Day 10 Transcript: Holocaust Denial on Trial
Part I: Initial Proceedings (1.1 to 4.1)
1 IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE
1996 I. No. 113
QUEEN’S BENCH DIVISION
2 Royal Courts of Justice
3 Strand, London
4 Wednesday, 26th 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 TEN
1 <Day 10. Wednesday, 26th January 2000.
2 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Mr Irving?
3 MR IRVING: My Lord, may it please the court. Two minor
4 housekeeping matters: first of all, I have postponed my
5 two witnesses until later because, obviously, we are in
6 the middle of Professor van Pelt’s cross-examination, and
7 that is the witnesses Fox and Peter Millar.
8 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I hope that does not cause problems.
9 MR IRVING: Not at all, no. I dealt with them last night about
10 this. So one of the things I gave to you in the bundle
11 yesterday morning referred to the Millar. It is a section
12 of the 1992 diary. It will presumably be in your —-
13 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I have it loose and I will keep it loose.
14 MR IRVING: Keep it loose or put it in J.
15 My Lord, the other minor matter concerns once
16 again the press.
17 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes.
18 MR IRVING: From today’s press coverage — particularly I am
19 referring to the Times — one gets the impression they are
20 relying more on hand outs than on their personal
21 experiences in the courtroom.
22 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I saw the report. I did not read it. What
23 about it are you concerned?
24 MR IRVING: Purely, that there were things in the article which
25 were not in the testimony yesterday, and I am not in any
26 way pointing a finger at the Defendants on this. It may
1 well be there are third parties who are doing this and
2 providing copies of the Professor’s report or something
3 like that to the press. This clearly disadvantages me.
4 I am aware of the fact that your Lordship is
5 sitting without a jury, so this is of less moment, but if
6 it in any way gradually affects or put wrong guidelines on
7 public opinion and skews public opinion in some way, then
8 this may indirectly be seen to be affecting the outcome of
9 this decision.
10 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Well, I am afraid that really is a sort of
11 fact of life that you just have to put up with. Really,
12 what matters here for my purposes is whether I am going to
13 be influenced by it and, as I have not read it, I will not
15 MR IRVING: Very well, my Lord. Clearly, it would be improper
16 for any of the parties in this case to start putting hand
17 outs to the press in the way I appreciate the law is on
18 contempt which would disadvantage the other party.
19 MR JUSTICE GRAY: If anything that really does disturb you
20 comes up, mention it, but at the moment I do not think
21 there is anything that can usefully be done about what
22 appeared or, indeed, should be done. So I think we might
23 as well get on.
24 MR IRVING: Very well, my Lord. It will probably assist your
25 Lordship if I now just in one topic paragraph, so to say,
26 outline what I intend doing —-
1 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I would find that very helpful.
Part II: Professor van Pelt Cross-Examined by Irving on Auschwitz(4.2 to 110.2)
Section 4.2 to 15.16
2 MR IRVING: — for the next hour, shall we say? Firstly,
3 there will be no more traps being sprung. I am sure that
4 the Professor will appreciate advance notification. There
5 are no more hidden booby-traps or mines, but I am going to
6 be dwelling briefly on crematorium No. (ii) still for a
7 while because I believe the Professor wishes to make
8 certain comments on what I said yesterday.
9 I then want to have a look at the quality of the
10 eyewitness evidence that the Professor was relying upon,
11 in particular the witnesses Tauber and Bimko and Broad.
12 Then we will move to Auschwitz, the main camp, and have a
13 look at the alleged gassing facilities there.
14 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes. Thank you for that.
15 MR IRVING: If I can just recapitulate where we were when we
16 ended yesterday and invite the Professor to state what
17 comments he had on that. This was the fact that we had
18 established, I believe (and I am sure the Professor will
19 correct me when the time comes if I am wrong) that the
20 evidence on which he based his contention that crematorium
21 No. (ii), the mortuary No. 1 in that crematorium, the
22 underground mortuary, was, in fact, a gas chamber, was
23 entirely eyewitness evidence, what we would call anecdotal
24 evidence from certain named eyewitnesses.
25 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I do not think he would, accept but that may
26 be what you are putting to him.
1 MR IRVING: He may wish to tell the court what other evidence
2 he is relying upon. I shall certainly invite him to do
3 so. If I may continue? The evidence then is that the
4 roof has pancaked downwards, has remained relatively
5 intact, sufficiently in tact that one can draw certain
6 conclusions from its present condition, and that in its
7 present condition it certainly shows no signs of the holes
8 through which allegedly the murderers poured the cyanide
9 capsules into the chamber below. They should certainly
10 have been visible, in my submission.
11 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, that is the point we were on yesterday
13 MR IRVING: This is where we left it yesterday evening, my
15 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, absolutely.
16 <PROFESSOR VAN PELT, Recalled
17 <Cross-examined by MR IRVING, continued.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]: Professor van Pelt, do you disagree with any part of that
19 brief summary?
20 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: My Lord, I do.
21 Q. [Mr Irving]: Right. With which part do you disagree? Shall we take it
22 stage by stage? My contention that your belief that this
23 building was a homicidal gas chamber rests solely on the
24 eyewitness evidence of those named eyewitnesses?
25 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I disagree with that statement, and I can bring in some
26 other evidence, if you would like to consider it?
1 Q. [Mr Irving]: Was this other evidence contained in any of your reports
2 or in your published book?
3 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: It is contained in a report. It is also contained — it
4 is basically a number of images I would like to introduce
5 right now.
6 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Can I just be clear? Are we talking about
7 crematorium (ii) or generally?
8 MR IRVING: We are still talking about crematorium No. (ii), my
9 Lord, the one of which we had these large photographs.
10 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, I just wanted to be clear.
11 MR IRVING: We are talking specifically about the Leichenkeller
12 No. 1.
13 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Or, even more specifically, we are talking about the way
14 Zyklon-B was introduced in that Leichenkeller by means of
15 wire mesh columns which above ground were capped with a
16 kind of introduction device, a chimney like introduction
18 Q. [Mr Irving]: Rather like a funnel of some kind?
19 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Some kind of little chimney.
20 Q. [Mr Irving]: Was this introduction device made of wire mesh or was it
21 made of concrete or do you have any evidence?
22 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Tauber describes it as a chimney with a concrete lid, but
23 I would like at the moment, with your permission, just to
24 introduce the evidence and maybe we can consider the
26 Q. [Mr Irving]: This is the eyewitness Tauber you are referring to?
> 1 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes. My Lord, I would like to go to core file Auschwitz
2 2, the trial bundle,.
3 MR JUSTICE GRAY: K2 we are talking about?
4 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No. 2, K2, and I would like to go to tab 1 where it is
5 called “Plans and blueprints”, and I would like to go to
6 page No. 10 and No. 10A.
7 MR IRVING: Handwritten 10?
8 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
9 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, I think it must be a handwritten 10.
10 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes. It is 22 printed and 45 printed, but it is 10 and
11 10A. That is how the numbers of the sequence in which
12 these images are in the file.
13 MR JUSTICE GRAY: These are photographs?
14 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: These are photographs, and what we see here is we have an
15 image of the back of crematorium (ii) in February 1942.
16 You see it is winter. The photo is very clear. There is
17 snow on the ground. We are looking at the foreground is
18 actually the construction site of the Klaranlage, the
19 sewage waste, the sewage treatment plant. We look at the
20 back of the crematorium, and we see there the main
21 building with the roof and the chimney and then, jutting
22 out from that building and it is clearer on the next page,
23 we see the gas chamber, or the morgue No. 1 as a kind of
24 box, a low box like structure, and on top of that we see
25 four boxes. It is certainly three of them are very clear
26 and maybe the fourth one to the left right under the
1 window. This would be the third double window from the
2 left of the building. We see these box like, chimney
3 like, structures which jut up from this low, this low box
4 like structure, which is morgue No. 1.
5 This is a picture of the building as it was on
6 the construction. Shortly after this photo was taken the
7 gas chamber itself, or the morgue No. 1 itself, was
8 covered with dirt, and so that the projection of the
9 little chimneys above the level of the roof of the morgue
10 in the final result would probably have been less, but we
11 do not, of course, know if we look at the finished
12 chimneys right now or if these were in some way still
13 capped with another kind of structure.
14 So this is, I think, a very important piece of
15 evidence because this is a photo taken by a member of the
16 SS Bauleitung, Schaffuhrer Kaman. He was the only one
17 allowed with a camera in the camp and this photo very
18 clearly shows the structures.
19 MR IRVING: Can I interrupt you at this point?
20 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, of course.
21 MR IRVING: Right. I am anxious to let the witness have his
22 say, but you refer to them as “chimneys”; of course, they
23 are not. They are objects on this photograph. We do not
24 know what the objects are. Professor, have you,
25 presumably, in your life visited a building site?
26 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
1 Q. [Mr Irving]: And have you seen flat roofs on building sites under
3 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
4 Q. [Mr Irving]: Have you seen these roofs when they are being treated with
5 some kind of substance to water proof them?
6 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
7 Q. [Mr Irving]: What does the substance come in? Would I be right in
8 saying it comes in 40 gallons drums or something like
10 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I would not be able to comment on that. I mean, if you
11 want to assert it comes in 40 gallon drums, I will accept
13 Q. [Mr Irving]: But it comes in drums, does it not? These drums stand
14 around the roof while the men brush it up and down on the
15 roof. This kind of thing happens?
16 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: That is quite possible.
17 Q. [Mr Irving]: And this photograph was taken in the winter of 1942?
18 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
19 Q. [Mr Irving]: At this time this particular building was under
20 construction, was it not? They were stilling
21 completing —-
22 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: It was under construction.
23 Q. [Mr Irving]: It was under construction. Of course, if we cut straight
24 to the bottom line in this, if we are to accept your
25 hypothesis or theory that these were rather irregularly
26 spaced openings in the roof, and these were some kind of
1 pipe on top of that, as I understand you are putting to
2 the court, with some kind of cover on top, then we would
3 expect to find the openings in the roof, would we not, or
4 some trace of those openings in the roof even today? Here
5 is the roof now, that is the very roof we are talking
6 about, is it not? That has pancaked downwards. The
7 underside of the roof is largely intact. You can see just
8 where those columns would have been then, these openings
9 would have been, and there is not the slightest trace of
10 them, is there?
11 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I have said, it is in my report that one cannot observe
12 these things, but I have also said before that when the
13 gas chamber was dismantled before the destruction of this
14 building, two months before the destruction of this
15 building, it would have been a very likely, I mean, the
16 obvious solution would have been to actually close these
17 holes. Now, I have also mentioned yesterday —-
18 Q. [Mr Irving]: I am going to question you on that in a minute.
19 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I wonder if I should go back to the discussion of
20 yesterday or address straight the issue of the boxes with
21 material, the alleged boxes with the material on the roof.
22 Q. [Mr Irving]: Well, we will come back to the alleged boxes with material
23 on the roof, but I must hold up your statement to the
24 court where you said that just before demolition of the
25 building, workers were sent in with the instructions to
26 fill the holes with cement or concrete or something?
1 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: This is an inference on my side because you do not want
2 these holes in the roof of a space to remain. When you
3 have taken out the columns, it is an obvious conclusion
4 that you would close these holes.
5 Q. [Mr Irving]: I can see his Lordship frowning and I think the whole
6 court is inwardly frowning about this rather improbable
7 story, implausible idea.
8 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Well, just for the record and for the
9 transcript, I did not frown.
10 MR IRVING: I am sorry, my Lord.
11 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Let us get on with the question.
12 MR IRVING: Yes. The implausibility of the story, that before
13 putting in packs of dynamite beneath the building to blow
14 everything up so that the Red Army does not find any
15 criminal traces, they send in workmen with buckets of
16 cement and trowels and tell them to make good the holes in
17 the roof. This sounds, I must say, totally implausible to
18 me, and we know now that it never happened because the
19 roof is there and there is not the slightest trace of such
20 patchwork having been done on the concrete?
21 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: My Lord, it is at the moment impossible to see because of
22 the state of the roof if there was patchwork or not. The
23 roof is fragmented. The roof has weathered very, very
24 badly over 50 years, and the colour of concrete in the
25 roof is of a motley quality, to say, and there is a lot of
26 growth has been on the roof. It is impossible to tell one
1 way or another.
2 Q. [Mr Irving]: We are talking about the underside of the roof, of course,
3 and we have any number of photographs of the underside of
4 that roof where you can actually see the original wood
5 grain in the formwork on the concrete that survives, and
6 that shows not the slightest displacement or interference
7 or tampering with. This is the implausible part of your
8 story. I appreciate that you are anxious to move on to
9 other topics because, frankly, this blows holes in the
10 whole of the gas chamber story. If there are no holes in
11 that roof, no holes in that roof, there are no holes now
12 and there were no holes then, and that totally demolishes
13 the evidence of your so-called eyewitnesses?
14 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: My Lord, I have already yesterday pointed out that the
15 column which remains and over which the room has been
16 folded is the second column which was not the column where
17 the column, the Zyklon-B introduction column was attached
18 to, there were four of them, attached to column 1, 3, 5
19 and 7. May I address —-
20 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I wanted to ask you — may I do it now —
21 about the columns because I understood your evidence
22 yesterday to be that jutting out, as it were, from the
23 roof of the alleged gas chamber there were the columns as
24 well as the metal apertures through which the Zyklon-B,
25 you say, was poured?
26 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The columns — it is unlikely, my Lord, that the —-
1 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]: Did I misunderstand that?
2 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: — columns would be going through the roof completely
3 because the columns themselves were wider. They had these
4 three concentric layers, but what would have happened is
5 that there were a hole through the roof, and then on the
6 top of it you get a kind if chimney like structure, and as
7 long as the hole is connected to the innermost, to the
8 innermost kind of column inside and of the same width so
9 that this little thing can be brought up and down which
10 ultimately allowed people to retrieve the earth in which
11 the Zyklon was absurd during transport. As long as that
12 hole was the same as the diameter of the inner column,
13 then whatever you do above the roof is irrelevant.
14 I mean, you can have a box or you can have just a lid
16 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I follow. But the question I am really
17 trying to get at is this. If your evidence is that the
18 pillars were protruding above the level of the roof —-
19 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: You said the Zyklon-B introduction pillars?
20 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]: Well, that is what I am asking you. I thought you said
21 that the pillars, the structural pillars, were
22 protruding —-
23 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, the structural pillars did not and do not.
24 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]: Well, that was my misunderstanding of your evidence.
25 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: We have a blue print which shows those pillars and we can
26 look at if you want.
1 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]: Whilst I am asking you questions, I am not sure you have
2 really responded to the suggestion that was implicitly
3 being put to you by Mr Irving which is that these objects
4 that one can see on the roof of the gas chamber, alleged
5 gas chamber, are, in fact, drums containing some sort of
6 sealant. You have not actually dealt with that
8 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, and I would like to deal with that, if it is
10 MR IRVING: Are you saying that all four of those objects were
11 the pipes, as you call them?
12 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, these would be, this would be the chimney. There
13 would be some structure around the pipe, because if you
14 just have a pipe coming up, you want to have probably some
15 kind of insertion mechanism. If you take a tin of
16 Zyklon-B, that probably there is a little funnel attached
17 to, and also you want probably not the pipe to run
18 straight through the earth, you probably want to have some
19 kind of protection around that pipe.
20 Q. [Mr Irving]: My Lord, can I draw your attention to picture 10A in K2?
21 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes. I still do not think, Professor van
22 Pelt, you have really dealt with the suggestion that these
23 are drums containing sealant. Could that be so?
24 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I would like to deal with it.
25 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]: Deal with it now.
26 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: First of all, we are coming, of course, in a — the
1 problem is the exact dating of this image. If this image
2 had been taken, let us say, in November, December, let us
3 say December 1942, I think it could have been a plausible
4 suggestion. I mean, we would have to look then in what
5 shape of tins sealant is coming, but let us assume that
6 this is, this is December, at that moment we know that
7 there was construction activity on the roof. We also know
8 that by the end of January, I mean, in fact, by the middle
9 of January already, from correspondence, that the roof of
10 morgue No. 1 had been completed, and one of the reasons
11 for that we know that is the notorious Fergantung’s letter
12 of January 29, 1943. So, what is the reason that we know
13 that this is not December 1942, but that this is or that
14 we are already talking about probably February 1943.
15 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I thought you said ’42, I am bound to say.
16 MR IRVING: November ’42?
Section 15.17 to 37.11
17 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: My argument is that Mr Irving’s argument could be taken
18 seriously at least for a moment until we have established
19 what shape these containers come if this photo had been
20 taken in December 1942. My argument is that the roof was
21 already completed by January 1943.
22 My second argument is that one can, if one looks
23 carefully at this photo, see that there is some kind of
24 black line on the top of the chimney. There seems to be
25 some soot on the top of the chimney which means that the
26 chimney, as it is depicted in this photo, has had some
1 kind of activity already.
2 We know that there were trials, the first trial
3 firing of the incinerators was, in fact, in late January
4 1943. That was the first trial firing of the
5 incinerators. On the basis of that, it is very clear that
6 this photo must be taken after the first trial firing of
7 the incinerators. That is again the letter of 19, 29
8 talks about the trial firing of the incinerators,
9 otherwise there would be no soot on the top of the
11 On the basis of that, it is possible to date
12 this photo at least after the end of January 1943 when the
13 roof was completed and, therefore, would be no reason at
14 that moment for any other kind of boxes with sealant to be
15 on the roof.
16 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Can I just ask one question and then I will
17 stop? How do you date this photograph as February ’43?
18 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Because we know that by early March ’43, the whole
19 building was completed and, by implication, the gas
20 chamber would have been covered with dirt. We know also
21 — so that is the last date that is possible. I mean,
22 these photos are not dated.
23 We also know that the first experimental firing
24 of the incinerators happened in end of January 1943. So
25 it must have been, this photo must have been taken after
26 the end of January 1943 and before the official completion
1 of the building in early March 1943. This is why I say
3 MR IRVING: Professor van Pelt, have you seen a photograph of
4 that roof with just snow on it and no kind of
5 protruberances at all, that flat roof?
6 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, I think there is a photograph of that, yes.
7 Q. [Mr Irving]: What conclusions do you draw from examining that
8 photograph? Those protruberances were moveable?
9 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: If you present me to the photograph, I will draw
10 conclusions from it.
11 Q. [Mr Irving]: You say you have seen the photograph. If there is a
12 photograph of that roof with flat snow on it, a pure sheet
13 of white snow, and no protruberances on it, and that
14 implies that the protruberances were mobile and could be
15 carried around like drums of tar, for example?
16 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Mr Irving, I am not going to speculate upon a photograph I
17 do not have in front of me. If you present the photo, I
18 am very happy to explain that photo and I have an
19 explanation for that photo.
20 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Professor, actually I think you are wrong on
21 this point because you have accepted there is such a
22 photograph. You have seen it. Can you not help Mr Irving
23 — he obviously has not got the photograph — by giving
24 the explanation that you obviously have?
25 MR IRVING: I have the photograph but not immediately
26 available, my Lord.
1 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: OK. Then the explanation is simple. What happens is that
2 after the dirt was brought on top of the roof of the gas
3 chamber or morgue No. 1, the protection of these chimneys
4 would have been less. If we then had snow on top of that,
5 it is very unlikely we would have seen much of these
6 little chimneys.
7 MR IRVING: I only have one more question going to these
8 protruberances on the roof. You say the Germans are
9 basically a very methodical and orderly kind of people
10 when they design their buildings; they are not arty
11 crafty. They do not put a pillar here and a pillar there
12 and “Let us have two over there”. They will put them in a
13 straight line down the middle, as, indeed, we know they
14 did in that very building, in the gas chamber, as you call
16 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: They are construction pillars we are talking about?
17 Q. [Mr Irving]: Yes, the construction pillars that go down the centre of
18 the room, do they not, with one single reinforced concrete
19 beam down the centre of the room?
20 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
21 Q. [Mr Irving]: So these pillars go down the centre of the room.
22 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Not only Germans. I presume even English architecture and
23 Canadian architecture do the same.
24 Q. [Mr Irving]: I am sure they do. Therefore, the wire mesh columns that
25 you talked about which went up the side of the pillars
26 would also be running down the centre of the roof, would
1 they not?
2 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, not necessarily. I mean, you can put them either on
3 the left or on the right side of the columns.
4 Q. [Mr Irving]: Can we have another look at that photograph, in particular
5 the one on page 10A? Is it your impression that those
6 four objects are evenly spaced?
7 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: It seems that the second object is slightly more, the
8 second object from the right, seems to be slightly more to
9 the left — it seems to be at a different line than the
10 first and the third.
11 Q. [Mr Irving]: Very well. Do they appear to you to be running down the
12 centre line of that roof?
13 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No.
14 Q. [Mr Irving]: Or anywhere near the centre line of that roof?
15 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I do not know, near. It is very difficult to say in this
16 photograph exactly where they are, but it seems to be in
17 this perspective that the interpretation is that No. 1 and
18 No. 3 maybe would be in line, but certainly No. 2 would
19 not be on the same line as No. 1 and 3, going from the
20 right, and No. 4 it is very difficult to determine exactly
21 what that thing is.
22 Q. [Mr Irving]: Professor van Pelt, have you received just now a copy of
23 this photograph of the underside of the roof?
24 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes. I have it right in front of me.
25 Q. [Mr Irving]: You accept that the underside of that slab we are looking
26 at there in the colour photograph, which is Leichenkeller
1 No. 1 of crematorium No. 2, is the room you identified as
2 the room where 500,000 people were gassed to death?
3 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
4 Q. [Mr Irving]: Will you accept that we can indeed see a very large amount
5 of the space of that underside of that roof?
6 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: It is very difficult from this photograph to say how much
7 space it is. I have been under the roof and it is a very
8 tight space when you go there, when you actually film it
9 or photograph it, the scale becomes very difficult to
10 determine. What we certainly see here is that, if indeed
11 what we see in the front of this photograph is the bricks,
12 and pieces of bricks, then actually we are looking in a
13 very, very narrow space, because these bricks are this
14 size more or less, so we are talking about a space here, a
15 crawl space right now.
16 Q. [Mr Irving]: Like speediology, is it not, like cave hunting? It would
17 be like going down into a very narrow cave, but all the
18 same the people manage to get down there and take the
19 photograph of that large area of roof space and you can
20 see the lines of the formwork, the wooden lines where the
21 concrete has been moulded into the wet concrete as running
22 between the boards of the formwork?
23 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
24 Q. [Mr Irving]: You would expect therefore to find that interrupted in
25 some way if there were these holes in the roof?
26 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I would like to point out to you that in fact, if we see
1 the kind of converging parallel lines of the formwork
2 going from the top of the photo, then passing over at
3 least two big kind of stains, which shows it is not very
4 smooth, and then suddenly that formwork stops because
5 there is actually a diagonal line going more or less from
6 the top left of the picture to the middle of the right
7 hand side, so the form work certainly not very regular,
8 which it is very easy to see on this photo.
9 Q. [Mr Irving]: You do accept, do you not, that the whole of the story of
10 the 500,000 people killed in that chamber rises or falls,
11 rests or falls on the existence of those holes in that
13 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No.
14 Q. [Mr Irving]: We only have the eyewitness evidence.
15 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I disagree with that. The whole story rises and falls on
16 the evidence that this room was a gas chamber, which is a
17 slightly different issue.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]: Well, setting that aside for a moment and we will come
19 back to that other evidence in a moment, we still have not
20 heard any other evidence than the eyewitness evidence we
21 have heard about.
22 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Mr Irving, before you leave the photograph,
23 took this photograph?
24 MR IRVING: A number of, shall we say, revisionist researchers
25 have gone down there and taken these photographs.
26 MR JUSTICE GRAY: The professionals say it is revisionist
2 MR IRVING: It is revisionist research, my Lord, but the point
3 I was about to make was, as your Lordship may apprehend it
4 was, as it is now accepted and has been accepted for some
5 years that the whole story rises and falls on the
6 existence of holes, one would have expected the
7 researchers at the other end of the spectrum to have been
8 down frantically looking for those holes to prove us wrong
9 and they have not. They have not bothered to scrape off
10 the rubble on the top to look for the evidence on top of
11 the holes. They have not bothered to make any kind of
12 survey clearing aside this brick mess underneath, digging
13 deeper in, looking for evidence that those holes exist and
14 frankly, my Lord, I cannot accept the notion that the
15 Nazis, in the last frantic days when we heard yesterday
16 they were in a blue funk, blowing up buildings, taking out
17 the equipment, dismantling everything nut and bolt, that
18 they would have gone round with a bucket of cement filling
19 in the holes of the buildings they were about to dynamite.
20 MR JUSTICE GRAY: That is in the nature of a small speech and
21 obviously you will be making that point later on, but for
22 the time being press on with your questions.
23 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: My Lord, may I respond to this? Can I take the speech as
24 a question?
25 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Let us deal with it slightly more
26 evidentially. You are being asked for the evidence you
1 rely on apart from the eyewitnesses.
2 MR IRVING: My Lord —-
3 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Just pause. You have your shout and I am
4 going to have mine. You have identified the photographs
5 which we have just been looking at, and I think we are
6 going to want to know what other evidence you rely on.
7 Mr Irving, that is not an inconvenient moment to ask that
8 question, is it?
9 MR IRVING: I was just going to ask one supplementary question,
10 which is to your knowledge, Professor, have any
11 investigations of the underside of that roof been made by
12 the Auschwitz museum authorities or the Polish
14 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I do not know, my Lord.
15 Q. [Mr Irving]: Do you believe that, if there was any doubt as to the
16 existence of those holes, or if there was any belief that
17 those holes really existed, is it not likely that they
18 would have made the most strenuous attempts to establish
19 that fact?
20 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I cannot second guess the way the Auschwitz museum or the
21 Polish authorities operate. What I do know is that they
22 do not generally allow their research agenda to be set by
24 Q. [Mr Irving]: Very well.
25 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: My Lord, may I introduce a second piece of evidence?
26 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes. I would find it helpful, Mr Irving, to
1 know what other evidence. You started by asking what
2 other evidence is there.
3 MR IRVING: This is the question I asked earlier on and I did
4 say that we would come back to that.
5 MR JUSTICE GRAY: We have the answer now.
6 MR IRVING: We have the eyewitnesses to whose integrity I shall
7 be coming back later on this morning, but let us hear what
8 else you have?
9 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The second piece of evidence I would like to introduce is
10 in tab No. 2, and it is circled photo No. 6, which is an
11 air photo taken by Americans in the summer of 1944, which
12 shows, if we look at that –, I do not know exactly how to
13 turn it. If one looks at the photo from the side, we see
14 crematorium (ii) to the right and crematorium 3 to the
15 left. Now, one sees in this photo very clearly jutting
16 out the undressing room. It is actually the entry at the
17 end. It is like a little tab attached to it, and the
18 morgue No. 1, and on morgue No. 1 there are four dots. In
19 the same morgue No. 1 at crematorium 3 one sees those
20 three dots.
21 MR IRVING: You describe them as dots, Professor. Would you
22 like to estimate how long those dots actually are?
23 MR JUSTICE GRAY: The dots are going, as it were, in a line up
24 to the top of the page. Are these the dots there?
25 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
26 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I see.
1 MR IRVING: If I may point them out on this large colour map,
2 my Lord, they go along this roof here, do they not, which
3 is the alleged gas chamber? Right?
4 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
5 Q. [Mr Irving]: OK.
6 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: So that is a second piece of evidence, and I will leave it
7 to this for the movement. I presume Mr Irving will
8 challenge this and I will respond to his challenge.
9 Q. [Mr Irving]: I did ask you a question if you remember. This was, would
10 you estimate on the evidence in front of you approximately
11 how big those dots are?
12 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I find it very difficult. I do not know exactly how the
13 shadow runs.
14 Q. [Mr Irving]: Is that a shadow or an object?
15 MR RAMPTON: My Lord, can I intervene to be helpful? There is
16 an even clearer photograph, a medium enlargement, on the
17 previous page in the bundle on the right-hand side.
18 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, that is a better photograph. I think
19 that is helpful.
20 MR RAMPTON: It is even clearer.
21 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Is it the same photograph?
22 MR RAMPTON: I do not know. The witness will know that.
23 MR JUSTICE GRAY: More overexposed, as it were, than the other
25 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes. It is not exactly. It was not taken from the same
26 thing because you can see near crematorium 3, on the one
1 photograph you can see these lines going in, which
2 actually were used for labels, attach labels to it, and
3 when they were published in 1979 or so, and you do not see
4 those lines pointing to crematorium 3, the morgue No. 1
5 and the fence in the image on page No. 5, printed No. 4.
6 MR JUSTICE GRAY: On page 5 crematorium (ii) is on the left.
8 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes. Crematorium (ii) is on the left.
9 MR IRVING: Are these the same photographs, Professor?
10 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, they do not seem to be. I think they are the same
11 photograph but they come from a different source.
12 Q. [Mr Irving]: I do not think they can be the same photographs Professor,
13 because of course the shadow of the chimney is going in
14 the different direction, unless I am wrong..
15 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The shadow of the chimney goes in the same direction. We
16 see the shadow of the chimney going north west in both
18 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I think one may be the mirror image of the
19 other but I am not sure it matters very much whether they
20 are the same photographs?
21 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: So the question posed to me was the size of the objects.
22 It is very difficult to determine the size of the objects,
23 because of the way the shadow works. If one looks at the
24 shadow of the chimney, one sees that the chimney really
25 projects considerably out of the building, the shadow of
26 the chimney. So it seems to be the sun is coming in this
1 case from the southeast. I do not know exactly what time,
2 maybe it comes from the east more.
3 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I would not build too much on that, because
4 I think it could be the same photograph which has been put
5 in the wrong way round, as it were.
6 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, they are exactly the same.
7 MR IRVING: I accept they are the same photographs. Would you
8 agree that both the chimney of the crematorium and
9 whatever these pipe like objects you say are would all be
10 vertical? They would not be leaning in any one direction?
11 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The object, you mean?
12 Q. [Mr Irving]: Yes?
13 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The chimney itself and the —-
14 Q. [Mr Irving]: Both the crematorium chimney and the protruberances on the
15 roof which you think these dots are, would they all be
17 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]: So they would all cast shadows in the same direction, at
19 the same angle, would they not, if that were so?
20 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, that is quite likely.
21 Q. [Mr Irving]: On this photograph they clearly do not cast shadows in the
22 same direction. The smudges or dots appear to be first
23 one way and then another?
24 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, that is the indeed true.
25 Q. [Mr Irving]: Are these dots visible on any of the other air photographs
26 taken of that building?
1 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes they are.
2 Q. [Mr Irving]: Either before or after?
3 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
4 Q. [Mr Irving]: Are you going to show these photographs to us?
5 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No. I just selected one.
6 Q. [Mr Irving]: Well, might I suggest that it would have been helpful to
7 the court if you had produced the other photographs that
8 you allege exist containing these dots?
9 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I thought that this was sufficient, but I presume the
10 court can obtain them if they want it. But I think that
11 these dots show very clearly that there are four
12 introduction devices in morgue No. 1, or four something on
13 top of that roof.
