill one person.
12 They ultimately allowed for the killing of millions.” Are
13 you saying that several million people were killed in
14 Auschwitz or was this just a loose turn of phrase?
15 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: This would be a loose turn of phrase. I believe that
16 Dr Pieper’s assessment that round a million people were
17 killed in Auschwitz is probably the most probable number.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]: So when you talk about millions, it is not a deliberate
19 manipulation or a perverse distortion of figures. It is
20 just a loose approximation because you are speaking
21 without a script?
22 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No. First of all, I am speaking without a script.
23 I mean, you know exactly how Errol Morris interviews
24 people because you were interviewed in the same way and
25 also appear in the same movie. I was talking without of
26 any of blue prints there. I was talking in studio for
1 three or four days.
2 There is, however, one point which I would like
3 to make, and that when I came to the archive and saw for
4 the first time these blueprints, I had very clearly in my
5 mind a scene from Shawa(?) where the great historian Wal
6 Hoeberg holds in his hand at that moment a railway table
7 of transports to Treblinka, and he says something to the
8 effect that it was looking at these documents that, in
9 fact, you were holding the murder weapon in your hand; and
10 I certainly, when I was talking to Errol and when I was
11 looking at these blue prints, it was really amazing how
12 Errol brought back to me that that moment, that first
13 moment, of seeing the blue prints, that I was thinking
14 this is part of that whole administrative system. It is
15 not only blue prints for Auschwitz, but it is basically
16 part of a State sponsored project to kill Jews. So when
17 I used to use the word “millions” here, I would be quite
18 happy to ultimately defend it in that larger context of a
19 bureaucracy at work to ultimately dispose of people.
20 Q. [Mr Irving]: Professor van Pelt, would you agree that it is the duty of
21 historians to remain completely unemotional when he is
22 looking at any object or artifact or a document, and to
23 interpret it as unemotionally and neutrally as he can?
24 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I think that one’s duty is to be unemotional, to be
25 objective, but one’s duty is also, I think, to remain
26 human in the exercise. I think, and this is what I just
1 told you before, my Lord, that I prepared for Auschwitz
2 because ultimately I went there as a human being and I was
3 frightened to go there and I was frightened for the
5 To actually face great historical questions when
6 they concern, as one would say, maybe the alleged murder
7 of many people, then I think that, of course, if one is
8 completely without emotion as one looks at these
9 documents, then one would be a machine and probably not a
10 human being and hence not a historian.
11 Q. [Mr Irving]: Very well. We can establish very clearly that you are an
12 historian with feelings (and I think we would all like to
13 be that), but do you not agree it is important as an
14 historian to be able to put his feelings in one
15 compartment and his objectivity in another and not allow
16 his objectivity to become coloured by his feelings?
17 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I agree that when one analyses a document that one should,
18 indeed, be objective, that one should forget one’s
19 feelings, but when one goes home in the evening and goes
20 back to a little room in the town to Vochest(?) where
21 I had rented a room, then, of course, the feelings will
22 come back.
23 Q. [Mr Irving]: I agree. Now if I can turn just to the last page but one
24 of the transcript. I am afraid they are not numbered, but
25 it is the paragraph beginning with the 01, “Van Pelt then
1 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Sorry, the last 0, yes.
2 Q. [Mr Irving]: I quote: “Crematorium (ii)”, and at this moment when you
3 are saying this, you are actually standing on the
4 collapsed roof of crematorium (ii)?
5 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I am standing there?
6 Q. [Mr Irving]: On the roof, yes. You are crouching on it by a hole. It
7 is visible in the video.
8 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I do not think I am standing on the roof at this — it was
9 Leuchter who was crouching at the hole, not me.
10 Q. [Mr Irving]: Very well. You say: “In any case, crematorium (ii) is
11 the most [something] of Auschwitz. In the 2500 square
12 feet of this one room”, and you are pointing downwards,
13 “more people lost their lives than in any other place on
14 this planet. 500,000 people were killed. If you would
15 draw a map of human suffering, if you create a geography
16 of atrocities, this would be the absolute centre.”
17 That is a reference to crematorium (ii) and you
18 are standing on the roof of Leichenkeller No. 1?
19 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: It is a reference to crematorium (ii), but I am actually
20 not in the picture. It is Fred Leuchter standing on the
21 roof of Leichenkeller 1.
22 Q. [Mr Irving]: But you are speaking yourself?
23 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: But I am speaking. This was taped in the studio and there
24 is no image of me actually in the whole movie near
25 crematorium (ii). The only — there are only two parts in
26 the movie where I am actually seen in Birkenhau, apart
1 from, I think — no, BW 51 was cut, that is, I look over
2 the undressing room of crematorium (iii) at one moment and
3 I am seen in the ruins of crematorium (v), and that is it.
4 Q. [Mr Irving]: Professor, just so that we can be completely clear about
5 this and the record can be clear, you are describing
6 crematorium (ii) as being the place where 500,000 people
7 were killed or —-
8 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
9 Q. [Mr Irving]: — give or take a few numbers.
10 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
11 Q. [Mr Irving]: And that this was the centre of the atrocity?
12 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]: So if I am to concentrate a large part of my investigation
14 in this cross-examination on that one building and, in
15 fact, on Leichenkeller 1, the one arm of the crematorium,
16 this is not entirely unjustified if I am trying to
17 establish that the factories of death did not exist as
19 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No. I think that that the obvious building to challenge
20 would be crematorium (ii).
21 Q. [Mr Irving]: My Lord, may I show the witness one or two of these
22 photographs so we can identify what we are talking about?
23 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Of course.
24 MR IRVING: It will probably help your Lordship also. This,
25 first of all, is quite a large photograph showing the
26 whole Auschwitz region. If I hold it up, could you point,
1 please, to Birkenhau?
2 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Birkenhau is right here.
3 Q. [Mr Irving]: Birkenhau, so his Lordship can also see it, is the
4 oblong. The witness recognizes the oblong in the centre
5 of the map.
6 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Mr Irving, will you pause a second because
7 this is quite helpful to me because there is a map
8 somewhere in Professor van Pelt’s?
9 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: It is in my report, yes.
10 Q. [Mr Irving]: I would quite like to mark it up because the geography is
11 not all that clear in my mind.
12 MR RAMPTON: It may be your Lordship will do even better with
13 the aerial photographs taken by the Allies in 1944 which
14 are at tab 2 of K2.
15 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Right.
16 MR RAMPTON: They go everywhere from a bird’s eye view, as it
17 were, of the whole complex right through to the detail of
18 the roof of Leichenkellers 2 and 3.
19 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Thank you very much, Mr Rampton. That is
20 very helpful.
21 MR IRVING: Would you now point to Auschwitz 1, what is also
22 called the “stammlager”?
23 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Auschwitz 1 is a kind of more, the stammlager, the
24 compound which is surrounded by barbed wired is right
25 here, but here we see an extension of the stammlager
26 called the “schutzhaftlager erweiterung”. It is under
1 construction. Here are various factories, including
2 Canada 1, which belong to the stammlager but which are
3 outside the barbed wire compound.
4 Q. [Mr Irving]: Am I holding the map the right way up, Professor? Which
5 way is north, can you remember?
6 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: North is right here, so it should go like that.
7 Q. [Mr Irving]: Right. Finally, the big IG Monovitz plant?
8 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: It is more or less where your hand — yes, more or less
9 where your hand is.
10 Q. [Mr Irving]: Is that not the IG Monovitz plant here?
11 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, no, this is the schutzhaftlager — where your hand is,
12 more or less where your hand is, that is where the
14 Q. [Mr Irving]: So Monovitz is down here somewhere?
15 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, down there. Sorry, that will be kind of confusing
16 for the record, but there is another photo in the binder
17 which actually also shows the plant.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]: In fact, if one looks closely at this photograph, one can
19 see a cluster of bombs descending from the American
20 aircraft that took the photograph. We now get much
21 closer, if I may?
22 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Mr Rampton, can you give me the reference in
23 the Leuchter (sic) report for the aerial photographs?
24 MR RAMPTON: In the Leuchter report?
25 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Sorry, in the van Pelt report.
26 MR RAMPTON: To what, my Lord?
1 MR JUSTICE GRAY: The aerial photographs because I have marked
2 up one of them and I cannot actually find the — rather
3 than start again with another one.
4 MR RAMPTON: It is towards the end, I think.
5 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, I thought it was. I am so sorry. Will
6 you forgive me, Mr Irving, just tracking this down?
7 MR RAMPTON: If your Lordship were to start at 370?
8 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Page 49 does show the plant just referred to.
9 MR IRVING: Very well. These two buildings down here, the T
10 shaped buildings, they are the two crematoria (ii) and
11 (iii), is that correct?
12 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: That is correct. May I make one kind of caveat as far as
13 the numbering is concerned? There are documents where
14 these crematoria called (i) and (ii), so sometimes they
15 are called (ii) and (iii), sometimes (i) and (ii). It
16 depends if one crematorium (i) in the stammlager is
17 included in the numeral.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]: We have here, my Lord, a photograph taken relatively
19 recently, within the last few months, from a helicopter
20 showing the site as it now is of these two crematoria, the
21 ruins of the two crematoria. You can see the outline of
22 the two T shaped buildings like they are mirror images of
23 each other. Crematorium (ii), is that correct?
24 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, that is correct.
25 Q. [Mr Irving]: Crematorium (iii), and they are largely in ruins. What is
26 this path that has been laid here? Was that a wartime
1 path, Professor?
2 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, that is a recent path that has just been created
3 because many of the tourists go first to the former
4 women’s camp and then they go through a new bridge and a
5 new opening through the barbed wire fence which surrounds
6 crematorium (ii) to crematorium (ii).
7 Q. [Mr Irving]: While we are just looking at this map, you mentioned the
8 word “tourist”. Is Auschwitz a major tourist attraction,
10 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: At the moment, the tourism has been reduced in past years
11 because it used to be that the Polish Government insisted
12 that all Polish school children would go there. That has
13 changed. So I think that around 500,000 people per year
14 come there.
15 Q. [Mr Irving]: Whilst we are holding this particular map, can you
16 identify what these two circular objects are?
17 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: These are part of a sewage treatment plant.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]: A water purification plant?
19 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes — no, a sewage treatment plant.
20 Q. [Mr Irving]: Well, it is the same thing. It converts sewage into
21 drinkable water?
22 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No. This was not meant to convert sewage into drinkable
23 water. This was created, and we see another one right
24 here, and there was another one started right there,
25 because there were complaints in 1942 when the Birkenhau
26 population started to increase by the authorities in the
1 province of Upper Silesia that the camp was throwing its
2 untreated sewage in the Zola River. So what happened was
3 that the building inspectors of the county said, “If you
4 want to continue to run this concentration camp, you have
5 to take care that you throw cleaned water or the clean
6 sewage into the river”.
7 Q. [Mr Irving]: While we are dealing with the water, this is crematorium
8 (ii), this is the Leichenkeller No. 1 — we will come back
9 to that in a minute on a larger photograph — am
10 I correct?
11 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
12 Q. [Mr Irving]: This is the water treatment plant?
13 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: It is a water treatment plant.
14 Q. [Mr Irving]: If eight kilogrammes of cyanide were put into the water
15 system there, of that particular building, it would not do
16 the water treatment plant any good?
17 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Sorry, this is a sewage treatment plant.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]: Yes, but if it was to be established that there was a link
19 between that building and the sewage treatment plant, the
20 drainage of the one building went into the sewage
21 treatment plant, then this would create a serious problem
22 for the environment, eight kilogrammes on a regular basis
23 of hydrogen cyanide being fed —-
24 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I cannot comment on how much cyanide — how
25 quickly cyanide would be diluted. Certainly, a sewage
26 treatment plant is taking many kinds of refuse in its
1 operation. One would have to talk to a chemist what
2 ultimately the kind of danger of the dilution of hydrogen
3 cyanide would be, but we must not forget that most of the
4 hydrogen cyanide in the Leichenkeller 1 was used as a gas
5 and was evacuated through a chimney and not through the
7 Q. [Mr Irving]: Very well. But we have heard that it is a heavier than
8 air gas?
9 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No. It is slightly lighter. It is not much lighter. It
10 rises slowly, but there was a large ventilation system in
11 the crematorium and there was an exhaust pipe on top of
12 the crematorium through which the air in the Leichenkeller
13 1 or gas chamber could be evacuated.
14 Q. [Mr Irving]: While we are looking at this particular map, will you show
15 us, please, the railroad spur which ends between the two
17 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: We see the end of the railroad spur right there.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]: Which is the platform, therefore, where the notorious
19 selections are said to have taken place?
20 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: This is the end of the platform where the selections took
Section 59.22 to 72.24
22 Q. [Mr Irving]: So they would be marched off then — what happened to the
23 people who arrived by train on that railroad platform?
24 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
25 Q. [Mr Irving]: What happened to them?
26 MR JUSTICE GRAY: That was a question.
1 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: A selection took place at a particular point halfway, that
2 platform, and this is, we are now talking about a
3 situation in 1944, since the spur was only completed in
4 1944 for the Hungarian action, and the most usual
5 operation was that the selection took place halfway, that
6 platform, in which men and women were lined up in four
7 rows. One row of women to the east and a line of women to
8 the west of that point, and two lines of men, again one to
9 the east and one to the west, and right in the centre
10 selection took place and then people were either sent into
11 the camp or sent to the crematorium.
12 MR JUSTICE GRAY: My impression is that a similar, the spur may
13 not have been there, selection process operated during
14 1943 as well, did it not?
15 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The section process in 1943 was different since it
16 happened at the so-called Judens rampe. A Juden rampe
17 was, basically, an unloading point along the main railway
18 corridor. I can point it out on this aerial photo. This
19 is the main railway corridor connecting, basically, Vienna
20 and there is one going to Berlin here and Cracow and
21 Warsaw; and exactly at this point, at this point, there
22 are still the remains also of a rampe, a platform, where
23 the trains with Jews would be unloaded and then a
24 selection took place here. Then people who were admitted
25 to the camp walked to the camp and the people who were
26 selected to die, if they still could walk, would walk, but
1 otherwise were taken on trucks to the gas chambers of the
2 crematoria or the gas chambers of bunker 1 and 2.
3 MR IRVING: May I ask you some questions about that selection
4 process now, please? On what basis was the selection for
5 life or death conducted?
6 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: It would depend really on the situation. The policies of
7 the Germans seem to have been different at different
8 times. To give one example, as a general rule, let us
9 first say for a general rule, one could say that, as far
10 as gentiles was concerned, and gentiles were sent to
11 Auschwitz, there was no selection on arrival. For
12 example, Poles, a large group of Polish children came to
13 Auschwitz from the Zamoska area and were admitted to the
14 camp, and you can go to the present women’s camp and there
15 are barracks specially for children with paintings and the
16 bits of school, and so on.
17 Q. [Mr Irving]: At what age does one cease to be a child?
18 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: In Auschwitz, I would say around 12 or 13 years.
19 Q. [Mr Irving]: What age was Anne Frank when she arrived in Auschwitz?
20 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Oh, she would have been 15.
21 Q. [Mr Irving]: About 15?
22 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
23 Q. [Mr Irving]: Yes. Did she fall ill in Auschwitz?
24 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I do not think so. I think she fell ill when she came to
26 Q. [Mr Irving]: Did any members of her family fall in Auschwitz and where
1 they housed in a hospital in Auschwitz, her father or her
2 sister, Margot?
3 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Her mother fell ill and ultimately died, and her father
4 fell ill and was admitted to the Lazarett.
5 Q. [Mr Irving]: So these were six Jews, unemployable six Jews, who were
6 housed in the hospital in Auschwitz?
7 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, but again one — as I started to give my original
8 presentation, my Lord, and maybe I can finish it?
9 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, we will come back to Anne Frank if you
10 want to. You have dealt with —-
11 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I would like —-
12 Q. [Mr Irving]: He was dealing with the various ways in which the
13 selection process occurred. If it was non-Jews, then
14 there was no selection process. That is as far as you
15 have got.
16 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: There was no selection process. If it were Jews, then it
17 depends on which town we are speaking of and what is the
18 kind of transport that arrived. For example, in early
19 1942 transports arrived of Jews who were sent to Auschwitz
20 under the umbrella of what is called the Operation Schmelt
21 which was a local work programme for Jews in Upper
23 There the selection took place at the factories
24 and people who could not work any more in the Operation
25 Schmelt were sent to Jews and were killed there without
26 selection. So there was no selection there in Auschwitz.
1 Selection had happened somewhere else.
2 In general, what happened was that transports
3 arrived and sometimes transport arrived in Auschwitz where
4 again the selection had taken place somewhere else. For
5 example, the Slovac transport which arrived in 1942, most
6 of the early Slovac transports were Jews who had already
7 been selected back in Slovakia in transits camps as being
8 fit for work in Auschwitz. No selection was applied to
9 these transports.
10 Then at a certain moment transports start to
11 arrive where no selection takes place at the point of
12 departure, and then the selection will take place in
13 Auschwitz, where again the situation can be different.
14 Sometimes all children and all old people are selected to
15 die and younger people are selected to live, but again
16 there are exceptions.
17 MR IRVING: May I interrupt you at this point and ask you what
18 is the documentary basis for these remarks you have been
19 making over the last two or three minutes? Is it all
20 eyewitness evidence or are there any documents at all in
21 the captured archives to support this, any document
23 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The main source of this is eyewitness evidence. There are
24 documents which talk about that, that transport arrives
25 and only so many arbeitsfahige Juden have been admitted to
26 the camp, which means Jews were fit to work. It does not
1 specify the fate of the others.
2 Q. [Mr Irving]: So far as the documents go, we are left in suspense as to
3 what happens to them and we rely entirely on the
4 eyewitness evidence of those left behind, so to speak, as
5 to what happened to their loved, nearest and dearest?
6 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: It is obvious that, when a transport of, let us say, 2,000
7 Jews arrived and only 900 or 600 people are committed to
8 camp, of course the question is raised what happens to the
9 other people. Then at that moment I think eyewitness
10 testimony, both from Jews and Germans, becomes quite valid
11 as a historical source.
12 MR JUSTICE GRAY: You get the disparity between those two
13 figures from the numbers given on the documents relating
14 to the trains that were arriving at Auschwitz?
15 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
16 MR IRVING: So, in other words, we are reliant entirely on the
17 eyewitness testimony?
18 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: We do not rely entirely. We know at a certain movement
19 that so many people arrived, so many people were
20 considered fit for work and then, of course, there are the
21 registration numbers. There is a great disparity between
22 what we know about the number of transports arrived there
23 and the number of Jews who worked at Auschwitz, and the
24 number of people who were registered there, because, with
25 two exceptions again, registration happened consecutively,
26 which means a number that had been given out once was not
1 given out a second time.
2 Q. [Mr Irving]: What is the total number of registration numbers that we
3 know about in Auschwitz, in round figures?
4 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Around 400,000.
5 Q. [Mr Irving]: So around 400,000 of these hapless people arrived in
6 Auschwitz, were given registration numbers and officially
7 existed, and the rest had no registration numbers and they
8 just were disposed of in some way. Is that what you are
10 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
11 Q. [Mr Irving]: Yes, but as to how they were disposed of, alas, the
12 archives tell us nothing, neither the Moscow archives nor
13 the Polish archives. We are reliant on eyewitness
14 testimony and on our own common sense?
15 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: And at a certain moment a careful investigation of the
16 machinery of murder, in this case the crematoria.
17 Q. [Mr Irving]: Which comes back to crematorium number 2 effectively?
18 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I think the Professor wants to add
20 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I would like maybe to complete my account of selection.
21 There are one or two other categories, I think, that
22 I need to mention before we close on this.
23 MR IRVING: We have not closed on it. We are going to come
24 back to it.
25 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Let him finish with the various
1 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I must mention that, for example, in 1943 and 1944 a
2 number of Jews transports arrived from Theresienstadt
3 where none of these people were selected, with children
4 and old people were housed in what is called a
5 Theresienstadt lager in Auschwitz, so Jews’ children at
6 that time were admitted to Auschwitz, and also old
7 people. That was part of a camouflage action by the SS
8 because they feared, or they expected, a Red Cross
9 inspection of Theresienstadt and wanted to be able to
10 account for the people who had been sent to Auschwitz.
11 MR IRVING: What is your documentary basis for making that
13 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The documentary basis?
14 Q. [Mr Irving]: For making the statement that this transport arrived from
15 Theresienstadt, that it was properly housed in Auschwitz
16 and the Theresienstadt camp, and that the reason for that
17 was to prepare camouflage against the Red Cross
19 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I have to rely here on the historians of Auschwitz. I
20 have not studied the history of the Theresienstadt Jews
21 myself. I rely here on people like Atler, who has written
22 the definitive history of the Theresienstadt ghetto.
23 I have not done any specific research into the history of
24 Theresienstadt lager.
25 Q. [Mr Irving]: While we are talking about the histories of Auschwitz, do
26 you agree that there is a high degree of politicization of
1 the writing of history about camps like Auschwitz. If
2 I can put it like that?
3 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: To be very honest, I have always been surprised how little
4 politicization there has been. In general, I must say
5 that, with the exception of the number of victims, I find
6 Jan Sehn’s history still remarkably useful. You know Jan
7 Sehn wrote his history in 1945/46. I have been very
8 impressed in general by the professionalism of the
9 historians at Auschwitz, and in general I must say that
10 for the people who have looked seriously at this camp I do
11 not have too many complaints. Now, it is of course true
12 that new source material has become available and new
13 historical questions have been asked. I think one of the
14 reasons that you were so interested in my book was because
15 I introduced a lot of new kind of evidence about the
16 history of the camp. But in general I must say that
17 I think that most people have acted very responsibly, and
18 with very few kinds of political prejudices in relation to
19 the history of Auschwitz.
20 Q. [Mr Irving]: The site of Auschwitz has not really changed very much
21 since the end of World War II, apart from the barracks
22 being torn down and recycled. Can you explain to the
23 court, please, why it is that in the very earliest
24 references to Auschwitz, published by the Russians after
25 the capture of the camp in January 1945, there is no
26 reference whatsoever to the discovery of gas chambers, but
1 any number of references to other atrocities being
2 committed there?
3 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I would like to comment on the document, but I would like
4 it see it in front of me.
5 Q. [Mr Irving]: Very well.
6 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I think that, if we are going to interpret in this case an
7 historical source, we should go carefully and slowly.
8 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I think that is fair.
9 MR IRVING: That is quite fair, my Lord, and tomorrow, with
10 your Lordship’s permission, I will bring the translation
11 of the appropriate account. Can you explain also why the
12 New York Times, in its account published in April 1945,
13 referred to 5 million people having been exterminated in
14 the camp? This is at the other end of the extreme.
15 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I would like to see it before I comment.
16 Q. [Mr Irving]: Very well.
17 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I can do that now if you give it to me or I can do it
19 Q. [Mr Irving]: I have another New York Times item here. New York Times,
20 November 25th 1947, I will be happy to show it to you.
21 I will read it out. It is a very brief paragraph: “44
22 Nazi officials of the notorious Auschwitz extermination
23 camp accused of responsibility for the killing of 300,000
24 prisoners from a dozen European countries went on trial
25 today before the Supreme National Tribunal.”
26 Can you explain the figure of 300,000 in 1947,
1 with the Auschwitz officials being put on trial in Krakow
2 in Poland by the Polish authorities?
3 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: My Lord, this is a number which also has come up in a
4 newsreel of the trial which was shown in German cinemas.
5 The 300,000 quite literally is, as it is mentioned here,
6 prisoners from a dozen European countries. It was a
7 number which, until the late 1980s, was also in the
8 Auschwitz museum. It only referred to the actual people
9 who had been imprisoned in the camp.
10 MR JUSTICE GRAY: And registered?
11 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: And registered. It did not refer to the people who had
12 not been registered.
13 MR IRVING: Well,, Professor, would you not agree that the
14 court is entitled to find that a rather extraordinary
15 explanation? On the one hand, we are told that 4 million
16 people had been killed in Auschwitz, and yet these people
17 were being put on trial for the murder of 300,000. There
18 is no mention of the other 4 million in round figures.
19 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The facts are the facts, Mr Irving. I have studied this
20 issue of the 300,000 where this number came from. It was
21 a number that refers to registered prisoners. I do not
22 know why the Polish court decided at the certain moment to
23 make that issue the issue on which they were going to
24 prosecute the people who were accused in Auschwitz.
25 Q. [Mr Irving]: Without any reference to the larger figure which was being
26 set aside. I can appreciate that, in the case of a
1 murderer who has been accused of murdering 20 people, a
2 court may decide to prosecute just on one murder, but at
3 least they would mention the fact that 19 other cases were
4 taken into consideration.
5 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, but, my Lord, I have made a very careful study of the
6 trial of the architects of Auschwitz. Maybe I can answer
7 by just telling you in short that, during the trial of the
8 architect Dejaco in Vienna in 1972, the prosecution
9 ultimately tried to have him condemned for murder of one
10 inmate on a building site. Now maybe you can explain to
11 us or to someone else why this would be a proper way to
12 proceed, but they ultimately did not want to take him, to
13 actually challenge his statement that he had nothing do
14 with the blue prints, that they had been made in Vienna.
15 They just executed him, but an incredible amount of
16 testimony was heard on this particular incident in which
17 he would have drowned in a large bucket of water, this
18 particular inmate who was not pulling his weight on the
19 building site.
20 Q. [Mr Irving]: Can I interrupt you at this point and say that it is true
21 that both Defendants were acquitted, were they not?
22 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Ertl was not officially acquitted, but his status remained
23 kind of unclear.
24 Q. [Mr Irving]: I am not an expert on Austrian law, but certainly under
25 English they law they could have then reprosecuted him on
26 any one of the other murders. They could have had him
1 back up before the beak but yet they did not. He was set
2 free. Both Defendants were set free and never prosecuted
3 again although they were the architects whose names appear
4 on those blue prints which were in your hands in
5 Auschwitz. Is this not a remarkable comment on the state
6 of the evidence?
7 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I think it is a remarkable comment on the way the Austrian
8 court operated. I have all the files in my possession.
9 Certainly after I came out of months of studying the files
10 in the courtroom there, I must say that I lost much of my
11 respect at least for Austrian justice. They had all the
12 documentation from Auschwitz. They had all the blue
13 prints. They had all the documents which had been
14 under discussion, for example, in my expert report with
15 two or three exceptions only. They got material from
16 Moscow for this trial. They had the blue prints there and
17 they were never consulted.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]: And yet they were acquitted. So it was a perverse result,
19 in other words?
20 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: It was a very perverse result and I think that, if indeed
21 an expert witness had been brought in to look at those
22 documents carefully, they would not have been acquitted.
23 Q. [Mr Irving]: Very well. You had these documents before you at the time
24 you wrote your book “1270 to the present”?
25 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Which documents?
26 Q. [Mr Irving]: The Ertl trial document. I had the Ertl trial documents.
1 Q. [Mr Irving]: Were you aware of the 1947 figure of 300,000?
2 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I was aware of that figure.
3 Q. [Mr Irving]: And that the German newsreel in January 1948 again said
4 that in the judgment passed on these 40 men, many of whom
5 were hanged, they were hanged for the murder of 300,000
6 people in Auschwitz?
7 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I did not know the newsreel.
8 MR JUSTICE GRAY: The 300,000 were not grassed, presumably, if
9 they were registered prisoners?
10 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Some of them would have been gassed. Others would have
11 been beaten to death. Some of them would have been killed
12 with phenyl injections. People would have been shot and
13 people maybe would have died from beatings or other
15 MR IRVING: Did you make any reference to these lower figures
16 at all in your book on Auschwitz?
17 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, I did not, because I think these figures were
19 Q. [Mr Irving]: Were irrelevant?
20 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Were irrelevant. The book ultimately presents a cumulative
21 figure of all the deaths in Auschwitz, both of people who
22 have died as a result of murder immediately after their
23 arrival and of people who have died after having been
24 registered in the camp.
Section 72.24 to 87.24
25 Q. [Mr Irving]: You are familiar, no doubt, with the book written by
26 Professor Arno Mayer, “Why did the heavens not darken”, in
1 which this Professor of Princetown University, who was
2 himself Jewish and who cannot be called a Holocaust denier
3 presumably, said that most of the deaths at Auschwitz in
4 his opinion were from what he called natural causes, and
5 that a very small percentage had been criminally killed in
6 the accepted sense. What is your response to that?
7 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: That I am very happy to discuss the exact statement of
8 Professor Mayer if I have the text in front of me. I have
9 referred to him in my expert report. If you are happy to
10 deal with my excerpt in the expert report, I am happy to
11 look for it, but I am not going to comment in general on
12 what Professor Mayer said without having the text.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]: So are you saying in other words that you think Mayer is
14 wrong? He got it wrong?
15 MR JUSTICE GRAY: No. I think he is saying, I cannot comment
16 on a document which is not in front of me. Unfortunately,
17 it is not a document, it is a book.
18 MR IRVING: Do you not agree that I accurately precis-ed what
19 he said?
20 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I do not think you do that. I do not think this is
21 accurate, what you said.
22 Q. [Mr Irving]: That Arno Mayer said that, in his opinion, most of the
23 deaths in Auschwitz were through natural causes rather
24 than from criminal intent?
25 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Again, I am not going to comment on this text. The
26 question was, did you appropriately precis Mayer’s
1 argument? I do not think so. It is a rather long
2 argument. I know it has been taken out of context many
3 times, and Mayer’s text has been taken as “in admission”
4 that indeed Auschwitz was not an extermination camp.
5 Q. [Mr Irving]: It is difficult to see how you can take that remark out of
6 context. It seemed to be a very pithy summing up by him,
7 which has been very widely quoted and caused much
8 indignation, I agree, in the Jewish community. He may of
9 course be totally wrong.
10 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Professor van Pelt’s position is again,
11 I think, a fair one. If you want him to comment on what
12 Mayer concluded, then he must have the right to look at
13 the document.
14 MR IRVING: Very well, my Lord. I will not delay the court by
15 looking for that document now, but certainly we will refer
16 to it —-
17 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I am trying to find the reference to it in
18 Professor van Pelt.
19 MR RAMPTON: Page 590, my Lord.
20 MR JUSTICE GRAY: It is not where I would have expected.
21 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: It is at page 629, 620.
22 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I assumed it was at the beginning.
23 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: It a little earlier also. It is actually in 89 that Mayer
24 published his book. And so here, 594 and 592, all Mayer,
25 590. It starts at 590.
26 MR IRVING: My Lord, I think possibly I shall leave this until
1 after the luncheon adjournment and come back with chapter
2 and verse.
3 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Whichever you wish.
4 MR IRVING: Because we are rather drifting away from the actual
5 camp site, which is the way I was hoping to take this
6 cross-examination. If I may produce the photographs
7 again, we had concentrated on crematorium number 2, where
8 you said that 500,000 people (in round figures) had been
9 killed by the Nazis in that one buildings, this you called
10 the geographical centre of any map of atrocities, a very
11 telling phrase. Would you tell the court what this little
12 building is down there?
13 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes. It seems to be a pump building.
14 Q. [Mr Irving]: No. Would you accept from me that this is a coal bunker?
15 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: A coal bunker?
16 Q. [Mr Irving]: Or coke bunker.
17 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I thought you meant another one. This particular thing
19 Q. [Mr Irving]: Yes.
20 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
21 Q. [Mr Irving]: That is a coke bunker. I have not got equipment here for
22 measuring the size of that bunker, but it appears to be
23 about 10 feet square, in other words a very small space.
24 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: It seems to be a larger to me from what I remember but,
25 again, 10 feet, 13 feet square, whatever. It is not a
26 very large bunker.
1 Q. [Mr Irving]: Not very large bunker for holding the fuel supplies for
2 fuelling a mass incineration programme, I believe
3 Mr Rampton would have called it, for incinerating hundreds
4 of thousands of bodies?
5 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: May I remind you, Mr Irving, that also in the crematorium
6 itself was a very large coke storage space right next to
7 the incineration building.
8 Q. [Mr Irving]: Yes, I am familiar with the position of that in the
9 drawings of the building. Not very much larger than that
10 little hut outside?
11 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I think it will be probably possible to establish the size
12 of that when we consult a plan, and I am happy to consult
13 the plans in my trial bundle.
14 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Was there a coke bunker in each crematorium
15 or just one?
16 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Each crematorium has its own coke bunker, yes.
17 MR IRVING: It is also right to say that these crematoria were
18 adapted to burn trash as well, the regular camp trash that
19 came in?
20 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The trash furnace in crematorium 2 was never installed.
21 There was a trash furnace in crematorium 3, largely used
22 to burn identity papers of people, and there were no trash
23 incinerators in 4 and 5.
24 Q. [Mr Irving]: Very well. The last picture that I wish to show the court
25 and the witness and ask a question on is this large
26 picture. This is crematorium number 2. You can see the
1 scale of it from the people standing down there, the
2 tourists who arrived up that path, and this is
3 Leichenkeller number 1, morgue number 1, on which we have
4 now zeroed in, in other words.
5 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
6 Q. [Mr Irving]: Mortuary number 1?
7 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Morgue number 1.
8 Q. [Mr Irving]: Will you describe the condition of that building, that
9 particular mortuary, which is the one that you pointed at
10 and said 5 “00,000 people died here”, or you also said
11 “this is the instrument with which millions were
13 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: We just saw the state of that room in more detail when we
14 looked at the film clip. When we see Fred Leuchter
15 measuring, together with his assistant, the size of the
16 ruins, and there is my voice-over saying that Fred
17 Leuchter is no Sherlock Holmes, we are actually looking at
18 the site of the morgue 1 of crematorium 2.
19 Q. [Mr Irving]: Was this building destroyed by the Nazis or by the
20 Russians, I think there is some dispute on this, at the
21 end of World War II?
22 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The evidence points to the fact that the Nazis destroyed
23 this building in two phases, and specially morgue 1.
24 First of all, that when the gassing ceased in late 1944 we
25 have the testimony of sonderkommandos and others that the
26 gas chambers were dismantled, which means that the actual
1 installation within the morgue number 1 and of crematorium
2 2 and number 3, which had been created to adapt this room
3 into a gas chamber, was removed, and that later the shell
4 of the room, so to speak, was destroyed by dynamiting. It
5 was a very detailed account of one sonderkommando, how
6 they actually made holes in the columns. Dynamite is put
7 in it and ultimately, in the case of crematorium 2, all
8 the columns collapsed, with the exception of one. In
9 crematorium 3 they were more successful and virtually
10 everything collapsed there. So what you have now in
11 crematorium 2 is that we have the remains of a concrete
12 roof, which is basically collapsed on the floor.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]: It is pancaked downwards?
14 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: It is pancaked downwards. One column is still there and
15 in some way it has folded over, that one column.
16 Q. [Mr Irving]: So there are reinforced steel bars inside the roof?
17 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Reinforced steel bars in the roof yes, and there is a hole
18 right next to the column, and that is the hole through
19 which Fred Leuchter climbed into that space at a certain
20 moment. It is a very tiny space under that roof.
21 Q. [Mr Irving]: When do you say this happened? In 1945?
22 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The demolition of the gassing equipment happened in late
23 1944, November 44, and the ultimate demolition, the final
24 demolition, of the crematoria happened in January 45.
25 MR IRVING: Just so that we can get this quite straight, the
26 evidence for this is verbal evidence from a member of the
2 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes. There are no construction documents about the
3 demolition. Also, the construction office had been closed
4 for some time.
5 Q. [Mr Irving]: Are there any written orders from the camp commandant or
6 from Liebehenschel or from some other official saying,
7 I order that this building must be destroyed for whatever
9 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: There are no records but I have to point out that the
10 archive of the commandant, which was virtually
11 systematically destroyed, began in that same period of the
12 evacuation and that only by accident the bauleitung papers
13 survived because they were forgotten.
14 Q. [Mr Irving]: I was about to come on to that, Professor. Is it not
15 extraordinary that the Nazis in their ruthless efficiency
16 would go round destroying buildings and removing
17 incriminating equipment which might have helped us very
18 much today in this courtroom otherwise, but at the same
19 time they allowed the Red Army to capture the entire
20 construction files without the slightest murmur?
21 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: There are reasons for that which have to do with first the
22 fact that the construction office was closed at the end of
23 1944 but none of the architects any more dared to oversee
24 the destruction of the archive. They have been drafted
25 back into the SS to fight on the Eastern Front, which by
26 then had more or less come to Auschwitz. Second of all,
1 that the architecture office was at some distance from the
2 camp itself and that there were two archives in the camp,
3 one archive which was kept in the kommandantur, where
4 people were until the very end, people who could attend to
5 the destruction of incriminating evidence, and then there
6 was in the Bauleitungbaracke, which was at some distance
7 and I can point it out on the air photo if you want, this
8 second archive which had been bundled up and simply was
10 Q. [Mr Irving]: So the Nazis remembered to destroy the buildings and
11 remembered to take out every nut and bolt which might have
12 helped us today, but they allowed the Russians to capture
13 all the incriminating paperwork, except that it is not
14 very incriminating either?
15 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I do not think that simply they allowed. I do not think
16 that by early 1945, as the Russian Army was pushing
17 through and Silesia was on the point of collapse, that the
18 German Army was still very efficient or the SS in
19 Auschwitz. I mean they were on the run and they were in a
21 Q. [Mr Irving]: A bit of panic and these things just got left behind?
22 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
23 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Mr Irving, I have a feel there is a
24 suggestion lurking there and I want to try and put my
25 finger on it. Are you suggesting that what the Russians
26 captured were not authentic documents, or what the
1 Russians had produced were not authentic documents?
2 MR IRVING: No, my Lord, totally the opposite. I am sorry I am
3 being so frightfully obtuse in my cross-examination.
4 MR JUSTICE GRAY: No, you are not. You are doing very well but
5 I want to understand the suggestion.
6 MR IRVING: I am indebted to my Lord. The reason I am asking
7 this is for two reasons. I am laying a bit of a trap, if
8 I may put it like that, which will be sprung either before
9 or after lunch.
10 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I see. Then I will not enquire any further.
11 MR IRVING: I wanted to bring to your Lordship’s attention the
12 detail that the incriminating equipment that had
13 apparently been carefully dismantled, every nut and bolt,
14 and yet they had allowed all these records to fall into
15 Russian hands, which does seem odd.
16 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I know, but I was wondering what the
17 underlying suggestion is. You develop it after lunch.
18 MR IRVING: We have discovered in fact that the Nazis were in a
19 blue funk and in a terrible panic and just anxious to get
20 away. How far away? Was the Russian line stationary for
21 sometime on the River Vistula?
22 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The Russian offensive of either the second Ukrainian Front
23 and the Russian Front started moving on 12th January.
24 Q. [Mr Irving]: 12th January 1945, yes, in the early hours?
25 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Until then it had been stationary. That is also one of
26 the reasons that the Auschwitz camp remained from, let us
1 say, November 1944 until that offensive began on 12th
2 January in a kind of limbo state. Then, after that
3 offensive started on 12th January, in fact the decision
4 was taken, no document again but a decision was taken, to
5 actually evacuate the camp population and to destroy the
6 most incriminating parts of the crematorium.
7 Q. [Mr Irving]: So how far away was the Russian front during that limbo
8 period, in rough terms, 20 miles, 50 miles?
9 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No. I think they were — they were substantially east of
10 Cracow still at the time.
11 Q. [Mr Irving]: On the River Vistula that basically was not there —–
12 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes — no, no, but the River Vistual more to the east. At
13 that time they would have been as south as Auschwitz.
14 They would probably have been, I would say, 100/150
15 kilometres away.
16 Q. [Mr Irving]: Very well. So we have narrowed it down to this building
17 which has collapsed. The roof, as we see it in the air
18 photographs, is in a mess. Beneath that roof we would
19 have found all the equipment, bits and pieces, that would
20 have been incriminating, but the Russians — somebody blew
21 up the building and it pancaked downwards, this roof, and
22 for some reason the archeologists have never gone in there
23 to find out what is still there, have they?
24 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No. People, I mean, Fred Leuchter went down there. I
25 mean, it is on this tape.
26 Q. [Mr Irving]: Hats off to Fred Leuchter, in other words —-
1 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: But, I mean, which archeologist, I mean, what kind of
2 expedition are you looking at? I mean, I do not think
3 that many archeologists would have been particularly
4 interested, given all the choices available in doing
5 archaeology, in actually going down into that very small
6 space under the roof to do their investigations there.
7 Q. [Mr Irving]: Not only in this particular building, of course, there are
8 many archaeological sites around the Auschwitz camp,
9 I would have thought, which would have helped to solve a
10 lot of questions. For example, mass graves, burning pits,
11 which could have been investigated with modern
12 archeological means like proton magnetometers, something
13 which would detect the pattern of burning, things like
14 this. Has any investigation like that been conducted by
15 the Polish or any other authorities?
16 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: As far as I know not.
17 Q. [Mr Irving]: Yes. But investigations like that have been conducted at
18 one or two other sites, though, have they not? I think
19 recently at Treblinka or Maidanek?
20 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: At the moment very big investigations have been done in
21 Belzec, and part of this is as a result of the
22 transformation of Belzec, to create actually a monument in
23 Belzec, and like many of these, you know, when, in fact,
24 you are going to make a change to the site, you want to
25 know, first of all, what the site is, and let us say in
26 Rome, when you put up a new apartment building, you first
1 send in the archeologist to see what is below there. So
2 Belzec is — actually still very serious work is being
3 done right now.
4 Q. [Mr Irving]: Am I right in saying the investigations being done at
5 Belzec are roughly into discovering the size of any mass
7 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: They are finding large mass graves and I have not seen
8 detailed results.
9 Q. [Mr Irving]: Have they been able to quantify the size of the mass
11 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I have only this by hearsay, what the size of mass graves
12 are. I mean, that these are large mass graves, I cannot
13 further comment on it.
14 MR JUSTICE GRAY: But would investigating to find if there are
15 any mass graves at Auschwitz cast light on the problem we
16 have here, which is whether there were gas chambers
17 because, as I understand it, if you have gas chambers and
18 you have crematoria, you are not going to need mass
19 graves. Indeed, that was one of the reasons why they were
20 built in the first place.
21 MR IRVING: My Lord, if I may interrupt your Lordship, the
22 victims of these mass liquidations, like the liquidation
23 of the Hungarians in the spring of 1944, as I understand
24 it, alleged to have been partly cremated in the equipment
25 we see here and partly cremated in open burning pits or,
26 alternatively, buried for a time and then dug up again and
1 cremated subsequently. These alleged sites, would it be
2 correct to say, Professor van Pelt, cannot be identified
3 on any aerial photographs or have not been identified on
4 any aerial photographers, large pits or mass graves?
5 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I do not think that the right analysis has been done on
6 air photographs. Certainly when you go to the site, when
7 you go to what is called the field of ashes, you walk
8 through it, you see it, you see the remains of large
9 burning pits. So, I mean, and I can testify with some
10 knowledge, I have been at that site and I have seen the
11 remains of these enormous burning pits, and I have picked
12 up remains at the site.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]: What kind of remains?
14 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Of burnt bodies.