14 Q. [Mr Irving]: Professor, I strongly suggest that is a major quantum leap
15 to suggest that a dot which on the face of it is about 15
16 feet long on the roof of this crematorium building can
17 have anything at all to do with the protruberances that
18 you were talking about earlier, which at its largest
19 extent in the eyewitness evidence that I have seen is of
20 the order of 36 inches.
21 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Mr Irving, the whole of the width of what you call the
22 alleged gas chamber I think is something like, what is it,
23 a little less than 20 feet. So, if you look at the width
24 of this room and you look then at the dots, we are
25 certainly not talking about dots which are 15 feet wide.
26 We are more looking at dots which are probably 3 feet
2 Q. [Mr Irving]: I strongly disagree. They are over one quarter of the
3 width of that roof in all their versions and
4 manifestations on these various photographs.
5 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I am not going to argue at moment about the width.
6 Q. [Mr Irving]: Moreover, they cast no shadow.
7 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: It is impossible to say what kind of shadow they cast.
8 Q. [Mr Irving]: They cast no shadow.
9 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Mr Irving, we are looking at an immensely enlarged image
10 from a small negative. These negatives, by the way, my
11 Lord, have been preserved. They are sitting all on a roll
12 and they have been preserved. These photos have been
13 analysed by two different parties.
14 Q. [Mr Irving]: Would you name those two different parties please?
15 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Mr John Ball in Canada and in British Columbia was the
16 first one who analysed these photos in the early 1990s.
17 Q. [Mr Irving]: Is it not correct they were first analysed by a man
18 called Mr Brigioni?
19 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, the CIA. I am sorry, indeed the CIA published these
20 photos in 1979.
21 Q. [Mr Irving]: About 1974, I believe?
22 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Whatever, 1974, 1979.
23 Q. [Mr Irving]: Are you aware of the fact that Mr Brigioni, the author of
24 that publication of photographs, the CIA operative who,
25 with a fellow author, first published these photographs,
26 has recently published a book called Photo Fakery?
1 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I am not.
2 Q. [Mr Irving]: In which he sets out chapter by chapter how easy it is to
3 forge photographs, as we all know. Using modern computers
4 and this kind of thing you can take people out of
5 photographs and move people around. This same Mr Brigioni
6 is an expert on photo forgery. Are you aware of that
8 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I was not. I presume that, with today’s computer
9 technology, he indeed would be able to do this.
10 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Are you suggesting, Mr Irving, that these
11 photographs are forgeries?
12 MR IRVING: I am not suggesting that per se, my Lord, but what
13 I am suggesting is that one has to be alert to the
14 possibility that somebody, for whatever reason, has put a
15 smudge on these photographs. The National Archives of the
16 United States, where the original photographs were housed
17 in the cartographic division, at the time they were issued
18 by the CIA, the National Archives issued a disclaimer
19 saying these photographs, as they are housed in the
20 National Archives Cartographic Branch, do not contain the
21 labelling which the CIA has attached. They made no
22 references to these actual dots or anything. They just
23 dissociated themselves from the kind of treatment.
24 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: My Lord, may I continue? Because I was asked —-
25 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes. What question do you think you are
1 MR IRVING: Do you have any opinion as to the integrity of
2 these photographs?
3 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I have an opinion on the integrity of the photographs
4 which is based on an analysis by Dr. Neville Bryant at the
5 NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasodena done in 1996,
6 and I actually was present in the room with him when he
7 got his job. I was not present when he actually handed in
8 the report.
9 Q. [Mr Irving]: Professor van Pelt, is this report of the Pasodena Jet
10 Propulsion Laboratory in evidence before us?
11 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: It is not, but I have testimony of Mr Michael Schurmer,
12 who commissioned the report, of the results and I just
13 want do explain the position of Dr Bryant. He is the
14 supervisor of cartographic applications and image
15 processing applications at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory
16 and he seems to be the most experienced analyst of air
17 photos in the United States.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]: Is Mr Schurmer a friend of yours?
19 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, he is not. We have met a couple of times.
20 Q. [Mr Irving]: Is there any reason why he would not have provided any
21 written version of that testimony to you for the purposes
22 you needed it for?
23 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I do not think that at the moment it is necessary to have
24 a testimony by Dr Bryant in court. You will have to prove
25 this is a fakery, Mr Irving. These photos are at the
26 moment evidence as photos. If you want to say that this
1 is a fake, I would say prove it and then we can get the
2 report of Dr Bryant.
3 Q. [Mr Irving]: Professor van Pelt, I think that his Lordship will educate
4 you as to the burden of proof in an English defamation
6 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I am not sure that is really quite right. If
7 you are not saying that these are fakes, and I think you
8 just told me that you were not putting forward that
9 positive case, then it does not seem to me that it is
10 necessary for this witness to refer to the expert analysis
11 at all. But, if you are saying it is a forgery or has
12 been tampered with in some way, then it may be that we do
13 need to see what the expert said.
14 MR IRVING: In that case, my Lord, I think we ought to ask the
15 witness as to the nature of the expertise given by the Jet
16 Propulsion Laboratory, which did not go to the forgery
17 aspect, as I understand it, but to the aspect of what
18 those objects were and how large they were. Am I right,
20 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Is that right?
21 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No. The question which was asked to Dr Bryant was very
22 simple. The first question was: Had these negatives been
23 tampered with? It was partly based on a suggestion by
24 Mr Ball who had analysed them in 1990, using
25 analogue machines, which means he did not use computer
26 enhancement but he used analogue machine, in which Mr Ball
1 had said that in the CIA report things had been added to
2 the photo, and this went very specifically to groups of
3 prisoners being marched around the camp where at a certain
4 moment one could see something like a little —-
5 MR IRVING: Brush marks?
6 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Brush marks which had been drawn in.
7 MR JUSTICE GRAY: That is not these photographs, anyway, is it?
8 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: It is actually in these photographs, but it is too small.
9 But that was one of the”proofs”. It was that group of
10 prisoners which is not seen in this enlargement. They are
11 walking around in the camp.
12 Q. [Mr Irving]: Can we remain with these photographs, please?
13 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: They are in these photographs but not visual. I am just
14 trying to explain the brief which Mr Bryant got.
15 Q. [Mr Irving]: Was he given the original negatives to look at or copies
16 of the negatives?
17 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The negatives are in Jerusalem.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]: The original negatives are in Jerusalem?
19 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, there is a roll of negatives in Jerusalem.
20 Q. [Mr Irving]: How did the American government negatives come into the
21 possession of the Jerusalem authorities?
22 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I have no idea. They are in the Abfashen(?)
23 Q. [Mr Irving]: Are you sure this is not just a duplicate made by the
24 National Archives of the United States?
25 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I am not sure. I know there is a roll of negatives in the
26 Abfashen and I have been always under the impression that
1 it is the original roll of negatives given to Israel
2 because of the importance of this material.
3 MR JUSTICE GRAY: What I think we are really looking for is
4 what was the was conclusion at which Mr Bryant arrived?
5 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: What Dr Bryant did was analyse these images by using
6 computer technology, and he said that the problem which
7 occurred in marching these prisoners which were marching
8 around is that the size of a head of a person is the same
9 as the size of a grain in the negative, and that the
10 result of that was that a morey effect which occurs when
11 also in the newspaper when you photograph a picture which
12 has been screened twice. This is one of the problems.
13 When you go to the very small scale, it becomes very
14 difficult to exactly understand the behaviour of these
15 individual grains at that level.
16 MR IRVING: Can we remain with the dots on the roof, please? Is
17 there any morey effect visible on them?
18 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: We are basically talking about very small objects, and
19 I do not know if there is morey effect on them. But the
20 issue which Bryant had to address was that the so-called
21 proof Ball had for the tampering with these photos were
22 these lines of prisoners. Once Bryant showed that these
23 had not been tampered with, that there had been absolutely
24 no tampering with this image, then the issue of if they
25 had been tampered with, the dots on top of the
26 Leichenkeller No. 1, became in some way irrelevant,
1 because the issue which Ball had brought to him was based
2 on those groups of prisoners.
3 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes. So Bryant did not actually address the
4 question whether these dots that we see on the
5 enlargements were added, forged additions?
6 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No. He looked if there was any proof of addition to it
7 and he had said no.
8 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]: Generally speaking?
9 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, generally speaking. There is a second one and this
10 is quite an interesting one. Again, the big problem with
11 all of this of course is that nothing of this has been
12 published. It would have been published by Schurmer if it
13 was not for this libel case. People are waiting to see
14 what the outcome of this libel case is. That is that
15 these photos were taken in sequence, which means that it
16 is a mechanical camera which starts running, and photos
17 were taken for bombing raids on the Bunaplatz in
18 Monowitz. So what happened is that, as the bomber starts
19 to approach, this was probably taken by a Mosquito, the
20 camera starts to run 10 to 15 minutes ahead of time, and
21 starts taking photographs as it is approaching the bombing
23 MR IRVING: It takes stereoscopic pairs, does it not? In other
24 words, each photograph was a certain distance away from
25 the next one in terms of seconds, so, when viewed through
26 a stereoscopic viewer, you would get a stereoscopic effect
1 so that you could see if these objects were in fact just
2 smudges on the roof of some kind, or plant growths, or if
3 they were what you would call chimneys?
4 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I do not think that they were taken with the intention to
5 be looked through a stereoscopic viewer. It was simply
6 that the camera was running with a certain speed and, as a
7 result of that, you can look at them with a stereoscopic
8 viewer, which is a slightly different issue.
9 Q. [Mr Irving]: This was the system. They did not take two photographs
10 simultaneously. They would take them at five second
11 intervals to produce a stereoscopic effect?
12 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Mr Irving, I think we are straying a rather
13 long way down a possibly unprofitable side alley.
14 MR IRVING: In view of the fact that apparently, unless I am
15 wrong, this is his only other evidence apart from the
17 MR JUSTICE GRAY: We have not asked him that yet. I have the
18 point. You are alert to the possibility that these may be
19 forgeries. Dr Bryant apparently concluded they were not.
20 MR IRVING: I have one more question to ask about the smudges
21 on the roof as visible in the air photographs. What have
22 you to say about the spacing of those smudges when you
23 compare them with what I call the tar barrels on the roof
24 in the other photograph? They are differently spaced, are
25 they not?
26 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I cannot judge that. In the one photo we looking from
1 more or less ground level at these boxes, and now we look
2 more or less straight from above and it is impossible to
3 come to any conclusion one way or another.
4 Q. [Mr Irving]: I disagree with you. Would it not be correct to say that
5 in fact there is a very uneven spacing in the four tar
6 barrels visible from the ground, whereas the smudges on
7 the roof appear to be admittedly irregularly spaced but in
8 a totally different way. Therefore, they have no
9 connection whatsoever with the protruberances that are
10 visible from ground level.
11 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I have no comment on that.
Section 37.12 to 53.26
12 Q. [Mr Irving]: Can we hear what other evidence you have that this
13 building here, the Leichenkeller No. 1, of crematorium
14 No. (ii) was a homicidal gas chamber, apart from the
15 eyewitnesses and apart from the smudges on the roof?
16 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: These are the two images which confirm the eyewitness
17 report, and then there are a number of drawings made by a
19 Q. [Mr Irving]: Mr Olaire?
20 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Mr Olaire, which are in tab No. 3. There are three
21 drawings I would like to refer to. The first drawing is
22 No. 1 printed 3.
23 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Can you just remind me? Olaire was an
24 inmate. Was he a sonderkommando?
25 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: He was a sonderkommando.
26 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Drawing No. 3?
1 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: It is circled in my horrible handwriting No. 1.
2 MR IRVING: What tab are we under, please?
3 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Tab 3?
4 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: It is a plan of crematorium No. (iii) which is the mirror
5 image of crematorium No. (ii), so we have in some way to
6 start to switch the left and right halves of our brain to
7 understand this. What he has drawn in the room No. 3,
8 which is, according to him, the gas chamber, are in fact
9 four little blocks, four little squares, which are spaced
10 from left to right, from left to right. They are labelled
11 here, and of course they were not labelled at the time, as
12 the Zyklon-B introduction openings.
13 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Who did the labelling?
14 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: In the final publication of Olaire’s drawings I think they
15 were done by Klarsfelt or somebody who was working with
17 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Did Olaire survive?
18 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Olaire survived, yes. He survived and he was very far
19 from Poland when Tauber gave his testimony. He was
20 liberated in Germany and then he went back to Paris
21 immediately. So the chance of cross pollination, as
22 Mr Irving calls it, is very little. There is a second
23 drawing which is in 46, so we are now one year later. It
24 could be a little bit more problematic except the fact
25 that at that moment images of the crematoria were not yet
26 published. I just would like to draw your attention to
1 drawing No. 5 which is an image of crematorium No. (iii)
2 as people are coming in, and this was drawn in 1945 and at
3 that moment —-
4 MR IRVING: Is that 1945 or 1946?
5 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: 1945.
6 Q. [Mr Irving]: I do not have a date on mine.
7 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: OK, it says 1945.
8 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Well, it would not be 1946, would it?
9 MR IRVING: These have been drawn from memory, am I correct?
10 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: These are drawn from memory.
11 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I see. I thought he was drawing them whilst
12 — no, I see.
13 MR IRVING: My Lord, this is very important you should
14 appreciate these are drawn after the war.
15 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I am afraid I had not, yes.
16 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: These are drawn from memory. What I would like to say
17 that he seems to have a very good memory because the first
18 time actually that either the plans or images of
19 crematorium (ii) or (iii) was published was in 1946 in the
20 book by Kraus und Kulgar. That is a very crude image
21 which Kraus und Kulgar, they made a little model. The
22 plans were not published by the Polish Commission in
23 1946. So we have here in 1945 someone who has been in
24 that building, who lived in that building, who was a
25 sonderkommando, who is a very, very experienced draftsman
26 and painter, had a career before the war as a painter and,
1 obviously, has a good visual memory and who draws this
2 building; and when one compares this building with the
3 images of crematorium No. (iii), then in general one must
4 say that, indeed, he remembered quite well. So I would
5 say that this building suggests at least that he is at
6 least knows what he sees and he is a credible witness as
7 even when he works from memory.
8 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]: What is it that you derive from photograph No. 5?
9 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Nothing, except that I want to show that it is remarkable
10 that he is able to remember this building as well as he
11 does without any visual aids.
12 Then we come to No. 6 which is a drawing he made
13 in 1946 of the same building which is crematorium
14 No. (iii).
15 MR IRVING: Which is a mirror image of No. (ii), is that
17 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes. What he does there, there is one problem with this
18 drawing because he has to try to represent something which
19 is hidden, but we where see in the middle level, to say,
20 that is the incineration hole with the ovens, the ovens
21 which are labelled as No. H in this case, and we see
22 No. I, we see the coke to the right, we see the little
23 officers, the SS man sitting there with the window through
24 which he looks at the incineration room, you see upstairs.
25 Q. [Mr Irving]: Which is the gas chamber in this building?
26 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Bottom level, is it?
1 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: At the bottom level, No. D. Of course, the gas chamber,
2 taken from this perspective, would have been hidden by,
3 when we see the soldier standing at No. C in the corridor,
4 the gas chamber would have basically been running to the
5 back out of the plain of the —-
6 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Towards the —-
7 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Not towards, that would have been crematorium (ii). It
8 runs away from us, if we go back to the original plan
9 I showed you which was No. (i). So the problem he had of
10 how to represent that gas chamber. So he drew it as if it
11 is under the incineration room because there was no other
12 way to really represent it, because he also wants to
13 represent the undressing room which is No. A. You see
14 there are basically two stairs, one stair to the left for
15 people that are going down and we see the second stair is
16 at No. B.
17 MR IRVING: In other words, his memory was wrong; he drew it in
18 a way it actually was not?
19 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, his memory is absolutely right.
20 Q. [Mr Irving]: But you said that he drew it in a way that it is not
21 because he wanted to represent it — he could not do it
23 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, I mean, he had to represent the location of the gas
24 chamber which is because the gas chamber jots out from the
25 plain of the drawing. He now draws it under the
26 incineration room, but, in fact, it goes, you know, it
1 goes to the back. I can do it, I mean, if this is the
2 plain of the drawing, then the gas chamber would have gone
3 like this, to the back. So he has to represent it one way
4 or another and he does it a little bit in the way as
5 probably somebody in ancient Egypt would have done it.
6 Q. [Mr Irving]: Was Mr Olaire ever interrogated or questioned? Did he
7 provide eyewitness statements?
8 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, I am happy to answer that he was not, but I would like
9 to finish the drawing.
10 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, make your point on this because I have
11 not understood it yet.
12 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The major point is seen at No. E, one sees here in the
13 drawing, and the photocopy is not very good, but E points
14 at some shadow — it is almost seems like a shadow going
15 down from the roof of the gas chamber to the bottom, and
16 then you see three others, and the most right one is the
17 clearest one in this photocopy and these are the four wire
18 mesh introduction columns.
19 MR IRVING: This is in 1946?
20 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: This is in 1946.
21 Q. [Mr Irving]: You are saying that he has not heard any stories at all of
22 what allegedly went on?
23 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I do not know exactly about the state of communication in
24 1945 and ’46, but the eyewitness testimony about these
25 introduction columns was given in May 1945 to Jan Sehn,
26 but it was only published somewhere in 1946 and it was
1 actually the actual Kuhler document, and the actual, I
2 mean, I mean the results were only published but the
3 statements themselves were never published.
4 Q. [Mr Irving]: Am I not right in saying that Mr Tauber, when he gave his
5 statements to Jan Sehn, there were many photo
6 opportunities and his photographs were splashed all over
7 the press with stories, the other eyewitness, and that
8 would have been early 1946 or 1945?
9 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I do not know of any photo opportunities for Mr Tauber
10 having been published in the press. If you can bring
11 this, you know, I would be very happy to consider it.
12 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Professor van Pelt, can I just make sure
13 I have understood it, that when you say that these show
14 the projections, whatever they may have been, you are
15 talking about — can you see — that smudge there, that
16 smudge there, that smudge there?
17 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, that is actually, that is the installation which
18 brings forced air into the ovens which actually, so that
19 other little — no, the smudges are going down. I tried
20 to interpret what your finger is doing.
21 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]: There?
22 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, that is the door. That is the door. You are pointing
23 now to the door.
24 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]: Hold up your plan and tell me where I am supposed to see
25 evidence of these projections?
26 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Do you see the arrow with No. E?
1 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]: Yes.
2 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: There you see where it just goes down, the arrow just
3 points at a first line going down, but the most clearest
4 one is the one —-
5 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]: Oh, I see.
6 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: — the clearest one is the one which is half a centimetre
7 away from D Olaire, for his name. There are four of these
8 columns quite literally drawn into this gas chamber going
10 MR IRVING: But, in fact, he has it on the wrong side of the
11 building. You accept that?
12 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Well, he has turned it 90 degrees on its
13 axis, that is your evidence?
14 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes. Then we have a third piece by Olaire which again is
15 a drawing from 1946 which is No. 7. There we see two
16 sonderkommandos who are collecting, as it says, gold teeth
17 and hair in the gas chamber. Then we see in the
18 background, we see one of those columns.
19 MR IRVING: The cross-hatching, you mean?
20 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The cross-hatching, yes. It is drawn in the same way —-
21 Q. [Mr Irving]: Are you saying they actually did this job of removing the
22 gold teeth and the hair actually inside the gas chamber?
23 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No. In general, they did it outside the gas chamber, but
24 you must remember —-
25 Q. [Mr Irving]: The picture says it is happening in the gas chamber,
26 according to you?
1 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: But you must remember that by the end of 1943 the gas
2 chamber of crematorium (ii) was divided into two. There
3 was a back gas chamber and there was a gas chamber in
5 Q. [Mr Irving]: Here is the wire mesh in the back of this picture?
6 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, but there were two wire mesh columns in the back gas
7 chamber and there were two wire mesh columns in the front
8 gas chamber.
9 Q. [Mr Irving]: Coming out of these non-existent holes in the roof, is
10 that correct?
11 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Whatever. What happened was that when the transports were
12 smaller, one of the big problems in the gassing the
13 Germans had was that normally they had to fill up the
14 whole gas chamber for the gassing really to go efficient.
15 So by actually dividing the gas chamber up into two, they
16 could gas a group in the small gas chamber at the back,
17 and then they could use the front room after the gassing
18 for work which otherwise would be done in the much more
19 tight confinement of actually the little porch or up at
20 the exit of the elevator in the incineration room.
21 Q. [Mr Irving]: Can I ask what your source is for that statement?
22 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The source for the statement that there were two gas
24 MR JUSTICE GRAY: That they divided the gas chamber into two
25 and used one half only for gassing?
26 MR IRVING: Is this eyewitnesses again or do you have documents
1 that support that?
2 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, there are eyewitnesses for that.
3 Q. [Mr Irving]: Yes. In other words, you do not have a document apart
4 from these sketches from memory —-
5 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I mean, at a certain moment if eyewitnesses say that the
6 gas chamber was divided in two at the end of 1943, and
7 Mr Bacon, for example, testifies to it that there has been
8 a gassing in the Eichmann trial, that he came into the gas
9 chamber to warm up, and that there has been a gassing in
10 the second gas chamber right at the back, Mr Bacon did not
11 need to prove one way or another about what was happening
12 where. I mean, he was a kid who came into that gas, into
13 that gas chamber.
14 Q. [Mr Irving]: Can we linger on No. 7 because I am very puzzled on this
15 business of people extracting the teeth and cutting the
16 hair inside the gas chamber with the bodies still piled
17 where they lay?
18 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, the bodies — we do not know exactly —-
19 Q. [Mr Irving]: He is telling us here in this picture, is he not? You
20 yourself drew attention to what otherwise we might not
21 have noticed — thanks very much — the wire mesh in the
23 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Mr Irving, I think the evidence is, and you
24 may not accept it, that these bodies had been moved from
25 the half of the gas chamber where they had been gassed
26 into the other half where the removal of the hair and the
1 teeth took place.
2 MR IRVING: And they just left this wire mesh column for no
3 reason — it was kind of left over from —-
4 MR JUSTICE GRAY: It was historical. I think that is the
6 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The second gas chamber — there were two gas chambers,
7 they were right one behind the other — the second one was
8 used also when there were transports. We have a small one
9 at the back. I mean, basically, half of the original gas
10 chamber is used for small transports and the two are used
11 for big transports. Of course, all the Zyklon-B
12 introduction devices remain in that first room because the
13 room is on occasions also used.
14 Q. [Mr Irving]: And you notice that none of these people are wearing gas
15 masks of any kind, although they are handling bodies that
16 have clearly been contaminated with hydrogen cyanide?
17 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I do not want at the moment to go into exactly —-
18 Q. [Mr Irving]: Well, I do because this is an important point.
19 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The testimony is that people were wearing gas masks when
20 they went into the gas chamber itself to take the bodies
21 out; that when these bodies were out, the dentists, the
22 so-called dentists, did not need any gas masks any more to
23 handle the bodies.
24 Q. [Mr Irving]: They had been subjected to doses of hydrogen cyanide,
25 hundreds of bodies, and yet these people are just handling
26 them like this?
1 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: And the hydrogen cyanide by that time had been taken out
2 of the gas chamber by ventilators.
3 Q. [Mr Irving]: How long did that procedure last then? I mean, we are
4 trying to get some idea of the time scale of the operation
6 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Around half an hour.
7 Q. [Mr Irving]: For all the hydrogen cyanide to evaporate off these bodies
8 so these people could work on them quite harmlessly?
9 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The ventilators, again eyewitness testimony says that the
10 ventilators after the gassing that took around 20, 30
11 minutes to take the gas out of the gas chamber.
12 Q. [Mr Irving]: Professor van Pelt, are you aware of a news item in the
13 newspapers about two years ago, an American student had
14 committed suicide with cyanide and when the rescue workers
15 went in, the paramedics went in, nine of them were
16 overcome by the fumes and were hospitalized afterwards?
17 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I did not read the Canadian papers, I am sorry to say.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]: This was an American newspaper and reported in the
19 European press as well. I have the press clipping if you
20 are interested. Nine of them were overcome by fumes from
21 one body of a man who had committed suicide with cyanide,
22 and they had to be hospitalized. So, on the face of it,
23 this is quite an improbable picture we are looking at, if
24 that is true?
25 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I think eyewitnesses will say that this is, indeed, what
26 happened. People with gas masks go in the gas chamber to
1 remove the bodies and people without gas masks work on the
2 bodies after they have been removed from the gas chamber.
3 Q. [Mr Irving]: Have you also read the testimony of some of the
4 eyewitnesses, that they went in there smoking cigarettes
5 and they went in there eating sandwiches, despite the gas
7 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: My Lord, you will find my discussion on that whole issue
8 in my expert report. Mr Irving at the moment is referring
9 to an argument which has been made by Professor
10 Faurisson. It is based on a complete falsification,
11 misreading, misrepresentation, of the testimony of
12 Mr Hirst.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]: Of Mr Hirst?
14 MR JUSTICE GRAY: We can come to that in due course, no doubt
16 MR IRVING: In other words, some eye witnesses we have to
18 MR JUSTICE GRAY: — but at the moment, Mr Irving — just
19 listen to me; I would like to get some structure into it
20 if we can — we are taking Professor van Pelt through the
21 reasons other than eyewitnesses for saying that —-
22 MR IRVING: This, of course, is clearly an eyewitness again, is
23 it not?
24 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Mr Irving, will you just listen? We are
25 taking Professor van Pelt through his evidence for saying
26 that crematorium No. 9ii) was used as a gas chamber,
1 evidence apart from the eyewitnesses. We have seen the
2 photographs. We have now seen the Olaire drawings. Can
3 we move on and see whether there is any other evidence he
4 relies on; if not, you can move on.
5 MR IRVING: My Lord, I would like just to linger two or three
6 more minutes with the Olaire drawings because I have not
7 really had my say on them.
8 MR JUSTICE GRAY: All right.
9 MR IRVING: First of all, it is not correct that this is just
10 another form of eyewitness evidence, if I can put it like
11 that, Professor van Pelt? This is an eyewitness who has
12 the capability of drawing as well as speaking about what
13 he claims to have seen, is that correct?
14 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
15 Q. [Mr Irving]: He is an eyewitness. Would you say that he is an
16 eyewitness who is normally balanced and in command of his
17 faculties or is there anything odd about him?
18 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I am not a psychologist. I think that these drawings,
19 these drawings certainly seem to suggest, especially when
20 we look at the architectural plans, when we look at the
21 section of the building, that his powers of observation
22 were perfectly in tact.
23 Q. [Mr Irving]: I must say there is a difference between the architectural
24 plan which he provided in 1946 and the rather more lurid
25 pictures and, of course, you know what I am talking about,
26 earlier. Would you look at the picture No. 5 which is the
1 exterior of the crematorium with flames and smoke belching
2 from the chimney. Now, would you agree that these
3 crematoria, in which the Germans had invested a great deal
4 of money in building, would have been built to the latest
5 design standards?
6 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Design standards of what, Mr Irving?
7 Q. [Mr Irving]: For crematoria, following all the appropriate technical
9 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Mr Irving, we know very well that the Auschwitz crematoria
10 did not follow the usual civilian crematoria design
12 Q. [Mr Irving]: Is there one single photograph, apart from the forged one
13 put by the Simon Wiesenthal Centre in their brochure
14 (which they have admitted is a forgery) showing the
15 chimneys of the Auschwitz crematoria smoking?
16 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: There is one —-
17 Q. [Mr Irving]: Even smoking, let alone flaming like this one?
18 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: There is one photo, as far as I remember, in the images of
19 the Hungarian action of 1944 which actually shows some
20 smoke coming from a crematorium chimney.
21 Q. [Mr Irving]: This is the photograph I am referring to which the Simon
22 Wiesenthal Centre have admitted now because they have been
23 shown the comparison with the original, unretouched
24 photograph. Can I describe this photograph to you?
25 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Do you know about this?
26 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, I do not know about the challenge to this photograph.
1 MR IRVING: Well, it is a photograph showing prisoners arriving
2 from the Hungarian action in the foreground, and in the
3 background can be seen a chimney of a crematorium. On the
4 original photograph the chimney is not smoking, but in the
5 version posted by the Simon Wiesenthal Centre in its
6 publicity smoke has mysteriously appeared?
7 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I refer to the published version of the photo and the copy
8 of the photo, which actually is a copy of the photo, a
9 print of the photo, which I have seen in Auschwitz.
10 I have never seen the Simon Wiesenthal publication.
11 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Mr Irving, the position is you will have to
12 prove that in due course.
13 MR IRVING: I will bring those photographs to court, my Lord.
14 (To the witness): One more question about the Olaire
15 pictures. Of course, have you seen all the Olaire
16 pictures or just the ones you have produced at the court?
17 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I have seen all the Olaire pictures.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]: Yes, would it be right to say that he has a prurient
19 interest in the female form?
20 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I do not know how this is relevant. I mean…
21 Q. [Mr Irving]: Concerning his mental balance.
22 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I think —-
23 Q. [Mr Irving]: Or the purpose for which these illustrations were made —
24 let us put it like that.
25 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I think that if one would judge the ability of someone to
26 bear witness on the basis of their interest in the female
1 form, I think that not many people would be able to give
3 Q. [Mr Irving]: Would you agree that in almost every single one of these
4 pictures he has drawn, for whatever purpose — there is
5 another photograph that I have given there which is not in
6 your collection — there are naked women full frontal on
7 to the artist’s brush, so to speak, and that there is no
8 reason whatsoever that he should have made these pictures
9 in that way unless he intended to sell them. Is that a
10 fair speculation?
11 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Mr Irving, I do not want to comment on what I understand
12 your suggestion is that we are dealing here with a
13 pornographer. I think it is absolutely not worth me to go
14 into that.
15 Q. [Mr Irving]: I did not use the word “pornography”. I said that his
16 purpose in drawing these pictures was to produce a
17 marketable item which he could sell in the media at some
19 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Mr Irving, you will have prove to me, if you want to me to
20 comment on it, that he ever tried to sell these things in
21 the media.
22 Q. [Mr Irving]: Let me put the question this way. Is it likely that
23 nearly all the females who became victims of the
24 bestialities of the Nazis in Auschwitz were nubile, young
25 and attractive?
26 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, it is not very likely.
Section 53.27 to 70.2
1 Q. [Mr Irving]: Not likely. Thank you very much. No further questions on
2 this particular matter. I want to go back to the
3 testimony of the witness Bimko, unless Professor van
4 Pelt —-
5 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Can we just ask, is there any further
6 material that you rely on, apart from the eyewitnesses,
7 for saying that crematorium (ii) was used as a gas
9 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: We can go through the documents. If you want the
10 construction documents of the crematoria, this will be
11 quite a long exercise.
12 MR IRVING: Are they explicit as to the use of the building?
13 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: We have documents which — we have a document, for
14 example, about the Vergasungskeller which you know well.
15 We have a document about the —-
16 MR JUSTICE GRAY: We need not bother with that. We know about
18 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: — the construction, the construction where at a certain
19 moment we get an Auskleiderkellers in the basement. We
20 talk about the introduction of hot hair into morgue No. 1,
21 the proposition being made which breaks down very quickly
22 after it has been introduced. I am happy to go in detail
23 through those letters if you want me to.
24 MR IRVING: We will deal, if you wish, with the introduction of
25 hot air. We have dealt with the undressing room,
26 I believe, earlier in this case?
1 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Maybe you have dealt, Mr Irving, I have not dealt with it
2 and his Lordship asked me if I wanted to introduce other
4 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I just want to get the full picture. I do
5 not want you to spend very long on this, but you deal with
6 this in your report, do you not, at some length?
7 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: In detail, yes.
8 Q. [Mr Irving]: So we could call this corpus of evidence the —-
9 MR RAMPTON: My Lord, I do think that at some stage Mr Irving
10 has to put it directly to Professor van Pelt what he says
11 about the — Mr Irving’s thesis in cross-examination by me
12 was that it was, indeed, a vergasungskeller, but that it
13 was used for gassing lice or people that were already
15 MR IRVING: The way I put it was that it had alternative other
17 MR RAMPTON: I do think at some stage Mr Irving has to allow
18 Professor van Pelt to deal with that thesis which includes
19 the references to “Auskliederkeller”.
20 MR JUSTICE GRAY: So no human killing but delousing?
21 MR RAMPTON: That was Mr Irving’s response to my
22 cross-examination and the evidence about the cyanide in
23 the zinc covers and the word “Vergasungskeller”, yes,
24 indeed. They used it for gassing, clothes, people.
25 MR JUSTICE GRAY: And objects.
26 MR RAMPTON: And objects.
1 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I think that is right. I do not when
2 Mr Irving is going to come to that, but I think Mr Rampton
3 is right in saying that that has to be put so that
4 Professor van Pelt has the opportunity of dealing with it.
5 MR IRVING: I certainly had not overlooked the need to do that,
6 my Lord, but I was going to do it in a logical, systematic
8 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, you do it when you want to.
9 MR IRVING: Yes, introducing two or three more documents before
10 we got to that in which we have the word “vergasung”, and
11 so on, of a relatively harmless nature.
12 MR JUSTICE GRAY: But what Professor van Pelt has said is that,
13 in addition to the photographs and the drawings and so on
14 which we have been looking at this morning so far, he
15 relies also on what one might call the construction
17 MR IRVING: Yes, which he has just vaguely summarized as
18 inferences to be drawn from them. But if we can just now
19 go back to your reliance on the witness Bimko? Can we,
20 please, have once again the reference in the bundle of
21 documents, Auschwitz 1 or 2, to the Bimko testimony in the
22 Belsen trial? While we are looking for it, can I confirm
23 that that testimony is actually drawn in your version from
24 the book by Raymond Phillips, the trial of Joseph Kramer
25 and 44 others?
26 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
1 Q. [Mr Irving]: So at the time you wrote your report, you had exactly the
2 same pages in front of you that I have here which are
3 pages 740 to 742 of the Phillips book?
4 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, I presume so. I mean —-
5 Q. [Mr Irving]: Yes.
6 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: — I presume it is only one edition.
7 Q. [Mr Irving]: Your contention is that you left nothing out of the Bimko
8 testimony which was relevant to his Lordship and myself in
9 evaluating the integrity of this witness?
10 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I have — Mr Irving, I have said a couple of times
11 yesterday that my intention in giving, in writing down
12 that section was not to bring in Dr Ada Bimko as a major
13 witness on whom I rely. The intention of that section,
14 which contains also other evidence or other descriptions
15 of the gas chambers and crematoria — for example, the
16 Polivoy account which was proven to be wrong — was simply
17 to show the development of knowledge about Auschwitz since
18 1942. It is in three sections. I start in 1942. I try
19 to trace exactly how the knowledge became available and in
20 what way. In that sense, of course, the Lunenberg trial
21 had some importance, but much more importance because of
22 the admissions of the people of Kramer and the others who
23 were actually tried in that case.
24 Q. [Mr Irving]: Can I interrupt you at this point and say so, in other
25 words, you concede that the Pravda account by Polivoy is
26 totally or largely unreliable?
1 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I have written in my report that is — I do not think it
2 everything, but it is a largely unreliable account as far
3 as the description of the exterminations is concerned.
4 Q. [Mr Irving]: In other words, it is fanciful; it include things which
5 never existed in Auschwitz.
6 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Oh, yes, I have no problem —-
7 Q. [Mr Irving]: It is pure propaganda for the Allies or for the Russians?
8 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I do not think necessarily, Mr Irving, that this is
9 propaganda for the Allies. We are dealing here with a
10 writer, a correspondent, a war correspondent, attached to
11 the Red Army who arrives in the middle of an offensive in
12 a camp which shows, even of what remains there, it shows
13 clear traces of a very big crime.
14 I think that we should remember that in 1945
15 people had not yet experienced these kinds of
16 installations; that these installations were in ruins and
17 I think Mr Polivoy, partly probably on what he heard
18 people say who had remained there which was largely sick
19 people, and partly on the basis of his own imaginings,
20 tried to imagine what such a place would have been.
21 Q. [Mr Irving]: Among the things the Russians found, was there a hospital
22 full of sick people, including large numbers of sick Jews?
23 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: There were a number of lazarettes in the camp, yes.
24 Q. [Mr Irving]: Hospitals, yes.
25 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I do not think that a lazarette and a hospital are
26 necessarily the same thing.
1 Q. [Mr Irving]: A lazarette is a military hospital?
2 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The lazarettes were barracks in which people were put.
3 There was no medical equipment. There was nothing really
4 to treat them. There were many descriptions of the way
5 these lazarettes were operated. There are also documents
6 relating to them. So I think I would not want to —-
7 Q. [Mr Irving]: We do not need to go into the problems caused in the
8 medical conditions in Germany. I am just asking, the
9 Russians did find hospitals or barracks of a hospital
10 nature in which large numbers of sick and unemployable
11 people, including large numbers of sick and unemployable
12 Jews, were housed, for example, the father of Anne Frank
13 was there, is that not right?
14 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Mr Irving, when the camp was evacuated in the middle of
15 January 1945, indeed, prisoners who were sick were men who
16 could not make the march to the west remained behind.
17 Q. [Mr Irving]: But you appreciate the point I am making that, surely, the
18 legend has it that the Nazis liquidated everybody who fell
19 sick or who was unemployable?
20 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Mr Irving, in my report I think I have pointed out in
21 response to things you have said about what happened to
22 the Frank family, that by the end of 1944 the situation in
23 Auschwitz had changed, that while until the end — while
24 throughout the history of the camp there were regular
25 selections of sick, in the lazarettes of sick inmates who
26 when they were considered to be incurable or too weakened
1 that they were taken to the gas chamber, that this policy
2 had stopped — first of all, it had been diminished in
3 late 1944 and at a certain moment stopped. No gas
4 selections were undertaken any more in the lazarettes in
5 the end of 1944. This is one of the reasons that there
6 were a relatively large amount of sick prisoners by the
7 time the camp was evacuated.
8 Q. [Mr Irving]: So the Nazis are feeding large numbers of useless mouths
9 who were Jewish and sick and they were in the jaws of
10 death, they were in the heart of the extermination
11 camp —-
12 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Mr Irving —-
13 Q. [Mr Irving]: — and they were in hospital?
14 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: — I would not want to infer any kind of thing about the
15 regular procedures in the camp on the basis of what was
16 happening there in December or January 1944 — December
17 1944 or January 1945.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]: Do you now have in front of you the Bimko testimony?
19 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I do not have it right in front of me now.
20 MR RAMPTON: My Lord, it is H2(ii). It starts at footnote 404
21 behind the tab 401 to 420.
22 MR IRVING: You have conceded, in other words, that the Pravda
23 account as an eyewitness account is largely unreliable?
24 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, I have done that in my report so I have no problem
25 with that statement.
26 Q. [Mr Irving]: So systematically we will now continue with the next
2 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Are we on Dr Bimko?
3 MR IRVING: We are now on Dr Ada Bimko, as she was at that
4 time. Her real name now, at any rate, Adassa
6 MR JUSTICE GRAY: She is still alive, is he.
7 MR IRVING: I believe she is still alive. She is a leading
8 figure, or was a leading figure, in the United States
9 Holocaust Memorial Museum. She was an adviser and on
10 their Library Council. (To the witness): Can we look at
11 paragraph 1?
12 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Which footnote?
13 Q. [Mr Irving]: On page 740. Paragraph 1. This is, of course an
14 eyewitness who is claiming to testify in a capital trial
15 against captured Nazis who were on trial for their lives.
16 She has made this deposition. At the end of paragraph 1,
17 did you read the words when you were doing your research:
18 “I have examined the records of the numbers cremated and
19 I say that the records show that about 4 million persons
20 were cremated at the camp”?
21 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
22 Q. [Mr Irving]: Have you any comment to make on the voracity of that
24 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: It is unlikely that it happened, but I do not exactly know
25 what record she was looking at.
26 Q. [Mr Irving]: Could she have looked at any records in Auschwitz and
1 found that 4 million people had been cremated?
2 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I do not know. I do not know exactly what records there
3 were. The 3 or 4 million is very unlikely.
4 Q. [Mr Irving]: Yes. The figure of 4 million was, of course, the original
5 propaganda figure put out by the Polish Government for
6 whatever reason, is that correct?
7 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes — it was a figure which was established actually, I
8 do not say for propaganda reasons, it was a figure which
9 was established by the Russians after they liberated the
10 camp, the first —-
11 Q. [Mr Irving]: But, of course, she is not testifying here that she has
12 seen a figure put about by Russia propaganda; she says “I
13 have seen the records and they show that 4 million people
14 had been cremated”?
15 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: So, I mean, if you want to make a point, Mr Irving, that
16 she is wrong there or that she maybe says something which
17 she did not do, that is fine.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]: The point, obviously, which his Lordship will appreciate,
19 as I am working towards this, you have had this document
20 in front of you when you wrote this report. In the very
21 first paragraph, when she is making this statement on
22 oath, she has said a statement which, to your knowledge
23 and to mine and to the court’s knowledge now, is quite
24 obviously untrue?
25 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I think that is not actually right, is it?
26 She is claiming to have looked at some records. We do not
1 know what the records were or what they show. She is not
2 giving, as it were, false eyewitness evidence at that
3 point in her statement, is she?
4 MR IRVING: My Lord, I beg to differ. “I have examined the
5 records of the numbers cremated.” “I have examined the
6 records and I say that the records show that about 4
7 million persons were cremated at the camp”. What other
8 possible interpretation can you put on that statement?
9 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Well, I have just suggested one to you.
10 Anyway, carry on with your questions.
11 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: My Lord, may I make a remark?
12 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes.
13 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I think this would be an interesting exercise, and I do
14 not want to judge it any further, if I had made use of the
15 Bimko evidence in any way in relationship to did the gas
16 chamber exist or not? I have never used — I have just
17 mentioned Bimko in this one particular context; the
18 emergence of knowledge of Auschwitz. I have not used her
19 anywhere else ever. I have not brought her here in as an
20 eyewitness to the gassings, to the existence of Zyklon-B
22 MR IRVING: You just threw her in as a bit of spice?
23 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Sorry?
24 Q. [Mr Irving]: You threw her into your report as a bit of spice, did you?
25 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Not as a spice.
26 Q. [Mr Irving]: As one more statistic? So, instead of having four
1 eyewitnesses, you would have five?
2 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Mr Irving, I tried to give an impression of what was
3 happening at the Lunenberg trial, what was said at the
4 Lunenberg trial.
5 Q. [Mr Irving]: We know what happened at the Lunenberg trial. A large
6 number of these unfortunates who were on trial were
7 convicted and hanged on the basis of her testimony,
8 including the person mentioned in the last paragraph,
9 paragraph 8 on the next page: “On the day before the
10 British troops arrived at Belsen”, she said, “I saw Karl
11 Flrazich [Francioh], who was a cook, shoot a man internee
12 dead for stealing vegetables”. Were you aware that in her
13 oral evidence at the Belsen trial she said it was a woman
14 that the man shot?
15 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Mr Irving, I did not know that, to be very honest, the
16 witness Ada Bimko does not really interest me so much
17 because I have not made use of her in reconstructing the
18 history of any of the four crematoria.
19 Q. [Mr Irving]: So we are working towards the point where we do not have
20 to strike off Mrs Bimko. There is one more thing I want
21 to draw your attention to. At the beginning of paragraph
22 6, this woman who has medical knowledge — she is a doctor
23 — writes: “Whilst at Auschwitz I saw SS male nurses
24 Heine and Stibitz inject petrol into women patients”. Are
25 you aware, Professor van Pelt, that phenol injections are
26 a standard treatment for typhus?
1 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: In Auschwitz, I understand that phenol was used as a
2 regular — sorry, I will answer the question. I am sorry,
3 for this. No, I did not know that.
4 Q. [Mr Irving]: Very well. So on top of the evidence we looked at
5 yesterday where Bimko described cylinders of gas and pipes
6 which you admitted was wrong, but possibly a
7 misinterpretation of what she was — you thought she might
8 have seen the ventilation system — we have no evidence of
9 that. Bimko is, in other words, a totally unreliable
10 witness and should not have been relied upon in any way,
11 notwithstanding the fact that her evidence sent several
12 men to the gallows in Lemberg?
13 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: My Lord, I do not want to judge the Lunenberg trial.
14 MR JUSTICE GRAY: No, but do you accept that she is not a
15 witness on whom reliance should be placed as to what did
16 or did not take place at Auschwitz?
17 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I think that some of her statements are historically
18 defensible and some of them probably not. This is also,
19 of course, an issue of cross-examination. I do not think
20 there was much of a cross-examination at the time. But
21 I think this is with every, you know, with every witness,
22 there always will be some things which will be wrong or
23 will be mistaken.
24 MR IRVING: Is there a possibility that with a witness like
25 Bimko and Pauber who had suffered appalling indignities at
26 the hands of the Nazis, that when the Allies came, in the
1 case of Bimko, it was the British Army who rescued here,
2 that she saw her moment for revenge had come and she could
3 take out a few of the hated Nazis?
4 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Anything is possible, Mr Irving.
5 Q. [Mr Irving]: I am trying to find some other reason why she should have
6 deliberately lied in her depositions, sworn on oath in a
7 capital case? You can suggest no alternative reason than
8 that, that possibly her memory was wrong, she had a bad
9 memory or she was imaginative?
10 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: There are many possibilities. It may be she was an
11 habitual liar; maybe she was an habitual story-teller.
12 Who knows? We cannot second guess the situation. The
13 only evidence we have is right in front of us.
14 Q. [Mr Irving]: So of your five eyewitnesses, we have lost the Russians,
15 we have lost the Pravda account, we have lost Bimko now?
16 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: But I never introduced Bimko, so I do not know how I can
17 have lost Bimko.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]: Well, some bulk larger than others in your report.
19 Mr Tauber you rely on quite heavily, do you not?
20 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Mr Irving, I rely on Tauber for the description of the
21 operation of the crematorium and the gas chambers. I have
22 never, never introduced Miss Bimko as a witness for this
23 material. So I cannot see how I lost her because I did
24 not introduce her as a witness.
25 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I do not think the idea of “losing” somebody
26 is a very helpful one, but it would help me if you
1 would —-
2 MR IRVING: Perhaps I should put a row of beans on the
3 counter —-
4 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Mr Irving, can you just let me complete my
5 sentences sometimes? Would you for my benefit, Professor
6 van Pelt, just tell me, really just enumerate, those
7 witnesses, those eyewitnesses, who you say deserve some
8 attention for what they have said in their accounts?
9 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: OK. Are we dealing only with crematorium (ii) or are we
10 dealing with the —-
11 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]: With gassing, the extermination by gassing?
12 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Extermination by gas?
13 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]: Just the names so that Mr Irving knows who you do rely on.
14 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: An important one is Slova Dragon(?) who was one of the
15 sonderkommandos. An important witness is Heinrich Tauber
16 mentioned already before. An important witness is Pery
17 Broad. An important witness is Hirst. Then we can take
18 in also, both as a witness and his diary, Dr Kramer.
19 These are either from the time itself or immediately after
20 the war. Hans Almayer talks about gassings, but he is
21 rather confused about many things so I would not want to
22 rely too much one way or the other.
23 MR IRVING: Explain to the court who Hans Almayer is, please?
24 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Hans Almayer was the Lager Fuhrer in Birkenhau in 1942 and
25 early 43, but he left by the time these crematoria started
26 to be in operation.
1 Q. [Mr Irving]: By the time he was acting in effect as the deputy
2 kommandant, is that right?
3 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes. Let me just try to get back to my enumeration of
4 witnesses. Then during the Lunenburg trial Kramer
5 admitted to gassings but did not describe the procedure in
6 detail. So at the moment I would leave it to basically
7 build up a general picture, these witnesses I think
8 produce a sufficient evidence to come to some kind of
9 solid conclusion on that issue.
10 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Thank you. That is extremely helpful.
11 Mr Irving, do resume.
12 MR IRVING: That is a relatively small number of eyewitnesses
13 for a relatively large proposition, namely that the Nazis
14 killed 500,000 people in that gas chamber with the
15 collapsed roof. That is the only evidence that we have,
16 apart from the sketches of Mr Olaire, and there is not a
17 single document of any credible worth which explicitly
18 bears out your case in all the hundreds of thousands of
19 pages of paper found in the Auschwitz museum and in the
20 Moscow archives. I am trying to summarize at this stage
21 what the position is.
22 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: On which case?
23 Q. [Mr Irving]: On the case that that was a homicidal gas chamber.
24 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No. I think these are the principal — these are people
25 who basically give us the texture, who have describe the
26 operation in some detail. One probably could have found
2 Q. [Mr Irving]: If we can fault them in any significant way, if we can
3 punch a hole in their testimony, if I can put it like
4 that, then of course that rather collapses the entire
5 value of the rest of their testimony.
6 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I do not think that is necessarily the case, but I am not
7 a professional judge. I am an historian. Some of their
8 testimony will be absolutely correct and there will be
9 always some testimony where they are maybe confused. But
10 I think that Faurisson’s theory that, if you punch one
11 hole in the testimony, all of testimony becomes irrelevant
12 I think is an irresponsible way to work with the
14 Q. [Mr Irving]: Let Mr Faurisson fight his own battles.
15 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: But what you said was quite literally a quotation from Mr
16 Faurisson. It is his thesis, his original thesis.
17 Q. [Mr Irving]: Yes. It may be his thesis, I am sure. It is such an
18 obvious thesis that I appreciate that the Holocaust
19 historians had maximum difficulty with it. If there are
20 no holes in that roof now and we can satisfy the court
21 that there were never any holes in that roof, then that
22 demolishes the eyewitnesses and thereby demolishes the
23 story of the homicidal gas chamber, because there is no
24 other evidence. Even if I am wrong on that, as we say, in
25 the alternative, I have justifiable reason for maintaining
26 the position I did and it was not perverse to adopt the
1 position I did.
2 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I am not fighting this case so I cannot comment on that.
Section 70.03 to 96.12
3 Q. [Mr Irving]: Can we proceed now to Mr Tauber? How big does Mr Tauber
4 rank in your list of witnesses? Is he near the top in
6 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: He is a very important witness.
7 Q. [Mr Irving]: So straight away Mr Tauber of course said that he saw the
8 people pouring the cyanide in through the imaginary holes
9 in the roof. He did not say imaginary but —-
10 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Let us look at the text.
11 Q. [Mr Irving]: We read what he said. I think you will find it in your
12 report Part 1 (iv) page 73 of your report.
13 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I think your pagination is different from
14 everyone else, Mr Irving.
15 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I have it right here. It is page 191.
16 MR IRVING: Thank you very much. He says here right at the
18 ” Through the window of the incineration room, I
19 observed how the Zyklon was poured into the gas chamber.
20 … They took the cans of Zyklon from the car and put
21 them beside the small chimneys [the things that you
22 described on the roof]…. Then he closed the orifice with
23 a concrete cover.”
24 Was this the man who said he needed two hands to
25 lift the concrete cover, that he saw the people using two
26 hands to lift the concrete cover? This is Tauber, is it
2 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I do not remember that he said it but, if you can point to
3 the passage —-
4 Q. [Mr Irving]: We went through the Tauber evidence in some detail
6 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: We did not discuss the thing on top, people manipulating
7 those covers.
8 Q. [Mr Irving]: Yes. If he talks of concrete covers with two handles,
9 does this not rather contradict the story given by other
10 eyewitnesses even of there being wooden lids on these
11 openings, Holzblenden in German? They have not got their
12 story straight, these eyewitnesses. They know a bit about
13 the holes in the roof but they do not know quite what the
14 covers were. They must assume that there were covers
15 because otherwise the rain would get in. So one says
16 concrete and another one says wood.
17 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: If you want to introduce that, I would be happy to comment
18 on that. I do not even know which eyewitness you are
19 talking about right now.
20 Q. [Mr Irving]: Tauber.
21 MR JUSTICE GRAY: No, the ones who say they were wooden, not
22 concrete. That is what you mean, is it not?
23 MR IRVING: My Lord, we will probably stumble across them in
24 the course of time.
25 MR JUSTICE GRAY: That is not a very good way of
26 cross-examining, if I may say so. Are you able to refer
1 to them now?
2 MR IRVING: Not at this instant in time, my Lord.
3 MR JUSTICE GRAY: All right.
4 MR IRVING: If I was surrounded by research assistants, no
5 doubt I would be bombarded with copies of that very
6 document. Does Tauber not say –, I refer you now to
7 Pressac page 483. Do you have a copy of Pressac?
8 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I do not.
9 MR RAMPTON: Your Lordship has the tab of Pressac at the back
10 of H 2(vi).
11 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I do not have H 2(vi).
12 MR RAMPTON: Then somebody will get it for your Lordship.
13 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I am sorry, I do not have the supporting
14 documents in court.
15 MR RAMPTON: I will find your Lordship the tab. It is tab 5.
16 It folds out because Pressac is an oblong book. What has
17 been copied here is just the Tauber chapter, I think.
18 MR IRVING: Would you agree, reading this very detailed
19 account, Professor, that it is likely that, when Tauber
20 made this deposition to Jan Sehn, I believe it was made,
21 they had in front of them the architectural blueprints to
22 jog his memory?
23 MR JUSTICE GRAY: We had this yesterday, that point.
24 MR IRVING: Very well. I am just drawing attention to how
25 detailed it was. Yet he says that on either side of these
26 pillars, the central support pillars, there were four
1 others, two on each side. Now He is relying on his memory
3 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Where are you now?
4 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: We are now back in the gas chamber? Where are we at page
5 483? OK. We are at the top of 484, the first column to
6 the left.
7 MR IRVING: Thank you very much.
8 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I have not got the pagination so there is no
9 way I am going to find this.
10 MR IRVING: It is over the page, the page beginning with the
11 words “middle of its length”.
12 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I just do not have page numbers, that is the
13 problem. They have all been cut off.
14 MR IRVING: I will read it out. It says, “On other side of
15 these pillars there were four others, C1 to C4, two on
16 each side”. Mr Pressac, who is quite an expert on this,
17 says that Mr Tauber is mistaken, this arrangement is found
18 only in the gas chamber of crematorium (iii). He is
19 confusing things, is he not?
20 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Mr Pressac?
21 Q. [Mr Irving]: No. Mr Tauber is confusing things.
22 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I know that Mr Pressac thinks that. I do not agree with
23 Mr Pressac. There is no evidence at all that Pressac is
24 right on this issue.
25 Q. [Mr Irving]: That Pressac is sometimes wrong, in other words?
26 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Oh, yes. Pressac is sometimes wrong. I have had my
1 quarrels with Pressac in the past.
2 Q. [Mr Irving]: He says, and I am quoting again, “The gas chamber had no
3 water supply of its own”.
4 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Where are we now?
5 Q. [Mr Irving]: I only have extracts, unfortunately. Further down that
6 same column, Pressac says that three taps were in fact
7 installed in the room, according to the drawing?
8 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I am just trying to find this thing.
9 Q. [Mr Irving]: According to the inventory.
10 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I see the gas chambers, no water supply and so on, it is
11 around two inches from the bottom, and the first column,
12 the same column where the pillars were described.
13 MR IRVING: Yes.
14 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I am not following why that is a criticism of
15 Tauber at the moment.
16 MR IRVING: Well, he has made another error.
17 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: There is a little note. It is followed by a little note
18 which says —-
19 Q. [Mr Irving]: Saying they were later taken out?
20 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, so we do not know which day or date Tauber was
21 referring to.
22 Q. [Mr Irving]: Yes. You yourself have confirmed that at the end of 1943,
23 I believe, the gas chamber was divided into two by a brick
25 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
26 Q. [Mr Irving]: So the small transports could be handled. Mr Tauber
1 confirmed this. He is the source of that information, is
2 he not?
3 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No. There is also a Greek. Actually, in my report I
4 mention a Greek Jew who was transported from Seloniki, who
5 actually mentions also, he was quite specific in his
6 description of that division of the gas chamber.
7 Q. [Mr Irving]: Another eyewitness?
8 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, another eyewitness.
9 Q. [Mr Irving]: Is there any trace of that division in the ruins?
10 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: You cannot see that. That is the problem because the roof
11 has collapsed on the floor of the gas chamber.
12 Q. [Mr Irving]: Yes. It would not make much sense, would it, to all the
13 bodies that far because this small transports were gassed
14 in the chamber furthest from the entrance, so the bodies
15 would have been pulled the whole way down. Would that not
16 have made gassing of large numbers like 2,000 at a time
17 very difficult?
18 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: If you have the small chamber at the back, you would gas
19 fewer people and, in fact, as we have seen in the Olaire
20 drawing, it actually provides an opportunity for the
21 so-called dentists among the sonderkommando and the people
22 who cut the hair to actually do their work downstairs and
23 not in the incineration room, as was usually the custom.
24 Q. [Mr Irving]: He also describes, does he not, the crematorium chimneys
26 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I presume that is crematorium chimney smoke, indeed, yes.
1 I would like to see it but I assume on your authority that
2 the crematorium chimneys do smoke, yes.
3 Q. [Mr Irving]: From your memory, presumably you have read Mr Tauber’s
4 testimony in detail, is it right that he describes it as
5 being possible to cremate five or eight bodies
6 simultaneously in one furnace?
7 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I think that we can probably go to the passage itself.
8 Q. [Mr Irving]: Well, he does say that, does he not?
9 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Let us go to the passage, because he is very particular in
10 his description.
11 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Is this in your report at page 194?
12 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: 194 yes.
13 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I cannot see the bit at the moment.
14 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: 194. We go to 192 and 193. I can read the whole passage,
15 or Mr Irving can read the passage, starting: “The
16 procedure was to put the first corpse with the feet
17 towards the muffle, back down and face up”. Then he gives
18 a very detailed description of that procedure.
19 MR IRVING: So he is the source of the information that five to
20 eight bodies were cremated simultaneously or quickly?
21 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No. I think that Mr Hirst also talks about that, that
22 more bodies are inserted in the muffles at one time.
23 Q. [Mr Irving]: Does Mr Tauber also describe the bodies of those gassed as
24 being red with green spots?
25 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I do remember that he gives a quite a longish description
26 of the —-
1 Q. [Mr Irving]: If you remember it, there is no need to look it up.
2 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I do not any more remember if it is Tauber or any other
4 Q. [Mr Irving]: Do you know what a body that has been gassed with hydrogen
5 cyanide looks like, what colour it turns?
6 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I understand it starts to look slightly reddish.
7 Q. [Mr Irving]: Like a radish? Red with green spots?
8 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, reddish.
9 Q. [Mr Irving]: With green spots. Would you think that that is possibly
10 the victim of some epidemic?
11 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I am not an epidemiologist. I do not know how people who
12 have died from typhus or other epidemics look like.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]: Cyanide victims do not go red with green spots, not if
14 they have just been gassed. If they have been left lying
15 around for a few days, perhaps they might.
16 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I have no comment on that. I cannot possibly comment on
18 Q. [Mr Irving]: Does he describe a prisoner being dowsed with naphtha
19 which is a flammable substance?
20 MR JUSTICE GRAY: This is Tauber still?
21 MR IRVING: This is Tauber, yes, and then being burned alive in
22 a crematorium muffle, and then they let him out and he ran
23 around screaming?
24 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: He has a particular incident. Again, I do not know where
25 it is.
26 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Is it in your report?
1 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: It is in my report, yes.
2 MR IRVING: Does he describe another prisoner being chased into
3 a pool of boiling human fat, which sounds like an almost
4 Talmudic kind of quotation.
5 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I am not quite sure, Mr Irving, perhaps you
6 can explain to me. You are putting various things which
7 you say Mr Tauber described.
8 MR IRVING: Well, my Lord, the inference is —-
9 MR JUSTICE GRAY: With what object? Are you suggesting all of
10 this is invention?
11 MR IRVING: I am not suggesting they are all invention, but
12 they test a reasonable historian’s credulity, and one
13 should therefore be inclined to subject this particular
14 testimony to closer than normal scrutiny, if I can put it
15 like that.
16 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Let us ask Professor van Pelt what he makes
17 of that suggestion.
18 MR IRVING: I have two more of these episodes to put to him.
19 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Put two more and then answer the general
20 question, would you?
21 MR IRVING: The prisoner was chased into a pool of boiling
22 human fat — does he describe that?
23 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Mr Irving, if you give me the passage, I will—-
24 Q. [Mr Irving]: He is your principal eyewitness, or one of your principal
25 eye witnesses.
26 MR JUSTICE GRAY: He wants the reference, Mr Irving, which is
1 not unreasonable. I am trying to find it and I must say I
3 MR IRVING: Certainly if I had read the Tauber report, I would
4 be able to say yes or no to that.
5 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I am looking in Professor van Pelt’s report.
6 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Mr Irving, we are in a court of law here and whatever
7 I say does matter. It means that I need to respond to the
8 exact quotation of what Tauber says, and then I am
9 prepared to say yes or nay.
10 MR IRVING: Very well. We will look up the exact quotation in
11 time for lunch. Let us proceed then to the final one. Do
12 you agree that Mr Tauber also attests to the figure of 4
13 million killed in Auschwitz?
14 MR RAMPTON: We thought we had found the passage in question.
15 It is page 190 of the report.
16 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Thank you very much.
17 MR IRVING: Yes. This is the problem with writing with word
18 processors. Things tend to go through the finger tips
19 rather than through the memory and brain. In other words,
20 he does have this rather lurid description of the man —-
21 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Mr Irving, I do not deny that I put this in, and I do
22 remember the incident, but I do not want to comment on a
23 very general description you give of the incident when
24 I do not have the text in front of me.
25 Q. [Mr Irving]: Can I read it to you? It is on page 190 of your own
26 report. “When the shifts were changing over, they had
1 found a gold watch and wedding ring on one of the
2 labourers, a man Wolbrom called Lejb. This Jew, aged
3 about twenty, was dark and had a number of one hundred
4 thousand and something. All the Sonderkommando working in
5 the crematorium were assembled, and before their eyes he
6 was hung, with his hands tied behind his back, from an
7 iron bar above the firing hearths. He remained in this
8 position for about an hour, then after untying his hands
9 and feet, they threw him in a cold crematorium furnace.