15 Q. [Mr Irving]: Of bodies?
16 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes. I mean, I have picked up burned bones which,
17 obviously, have in some way been reduced to ashes. This
18 was in 1990. I went there with Mr Pressec. Mr Pressec
19 showed me the site. We spent a lot of time at the site.
20 I have been there many times since.
21 Q. [Mr Irving]: Of course, when you operate a crematorium, they do not
22 reduce the cadavers to pure ash, do they? They do
23 generate bone as well as ash? Not many people know this,
24 but they generate large lumps of bone which have to be
25 pulverized or milled down?
26 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
1 Q. [Mr Irving]: Was there a bone mill attached to these crematoria?
2 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No. The sonderkommando, they give in detail accounts of
3 how they had to take out the parts of the body that were
4 not reduced to ashes, and with either wooden or metal
5 implements crushing them into pulp.
6 Q. [Mr Irving]: These might very well be the remains that you found in the
7 field of ashes?
8 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The field of ashes is quite far away from the
9 crematorium. I think it would have been very unlikely
10 that people would have carried those things from the
11 crematorium to the field of ashes. One of the problems is
12 that there is a barbed wired fence in between the two
13 places. There is also a very deep ditch between the
14 places, and that would have been very unusual. Also, the
15 pits themselves are visible. You see in the landscape
16 actually that there is a cavity there.
17 Q. [Mr Irving]: So what did they actually do with these remains, the bone
18 fragments that came out of the crematoria that had been
19 pulverized by the sonderkommandos? There must have been
20 very substantial quantities, tonnes and tonnes of them?
21 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: All the ashes — again there was an exception to this
22 general account I am going to give me now, but in general
23 the ashes and the crushed bones were combined, and at
24 regular intervals with a truck were brought to the Vistula
25 River which is very close by. Actually, it is visible on
26 the photos and it was dumped in the river.
1 The exception is that at certain times the truck
2 broke down, especially in the Hungarian action, that this
3 was impossible to do; and then there have been occasions
4 in which the ashes were actually dumped in one particular
5 pond near crematorium (iv).
6 The other exception, and this is on the basis of
7 eyewitness testimony — again no documents — is that in
8 the winter sometimes the ashes were used to actually throw
9 on the iced roads in the camp in order to make them more
10 convenient for everyone.
11 Q. [Mr Irving]: What is the evidence for that rather lurid story?
12 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: This is the evidence, eyewitness testimony, for example,
13 of Mr Bacon who testified in the Eichmann trial in
15 Q. [Mr Irving]: He is, presumably, Jewish, therefore?
16 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
17 Q. [Mr Irving]: I am not suggesting that it makes him in any way
18 unreliable, of course, but I am suggesting that possibly
19 he may have derived advantage from giving that kind of
20 testimony in Jerusalem in the Eichmann trial.
21 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Can I ask a related question which I should
22 have gathered the answer to but I do not know?
23 Sonderkommando, were they all in inmates who were, as it
24 were, put to work?
Section 87.25 to 108.04
25 MR IRVING: I was going to come to that, my Lord. I was going
26 to ask for identity of —-
1 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Were you? Can I not ask the question now
2 just so I know the answer?
3 MR IRVING: Yes.
4 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The sonderkommando were prisoners, people selected either
5 on arrival or maybe sometimes a little later from the
6 general prisoner population, who were going to work in the
7 crematoria. They were housed either in the crematoria,
8 especially from ’44 onwards, but originally also in the
9 men’s camp in a special kind of barrack which was isolated
10 from the other barracks with their own courtyard, and
11 these inmates, 1944, when four crematoria were in
12 operation and a group of 800 inmates, so roughly 200 per
13 crematorium, working in two shifts of 12 hours each, so it
14 would be 100 people at any crematorium at any time,
15 operated the crematoria and were, again on the basis of
16 eyewitness testimony, at regular intervals these groups
17 were renewed after sometime.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]: That is a very complete answer. Would there be anyone who
19 could be described as a sonderkommando who was, in fact, a
20 Nazi camp official?
21 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No.
22 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Thank you.
23 MR IRVING: These sonderkommandos were all people who had been
24 previously very endangered, of course, they were potential
25 victims, and the story is that, as you hinted at the end,
26 they were recycled, they were fed into the furnaces with
1 their — have I understood correctly what your innuendo
2 was — at the end of their period of usefulness they were
3 disposed of?
4 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, I would just like to ask you, you used the word
5 “previously”, what you exactly —-
6 Q. [Mr Irving]: Were they previously endangered? In other words, were
7 they people who might otherwise have been exterminated,
8 but they were given the option, “Do this job and you, like
9 Scheherizada, you will continue to survive for a while”?
10 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No. Actually, you know, I thank God every day I was never
11 in Auschwitz, but, given the choice, if I was in the man’s
12 camp and given the opportunity to get the job of
13 sonderkommando, I would have tried to get out of it with
14 any, whatever possibility because it was a very dangerous
16 Q. [Mr Irving]: It was a kind of trustee, what we would call a trustee in
18 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, it is not at all, Mr Irving. A sonderkommando was a
19 — I mean, people knew what was happening in the
20 crematoria. At a certain moment — I mean, a recent book
21 has been published by a research of the Avwaschen(?). “We
22 cried without tears” is the title, which is a quote from
23 one of the sonderkommando. This man has systematically
24 started to interview surviving sonderkommandos. In all
25 these accounts you see that people were appointed
26 sonderkommandos without asked if they wanted to do this,
1 and that many of them realized it was a sentence of death.
2 Q. [Mr Irving]: Because?
3 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: And tried to get out of it.
4 Q. [Mr Irving]: Because?
5 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Because they knew that the reason they were appointed as
6 sonderkommandos, or they were selected as sonderkommandos,
7 was because the group which had been sonderkommandos
8 before had been eliminated.
9 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, but why did they eliminate them?
10 Because they were able to bear witness?
11 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Because they were able to bear witness and, yes, you do
12 not want — and also, I do not know, I do not know what
13 happens, you know, we talk about Stockholm syndromes, and
14 so on. I do not know at a certain moment what happens
15 exactly between the SS and the sonderkommandos in the
16 crematoria but probably.
17 MR IRVING: A kind of symbiosis?
18 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: What kind of symbiosis did emerge within at a moment these
19 communities which formed themselves in the crematoria.
20 Q. [Mr Irving]: So we can be specific about what we are talking about
21 here, call a spade a spade, would it be right to say that
22 a large number of these sonderkommando members were Jewish
24 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: By definition, they were Jewish.
25 Q. [Mr Irving]: By definition, they were all Jewish?
26 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
1 Q. [Mr Irving]: I did not appreciate that. So, in other words, all these
2 eyewitnesses who were sonderkommandos were Jewish, the
3 ones who are telling these appalling accounts of what they
5 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes. If they are Jews and they have survived to bear
6 witness, then these are Jews who bear witness, yes.
7 Q. [Mr Irving]: They have done these horrible things. They have taken
8 part in this appalling crime committed by the Nazis. They
9 have been a participant in it, and this must have been a
10 traumatic experience for them?
11 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Primo Laffi(?) has written a masterful essay on the
12 traumas of the sonderkommandos in the book which he just
13 published before he died. Yes, this was a very traumatic
15 Q. [Mr Irving]: And how can they live with their sense of guilt or shame,
16 do you think? How would they try to resolve that in the
17 years of their retirement, if they survived, as a large
18 number, apparently, did?
19 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I would refer you to Primo Laffi’s —-
20 Q. [Mr Irving]: Yes. You appreciate the point I am trying to make, that
21 there may be a tendency to romanticize, a tendency to pass
22 the burden of guilt, a tendency to — would you agree that
23 that is so?
24 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I am not a psychologist and I am not a chemist, so I can
25 only at a certain moment state that, as an historian, as
26 an historian, I am amazed by the way surviving
1 sonderkommando in different ways have been able to live up
2 to their historical responsibility to bear detailed
3 witness to what happened.
4 Q. [Mr Irving]: Can we just be quite plain what we agree their tasks were,
5 and then we can find out where we diverge? Their task
6 was, basically, to handle the cadavers, the corpses,
7 inside the crematorium, to rob them of the gold teeth and
8 other precious artifacts, to cut off the hair and to feed
9 the bodies into the furnaces?
10 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No. I would like to be more precise than that. The
11 sonderkommandos had very, very particular, very
12 circumscribed tasks. There were, for example,
13 sonderkommandos who only were running, basically, the
14 household of the place where they were living. They did
15 the “Stubendienst”, it was called. There were in every
16 barrack or, in this case, in the attic of the crematoria
17 (ii), (iii) and (iv) they were four stuben [German
18 spoken] and so on. These people were the
19 sonderkommando —-
20 Q. [Mr Irving]: Actually in the building?
21 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: In the building. They lived in the building.
22 Q. [Mr Irving]: With their own shower rooms and bathrooms and sleeping
24 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, they had beds. They were quite comfortable because
25 they could make use of stuff which was left behind in the
26 undressing room. So there were people in the
1 sonderkommandos who, in that sense, I mean — I do not
2 want to imagine what it is to live above the crematorium
3 — who actually were not involved in the operation of
4 either of the gas chambers or the crematorium.
5 Q. [Mr Irving]: They must have witnessed appalling scenes day after day?
6 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: They witnessed it and they heard about it from the other
7 sonderkommandos when they came home, so to speak,
9 Q. [Mr Irving]: And their less fortunate friends could say, “You are
10 helping the Nazis with their Devil’s deed”?
11 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I have no idea what they could or could not say. I am not
12 going to speculate on what they said. Let me — may
13 I finish the tasks of sonderkommandos?
14 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes. That is one category, the ones who were
15 doing the housework?
16 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, so, basically, the sonderkommandos who are in the
17 Stubendienst. Then there are sonderkommandos who had to
18 supervise the undressing of the victims. This was again a
19 very particular task.
20 MR IRVING: Of the living victims?
21 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Of the people who came to the undressing room. These were
22 the people who had to maintain some kind of order in the
23 undressing room, who had to help people with the
24 undressing and they also had to gather the clothing, take
25 care, of course, that pairs of shoes remain together and
26 things like that, because if you have a mountain of shoes
1 and they are all, you know, they are not tied together, it
2 is going to be not very useful for the people back home in
4 Q. [Mr Irving]: This is from their eyewitness evidence, right?
5 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: This is from eyewitness evidence, yes. We do not have any
6 German document outlining the specific responsibilities of
8 Q. [Mr Irving]: I have to keep on making that point quite plain. We are
9 relying entirely on their word of what happened?
10 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The word of sonderkommandos and also of German officials.
11 So we have sonderkommandos who work in the undressing room
12 and that is their task. Then there are sonderkommandos
13 who work in the gas chamber which means actually bringing
14 people, helping people, to go into the gas chamber and
15 then —-
16 Q. [Mr Irving]: Well, actually ramming them in, basically?
17 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Whatever, in the beginning, that does not, when the doors
18 initially open, one does not have to do that — and who
19 removed the corpses from the gas chamber and who clean the
20 gas chamber afterwards. That is a particular group of
22 Then there are sonderkommandos who operated the
23 elevator which was the next — in the case of crematorium
24 (ii), we are now only talking about crematorium (ii)
25 because in crematorium (iv) and (v) the sequence is
1 Q. [Mr Irving]: While we are dealing with the elevator, did one man have
2 to go into the elevator itself or was it operated from
4 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: It was operated from the outside. We have the bills for
5 the elevators. We know what the elevators were able to
7 Q. [Mr Irving]: We will come back to the elevators?
8 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes. So they operated the elevators which bring the
9 corpses up to the incineration room. Then there was group
10 of sonderkommandos which are called the “dentists”.
11 Q. [Mr Irving]: Was the only access, while we are on the elevators,
12 between the so-called gas chamber, which is this big
13 building we see here, and the furnace room, this
14 elevator? Would they otherwise have to go outside around
15 the outside of the building carrying corpses?
16 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: There were stairs going up, but there was no internal
17 connection between the basement level and the incineration
18 room or the main floor of the crematorium.
19 Q. [Mr Irving]: Rather an inconvenient layout?
20 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, it was inconvenient.
21 Q. [Mr Irving]: Totally lacked —-
22 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: But it seemed to have worked very well for the Germans.
23 Q. [Mr Irving]: A totally lacking system?
24 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The system worked well, and I think I have pointed out in
25 my book (and Mr Pressec has done it in his book) that
26 crematorium (ii) was originally not designed as an
1 extermination plant, and so the Germans worked with what
2 they had.
3 Q. [Mr Irving]: Yes, but the Germans were constantly building new
4 buildings, were they not, and you and I, we have probably
5 never visited a slaughterhouse, I am glad to say — am
6 I right in suggesting you have not visited a
7 slaughterhouse in your life? I certainly have not.
8 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, I have only read about it.
9 Q. [Mr Irving]: Will you take it from me that a slaughterhouse is built
10 all on one level, all on ground level, so that there are
11 no ups and downs for obvious reasons?
12 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I cannot comment on it. It would make a logical
13 proposition, but I remember reading about the
14 slaughterhouses in Chicago where actually things, the cows
15 are moved through the air, but that is just a memory from
16 a thing —-
17 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Anyway, you say crematorium (ii) was not
18 originally designed as a —-
19 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, and crematorium (iv) and (v) were and there
20 everything is at the same level.
21 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]: — killing chamber?
22 MR IRVING: The point I am making, my Lord, is if one is
23 building a factory of death for a systematic killing of
24 people and you are constantly erecting new buildings, it
25 would not have been built in this extremely awkward way.
26 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, but this was conversion from another
1 use. That is what Professor van Pelt is saying.
2 MR IRVING: I think your Lordship appreciates the point I am
3 trying to make
4 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, I do.
5 THE WITNESS [Professor Van Pelt]: May I add to this that the Germans were not
6 constantly building other buildings. There was a general
7 build stop in Germany from 1942 onwards. In fact, very
8 little construction was being done in Birkenhau. The two
9 crematoria (ii) and (iii), they are identical exactly for
10 the reason that they could not get crematorium (iii) built
11 any otherwise since the building (ii) had been approved
12 for another site for —-
13 Q. [Mr Irving]: Who applied the building stop? Was this the four year
14 plan or?
15 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The general, as relative to what has happening in the war,
16 the only buildings which could be constructed in Germany
17 from 1942 onwards were really buildings for the
18 Wehrmachts, I mean for the Army or the armed forces, and
19 the SS did not count on that at that moment under that
20 general umbrella.
21 Q. [Mr Irving]: So the factory was destroyed; it was not rebuilt?
22 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: And then there were buildings which had been destroyed by
24 Q. [Mr Irving]: Yes, so —-
25 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: That was the other thing, and the Behaltsheimer which
26 means provisional housing for people, but, in general,
1 there was a building stop. One of the reasons there are
2 so many documents in the Auschwitz archives was because
3 every building was by its very nature an exception which
4 had to be approved at many different levels. So the SS
5 had great difficulty to get anything built in Birkenhau or
6 Auschwitz during the war.
7 Q. [Mr Irving]: And they could not say, “Hey, we are carrying out the
8 Fuhrer’s orders here. This is the annihilation of
9 millions of Jews that the Fuhrer has personally ordered.
10 We demand top priority. This is the main plank of the
11 national and socialist programme”, is what you are saying?
12 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: What I would like to say is that probably bureaucracy
13 works in the same way in Germany in 1943 as it works
14 anywhere else. If there is a general building stop —
15 I would like to imagine the situation where an SS man
16 comes with your story to an official of the building
17 department and what this German official will say to this
19 Q. [Mr Irving]: Well, normally, when people mention the Fuhrer’s name,
20 there will be a clicking of heels and “Ja Woll” and they
21 would get that priority?
22 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Mr Irving, if you had read my book carefully, you would
23 have read in the book that at a certain moment there was a
24 number of low ranking civilians in the Upper Silesian
25 planning office who threatened to close the camp in late
26 1942 because of building code violations. This is one of
1 the reasons that the sewage treatment plant was built. So
2 I think that the relation between bureaucrats at whatever
3 level and at a certain moment the SS is a little bit more
4 complex than you suggested.
5 Q. [Mr Irving]: I think you are stretching the court’s credulity if you
6 suggest that a planning official in Upper Silesia could
7 overrule the Fuhrer of the Greater German Reich and
8 Heinreich Himmler in their dedicated desire, which we are
9 constantly being told by the Defence, Hitler had ordered
10 the systematic liquidation of the Jews, top priority, main
11 purpose of the Nazi party, kill all the Jews, and you are
12 telling us they could not get building priority?
13 MR RAMPTON: That is, my Lord, to misrepresent any question
14 I have ever asked Mr Irving.
15 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I was going to —-
16 MR RAMPTON: I never said anything about priority at all.
17 MR JUSTICE GRAY: No. Professor van Pelt, did you investigate,
18 have you regarded it as part of your brief, as it were, to
19 investigate the extent to which Hitler knew and authorized
20 what was going on, you say, at Auschwitz?
21 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No. This has not been part of my brief.
22 MR IRVING: I appreciate what you are trying to say, my Lord,
23 that I am wrong yet again. I am familiar with —-
24 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Mr Irving, I was not saying you were wrong;
25 I was simply saying that this is something that Professor
26 van Pelt says is outside his remit.
1 MR IRVING: I do apologise for the inference, my Lord, but, in
2 fact, if you are an objective historian and you are
3 looking at the files, as I have, for example, in a
4 parallel programme, the German V weapons programme, the V1
5 and the V2 rockets with which your Lordship is probably
6 also brutally familiar during the war years. I wrote a
7 history of that project. They ran into similar kinds of
8 priority problems for scarce materials, and the Fuhrer’s
9 order that this programme would get a “DE” which was the
10 highest stufe or priority, was marked on all the
11 appropriate contracts. “This is the Fuhrer programme, the
12 Fuhrer’s programme for construction of locomotives”, and
13 so on. So you did not have to be a genius or specializing
14 in Adolf Hitler personally to find traces of the priority
15 attached to a programme very low down in the
16 documentation. The magic words would be uttered on the
17 contracts and that would cut through the all red tape.
18 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I was simply making the observation that you
19 cannot really put to this witness the extent of Hitler’s
20 involvement in the Auschwitz programme, if there was one,
21 because it is just not within his knowledge.
22 MR IRVING: With your Lordship’s permission, I will now do
23 precisely that. (To the witness): Professor van Pelt, on
24 any of the documents you saw in the Auschwitz construction
25 office, did you see any reference at all to a special
26 priority being attached to this by Adolf Hitler?
1 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No.
2 Q. [Mr Irving]: Or to anybody between Adolf Hitler and Heinrich Himmler?
3 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No.
4 Q. [Mr Irving]: There was no reference to Adolf Hitler on any of the
5 document you saw in Auschwitz, in other words?
6 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No.
7 Q. [Mr Irving]: I am indebted to your Lordship for having prompted that
8 line of enquiry.
9 MR JUSTICE GRAY: That is a much better way of dealing with the
10 point, if I may say so.
11 MR IRVING: My Lord, I am totally unversed in the art of
12 cross-examination and I am learning as I go along.
13 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I think you are doing, as I said before, very
15 MR IRVING: Thank you very much. (To the witness): Coming
16 back to the eyewitnesses, you have a number of
17 eyewitnesses you referred to. You mentioned German
18 eyewitnesses of the activities of sonderkommandos. Can
19 you remember the names of any of these eyewitnesses?
20 Would it be Perry Broad or someone like that?
21 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
22 Q. [Mr Irving]: So these eyewitnesses are people on whom, as the Germans
23 say, you would take poison on them, you would go into the
24 jungle with them; these are witnesses who you implicitly
25 trust? They have not lied to us?
26 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: To be very honest, I would not want to go into the jungle
1 with either Mr Pery Broad or Mr Hirst.
2 Q. [Mr Irving]: Or Mr Hirst or Mr Bendel or any of those people; they are
3 all rather —-
4 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I would not want to trust them with my life, no. But
5 I must say that given —-
6 Q. [Mr Irving]: Would you like just to expand on that? What was wrong
7 about these people then?
8 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: They were thoroughly unpleasant people and they were in
9 charge of a very evil operation.
10 Q. [Mr Irving]: Would you say that someone like Perry Broad or Mr Bendel,
11 I think his name was, another of the eyewitnesses —-
12 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Mr Bendel is not an SS man.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]: Yes, but would you say they were lucky to survive very
14 long after the war was over? If you were an insurance
15 company, you would not have been inclined to offer life
16 policy on them?
17 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I did not say that at all. I think, as we know, many
18 ex-Nazis made good careers in the various German states
19 after the war.
20 Q. [Mr Irving]: If they survived —-
21 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: One of them actually became a State Secretary to
22 Mr Ardenal, so…
23 Q. [Mr Irving]: Yes, if they survived the allied war crimes courts and did
24 not end up in Hammelin in prison as a guest of Mr Albert
26 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: If they survived the allied war crime trials, but —-
1 Q. [Mr Irving]: Do you know how many German war criminals the British
2 hanged in Hammelin?
3 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, I do not know.
4 Q. [Mr Irving]: Of the order of 1,000 in the postwar years.
5 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Thank you for that information.
6 Q. [Mr Irving]: So people who were in middle ranking positions in the
7 German Nazi criminal hierarchy had to be on the look out,
8 is that correct?
9 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I presume that one had to be careful, yes.
10 Q. [Mr Irving]: And there were various ways of surviving. One was to put
11 on a black eye patch and pretend you were not Heinrich
12 Himmler until you were caught, and another way would be to
13 offer to help the allies, would this be correct?