10 Gasoline was poured into the lower ash bin… And lit.
11 The flames reached the muffle where this Lejb was
12 imprisoned. A few minutes later, they opened the door and
13 the condemned man emerged and ran off, covered in burns.
14 … This fat was poured over the corpses to accelerate
15 their combustion. This poor devil was pulled out of the
16 fat still alive and then shot.”
17 Does that sound to like a completely neutral and
18 plausible account of an atrocity?
19 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Leave aside “neutral”. That is an unhelpful
20 word. Do you think it is plausible?
21 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
22 MR IRVING: Very well. The figure of 4 million to which Tauber
23 attested, do you call that also plausible at the time he
25 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The figure of 4 million? Not, because nowadays we have
26 very detailed information on what actually the figure is
1 and it is more likely to have been around a million.
2 Q. [Mr Irving]: So would you agree that this is an example of what I call
3 cross pollination? He hits on the figure of 4 million
4 because that was the current figure at that time?
5 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I do think that we should look at how the figure of 4
6 million originally arose.
7 MR JUSTICE GRAY: So do I. Where do we find that, Mr Irving?
8 If we do not find it in the report perhaps you could just
9 quote in its context where one gets that estimate.
10 MR IRVING: My Lord, with respect, if the witness agrees that
11 Tauber attested to 4 million, we are only concerned with
12 the figure.
13 MR JUSTICE GRAY: He has made the point, which I think is a
14 fair one, that he wants to see in what context and on what
15 basis that 4 million figure was arrived at by Tauber.
16 That is a reasonable thing for him to want to do, and I am
17 simply asking you to identify where one finds it.
18 MR IRVING: My Lord, I will have to adjourn that piece of
19 information, the page number, until after lunch. If it is
20 substantial, we can come back to it and retake it.
21 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Can anyone on the Defendants side find that
23 MR RAMPTON: I am sorry?
24 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I can point to the page. It is page 178.
25 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Of your report?
26 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: 178 of my report, which goes back to Pressac 501. What he
1 says is that he came to this figure on the basis of
2 conversations he had with various prisoners. Yes? If you
3 allow me, I can probably quote the whole thing. I give
4 the full quotation now from Pressac on page 501:
5 “I imagine that during the period in which
6 I worked in the crematorium as a member of the
7 sondercommando a total of about 2 million people were
8 gassed. During my time in Auschwitz I was able to talk to
9 various prisoners who had worked in the crematorium and
10 the bunkers before my arrival. They told me that I was
11 not among the first to do this work and that before I came
12 another 2 million had already been gassed in bunkers 1 and
13 2 and crematorium (i). Adding up the total number of
14 people gassed in Auschwitz amounted to about 4 million”.
15 That is what he says.
16 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Half of it comes from other people?
17 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Half of it comes from other people.
18 MR IRVING: This information is being taken by Judge Jan Sehn
19 in whom you repose great trust?
20 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes. I think that Sehn did a marvellous investigation.
21 Q. [Mr Irving]: Can you tell us something about these depositions were
22 taken in communist countries? Would the man sit down with
23 a pencil and paper and retire to a room and write it all
24 out himself, or would it be summarized by the lawyers and
25 he would be asked to sign it.
26 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I do not know what happened. I already told you
1 yesterday. I do not know what happened in that room where
2 Jan Sehn was interviewing Mr Tauber. I know there were
3 witnesses there because the original report mentions other
4 people being present. That is all I know.
5 Q. [Mr Irving]: If I can just leap sideways to the name of Rudolf Hirst,
6 the kommandant of Auschwitz, is it right that he was
7 interrogated several times at Nuremberg?
8 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, that is right.
9 Q. [Mr Irving]: And that, as a result of these interrogations, a
10 deposition was taken or put before him for signature?
11 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, that is right.
12 Q. [Mr Irving]: And you have now read these interrogations, I believe?
13 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I have read a copy of the interrogations, yes.
14 Q. [Mr Irving]: The verbatim interrogation transcripts?
15 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes. I do not think I have read every one of them but, I
16 have read them in general.
17 Q. [Mr Irving]: Have you managed to form an impression there of how the
18 Americans obtained depositions from their witnesses?
19 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Maybe you can lead me on that, because I do not exactly
20 know where —-
21 Q. [Mr Irving]: Would I be right in saying that, on the basis of the
22 interrogations, the Americans would draw up a deposition,
23 confront the witness with it, and say, “Sign here”?
24 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I cannot conclude that on the basis of the interrogations
25 I read.
26 Q. [Mr Irving]: Very well.
1 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Certainly not.
2 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Mr Irving, have you left Tauber now.
3 MR IRVING: I believe we have just one more point on Tauber and
4 that is to look at page 481 of Pressac, where we do have
5 four photographs of Pressac posing in various costumes,
6 post war photographs taken by the Polish authorities who
7 obviously regarded him as a star witness.
8 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: This is Heinrich Tauber?
9 MR JUSTICE GRAY: You said Pressac.
10 MR IRVING: My mistake. There are four photographs of him
11 posing in the camp costume.
12 MR JUSTICE GRAY: What is the significance of that?
13 MR IRVING: That he was a star witness, my Lord, of the Polish
14 prosecution authorities, he was being subjected to what we
15 call now photo ops, and they were relying on him very
16 heavily, and that no doubt there was a certain amount of
17 privilege being granted to him by the Polish authorities
18 in the way that he was cooperating with them.
19 MR JUSTICE GRAY: So he was making it up to express his
20 gratitude to the Polish authorities?
21 MR IRVING: It is not an unknown phenomenon for witnesses to
22 make things up. Your Lordship will probably recall that,
23 at the end of World War II, the whole of Europe was in a
24 very, very sorry state. You did not have food supplies,
25 there were no consumer goods and this was something with
26 which the people who were in authority, whether they be
1 Poles or Russians or Americans or British, were able to
3 MR JUSTICE GRAY: May I put the general question to Professor
4 van Pelt which I invited you to ask a little while ago?
5 That is this. Are there aspects of Tauber’s testimony or
6 account which cause you to doubt his plausibility?
7 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I think that Tauber is an absolutely amazingly good
8 witness. I find his powers of observations very precise
9 in general. I do not have any general reason to doubt his
10 credibility as a witness.
11 MR IRVING: May I ask a question on that, my Lord?
12 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Of course, yes. I was only asking the
13 question that seemed to me to be need to be asked.
14 MR IRVING: Would your impression be, or would it not, that, at
15 the time he was being questioned by the Polish authorities
16 for the purpose of providing this deposition, he was being
17 confronted or furnished with drawings, documents and so on
18 to help jog his memory. His apparent precision may have
19 come from this kind of prompting by the Polish
21 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: This is possible indeed but let us now just go back for a
22 moment. Let us assume this happened, Tauber would have
23 been confronted with blueprints which, sadly to say, for
24 40 years after the these blueprints came in the public
25 realm, most people were unable to interpret. These are
26 very technical documents. These documents are not easy to
1 interpret. It is not so that, if the blueprints had been
2 there, and a man who is not an architect or even, for that
3 matter an historian who teaches in an architecture school,
4 when they are confronted with that, it is not that they
5 immediately are able to make up a story which matches
6 point for point information in the blueprint of a very
7 technical and specialist nature.
8 Q. [Mr Irving]: But they would know, for example, the difference of left
9 from right, would they not? If for example they described
10 a staircase being on one side of the building, or the
11 rutsche, the slide, being on one side of the building when
12 the drawing showed it on the other or vice verse, if they
13 showed it on the side that the drawing showed it when in
14 fact it was not built that way?
15 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: One of the things we have to remember is that Tauber gives
16 a description of crematorium (ii). It is a general
17 description. However, sonderkommandos of crematorium (ii)
18 and (iii) had access to both buildings. Sonderkommandos
19 have testified to the fact that they lived in these
20 buildings but they shared facilities. So they would be
21 allowed to actually cross that little path and go over to
22 the other crematorium and back. So we have two buildings
23 which are mirror images of each other, which left and
24 right are completely turned upside-down, which both are
25 used by the same people, but otherwise are identical. So
26 if at a certain movement he gets left or right wrong.
1 I would not at that moment give such incredible
2 evidentiary value to that, that he is making it up, or
3 that he is totally confused. It is simply that these
4 buildings were identical except for the left and the right
5 of everything.
6 Q. [Mr Irving]: In your original book you made one claim about the
7 position of the rutsche in a building which you then
8 reversed in your report. Is that correct?
9 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, I do not think so.
10 Q. [Mr Irving]: You stated that it was on one side of the building on the
11 drawings, and that in fact it was somewhere else.
12 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I am happy to consider this and to discuss it with you,
13 but again show me the passage in the book and show me the
14 passage in the report. I will deal with it then.
15 Q. [Mr Irving]: This has all taken rather longer than I had hoped. I am
16 sure his Lordship is getting impatient and we should move
17 on. Can we move on now to the witness Pery Broad?
18 Summing up on Tauber, one point, can I get you to make the
19 following statement? Tauber described the cyanide being
20 poured into the gas chamber of crematorium No. (ii)
21 through holes in the roof. That is correct?
22 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, that is correct.
23 Q. [Mr Irving]: If (and this is a hypothetical; it is one of Mr Rampton’s
24 if’s) it should turn out there were never any such holes
25 in the roof, then Tauber has lied, has he not?
26 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Then he would have lied, yes.
1 Q. [Mr Irving]: Thank you. We now move on to Mr Pery Broad. P-E-R-Y
2 Broad. This is, of course, a more general eyewitness
3 because he is also of relevance to Auschwitz rather than
4 Birkenhau, am I right?
5 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Most of his testimony on at least gassings relates to
6 Sturmlager. And he only observed from a distance what was
7 happening in Birkenhau.
8 Q. [Mr Irving]: Very briefly we are going to deal with Mr Broad. Pery
9 Broad was employed by the British as an interrogator in a
10 British camp; is that correct?
11 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I would wonder if you can be more precise about what
12 “employs” means in this case before I can say yes or no.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]: Would it be reasonable — your Lordship wished to say
14 something, no — to say that, in view of his special
15 position within this prison camp, he was given special
16 favours by the British, whether they be in the form of
17 payment or accommodation or clothing or food or money?
18 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: He was an inmate who was used in the inmate administration
19 of the camp.
20 Q. [Mr Irving]: Can you tell me what happened at the end to Pery Broad
21 back in the 1960s?
22 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Pery Broad was tried in Frankfurt and he —-
23 Q. [Mr Irving]: As a war criminal?
24 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: As a war criminal.
25 Q. [Mr Irving]: Eventually, he was put on trial by the Germans, is that
1 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: He was put on trial by the Germans. I think he was
2 convicted to two years or two-and-a-half years in prison.
3 Q. [Mr Irving]: Am I right in saying that he was convicted for the war
4 crime of having participated in shootings at block 11 in
6 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I do not know exactly what the judgment, what were the
7 reasons for his conviction, what crime he was convicted
8 for and what crime he was not.
9 Q. [Mr Irving]: In other words, your eyewitness was a murderer who was
10 going at some time to be prosecuted for war crimes by the
11 Allies, quite rightly, and he had bought a certain amount
12 of breathing space — is this not a reasonable presumption
13 — by testifying in various cases that the British were
14 bringing in Northern Germany?
15 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Let us go back to the situation in a British internment or
16 in a prison of war camp in, I think it was, Meklenberg,
17 Northern Germany, very far away from Auschwitz in May
18 1945. If Mr Broad had not come forward to say he had been
19 in Auschwitz, I think nobody would ever have found out
20 because many SS men at that time were, basically, sitting
21 in allied prison of war camps and were sitting there until
22 they were released. So, certainly, Mr Broad, if he had
23 not volunteered the information about Auschwitz, I think
24 would have had anything to fear at that time because there
25 were in that camp no surviving inmates from Auschwitz who
26 could have identified him.
1 Q. [Mr Irving]: Well, the British had ways of identifying people. We had
2 lists of names, we had the code breaking intercepts and so
3 on. We knew who was who.
4 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Mr Broad was, as far as we know, a Rottenfuhrer. I do not
5 think his name was very high on the list of people the
6 British were looking for.
7 Q. [Mr Irving]: The fact remains that he had a guilty conscious because he
8 had participated in shootings in Auschwitz concentration
9 camp, and eventually he was put on trial, not by the
10 British, but by the Germans. The British treated him in
11 some special way, is this correct?
12 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: He was, he became an interpreter in the camp and then at a
13 certain moment when he gave his evidence it was recognized
14 that he was a very important witness.
15 Q. [Mr Irving]: Yes. He is one of your eyewitnesses for the existence of
16 the pipes on the roofs, admittedly at a distance, but he
17 described, if I remember his testimony in the Tesh case
18 correctly, these pipes on the roof being opened and people
19 pouring stuff in. He described six of them rather than
20 four, is that correct?
21 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Again I think we should look at the material that is in my
22 report, but I think at least I can say right now that what
23 I remember that in the Tesh case he refers to a gassing
24 happened in crematorium (i), that the particular incident
25 you refer to. But again I think we should, before we have
26 a final conclusion on that, look at the actual evidence
1 given in the Tesh case because I thought it was
2 crematorium No. (i) he was talking about.
3 Q. [Mr Irving]: Is it known to you that Pery Broad was a Brazilian
5 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, I know that.
6 Q. [Mr Irving]: In other words, he was not a German national, he was a
7 Brazilian national. Was Brazil fighting on the side of
8 the Allies in World War II?
9 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I think that ultimately Brazil joined, yes.
10 Q. [Mr Irving]: And yet he was wearing the uniform of the SS, of an enemy
11 power and he was committing these crimes in the uniform of
12 an enemy power?
13 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I would like to remind the judge that many people in the
14 SS were actually Vorstattue who had passports from
15 different countries, from countries other than Germany.
16 MR JUSTICE GRAY: The significance of the fact he was Brazilian
17 is escaping me at the moment, but…
18 MR IRVING: I was about to say, would not the fact that he was
19 a member of an allied nation fighting in German uniform
20 have put him in precisely the same category as William
21 Joyce or John Amery, and have exposed him to being put on
22 trial in Brazil for treason? Was this not another threat
23 that was hanging over his head at the time he was in
25 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I cannot possibly comment on that.
26 Q. [Mr Irving]: But you do agree that he was technically committing
1 treason by fighting in the uniform of an enemy power?
2 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I think that Mr Broad in May 1945 probably had other
3 things on his mind than that particular issue of if Brazil
4 was going to ask for his extradition.
5 Q. [Mr Irving]: Do you use the statement of a witness called Hans Stark as
6 proof of the gassings?
7 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I have the statement in my report, yes.
8 Q. [Mr Irving]: Yes. In section 9, the Leuchter report of your report —
9 I am afraid again I do not know the page number — you
10 quoted from it and I will quote the passage that you have
11 used, in your language: “As early as autumn 1941,
12 gassings were carried out in a room in the small
13 crematorium which had been prepared for this purpose. The
14 room held 200 to 250 people”?
15 MR RAMPTON: 514, my Lord.
16 MR IRVING: Thank you very much. I am indebted. I will begin
18 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: We are talking about Stark now, the Stark testimony?
19 Q. [Mr Irving]: The testimony of the eyewitness Hans Stark: “As early as
20 autumn 1941″ — this goes more to the question of your
21 treatment of sources rather than crematorium No. (ii).
22 “As early as autumn 1941 gassings were carried out in a
23 room in the small crematorium which had been prepared for
24 this purpose. The room held 200 to 250 people, had a
25 higher than average ceiling, no windows only a specially
26 insulated door with bolts like those of an airtight
1 door.” Is that your translation of that document?
2 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, this is my translation — no, this is actually an
3 existing translation. If we go to the quote, we see it
4 was done by Deborah Burnstone.
5 Q. [Mr Irving]: Deborah?
6 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Burnstone.
7 Q. [Mr Irving]: Does it also give the original German of the text?
8 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, it is not.
9 Q. [Mr Irving]: Did you take any trouble to ascertain the original German
10 of that text?
11 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, I did not.
12 Q. [Mr Irving]: If I tell that you the word “airtight”, the word
13 translated as “airtight door”, in the original German is
14 Luftschutzer, is that how you would have translated it?
15 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: An airtight door as a Luftschutzer door?
16 Q. [Mr Irving]: In the original German of Hans Stark it is “Luftschutzer”
17 which has been translated —-
18 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: If you show me the passage, Mr Irving, I am happy to
19 confirm or not that, indeed, that is the way —-
20 Q. [Mr Irving]: I am putting one word to you. The original German says
21 not “airtight door” in English, but “Luftschutzer” in
22 German. Would you tell the court what “Luftschutzer”
23 translates into in English?
24 MR JUSTICE GRAY: “Airtight door”, I would have thought?
25 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: “Luftschutz” in general, “luft” means “air raid”.
26 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]: Air protection.
1 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Luftschutz —-
2 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]: “Luftschutz”, yes, I see.
3 MR IRVING: Is an air raid and air raid [German], my Lord?
4 Now, either inadvertently or deliberately, somebody and
5 you say it is Burnstone has mistranslated that word from a
6 totally harmless and, in fact, significant “air raid door”
7 into the rather more sinister “airtight door”?
8 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: In the context of quite a sinister description, I would
10 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Mr Irving, look at the context.
11 MR IRVING: I beg your pardon?
12 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Look at the context. As I understand it, she
13 actually said “like those of an airtight door”, but this
14 is in the context of gassings in 1941 and Zyklon-B being
15 poured through holes in the roof.
16 MR IRVING: My Lord, there are any number of eyewitness
17 statements like that which are in the report. I am just
18 looking here at the quality of the translation which is
19 frequently tilted against or tilted in favour of the
20 Holocaust definition. Your Lordship will remember that
21 I have been trying to establish the case that these
22 sinister door scattered around the camps at Auschwitz and
23 Birkenhau were, in fact, provisions for the coming air
24 raids and the Germans anticipated there were going to be
25 gas attacks as well, as, indeed, did we, British, with our
26 air raid shelters.
1 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I understand the suggestion, but what you
2 cannot possibly say, Mr Irving, is that Hans Stark is
3 describing an air raid shelter on the basis of this
4 passage, can you?
5 MR IRVING: I am concentrating here only on the door, my Lord.
6 I have no other means of attacking the integrity of Hans
7 Stark as a witness. I am looking here at the rather
8 slipshod use of the word “airtight door” when the original
9 is quite clearly referred to as looking just like an air
10 raid shelter door of which we will be producing
11 photographs to the court later on.
12 This is of significance because the Defence rely
13 on a number of photographs of doors found scattered around
14 the compound of Auschwitz and Birkenhau, and we will show
15 that these are standard German air raid shelter doors
16 complete with peep holes.
17 I think this is the time I would ask your
18 Lordship to look at the little bundle of five pages of
19 documents I produced this morning.
20 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, certainly.
21 MR IRVING: I have not yet handed it to your Lordship. It is
23 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Where are we going to put this? Shall we put
24 it in —-
25 MR IRVING: J, I think, my Lord.
26 MR JUSTICE GRAY: — J?
1 MR IRVING: I have started a new numbering system which will go
2 all the way through with consistent consecutive numbers
3 from now on.
4 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I gathered that was being done. That is very
5 helpful. We got as far, I think, as about 14 maybe.
6 MR IRVING: We started with 00, unfortunately.
7 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I am only up to 11, so something has gone
9 MR IRVING: The 0 now comes after the 11. The one I have given
10 you should come after 11, my Lord.
11 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I am going to put it for the time being —
12 actually it is 12. Yes?
MR IRVING (To the witness):
These are three or four Germans
14 documents. They are significant because they refer to
15 trips made from Auschwitz to Dessau to pick up Zyklon-B,
16 truck loads of Zyklon-B. Are you familiar with this kind
17 of signal or radio message?
18 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Well, I am not familiar with this particular one.
19 Q. [Mr Irving]: Not with this particular one?
20 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I have seen — I absolutely do not doubt, I do not doubt
21 the — you know, the integrity of the thing.
22 Q. [Mr Irving]: If you will look at page 1 rather than the first one, page
23 0, if you look at page 1 as numbered at the bottom, you
24 will see the signal at the bottom looks rather sinister,
25 does it not? I have translated it on page 2. It is a
26 message from Berlin to the Kommandant of Auschwitz,
1 effectively, giving driving permission. Every time they
2 made a journey by truck because of the shortage of fuel,
3 they had to have permission from Berlin. “Permission
4 herewith given for one five tonne truck with trailer to
5 Dessau and back for the purpose of fetching materials for
6 the Jew resettlement. This permit is to be handed to the
7 driver to take with him”. It is signed Levehenshal who is
8 at Berlin still at that time. What interpretation would
9 you put on that message, October 2nd, 1942?
10 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: That a truck, a five tonne truck, is sent to Dessau to
11 collect material for the Jews’ settlement. Dessau, as we
12 know from other telegrams and as we know also from the
13 rest of the record, was the location where the Zyklon-B
14 was being produced in one of the factories. So, the
15 context of what we know also of the other messages shows
16 that this is most likely a permission to collect in a five
17 tonne truck Zyklon-B from the original manufacturer.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]: In fact, more than five tonnes because they are taking a
19 trailer as well, are they not?
20 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: With a trailer, yes.
21 Q. [Mr Irving]: So they are collecting over five tonnes — it would be a
22 reasonable assumption, based on this document, that they
23 are collecting over five tonnes of some material which is
24 probably Zyklon-B cyanide pellets?
25 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes. I mean, I do not know exactly the weight, but
26 I think that in the document I have written (of which you
1 have a copy) on your suggestion more or less that I have
2 dealt with this matter about how much the truck would
3 have, most likely would have carried.
4 Q. [Mr Irving]: It is specified clearly in this report, in this telegram,
5 that it is for the Jew resettlement, for the
7 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: For the Judenumsiedlung, yes.
8 Q. [Mr Irving]: That makes it even more sinister, does it not?
9 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Given the fact what the word “Judenumsiedlung” had come to
10 mean in 1942, yes, this would be quite a sinister
12 Q. [Mr Irving]: Will you now turn over the page to page 3 which you can
13 take it is a translation of the upper telegram on page 1?
14 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I am sorry?
15 Q. [Mr Irving]: Page 3 at the foot of — you have no page 3?
16 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I have page 3, but I look at No. 1.
17 Q. [Mr Irving]: Yes.
18 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: At No. 1, the upper telegram.
19 Q. [Mr Irving]: It is a translation of the upper telegram No. 1?
20 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, OK.
21 Q. [Mr Irving]: This is from Gluks(?). Who is Gluks?
22 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Gluks is the Chief of the Inspectorate for concentration
24 Q. [Mr Irving]: He has the rank of something like a Brigadier General,
25 does he not?
26 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
1 Q. [Mr Irving]: This again is a driving permit sent to Auschwitz
2 concentration camp.
3 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
4 Q. [Mr Irving]: Answering a request: “Permission herewith given for one
5 automobile”, a car, “to go from Auschwitz to
6 Lischmannstadt and back on September 16th 1942 for the
7 purpose of inspecting the experimental station for field
8 kitchens for Operation Reinhard. This permit is to be
9 handed to the driver to take with him”?
10 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I think your translation is wrong there, Mr Irving.
11 Q. [Mr Irving]: Yes. Tell —-
12 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The “Dei Feldofen” in this case are “field ovens”, and we
13 know there is quite a documentation, not only eyewitness
14 testimony, but quite an extensive documentation on this
15 particular trip which was made by Kommandant Hirst and
16 which also Mr Dejaco and Mr Hoessler, all were included
17 and they were inspecting actually, they were going to
18 Lischmannstadt to see the extermination site there, to
19 actually look at the incineration grid, the incineration
20 installation created by Studattenfuhrer Bloebel as part of
21 Action 1005, to create a way to get rid of corpses which
22 had been buried as a result of the killings in Chelmo. So
23 this has nothing to do with kitchens, these Feldofen,
24 but with incineration ovens to burn, to incinerate,
26 Q. [Mr Irving]: “Field kitchens” would be “Feldkuchens”, would it not?
1 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: That is more likely, yes.
2 Q. [Mr Irving]: So your submission is that this is a reference to going
3 there to visit some kind of improvised grating, fire
4 grating, of some kind —-
5 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
6 Q. [Mr Irving]: — on a large scale?
7 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: They are actually — we have Mr Dejaco, the chief of
8 design in the Zentrale Bau, he actually made a sketch also
9 of this incineration installation. It had been developed
10 by Bloebel who was an architect in order to empty the mass
11 graves which had been created in Chelmo as a result of the
12 gassings there.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]: Bloebel had the very distasteful task of emptying out the
14 mass graves and cremating the —-
15 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, he had the — it was called Action 1005. He was
16 going around sites where mass graves had been reacted in
17 order to take out the corpses and to incinerate them so
18 they were going to be no traces.
19 Q. [Mr Irving]: Why would it include the words an “experimental station”
20 for the —-
21 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Because they were just developing the technology to do
23 Q. [Mr Irving]: Does it take much technology to make a fire in the open on
24 a grating?
25 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The Germans had not done this before yet. Bloebel was the
26 person who developed the technology. Until then, the
1 Germans had not yet emptied mass graves and incinerated
2 corpses of people who had been buried for some time. We
3 know that afterwards this, indeed, is going to happen in
4 Auschwitz within weeks, the same procedure start to be
5 applied in Auschwitz to all the people who are buried in
6 the field of ashes next to bunkers 1 and — bunker 2 in
7 this case.
8 Q. [Mr Irving]: When I see the word “Versthutzstation”, in my knowledge of
9 German documents, I usually think of a place like
10 Panamunda or Passodena. I do not think of somebody
11 mucking around with fire grates in a field?
12 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I do not follow you, Mr Irving.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]: The word “Versthutzstation” does not tend to convey what
14 you suggest in your evidence. That is all that we can
15 usefully derive from that.
16 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I think that maybe even if I have these documents on the
17 trip to Chelmo. It is very well documented. Apart from
18 that, Dejaco was questioned on that in detail during his
19 trial, and he confirmed what you probably would call the
20 very sinister interpretation of all these documents, that,
21 indeed, yes, he was there present with Bloebel at the
22 incineration site.
23 Q. [Mr Irving]: And yet he was, of course, acquitted, as we have heard
25 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: He was acquitted of the murder of one inmate who he was
26 alleged to have drowned at a building site near
1 crematorium (ii).
2 Q. [Mr Irving]: And not charged with any further crimes after that, not
3 recharged on any other crime?
4 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, he was not, but then we have discussed already the
5 nature of —-
6 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Mr Irving, may I just ask you, whilst it
7 occurs to me, who translated “ofen” as “kitchens”?
8 MR IRVING: I did, my Lord. Normally, “field kitchens” is the
9 only interpretation of [German – document not provided].
10 I am willing to be lectured by Mr Van Pelt on this
11 alternative meaning. He claims he has these documents
12 which bear out his meaning, translation, of the word, and,
13 of course, I put the original German to him so that he can
14 correct it if we are wrong.
15 If I can just finally carry on on that point, if
16 Dejaco was present on this trip and no consequences flowed
17 from it in the law courts afterwards, can we draw any
18 conclusions as to the nature of these pits that were being
19 excavated or not, these mass graves, what the victims had
20 died of or had been killed by? I am in your hands here
21 because I know nothing. You have seen the documents and I
22 do not.
23 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: OK. I have one of the documents right here in my hand,
24 so, I mean, I could give it to you, I could quote it,
25 I could read, because we have the report of the trip of
26 17th September.
1 Q. [Mr Irving]: Very well.
2 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I do not want to spring this document on you, but since
3 you raised the issue of the significance of it, it gives
4 actually a description of the thing.
5 Q. [Mr Irving]: While you are looking, I can tell my Lord the translation
6 was actually done at 2 o’clock this morning, so there is
7 an element of stress.
8 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes. Thank you.
9 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I think I have not answered the question yet, so maybe
10 could the question be repeated because I —-
11 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Shall I repeat it? Can we draw any
12 conclusion as to the nature of these pits that were being
13 excavated or not, these mass graves, what the victims had
14 died of or been killed by? In other words, could you tell
15 whether they had been gassed or whether they had been shot
16 or whatever?
17 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: These people had gassed in gas vans.
18 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]: Why do you say that?
19 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: We know that on the basis of the report created by the
20 Polish Commission of investigation in 1945, which itself
21 did a forensic excavation at the site and also took many
22 testimonies on this. These people who were brought to
23 Chelmo were Jews from the Lischmannstadt ghetto. They
24 started in very late 1941 when Germany was being emptied
25 of Jews. I just want to remind the court, for example,
26 Berlin was officially Judenreiden in early 1943. When the
1 German Jews were transported to the East, one of the
2 places where they were concentrated was in the Rusch or
3 Lischmannstadt ghetto. In order to make place for these
4 people who came in, because it was already terribly
5 overcrowded, Polish Jews from the Lischmannstadt ghetto
6 were in early ’42 brought to a little castle near Chelmo.
7 This castle in Chelmo was a place where they were brought
8 to this castle and then there were gas vans in that
9 compound and they were actually walked into gas vans.
10 There was a description of the actual camouflage way in
11 which they were brought in there, and then these gas vans
12 drove from that castle to a forest which was a couple of
13 miles away. By the time the gas vans arrived at the
14 forest, all of the people in the back of these gas vans
15 had died and then they were buried in that forest. So
16 when the mass graves really had become very large there,
17 because ultimately the Polish Commission established that
18 around, I think, 180,000 people were killed in that way at
19 Chelmno, Bloebel was given the task to start removing the
21 MR JUSTICE GRAY: That does not appear to me to have much to do
22 with the message, the radio message, of 15th September
24 MR IRVING: We are rather branching out into other fields
26 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: It has a lot to do with that.
1 MR JUSTICE GRAY: This is Auschwitz, not Chelmno?
2 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, but the people in Auschwitz at that time, what has
3 happened is that at bunker 2 at that moment, which had
4 been in operation since early July, they have been burying
5 the people next to bunker No. 2. In the meantime, there
6 is the Himmler visit to Auschwitz and, while there is no
7 record of it, it is quite likely probably that he said
8 this burying of people very close to the camp, because
9 that is actually quite close to Birkenhau, is going to be
10 an unhealthy business. So what happens then that
11 immediately — we are talking again at about the month of
12 August and September when all these big changes are taking
13 place in Auschwitz. So, in order to take counsel from the
14 only man who is actually doing the incineration of buried
15 corpses which is happening in Chelmno with this
16 Studattenfuhrer Bloebel, the Auschwitz Kommandant, and
17 this is a very high powered trip, the Kommandant, his
18 adjutant Hoessler, and the chief designer, who ultimately
19 must make sense of it on a practical, technological scale,
20 all go for a whole day to Lischmannstadt, and it is not a
21 small trip. They need to get special permission for that
22 (because one always needs special permissions for these
23 trips) to basically to see what Bloebel is doing there.
24 Then we have also another German, we have the
25 original request from Auschwitz to Glucks, we have the
26 permit now being produced and we have the final result, a
1 report of what happened during that trip.
2 MR JUSTICE GRAY: So Lischmannstadt is close to Chelmno?
3 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, Chelmo — I mean, Lischmannstadt is a very big city.
4 Chelmno is just a hamlet.
5 MR JUSTICE GRAY: That is what I was missing.
6 MR IRVING: Is it your submission, therefore, that this five
7 tonne truck load of Zyklon-B which was fetched, I think we
8 agree, the materials, from Dessau to Auschwitz, what was
9 the five tonne truck of Zyklon-B, what were the materials
10 to be used for? Just for gassing people?
11 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: OK, so we finished with this document now on the —-
12 Q. [Mr Irving]: Well, would you answer my question?
13 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I just want to know if I still have to take that into
14 consideration in the answer or not.
15 Q. [Mr Irving]: No, you do not, no.
16 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: OK.
17 Q. [Mr Irving]: We are back on the trucks going back and forth between
18 Auschwitz and Dessau.
19 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The trucks went back and forth to Dessau. They collected
20 Zyklon-B and Zyklon-B was used in many different ways in
21 the camp.
22 Q. [Mr Irving]: But five tonnes seems an awful lot. That is the point
23 I am making. Over five tonnes?
24 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: But let us remember, just if we talk — we do not talk
25 about five tonnes Zyklon-B because when we ultimately talk
26 about the way Zyklon-B is shipped, it is shipped in
1 containers and then the containers themselves contain
2 earth in which the Zyklon-B is —-
3 Q. [Mr Irving]: The largest tin was one kilogram, was it not?
4 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The largest tin was one kilogram, one kilogram of
5 Zyklon-B, but the original invoices from the shipping of
6 the Daigash of Zyklon-B always gives the brutto weight —
7 I mean the gross weight of what a tin is and then
8 ultimately also the net wet of Zyklon included in that.
9 Q. [Mr Irving]: But the Zyklon is the pellets; it is not just the
11 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The pellets too, so in order to — basically, if you get
12 five tonnes weight of tins with contents, the total weight
13 actually inside of Zyklon, of hydrogen cyanide, will be
14 less than a tonne and I can give you the exact figure.
15 Q. [Mr Irving]: You are saying that is the weight of the tin to be taken
16 into account?
17 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The tin and, of the course, pellets in which the Zyklon
18 has been taken in, and all that information is available
19 and I can give it to you if you just give me time to look.
20 Q. [Mr Irving]: Are you suggesting that Zyklon is another word
21 for hydrogen cyanide?
22 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Zyklon is a commercial name for a product —-
23 Q. [Mr Irving]: For the pellet containing the hydrogen cyanide?
24 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Containing the hydrogen cyanide.
25 Q. [Mr Irving]: You are not trying to make out that Zyklon is the hydrogen
26 cyanide element in the pellets?
1 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, it is a commercial name.
2 Q. [Mr Irving]: So if five tonnes of pellets were picked up, then it is
3 five tonnes of tins containing Zyklon-B pellets?
4 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes. The truck is not going to carry more than five
5 tonnes, whatever it is. So, ultimately, the amount of
6 hydrogen cyanide which actually is carried by this truck
7 will be closer to because it is more or less, I think
8 1/5th of the gross weight of a tin is actually hydrogen
9 cyanide will be closer to a tonne than five tonnes.
10 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Mr Irving, are you putting forward a positive
11 case as to what the materials for the Jew resettlement
12 were if they were not Zyklon-B?
13 MR IRVING: We are just going to move to document 0, my Lord,
14 the first document in that next clip.
15 MR JUSTICE GRAY: So that is going to answer the question, is
17 MR IRVING: Which I hope will go a long way towards answering
18 the question. This comes from exactly the same kind of
19 source. It is the one which the Holocaust historians
20 never quote. They frequently quote the other two or three
21 which are in this clip. This is received in Auschwitz on
22 July 22nd 1942, again from Berlin: “I herewith give
23 permission for one five tonne truck to drive from
24 Auschwitz to Dessau and back to fetch gas for the gassing
25 of the camp to combat the epidemic that has broken out”.
26 Now you can read that document whichever way you
1 wish, my Lord. It is quite possible, of course, that the
2 Defence will submit that this is just camouflage.
3 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Let us ask Professor van Pelt.
4 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Absolutely I do not think it is camouflage. I think that
5 in my book at a certain moment (and Mr Irving picked it
6 up) I said that in the summer 1942 a lot of Zyklon was
7 being used in the camp, to indeed, basically, how you call
8 it, fumigate clothing and barracks because there was an
10 Q. [Mr Irving]: We will just remain with this for two or three more
11 minutes, my Lord.
12 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: But it does not mean it was the exclusive use of Zyklon-B.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]: Just before the adjournment — this largely ends that
14 matter — in your section 5 called “Confession”s, you have
15 reproduced the testimony of a man called Muka, who was the
16 adjutant of the Kommandant of Auschwitz at this time.
17 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I do. Shall we turn to the particular page?
18 Q. [Mr Irving]: These permission slips to dispatch the trucks were
19 frequently signed by Muka, were they not?
20 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Let us go to the page. I am happy, I know what you refer
21 to, statements made in the Frankfurt trial, but I do not
22 exactly know where it is right now. Do you have a page
24 Q. [Mr Irving]: Only that it is in (v) “Confessions”. My pagination,
25 unfortunately —-
26 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I think, as we have not got the reference to
1 hand, shall we deal with that at 2 o’clock?
2 MR IRVING: Until 2 o’clock? Very well, my Lord.
3 <(Luncheon adjournment)
Part III: Professor van Pelt Cross-Examined by Irving on Auschwitz, afternoon session (110.3 to 215.21)
Section 110.3 to 128.8
4 MR IRVING: My Lord, might I ask that you remind those present
5 that we are not sitting tomorrow in case some people make
6 the mistake and come tomorrow and do not realize that we
7 are not sitting?
8 MR JUSTICE GRAY: You are quite right that we are not sitting
9 tomorrow, but also on Friday, what I would like to do is
10 perhaps start an half an hour earlier than normal and
11 probably finish earlier than normal as well, so sit at 10
12 on Friday. Yes.
13 MR IRVING: From Dessau to Auschwitz, my Lord, but before I go
14 on, can I remark on something in my translation about
15 field kitchens? Firstly, as your Lordship is aware,
16 I have never denied the killings in Chelmno and, if those
17 documents are connected in any way, then I fully accept
18 that and that is a logical interpretation. Secondly, my
19 wartime German medical dictionary says “ofen” is a stove.
20 That is a translation for it. So it is not actually in
21 the form of a grating which would be gussen in German,
22 I believe. So I think, although I am quite prepared to
23 accept Professor van Pelt’s interpretation of that
24 document, not being aware of the surrounding foliage of
25 the documents which Professor van Pelt has, this, your
26 Lordship will appreciate, is rather the position I have
1 been in. Some of the documents, I have been aware of the
2 surrounding document foliage which gives colour to
3 particular translations. I am perfectly prepared to
4 accept the interpretation of that word in any case.
5 We were looking at section 5 called
6 “confessions” of your report. You quote the testimony
7 given in a later trial of the man called Mulka, who was on
8 Hess’s staff, who assigned some of these driving permits.
9 I do not know the page number.
10 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Perhaps the defendants can help?
11 MR RAMPTON: We are going to try.
12 MR IRVING: These permits were provided to the prosecution in
13 the so-called Auschwitz Frankfurt trial.
14 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I have found the thing, by the way. It is page 320 in my
16 MR JUSTICE GRAY: 514 I was going to offer, but we will try to
17 look at 320 first.
18 MR IRVING: These were submitted as evidence in the Frankfurt
19 Auschwitz trial and Mulka was cross-examined. The
20 presiding judge on this occasion asked him about these
22 “Accused Mulka, have you signed permissions for
23 trips to Dessau? (Mulka) I only remember one occasion. A
24 permission was signed by Glucks and at the left bottom
25 countersigned by me. It concerned a disinfection means.
26 (Question) Here it reads ‘For the resettlement of the
1 Jews’ — one of documents which I produced, my Lord —
2 and ‘In confirmation of the copy Mulka’. You knew what
3 the resettlement of the Jews meant? (Mulka) Yes, that was
4 known to me. (Q) And what were those materials for the
5 resettlement of the Jews? (Mulka) (silently) — I am not
6 sure how one can do that — Yes, raw materials. (Q) All
7 right then. That was thus Zyklon-B? (Mulka) (even more
8 silently) Yes, Zyklon-B”.
9 Of course, that is a rather odd kind of
10 examination by the presiding judge, is it not, Professor
11 van Pelt? You would have expected, certainly if
12 Mr Justice Gray had been presiding there, he would have
13 asked the obvious follow up question, what was it going to
14 be used for? Either it was not asked, or it was not
15 recorded, or you did not tell us?
16 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Now. There are no dots in paragraph. The original page
17 is in the binder so you can check the original page, if I
18 have quoted the thing as a whole or if I have left
19 something out, but I can assure you, my Lord, that
20 I quoted the whole passage. So the third kind of option
21 I would reject out of hand. I think that probably the
22 problem in this court was that people knew too well what
23 these words meant and what was implied by the question,
24 and that they did not find it necessary to be very
25 specific about it. If I had been the judge, I probably
26 would have asked one more extra question, but the judge
1 did not do it.
2 MR JUSTICE GRAY: In other words, there is some force in Mr
3 Irving’s point? I think you are conceding that?
4 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
5 MR IRVING: I am not for one moment implying, and I want to
6 make it quite plain, that Professor van Pelt has omitted
7 any response or any subsequent question which was material
8 to this issue, but it is a rather odd kind of examination,
9 that the presiding judge did not say, “And what were these
10 materials to be used for to your certain knowledge”,
11 whereupon Mulka could either say, “Oh, they were going to
12 be used for fumigation or they were going to be used for
13 killing human beings”. It is a negative piece of evidence
14 and I will now ask Professor van Pelt, of these five
15 tonnes of Zyklon-B pellets, or over five tonnes, that were
16 picked up on a trip like this, in your estimation how much
17 would be used for fumigation purposes? In other words,
18 for innocent life saving purposes as opposed to homicidal
19 purposes? What kind of percentage?
20 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: That is very difficult to say. I have submitted to the
21 court a document in which I calculate, on the basis of the
22 figures for 1943, the likely use of Zyklon-B in
23 Auschwitz. This is the supplement to the expert’s
24 opinion. I am happy to go through those figures.
25 MR RAMPTON: My Lord, part I of the blue file.
26 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I am happy to go through those figures because, if you
1 want me to be very specific, I can be very specific, and
2 I made quite detailed calculations. Of course the
3 question depends on how large is the camp at the time, how
4 many prisoners are there at the time, how many delousing
5 installations are available in the camp at the time, what
6 kind of transports are coming in, and so on.
7 MR IRVING: Let us see if you can talk in round figures. If it
8 was being used for fumigation purposes, it would be used
9 for two fumigation purposes, would it not, for fumigating
10 barracks and for fumigating clothing and objects, shall we
12 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, you are right.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]: For that purpose they had a purpose built fumigation
14 chamber in Auschwitz, the one that we have seen with the
15 blue stains on the outside walls?
16 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: There are a number of them, in fact. There was one
17 building —-
18 Q. [Mr Irving]: B W 5?
19 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Also in Auschwitz I there was a building with two
20 fumigation rooms but they were probably used consecutively
21 in Auschwitz. Then there was a fumigation or delousing
22 facility in Canada I which we discussed yesterday, where
23 the hair was found and we have a fumigation capability in
24 Zyklon, I am now talking only about Zyklon, in Birkenhau,
25 in the women’s camp.
26 Q. [Mr Irving]: What other kind of fumigation equipment did they have
1 apart from Zyklon? Did they have any other equipment at
2 any time in Auschwitz and Birkenhau?
3 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Do you mean toxic equipment?
4 Q. [Mr Irving]: Any kind of methods of killing pests.
5 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The preferred method, if they could do that, they would
6 really prefer, was either by hot air or hot steam.
7 Q. [Mr Irving]: Would not hot steam have a bad effect on textiles?
8 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: That was one of many of the prisoners, inmates. They
9 complained that always, when their prisoner clothing had
10 been disinfected, had come back from the so-called
11 Entwesungsanlage as they were called, indeed they had
12 shrunk considerably. This is a continuous problem in the
13 history of the camp.
14 Q. [Mr Irving]: So the entwesungsanlage is a familiar concept to you,
15 then, that German word? It is disinfestation equipment?
16 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
17 Q. [Mr Irving]: Is it also familiar to you that, at a relatively late
18 stage in the war years, the Siemens Company were
19 installing an electrical system of pest killing based on
21 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, kurzwelle Entlausungsanlage.
22 Q. [Mr Irving]: The short wave disinfestation equipment?
23 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
24 Q. [Mr Irving]: This was rather like a microwave cooker for cooking the
25 insects basically?
26 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I do not exactly know the technology but I trust your
2 Q. [Mr Irving]: This was basically a high voltage system using a lot of
3 electric power that was going to be installed in
5 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: It was going to be installed but, as far as I know, it
6 actually never was installed.
7 Q. [Mr Irving]: It arrived. It was delivered.
8 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: It was actually meant for Auschwitz I. What happened was
9 that in Auschwitz I a very large Zyklon-B delousing
10 installation was created at the aufnahmegebaude which is
11 the reception building for prisoners. There were 19
12 standard delousing cells, each of 10 cubic metres which
13 uses two hundred grammes of Zyklon-B, the smallest tin,
14 and as this building was being completed, the SS decided
15 to change the method of disinfection in those cells, at
16 least in four of those cells. There were 19 so 15 would
17 remain Zyklon-B, and four of them would be the Siemens.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]: What word would they use to describe that kind of room or
19 building? Would it be a Vergasungsraum or a
21 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: In general these rooms are called Gaskammer.
22 Q. [Mr Irving]: They are also called Gaskammer?
23 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes. In 1944, however, I have to go because in 1944
24 actually the language changes. They called them normal
25 Gaskammer, which means on the type sheets which were
26 produced by the SS and, if you allow me, my Lord, I will
1 just make —-
2 Q. [Mr Irving]: Normal means standard, does it not, in that context?
3 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes. The SS produced standard designs for concentration
4 camps which were handed out to people who were building in
5 the field. What happens is that these sheets were
6 produced in 1941 to give a local concentration camp
7 kommandant some guidelines of where to start when he was
8 ordered to create a concentration camp. These designs
9 include two designs for delousing facilities and in those
10 designs these spaces are called Gaskammer, for example.
11 Q. [Mr Irving]: Would there be very much talk of these gas chambers
12 amongst the prisoners, do you think? Would there be a lot
13 of gossip about them?
14 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: May I complete the answer because we were talking about
15 the name of the thing? They use Gaskammer. Then in 1944
16 at a certain moment in Auschwitz they started to use the
17 cells specially in relationship to the building where
18 these four cells are being adjusted to the Siemens
19 procedure. They start to call them normal Gaskammer, which
20 means standard or normal gas chambers. So then the
21 question is in relationship to what? Is it in
22 relationship to an abnormal one, which is a homicidal one,
23 which some people have concluded, or is it in relationship
24 to some other gas chamber?
25 Q. [Mr Irving]: Professor van Pelt, you are familiar with the fact that
26 the German world “normal” is not translated as “normal”,
1 it is translated as “standard”?
2 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Standard.
3 Q. [Mr Irving]: “Normalfilm” is 35 millimetre film, for example.
4 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I think the first translation I give was “standard”.
5 Q. [Mr Irving]: In other words, you cannot draw adventurous conclusions
6 from the fact that they called something a standard gas
8 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I said some people have done that. I did not say I did
10 Q. [Mr Irving]: Would it not be just a standard piece of equipment
11 delivered by Degesch or by Tesh who actually manufactured
12 gas chambers for precisely this purpose and they had
13 standard sizes?
14 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: You interrupted me. My own conclusion was indeed that
15 “normal Gaskammer” probably referred to the ten cubic
16 metre standard Degesch gas chambers.
17 Q. [Mr Irving]: That has nothing to do with the fact that, because we are
18 calling this one the normal one, therefore there were
19 abnormal ones somewhere else in the camp. This was
20 misleading for you to state that, was it not?
21 MR JUSTICE GRAY: No. He said to the contrary. He does not
22 himself subscribe to the theory that normal Gaskammer
23 implies an abnormal Gaskammer where homicidal events took
25 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: If I can just finish this in one sentence, then another
26 word is being used in Auschwitz at the time. We find it
1 on many bills and also documents by Degesh at the time in
2 1944 which actually is about the Zyklon-B gas chambers in
3 Auschwitz I, and they used the word Begasungskammer. This
4 is very unusual, but there are a number of documents which
5 use the word Begasungskammer.
6 MR IRVING: The sense of that would be the gassing chamber,
7 would it not?
8 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes. It is almost like adding gas, like applying gas to,
9 the gas supplying chamber, maybe that would be a
11 Q. [Mr Irving]: I agree with that, yes.
12 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I am sorry, I am interrupting as well.
13 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I have finished.
14 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Is there any significance in the V E R at the
15 beginning of Vergasungskammer as a German speaker?
16 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I am not a German. I am not a native German speaker.
17 Dutch is still —-
18 Q. [Mr Irving]: You seem fairly familiar with it.
19 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I would say no. Vergasung seems to be a transitive verb.
20 I do not attach any particular significance to the fact
21 that it is used like that.
22 MR IRVING: My Lord, I will be putting to your Lordship a
23 number of documents with the word Vergasung in, which
24 obviously are completely innocent, in an attempt to
25 persuade your Lordship in that direction.
26 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Good.
1 MR IRVING: Professor van Pelt, have you seen invoices or
2 delivery notes from the Degesch company relating to
3 supplies of Zyklon-B shipments to the concentration camps
4 at Auschwitz and at Oranienburg?
5 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes. I think 12 of these invoices were submitted in the
6 Nuremberg trials.
7 Q. [Mr Irving]: The original documents are there, are they not?
8 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes. I have seen a number. All the invoices are for the
9 same one amount, except one,, which is a slightly higher
10 amount, so I have seen a copy of the standard amount and
11 one for the higher amount. I have not seen all the
12 invoices in the original.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]: Had you seen these at the time you wrote your book, or
14 just between writing your book and writing your expert
16 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No. I have seen these earlier.
17 Q. [Mr Irving]: Before you wrote your book?
18 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
19 Q. [Mr Irving]: Yes. Did you do any kind of analysis of those invoices to
20 see the rate at which these supplies were being delivered
21 to Auschwitz as compared with Oranienburg?
22 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No. The invoices themselves, and I have made a particular
23 comment on it once you raised the issue in your letter of
24 December, I do not think are particularly important as
25 evidence one way or another about the use of Zyklon-B in
26 Auschwitz, because there are actually much better sources
1 available to us if one wants to raise that issue, which is
2 the Tesh and Stabanov accounts of total deliveries of
3 Zyklon B to Auschwitz in 1942 and 1943.
4 Q. [Mr Irving]: Am I right in saying that the chief accountant of the Tesh
5 company had a pocket notebook in which he entered all the
6 amounts that he supplied to Auschwitz and to various other
7 armed force branches and so on on a monthly basis? He
8 kept this notebook and it was introduced in evidence in
9 that trial?
10 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: It was introduced as evidence. I think there were also
11 supporting documents for that.
12 Q. [Mr Irving]: But am I right in suggesting that these invoices to which
13 I refer, the delivery notes which were introduced in
14 Nuremberg, the 12 delivery notes, relating to the supply
15 of Zyklon-B quantities to Auschwitz concentration camp and
16 to Oranienburg concentration camp, they are relatively
17 random? In other words, first of all, they are
18 sequentially numbered, and the deliveries are sequentially
20 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, but —-
21 Q. [Mr Irving]: They are in sequence so there is nothing missing?
22 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, but these particular invoices come with a very
23 particular history.
24 Q. [Mr Irving]: Are you implying that there is anything suspect about the
25 integrity of these documents?
26 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, I do not imply that at all, but I think the way they
1 were generated — these were an appendix. They were
2 handed over together with an account of how they came in
3 the possession of the man who had it.
4 Q. [Mr Irving]: We will come to the man to whom they are addressed in a
6 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: This man gives a record of the background of these
7 particular invoices which had to do with a particular
8 request which came to him from a certain Sturmanfuhrer
9 Gunter in Berlin.
10 Q. [Mr Irving]: Who was Eichmann’s assistant, am I correct?
11 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
12 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Mr Irving, can I ask you for my benefit
13 because remember this is a completely new point to me.
14 Can you put what you suggest one gets from the Oranienburg
15 invoices in relation to the quantity of use of Zyklon-B
17 MR IRVING: It is my very next question, my Lord.
18 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Good. Thank you.
19 MR IRVING: Am I right in suggesting that identical quantities,
20 broadly speaking, of Zyklon-B were delivered to Auschwitz
21 and Oranienburg over the time covered by those 12
23 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The invoices talk about identical quantities to
24 Oranienburg and Auschwitz. But the important question is,
25 is this all the deliveries of Zyklon-B to Auschwitz? Then
26 we have to go back to actually the origin of these
2 Q. [Mr Irving]: We are looking just at these 12 documents to start with?
3 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: If we only look at these 12 documents.
4 Q. [Mr Irving]: Can you remember my question, please, Professor van Pelt,
5 where I said is it correct to say that the deliveries are
6 numbered in sequence and that there are no missing
8 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I do not remember, but I will take your word for it.
9 Q. [Mr Irving]: Thank you very much. Am I right in saying that it has
10 never been suggested that there were mass homicidal
11 killings by gas chambers in Oranienburg?
12 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, there were some experimental probably, accounts of
13 experimental gassings of some Russians in Satzenhausen
14 which was in fact a concentration camp in Oranienburg, but
15 apart from that —-
16 MR JUSTICE GRAY: In 1944?
17 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: 1942.
18 MR JUSTICE GRAY: We are talking about 1944?
19 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I just want to be precise. The general question was posed
20 and I do not want to say that there was never any Zyklon-B
21 gassing. There are reports of that in that city.
22 MR IRVING: Am I correct in saying that these invoices to which
23 you are referring are from the early months of 1944? My
24 memory says that.
25 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
26 Q. [Mr Irving]: Can you tell the court to whom these invoices were
1 personally addressed?
2 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: They were addressed to a man named Kurt Gerstein.
3 Q. [Mr Irving]: G E R S T E I N. What is on the next line of the address,
4 can you remember, at Auschwitz concentration camp?
5 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I have a copy somewhere.
6 Q. [Mr Irving]: It seems important.
7 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Berlin?
8 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I have it in my report after page 11.
9 MR IRVING: Your Lordship will remember that Professor Evans
10 said that I had not the slightest reason for saying that
11 these were going for fumigation purposes in the camp.
12 What does the next line read?
13 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: After his name?
14 Q. [Mr Irving]: Yes. Does it not say that it is going to the
15 Entwesungsabteilung or words to that effect?
16 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Not in my copy.
17 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, it is not in the next line. It is actually in the
18 invoice bit itself.
19 MR IRVING: Yes?
20 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: It says we did send at the 8th March from Dessau with a
21 Wehrmacht Vorbrief, which means an army kind of
22 transportation voucher, of the jedestatt Verwaltung
24 Q. [Mr Irving]: Administration?
25 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: At Dessau to the concentration camp in Auschwitz, the
26 department of disinfestation and anzeufer is a plague.
1 Q. [Mr Irving]: It is tortology, really. They are both the same thing are
2 they not?
3 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No they are not exactly.
4 Q. [Mr Irving]: Disinfecting and disinfestation?
5 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Seuche is an epidemic so anti-epidemic department.
6 Q. [Mr Irving]: Epidemic control?
7 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Epidemic control department, yes.
8 Q. [Mr Irving]: This was in fact Kurt Gerstein’s position, was it not?
9 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Not in Auschwitz. He was employed at the Hygienic
10 Institute in Oranienburg.
11 Q. [Mr Irving]: Is it not significant that these huge quantities of Zyklon
12 pellets are being sent to the office in charge of epidemic
13 control at Auschwitz? What use is made of them
14 subsequently of course is another matter. But this deals
15 with the system again?
16 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: What is significant is who will receive Zyklon when it
17 arrives in Auschwitz. Again, from my witness testimony,
18 we know that it was exactly that department which
19 controlled all Zyklon in Auschwitz, and ultimately that
20 was one of the reasons also that doctors always had to be
21 present when Zyklon was applied one way or the other.
22 Q. [Mr Irving]: Now that we are with the person of Kurt Gerstein, will you
23 tell the court if he is one of your eyewitnesses in any
24 respect when you write your report?
25 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No. Kurt Gerstein has made no statement whatsoever about
26 Auschwitz or the gas chambers of crematoria 1, 2, 3, 4 and
2 Q. [Mr Irving]: Have you placed any reliance on Kurt Gerstein in your
4 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I did not need to place any reliance in my work on
5 Auschwitz since he has never made any testimony about
7 Q. [Mr Irving]: Although he made some very detailed allegations about how
8 many people were killed in the gas chambers elsewhere, and
9 he gave figures for the quantities killed in the other gas
10 chambers in the other camps, you are not prepared to draw
11 conclusions about the general reliability of this kind of
13 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No. I do not think that at the moment the statement you
14 made can be supported. I think that Kurt Gerstein has
15 made a detailed account of a visit to Treblinka where he
16 came in the summer of 1942. He made a detailed
17 description of that.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]: Professor Vananstiel, that is correct?
19 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Professor Vananstiel(?) Later Professor Vananstiel after
20 the war confirmed that indeed he had been with Kurt
21 Gerstein in Treblinka and confirmed more or less the
22 account, except where it applies to his own role in this
23 trip, a number of remarks he would have made while looking
24 through the spy hole into the gas chamber, but apart from
25 Kurt Gerstein has not made any calculations, as far as
26 I know, I do not think he even made about Treblinka or
1 for that matter he never mentioned Auschwitz in any
2 context of extermination.
3 Q. [Mr Irving]: I am only deal with the Gerstein report in the context of
4 reliability of eyewitness evidence in general. This is
5 the only reason I am going to ask the next few questions.
6 Did Mr Kurt Gerstein, who was an SS officer, make any
7 statements about the number of people who were packed into
8 the gas chamber that he witnessed allegedly?
9 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I am not going to comment on that without the document in
10 front of me.
11 Q. [Mr Irving]: You have not read the Gerstein report?
12 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Of course I have read various editions of the Gerstein
13 report, both the French and the German, but I am not going
14 to comment on what Kurt Gerstein may have said or may not
15 have said when I do not have the document in front of me.
16 Q. [Mr Irving]: Are you aware that there seven different versions of the
17 Gerstein report?
18 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I know there are various different versions. I did not
19 know it was seven.
20 Q. [Mr Irving]: Are you aware that each successive version of the report
21 became more lurid in French captivity and that the numbers
22 grew larger like Topsy?
23 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Mr Irving I do not remember —-
24 Q. [Mr Irving]: I should have asked how many versions of the report have
25 you read?
26 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I have read three versions of the report.
1 Q. [Mr Irving]: Did you notice any discrepancy between the figures and the
2 general scale of the atrocity he was describing?
3 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No. The reports are longer and shorter, so I have not
4 compared them on actual figures. In some reports he
5 includes more information, and in other reports he has
6 less. I have not made a comparative study of all the
7 reports together because they do not apply to Auschwitz.
8 Q. [Mr Irving]: Very well.
Section 128.9 to 145.22
9 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Professor van Pelt, this part of the
10 cross-examination started off, I think, on the topic of
11 how much Zyklon B went to Auschwitz, how much of it might
12 have been used for delousing and disinfecting and all the
13 rest of it, therefore how much was left, if any?
14 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
15 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]: Can you —-
16 MR IRVING: I was about to come back on to that main line with
17 certain specific questions.
18 MR JUSTICE GRAY: May I get the answer to my question,
19 Mr Irving, first?
20 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Can you give me in broad terms an answer, so far as your
21 conclusions on that question go?
22 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: OK. May I use the document for that?
23 Q. [Mr Irving]: Of course. I just thought it was a convenient way short
25 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: There are two years on which we know, on the basis of the
26 testimony of Alfred Sahen, supported by his notebook but
1 also other information available at the trial of
2 distributors. They were not really distributors, people
3 that allocate Zyklon-B. The amounts of deliveries of
4 Zyklon-B to Auschwitz, that is 1942 and 1943. On page 22
5 of my additional report, one can read that in 1942, seven
6 and a half thousand kilos were delivered to Auschwitz, and
7 in 1943 12,000 kilos were delivered do Auschwitz.
8 MR IRVING: That is 12 tonnes?
9 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: 12 tonnes were delivered to Auschwitz. I have done a
10 calculation. In 1942 this seven and a half thousand kilos
11 to Auschwitz comes out of 9,000 kilos to the whole
12 concentration camp system. Again, I do not draw the
13 conclusion but I want to say the conclusion other people
14 have drawn is that, since Auschwitz received more than
15 three-quarters of all the Zyklon-B, something like 80 per
16 cent of the Zyklon-B, this meant of course this could only
17 have been caused by the use of Zyklon-B as a killing agent
18 and I do not agree such a simple jump.
19 Q. [Mr Irving]: Can we be quite plain that you do not agree with that?
20 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Not simply on the basis that there were seven and a half
21 thousand kilos going to Zyklon-B, and 1,500 to the rest of
22 the concentration camp system. I would not jump
23 immediately to the conclusion. I think one has to be more
24 careful when one comes to conclusions.
25 Q. [Mr Irving]: Can I ask you one question here? How many satellite camps
26 were dependant on Auschwitz as their central distribution
2 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: In 1943 or 1942?
3 Q. [Mr Irving]: Shall we say 1944?
4 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: 1944, 34, but many measures were very small. May
5 I continue to answer the question his Lordship has asked?
6 Q. [Mr Irving]: This need not necessarily just have been going to
7 Auschwitz itself, they would have been possibly shovelling
8 it on to other places that needed it?
9 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, but only few of those camps had actually delousing
10 installations. Most of the delousing for the satellite
11 camps were actually done back in Auschwitz.
12 Q. [Mr Irving]: When you delouse a barracks or a barrack room like this
13 room here, do you need installation or do you just close
14 all the doors and windows and do what the Americans call
16 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: My Lord, I am a little confused right now.
17 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes. Come back to that, Mr Irving. I am
18 getting an explanation of the total figures that went to
19 Auschwitz. So you do not make the jump simply from
20 relative quantities?
21 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No. I have made the calculation and ultimately what I do
22 is that I am making the two ways actually to determine
23 what is a normal use for Zyklon-B? The first is to look
24 at other camps. What would a camp of the same size use
25 compared to Auschwitz? That is the first exercise I did
26 on pages 25 and 26. For example, we have information for
1 1943 so that is why it is important to look at 1943.