14 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I think you are now making a blanket statement and I would
15 not want to endorse it. I think that there are the
16 situation, like any historical situation, has been rapidly
17 changing before and after the defeat of the Germans, that
18 there were various ways people assessed that situation,
19 various ways that people dealt with it, and that, of
20 course, probably since the SS was not very popular after
21 the war and at a certain moment it was declared a criminal
22 organization, that if I had been an SS man, I would have
23 been very careful. I understand most SS men were and
24 tried to pass themselves off as something else, including
25 Heinreich Himmler who pretended to be an ordinary soldier.
26 Q. [Mr Irving]: Would you tell the court what the position of this
1 eyewitness Mr Pery Broad — that is P-E-R-Y Broad — in
2 the Auschwitz camp was?
3 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Pery Broad was a kind of an administrative official in the
4 camp Gestapo which is called the political department.
5 Q. [Mr Irving]: So that was, as you correctly say, the Gestapo at
6 Auschwitz camp?
7 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
8 Q. [Mr Irving]: So his life prospects were not particularly rosy when the
9 war was over if he fell into Polish hands or into the
10 hands of anybody who knew what he had done, if he fell
11 into the wrong hands?
12 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: He was a low ranking official. I mean, he was something
13 of a junior sergeant, I understand.
14 Q. [Mr Irving]: I think of lower ranking than that.
15 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Sorry?
16 Q. [Mr Irving]: Probably even lower ranking than that, I believe?
17 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I do not know exactly the British — I think he was
18 Rottenfuhrer or something.
19 Q. [Mr Irving]: Rottenfuhrer?
20 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Rottenfuhrer, yes.
21 Q. [Mr Irving]: As in “rotten” and “Fuhrer”?
22 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes. It is a peculiar, one of these peculiar SS ranks.
23 He was one of the very, very small cogs in the machine.
24 Q. [Mr Irving]: But hews in a position to see everything?
25 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Can I put to you what I understand to be the
26 suggestion? If I am wrong in my understanding, Mr Irving
1 will tell me so, I am sure. I think what is being
2 suggested is that these camp officials made false
3 submissions about what they had been doing at Auschwitz in
4 order to ingratiate themselves with the British or whoever
5 had captured them. If that is the suggestion, what do you
6 say about it or do you not feel you can comment?
7 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, I mean, I think again the situations under which
8 various testimonies were given again are very particular
9 situations. Mr Pery Broad had, I think, very little to
10 fear from anyone since he had been in the political
11 department which was outside Stammlager, it was not inside
12 Stammlager. He had very little direct contact with any
13 prisoners. He was pushing paper in the camp Gestapo. He
14 would not have been a person which would have attracted
15 the attention of any surviving inmates, unlike his boss,
16 Maximillian Bragne(?), who ultimately ended up in court in
17 Cracow and was ultimately hanged. So I think that
18 Mr Broad had very little to fear when he was captured and
19 that for whatever reason he gave his testimony immediately
20 after his capture by the British was — I mean, I cannot
21 speculate about his reasons.
22 MR IRVING: Was he ever on the British payroll, the British
23 Army payroll?
24 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I think that he was used — while he was, after he was
25 captured and he was in British captivity, I would not call
26 it “payroll”, but he was, as far as I know, had some kind
1 of function in the camp as a translator.
2 Q. [Mr Irving]: Yes, but he was on the British Army payroll?
3 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: But he was an inmate in that establishment. I do not
4 think that one is on the inmate — as an inmate of a camp
5 on the payroll of the captors.
6 Q. [Mr Irving]: Very well. One more question on this line, Aide Bimko,
7 you have used the eyewitness of a lady called Aide Bimko,
9 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
10 Q. [Mr Irving]: Real name Rosenberg, I believe, is that correct? She gave
11 evidence, she provided eyewitness testimony?
12 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: At the Ludenberg trial.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]: What other eyewitnesses have you relied on, Mr Heinrich
15 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: May I ask you, are you talking about my book or are you
16 talking about the expert report?
17 Q. [Mr Irving]: I am sorry. I will assume you used them in both. Do you
18 wish to distinguish between your report and the book?
19 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I do not think that I used Bimko in the book. I did use
20 Bendel in the book for one particular thing. So, yes, but
21 I have mentioned them in the expert report not, by the
22 way, as a way to ascertain what happened. I think that
23 should be very clear about the use of the eyewitnesses in
24 my report. It is a section, a rather large section, of
25 my report to reconstruct how knowledge became available
26 about Auschwitz after the war. So the question is, when
1 did people actually start to testify, at what moment and
2 where were they?
3 Q. [Mr Irving]: And what might they have learned from other witnesses?
4 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: And what kind of cross-referencing would there have been,
6 Q. [Mr Irving]: What I call cross-pollination, yes.
7 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Pollination, as you called it yesterday.
8 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Or “convergence”, I think that is the other
10 MR IRVING: My Lord, I am steering clear of the word
11 “convergence” because of its legal meaning. I think
12 cross-pollination is nice because it implies that they
13 picked up a tit-bit from a newspaper.
14 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I follow. I think, Mr Irving, you tell me
15 when you have reached a convenient breaking point.
16 MR IRVING: One more question. (To the witness): Are you
17 going to tell us about any more eyewitnesses on whom you
18 rely, because you do say that in certain key points of
19 this issue you are relying more on eyewitnesses than on
20 documents because the documents do not help us.
21 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I find this very difficult to answer right now because I
22 do not really know where you are going to go and what
23 issues you are going to raise, and when at a certain
24 moment those issues are raised, I will introduce
25 eyewitnesses I see fit.
26 Q. [Mr Irving]: All will become plain to you immediately after lunch,
2 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Then the trap will be set or it is sprung?
3 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, well, we will look forward to that at
4 2 o’clock.
5 (Luncheon adjournment)
Part IV: Professor Van Pelt’s Examination by David Irving continued, Afternoon Session (108.05 to 194.26)
6 Professor van Pelt, recalled.
7 Cross-Examined by Mr Irving, continued.
8 MR IRVING: My Lord, with regard to the remark I made earlier
9 this morning, might I ask or suggest that we might
10 possibly consider ending slightly earlier this afternoon,
11 to give me time to prepare in more detail for tomorrow.
12 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes. I think, if you need that, that is a
13 perfectly reasonable request. How much earlier were you
15 MR IRVING: Half an hour or one hour earlier.
16 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Shall we compromise? Shall we make it half
17 an hour?
18 MR IRVING: Yes.
19 MR JUSTICE GRAY: So quarter to four. When you reach a
20 convenient moment around quarter to four or a little
21 earlier, we will break off then.
22 MR IRVING: Yes. Professor van Pelt, you are probably the
23 world’s leading authority on Auschwitz. There is no need
24 to be humble or modest about this. Is this correct?
25 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: It is difficult to say that. I think that the history of
26 Auschwitz is a very big history, a very complex history.
1 There are many parts of the history of Auschwitz about
2 which we know very little, the history of medical services
3 in Auschwitz, the history of children in Auschwitz. There
4 are many historians who have worked on different parts,
5 but I would say that, on the more limited issue of the
6 history of construction in Auschwitz, or the history
7 construction around Auschwitz, because, as you probably
8 realize, the book deals also with what happened outside of
9 the camp in great detail.
10 Q. [Mr Irving]: Yes.
11 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I would say that probably one of the two people, yes, who
12 was most comfortable with all the material.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]: You are certainly the best that money can buy and, as we
14 shall see from, I think I am confident in saying, the
15 other witnesses who are being called by the Defence, they
16 are of an unusually high calibre, so anything that you do
17 not know about Auschwitz is not worth knowing. Am
18 I correct?
19 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I do not think that is true. I think that the mass of
20 material which is available in Moscow I have consulted.
21 I have glossed these archives on microfilm, all of them,
22 like the certain moment when I started my work in
23 Auschwitz in 1990, I worked through the whole archive to
24 build an archive there, but I have not studied every issue
25 in detail.
26 Q. [Mr Irving]: But you get a feel for it though, do you not, by looking
1 at this?
2 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I think you get a feel for it, yes.
3 Q. [Mr Irving]: It is possible to scan very large bodies of documents at
4 high speed, at unusually high speed, and still get a feel
5 for what is in them?
6 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: One gets a feel, but there were questions which I did not
7 ask when I went through these archives, both in Auschwitz
8 and in the Moscow archives, historical questions I did not
9 ask, at a time which of course made me pass over certain
10 files which may be now I wish I had looked at in more
11 detail, because of some of the issues you seem to raise or
12 which I expect you to raise.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]: Is it true that most of these Auschwitz files have now
14 been microfilmed and provided to the US Holocaust Memorial
15 Museum in Washington DC?
16 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The Auschwitz files from Moscow have all been unblocked
17 microfilmed, and the museum is now working on a microfilm
18 collection of the files in Auschwitz itself.
19 Q. [Mr Irving]: So there are probably not many pages of those archives
20 that have not recently been turned by one researcher or
22 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I do not know what other researchers are doing. I have
23 read in some of, I think in material which comes from your
24 web site, I think, Mr Montonia has done a lot of work in
25 Moscow. I think that, a number of people in the Holocaust
26 museum seem to have been intimidated by this book and
1 thinks there is no more work to do, but I tell them that
2 there is enough work to do still.
3 Q. [Mr Irving]: It is a very well written book, if I may say so. Certainly
4 for the last eight years they have been researching that
5 because, when I was in the archives working on the
6 Goebbels diary, at the table behind me were two
7 researchers from the Washington museum, working on
8 precisely the Auschwitz archives. They have had eight
9 years working specifically through those archives, turning
10 all the pages, looking for things, so not much would have
11 escaped their attention of any significance.
12 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I think that of course the question is again, what
13 question are you asking of the material? I mean what are
14 people, when they look at these materials, looking for?
15 Q. [Mr Irving]: If they had found a smoking gun, if they had found
16 evidence of a system establishing the link between Himmler
17 and Hitler, anything like that, they would have caught the
18 next plane back to Washington and held a press
20 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Actually, I disagree with you on this, because now you
21 assume that the issue which is so important to you, or the
22 issue which is so important to maybe Mr Montonia, is also
23 central to other people. I admit that, when Mr Pressac
24 started his work on Auschwitz, he was very much inspired,
25 so to speak, by the research agenda set by Robert
26 Faurisson. For example, my own research agenda has been
1 completely independent of the issues raised by Holocaust
2 deniers, revisionists or whatever name we want to give to
3 these people who look with a very particular perspective
4 into the files to find, as you call it, a smoking gun.
5 Q. [Mr Irving]: Do you not agree that it is quite an important element of
6 the Holocaust story whether this was a series of arbitrary
7 actions committed by individual gangsters and Nazi
8 criminals, or whether there was an overall scheme or
9 system directed by Adolf Hitler himself?
10 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I think that it is an important question in so far as you
11 think this is an open question. I think that, if as an
12 historian you have come to the conclusion, on the
13 convergence of evidence and the work of many eminent
14 historians, that it is not any more a great historical
15 question, or a historical question at all, then I do not
16 think that you are going to waste your energy researching
17 that issue.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]: Is “convergence of evidence” another way of saying
19 “reading between the lines”?
20 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No. “Convergence of evidence” is exactly what it says.
21 That is, at a certain moment, for example, I will give
22 just the example of the morgue number 1 in crematorium 2,
23 that is a convergence between what sonderkommandos say
24 about it, what Germans say about it and what the blue
25 prints tell us, and what the ruins tell us.
26 Q. [Mr Irving]: This is the building where you say 500,000 people were
1 killed in round figures?
2 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
3 Q. [Mr Irving]: In the mortuary number 1 of crematorium number 2 in
4 Auschwitz, Birkenhau. Can I ask you, please, in your
5 report to turn to page 352? My Lord it is 352 of the van
6 Pelt report.
7 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Thank you very much.
8 MR IRVING: Just going briefly back to the question of
9 priority, which is not entirely unrelated to this,
10 Professor van Pelt, do you recognize this as what you
11 might call the verboder document?
12 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]: January 29th 1943?
14 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, I do.
15 Q. [Mr Irving]: We have not read this document in court, my Lord.
16 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I know I have read this but I am afraid it
17 has gone out of my mind what exactly it is.
18 MR IRVING: It is a conference held on January 29 1943 between
19 the central construction office at Auschwitz and the local
20 AEG branch at Kattowitz, the nearest town. “AEG informs
21 this is the record made and signed by the two participants
22 in the conference that it has not received valid iron and
23 metal certificates in response to its iron and metal
24 request, which were partly already filed in November
25 1942″. Has your Lordship found it?
26 MR JUSTICE GRAY: No. There are an awful lot of pictures
1 around this section.
2 MR IRVING: Page 352.
3 MR JUSTICE GRAY: It is more difficult than it would appear.
4 I have it now.
5 MR IRVING: Page 352. It is a conference held on January 29th
6 1943, concerning electricity supply and installation of
7 the concentrationslager, the concentration camp and the
8 prison camp, at Birkenhau. The conference was held
9 between the Auschwitz construction office and the local
10 AEG office, the electric company, and I start at five
11 lines downs:
12 “AEG informs that it has not yet received valid
13 iron and metal certificates in response to its iron and
14 metal request which were partly already filed in November
15 1942. Therefore it was not possible for this firm to
16 begin construction of the ordered parts of the
17 installation. There is a great likelihood that, due to
18 the continued delay in the allotment of these requests,
19 delivery will take much longer. As a result of this it is
20 not possible to complete the installation and electricity
21 supply of crematorium 2 (that is the building we are
22 talking about) in Birkenhau by January 31st 1943. ” I jump
23 the next sentence: “This operation can only involve a
24 limited use of the available machines whereby it is made
25 possible burning with simultaneous special treatment”.
26 Overlooking this, the overview of this document
1 is that the defence relies on this document, I think I am
2 right in saying, as another pointer to the existence of
3 something called “special treatment” in crematorium 2,
4 sonderbehandlung. I am relying on the document for a
5 totally different reason, saying that even Auschwitz,
6 Birkenhau, had difficulty getting priorities. The purpose
7 of this document — am I right, Professor van Pelt — is
8 saying that they have difficulty running the electric
9 equipment with the existing power supply? They cannot do
10 this and that simultaneously because they do not have
11 adequate power supply. It will blow the fuses or
13 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
14 Q. [Mr Irving]: Is this not an extraordinary document, Professor van
15 Pelt? Does that not indicate that they had difficulty
16 obtaining priorities even for an extra 100 or 200 yards of
17 copper cable or whatever it took?
18 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I think it is not an extraordinary document at all,
19 because the history of Auschwitz, or one of the histories
20 of Auschwitz, is the history of the building department
21 being unable to get anything done.
22 Q. [Mr Irving]: Because of lack of priorities?
23 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No. I think we have to go back to one of the fundamental
24 problems that the SS faced in the German wartime economy.
25 That is that the SS at this moment does not have yet
26 Wehrhoheit. This means that it is not yet recognized as a
1 part of the armed forces. The armed forces can get
2 supplies relatively easily in the wartime economy because
3 they are given this priority status and the SS is not.
4 On top of that, the crematorium we are talking
5 about, the building which we are talking about, is a
6 building which was commissioned, the original design had
7 been created and all the paperwork had been done in early
8 1942, for this building, that is before there were plans
9 to bring the Final Solution to Auschwitz.
10 So one of the reasons that happened exactly at
11 crematorium number 2 and not any of the other crematoria
12 is because crematorium 2 is quite literally, both in its
13 design and in its whole administrative history, a holdover
14 of an earlier history of the camp, that is an history
15 which is not connected to Final Solution because the Final
16 Solution only comes in Auschwitz in 1919, the paperwork is
17 not the right paperwork. So you do not find a document
18 like that for crematorium 3 or crematorium 4 or
19 crematorium 5.
20 Q. [Mr Irving]: It says here: “Because of this, it is absolutely
21 impossible to supply crematorium 3 with electricity”.
22 They are referring again to the shortage of metal to build
23 the extra copper cable to keep these things going.
24 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, but crematorium 3 is an appendix to crematorium
25 number 2. I was maybe a little too hasty on that thing.
26 The problem is that, throughout the form, we are faced
1 with a situation in Auschwitz in which, in some way, this
2 building in August 1942, there is a switch in the kind of
3 design office after the Himmler visit of July 1942 which
4 suddenly they will have to start to accommodate the Final
5 Solution one way or another. There was a meeting on 19th
6 August where these problems are discussed.
7 Q. [Mr Irving]: 1942?
8 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: 1942, and crematoria 4 and 5 are then in some way brought
9 up as a solution to that particular problem. Then, for a
10 number of months, crematoria 2 and 3 remain in limbo in
11 some way. It is not exactly clear, for a number of
12 months, if these buildings will be fully committed to the
13 Final Solution or not. Then what you see is that it is
14 only by December that the final papers are drawn up for
15 the transformation of the basement.
16 Again, I think that we are dealing in this
17 document with requests which have been made in November.
18 It is the end document of a long history of problems.
19 There continued to be problems in 1943 and 1944 with
20 getting anything to Auschwitz. I am not surprised by it.
21 This is basically the nature of getting things done in
22 Auschwitz at the time.
23 Q. [Mr Irving]: But all this implies, certainly to any objective observer,
24 does it not, that here you have a document dealing with
25 sonderbehandlung, which either means liquidating people or
26 it does not. If it does mean liquidating, then it is part
1 of the Final Solution which this court is told was ordered
2 by Adolf Hitler, or by the system, or by Himmler at the
3 very least, yet they cannot get the priority for 200 yards
4 of copper cable.
5 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: It seems also that what we hear from the historical record
6 is that trains with Jews were parked on sites for days and
7 days while other trains went by because the trains did not
8 get priority to send the Jews to the extermination camps.
9 Q. [Mr Irving]: Would I be right in inferring from that remark and from
10 this document that whatever sonderbehandlung was, or
11 whatever these trains were going towards, was not being
12 done in the highest priority ordered by Adolf Hitler or by
13 the system?
14 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I do not think you can draw that conclusion. I think the
15 only conclusion you probably can do is that
16 administratively, and I am only talking administratively
17 and maybe even technically, the Final Solution was
18 piggybacked on some other larger infrastructure, technical
19 infrastructure, something like that, which was already in
20 place, and which of course makes sense because the Final
21 Solution, by its very nature, is a short-term process.
22 I mean already by the end of 1943 the Germans had been
23 able to kill more or less all the Jews they had been able
24 to lay their hands on. Only Hungarian Jewry were still
25 there intact because they had been able to go to Hungary
26 yet. So in that sense there is no need to make this —-
1 Q. [Mr Irving]: Professor, that is rather an exaggerated statement to say
2 the Germans had been able to kill all the Jews they had
3 been able to lay their hands on. Do you wish to
4 reconsider that statement?
5 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, I do not. I think that this is a very fair
6 description of the historical situation.
7 Q. [Mr Irving]: There were very large numbers of Jews in Germany still
8 alive at that time and performing useful tasks in the
9 munitions factories.
10 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: If you provide the evidence for all this very large number
11 of Jews, I am happy to consider it, but at the moment —-
12 Q. [Mr Irving]: Very large numbers of German Jews actually survived in
13 Germany for one reason or another.
14 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: If you give me the evidence, if you mention —-
15 Q. [Mr Irving]: Is it not so that in some cities like Berlin or Stuttgart
16 the round up was pursued with great energy and verve and
17 in other cities it was not pursued with much energy or
18 verve at all?
19 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: My Lord, I am not a specialist on round-ups in Berlin and
20 I prefer not to —-
21 MR JUSTICE GRAY: May I ask you a question and it is this. Do
22 you accept that when, or shortly after, Himmler visited
23 Auschwitz in July 1942, a decision was taken to accelerate
24 the extermination programme, what you call bringing the
25 Final Solution to Auschwitz?
26 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, I do not agree with the way you formulate it right
2 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]: You do not?
3 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No. I think a distinction we made in the book, and which
4 maybe I should make right now, is that there was a
5 practice of killing Jews in Auschwitz before 4th July
6 1942, that from 4th July to 19th July, 18th July 1942, a
7 kind of inbetween situation emerged, it is only a 14 day
8 period, and that after 18th July, the Himmler visit,
9 Auschwitz was really directed to become a place where a
10 policy of extermination exists, so we move from practice
11 to policy, and where the practice of killing Jews in
12 Auschwitz before 4th July 1942, and maybe in a more larger
13 sense before 19th or 18th July 1942, is the result of a
14 number of contingent situations that the SS in general and
15 particularly the SS in Auschwitz sees itself confronted
16 with when certain groups of Jews arrived.
17 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]: So it becomes policy but it does not become urgent
18 policy? Is that what you are saying?
19 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: It is certainly very urgent for the people on the ground
20 in Auschwitz. They tried to get things done.
21 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]: I meant for those directing the policy.
22 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I wonder what your Lordship means by “urgent for the
23 people who are directing the policy”?
24 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]: Well, they regarded it as a priority — this is my
25 question — that the extermination programme should
26 proceed faster and on a broader basis than it had
2 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I would say that the extermination programme, yes, should
3 become all inclusive at the moment. There are great
4 discussions about when the decision for the Final Solution
5 was taken. Professor Browning will be able to talk on
6 that. But certainly what we see is that, in the summer of
7 — and we are only talking about Auschwitz right now.
8 I would like to be very careful because I do not want that
9 the discussion about what happens in Auschwitz in some way
10 is going to be the discussion about the Final Solution as
11 a whole. We are talking here about one camp. Other
12 things are happening elsewhere. The Operation Reinhardt
13 camps are being built, Treblinka common operation days
14 later, Belzac has already been in operation before.