2 There is Satzenhausen in 1943 at 40,000 inmates, and it
3 almost used 3,000 kilos of Zyklon-B that year. If
4 Auschwitz would have been the same size as Satzenhausen
5 because Auschwitz had an average of 60,000 inmates that
6 year, it would have used four and a half thousand kilo if
7 indeed we could take the Satzenhausen figure as a point of
8 departure. In fact, Auschwitz uses 12,000. Then we look
9 at other camps, how much do they get, and we start to
10 basically priorate population figures.
11 MR IRVING: These figures are quite meaningless because of
12 course we know that Auschwitz was at the centre of one of
13 the worst epidemics in history.
14 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Not any more in 1943.
15 MR JUSTICE GRAY: That was summer 1942, was it not?
16 MR IRVING: There was another epidemic in January 1943?
17 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: There was a smaller epidemic in January 1943, which was
18 dealt with rather quickly, and the outbreak of an epidemic
19 in the gypsy camp in the summer of 1942 almost had no
21 Q. [Mr Irving]: The whole point is that you use Zyklon B preemptively.
22 You do not use it as a mopping up operation. You use it
23 to stop it happening again.
24 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Mostly.
25 Q. [Mr Irving]: You fumigate barracks again and again and again.
26 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Survivors have testified to the fact that these barracks
1 were not very often fumigated. I have recently, but
2 I will try to continue my arguments. But I will just
3 finish this sentence.
4 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Mr Irving, it would be helpful to me at any
5 rate if he can complete this answer and then you can of
6 course cross-examine on it.
7 MR IRVING: I am restraining myself but that was an important
8 point to make I think.
9 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: OK. So, my Lord, so at the one side we can look at, kind
10 of, the figures in other camps, and we then we look at
11 Auschwitz. On page 26, I think demonstrates that the
12 Auschwitz figure of 12,000 kilos is much higher than you
13 would expect on the basis of deliveries to other camps if
14 we take the different sizes into account.
15 Then the second kind of exercise one can do is
16 to look at the way Zyklon-B could have been used in
17 Auschwitz. So how much would have used in delousing in
18 this year? This is, I start to do this on page 27 and it
19 continues. It gets a very detailed kind of calculation.
20 I start out with — the question is, where are
21 the delousing rooms and what is the capacity of these
22 delousing rooms? So in 1943, the total Zyklon B delousing
23 space was 940 cubic metres. That is from the bottom of
24 page 27.
25 Now, then we are going to look of how much, what
26 concentration of hydrogen cyanide would have been used in
1 these rooms, and I refer back to a German war time
2 document by the [German] which is the Health Institution
3 of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia in Prague,
4 which instructs that one needs eight grammes of Zyklon-B
5 per cubic metre for 16 hours to kill vermins, such as
6 bugs, lice, flees, etc..
7 Now, I assume that these delousing spaces would
8 have, indeed, used that concentration. It is the only
9 kind of basis I can work on, and that as a result of that
10 is that if we have one gassing per day in each of these
11 rooms — now, this is very unlikely because there were
12 large rooms actually in the Sturmlager in Auschwitz which
13 eyewitness testimony says were only used irregularly, but
14 now I am assuming for a moment that these eyewitness are
15 wrong, and that they were used every day, I come to
16 basically seven-and-a-half kilogrammes of Zyklon-B per day
17 or 2,730 kilos of Zyklon-B per year if there is a
18 delousing every day. So I have now in some way accounted
19 at a maximum delousing capacity in the camp for 2,730
20 kilos of Zyklon-B.
21 So now we are going to look at the average size
22 of each barrack which is 12,000 — and these are the
23 barracks in Birkenhau right now — 12,000 cubic metres, in
24 which the barracks in the women’s camp are slightly larger
25 and barracks in building sector 2 are slightly smaller.
26 They are around 1200. In the women’s camp they were
1 around 1250 and in Auschwitz they were larger.
2 So if we take again the same concentration, this
3 would be quite a high concentration for the delousing of
4 barracks. One needs in Birkenhau six to 10 kilos per
5 barrack, and in Auschwitz one where they are two-storey
6 barracks, 12 to 20 kilos per barrack, which means that the
7 complete delousing of all the 192 dwelling barracks in
8 Birkenhau would take between 1200 and 1900 kilos, and all
9 the 30 —-
10 MR IRVING: Each time, right?
11 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Each time, and all the 30 dwelling barracks in Auschwitz
12 would take 360 and 600 kilos of Zyklon-B. Then there were
13 also workshop storage barracks, and they would have taken
14 240 to 400 kilos, which means that the complete delousing
15 of the camp (and we are now talking about Auschwitz 1 and
16 Auschwitz 2) would have taken between 1750 and 2,900
18 Now, on the basis of this comparison with these
19 other camps, I had established that an amount of 9,000
20 kilos for Zyklon-B for Auschwitz in 1943 would have been
21 within the kind of range of the possible. It would be the
22 high end, but I would not have been surprised to see so
24 This means that if we take that 9,000 as a kind
25 of bench mark of what a normal — Auschwitz under normal
26 conditions would have used, then we can have at least two
1 complete delousing of all the barracks in the camp in
3 Now, I take two eyewitness testimonies which is
4 one from Helen Zipitehau who was in the women’s camp from
5 — a Slovac Jew — 1942 until the liberation in 1945.
6 She remembered three our four of these large delousings of
7 the whole women’s camp in her two-and-a-half year stay.
8 Then Dr Ziegsmund Bendel in the Tesch trial declared that
9 he has only one delousing of the barracks during his 13
10 month stay in Auschwitz. This is the kind of practical
11 information we have about how many times. I mean, I do
12 not have any more information on that.
13 It seems then that the 1750 to 2,000 — that
14 this let us say two or three, maybe two delousings in 1943
15 of the whole camp would still bring us below the 9,000
16 kilos of Zyklon used after all the gas chambers have been
17 working every day, the delousing gas chambers, and
18 basically we have had the delousing of the blocks.
19 I must make one kind of — a particular
20 thing must be noted, that if in the German document
21 sometimes there is talking about the “Entlausung des
22 Blocks”, it means that the people in the block are going
23 to be taken to be deloused. There is particular things.
24 It says that block 11 was “entlaust” which means everyone
25 was taken to be BW5A, the delousing building in the
26 women’s camp, or so on.
1 This means then when we go to page 29 that I say
2 that 9,000 given these two, these very infrequent
3 delousings of the whole camp, that those 9,000 kilos of
4 Zyklon-B which I originally established on the basis of
5 comparison with other camps seems to be on the high side
6 but within the ball park of what Auschwitz would have
7 needed for its normal concentration camp purposes.
8 So then the question is, what are these other
9 3,000 kilos of Zyklon-B going to be used for? What other
10 kind of needs did Auschwitz have for Zyklon-B which were
11 not to be found in other concentration camps?
12 MR JUSTICE GRAY: That, I think, probably completes your
13 answer. It is a long answer, but it was very helpful and
14 very clear to me. So back to Mr Irving.
15 MR IRVING: My first question is you have, of course, read,
16 have you not, the testimony and supporting evidence in the
17 trial of Bruno Tesch whose company was the main
18 distributor East of the Elf for Zyklon-B?
19 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I told you before that I have read parts of the trial and
20 part of testimony. In detail, they are the testimony of
21 Alfred Zamm.
22 Q. [Mr Irving]: This question is not meant to be the least bit offensive,
23 but you are not an expert in disinfestation, are you?
24 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, I am not.
25 Q. [Mr Irving]: The company of Tesch and Stavanacht were, in fact, the
26 leading disinfestation experts in the whole of Europe
1 which is why their Managing Director found himself on the
2 end of a British rope in 1946?
3 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I do not think that is why he found himself on the rope,
4 but they were the leading firm, yes. They developed the
6 Q. [Mr Irving]: The record of the trial shows that both he and his fellow
7 convict, Weinbarer, repeatedly visited these camps and
8 checked what was going on and trained the local staff in
9 the proper application and use of these pesticides and
10 fumigating agents, these materials, is that not right?
11 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I remember that in the transcript of what I read that,
12 indeed, there is a mention of these visits, but I would
13 not comment in detail since I do not have them in front of
15 Q. [Mr Irving]: Is it not right that during the trial, which is recorded
16 verbatim — it is in the Public Record Office, in fact —
17 the accountant of the company was required to produce the
18 records on which you have partially based your
19 calculations showing precisely what the deliveries of
20 Zyklon-B to Auschwitz were during the years concerned for
21 precisely the same exercise that we have been doing in
22 court today?
23 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: That exercise has not been done.
24 Q. [Mr Irving]: In the Tesch trial?
25 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: At the trial, at the trial they did not do this exercise.
26 Q. [Mr Irving]: Have you read the letters of clemency that were submitted
1 to the court after the death sentences were passed?
2 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I have not.
3 Q. [Mr Irving]: Yes. Well, then we are in a difficulty. Will you take it
4 Bruno Tesch, the Managing Director, when confronted with
5 the figures of Zyklon-B delivered to the Auschwitz camp,
6 and doing the calculation of how many sets of clothing had
7 had to be fumigated on a regular interval, on a regular
8 basis, and how many barrack buildings had had to be
9 fumigated and disinfested, expressed astonishment that
10 they managed to do the task with as little as 12 tonnes in
11 that one year concerned? He said that on these figures
12 they would have had nothing left whatsoever for any kind
13 of sinister purposes, and that this is very clearly stated
14 in the trial and in appeals for clemency?
15 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I cannot comment on what Mr Tesch said. What I can
16 comment on is the fact that the amount of Zyklon being
17 delivered to other camps was so much smaller than
18 Auschwitz that I think this is a more interesting road to
20 Q. [Mr Irving]: That was, of course, the point of my interruption which
21 his Lordship quite properly reproved me for, when
22 I pointed out that Auschwitz was receiving very large
23 quantities of pesticide for a certain reason which you set
24 out so admirably in your first book, namely, that
25 Auschwitz had been built in the middle of an area which
26 had traditionally over the centuries attracted typhus
1 plagues, and it was the heart of a terrible typhus plague
2 in 1942?
3 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I do remember what is in my book without actually having
4 to consult it. I never say anywhere in the book that
5 Auschwitz was a place which was suffering typhus plagues.
6 I only mentioned the issue of climate actually in the
7 discussion of an introduction of Jan Sehn to his report on
8 Auschwitz where Jan Sehn makes a very big point of it, and
9 where I say actually I disagree because Jan Sehn in some
10 way tries to create a context of unhealthiness for the
11 place as if the Germans had chosen Auschwitz with this in
12 mind. I say this, obviously, is not supported by
13 historical evidence.
14 Q. [Mr Irving]: Had Auschwitz ever been used as a disinfestation centre
15 for transients in previous generations or before the Nazis
16 came? Had they used it — it was right on the border of
17 the Austro-Hungarian Empire, was it not?
18 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes. This is part of my research in the past has been
19 actually on the origin of the camp, and the Sturmlager was
20 originally created as a labour exchange.
21 Q. [Mr Irving]: Yes. It had all the appropriate installations there for
22 fumigating the transients, did it not?
23 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: They had no installations whatsoever for the fumigation of
25 Q. [Mr Irving]: Not for preparing them in this manner?
26 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I mean, one of the big problems was, of course, that
1 Zyklon did not exist at the time, at the time that when
2 the camp functioned there were also no steam installations
3 or hot air installations.
4 Q. [Mr Irving]: Have I read your book entirely wrongly then when you
5 suggest that the transients were held in Auschwitz for a
6 while and subjected to appropriate measures to make sure
7 they were fit for travelling into a cleaner part of
9 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I have — I think you are confusing two things. I can see
10 where the confusion comes from. There is one quote I make
11 a general, in the book, a general kind of description of
12 the movement of Eastern European Jews who go to America
13 and who cross the border and at a certain moment are going
14 to be — their clothing is going to be deloused one way or
15 another. It does not say what way it is. It is an
16 account of a girl called Mary Anton who panics —-
17 Q. [Mr Irving]: I remember this, yes?
18 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: — at this thing, so that is the one account which is
19 there. The second account is about the use of —-
20 Q. [Mr Irving]: Because they are taken off the train and sent in to be
21 washed, am I right?
22 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, and she gets very nervous about that.
23 Q. [Mr Irving]: She says, “Oh, my God, they are going to gas us”?
24 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, “to kill us”, not “gas us”; and those facilities
25 existed, some of them at the border and also they existed
26 in the harbours of Bremen and Hamburg.
1 Q. [Mr Irving]: When was that? Roughly what year was that?
2 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: This was 1880s, 1890s.
3 Q. [Mr Irving]: So it has been a problem over the decades, there has been
4 a problem in that region?
5 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I mean, the German —-
6 Q. [Mr Irving]: It is a very swampy region, is it?
7 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, I mean, but this was happening all over the East, that
8 people who were, that Jews, migrants who were leaving the
9 Russian Empire were subjected to German hygienic measures
10 as they crossed the border or came into the harbours of
11 Bremen and Hamburg where they were placed in quarantine.
12 There were special areas of the harbour where these Jews
13 were quarantined. There were these kinds of
14 installations. However, Auschwitz was slightly different
15 because while Auschwitz, at the one side, had these
16 transmigrants who went over the border there, because it
17 was a border town, the camp was not created with that in
18 mind. The camp was created, the Sturmlager was created to
19 very specifically house transmigrant workers who all
20 converged on Auschwitz in March and April of every year
21 looking for seasonal work in Germany. There were only
22 three little hotels in the town, and the hotels said these
23 people were living on the street, and there were 10 or
24 15,000 people living on the street.
25 So, the Austrian Government decided to create a
26 centre at the border where these people could be housed
1 and where then also German agents for the various
2 employment opportunities, like the Jungkris(?) in the
3 estates, could come, send people on and then the most
4 important function there was to actually check if all the
5 young men had done their military service and were allowed
6 to leave the country.
7 Q. [Mr Irving]: And that was Auschwitz, right?
8 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: That was in Auschwitz.
9 Q. [Mr Irving]: Yes. Just to round off this topic of the Zyklon
10 consumption figures, you have done very interesting
11 calculations, and I have to admit they are admirably done,
12 the calculations. You arrive overall at the end of these
13 very lengthy and complicated calculations at a probable
14 consumption of nine tonnes?
15 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Nine tonnes in the camp in 1943, yes.
16 Q. [Mr Irving]: As opposed to the 12 tonnes that we know to have been
17 delivered. Is this a meaningful difference, in your view,
18 in view of the fact that you are totally inexperienced in
19 pest control?
20 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I invite other people to redo the calculations again.
21 I thought that, as far as an historian, I must say that
22 using the maximum delousing capacity of the camp and the
23 maximum — and how much it will take on the basis of
24 German documents to delouse the whole camp —-
25 Q. [Mr Irving]: Does it make any allowance for inefficiencies of any
26 measures anywhere? Does it make your usual engineer’s
1 allowance for inefficiencies somewhere or mistakes?
2 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I think that I have made a very generous assumption in the
3 amount of Zyklon-B which was being used.
4 Q. [Mr Irving]: Or for quantities being sent on to the satellite camps?
5 These are things which you did not — in my submission,
6 there is no significant difference statistically over that
7 range of calculations and figures and, given the
8 uncertainty of the starting points between nine tonnes and
9 12 tonnes, on the one hand, is that correct?
10 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Nine tonnes can be justified, but it is a very high number
11 because I am assuming two complete delousings of the camp,
12 of all the buildings in the camp, per year.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]: If you had assumed three, of course, you would have come
14 over 12 tonnes, would you not?
15 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, I would come over nine tonnes.
16 Q. [Mr Irving]: Yes. You said you were just assuming two?
17 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Not over 12 tonnes. But at a certain moment the question
18 is how many delousings of the whole camp were operated.
19 Q. [Mr Irving]: We just have two eyewitnesses, is this correct, who
20 suggests that — one of them was one of the eyewitnesses
21 to whom, I have to say, I attach little credence and the
22 other one I may or may not be correct in saying she only
23 records three or four, is that correct, in the time —-
24 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: During her whole time in the camp.
25 Q. [Mr Irving]: — during the whole time she was there? But against
26 that, we set the evidence of Bruno Tesch in his trial, and
1 he is the acknowledged leading German expert on
2 disinfestation who says, having been given the figures, he
3 is astonished that they managed to carry out the
4 fumigation of all these sets of clothing, given the number
5 of prisoners, because he knew how many kilograms of
6 Zyklon-B were needed for each 100 sets of clothing. That
7 is the calculation he did.
8 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Is that Tesch you are talking about now?
9 MR IRVING: I am talking about Bruno Tesch, T-E-S-C-H.
10 MR JUSTICE GRAY: May I ask Professor van Pelt a question about
11 that? The prosecution against Tesch, presumably, involved
12 the prosecution establishing that he knew what the
13 Zyklon-B was being supplied to Auschwitz for?
14 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
15 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]: So he was likely to say that the quantity was the right
16 amount to do the delousing?
17 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The case, the evidence on which Tesch was ultimately
18 convicted was not the quantity delivered to Auschwitz. It
19 was actually a statement made by one of his employees who
20 had said that Tesch knew about that what the Zyklon was
21 being used for.
22 MR IRVING: He said that he came back and he dictated a travel
23 report on a trip which had indicated that he knew what was
24 going on?
25 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
26 Q. [Mr Irving]: This was hotly disputed by other members of Tesch’s staff
1 who knew the travel reports concerned, but he was hanged
2 on the basis of that one witness?
3 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: You know, I do not want to redo the Tesh trial. I mean,
4 it may have been true that Tesch knew about it or it may
5 not have been true. But the issue was, the issue at stake
6 in the trial was not the quantity of the deliveries.
7 Interestingly enough, if you go back to the
8 trial documents, what really made people very, very upset
9 about it is the profit they got out of the deliveries.
10 There was constant talk about how many Reichs Marks
11 actually were made out of his deliveries to Auschwitz.
12 Q. [Mr Irving]: I appreciate your Lordship’s point and, of course, it is
13 absolutely right, he would have had a motive for trying to
14 minimize it, but against that is to be set the fact that
15 whereas you and I are, no doubt, astonished to see nine
16 tonnes of cyanide being delivered to any camp or any
17 place, and you think, “Well, this can only mean one
18 thing”, the drift of my argument has been it could mean
19 many things and it was by no means out of the ball park
20 when you are looking at the other uses to which this
21 domestic fumigant was very properly put.
22 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, I understand.
Section 145.23 to 159.11
23 MR IRVING: Can I now proceed to a different topic, my Lord?
24 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, of course.
25 MR IRVING: We have dealt with the eyewitness in some detail,
26 Professor van Pelt. I must say I am left unhappy at the
1 notion that so far the mass extermination of 500,000
2 victims in this building here, krammer No. 2, rests,
3 apparently, on a number of very shaky eyewitnesses —
4 I think I have shaken two or three them — and on certain
5 other documents that we have not really properly
7 Can you talk to the court, please, if I say to
8 you what architectural drawings are there relating to
9 crematorium No. (ii) and, in particular, to the alleged
10 gas chamber in mortuary No. 1, can you tell the court
11 about which one document in particular would be the one
12 you would say was something close to a smoking gun — if
13 there is such a document, such a blueprint?
14 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Do you mean Kuhler? Is he included in the
16 MR IRVING: Kuhler we can come to later, my Lord. I am
17 interested in Kuhler, obviously, because that will bring
18 us back to the holes, and I am going to keep on driving
19 holes in this case until your Lordship appreciates the
20 significance of the holes, or their absence. So I want to
21 do that kind of scattered throughout these two days.
22 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes.
23 THE WITNESS:[Professor Van Pelt]: So we are talking about blueprints?
24 MR IRVING: We are talking about drawings, architectural
25 drawings. If there is anything in any of those drawings
26 which you considered to be very suspicious?
1 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I have said in my report that the way the materials should
2 be interpreted is as a convergence of evidence and not in
3 terms of a single smoking gun. There are in the documents
4 in Auschwitz, of course, documents which are more
5 difficult to bring into harmony with the thesis that there
6 would have been no gas chamber, no homicidal gas chamber,
7 in crematorium (ii). For example, there is a letter, the
8 notorious vergasungs letter, the keller letter of 29th
9 January 1943; but since I am being asked about blueprints
10 and I will limit my answer to blueprints, there is not one
11 blueprint which by and in itself is a smoking gun.
12 Q. [Mr Irving]: But you have repeatedly talked in radio programmes on the
13 BBC, for example, the Horizon programme, you said, “We
14 have the blue prints”, have you not? “We have the
15 drawings”? I appreciate —-
16 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: But we have to — we have the blueprints as historical
17 evidence and one can draw conclusions out of the
18 historical evidence.
19 Q. [Mr Irving]: That is not the way you put it, of course. You were
20 rather more specific. You said: “We have the drawings of
21 the gas chambers”.
22 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: But it allows us, these drawings allow us to reconstruct
23 the history of these things, the way these things were
24 constructed, and the history includes a certain amount the
25 history of the use and the modification of these buildings
26 as a killing machine.
1 Now, there are certain drawings which certainly
2 pop out of the bundle of drawings which is preserved. For
3 example, a very, very important drawing, but again only
4 seen in context, would have been the modification of the
5 basement done by Walter Dejaco in December 1942. But
6 again that drawing by itself does not say anything. That
7 drawing has to be compared to the drawings that preceded
8 that drawing.
9 So, you know, I am happy to go — the problem is
10 I do not know if everyone has the drawings — I am happy
11 to go through a very detailed explication of those
12 drawings, but given the fact we already have difficulty
13 with Olaire before, I do not really know to do that
14 because I will have to point at these things which are not
15 labelled and these are, you know, those blueprints
16 are —-
17 MR IRVING: We can get the drift of what your arguments are
18 going to be. I just wanted to establish, though, that
19 when you said these things on this BBC Horizon programme
20 (of which we have the transcript here) of course, you are
21 not reading from a script, you are just talking from
22 memory, so to speak? If you were writing it, you would
23 not have said that?
24 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, there was no script of that. There was no script.
25 I do not exactly know what I said, so maybe you can read
26 it to the court and I can have a look at it and, you know,
1 I can comment on it.
2 Q. [Mr Irving]: Yes. But the point I am making is that you are much more
3 careful when you write than when you speak?
4 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: There is nothing really in the Horizon programme which at
5 the moment I feel I would have to take back. I am quite
6 comfortable with what I said in that programme.
7 Q. [Mr Irving]: Well, except that you also referred to a document, but
8 I am not on documents at present in terms which were
9 inappropriate because it turns out that what you said was
10 not borne out by the document. Do you remember that
11 document, the one relating to the electric supply not
12 being adequate, and you reversed the order of killing and
14 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Mr Irving, in that document at a certain moment
15 I transposed the word, I think, sonderbehantlung(?) and
16 incineration from one to the other.
17 Q. [Mr Irving]: Yes, these things happen, do they not?
18 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: But the meaning, the meaning of what I said is exactly the
19 same as the meaning of the document.
20 Q. [Mr Irving]: Yes. These things happen. It was not any perverse
21 manipulation of the evidence in any way; it was just —-
22 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Unlike what some people on the web suggest? No, it was no
23 perverse manipulation.
24 Q. [Mr Irving]: I have not suggested that, have I —-
25 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I do not know if you have suggested it.
26 Q. [Mr Irving]: — on my web site, no? That is not the point I am trying
1 to make.
2 MR JUSTICE GRAY: If that is not suggested, we can move on,
3 can we not?
4 MR IRVING: I am your Lordship appreciates the reason why I put
5 the question. So what you are saying is there is no one
6 drawing — we have established that the eye witness
7 evidence is two legged rather than five legged. We have
8 now heard that there is no one drawing which supports the
9 identity of that underground mortuary as being a gas
10 chamber either?
11 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, but we can look now at two or three drawings together
12 and then we start to look, we start to observe some very
13 weird things and some modifications made between one
14 drawing and the other drawing which certainly starts to
15 point out at a use of —-
16 Q. [Mr Irving]: An unusual use?
17 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: — morgue No. 1 which is used which is certainly not
18 suggestive of either an air raid shelter or that of any
19 other kind of non-genocidal use.
20 Q. [Mr Irving]: Can you tell us roughly what those discrepancies are on —
21 shall I feed clues?
22 MR RAMPTON: My Lord, I hardly think this is satisfactory. We
23 have the plans in the folder.
24 MR IRVING: Indeed, yes.
25 MR RAMPTON: It is quite a detailed exercise. I have been
26 through it many times. It may or may not make sense, but
1 it is really ridiculous, in my submission, to ask this
2 witness to try to do it —-
3 MR JUSTICE GRAY: You mean there is no such — it is either the
4 whole hog or nothing?
5 MR RAMPTON: Yes. You cannot do that from memory.
6 MR IRVING: I am all for the whole hog in this case. Let us go
7 the whole hog, but I thought that the Professor was saying
8 it would be rather difficult to do this exercise in court
9 with things as tricky as detailed drawings.
10 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Well, he was saying that, but if we have to
11 do it, we have to do.
12 MR IRVING: Yes. But if Mr Rampton objects, then by all means
13 let us look at the individual drawings.
14 MR JUSTICE GRAY: But let me get this clear, Mr Irving, first:
15 we will go through the drawings, by all means, but —-
16 MR IRVING: Well, my Lord, I —-
17 MR JUSTICE GRAY: — there is going to be no profit in doing
18 so if, at the end of the day, you are going to put to
19 Professor van Pelt, “Oh, well, that is all very well, but
20 it was just a delousing chamber or disinfecting chamber”.
21 So I do not want to spend a lot of time and in the end for
22 it to be in a sense purposeless. Do you follow me?
23 MR IRVING: I agree, but your Lordship has heard the witness
24 say that there are two or three specific things about the
25 drawings which, when put together, can only lead to the
26 sinister interpretation. I think I know what he is
1 alluding to.
2 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, well, I am looking at one, the following
3 page 183 in your report —-
4 MR IRVING: I do not want to preempt him.
5 MR JUSTICE GRAY: — and I suspect that may be one of the ones,
6 with the small holes along the top and bottom of the side
8 MR IRVING: If your Lordship feels this is inappropriate that
9 we should continue on this?
10 MR JUSTICE GRAY: No, well, I am in the difficulty, Mr Irving,
11 as you will understand, I do not quite know that I know
12 what the point that is going to be made is.
13 MR RAMPTON: My Lord, let me say straight —-
14 MR RAMPTON: My Lord, may I make an intervention now?
15 MR JUSTICE GRAY: We had better not all talk at once.
16 MR RAMPTON: No, I know, but I have foreseen this for
17 sometime. I really think Mr Irving has to state his
18 position now because otherwise, as your Lordship has just
19 said, we could spend two hours going through the drawings
20 and end up with the same conclusion as yesterday in
21 cross-examination, “Yes, it was a gas chamber, but not for
22 live human beings”.
23 MR JUSTICE GRAY: That is why I said what I said.
24 MR RAMPTON: If that is all that this examination is going to
25 lead to, Mr Irving may as well come clean, say, “Yes,
26 I accept it was a gas chamber. Now, Mr Van Pelt, how do
1 you deal with the suggestion that was for gassing corpses
2 and clothes?”
3 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Well, I mean, that is the point that I
4 have just put to you, Mr Irving. Can you tell us what the
5 answer is?
6 MR IRVING: I appreciate that Mr Rampton would prefer to
7 conduct my cross-examination for me.
8 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Just answer my question.
9 MR IRVING: I will come clean and say precisely what points
10 I am going for. Professor van Pelt has suggested that,
11 because in one of the drawings there is a requirement for
12 the vorwarmung or prewarming of the mortuary. This has a
13 sinister connotation. Am I right, Professor?
14 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: This is not there was drawing. This is there was letter,
15 so I did not in any of my discussion, when you asked me
16 about drawings right now, include that particular
17 document. I said I was specifically talking about
19 Q. [Mr Irving]: While we are on that document, can you tell me how
20 important is that letter and how much reliance would you
21 place on that as being halfway to the smoking gun?
22 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I do not know if I should answer this right now since
23 another question was posed.
24 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Is your answer because I am going to go back,
25 that it is part of the convergent evidence? Is that how
26 you put it?
1 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: It is an important part of convergent evidence, yes.
2 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Let’s go back, Mr Irving. I am going to
3 insist that we get this clear and then we know where we
4 are going.
5 MR IRVING: May I return to the prewarming later on, my Lord?
6 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Of course you can return to it later on.
7 What is your position going to be? Supposing that the
8 evidence satisfies me that there is reason to believe that
9 this was intended to be there was gas chamber and not an
10 air raid shelter, is that something you accept or
12 MR IRVING: It should be, with respect, my Lord, relatively
13 easy for the witness to say there are two or three items,
14 as he in fact said, which were to him, taken in
15 conjunction with each other, adequate evidence that there
16 was a sinister purpose.
17 MR JUSTICE GRAY: That is as may be, but I would like an answer
18 to my question because I think you must come clean as to
19 your position.
20 MR IRVING: I do not think I am equivocating. My position on
21 this particular room is that it was never used in there
22 was gas chamber sense, in the sense described by the
23 eyewitnesses because of course the lack of holes proves
24 that the eyewitnesses have lied.
25 MR JUSTICE GRAY: That is getting close to an answer but it is
26 not quite an answer. Are you accepting it was a gas
1 chamber in the sense that it had the facility for gas to
2 be inserted by whatever means, but contending that humans
3 were never killed by gas in that chamber?
4 MR IRVING: Certainly on one occasion it was referred to as a
5 Vergasungskeller and also referred to as a sonderkeller, a
6 special cellar or special basement. That I also accept.
7 What I do not accept is that it was going to be used for
8 the mass killing of human beings by gas. This is a very
9 clear statement. What I do postulate is that it was also
10 simultaneously being held in prospect and even converted
11 for use as an underground air raid shelter, being one of
12 the very few subterranean buildings on the site in the
13 event that mass attacks in this part of Poland also began,
14 given the proximity of the IG Farben works.
15 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I am sure I missed it, but was part of that
16 answer that yes, you do accept that it was there was gas
17 chamber and that you accept that it was on occasion used
18 for killing human beings?
19 MR IRVING: I accepted it was referred to as there was gas
20 chamber, my Lord, which is not quite the same thing and
21 there are documents —-
22 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Are you accepting it was in fact there was
23 gas chamber?
24 MR IRVING: That I have not seen evidence for.
25 MR JUSTICE GRAY: So you are not accepting that?
26 MR IRVING: I am not accepting that part of the statement
1 because I have not seen any evidence that bears that part
2 of the statement out. I have seen evidence that it was
3 referred to by the German authorities as there was
4 Vergasungskeller, there was room for gassing in.
5 MR JUSTICE GRAY: But you still do not accept that it was in
6 fact there was gas chamber? Is that the position?
7 MR IRVING: That is precisely my position, my Lord.
8 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Then we go through the drawings.
9 MR IRVING: The drawings, but only in respect to elucidating
10 this point. You said that you had two or three matters in
11 the drawings which you thought would bear out this
13 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I am just trying to make up my mind how to do this. We
14 are going to go through there was complex exercise in
15 which I have now to make up my mind how to work most
16 effectively through this.