15 So in the case of Auschwitz, and that is
16 something which Deborah Dwork and I tried to demonstrate
17 in our book, Auschwitz was not meant to be an
18 extermination camp. It is in some way almost hijacked by
19 that programme when other things which are happening in
20 Auschwitz are not going to be realisable during the war.
21 So certainly, yes, Auschwitz now, which is a place where
22 these other projects are collapsing, these projects which
23 Himmler had envisioned of settlement and so on, Auschwitz
24 is now made available and it is going to be made available
25 administratively, in the sense that within the next months
26 you see that decisions are taken, of which there are
1 significant traces in the records of the architectural
3 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Thank you very much.
4 MR IRVING: Can I ask you what kind of significant traces we
5 are talking about there? I was hoping to obtain from you
6 during that statement some kind of indication of what
7 documentary basis you were making those remarks on,
8 because of course you have now stepped beyond the barbed
9 wire of Auschwitz, so to speak, and are talking about
10 grand policy and grand decisions. Is this what you have
11 acquired from reading other people’s books, or from what
12 you have read from the archives in Auschwitz or Moscow?
13 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Let us forget, if you like, other people’s books. It is
14 going to be a kind of longish discussion.
15 Q. [Mr Irving]: I hope we can keep it short.
16 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No.
17 Q. [Mr Irving]: You made certain remarks in response to his Lordship’s
18 question about July 1942, and you said that, no, you did
19 not think that a decision; was taken at that time, or
20 words that effect, and I just wanted to know what your
21 basis for saying that was?
22 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I said a decision was taken.
23 Q. [Mr Irving]: What was your basis for that statement?
24 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: There are a number of things. We know from Commandant
25 Hirst’s account that Himmler came, and we know he visited
26 the site. Hirst says that he watched a gassing.
1 Q. [Mr Irving]: There is an inference then from cause and effect?
2 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No. Himmler does not like to go to Auschwitz at that
3 time. I mean, it seems to be that Himmler is not going to
4 go out of his way from the Wolffschanze, wherever the
5 headquarters are in Russia, to Auschwitz on the way to
6 Globocnik in Lublin.
7 Q. [Mr Irving]: He wrote to his mistress on the day before and said:
8 “I have a very unpleasant journey to undertake. I am
9 going to visit Auschwitz and there are certain things one
10 has to do for Germany”, a rather odd sentence.
11 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Whatever he writes to his mistress, I agree this probably
12 was a trip he did not look forward to. Then, among the
13 various meetings he has, he has a meeting with Kummler,
14 which also he is going to.
15 Q. [Mr Irving]: Can you explain to the court who Kummler is, please?
16 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Kummler is the head of SS Construction, who is there and
17 also they have a long meeting in the construction office,
18 in the Auschwitz construction office with Bischoff, where
19 they are discussing obviously construction matters. Now
20 we see that within a month the first design for what will
21 become crematorium 4 materialises, which is a document
22 signed 14th August, which only shows the incineration part
23 and part of whatever is connected to the incineration
25 Q. [Mr Irving]: Can I interrupt there and ask you to inform the court what
26 happened to Bischoff after the war? Was he put on trial?
1 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, he was not put on trial. He died in Bremen in 1950.
2 Q. [Mr Irving]: He died in his bed in 1950?
3 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I do not know where he died, but he was never prosecuted.
4 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Finish your answer, Professor van Pelt. You
5 said they meet together and, as a result of that meeting,
6 crematorium 4 was built?
7 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: As a result of that meeting we first see a first drawing,
8 blue print copy, whatever it is, for an incineration
9 installation which had not been on the table before that.
10 That is the very first thing. It is one for an
11 incineration installation with eight ovens or two muffle
12 ovens, a complete new concept.
13 MR IRVING: Which one was that?
14 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: This was crematoria 4 and 5. Then there is a letter.
15 I think it is in the bundle but I do not know where it is
16 in the bundle. I would like to maybe take the letter
17 out. It is about a meeting which is five days later after
18 this drawing appears, which actually discusses these
19 buildings. It is famous and notorious letter which talks
20 about the Bader anstalten versonderbehandlung.
21 MR RAMPTON: Your Lordship will find that, as amongst other
22 places, as the document in K 2 at tab 4, page 2. It is
23 also reprinted in the report, but I cannot find where it
24 is in the report at the moment.
25 MR IRVING: This is August 1942?
26 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: This is 19th August 1942.
1 Q. [Mr Irving]: Will you tell the court, while they are looking for the
2 documents, what was happening at this time in Auschwitz?
3 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Our transports were arriving.
4 Q. [Mr Irving]: Would it not be right to say that Auschwitz was in the
5 grips of the most appalling epidemic, one of the biggest
6 epidemics in a concentration camp in history?
7 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, an epidemic was happening, but I am happy to come
8 back to the epidemic or any other matter because actually
9 we have to —-
10 Q. [Mr Irving]: I think possibly it would be more frank with the court if
11 you had mentioned this as you went along rather than try
12 to draw inferences which the court might otherwise be
13 misled into taking.
14 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Give him a moment. He is at the moment
15 describing the meeting that took place with Kummler and
16 Bischoff and Himmler.
17 MR IRVING: My Lord, I am very forgetful and, by the time he
18 gets to the end of his remarks, I might forget to make
19 this point.
20 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I understand that. Go on. How does this
21 document fit in with that?
22 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: This document is a remarkable document because, first of
23 all, it introduces in the history of the camp suddenly two
24 buildings of which there is no other kind of earlier
25 records. It is in clause number 2 that it talks about the
26 creation of two, three-muffle ovens, near or next to the
1 “Badeanstalten fur Sonderaktionen”, the bath
2 installations for special actions. I would like to point
3 out once more that it is between quotation marks, this
4 sentence. They have been talking about these two triple
5 muffle ovens, which is the kind of standard in the camp at
6 that moment. These are the ovens which were originally
7 designed for crematorium number 2. This is what they have
8 been working with. They have been designing this.
9 Prufer, the engineer of Topf, proposes instead to install
10 in Auschwitz already completed bereits fertigestellten,
11 ovens, or bereits fertigestellten Lieferung, which means
12 it is a shipment which is already completed, which was
13 going to another site, an SS site, at Mogilev, and that
14 these ovens will be installed next to the badeanstalten
15 fur sonderaktionen. We know that the ovens for Mogilev
16 were designed in late 1941, taken into construction there
17 and these were these eight muffle ovens.
18 So one of the things, combined with that drawing
19 and combined with the four-week period which separates
20 this document from the meeting Himmler has in the
21 architectural office in Auschwitz, we know that suddenly
22 this is quite a big change of course in Auschwitz. They
23 are going to build, these two crematoria come up, these
24 two incineration installations, which are not yet named.
25 If we go to clause number 7 on the next page, we actually
26 see that Prufer comes back to it on the next day. That is
1 a meeting. It actually talks about a meeting of 20th
2 August 1942.
3 So Prufer stayed the night over in Auschwitz and
4 Prufer asked then for an official confirmation, an
5 official order, to basically get either the three muffle
6 ovens, or he wants to know if he should get the eight
7 muffle ovens, and in a little handwritten note to the side
8 it actually says on the 24th August 1942, something like:
9 Prufer seems to have whatever — I cannot really read
10 that — (German spoken – handwriting on document
11 illegible) — which means that on 24th of August 1942
12 Prufer tells actually that the eight muffle ovens which he
13 had suggested on the 19th to be taken from the Mogilev
14 shipment actually is going to Auschwitz.
15 MR JUSTICE GRAY: They are being diverted?
16 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: They are being diverted.
17 MR IRVING: Can I ask a question here, my Lord, and interrupt
18 at this point?
19 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, but the answer was an answer to a
20 question which was properly asked.
21 MR IRVING: I appreciate that, my Lord, but it was beginning to
22 run away with my cross-examination.
23 MR JUSTICE GRAY: It does happen sometimes.
24 MR IRVING: It is quite useful, but this document shows
25 preparations being made in long term for the disposal of
26 large numbers of cadavers. That is all it shows.
1 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: But there is an issue. I had asked for a easel. I wonder
2 if I would be able to draw a graph which would make
3 things, I think, more —-
4 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I can see it. Yes, you do not have any
5 objection, do you, Mr Irving?
6 MR IRVING: Can I just invite, while these are being set up,
7 the witness to have a look at the letter which I wrote to
8 him on May 29th 1997. My Lord, it is in the little bundle
9 you have with about 10 pages in it headed: “Documents on
11 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes.
12 MR IRVING: It is within that. The second item is the letter
13 I wrote to him. I am afraid it is not numbered, but about
14 page 6 there is a page —-
15 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Have you got this, Professor van Pelt?
16 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The letter — it is in one of my documents here. I do not
17 which number.
18 MR IRVING: It is the page headed: “Documentation is
19 available”, the first words on that page
20 are “Documentation is available”. It is about page 6, my
21 Lord, of the letter.
22 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I think I must be looking at the wrong thing.
23 MR IRVING: It is the little bundle headed on the top
24 left: “Quick navigation”.
25 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, I have that, but I have not the page
26 beginning —-
1 MR IRVING: Page approximately 6 in that letter. It is the
2 page beginning with the words “Documentation is
4 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, page 3 I have it as.
Section 129.5 to 143.18
5 MR IRVING: Yes. My Lord, the final paragraph of that is a
6 paragraph from the second unpublished volume of my
7 Churchill biography which gives an intercept, the text of
8 an intercept, of an Auschwitz message in that very month,
9 August 1942. I think it is of relevance, my Lord.
10 “Further information did reach Churchill from his most
11 secret sources lifting the veil on what was actually
12 happening. … (reading to the words) … commandant
13 transmitted in code to Berlin yielded figures for death
14 rates in several concentration camps during the previous
15 month. These included 21 deaths at … (reading to the
16 words) … and in what was evidently a fast growing camp
17 at Auschwitz and Upper Silesia there had been the notable
18 totals of 6,829 male and 1,525 female fatalities during
19 August 1942″. This is precisely the month of this
20 conference, my Lord. Not without significance, I think.
21 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, well, it is a question, is it not,
23 MR IRVING: Yes.
24 MR JUSTICE GRAY: What has happening at Auschwitz. The
25 question is this.
26 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I trust the mortality figure has been also arrived at by
1 other means. I mean, this is in the death books also you
2 find the mortality of 9,000 people in Auschwitz in that
3 month of August.
4 MR JUSTICE GRAY: But the question is, let us just put the
5 question, that what was going on at Auschwitz in
6 August/September had nothing whatever to do with Himmler’s
7 visit in July. It was because there was a raging typhus
8 epidemic. That is the question, is it not?
9 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: If that is the question, I disagree with it, and I would
10 like to review that question by actually looking at the
11 relationship between incineration rates in the camp as
12 plant in 1942 about peak mortality on the typhus about —
13 and at a certain amount we can even talk about more
14 capacity but we probably need to do that; but I have
15 prepared some diagrams which I would just like to have as
16 a reminder so I can draw it up on the board.
17 MR RAMPTON: Can I ask where they are?
18 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: On the board.
19 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I think they are going to be drawn now, as I
20 understand it?
21 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I am happy to draw them now.
22 MR RAMPTON: He has done some prep, I think, and he would like
23 to do the drawings, big drawings, by reference to the
25 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I follow.
26 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: They are there.
1 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Mr Irving, you may not be keen on this, but
2 it is something Professor van Pelt is entitled to do.
3 MR IRVING: My Lord, I am in your hands. This is your
4 Lordship’s court and I am capable, I am sure, of —-
5 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I am afraid I am deciding that it is a proper
6 thing for him to do if he wants to illustrate his
8 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: OK. The first basis for this is to establish red in this
9 drawing, red will be population. Now, in 1942, we are now
10 talking about early summer of 1942, there is an
11 actual population in Auschwitz, and I am going to do this
12 by 50,000 increments, actual population in Auschwitz —-
13 MR IRVING: Are you referring to Auschwitz or Auschwitz and
15 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Auschwitz and Birkenhau. I am talking about the whole
16 camp. The whole camp for which, basically, incinerators
17 are being drawn. At that moment there is an actual
18 population of 25,000 people in the camp, over 25,000
19 people. But at that moment also there is a projected
20 inmate population, they are working towards, they have
21 designed and under construction, the camp to hold in total
22 150,000, which is 120,000 in Birkenhau and 30,000 in
23 Stammlager. So they are designing with that in mind.
24 That is what they are investing for. This is the actual
26 Now, at that moment there is a typhus epidemic
1 going on and the typhus epidemic reaches in August of 19,
2 in August of 1942, a mortality in one month of little over
3 a third of the camp population. Now, people are being
4 shipped in which makes it kind of difficult at that time
5 to know exactly. It is an enormous mortality. In three
6 months the typhus epidemic would have continued in the
7 camp and nobody would have been brought in. Everyone
8 would have died.
9 MR IRVING: Is it right that the camp was under quarantine at
10 this time?
11 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The camp was under quarantine, but people were still being
12 brought in. So if we look by implication at, let us say,
13 the next year, if the camp were to have an inmate
14 population of 150,000, and if hygienic conditions would
15 not have improved, if the German medical department in
16 Auschwitz would have been as incompetent and so little
17 resources, the same small resources would be brought in,
18 it would make sense to start planning for a mortality of
19 50,000 people of the summer of 1943. It is a very rough
20 calculation, but in some way this would have been — you
21 would have start to look at that possibility.
22 Now, at that moment in Auschwitz one has
23 actually an incineration capacity, and I am only talking
24 about crematoria —-
25 MR IRVING: My Lord, I am unhappy about this kind of evidence
26 because I do not think Professor van Pelt is an
1 epidemiologist and we had —-
2 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I do not think we are getting into the realms
3 of epidemiology on what he is doing so far.
4 MR IRVING: Well, we do not know at what rate epidemics grow,
5 whether they grow exponentially or by mathematical
6 progression or how. It is not a simple, straightforward
7 linear progression, my Lord, and I am sure an
8 epidemiologist could inform us on that.
9 Although I have no objection to Professor van
10 Pelt continuing this line of evidence, I would wish to
11 make it plain that —-
12 MR JUSTICE GRAY: No, but he is making the very simple point,
13 if I may say so —-
14 MR IRVING: It is very, very dangerous —-
15 MR JUSTICE GRAY: — that it was not an unreasonable
16 assumption for the planners to make that they were going
17 to continue to have one-third mortality from typhus. Is
18 that really what it comes to?
19 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: This is the point I make. What would be the situation if
20 they said, “We face this disaster right now. We do not
21 think we can deal with it next year. We have to plan for
22 a similar disaster next year”
23 MR IRVING: I shall ask questions about this when the time
25 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Of course you can, but just let him develop
26 the point.
1 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: So we are now going to get what is the actual cremation in
2 an incinerator in crematorium (i)? It is the only
3 crematorium operation at that time. It is 10,000 corpses,
4 according to German sources, 10,000 corpses per month, 340
5 per day, which means that the incineration capacity in
6 crematorium (i), and we are not even talking about
7 arriving Jews, but simply for the mortality in the camp
8 itself during the typhus epidemic, more people are dying
9 from typhus, incidentally, then the crematorium working
10 full-time can deal with.
11 There is also at that moment a crematorium which
12 is under design, which is crematorium No. (ii). Now,
13 crematorium (ii) was going to replace crematorium No.
14 (i). We have plans for that. It was going to be built on
15 top of crematorium No. (i). It is a plan of early January
16 1942. This means that crematorium (ii) would not be
17 backed up by crematorium (i). So if in the next year
18 crematorium (ii) would be available, crematorium (ii) has
19 an incineration rate of 1440 corpses per day, which the
20 Moscow document says which was yesterday challenged —-
21 MR IRVING: This is the document that was challenged?
22 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, which means that when crematorium (ii) would have
23 been built, the next year available that still the
24 cremation, the incineration capacity of crematorium (ii),
25 once crematorium (ii) would be built, would have been less
26 than the worst case scenario if a typhus epidemic in 1943
1 would have broken out.
2 So it means that the SS, in terms of the typhus
3 epidemic of 1942, was not adequately prepared to deal with
4 some of the typhus epidemic of the same scale a year
5 later. This is the situation before Himmler’s visit.
6 Q. [Mr Irving]: Is it not true that cremation is not the only way of
7 disposing of bodies? They can be interred. They can be
8 sent to other places to be cremated?
9 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: There is, but I think that you would like to point that,
10 in fact, the incineration capacity is not going to be
11 sufficient and, of course, people can be interred.
12 Let us look now at the next year, where we are
13 in 1943, and then I will go and look at what happened in
14 between. In 1943, the early summer, we are sitting with
15 exactly the same maximum planned inmate population of
16 150,000. It has changed somewhat in the make-up because
17 Birkenhau will have less people, because what is called
18 building BA3, building section No. 3, will not become any
19 more a full camp, it will get a kind of Lazarett
20 installation, but instead of that people will be
21 accommodated in various satellite camps close, so still we
22 deal with —-
23 Q. [Mr Irving]: Did you say it was going to have a hospital built in
25 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Oh, yes. As I said in my book, and I think you
26 complimented me on this section.
1 Q. [Mr Irving]: I thought they exterminated all the sick prisoners?
2 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: We can deal with that later, if you want to put that to
3 me, Mr Irving. By that time, the inmate population in
4 Auschwitz itself has risen to 75,000.
5 Now, if we now look at what if a typhus epidemic
6 of the same scale would have occurred (and this is a big
7 “if”) one would have been wise to have available
8 one-third of that, which is 25,000, and, theoretically, to
9 have available — sorry, 50,000. So this is 25,000
10 available if such a typhus epidemic occurs again, and if
11 the camp is going to be completely free, one would expect
12 at least to have an incineration capacity of 50,000
14 Instead, the available incineration capacity in
15 the camp at that moment — and this is available, this is
16 not any more planned — is 120,000 corpses per month.
17 Q. [Mr Irving]: What is that based on?
18 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: This is based on the calculation that the Taiber itself
19 gives of the incineration capacity of the four crematoria
20 — may I finish?
21 Q. [Mr Irving]: Based on the document that we are challenging?
22 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: That is based on the documents you are challenging, but
23 the document which seems to be supported also by
24 eyewitness testimony.
25 The only point I want to make right now at this
26 moment is that the incineration capacity in the camp on
1 the monthly basis in Auschwitz in 1943 far and far exceeds
2 the absolutely worst case scenario of typhus developing,
3 typhus developing in this camp; and I have to stress here
4 the worst case scenario because, in fact, the SS doctors
5 have worked very hard to limit the possibility for typhus
6 to occur.
7 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Right. Thank you very much then. That was
8 all an answer, Mr Irving, to your question — actually
9 I put it for you — whether the increase in capacity might
10 have been nothing to do with Himmler’s visit, but solely a
11 response to the typhus epidemic. It was a long answer but
12 that is what it was answering.
13 MR IRVING: We share the guilt for inviting that answer, my
15 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Well, if “guilt” is the right word.
16 MR IRVING: I would only draw attention to two or three aspects
17 of it.
18 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, of course. Ask questions.
19 MR IRVING: Firstly, if we are to believe these figures, then
20 the SS, or whoever, were planning to wipe out over
21 three-quarters of the entire camp population and
22 incinerate them which seems a rather pointless exercise as
23 this is a slave labour camp?
24 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Sorry, is this a question?
25 Q. [Mr Irving]: Yes.
26 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The issue, of course, is that they are not intending to
1 wipe out the camp population; they are intending to wipe
2 out people who do not belong to the camp population,
3 because people are arriving in Auschwitz and who are not
4 going to be registered in the camp.
5 Q. [Mr Irving]: So the left-hand column in that case, is it not, is
6 irrelevant to the calculations because that left-hand
7 column refers to a totally different body of people, to
8 people who are living there and not the arrivals, shall we
10 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, but the left-hand graph refers to the situation before
11 the visit of Himmler on 19th July. The right-hand graph
12 represents a situation after Himmler’s visit, and the big
13 change in incineration capacity is, in fact, the decision
14 taken at that meeting which is confirmed by the document
15 to actually not only have crematorium (ii) but also
16 crematorium (iii) and crematorium (iv) and crematorium
18 Q. [Mr Irving]: But the figures that you are relying on here with these
19 two histograms, if I am right in saying, they rely
20 entirely on that document which, you may remember, I was
21 challenging the integrity of yesterday?
22 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I mean, if you want me to rely on, for example, Hirst’s
23 testimony, I would say that the green bar would even
24 higher, or if I have to rely on Mr Taiber, we actually get
25 very close to that. It is not only the document; it is a
26 convergence of the document with eyewitness testimony,
1 both of sonderkommandos and of German officials.
2 Q. [Mr Irving]: Professor van Pelt, we will be hearing a little bit more
3 about the quality of the testimony given by Taiber and
4 Hirst later on. But the fact remains that in all the
5 construction department records that you have read,
6 including that August 1942 memorandum you are relying on,
7 there are no figures that anywhere come near these. It is
8 speculation by yourself and back of envelope calculations,
9 projections of what might have been and a kind of rough
10 and ready kind of scaling up and extrapolation for which
11 we have no basis in epidemiology (because neither of us is
12 an expert in that field); we do not know the way that
13 epidemics grow or whether they grow exponentially or in
14 any other manner, is that not so?
15 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Mr Irving —-
16 Q. [Mr Irving]: There is no basis in the archival record that you have
17 seen for the figures you gave, apart from that one
18 document that we challenge?
19 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Mr Irving, the point is, I think, very simple. You claim
20 that the epidemic in August 1942 — you raised the issue
21 of the epidemic in 1942, then you say that we can — you
22 suggest that we can, and others have said, that you can
23 explain the enormous incineration capacity in Auschwitz by
24 looking at the typhus as being the reason to plan this
26 Now, we are talking here about a typhus
1 epidemic, an enormous typhus epidemic, I agree, it was a
2 disaster. In August 1942, the camp was in a very bad
3 shape. But if you start to plan on the basis of that
4 worst possible scenario, or would you want to suggest then
5 a typhus epidemic which wipes out in one month almost a
6 whole camp population of 120,000 out of 150,000 projected;
7 so if you want to use the typhus argument (and you
8 introduced it and I did not) I can refute that by looking
9 at the incineration capacities.