17 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Just think. Do you want to adjourn for five
19 MR IRVING: Alternatively, we could come back to this question
20 on Friday, my Lord, which would give one whole day to look
21 at the drawings and I could move on to the prewarming
22 question, which is the next one logically. I would prefer
23 to do that, frankly.
24 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I think, since we have reached the point of
25 the drawings and we have just had that exchange, I would
26 slightly prefer to do it now.
1 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: May I ask something? There are some ways this could be
2 helpful because I am not completely unprepared for this
3 thing. I have two ex students of mine make on the basis
4 of all the blueprints there was computer model of
5 crematorium No. (ii). This is only on the basis of the
6 blueprints and whatever is added is very clear. For
7 example, the only thing which is added are the Zyklon-B
8 introduction columns which are clearly not in the
9 blueprints, and there was speculative depiction in one of
10 them of how the hot air system would have worked. This is
11 all prepared. I have slides of this whole reconstruction
12 by which we can actually translate the blueprints into
13 something which laymen in architecture can read. I have
14 them also as pictures that were printed out.
15 On Friday, with always the blueprint right next
16 to it, I could give there was complete presentation of
17 this building to show the important things which would
18 maybe help your Lordship to get quicker into the gist of
19 things. It is something I am prepared to do. I can do it
20 without it, but it will be more of there was struggle to
21 do without it.
22 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Mr Irving, do you have any objection to that
23 being done as an exercise?
24 MR RAMPTON: That is what I would have proposed, my Lord.
25 Given what I would submit is the relative collapse of the
26 eyewitness evidence in relation to this building —-
1 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Just answer the question. Do not worry about
2 the eyewitness evidence.
3 MR IRVING: Then the answer is yes I think it would be very
4 fair to Professor van Pelt.
5 MR JUSTICE GRAY: We will do that on Friday.
6 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: In forms of slides or with the pictures?
7 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Whichever is easier. Mr Irving is happy you
8 should do it, so you do it in whichever way is the more
9 informative for the court.
10 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I would like to do it then in slide form since it is a
11 more public thing and I can point at things on the screen
12 and it is always clear to what I am pointing.
13 MR JUSTICE GRAY: If you are happy with that, Mr Irving?
14 MR IRVING: Provided it goes strictly to the issues that we
15 have delineated. The Professor said that there were there
16 was number of points which, taken in conjunction,
17 substantiate his beliefs and we do not just have a general
18 cook’s tour of the building.
19 MR JUSTICE GRAY: No. This is designed to show that the
20 blueprints have pointers within them which suggest the use
21 of that chamber was as there was gas chamber.
22 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
23 MR IRVING: That can only be there was useful exercise. So we
24 will leave the drawings for the moment, Professor, and we
25 will continue just briefly with the documentary evidence.
26 MR RAMPTON: My Lord, again, I am puzzled. Mr Irving seems to
1 be under the impression that there were only two relevant
2 eyewitness accounts so far as this witness is concerned.
3 I am there was bit bothered by that. I could come back to
4 it in re-examination but I think there may be a
5 misunderstanding — Mr Irving said it several times —
6 between Mr Professor van Pelt and Mr Irving.
7 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I think Professor van Pelt has identified
8 five camp officials. I think we all know that there are
10 MR RAMPTON: Yes.
Section 159.12 to 173.4
11 MR IRVING: These are the five principal ones on which he rests
12 his case as far as the eyewitness are concerned and I do
13 apologise if I gave the impression that I had only
14 demolished two of them.
15 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Let us leave the debating points on one side
16 and press on with the cross-examination croaks.
17 MR IRVING: Professor van Pelt, prewarming of the mortuary.
18 You have rightly raised your eyebrows on that and said
19 this surely has there was sinister purpose. Have
20 I summarized your position correctly?
21 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Shall we get the document maybe? It is in the bundle.
22 Q. [Mr Irving]: Yes.
23 MR JUSTICE GRAY: K 2.
24 MR RAMPTON: Yes, tab 4 of K 2.
25 MR RAMPTON: It is page 39, my Lord, in the handwriting.
26 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Thank you.
1 MR IRVING: This is there was letter from Auschwitz to the Topf
2 company, is it not?
3 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes. It is there was letter sent on 6th March 1943, which
4 is a little over there was week before the building is
5 really taken into use.
6 Q. [Mr Irving]: Would you like to translate the first paragraph, or shall
7 I? On the basis of your proposal this agency or this
8 office is in agreement that the basement No. 1, this is
9 the mortuary No. 1 with the collapsed roof, is that
11 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
12 Q. [Mr Irving]: Should be prewarmed with the exhaust air from the spaces
13 of the three extractor fans. Would that be correct?
14 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes. Probably it is there was forced draft, yes.
15 Q. [Mr Irving]: They are going to have some kind of heat exchanger so that
16 they can take heat from the furnaces in some way?
17 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes. I can explain very simply what happens is that the
18 ovens are connected to the chimney — this was Topf’s
19 idea — in order to get there was better draft from the
20 ovens to the chimney, they thought to actually — there
21 are five ovens and then there is the waste incineration
22 oven which was never built, to have one ventilator at
23 every two ovens which was going to basically suck the
24 smoke out of the oven into the chimney to put there was
25 ventilator there. These ventilators were placed in small
26 rooms. The idea is that of course there is going to be an
1 incredible heat built up in these ventilators because the
2 smoke is very hot, that you could regenerate, and there
3 were other plans also, that heat. This particular
4 proposal is to use the heat built up in these little rooms
5 in which the ventilators are, to bring that back into
6 morgue number 1.
7 Q. [Mr Irving]: There was lot of the documents in fact do indicate there
8 was desire to conserve energy, do they not? To extract
9 the energy from the incineration plant and this kind of
10 thing, use it for boiling water for the showers and so
11 on? Am I right?
12 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes. There are there some proposals.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]: What concerns you about the prewarming? Why should this
14 room not be prewarmed, the mortuary?
15 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: What concerns me of course is that one would want to keep
16 the morgue cool, and that to actually blow hot air into
17 there was morgue does not make much sense if the space is
18 going to be used as a morgue.
19 Q. [Mr Irving]: Is this your considered opinion as an architect, or as an
20 historian, or as an archeologist?
21 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: As there was person who has common sense.
22 Q. [Mr Irving]: Bodies are cold, so why bother to warm them? Is that
23 roughly it?
24 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: This is one of the reasons. You see, the practice in
25 Auschwitz was that one has these underground gas chambers
26 which are well insulated because they are covered with
1 earth, and that in these spaces there is there was more or
2 less even temperature, as it was mostly in basements, and
3 you get there was cool environment in which you store the
4 bodies, and the bodies will not further deteriorate, or
5 faster than necessary.
6 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I suppose also one might say what is the
7 point of warming the room if the people in there are going
8 to be murdered and then they are going to be burnt?
9 MR IRVING: My Lord, shortly all will be revealed.
10 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Let me get the answer first.
11 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The reason that this is problematic is that Zyklon-B,
12 sorry hydrogen cyanide, will evaporate faster the warmer
13 the room is.
14 MR IRVING: Right.
15 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: So the killing of people in that room would be faster.
16 MR IRVING: It is common sense that you would not want to warm
17 a mortuary?
18 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: May I add something to this remark? It is not necessary.
19 Even freezing temperatures you can just spread Zyklon B on
20 the floor of a building and it will evaporate, but it goes
21 slower. One of the particular elements of the standard
22 Degesch delousing chamber, the ten cubic metre one, was
23 that they could also be supplied not necessarily, but
24 could be supplied with there was particular little heating
25 element which was more or less like there was hair blow
26 drier, and that the Zyklon-B tin was placed in the kind of
1 holder. Then from the outside there was there was tin
2 opener, and then, as the Zyklon fell, it came down on
3 there was little dish and this hot air was being blown
4 over that dish. So the evaporation would be faster.
5 Q. [Mr Irving]: All very interesting, but assuming that the homicidal
6 theory is correct, you are going to have 2,000 human
7 beings stuffed into this room and, as we know from the
8 design of the Millennium Dome, human beings heat up
9 spaces. They does not need heaters, do they?
10 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: That was the experience in Auschwitz. Throughout the
11 winter of 1942 they were gassing in bunker No. 2 and they
12 did not need any heating.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]: We are not dealing with that. We are dealing with this
14 particular bunker at present and the answer is, in other
15 words, if your theory was correct, they would not need the
16 heating. But that is not the particular path I am going
18 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: May I comment on this?
19 Q. [Mr Irving]: Yes of course.
20 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Briefly.
21 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The issue seems to be that we are talking here about
22 making the process more efficient.
23 MR IRVING: Speeding it up?
24 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Speeding it up.
25 Q. [Mr Irving]: In and out rapidly?
26 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
1 Q. [Mr Irving]: This building was a very expensive building, was it not?
2 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, I think the budget around was 280,000/300,000 marks.
3 Q. [Mr Irving]: It is far more expensive to build underground rooms of any
4 kind, is it not, than to build the same room above ground?
5 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: It depends of course what room we are talking about, but
6 you need to do excavation in general for a building.
7 Q. [Mr Irving]: It needs special tanking, does it not, and special
8 drainage provisions and all sorts of special — it roughly
9 increases the price by four or five fold to have the same
10 things sunk into the ground. Am I right?
11 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Again, it is quite often difficult to build there was room
12 above the ground than building under the ground, but of
13 course you need to have some vapour barriers and other
14 things. You need to keep the water out. I presume that,
15 if one would build that room above the ground without any
16 basement under, without any normal foundation there, it
17 would probably be cheaper to build it above the ground.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]: So the Nazis had some reason for building these two
19 chambers underground rather than at ground level?
20 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The reason that they were built underground is because
21 they were morgues. You see, the big problem was that, if
22 you built a large crematorium as crematorium (ii), you get
23 an incredible heat built up in the incineration room. So
24 one of the things you have to do is to have the morgue at
25 some distance from that.
26 Q. [Mr Irving]: And at right angles and so on, yes.
1 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The second thing is that the incinerators are very heavy,
2 which means you cannot have a basement under the
3 incinerators. So, if you want to have a morgue and you
4 want to have preferably in a basement because there are
5 less temperature differences in the basement, it is a more
6 stable temperature environment, then of course you build
7 them underground and not under the incineration room. It
8 is the reason that these two morgues jut out from the
10 Q. [Mr Irving]: Hold it there for a moment, Professor. The building was
11 built to the best building specifications. Because they
12 were the SS, they were not able to wangle their way round
13 the local building inspector, were they? They had to
14 comply with the local building regulations?
15 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: For crematorium (ii), which was designed in 41 and it was
16 designed in Berlin, it was there was design which
17 ultimately came down to Auschwitz. Crematorium (ii) in
18 relationship to the major elements of there was morgue did
19 follow the rules.
20 Q. [Mr Irving]: They would not be allowed to start this building up. They
21 would not be allowed to operate it for whatever purpose it
22 was operated unless it had passed all the regulations,
23 unless it complied with all the regulations. Even though
24 they were the SS, and this was Auschwitz, and this was
25 wartime, they still had to go by the book. They still had
26 to comply with the red tape..
1 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: They went by the book. One of the things is that one
2 always can get exemptions, like in any planning regulation
3 you can always have a variance to the particular code but
4 you have to apply for it.
5 Q. [Mr Irving]: Professor van Pelt, we are talking about going by the
6 book. Is this the book that they would have gone by?
7 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: This is not a building code of Germany, but this is there
8 was design guideline which was available in the office,
9 except in an earlier edition. This is the 1944 edition.
10 Q. [Mr Irving]: There is book called Neufert, which is still the standard
11 German building code, is it not?
12 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: It is not there was building code. It is a guideline to
13 architects of how to design, which means that, if you
14 start a project and you want to know how large a minimum
15 kitchen must be in which two people can still pass each
16 other, you find the dimensions there.
17 Q. [Mr Irving]: It is very useful indeed and it is going to be useful for
18 the rest for the rest of the afternoon because, if we look
19 in this guideline book as you call it to see what the
20 architects at Auschwitz were being told was the correct
21 way to design, that answers quite there was lot of the
22 questions that have arisen, does it not?
23 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: There is going to be something of there was problem
24 because again, first of all, we are dealing with general
25 guidelines and the general guidelines in Neufert only deal
26 with there was civilian crematorium to be built in there
1 was city and it does not deal with there was crematorium
2 designed either for specific circumstances outside the
3 civilian context.
4 Q. [Mr Irving]: But the basic principles of design are going to be same,
5 are they not?
6 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: On some elements they will and on some elements they will
7 not. There are some things which you need in a civilian
8 crematorium which you will not need in one which
9 ultimately is going to be built and which will not be
10 ruled by the building code.
11 Q. [Mr Irving]: But most people who went into SS uniform and worked in
12 these offices were architects or engineers in civil life
13 like Kammler. He was an engineer and they just happened
14 to be wearing SS uniform. They knew what the rules were
15 and they knew the codes.
16 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I object to your use of the words, the rules and the
17 codes. Neufert is not the code. Neufert is a general
18 guideline created by one architect to help other
19 architects to get going on the job.
20 Q. [Mr Irving]: Will you tell the court if there was a copy of Neufert in
21 the SS construction office at Auschwitz?
22 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: There was a copy of Neufert in the SS construction office.
23 Q. [Mr Irving]: Why did they have that if they did not feel that it was a
24 good idea to follow what Neufert’s guidelines were?
25 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Neufert has a lot of very useful information. I am very
26 happy to go with you through the diagram which Neufert
1 provides for the civilian crematorium.
2 Q. [Mr Irving]: It is not the diagrams I am looking at. Would you turn to
3 page 271 of your copy of Neufert, if you have it there?
4 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes. I do not know if the judge has a copy?
5 MR JUSTICE GRAY: No, I do not.
6 MR IRVING: I will translate it or Professor van Pelt can
7 translate the appropriate paragraph if your Lordship
8 permits. Does your Lordship consider it to be a useful
10 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I do not know what the points that you are
11 going to make are.
12 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: 271.
13 MR IRVING: Your Lordship will remember we are dealing with the
14 question whether the warming of a mortuary was appropriate
15 or not, which I have to confess I, with all my common
16 sense, would have thought completely absurd. If you look
17 at the part where it comes to friedhurf und crematorium,
18 that is the right hand page, which means crematoria and
20 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Graveyards and crematoria. You make the same mistake now
21 as I made in the horizon movie, Mr Irving.
22 Q. [Mr Irving]: The third paragraph down begins (German spoken – document
23 not provided).
24 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
25 Q. [Mr Irving]: The temperature in the mortuary to be above or equal to
26 two degrees and below or equal to 12 degrees, never under,
1 because frost causes the corpses to expand and burst.
2 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
3 Q. [Mr Irving]: Then it continues to talk about using the —-
4 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Let us go to the next sentence.
5 Q. [Mr Irving]: — central heating?
6 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Let us go to the next sentence now because the next
7 sentence is also important. (German spoken – document not
8 provided) which means —-
9 Q. [Mr Irving]: Central heating?
10 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Not the central heating.
11 Q. [Mr Irving]: Central heating and cooling, air conditioning?
12 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: And air conditioning, yes. This temperature must be kept
14 Q. [Mr Irving]: Above all in summer.
15 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: — must be kept steady with constant ventilation,
16 especially in the summer.
17 Q. [Mr Irving]: We are not concerned with summer here. We are talking
18 about Poland, which gets notoriously cold in the winter.
19 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The point which is here is that the next sentence says
20 there should be at a certain moment in this case some
21 heating and cooling installation in this building, yes.
22 Q. [Mr Irving]: Yes.
23 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I will leave it to you. You will spring another trap on
24 me right now and then I will try to answer it.
25 Q. [Mr Irving]: No. This is not a trap. We are trying to educate the
26 court. I have to admit that I have learned a lot out of
1 Neufert as I went along as well. But I think I have made
2 the point that the provision of heating in a mortuary is a
3 requirement, at least by the guidelines which were
4 standard in all German architects’ offices at that time,
5 and no special significance can be read into the fact that
6 they were trying to it in a cost effective way by using
7 heat from the incinerators.
8 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: If that were to be the case, the heating installation
9 would have been included in the original design of the
10 crematorium. It is not. What actually it says here is
11 why, why do you want to be able to keep the temperature of
12 the morgue in that range of 2 to 12 degrees? It is
13 because the corpses still have to be viewed by the people
14 who are basically the family members. If we look at the
15 diagram, I am very sorry, my Lord. I have a diagram and
16 you do not, but there is actually a diagram which shows
17 that there is a Leichenshauraum, which means a room to
18 show or to look at the corpse. So this is a very usual
19 thing in a crematorium. The body is stored. It happened
20 to us very recently in my family. You go and before the
21 final cremation you still have an opportunity to look at
22 the corpse. You do not want to look at the corpse where
23 ultimately frost has destroyed the corpse. This is the
24 purpose for that particular thing. It has nothing to do
25 with the mechanics or the physics of incineration. It has
26 to do with a certain sense of decorum.
1 Q. [Mr Irving]: The fact remains, does it not, that the guidelines say
2 mortuaries have to be warmed and they are going to have
3 the local building inspector from Kattowitz or Cracow
4 coming round and he is going to say, ‘ Oy, you have not
5 got heating in here, cannot switch on until you have the
6 heating fixed”?
7 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The fact of the matter, my Lord, is that these are merely
8 guidelines. If the guidelines in Neufert had been
9 followed by the Auschwitz central building office, they
10 would have included the heating for the heating system and
11 also probably the cooling system for the morgue from the
12 beginning in the design. This has not been done. For a
13 year and a half this design has been developed without any
14 ability whatsoever to bring any heat in that morgue so it
15 is absolutely, I think, nonsense to suggest that, with
16 this Neufert in mind, the Auschwitz architects were
17 designing their morgues.
18 MR JUSTICE GRAY: By March 1943 how far advanced was the
19 construction of crematoria (ii) and (iii)?
20 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The building was finished and the design started in
21 October 1941.
22 MR IRVING: They could not switch it on because they had not
23 made provision for the heating at this point.
24 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: They had forgotten it, but the inspector in Kattowitz
25 obviously had also overlooked this one issue.
26 Q. [Mr Irving]: But the burden of the letter of course says this is a very
1 cost effective way of doing the heating. It is not saying
2 you have forgotten the heating, it is saying let’s do it
3 by this way because that is going to save the Reich money
4 or fuel or whatever.
5 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Please, Mr Irving, show me any other letter. I have never
6 seen one. I am under oath, I understand, here. I have
7 never seen any other letter talking about bringing any
8 heating, any hot air, or any other means of heating into
9 the morgue.
10 Q. [Mr Irving]: But fact remains that mortuaries have to be warmed, so our
11 common sense for once is wrong. The audience is wrong in
12 this particular question. The book gets it right. The
13 book says it has to be kept in a range of temperatures
14 between 2 degrees and 12 degrees, either by heating or by
16 MR JUSTICE GRAY: What about crematoria 4 and 5? Was there any
17 heating provided for that?
18 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: There were stoves in crematoria 4 and 5.
19 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]: That was how they heated them?
20 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, no cooling installation.
21 MR IRVING: Would you now turn to page 255, please? We have
22 now left the heating element.
23 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Sorry, my Lord, I would like to come back to this answer
24 because I have made a mistake. The “them” you refer to
25 were probably morgues. I refer to the gas chambers of
26 crematoria 4 and 5.
1 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I was referring to the morgues or the
2 mortuaries, yes. Did they have any heating?
3 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: There was a mortuary in crematoria 4 and 5 and they did
4 not have any heating.
Section 173.5 to 189.16
5 MR IRVING: Will you now turn to page 255 of the architects
7 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
8 Q. [Mr Irving]: This shows halfway down on the right things that are
9 needed for air raid shelters. Does this show a door
10 opening outwards? Can you see the metal gas tight door
11 with the typical heavy handles?
12 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Can you refer me to the particular passage?
13 Q. [Mr Irving]: Page 255, on the page called Luftshutz air raid protection
14 ARP, and it has various sketched layouts of air raid
15 shelters and various air raid protection installations.
16 I am sorry, my Lord, I should have provided you with a
18 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I am following.
19 MR IRVING: Do you agree that that shows a steel door or a door
20 of some heavy substance designed to open outwards with
21 handles on the outside?
22 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I do not see any steel door. That is the problem. Oh
23 there is a door.
24 Q. [Mr Irving]: Yes. Two of them?
25 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes. That is one.
26 Q. [Mr Irving]: (German spoken – document not provided) 4104. They
1 actually had a German standard, the equivalent of British
2 standard, what a standard gas tight door looked like. I
3 will make an enlargement of this and provide it to your
4 Lordship because it is exactly like the doors that
5 I believe the other side will produce pictures of.
6 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: OK. It is unclear to see what is in and out in this
7 drawing. To be very honest, if this door is hung on the
8 inside — again it is a very technical matter and I am
9 uncomfortable discussing this without you actually seeing
10 the picture.
11 MR RAMPTON: I am also a bit uncomfortable trying to follow a
12 cross-examination when I do not have the document.
13 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I know, but let us try and do the best we
15 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Shall I draw what actually the picture shows and then I
16 think we have a very quick answer.
17 MR JUSTICE GRAY: You are saying that the drawing is equivocal
18 about whether it opens inwards or outwards?
19 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No. It shows that this door actually turns towards the
20 inside and there is a very easy way to substantiate that.
21 MR IRVING: Do you wish to explain why.
22 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes. If you want to, yes, do.
23 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The door is on the inside of the wall, so there is a wall
24 and the question is where would the door be hung. I am
25 trying to think this through.
26 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I cannot see that that would affect which way
1 it opened, but maybe I am missing something.
2 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: May I draw it?
3 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, of course.
4 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I have in my bag a lot of air raid shelter designs in
5 Auschwitz. So there is a wall right here. There is a
6 wall right there, and then the door is hung sitting right
7 here, and the door is like that. The implication of
8 course is that the door opens like that.
9 MR IRVING: It is not going to open any other way.
10 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No.
11 Q. [Mr Irving]: It is going to come up against—-
12 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I just want to say that I am talking here, just trying to
13 think out loud. I do not have anything more right now
14 about it.
15 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I think I know what you are going to say
17 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I have not seen this door and I have not inspected this
18 particular shelter, but if indeed the door is fastened
19 right here and right there, it would make sense to me to
20 think that, if the hinges are right there, the hinges
21 would be on the inside, not on the outside because, if
22 they are on the outside, it would be easy to blast them
23 off. That is all I can say right now if you want to
24 determine what is inside and outside. I do not want to
25 make any more specific statements on this. But we can
26 look at documentation on doors and air raid shelter design
1 in Auschwitz and I am happy to do that to the court.
2 MR IRVING: That is the actual copy. I have marked it with an
3 arrow, my Lord. You will see the door rests on rims on
4 the outside of the wall.
5 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, I see.
6 MR IRVING: I did alert the defence to the fact that I was
7 going to take an interest in Neufert and I enquired
8 whether Professor van Pelt had a copy of Neufert. I am
9 sorry, I did not alert them to the specific matters that
10 I was going to raise. Finally, is there anything further
11 you wish to say on the subject?
12 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No. I think it is very difficult to come to any
13 conclusion right now on the basis of that drawing.
14 Q. [Mr Irving]: But common sense suggests that, if you have 4,000 pound
15 bombs blasting outside a building, you do not want a door
16 that is going to come flying open into your face?
17 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I do not know. It is common sense that you do not want,
18 if a building collapses and collapses over the air raid
19 shelter, you do not want all the brick and rubble to be
20 right in front of the door so you can never open the
21 door. So you are inside there without able to leave.
22 Q. [Mr Irving]: Can I now in general ask you by what means the corpses
23 were taken out of the gas chamber upstairs to the level
24 where the furnaces were?
25 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: In crematorium (ii)?
26 Q. [Mr Irving]: In crematorium (ii) I am only interested in crematorium
2 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I just have to redirect my mind.
3 Q. [Mr Irving]: I am only interested in crematorium (ii) because that is
4 where you said this was where the 500,000 people were
5 killed. You called this the centre of the atrocity.
6 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: They were brought up by elevator.
7 Q. [Mr Irving]: They were carried up by elevator. It is difficult to say
8 where it was, I suppose, is it not?
9 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No it is actually quite easy. The elevator is right
10 here. Actually the pit is still there.
11 Q. [Mr Irving]: The pit is still there? Do you know anything about the
12 dimensions of the elevator shaft?
13 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: It would be a little over, I would say, 2 metres 30, one
14 side, maybe 1 metre 40, 50 in the other.
15 Q. [Mr Irving]: In our language how many feet is that? Six or seven feet?
16 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, eight feet by five feet, something like that.
17 Q. [Mr Irving]: Yes. Well 2 metres 30 is six feet, about seven feet.
18 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: We can check it on the blueprints, so why do we not do
20 Q. [Mr Irving]: This is quite an important point, my Lord. This is the
21 bottleneck. We are looking at the bottleneck now.
22 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: We have actually the dimensions 2 metres 70 by 1 metre 43,
23 so 2 metres 70. In the blueprints this is document 3B,
24 tab 1, of the documents, it says in the enlargement to the
25 right. So 143 would be 4 feet, 4 feet 10 inches and 2
26 metres 70 would be —-
1 Q. [Mr Irving]: Eight feet?
2 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, it would be 9 feet, 30 centimetres per foot.
3 Q. [Mr Irving]: So, what, it is about as big as one of these table tops,
4 is it, the shaft?
5 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, 9 feet is longer than this table, and certainly it is
6 much wider. This is less than a metre.
7 Q. [Mr Irving]: I am just trying to get an idea. Of course, that is not
8 the area of the floor space in elevator itself, is it?
9 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The elevator, we can go back to the blueprint.
10 Q. [Mr Irving]: Yes.
11 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: It says — the dimension is taken, the width is taken on
12 the basis of the actual width of the platform. In the
13 length I have to admit, at least in the design, the actual
14 platform would have been slightly less than 2 metres 70.
15 Q. [Mr Irving]: Because of course you have got to have room for the
16 counter weight to go up and down?
17 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, the counter weight, there is a space for the counter
18 weight right — it is spared out to the side towards
19 morgue No. 1.
20 Q. [Mr Irving]: Although it is not in any of these designs, in the Neufert
21 designs the counter weight comes down inside the shaft?
22 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Are we referring to the plans of the crematorium or to
24 Q. [Mr Irving]: You are saying there was an extra shaft to the counter
26 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: There is quite a substantial space, I would say probably
1 one foot and a half, at the side of the platforms through
2 which the counter weight could go.
3 Q. [Mr Irving]: Very well. So what was put into this? It was like a
4 hospital lift, was it, in which bodies put or how would it
5 normally be designed if this operating as a mortuary, what
6 kind of insulation? Would a gurney or stretcher be
7 wheeled in there carrying the bodies if it was a normal
9 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I have no idea how lifts in normal mortuaries are. The
10 information says “auf Zug”, I presume that in this case
11 this was designed for this building. This building
12 obviously deals with mass mortality one way or another.
13 So I think it is very unlikely that a gurney would have
14 been wheeled into this thing, because I would not know why
15 you would bring out a gurney into this morgue, and then
16 load it on a gurney, put the gurney in the elevator and
17 then immediately burn the body upstairs in a mass
18 incineration facility.
19 Q. [Mr Irving]: First of all, we will start with the normal mortuary
20 design because this was presumably a standard mortuary
21 design which has been adapted for special conditions?
22 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, Mr Irving, this is standard mortuary design. This is
23 a rather unique mortuary design, probably unique in the
24 world, in the history, no, it is not a standard.
25 Q. [Mr Irving]: But it was designed as a mortuary?
26 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Sorry, I stated it wrongly. You said “mortuary”
1 I meant —-
2 Q. [Mr Irving]: The entire building was —-
3 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: — crematorium.
4 Q. [Mr Irving]: — was originally designed for the purpose of acting as a
5 joint mortuary crematorium?
6 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: But this crematorium was of a size and a capacity which
7 has absolutely no precedent at all, or for that matter has
8 never been followed by a crematorium of this size ever.
9 There is no civilian crematorium at all of this size. The
10 largest civilian crematorium so far as I know had three
11 single muffle ovens and never had something like 15 muffle
13 Q. [Mr Irving]: Was that in wartime or in peacetime?
14 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: In Germany people built in peacetime and destroy in
15 wartime. It is very unusual to build these kind of
16 buildings in wartime.
17 Q. [Mr Irving]: Yes. You appreciate, do you not, that that lift shaft was
18 the bottleneck through which all the victims of the
19 Holocaust had to go, if we follow the standard version?
20 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I think most of the victims in the Holocaust died outside
21 Auschwitz. So at least —-
22 Q. [Mr Irving]: These 500,000 you talk about?
23 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: — these people who went through that lift, that would
24 have been a bottleneck between gassing and incineration.
25 Q. [Mr Irving]: I appreciate your earlier point. Of course far more
26 people died than those 500,000 and I have never challenged
1 that point, let there be no doubt about that. We are
2 looking at this building where, as you yourself said, more
3 people died in this gas chamber than in any in other place
4 on earth?
5 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: But bottleneck, of course, the bottleneck of course — if
6 there is going to be a bottleneck, let us say this door is
7 going to be a bottleneck, a real serious bottleneck, if
8 somebody screams “fire” in this room and we all try to get
9 out as quickly as possible and some do not notice there is
10 another room, another exit which says “fire exit” there,
11 but if people file out, as they do at the end of these
12 sessions, in a relatively orderly fashion, this is not a
14 Q. [Mr Irving]: If everyone here is dead, then they have a problem, then
15 things slow down?
16 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: But the question is, the issue is, is it a bottleneck,
17 also has to be considered in relationship to how long it
18 will take to incinerate those bodies. So if at a certain
19 moment it would take, let us say, 20 hours to incinerate
20 the bodies of the people who have been gassed in the
21 morgue, you have 20 hours to move the bodies upstairs. So
22 then question is over that time would there be a
23 bottleneck, yes or no, because the incineration room
24 upstairs cannot also take all the 1500 bodies, whatever
25 number of people were gassed downstairs. So only if you
26 want to get all the bodies up simultaneously is this going
1 to be a serious bottleneck.
2 Q. [Mr Irving]: So they used the mortuary, however the people died, for
3 the time being as a mortuary then?
4 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I mean corpses were removed in small batches from the
5 mortuary to the incineration room to feed the
7 Q. [Mr Irving]: Yes. Can we get some idea of the speed of the operation,
8 because your eyewitnesses differ, do they not, as to how
9 frequently this procedure was repeated?
10 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Which procedure?
11 Q. [Mr Irving]: The liquidation procedure, people being rammed into the
12 gas chamber 2,000 at a time. We are looking at figures
13 basically here. We not concerned with the “if”. We are
14 looking at how many.
15 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Again I am happy to discuss these testimonies when I have
16 them in front of me. I thought we were talking about the
17 elevator right now.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]: We are talking about the elevator. If the people are
19 being rammed in at one time into the gas chamber and they
20 are being liquidated and then they are being taken out
21 through that one exit, up that relatively small lift
22 shaft, this is the bottleneck which is going to be like
23 the bottleneck in an hour glass. You cannot speed up the
25 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: But the bottleneck in an hour glass is only a bottleneck
26 if you want all the sand to go down simultaneously. If
1 you want the sand to go down in an hour it is not a
3 Q. [Mr Irving]: But it is a controlling factor on the speed of the whole
4 liquidation programme, is it not?