10 Q. [Mr Irving]: Well, the facts are staring you in the face. This
11 conference is taken in the middle of a camp which is in
12 quarantine, subjected to, as you yourself admit, the most
13 appalling typhus epidemic, and you are determined not to
14 see any connection between the two facts?
15 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Well, I think the point here — we do not
16 want to spend too long on this — he is really making is
17 that the incineration capacity was three times the
18 projected population of Auschwitz in 1943?
19 MR IRVING: My Lord, can I ask one question on that?
20 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Is that right, Professor van Pelt?
21 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, I do not — no, the incineration capacity is 4/5ths
22 per month. It is 4/5ths of the total projected population
23 of the camp. So in order to justify this by typhus, we
24 would have to start to assume typhus epidemics which start
25 to wipe out in one month 4/5ths of the total camp
26 population, which means that, in terms of filling this
1 camp up again or whatever like that, I mean, we have to —
2 the Germans would have had to ship 120,000 people to
3 Auschwitz every month in order to keep ahead or even with
4 the typhus epidemic. It is absurd, it is absolutely
5 absurd, to use typhus as an excuse to explain the
6 incineration capacity of the crematoria.
7 MR IRVING: Professor van Pelt, you used the word “absurd”.
8 What figure are we talking about in that green column?
9 How many people?
10 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Which one?
11 Q. [Mr Irving]: The right-hand — in the right-hand histogram?
12 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The right-hand histogram.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]: The green column? How many —-
14 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: It is 120,000. Projected incineration capacity for
15 120,000 people per month.
16 Q. [Mr Irving]: Approximately, so we get an idea what we are talking about
17 here, that is four times Wembley stadium, that is 12,000
18 tonnes of people, 12,000,000 tonnes of cadavers, that you
19 are going to have to cremate with these very limited
20 installations? Am I getting it right?
21 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I do not want to speculate on how many tonnes and how many
22 at Wembley stadium.
23 Q. [Mr Irving]: You do the calculation yourself. The human body is
24 roughly SPG of 1, is it not? Specific gravity of 1
25 because you float in water?
26 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
1 Q. [Mr Irving]: Am I right?
2 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: So where does this bring us?
3 Q. [Mr Irving]: Well, the human body weighs what, 100 kilograms? 10
4 people per tonne?
5 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I do not think after you have you been in Auschwitz very
6 long you weigh 100 kilograms.
7 Q. [Mr Irving]: OK. Say 12 people per tonne if you want to cavil, you are
8 still going to end up with 10,000 tonnes of bodies to
9 dispose of. This is bringing it home to you the size of
10 the figures you are talking about there. That brings home
11 to you the absurdity of the document you are relying on.
12 10,000 tonnes of bodies.
13 If you will take it from me that it takes 30
14 kilogrammes of coke to incinerate, as you say, one body,
15 can you work out how many tonnes of coke we are going to
16 put into those tiny coal bunkers that you can see on the
17 aerial photographs to destroy, to incinerate, to cremate,
18 120,000 bodies? We are talking about train loads, if not
19 ship loads of coke are going to have to go into Auschwitz,
20 and there is no sign of the mountains of coke on the
21 photographs, do you agree? There is no sign of the
22 mountains —-
23 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I am just trying to get all the pieces of your question
25 Q. [Mr Irving]: Do you appreciate — let me sum it up like this — that
26 there are severe logistics problems in handling the
1 disposal of 120,000 bodies a month?
2 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: We know there were severe logistic problems during the
3 Hungarian action, yes. The month of May and the month of
4 June in Auschwitz, June 1944, were very difficult months.
5 The logistic problems in Auschwitz were so big that they
6 had to start introducing incineration pits again. Yes, it
7 is very difficult to incinerate so many bodies in any
8 situation because it seems to be that, one way or another,
9 these crematoria did do their job as well as they could.
10 Q. [Mr Irving]: So you are saying because the story exists, therefore,
11 these figures must be right? Is this the kind of logic
12 you apply? You do not say to yourself, you have 120,000
13 bodies in that right-hand green column, does this not
14 sound a bit odd, as 10,000 tonnes of bodies that these
15 Nazis have managed to dispose of, and nothing has been
16 seen of this on the air photographs, does that not strike
17 you as odd? No huge columns of smoke have been seen on
18 the air photographs? Does that not strike you as odd?
Section 143.19 to 157.4
19 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: There is only one photograph in May, yes?
20 MR JUSTICE GRAY: May ’44?
21 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: May ’44. These are these big — these big transports had
22 ceased when the air photographs in, what is it, in August
23 and September were taken.
24 MR IRVING: Can you show on these large photographs that we
25 have here where they would have stored the tens of
26 thousands of tonnes of coke? If they were to bury the
1 bodies, have you any idea what size the pit would have
3 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Mr Irving, I challenge your use of the tens of thousands
4 tonnes of coke. First of all, we do not know how much
5 coke was delivered to Auschwitz in 1944. We do know how
6 much coke was delivered into Auschwitz in 1943. We do
7 also know that there is a German document, it is a
8 document Zeitwei Zuvielarbeiter, Jahrling, from, what is
9 it, March and April — actually two documents, two
10 calculations made in Zentralebauleitung about the coke use
11 of the crematorium.
12 Q. [Mr Irving]: Yes?
13 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: And these two documents, the amount of the coke use is
14 not, as you say, 35 kilos per body.
15 Q. [Mr Irving]: Which crematorium are we talking about?
16 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: We are talking about — he made a calculation for all the
18 Q. [Mr Irving]: Yes.
19 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: And he does it — I mean, I have it — if may consult my
20 notes on this?
21 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, of course.
22 MR IRVING: Can you say off the top of your head?
23 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, I am not going to say anything off the top of my head
24 right now. It is too serious — it is absolutely too
25 serious a question.
26 Q. [Mr Irving]: I agree.
1 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Is it in your report your main report?
2 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: It is in my kind of informal report.
3 MR RAMPTON: My Lord, it is the second half.
4 MR JUSTICE GRAY: The supplementary one, I see.
5 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The supplementary…
6 MR RAMPTON: The second half of the little blue…
7 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I am sorry, I did not put a page number on it. This was
8 for internal private use, and so…
9 MR RAMPTON: I have paginated mine.
10 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, I have it.
11 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I have found it here.
12 MR IRVING: Is this an actual document that you are going to
14 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: It is document — no, the document is actually in Pressec.
15 Q. [Mr Irving]: The document is in Pressec?
16 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, and I think that my Pressec has a little tab to it.
17 I can give the page.
18 MR RAMPTON: It must be treated with great care. It is fragile
19 and extremely valuable.
20 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I will just identify the page and then maybe it should go
21 to you for inspection. The documents are — the first
22 document is on page 223 and the second document is on page
24 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Do not bother to pass it to me. You can
25 describe what you say that reveals.
26 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: OK. There are — basically, there is a calculation made
1 by Jahrling who was a Zuvielarbeiter which means he is not
2 in the SS hierarchy in the camp, and he talks about the
3 use of coke in the crematoria. The heading is only about
4 No. (ii), but ultimately he makes a calculation for all
5 the crematoria, and he comes to a use per 12 hours. He
6 does that for 2,800 kilos in 12 hours for crematorium
7 (ii); 2,800 kilos in crematorium (iii); 932 kilos in
8 crematorium (iv) and 932 kilos in crematorium (v), which
9 is a total of 8,264 kilos in 12 hours.
10 Then he has made some calculation mistakes
11 because a couple of days later, which is the 17th — the
12 first document is on 12th March — he comes back to his
13 calculation and what seems to have happened is that he
14 made a calculation, he comes to 2,800 kilos for
15 crematorium (ii), again 2,800 for crematorium (iii), 1,120
16 for (iv) and 1,120 for No. (v), a total of 7,840 kilos in
17 12 hours with the seven tonnes or seven-and-a-half tonnes.
18 MR IRVING: Professor van Pelt, would you read the final
19 paragraph of that document beginning with the word “dieses
21 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Then he says, “”dieses sind spitzenleistung”.
22 Q. [Mr Irving]: “These are maximum amounts, maximum figures”?
23 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes. “It is difficult to” — [German – document not
24 provided] — “indicate how much it will be per year
25 because it would not be known for how many days or how
26 many hours or how many days we can, we must heat the
1 thing” which means he is prepared to give it on a daily
2 basis but not more on a yearly basis because if the
3 crematorium is going to be used every day or not, he does
4 not know.
5 Q. [Mr Irving]: Would you like to do the —-
6 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: May I just finish the document, discussing the document,
7 and I am happy to consider your question. In the
8 paragraph above it, he says something else. [German –
9 document not provided] It goes on the basis of an earlier
10 thing which means that when you work constantly
12 Q. [Mr Irving]: Around the block?
13 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: — around the clock, then the amount of coke needed is
14 much less. So here we have, on the basis of this
15 document, you can make a relatively simple calculation
16 because we know the German document which has been
17 challenged here in court —–
18 Q. [Mr Irving]: Precisely. This is what throws up the German document as
19 being unreliable?
20 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, it is not. We have two documents, one which talks
21 about incineration capacity, and one which talks about the
22 coke use. It is about the same buildings. On the basis
23 of that, we know that, we can calculate the amount of coke
24 which is going to be used per corpse which is not a happy
25 calculation, I must say, but the bottom line is you come
26 to three-and-a-half kilo of coke per corpse.
1 Q. [Mr Irving]: Do you really, sincerely believe that you can burn one
2 corpse with enough coke that you could fit in one of these
3 water bottles, is that what you are saying?
4 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I would like to point out there are two documents which
5 support this.
6 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Can you just pause for a second?
7 Three-and-a-half kilos of coke per corpse, one has to put
9 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: That is when the —-
10 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]: That is assuming a rate of incineration equivalent to that
11 in the document of 28th June 1943 which Mr Irving
13 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
14 MR IRVING: Can I ask, Professor van Pelt, has it ever crossed
15 your mind that this document of 28th June 1943 might not
16 be authentic or a document of integrity? Did you ever
17 investigate that possibility? Did you check any details
18 about it? Did you just accept it at face value?
19 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I think that the document is in perfect accordance with
20 all the other documents.
21 Q. [Mr Irving]: Do you know anything about the history of that document,
22 where it came from?
23 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, I do not know. Moscow, it has been in Moscow. It has
24 been made available, for example, in the Vienna trial. It
25 was available earlier. There was another copy of this
26 document in a Didier archive in Dumburg. This document
1 has been known for many years, since shortly after the
2 war. The document seems to be perfectly in line with
3 other documents. It is a carbon copy. It is not on
4 letter head, like most of the copies in the
5 Zentralebauleitung. It seems to be sitting nice in its
6 sequence of other documents. So I have no reason to doubt
7 the integrity of the file or the integrity of the document
9 Q. [Mr Irving]: Professor van Pelt, you were sitting in court yesterday
10 when I challenged that document piece by piece, and
11 indicated the discrepancies on the document which gave not
12 just one discrepancy but several discrepancies which
13 indicated there was every reason to doubt whether this was
14 an original document or whether it is was, indeed, a true
16 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: You can do that, but I have not changed my mind on this.
17 I do not think that you have brought any kind of
18 convincing evidence for me to change my mind on this
20 Q. [Mr Irving]: May I ask you the following then, is it not surprising
21 that nowhere in the entire Auschwitz construction files,
22 in Moscow or in the present Auschwitz State Museum, do you
23 find one single other document that reflects the same
24 figures or figures of the same magnitude?
25 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: We can talk — the issue of incineration capacity, how do
26 we know about incineration capacity and how do we know
1 about the coke use? We have this document, we have
2 eyewitness testimony of people who worked the ovens and we
3 have statements by the people who ran the camp. There is
4 a convergence between those things.
5 Q. [Mr Irving]: Except for one thing —-
6 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Now, if you challenge, if you challenge the coke use,
7 I will have to bring up, and, I am sorry, I do not have
8 the particular patent, but it is a little technical
9 history. There is a specificity in the design of the
10 ovens in Auschwitz which is, basically, that they worked
11 with compressed — that air was blown into the muffle.
12 Normally, what happens in these ovens is that —-
13 Q. [Mr Irving]: The flame does not touch the body?
14 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, actually frebrennen did happen in the Auschwitz ovens;
15 it was not simply incineration.
16 Q. [Mr Irving]: Well, they would self-combust? When they were raised to a
17 certain temperature, they would self-combust?
18 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: That is the idea of a normal incineration. In Auschwitz,
19 actually, the ovens — the difference between the ovens is
20 that one element which is used in normal ovens is with a
21 heat kind of regenerator in Auschwitz was replaced by
22 compressed air which was blown into the oven. Now —-
23 Q. [Mr Irving]: Would this account for the drop of normal coke usage from
24 35 kilograms in the crematorium Gussen concentration camp
25 per body to 3.5 in Auschwitz, in your opinion?
26 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, and I think the normal use for Gussen questions the
1 normal use of what? For one, two, three, four bodies in a
2 day at a certain moment very high intensity use. I just
3 would like to quote here from a piece which John Claude
4 Pressac wrote and I also worked on.
5 Q. [Mr Irving]: Can I interrupt? I did not quite catch what you said
6 about Gussen. What did you say was the normal rate in
8 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The normal rate, the question is what is normal rate? If
9 you just fire the ovens in Auschwitz for one corpse, you
10 probably need 300 kilos.
11 Q. [Mr Irving]: In Gussen they were talking, if my memory of the document
12 is correct, of the order of 100 bodies, or possibly 200.
13 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: If you bring the documents, we can discuss the documents.
14 Q. [Mr Irving]: Well, Professor van Pelt, you were not quoting a document
15 there. You were just stating a figure, speculating.
16 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I am going to state a figure and it is from a patent.
17 I am happy to show you the passage. The big issue in
18 crematorium design is that you need to get the thing
19 going, the oven going, and that takes a hell of a lot
20 energy. So, if you incinerate one body, and this is a
21 document which is prepared for Dachau in 1939, to cremate
22 one body in Dachau was 175 kilos of coke, far exceeding
23 the 30 kilos. However, it says that, by the time you have
24 started this incinerator, after you have incinerated a
25 number of bodies, and I will quote the thing, “If the cold
26 room required 170 kilograms of coke to start up a new
1 incineration, it needed only 100 kilo if it had been used
2 the day before. The second and third incineration on the
3 same would not require any extra fuel, thanks to the
4 compressed air”. Those that followed would call for only
5 small amounts of extra energy.
6 Q. [Mr Irving]: Are you saying that for the cremations on the second and
7 third day you would not have to put any coke into the
8 machine at all? It would just kind of carry on?
9 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No. If you start incinerating on the second day you can
10 still use that heat that had built up from the first day.
11 If you then insert extra bodies in the oven that same day,
12 after the first one, you only need very little extra fuel.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]: That is not what the document said. You said it needed
14 none at all.
15 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Then it says only little, the first, second and third, and
16 then, as you continue, then only very limited amount of
18 Q. [Mr Irving]: But of course they had more than just one furnace in
19 Auschwitz. In each of these crematoria you are telling us
20 they had five times three. So they did not have to fire
21 them all up. They could just fire up one of them and keep
22 it running?
23 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: But it seems that there were more bodies than one could
24 take. We also have, of course, the patent application of
25 Topf from late 1942, which actually operates on that whole
1 Q. [Mr Irving]: It was not used, was it?
2 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, but it was based on the experience gained. As it very
3 literally says, it is based on the experience gained with
4 the multi-muffle ovens used in the East. The document —
5 I am happy to try to find it. I do not know where the
6 patent application is.
7 Q. [Mr Irving]: I do not want do keep flogging this particular horse
8 unless his Lord wants to go down this route much further.
9 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I am inevitably being guided by you,
10 Mr. Irving. You must put your case.
11 MR IRVING: I would like to ask Professor Van Pelt to do one
12 calculation f0or me. On the basis of 8,000 kilogram of
13 coke, which we read in that document in the Pressac book,
14 7,000 or 8,000 kilogrammes of coke per 12 hour shift, if
15 we were to assume 35 kilograms of coke per body, how many
16 bodies were actually being cremated per day in those four
18 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: If you were to assume — I have the figure here — if it
19 was three and a half kilos of coke —-
20 Q. [Mr Irving]: No, 35.
21 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Three and a half I calculated was 241,000 bodies, so 35
22 would be 24,000 bodies.
23 Q. [Mr Irving]: 24,000?
24 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I do not have to make the calculation because it is right
26 Q. [Mr Irving]: I do not think that is correct. If it is 7,000 kilograms
1 of coke, 7,000 times 35 into 7,000 is 200, so it will be
2 200 per day?
3 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I am sorry.
4 Q. [Mr Irving]: It would be 200 bodies per day in these crematoria so that
5 would give us the lower level. I am not saying that was
6 the amount. I am saying that is the lower limit of these
7 two figures we have. We have the figure of ten times as
8 large that you offer, and we have the figure of 200 per
9 day which would be, if the Gussen figure applied, the 35
10 kilograms of coke, which is what crematorium managers
11 assure us is the normal figure nowadays for mass
13 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: My Lord, I am very surprised that Mr Irving seems to love
14 German documents. When he is confronted with a German
15 document which he does not like, so easily ignores it.
16 I think the Jahrling document is very, very
17 straightforward. There are two version of it. If
18 Jahrling made a mistake, he corrected himself. Obviously
19 when you find a document like that, you take it seriously.
20 MR JUSTICE GRAY: You are now talking about the one with J A
21 umlaut at the top?
22 MR IRVING: The one that we challenge, my Lord.
23 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes. You call it the Jahrling document
24 Jahrling was the secretary?
25 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Jahrling was the man who made the calculation.
26 MR IRVING: Yes. There are other reasons for challenging it
1 but I just rested my case on the reference line across the
2 top, which contained enough errors to make the whole thing
3 very suspect. To try and do these calculations the other
4 way round, which is what the witness has done, I find this
6 Can we move on from there now, my Lord?
7 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Of course.
8 MR IRVING: Let me come back to the question of the
9 eyewitnesses who have described, either to you or to
10 historians over the last 55 years in convincing and
11 compelling detail, the procedure at the factory of death,
12 at crematorium number 2, the arrival of the victims, what
13 happened inside the crematoria, the cremation process, the
14 robbing of the bodies and so on. How many eye witnesses
15 are we talking about, Professor?
16 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: It depends on which period we are looking. In my report
17 I only looked at the very, very early testimonies.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]: Yes.
19 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Which means testimonies taken by Dragon, and in this case
20 by Tauber, because they are taken in April and May 1945.
21 Q. [Mr Irving]: Are they independent of each other or have they compared
22 notes in any way?
23 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I do not know if they compared notes.
24 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Did they escape?
25 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: They escaped, yes. No, they did not escape. In the sense
26 that they were on the march, I think, from Auschwitz to
1 wherever they ended up in the West, they did escape but
2 they did not escape from the camp itself or from the
4 MR IRVING: Yes. So that Dragon, D R A G O N, and Heinrich
6 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Schloma Dragon.
7 Q. [Mr Irving]: How many others? You are not relying just on those two
8 eyewitnesses, surely?
9 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, but these are the two which I mentioned because, if
10 one is afraid of pollination and things like that, and
11 these were testimonies given immediately after the war.
12 These were testimonies which were made before things were
13 published, before things were in the newspapers or
14 whatever like that. Other testimonies have been given,
15 Filip Muller of course in the 1960s. He made one in 1946.
16 Q. [Mr Irving]: You said that nothing had been in the newspapers. When
17 was the report published of the War Refugee Board on the
18 testimony given by Veroba and Wetzler, two Slovaks? Was
19 that not November 1944?
20 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, but these were very, very short. These were very
21 short things in the newspaper. The report itself was
22 never published at the time. So to have a short New York
23 Times one column article or less about a fact that there
24 is an extermination camp in Auschwitz does not give any
25 details about the extermination procedure.
26 Q. [Mr Irving]: You say the report was not published at the time. In fact
1 the War Refugee Board in the United States did actually
2 publish the report like a White Paper. Whether the
3 newspapers actually quoted it in detail or not, are you
4 saying the newspapers did not quote it very much?
5 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: They did not quote very much.
Section 157.5 to 173.25
6 Q. [Mr Irving]: But they did give the more lurid details about the gas
7 chambers and so on?
8 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: As far as I remember, the reports, reading the newspaper
9 articles, they did not give the kind of details which
10 would inspire a person to invent a particular gassing or
11 incineration procedure.
12 Q. [Mr Irving]: Procedure, right. You did not rest in either your book or
13 your expert report on just those two eyewitnesses though,
14 did you? Not just on Tauber and —-
15 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No. There are other people we quote because, of course,
16 after afterwards other people came forward.
17 Q. [Mr Irving]: Did you rely on a woman called Bimko?
18 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I have already addressed this once before. I mentioned
19 Miss Bimko because of the testimony she gave at the
20 Lindenberg trial, which is the Belsen trial. I did not
21 rely on her to come to a conclusion about the incineration
22 capacity in the crematoria.
23 Q. [Mr Irving]: I am not talking about the incineration capacity,
24 Professor. I am talking now about the actual procedure,
25 the way people walk —-
26 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I think we have moved on. We are just
1 talking generally about eye witness evidence, are we not?
2 MR IRVING: We are dealing with the question of the integrity
3 of eyewitnesses, my Lord.
4 MR JUSTICE GRAY: That is what I was suggesting.
5 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, I did not rely on her for procedure.
6 MR IRVING: Bimko was going to be called in the Tesh case, was
7 she not, in April 1946 against the manufacturer of Zyklon
8 B, but in fact eventually they did not call her as a
9 witness. They just put in her report as an affidavit, is
10 that correct?
11 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I do not know.
12 Q. [Mr Irving]: Have you read the Tesh trial?
13 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I have read significant parts of the Tesh trial because of
14 the evidence given by Alfred Sohn.
15 Q. [Mr Irving]: You quoted parts of the Bimko testimony in your report.
16 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, because I wanted to show the kind of statements which
17 were made about Auschwitz in 1945.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]: Did you, Professor van Pelt, quote all relevant parts of
19 the Bimko testimony?
20 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: What do you mean? Relevant to what?
21 Q. [Mr Irving]: Well, relevant to enable the reader to form a judgment as
22 to whether Bimko was telling the truth or not.
23 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: This was not my intention. My point in the expert report
24 at that moment was to give a sense to the reader, or to
25 the judge more particularly, of what was the kind of
26 evidence available at that moment in the courts and so
1 on. I did not write a critique of Bimko.
2 Q. [Mr Irving]: So you were painting with a broad brush?
3 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I was not painting with a broad brush. I tried to give a
4 very simple kind of picture of what people were saying.
5 Q. [Mr Irving]: If Bimko had put in her report some detail that totally
6 discredited the quality of her report, then you would of
7 course have quoted it? You would not have ignored it?
8 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No. Then it is very clear that she gives this testimony,
9 and then the testimony is what is being said at that
10 moment. It is part of what is being said about
11 Auschwitz. I also quoted Polavoy.
12 Q. [Mr Irving]: Can we stay with Bimko for the moment?
13 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Let us stick with Bimko. Mr Irving, if you
14 are suggesting that she did discredit herself in some way,
15 I think it is only right that you should give Professor
16 van Pelt the opportunity of answering whatever it is you
17 say discredited her.
18 MR IRVING: I believe I am leading the evidence the correct
19 way, my Lord. The next two questions will bring the
20 matter to light.
21 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Good.
22 MR IRVING: Professor van Pelt, in the gas chambers at
23 Auschwitz was the gas introduced from cylinders, as in
24 oxygen cylinders, or carbon monoxide cylinders, through
25 pipes into the gas chamber?
26 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No. It was —-
1 Q. [Mr Irving]: To your knowledge?
2 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: We are talking about which gas chamber?
3 Q. [Mr Irving]: The gas chamber described by Bimko.
4 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Then let’s look at the text of Bimko and then I will
5 comment on it.
6 Q. [Mr Irving]: You said you have read Bimko’s testimony.
7 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, but in principle I am not going to discuss things
8 I do not have in front of me.
9 Q. [Mr Irving]: Let me put the question more generally, Professor van
10 Pelt. In any gas chambers in Auschwitz, in any of the gas
11 chambers so-called at Auschwitz, was gas introduced into
12 the chambers through pipes from cylinders?
13 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No.
14 Q. [Mr Irving]: And yet Bimko stated that, did she not, in her report?
15 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Let us look at what Bimko actually says. Then we can come
16 to the conclusion if that is what she actually said. I am
17 not going to comment on a text I do not have in front of
18 me. If you want to raise this issue, which I think is a
19 very legitimate issue, give me the text and we will look
20 at it together.
21 Q. [Mr Irving]: Let me put it other way round then, Professor. If there
22 was such a sentence in that report, you did not quote it,
23 did you? You stopped.
24 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I do not know any more exactly what I quoted and what not.
25 Q. [Mr Irving]: You stopped just short of that particular sentence?
26 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Have you got it in court?
1 MR IRVING: Not in front of me, my Lord. I am derelict in that
2 respect unless Miss Rogers can find it at short notice in
3 her usually efficient way. I shall have to bring it
4 tomorrow. Your Lordship can take it as said. Although I
5 am not a member of the Bar, I would certainly not lead
6 this evidence if it was not in the files. The evidence of
7 Bimko is notorious for the fact, and this is one reason
8 why she was not introduced as a witness at the Tesh
9 trial. She would have been cross-examined on that point.
10 So this is one document, one eyewitness account,
11 which is very suspect. But, Professor van Pelt, I put it
12 to you that you left that sentence out of the report
13 because it would have discredited the rest of her
14 testimony, would it not?
15 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I think that, if you would look — you are now trying to
16 go to my motivation. In my expert report I have tried to
17 give an account of what was said, in order to draw a
18 picture of how the image of Auschwitz developed in 1944
19 and 1945. I have also included Polovoy’s account done on
20 the liberation of Auschwitz which again, as we probably
21 both agree, contains a lot of friction.
22 Q. [Mr Irving]: Is this the Pravda account?
23 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
24 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Can we not track this down because it must be
25 in court somewhere, presumably? Bimko’s statement? It is
26 note 407 on page 268.
1 MR IRVING: Somebody can find the original document.
2 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Otherwise we leave all these points hanging
3 in mid air.
4 MR RAMPTON: Mr Irving is quite right. Mr Irving knows where
5 everything is. It is bundle H 2 (ii).
6 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Could we get it out and then dispose of this
7 point one way or another, Mr Irving? I think it is
8 better, do you not?
9 MR IRVING: It is going to continue to hover like a vulture or
10 an albatross across the court.
11 MR JUSTICE GRAY: That is the problem.
12 MR RAMPTON: What I said is accurate, except to this extent.
13 When I say “it”, all I have is a page and three-quarters
14 of what Ada Bimko duly said.
15 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Have you got page 68?
16 MR RAMPTON: No. I have page 67. It is split up, that is
17 all. I am sorry, there is lots more than I thought there
18 was. If your Lordship goes —
19 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I have not got it yet. I would like it.
20 (Same handed) thank you very much.
21 MR RAMPTON: Yes. H 2 (iv) and turn to footnote 404, one sees
22 the beginning of it. 408. Has your Lordship found
23 footnote 404?
24 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes I have deposition of Dr Bimko.
25 MR RAMPTON: Yes. You have got on 405, which is page 66 of the
26 document itself, 5th day, Friday 21st September 1945, Ada
1 Bimko sworn, examined by Colonel Backhouse. Has your
2 Lordship got that?
3 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes.
4 MR RAMPTON: That stops and then it begins again, further
5 deposition of Ada Bimko on page 741 of the document, and
6 that stops on page 742.
7 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I am afraid the relevant bit, or the bit that
8 Mr Irving wants, has been cut off.
9 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I have it here. I have it in note 408.
10 MR JUSTICE GRAY: 467?
11 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Footnote 408, I presume that is the section that he refers
12 to, because it is talking about cylinders.
13 MR IRVING: “In a corner of the room were two large cylinders.
14 The SS man told me the cylinders contained the gas which
15 passed through the pipes into the gas cylinder.” That is
16 on page 742, my Lord, in paragraph 4.
17 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, I have it.
18 MR IRVING: There was no such equipment in Auschwitz, was
20 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No.
21 Q. [Mr Irving]: You did not quote this in your version of the report?
22 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: This report is not a discussion on the quality of
23 eyewitness testimony. I have told you that before.
24 Q. [Mr Irving]: Yes, but this is a discussion now, Professor van Pelt.
25 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: OK.
26 Q. [Mr Irving]: On the quality of eyewitness testimony. It is a
1 temptation we all fall into probably. Sometimes we want
2 to use the rest of the report because we like it, but
3 there is something nasty in the report that, if we are
4 going to manipulate, then we will leave it out. Is that
5 not so?
6 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes. I mean, the question is there are many differences.
7 First of all, let us go over this text. “Let us go over
8 the text right now. We then walk back. Basically they
9 went through the gas chamber and it was rather dark in
10 there at the time. They could not see the far end of the
11 passage. There were two rails leading from the door of
12 the gas chamber down the passage. On these two rails was
13 a flap top wagon. The SS man told me that the wagon was
14 used to take the dead bodies from the gas chamber to the
15 crematorium at the other end of the passage. We then
16 walked through the gas chamber and undressing room to the
17 door where it entered the building. Near this door were
18 some stairs. We went up these stairs and came to a room
19 above the gas chamber. Across this room were two pipes,
20 each about three inches thick. I did not notice whether
21 there were any branch pipes leading from them. The SS man
22 told me that the pipes that were in the floor were
23 connected to the spray fittings in the gas chamber below.
24 In the corner of the room were two large cylinders but
25 I did not notice whether the cylinders were connected to
26 the pipes. The SS man told me that the cylinders
1 contained the gas which passed through the pipes into the
2 gas chamber and I then left the room”.
3 We are basically talking here about crematorium
4 number 4.
5 MR JUSTICE GRAY: And the room is a room above the gas chamber?
6 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
7 MR IRVING: Yes. But is any of this true, what the SS man
8 allegedly told her?
9 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The SS man was mocking her because she was looking at a
10 new ventilation system which had been introduced to suck
11 out air from the two gas chambers above the gas chambers
12 of crematorium 4. A ventilation system had been created
13 in 1944 to improve the ventilation of crematoria 4 and 5
14 because they had not been equipped with the ventilation
15 system. What happened is that she is shown the
16 ventilation system and this SS man is mocking her by
17 suggesting that this actually, instead of taking the air
18 out, is taking the gas inside of the—-
19 Q. [Mr Irving]: That is not what she says, Professor van Pelt. Is what
20 she says not, “In a corner of the room were two large
22 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: But there was a ventilator up there which I presume would
23 be in the cylinder and I do not think she is a
24 specialist. She sees this thing above the gas chamber.
25 Q. [Mr Irving]: But you have no evidence —-
26 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The only thing is that she believed what the SS man told
1 here, this equipment was there.
2 Q. [Mr Irving]: You have no evidence that he was mocking her, do you? You
3 appreciate that men were hanged on the basis of this
5 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I do not know on the basis of what men are hanged. What
6 I do know is that in crematoria 4 and 5 above the gas
7 chamber in 1944 was a ventilation system.
8 Q. [Mr Irving]: Yes.
9 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: To extract the air or the gas from those rooms. That is
10 what she saw.
11 Q. [Mr Irving]: We do not know that. That is not what she says here.
12 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: But how do you expect a person who has no technical
13 education to distinguish one pipe from another pipe?
14 Q. [Mr Irving]: Is it not an equally plausible explanation that she is
15 just inventing this story, and that she assumed this is
16 the way that the gas chambers so-called operated, that gas
17 came in through pipes?
18 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Mr Irving, inventing the whole story or just
19 this bit?
20 MR IRVING: This particular element of it. She is embellishing,
21 she may well have had an experience of being taken into
22 the mortuary and seen the dead bodies lying around, which
23 is, God knows, unpleasant enough, and she has now
24 embellished on it, because she is now in British captivity
25 or in British hands, being well looked after, and they
26 have asked her to write a statement a deposition, because
1 they needed to hang these criminals.
2 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The issue, I think, is that the first question we have to
3 ask is if that system actually existed. Now Pressac and
4 I have published a diagram of that situation in the
5 crematorium, in this case crematorium 5, crematorium 4 is
6 a slightly different one, where we actually talk about a
7 pipe, and we see actually the ventilator sitting in a
8 housing. Now it is obvious that she saw something and
9 that what she probably saw is that ventilation system, and
10 that ventilation system which is connected to the ceiling
11 of the gas chambers, it is very difficult at that moment
12 to determine if it is something where the gas goes from an
13 outside source, where the ventilator is from there inside
14 of the gas chamber or the other way round. I do not want
15 to speculate on what the SS man told her or not. But
16 certainly I could imagine that he would have wanted to
17 scare her by saying this is the way the gas chamber
18 operates, this is how the gas goes into the gas chamber.
19 MR IRVING: Your imagination is not evidence in this court room
20 and I would ask you to adhere to what you know.
21 MR RAMPTON: That is not right. His motivation for the way he
22 wrote the report is under attack. What he thinks she may
23 have meant by what she said is directly relevant.
24 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I think, if you are attacking the motivation
25 of Professor van Pelt, I am afraid Mr Rampton is right.
26 MR IRVING: Very well. Did it not strike you as being
1 inaccurate that she described this scene in this
2 particular way when quite clearly you knew from your own
3 expert knowledge that this apparatus did not exist and
4 that this therefore devalued the quality of the rest of
5 her testimony?
6 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I do not know if it really devalues it because, if she
7 goes into the crematorium and she sees a detail which is
8 hidden to everyone else because it sits above the ceiling
9 and you have to go up to the attic, if she sees that, and
10 we know from the blue print that the thing was there, or
11 at least that it was installed, then it means that first
12 of all it is absolutely clear that she was in that
13 building and that she at least on that detail is a very
14 reliable witness, even if she did not know what it was
15 used for and took the evidence or the remark of an SS man
16 on face value. I must say, if there were more witness
17 like that, I think then probably one would not need many
18 courts to determine all kinds of disputes between people.
19 Q. [Mr Irving]: I can read out just one sentence from paragraph 740. “I
20 set out here afterward I myself observed with regard to
21 mass exterminations I will name the persons, each of whom
22 is individually selected.” She is putting the finger on
23 people here, is she not? Page 740, paragraph 1.
24 Mrs Bimko is putting the finger on people she knew at the
26 I draw your attention to paragraph 7 on the
1 opposite page, 741 while we are here: “In August 1943
2 I saw SS man Tauber knock down a girl who arrived late at
3 roll call, beat her and kick her and stand on her stomach
4 for ten minutes until she died”. Assuming for a moment
5 that this story is true, is that the same SS man, Tauber,
6 on whom you rely as an eye witness?
7 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No. I am relying on the Sonderkommando Tauber.
8 MR JUSTICE GRAY: This Tauber is a rapport Fuhrer?
9 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: It seems to be so, yes, number 12.
10 MR IRVING: What is a rapport Fuhrer?
11 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: It is a man who is in charge of roll call.
12 Q. [Mr Irving]: In charge of roll call, very well. Can we now proceed
13 please to the further eyewitnesses on whom you rely for
14 your description of the liquidation procedure in
15 crematorium 2?
16 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
17 Q. [Mr Irving]: Perry Broad?
18 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I do not think that Perry Broad described crematorium 2.
19 We would have to look at Perry Broad.
20 Q. [Mr Irving]: Yes. He described two or three liquidations, one from a
21 range of I think 40 yards.
22 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: He described the Red Cross van coming, yes. Then Tauber
23 is very important.
24 Q. [Mr Irving]: On crematorium 2?
25 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Crematorium 2, the early one.
26 Q. [Mr Irving]: What does Tauber tell us about the liquidation procedure
1 of crematorium 2 from the arrival of the victims?
2 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Do you want me to read the whole thing?
3 Q. [Mr Irving]: No, just your recapitulation unless you wish to read it?
4 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I would quite like to have a quick look.
5 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Let us take Tauber at hand.
6 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]: 177 to 196?
7 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: 177, thank you, my Lord.
8 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]: The incineration procedure is at 186.
9 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: So Tauber was interrogated at the end of May 1945.
10 Heinrich Tauber was a sonderkommando in crematorium
11 number 2. We are going to discuss crematorium 2. It
12 starts on page 182 of my report.
13 MR IRVING: Of your report?
14 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Of my report, yes. What he describes there is an
15 underground arrangement of crematorium 2 which he
16 describes as an undressing room and bunker or, in other
17 words, a gas chamber:
18 “To go from one cellar to the other there,
19 there was a corridor in which there came from the exterior
20 a (double) stairway and a slide for throwing the bodies
21 that were brought to the camp to be incinerated in the
22 crematorium. People went through the door of the
23 undressing room into the corridor, then from there through
24 a door on the right into the gas chamber. A second
25 stairway running from the grounds of the crematorium gave
26 access to the corridor. To the left of the stairway in
1 the corner, there was a little room with hair spectacles
2 and other effects were stored. On the right there was
3 another small room used as a store for Zyklon-B. In the
4 right-hand corner of the corridor, on the wall facing the
5 door from the undressing room, there was a lift to
6 transport corpses. People went from the crematorium yard
7 the undressing room via a stairway, surrounded by iron
8 rails. Over the door there was a sign which the
9 inscription ‘Zum Baden und Desinfektion’ (to bath and
10 disinfection), written in several languages. In the
11 undressing room, there were wooden benches and numbered
12 clothes hooks along the walls. There were no windows and
13 the lights were on all the time. The undressing room also
14 had water taps drains for the waste water. From the
15 undressing room people went into the corridor through a
16 door above which was hung a sign marked ‘Zum Bade’,
17 repeated in several languages. I remember the [Russian]
18 word ‘banya’ was there too. From the corridor they went
19 through the door on the right into the gas chamber. It
20 was a wooden door, made of two layers of short pieces of
21 wood arranged like parquet. Between these layers there
22 was a single sheet of material sealing the edges of the
23 door and the rabbets of the frame were also fitted with
24 sealing strips of felt.
25 “At about head height for an average man this
26 door had a round glass peephole. On the other side of the
1 door, that is on the gas chamber side, this opening was
2 protected by a hemispherical grid. The grid was fitted
3 because the people in the gas chamber, feeling they were
4 going to die, used to break the glass of the peephole.
5 But the grid still did not provide sufficient protection
6 and similar incidents recurred. The opening was blocked
7 with a piece of metal or wood. The people going to be
8 gassed and those in the gas chamber damaged the electrical
9 installations, tearing the cables out and damaging the
10 ventilation equipment.
11 “The door was closed hermetically from the
12 corridor side by means of iron bars which were screwed
13 tight. The roof of the gas chamber was supported by
14 concrete pillars running down the middle of its length.”
15 MR IRVING: This is roof we can see on the big photograph here,
17 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]: It is that self-same roof?
19 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: That same roof, yes, but we look now at the top. “On
20 either side of these pillars there were four others, two
21 on each side. The sides of these pillars which went up
22 through the roof were of heavy wire mesh.”
23 Q. [Mr Irving]: What does it mean when it says “the pillars went up
24 through the roof”? Went up to the roof, presumably?
25 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, but they popped out above the roof.
26 Q. [Mr Irving]: The pillars popped out?
1 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, so the pillars went through a hole in the roof and
2 then they went in through, basically the earth which was
3 assembled on top of the roof, and then there was a little
4 kind of chimney on top of that.
5 Q. [Mr Irving]: On top of a pillar?
6 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: On top of a pillar.
7 Q. [Mr Irving]: What was the purpose of that, architecturally speaking?
8 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Because these were hollow pillars and these were the
9 pillars where Zyklon-B was inserted into the gas chamber.
10 Q. [Mr Irving]: Just so the court can hear what Professor van Pelt is
11 saying, these were hollow pillars?
12 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: These were hollow pillars.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]: Made of what, concrete?
14 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: These were made of metal.
15 Q. [Mr Irving]: These are the wire mesh pillars you are now talking about?
16 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
17 Q. [Mr Irving]: Not the concrete pillars supporting the roof?
18 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, these are the wire mesh pillars which are connected on
19 either side of these pillars. These pillars, that is in
20 the sentence before, we have concrete pillars which go
21 down the middle of the length and one of these pillars is
22 still there holding up a bit of the roof, and then
23 connected to these concrete pillars, there are seven of
24 them, connected to four of them were wire mesh metal
25 pillars, two on one side and two on the other side.
Section 173.26 to 194.26
26 Q. [Mr Irving]: My Lord, I gave you a large yellow map which shows the
1 layout. You can see the pillars there with the wire mesh
2 columns next to them. It is one of the large yellow maps.
3 There are two yellow maps. That is the one, my Lord. If
4 I can just interrupt you, there is a room there numbered
5 No. 9 and No. 10. What do you call that, an axonometric
7 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: An axonometric view, yes.
8 Q. [Mr Irving]: In other words, a kind of exploded view of the
9 Leichenkeller No. 1, am I correct? This is, just to
10 remind the court, the one we have seen in the photographs
11 with the collapsed roof?
12 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, No. 9 and 10.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]: Yes. It has a number of concrete columns, and you have
14 drawn in those wire mesh columns, have you not?
15 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I mean the whole thing is a drawing by one of my students
16 of the whole building.
17 Q. [Mr Irving]: Yes, but the wire mesh is an addition; it is not based on
18 any drawings or blue prints, is it?
19 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: It is drawn on, it is based on the drawing made by the man
20 who actually made these pillars and who gave testimony in
21 Poland shortly before Mr Taiber.
22 Q. [Mr Irving]: Are they round pillars or square pillars?
23 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Square pillars.
24 Q. [Mr Irving]: Have you any idea, can you tell the dimension of the
25 pillar was, the wire mesh?
26 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I will have to consult Mr Kuhler’s testimony which is —-
1 Q. [Mr Irving]: It is quite important.
2 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Then I will consult his testimony on that.
3 Q. [Mr Irving]: While you are consulting, can you tell us was it just one
4 layer of wire mesh or several concentric layers of wire
6 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: There was concentric layers of wire mesh.
7 Q. [Mr Irving]: Two, three, four, five, six?
8 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I think there were — basically there were two layers
9 creating, basically, a narrow space inside, a wire mesh
10 cage around it and another air space with a wire mesh cage
11 around it, and then there was a kind of thing which moves
12 up and down inside that inner hollow space.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]: So let me get this straight, how many actual concentric
14 tubes are we concerned with or wire tubes, two or three
15 inside each other?
16 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: There is an outer one. There is an inner one and I think
17 then there was one inside that, and there was this movable
18 thing which could go up and down.
19 Q. [Mr Irving]: What is the purpose of having so many layers?
20 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: According to the testimony, it was to allow for a more
21 even spread of the Zyklon-B in the gas chamber.
22 Q. [Mr Irving]: What was the thickness of the wire?
23 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The thickness of the wire changed as you went from the
24 inside to the outside.
25 Q. [Mr Irving]: Is it not right that the thickness of the wire was 3
26 millimetres the whole way through?
1 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I do not recall that right now.
2 Q. [Mr Irving]: So if you have a wire mesh made of 3 millimetres, you have
3 in fact a 6 millimetre thickness of that particular layer,
4 because the wire mesh overlaps?
5 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I presume so, but again I would like to see — there is
6 basically one very particular piece of eyewitness
7 evidence, so we can look at eyewitness evidence and then
8 we can reconstruct exactly how thick those wire mesh
9 columns are.
10 Q. [Mr Irving]: This is why I was asking what the overall dimensions of
11 these alleged wire mesh columns were, so we could form an
12 impression of their practicability.
13 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Let us look at Kuhler’s testimony. If we can stop reading
14 the Taiber testimony.
15 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I want you at some stage to complete reading
17 MR IRVING: Can we continue reading Taiber then, my Lord? That
18 is probably a good idea.
19 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Then you come back to the wire mesh columns.
20 MR IRVING: We have to come back to the wire mesh columns
22 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Page 183, just complete it to the end of
24 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: “The sides of these pillars which went up through the roof
25 were of heavy wire mesh. Inside this grid, there was
26 another other fine mesh and inside of that further very
1 fine mesh. Inside this last mesh cage there was a
2 removable can that was pulled out with a wire to recover
3 the pellets from which the gas had evaporated. Besides
4 that in the gas chamber there were electric wires running
5 along the two sides of the main beam supported by the
6 central concrete pillars. The ventilation was installed
7 in the walls of the gas chamber. Communication between
8 the room and the ventilation installation proper were
9 through small holes along the top and bottom of the side
10 walls. These lower openings were protected by a kind of
11 muzzle, the upper ones by whitewash perforated metal
12 plates”, and these are plates, some of six were found and
13 analysed by the Krakau Forensic Institute.
14 MR IRVING: That is your presumption?
15 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: That is my presumption.
16 Q. [Mr Irving]: You have no reason for saying that, saying that these are
17 identical, other than your presumption?
18 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: It seems that the description of these plates is exactly
19 the same, of the ones which were analysed in Krakau.
20 “The ventilation system of the gas chamber was
21 coupled to ventilation ducts installed in the undressing
22 room. This ventilation system, which also served as a
23 dissection room, was driven by electric motors in the roof
24 space of the crematorium.
25 “The water tap was in the corridor and a rubber
26 hose was run from it to wash floor of the gas chamber. At
1 the end of 1943 the gas chamber was divided in two by a
2 brick wall to make it possible to gas smaller transports.
3 In the dividing wall there was a door identical to that
4 between the corridor and original gas chamber. Small
5 transports were gassed in the chamber furthest from the
6 entrance from the corridor.
7 MR IRVING: I would like to stop you there, if I may, and now
8 ask you what Taiber has actually told us about the gassing
10 MR JUSTICE GRAY: We have not quite finished yet. Can we just
11 go to the middle of 184, and then that is a convenient
12 point I think to ask that question.
13 MR IRVING: Very well, my Lord, yes.
14 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: “The undressing room and the gas chamber were covered
15 first with a concrete slab and then with a layer of soil
16 sown with grass. There were four small chimneys, the
17 openings through which the gas was thrown in that rose
18 above gas chamber.”
19 Q. [Mr Irving]: So this is the roof we are looking at on these large
20 colour photographs, is that correct?
21 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, or the remains of the roof to be very precise.
22 “These openings were closed by concrete covers with two
24 Q. [Mr Irving]: Not wooden, concrete covers?
25 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: That is what it says, yes. “Over the undressing room the
26 ground was higher than the level of the yard and perfectly
1 flat. The ventilation ducts led to pipes and the chimneys
2 located in the part of the building above the corridor and
3 undressing room. I would point out that at first the
4 undressing room had neither benches nor clothes hooks and
5 there were no showers in the gas chamber. These fittings
6 were not installed until Autumn 1943 in order to
7 camouflage the undressing room and the gas chamber as a
8 bathing and disinfestation facility. The showers were
9 fitted to small blocks of wood sealed into the concrete of
10 the gas chamber. There were no pipes connected to the
11 showers from which no water ever flowed.
12 “As I have already said, there was a lift in
13 the corridor or rather a goods hoist. A temporary hoist
14 installed pending delivery of the electric lift to carry
15 the corpses to the ground floor.” End of quotation.
16 Q. [Mr Irving]: That final paragraph is quite interesting, is it not,
17 because we now have the documents giving the actual dates
18 for the arrival of the provisional lift. I believe it was
19 finally ready in September 1943, is that correct?
20 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, it was ready in March. The history of the lift is a
21 very confused history, because they did not get the lift
22 they wanted. They had the lift installed originally for
23 750 kilograms carrying capacity, and then they tried to
24 improve on that one, since it did not seem to be enough,
25 by doubling the cables on which this lift, it was
26 basically a kind of building site hoist, so that it could
1 carry 1500 kilograms. This was all in something like
2 March 1943.
3 Q. [Mr Irving]: Very well. So we have heard the description from Henrich
4 Taiber of the liquidation procedure. On what other
5 eyewitnesses did you base the —-
6 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I am sorry I will have to interrupt you,
7 Mr Irving. I think if you have a case to put in relation
8 to Taiber, that he is unreliable or that for some reason
9 his account is not to be credited, I think it is right
10 that you should put it.
11 MR IRVING: Very well.
12 MR JUSTICE GRAY: It may be your case is simply that all the
13 eyewitnesses are to be treated with caution and you go no
15 MR IRVING: I was go to treat them all summarily, in the same
16 manner, and just ask the simple question, did they all
17 give the same description in broad terms of people going
18 up on the roof opening these manhole covers, pouring the
19 cyanide capsules in. If I may ask the question like that,
20 the eyewitnesses that you have, Taiber, which other ones
21 would you rely on?
22 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: In this case, as you mentioned Broad describes seeing it
23 from some distance. Then later there are eyewitnesses who
24 have been, other sonderkommando who would have made
25 statements later, in 1960s, and of course Muller with his
26 original statement for 1946 which is in the book by Kuhler
1 and then —-
2 Q. [Mr Irving]: Of course if they make their statements in the 1960s there
3 is the danger of cross-pollination, is there not?
4 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: That is why I limited myself at the moment for this
5 particular case to look at the very early ones. I must
6 say that as an historian I am quite delighted to find
7 people who seem to be as observant as Mr Taiber actually
8 as a witness giving with very fresh this thing in his
9 memory his statement in May 1945 to Judge Sehn.
10 Q. [Mr Irving]: It is almost as though Jan Sehn held the blueprints in
11 front of him and said: “So they went from here, to there,
12 through this door and then this and this and this
13 happened”, is that right?
14 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I do not know. I mean I do not know what happened. I do
15 not know what happened in that room. Certainly the Taiber
16 testimony is largely convergent with the blueprints.
17 However, when Taiber starts talking about, for example,
18 either the gassing procedure or the incineration procedure
19 of course, then that is not in the blueprints and very
20 important the wire mesh columns are not in the blueprints
21 either. We have that from a different source.
22 Q. [Mr Irving]: So these wire mesh columns, so it is plain what we are
23 saying, what size were they? We have not nailed it down.
24 In rough terms 10 inches across from side to side?
25 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: They were probably, I mean again I want to try to find
26 Kuhler, but they were probably the same thickness as the
1 structural columns supporting the roof.
2 Q. [Mr Irving]: Which is quite a substantial size. These wire mesh
3 columns that are going to go up to the roof where the hole
4 is through which the cyanide capsules are being poured?
5 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes. Yes.
6 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Before we have leave Taiber, I am sorry to
7 interrupt you again, Mr Irving, he gives a detailed
8 account of the incineration procedure which you have set
9 out at page 186 of your report, is that right?
10 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Let me just get to 186.
11 MR RAMPTON: Is the witness looking for Kuhler, in which case
12 I can tell him where it is?
13 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I am asking him to look for something else.
14 MR RAMPTON: I am sorry. It is 196 to 198 and 516 to 517.
15 MR JUSTICE GRAY: We will have to deal with Kuhler tomorrow.
16 MR IRVING: I only wanted to know roughly what size of wire
17 mesh we are talking about, what the width of this column
18 going up to the ceiling was. We have probably got a
19 pretty clear picture of kind of thing it was; larger than
20 a drainpipe.
21 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes. Kuhler says these columns were around 3 metres high
22 and they 70 metres square.
23 Q. [Mr Irving]: 70 metres?
24 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: 70 centimetres.
25 Q. [Mr Irving]: The wire mesh columns?
26 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
1 Q. [Mr Irving]: 70 centimetres is of the order of 2 feet 6 inches?
2 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, a little less, 2 feet three inches.
3 Q. [Mr Irving]: So this hole in the roof or these holes in the roof, how
4 many wire mesh columns were there, four?
5 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Four.
6 Q. [Mr Irving]: So the holes in the roof would have been up to 2 foot 6
7 inches across?
8 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Absolutely not, because the whole column may be 2 feet 4
9 inches, but Zyklon-B is only introduced right in the
10 centre piece. The centre piece, we have concentric
11 columns, so ultimately the centre piece can be a rather
12 narrow thing, so the hole through the roof could have been
13 a relatively narrow pipe.
14 Q. [Mr Irving]: But we are told here he had a concrete cover with two
15 handles covering this whole, which rather suggests
16 something larger than a tennis ball?
17 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: But the concrete cover, we have a picture of these actual
18 chimneys in the documents. Of course you do not when you
19 create this pipe which comes up out the centre of the wire
20 mesh columns, of course you take a larger kind of little
21 chimney around it.
22 MR JUSTICE GRAY: As a funnel?
23 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: As a funnel, yes. Like a chimney itself always is wider
24 than the actual smoke channel going through it.
25 MR IRVING: Yes. So you are saying there was a relatively
26 small hole or four small holes smaller than 2 foot six
1 inches across then, and after they had spent all this
2 money building this underground crematorium with all the
3 problems of damp that is implicit in that, somebody was
4 allowed to come along after the event, because it was not
5 included in the drawings, and knock holes in right next to
6 the supporting pillars?
7 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I did not say that. The crematorium roof, as we know from
8 other documents, there were problems with finishing the
9 crematorium, roofs of the Leichenkeller, in December of
10 1942 and January 1943. We actually have photos of the
11 completion of the roof.
12 Q. [Mr Irving]: But this is not the question.
13 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: May I finish? No, but the thing is you assert that
14 they knocked holes inside the roof of the gas chamber.
15 Q. [Mr Irving]: Through the roof.
16 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: That did not happen.
17 Q. [Mr Irving]: Through the roof?
18 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Through the roof. Well, the modification and design had
19 been made before that roof was completed.
20 Q. [Mr Irving]: What modification?
21 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The roof of the gas chamber, or morgue No. 1, and the roof
22 of morgue No. 2, later the undressing room, were only
23 completed in December and January, in December 1942 and
24 January 1943, by which time the modification of the
25 building into a genocidal extermination machine had
26 already been decided on. But they did not have to make
1 holes in the roof because the roof was not yet complete at
2 the time.
3 Q. [Mr Irving]: But if you were an architect, and neither of us is an
4 architect, and some SS Rottenfuhrer comes along and says,
5 “I am going to knock four holes in the roof right next to
6 the supporting pillars”, what would you have told that
8 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: May I just point out that if we look here at, for example,
9 that column and that column, there is a beam supporting,
10 connecting the two columns. Of course it is going to be a
11 real problem when you go right through the beam you weaken
12 the beam. That is one of the reasons that these columns
13 are placed next to the column, so that they do not
14 challenge the structural integrity of the main beam. If
15 they had been — may I point it out?
16 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes. I think I understand what you are
18 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I am just going to make a drawing here. This is the gas
19 chamber. The columns are right here. The structural beam
20 sits right on top of that. So your point is absolutely
21 valid if you put the columns right there, but if you put
22 the grid columns right here, then there is absolutely no
23 structural, the structural integrity of the roof is in no
24 way challenged.
25 MR IRVING: Professor van Pelt, we are wasting our time really,
26 are we not? There were never any holes in that roof.
1 There are no holes in that roof today. There were never
2 four holes through that roof. They cannot have poured
3 cyanide capsules through that roof. The concrete evidence
4 is still there. You yourself have stood on that roof and
5 looked for those holes and not found them. Our experts
6 have stood on that roof and not found them. The holes
7 were never there. What do you have say to that?
8 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I would just say why do we not put up the picture of the
9 roof and look at the roof in the present condition? The
10 roof is a mess. The roof is absolutely a mess. A large
11 part of the roof is in fragments. The concrete has many
12 different colours. You pretend that you are talking about
13 a piece which is intact. It is not.
14 Q. [Mr Irving]: Can I remind what you have written in your book?
15 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: It is impossible to determine nowadays what was the
16 situation of that roof in 1945.
17 Q. [Mr Irving]: Can I remind what you have written in your expert report
18 for this case?
19 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Page?
20 MR IRVING: I have page 295, my Lord, but that is my copy which
21 I printed out again.
22 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I imagine it is the same page for us too, is
23 it not.
24 MR IRVING: I would not bank on it.
25 MR JUSTICE GRAY: It obviously is not.
26 MR IRVING: Would the witness kindly read out the paragraph
1 I have outlined beginning with “Today the four holes
2 cannot be found”.
3 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Can I — I just want to let — I will try to find the page
4 number. It is in the Leuchter interrogation.
5 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Mr Irving, I am in your hands about time.
6 You remember I said I would rise whenever was convenient
7 to you after a quarter to 4.
8 MR IRVING: My Lord, you may apprehend that the trap is now
9 sprung and it would be a pity to put the mouse back in its
11 MR JUSTICE GRAY: The trap is what you have just asked?
12 MR IRVING: Precisely it, my Lord. There are no holes in that
13 roof. There were never any holes in that roof. All the
14 eyewitnesses on whom he relies are therefore exposed as
16 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I am just identifying the trap.
17 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: OK. Now if I am sitting in the trap I will take a little
18 longer to look for the information because —-
19 MR IRVING: Take as long as you like.
20 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: — because I prefer to remain in the trap and eat the
21 cheese while it lasts! OK, we are here at page 518, my
23 MR IRVING: 518?
24 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes. The bottom two lines: “Today, these four small holes
25 that connected the wire-mesh columns and the chimneys
26 cannot be observed in the ruined remains of the concrete
1 slab. Yet does this mean they were never there? We know
2 that after the cessation of the gassings in the fall of
3 1944 all the gassing equipment was removed, which implies
4 both the wire-mesh columns and the chimneys. What would
5 have remained would have been the four narrow holes and
6 the slab. While there is no certainty in this particular
7 matter, it would have been logical to attach at the
8 location where the columns had been some formwork at the
9 bottom of the gas chamber ceiling, and pour some concrete
10 in the hole and thus restore the slab.”
11 Q. [Mr Irving]: Hold it there. So what you are saying is with the Red
12 Army just over the River Vistula ever since November 1944
13 and about to invade and, as we found out earlier this
14 morning, the personnel of Auschwitz concentration camp in
15 a blue funk and destroying their records and doing what
16 they can, some SS Rottenfuhrer has been given the rotten
17 job of getting up there with a bucket and spade and
18 cementing in those four holes, in case after we have blown
19 up the building they show?
20 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I would like to point out that the gas chamber was removed
21 in November 1944.
22 Q. [Mr Irving]: The gas chamber was removed?
23 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The gas chamber, the installations were removed. The
24 installations in the gas chambers were removed. Also
25 during the month of November and December 1944, because
26 the Germans were still confident that they could hold back
1 the Bolshevik hoard from the East, they were creating gas
2 type air raid shelters in Auschwitz at that moment. They
3 had started constructing these things just before. So
4 there was still some local, small-term, small site
5 construction activity going on. This was very primitive,
6 but certainly the SS would have been able in November
7 1944, even December 1944, to repair the roof and to remove
8 the evidence of the holes. The invasion, the offensive,
9 only started on January 12th, as we have established
11 Q. [Mr Irving]: Professor van Pelt, do you know what the phrase in
12 architecture, “fair face finish” or “fair face concrete”
13 refers to?
14 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I can guess, yes.
15 Q. [Mr Irving]: It means concrete which is left bare to the public. Are
16 you aware that this is one of the most expensive finishes
17 that an architect can specify?
18 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
19 Q. [Mr Irving]: Because — can you speculate as to the reason why it is so
21 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Because it is very difficult to get a very even texture.
22 Q. [Mr Irving]: I know this. I worked for three years in a concrete gang
23 with John Lang working my way through university, so I
24 know how difficult it was to get the concrete right. If
25 it was not properly vibrated and you had a cavity, you had
26 to take down the whole beam because you cannot plaster
1 over it in a way that it does not show. Is this not so?
2 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
3 Q. [Mr Irving]: So you would expect that it would be unlikely that these
4 panic stricken Germans could have managed to trowel the
5 finish on both the gravel covered side of the roof and the
6 underside of the roof in such a way that nothing would
7 show, you would not see what is called a drying line
8 around the circle where the hatch had once been. Is that
9 correct, you would expect to find a drying line?
10 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: If you would have had this kind of concrete, but, sadly
11 enough, one does not have that kind of concrete in the
12 ceiling of morgue No. 1 of crematorium (ii). There is
13 actually one little place you can go under it, and this is
14 where Mr Leuchter derived some of his samples, and I have
15 been also in that place and, in fact, the formwork is a
16 complete mess. It is a very irregular formwork. You
17 cannot draw any conclusion from that formwork one way or
18 the other of what kind of hole was located where.
19 Q. [Mr Irving]: Is it not so that when you have formwork made of wooden
20 planks, the concrete retains the grain of the wood; you
21 can see the grain of the wood and that too would show that
22 you could not plaster over the holes in such a way that
23 Holocaust deniers years later would not find them?
24 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, but there is one problem, and that is the column
25 which remains. There is one column remains and it is the
26 second column. The second column of the crematorium
1 remains. So it is not a column to which one of these mesh
2 columns was attached. The mesh columns were attached to
3 the first, the third, the fifth and the seventh.
4 Q. [Mr Irving]: Fortuitously, the one that remains was the one that did
5 not have the wire mesh?
6 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, or sadly so for your case maybe. So, in any case, we
7 cannot draw any conclusions from the nature of the
8 formwork around that column because that is not a column
9 where the wire-mesh column was. So, I mean —-
10 Q. [Mr Irving]: I am talking about the ceiling.
11 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: There is a one little bit of ceiling only visible. The
12 amount of ceiling is only a few square metre there. You
13 can crawl under the roof of Leichenkeller No. 1. I have
14 done it and I have looked at that roof.
15 Q. [Mr Irving]: Professor van Pelt, would it surprise you to hear that the
16 Poles have made 400 photographs of the underside of that
17 roof in an attempt to map every square inch of it looking
18 for those holes and they failed?
19 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: But the problem is that holes are not under that part.
20 Q. [Mr Irving]: The holes are not under that part?
21 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I mean, the roof falls back into the ground.
22 Q. [Mr Irving]: Here is a map of the roof as it now is. This is the large
23 yellow page that I gave his Lordship, right? There are no
24 holes in that. It has been mapped from top and bottom.
25 The only holes that exist are where it has been punched
26 through in recent years by people curious about what is
1 going on underneath, and you can see that is the case
2 because the steel reinforcing bars have been bent back,
3 and the one place where the pillar has also broken
4 through. The holes that your eyewitnesses refer to, as
5 you correctly say, cannot be found for the simple reason
6 they were never there and there is not the slightest trace
7 of them being there, and I also draw your attention, my
8 Lord, if you go back to page 184 —-
9 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes.
10 MR IRVING: — about 10 lines down: “The showers were fitted
11 to small blocks of wood sealed into the concrete roof of
12 the gas chamber”. We have probably all seen these little
13 blocks of wood that get embedded in the concrete when it
14 is poured, so that things can be screwed to those little
15 blocks of wood. Those little blocks of wood also are not
16 in the ceiling, as you can see, my Lord, as I gave you two
17 photographs in a heap this morning. I gave your Lordship
18 two photographs, colour photographs, in a heap this
20 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes. I am just underlining that.
21 MR IRVING: I cannot find mine.
22 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I have got —-
23 MR IRVING: Yes.
24 MR JUSTICE GRAY: — the ones you gave me.
25 MR IRVING: One is of the underside of the concrete roof and
26 you can see — exactly, my Lord — you can see the
1 condition of the concrete roof underneath this messy slab
2 is in. You can see the wooden markings on the concrete
3 where formwork was all these years ago when they built
4 crematorium No. 2 in Auschwitz. You can appreciate that
5 if there had been those holes in the roof, which are the
6 cardinal linchpin of the Defence in this action, they
7 would have been found by now. They have not found them,
8 and so their eyewitness evidence collapses because these
9 people are exposed for the liars they were.
10 My Lord, it is four minutes to 4. Unless
11 Mr Rampton wishes to say something to repair the damage at
12 this point —-
13 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: My Lord, may I respond to this?
14 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, but not until 10 be 30 tomorrow
15 morning. What I would be like to know from you then is
16 what evidence there is from the likes of Taiber about the
17 way in which the pellets were inserted into the gas
18 chamber. In other words, are there other witnesses who
19 describe that?
20 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: There are other witnesses.
21 MR JUSTICE GRAY: We will have to deal with Kuhler as well,
22 will we not, Mr Irving?
23 MR IRVING: I think so, my Lord, to have a look at the
24 wire-mesh columns.
25 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I hope you will have enough time. If you get
26 into difficulties I will be sympathetic. 10.30 tomorrow.
1 < (The witness stood down)
2 (The Court adjourned until the following day) 3