5 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: But there are much more important factors like the speed
6 of incineration in the ovens.
7 Q. [Mr Irving]: You say it is more important, but let us look at the
8 elevator. To make it absolutely plain, there was no other
9 way of bringing the bodies from downstairs up to the
10 furnace stage level?
11 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: There is another way. You could take the stairs, but that
12 would have been very, very —-
13 Q. [Mr Irving]: But that was not used?
14 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: — it would be very inefficient and awkward.
15 Q. [Mr Irving]: Yes.
16 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: My Lord, I presume that a question is coming.
17 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I am presuming. I am waiting for it.
18 MR IRVING: Yes. What do we know about the carrying capacity
19 of that elevator?
20 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: There is a document for that. The elevator, this document
21 in March for that, I think it is March 1943, they carried
22 the original one which was installed for 750 kilos.
23 Q. [Mr Irving]: 750 kilos.
24 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: They immediately asked to increase the carrying capacity
25 of that elevator by providing extra cables to 1500 kilos.
26 Q. [Mr Irving]: What do we know about the provision of the motors for
1 those elevators?
2 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Again I do not want to talk about that right now. I do
3 not have the document. But I do know, because I actually
4 looked it up this morning, that they were adapting that
5 particular — it was a temporary elevator — to a weight,
6 to a carrying load of 1500 kilos. So I presume if they do
7 that, that indeed there is a motor which will be able to
8 hoist 1500 kilos.
9 Q. [Mr Irving]: This was made by Daemarg, I believe, the company?
10 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
11 Q. [Mr Irving]: The provisional one. Why was there a provisional one
12 installed, because the final ones were not ready?
13 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Because the SS, despite whatever they were doing in
14 Auschwitz, were unable to get an elevator in early 1943.
15 Q. [Mr Irving]: They could not get the priority.
16 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Anyway, carrying a load of 1500 kilos, that
17 would be how many corpses?
18 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: An average one 60 kilos. It seems a little high, by that
19 would be — the theoretical carrying capacity would be,
20 let us say, 20 corpses, so that would be 20, 25 corpses.
21 MR IRVING: The same question of course is how many people you
22 can pack into a telephone box, but packing them in takes
23 time. It would be difficult to envisage having a working
24 lift system with people piled four or five or six or seven
25 high, because quite simply the doors would not close?
26 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: There were no doors.
1 Q. [Mr Irving]: There were no doors?
2 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No. It was simply a platform which went up and down.
3 Q. [Mr Irving]: That would be even worse then. The bodies would
4 presumably get jammed against the side of the lift shaft
5 if they piled them too high. I am just looking at
6 practicalities here, that although technically the final
7 version of the lift, and I emphasise that, was going to
8 have the 1500 kilogram capacity, in theory, when was that
9 lift actually installed?
10 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The 750 kilograms was installed by the time the building
11 was finished and immediately they asked to double the
12 capacity the oven.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]: And the 1500 one was not of course installed at this
15 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: It was not immediately, but they asked immediately for the
16 increase in the carrying capacity. So obviously they
17 wanted, whatever they were bringing up from the morgue,
18 they probably wanted, they felt they needed more capacity
19 for this lift.
20 Q. [Mr Irving]: Yes. It was not in fact installed until the end of 1943,
21 the bigger the one?
22 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The final one, no. This is only a modification to add
23 extra cables. This is not the final elevator which is put
24 in when finally the factory gets around to deliver them.
25 Q. [Mr Irving]: Is it not odd that once again the question arises here,
26 that here is one of the most important killing centres in
1 the Third Reich and they just cannot get the stuff, they
2 are not getting the priorities?
3 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Shall we stick to one point at a time? You
4 are on whether this was a bottleneck.
5 MR IRVING: Can we now look at how long it took to make one
6 round trip and load up? Have you any estimate of how many
7 minutes or seconds it would take?
8 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: To load up how many corpses?
9 Q. [Mr Irving]: Well, this is the question. You have told us that it
10 would take a large number of corpses, but I find this hard
11 to believe if they had no doors and walls on this lift; it
12 was just a platform going up and down?
13 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I think there are too many variables right now to stand
14 here in court. I am happy to sit down and, like the
15 Zyklon-B, spend a couple of days considering this
17 Q. [Mr Irving]: I am not asking you to do that. I am just asking you to
18 do a back-of-an-envelope calculation which will help us to
19 form some idea of how long it would take to raise 2,000
20 bodies from this underground morgue to the furnace level,
21 bring them in, stack them on, raise them up, unload them
22 at the top level, bring the thing down empty again and
23 repeat the cycle?
24 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I do not do a back-of-the-envelope and I would just want
25 to do it as I am thinking out loud and nothing more. Let
26 us say that it would take three to four minutes to load
1 this platform, that it takes another minute —-
2 Q. [Mr Irving]: With how many? With how many bodies?
3 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Let us 10 bodies, 15 bodies, three to four minutes. Let
4 me just make a note of it as I am going on. Then let us
5 say it takes one minute and that is a long time for this
6 platform to go up one storey.
7 Q. [Mr Irving]: No, because if it is a freight elevator in fact it takes
8 twice as long. We know that from Neufert, do we not?
9 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: But we are talking one storey and we talk about a minute
10 and a minute is a very long time.
11 Q. [Mr Irving]: A freight elevator does go slower than a passenger
13 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, but we still talk about —-
14 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Come on much, not much turns on that, does
15 it? We must keep an eye on realities.
16 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: We talk about 2 metres 50. We talk about 8 feet going
17 up. Let us say it is another three, and I am very, very
18 generous, you know, three, whatever, two, I mean less, one
19 minute to unload the thing.
20 MR IRVING: One minute to unload ten bodies?
21 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes. A minute is a long time.
22 Q. [Mr Irving]: That is being very generous. I would suggest that the
23 round trip, loading and unloading, would take about ten
24 minutes each time?
25 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Ten minutes. So?
26 Q. [Mr Irving]: Then we have 2,000 bodies to process in this manner.
1 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: So in your calculation we have, and I am slightly
2 disgusted right now by the thing I have to do, but —-
3 Q. [Mr Irving]: These are very rough calculations, but I am suggesting
4 that we have a serious bottleneck which indicates that the
5 figures that talk about have been inflated. I am only
6 looking here at the figures. I am not looking at whether
7 this happened or not.
8 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: It is going a little fast for me, my Lord, right now.
9 I am happy to come back to this on Friday.
10 MR JUSTICE GRAY: If you prefer to, as it is a new point to
12 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I am just trying to calculate in my head on the 10-minute
13 basis, and, let us say we, what did we say, 10, 15 corpses
14 on the thing, it would mean that in 10 minutes you
15 get —-
16 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]: 10 to 15.
17 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: It is one —-
18 MR IRVING: My Lord, I think it would be useful if he was to
19 return to this after he has had time to do a calculation.
20 MR JUSTICE GRAY: If you prefer.
21 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, I would prefer to do that, because I think it seems
22 to be a very important point.
23 MR IRVING: It is a useful exercise. It is bottleneck in the
24 operation which does give us a chance of arriving at some
25 kind of concrete results.
26 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I would of course be quite pleased if somebody who knows,
1 if we got some more specific data about, you know, how
2 long it would take for this elevator to come up, because
3 obviously if we are 50 per cent wrong, then we suddenly
4 have the bottleneck and there cease to be a bottleneck or
6 Q. [Mr Irving]: Just as in the calculation you made earlier on the Zyklon
8 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I took a very generous, very generous I think amounts for
10 Q. [Mr Irving]: We have those figures and I will supply them to you within
11 the next 24 hours, the actual carrying capacity of the
12 lifts, the various models, the size and so on and the
13 actual speed in minutes and seconds that it would take to
14 lift that distance.
15 MR JUSTICE GRAY: We are comimg back to that on Friday. So let
16 us leave that and get on.
Section 189.17 to 215.21
17 MR IRVING: My Lord, I just want to conclude by putting a
18 number of general questions to the witness, if I may,
19 which is, you will be glad to hear, off these very, very
20 minute questions in the broadest possible terms now.
21 You had a colleague working with on your book,
22 did you not, Deborah Dwork?
23 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
24 Q. [Mr Irving]: She is now a very famous Professor, is she not, at the
25 Clark University? She has a Chair of Holocaust studies?
26 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Holocaust history.
1 Q. [Mr Irving]: Holocaust history. Without wanting to sound tasteless
2 about it, it has become quite an industry, a very well
3 funded industry, has it not, this Holocaust education
4 business? She writes in her own papers that she has
5 received $5 million a year for funding her Chair and very
7 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: She has been able to set up this Institute by this money
8 donated by various donors, yes.
9 Q. [Mr Irving]: I am only asking these questions because you re one of the
10 world’s leading Holocaust scholars and you are probably in
11 the best position to educate the court about these
12 matters. It has become big business and it is not just
13 I who say this; a number of other far more learned people
14 than I myself have said this. The Chief Rabbi of England
15 said it once.
16 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Mr Irving, I think that I am here as an expert on
17 Auschwitz. If you want to have testimony as a member of
18 the general public, and I am not one of the chief
19 Holocaust historians, I am actually a cultural historian
20 who was worked on Auschwitz, as a member of the general
21 public I can answer. I do not know if the Judge will be
22 very interested in my opinion.
23 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I am interpreting this question as suggesting
24 that your co-author was, effectively, delivering the goods
25 on the Holocaust, that is to say exaggerating it, because
26 she was being paid so well to do so.
1 MR IRVING: This is a very tactful way of putting it, my Lord.
2 MR JUSTICE GRAY: It was not intended to be particularly
4 MR IRVING: This was the inference I am trying to draw. I am
5 trying to find the justification for the word that is
6 frequently used about my own endeavours as being
7 “dangerous”. To what or whom am I being a danger? The
8 only interpretation I can put on it is the fact that I am
9 endangering people like Deborah Dwork who have made it
10 quite a lucrative business, if one can regard being in
11 education as being a business. Certainly she makes $5
12 million a year for her Holocaust centre out of the
13 Holocaust and the history of the Holocaust and teaching
14 the Holocaust. There are all sorts of profitable side
15 lines in publication of books and so on. This is what
16 makes me into a danger, apparently, that if it turns out
17 that this building here has no holes in the roof, then a
18 large number of eyewitnesses have lied, and the whole mass
19 extermination chamber part of the story collapses as
20 securely as that roof has done.
21 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Does Professor Dwork manipulate the evidence
22 because she is making so much money out of her Chair?
23 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I will take your guidance on what I should answer and what
25 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]: Answer it shortly.
26 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: May I point out, first of all, that this is money she
1 raises for the Institute.
2 MR IRVING: It is not for herself personally of course. I made
3 that quite plain.
4 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes. This is money which is raised to create Chairs. To
5 provide students with scholarships, to build up a
6 library. So in that sense I do not think that Professor
7 Dwork at all profits from this. I also would like to
8 point out that when Professor Dwork wrote this book with
9 me, Professor Dwork was not a Professor of Holocaust
10 history at Clark University. That in fact the sum total
11 of support we got for this project to write the book on
12 Auschwitz was 40,000 Canadian dollars which translates at
13 the moment to £15,000 which I got from the Canadian
14 Government, and that is all the support that went into
15 writing that book.
16 MR IRVING: The obvious question then is would she have been
17 given a Chair in anything if she had not written the book,
18 let us put it that way round?
19 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: My Lord, I do not see it is relevant. If you think it is
20 relevant I will answer the question.
21 MR JUSTICE GRAY: It has a sort of a relevance but not in terms
22 of your evidence.
23 MR IRVING: Yes. I will abandon that line of argument, my
24 Lord. I just wanted to establish the fact somehow that
25 I am considered to be danger to something, and the word
26 danger is what puzzles me. I am not a member of the IRA.
1 I do not go round blowing up cars. So what am I danger
2 to? I tried to put some flesh on to that particular
4 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Right. Next general question.
5 MR IRVING: Next general question, have you had the opportunity
6 to work in the Moscow archives? I do not know the answer
7 to that.
8 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I have worked on the basis of the microfilms which were
9 made at the same time that I had to work on this.
10 Q. [Mr Irving]: Yes. Have you worked in the national archives in
12 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I have been once there, but not really. I have not really
13 worked in the national archives.
14 Q. [Mr Irving]: That really surprises me. You aware, of course, that the
15 national archives in Washington have I suppose the largest
16 collection of captured German records including in
17 relation to the SS and Auschwitz?
18 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, I am aware of that, and also I am aware that many of
19 them have been made available. I am aware of the fact
20 that one uses the archives which are useful for one’s
21 work. It happens to be that the archives, you know, when
22 one works as an historian there are various particular
23 things one researches for which one needs to go to the
24 archives, because the documents are not available and one
25 wants to see those particular archives. You want to see
26 the documents in situ. In this case these are the
1 Auschwitz construction documents. Very important in my
2 book, or in our book since the name of Deborah Dwork has
3 been mentioned now, was the archive in Koblenz and to a
4 lesser extent — this is the German Federal archive in
5 Koblenz and to a lesser extent, for example, the Berlin
6 Document Centre and the archives of the court in Vienna.
7 These were the archives where the unpublished documents
8 were all stored. For other things, more general
9 information, I rely sometimes on documents as they are
10 produced in facsimile and sometimes even on documents as
11 they are —-
12 Q. [Mr Irving]: Can I halt this avalanche just there? We are still at the
13 national archives in Washington. In May 1997 I believe I
14 wrote you quite a lengthy letter?
15 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: You wrote it. I never received it. Yes.
16 Q. [Mr Irving]: You never received this letter I wrote to you?
17 MR JUSTICE GRAY: What did it say?
18 MR IRVING: It is a six-page peon of praise of his book, my
19 Lord, drawing his attention to certain documents and
20 archives and inviting his comment on matters of history,
21 in the way that an historian should. I wrote to him —
22 your address is and always has been at all relevant times
23 presumably the Head of the Department of History?
24 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, I am not.
25 Q. [Mr Irving]: But you have been at the University Waterloo, have you
1 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, but I am in the architectural school. I am not in
2 the Department of History.
3 Q. [Mr Irving]: If a letter is addressed to you at the University of
4 Waterloo and properly stamped and posted, then there is
5 every likelihood that it will reach you, is there not?
6 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I can only tell, and I am still under oath, that I never
7 received this letter.
8 MR JUSTICE GRAY: This is one question I am not going to
10 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I only learned of it a year ago when people pointed it out
11 to me on the web.
12 MR IRVING: Are you aware that that letter has been posted on
13 my web site for the last two years?
14 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: It happens that I am not very experienced with the web.
15 Only somebody told me last year when I was already started
16 to get involved in this case that it was posted on the
17 web, and of course since I was already engaged on actually
18 starting to work on this there was no way I could respond
19 to it.
20 Q. [Mr Irving]: Are you going to make complaints at the University of
21 Waterloo that letters properly addressed to you, properly
22 addressed to your department, are not —-
23 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I think we have all got other things to worry
24 about than this wretched letter, if I may say so.
25 MR IRVING: Very well. Is it not a pity that the letter did
26 not reach you in view of the fact that it contained
1 pointers to historical records that would have been of the
2 utmost most information and assistance to you?
3 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The book was published in 1996. So your letter is a year
4 late after that. I do not know which particular documents
5 you point to. If you want to provide me with a copy of
6 the letter I will comment on these points.
7 Q. [Mr Irving]: There is a copy of the letter in the bundle which I gave
8 his Lordship yesterday. If I can summarize without
9 looking for it, it drew your attention, for example, to
10 the interrogations of Rudolf Hirst which up to that point
11 you had made no attempt to read in the national archives
12 in Washington. You had written the book about Auschwitz
13 but you made no attempt to read the verbatim
14 interrogations of the commandant of Auschwitz?
15 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: May I point to your Lordship that these transcripts of the
16 interrogations Rudolf Hirst were actually published in
17 facsimile I think in 1970 and I did read those facsimile
19 Q. [Mr Irving]: And yet there is not a trace of them in your published
21 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: But it seems to be that as one would want to use Rudolf
22 Hirst as a source, and I did not use every single word
23 Rudolf Hirst said. There are much better sources than the
24 interrogations. For example, his later memoirs and his
25 essay on the Final Solution which he wrote in Poland are,
26 in fact, places where he himself tries to put he whole
1 thing together. Certainly the Auschwitz book was not a
2 history of what happened to the formation of knowledge
3 about Auschwitz after the war. I do not deal with hat in
4 the book. I did deal with it in this book, as you know.
5 So I do not think that you can draw any conclusion of what
6 is included in the book of what I consulted or not
8 Q. [Mr Irving]: Well, you gave very detailed footnotes indeed, did you
9 not? You are writing a book about Auschwitz and yet you
10 make no reference at all to having had in front of you, as
11 you say, the entire transcripts of the integration of the
13 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Mr Irving, I just want to ask you, if at a certain
14 moment — I have looked in making this book at 10,000
15 documents and ultimately I used 1,000 of them in the
16 book. You are not going to write 9,000 footnotes of
17 actually mentioning the documents which you have not used.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]: I can sympathise with you because I am frequently in the
19 same position, but sometimes there are collections of
20 documents that are so important that I have to say you
21 ought to have used them?
22 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Then I am very happy I am not your graduate student.
23 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Let me try to break into this. My
24 recollection is, I am probably wrong about, is that when
25 you deal with Rudolf Hirst in your report you deal with
26 the interrogations as well as what he says?
1 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
2 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]: So where is this getting us? He was careless in the old
3 days. That is the worst that can be said.
4 MR IRVING: Careless in the old days?
5 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Before his report. His report takes account
6 of the integration of Rudolf Hirst.
7 MR IRVING: But it also addresses the point of what attempts
8 did I make to get further information. Here I have
9 written a letter to one of the world’s leading historians
10 on Auschwitz and the Holocaust, inviting comments, asking
11 his assistance, drawing his attention to documents, in the
12 way that colleages do, and Professor van Pelt says he
13 never received the letter.
14 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I can see that your sending the letter may
15 have some limited relevance, but his response to it seems
16 to be me absolutely irrelevant.
17 MR IRVING: I must admit, my Lord, that in asking these
18 questions I was totally unprepared for the response that
19 he had not received the letter.
20 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Even if he said he had I do not think that it
21 really matters what he did or did not do. Your point is,
22 as I understand it, you wrote the letter, that shows that
23 you were taking trouble to get your facts right.
24 MR IRVING: There is one residual point, my Lord, and this that
25 your Lordship will remember from the expert evidence
26 I think of Professor Evans, or possibly even from the
1 expert evidence of this witness, that I am accused of
2 having concealed the Altemeyer report until the solicitors
3 for the Defendants went and investigated, and once I knew
4 that they were on the trail I therefore blurted out the
5 fact that I had it, which is of course an imputation that
6 I find repugnant and I wish to try to investigate that
7 allegation in view of the fact that I drew his attention
8 to the Altemeyer report in this letter back in May 1997.
9 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Then you ought to produce a copy of it.
10 MR IRVING: Of the letter? My Lord, it was in the little
11 bundle I gave your Lordship yesterday or the day before.
12 MR RAMPTON: I think it is in J11 of your Lordship’s bundle.
13 MR JUSTICE GRAY: J11.
14 MR RAMPTON: Yes. I do not have a J so I cannot help.
15 MR IRVING: I think your Lordship is going to have the
16 advantage on me. I can only rely on the letter as a fact
17 because I do not have a copy here with me.
18 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, it is in J11. I am just going to find
19 the reference to Altemeyer. I have flipped through it and
20 I have missed it.
21 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I think Mr Irving is right.
22 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I am sure he is right.
23 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I think he is right. Actually again I will only say after
24 I actually see it, but I think that indeed I remember him,
25 when I finally read the letter, since I wrote something of
26 a response to it, I think he actually mentioned Altemeyer,
1 but I do not see it either in this copy.
2 MR IRVING: Will you now withdrawn the suggestion that I only
3 made it known to people once it became known that the
4 solicitors to the Defendants were on the trail.
5 MR JUSTICE GRAY: That contains within it a number of assumptions, one
6 of which is the assumption they were not on the trail as
7 of May 1997. You are probably right.
8 MR IRVING: My Lord, the imputation is that I was going to sit
9 on that document and look at the wall and whistle until
10 I realized that Mishcon de Reya had got on the trail of
11 that document.
12 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, I understand what the allegation is, but
13 when did they get on the trail of Altemeyer?
14 MR IRVING: As a result of the evidence they found out about
16 MR JUSTICE GRAY: So long after May 1997?
17 MR IRVING: Presumably, my Lord, yes.
18 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I cannot find Altemeyer.
19 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I found it. It is not numbered, but it is page 1. I do
20 not know if we have the same format, 8: “Had you after
21 visiting Washington”, the eighth page, second paragraph.
22 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I think I must have a different version.
23 MR IRVING: It is the same version.
24 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I can read it to you.
25 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Could you.
26 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: This is basically about all the things I did not do, but
1 it says: “Had you after visiting Washington flown on to
2 London, England you could have used the many versions of
3 the handwritten written memoirs of Hirst’s erstwhile stand
4 in Deputy Court Altemeyer written under similar conditions
5 of duress. He too was no doubt deservedly hanged by the
6 Poles. These pencil papers are held at the Public Record
7 office, but Altemeyer does not even figure in your
8 history. Is not such an original document
9 written … (reading to the words) … rights for payment
10 for profit-driven publishers.”
11 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Thank you. I want to track this down.
12 I just want to see what the allegation is. It is in the
13 Defendant’s Summary of Case presumably?
14 MR IRVING: My Lord, I believe it is in this witness’s
15 evidence, am I right, that you made the allegation that
16 I did not reveal the existence of the Altemeyer document
17 until I realized that Mishcon de Reya were on the trail?
18 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: From the discovery, and I think we can —-
19 Q. [Mr Irving]: That being so, my Lord, it was entirely proper for me to
20 mention this document.
21 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Entirely proper. I am just tracking down
22 what the allegation was so I can see whether you are right
23 in saying that it is completely unfounded. Altemeyer is
24 dealt with at 657 of your report.
25 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: 657?
26 Q. [Mr Irving]: That is one of the places.
1 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: This is 1992. What I say here: “The discovery of the
2 Altemeyer material brought Irving in a very difficult
3 position. While publication of it would once more
4 demonstrate his ability to find interesting new archival,
5 publication would discredit him as an analytical
6 historian. Faced with this dilemma, Irving decided to do
7 nothing. Suppressing his discovery, he buried a reference
8 to it in a footnote of his book on Nuremberg”, which is in
10 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Where are you reading from, what page?
11 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Page 657.
12 MR IRVING: There is another reference.
13 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I have it.
14 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: So in my report I say that the first time he actually
15 brings this one out is in 1996.
16 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]: Which is four years on?
17 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Four years on.
18 MR IRVING: Then is must be in Professor Evans’ report, my
19 Lord, that the allegation is made.
20 MR JUSTICE GRAY: So far as we have got, let us be clear about
21 it, your letter in May 1997 to Professor van Pelt does not
22 in any way detract from the point he makes, I am not
23 saying it is a good point, that you sat on this Altemeyer
24 evidence between 1992 and 1996.
25 MR IRVING: That is not true, my Lord. In fact I drew it to
26 the attention of other people like Professor Gerald
2 MR JUSTICE GRAY: That is a different point.
3 MR IRVING: Yes, but this is not the allegation I am trying to
4 shoot down here. The allegation I am trying to shoot down
5 here is the allegation that I did not move until
6 Mishcon de Reya got on the trail and of course they did
7 that thanks to my discover.
8 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Let us track that one down.
9 MR IRVING: My Lord, that would be an appropriate point to
11 MR JUSTICE GRAY: No, I think we have got to track this one
12 down. If somebody can give me Altemeyer in Evans.
13 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Maybe I should go to —-
14 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]: You cannot do this, Professor van Pelt, because it is not
15 your report.
16 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No, I am thinking maybe I am looking in my own report
17 right now. If I come back to this.
18 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]: It is a point that is made in Evans, but I do not think it
19 makes it in quite the way that Mr Irving suggests.
20 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: It could actually have been me, but at a different thing.
21 MR IRVING: It would not be very difficult for me to track this
22 down at home, my Lord, because I can do it on my computer.
23 MR RAMPTON: My Lord, I have read paragraph —-
24 MR JUSTICE GRAY: We are trying to help you.
25 MR RAMPTON: My Lord, I have read paragraphs 37 to 40 on pages
26 160 to 163 of Evans, and it is not what Mr Irving is on
1 about, that is for sure.
2 MR JUSTICE GRAY: It is not what Mr Irving says, no.
3 MR RAMPTON: No.
4 MR IRVING: It will be when I bring the chapter and verse, my
6 MR JUSTICE GRAY: We have tracked it down as far as we are
7 able. I think we had better move on to the next general
8 question, Mr Irving.
9 MR IRVING: I think I have come to the end of my general
10 questions. I will have a quick look at my cheat sheet.
11 Are you familiar with the evidence of Kasmir Smolen?
12 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Which evidence?
13 Q. [Mr Irving]: The various statements he has made to the effect that when
14 working in the administration of the Auschwitz camp
15 deliberate falsification of the records went on?
16 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I find it very difficult to — deliberate falsification.
17 I remember something but I do not really know exactly.
18 I would not want to comment right now, because I do not
19 know what records we are talking about and what utterance
20 by Kasmir Smolen, but again I am happy to comment when I
21 have it in front of me.
22 Q. [Mr Irving]: To your knowledge did prisoners not only arrive at
23 Auschwitz but did they also leave Auschwitz?
24 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: There is one particular group of prisoners who left
25 Auschwitz, yes.
26 Q. [Mr Irving]: But on a regular basis they went on to other camps?
1 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Certainly that, yes. This is why there are survivors.
2 Most of the Jews who survived Auschwitz who were not in
3 the final evacuation actually were sent on from Auschwitz
4 in 1944, when the decision was withdrawn that no Jews
5 could be in the Reich so that they could work in
6 concentration camps attached to factories in the Reich.
7 This is one of the reasons, and I have explained that in
8 our book in some detail, why Hungarian Jews were parked in
9 Auschwitz. They arrived in Auschwitz. They survived the
10 selection but were not numbered, were not actually
11 admitted officially to the camp, and they were there for
12 sometime before they were sent on to concentration camps
13 in the Reich.
14 Q. [Mr Irving]: But would I be right in saying that to a certain degree
15 Auschwitz was in fact a transit camp?
16 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: During the Hungarian action it took one of its many
17 functions. It took on the function of a transit camp, but
18 it only applied to a relatively small number of the total
19 people who ever arrived there.
20 Q. [Mr Irving]: The Hungarian action involved how many people originally?
21 How many people were deported from Hungary to Auschwitz?
22 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: About 450,000.
23 Q. [Mr Irving]: 450,000?
24 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes. That is a German figure.
25 Q. [Mr Irving]: What actually happened to those 450,000? Were they all
26 gassed in some way or did some get sent somewhere else?
1 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: No. All these people, not even all the Hungarian Jews
2 arrived in Auschwitz, the large majority, the great
3 majority of them came to Auschwitz, I think the number of
4 Hungarian Jews deported is even larger, but at Auschwitz
5 we are talking about that number. These people were
6 submitted to selection on arrival in Auschwitz. Then
7 there were really three possibilities at that moment that
8 could happen. Either one could be selected to die in the
9 gas chambers or one could be selected to be admitted to
10 the camp and given a number. There was a new numbering
11 system created at the time to accommodate this and became
12 a regular inmate of the camp or one of the satellite camps
13 in Auschwitz. Or one could become durkhanstudent where
14 one was housed temporarily in the camp without actually
15 being officially admitted to the camp before being sent on
16 to other concentration camps.
17 Q. [Mr Irving]: Where large numbers of these Hungarian Jews put to work in
19 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The question is difficult to determine that, because there
20 are different numbers of how many durkhanstudent there
21 were, and this is in some way a point which certainly
22 I would like to have seen, you know, more clearly
23 established. One of the debates about the mortality
24 during the Hungarian action of course ultimately has to
25 relate, because when we know more or less how many
26 Hungarian Jews were admitted to the camp and there are
1 only two ways to explain what happened, only two ways one
2 can explain what happened to the people who were not
3 admitted to the camp, either they were killed or they were
4 sent to the West. So the issue of the mortality of the
5 Hungarian Jews in Auschwitz ultimately is tied up to the
6 number of durkhanstudent there were, and the Auschwitz
7 camp, the numbers I remember of around 25,000 as to the
8 number of durkhanstudent who went from Auschwitz to the
10 Q. [Mr Irving]: How many remained in the camp and were liquidated, in your
12 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I do not really want to give an opinion right now. I mean
13 I am happy again to look at the figures. It seems to be
14 that in May and June very high percentages of these
15 transports were selected for death, but we are talking
16 about hundreds of thousands of people who were killed in
17 Auschwitz in the month of May and June.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]: Let us just for two minutes talk about Sturmlager,
19 Auschwitz one?
20 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
21 Q. [Mr Irving]: Which is now the big tourist centre, is it not?
22 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: This is where the reception building is where the film was
23 shown and where there are exhibitions, yes.
24 Q. [Mr Irving]: Yes. They have a building there which they describe as
25 the gas chambers and they show it to tourists as a gas
26 chamber, is that right?
1 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: There is a crematorium there and in the crematorium is a
2 room which is described as a gas chamber.
3 Q. [Mr Irving]: There is a big chimney behind the building?
4 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes.
5 Q. [Mr Irving]: Which is not connected in any way whatsoever to the
7 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: The chimney there which is right next to it is a
8 reconstruction of the original chimney which was in
9 exactly the same position which was connected like the
10 chimney in crematoria two and three by underground flue to
11 the crematorium building. This is a way to increase the
12 draft of the chimney by leading the gas at basement level.
13 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I am not quite sure what the point of these
14 questions is.
15 MR IRVING: It is very brief, my Lord. The prisoner reception
16 centre at Auschwitz one is where now the tourists arrive,
17 am I right?
18 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: That is where the cafeteria is.
19 Q. [Mr Irving]: I have never been there, so I take your word for it. They
20 are then taken into a building and at the end of the tour,
21 “This is the gas chamber”. They are invited to believe
22 that this is the gas chamber, is that right?
23 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: One is not taken into building. One can either visit the
24 building yes or no.
25 Q. [Mr Irving]: But they invited to believe hat this was the gas chamber?
26 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: There is a sign which says “crematorium and gas chamber”.
1 Q. [Mr Irving]: Was that building that is described as tourists as a gas
2 chamber ever used as a gas chamber?
3 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, it was used as a gas chamber.
4 Q. [Mr Irving]: This is not what you wrote in your book?
5 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: That is exactly what I wrote. I have a very long
6 description in my book about the use of that space, and
7 the space is not exactly the same as in the war. I have a
8 very long quotation. A number of different places.
9 Q. [Mr Irving]: The space is what?
10 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: At the moment the space is one bay bigger than it was
11 during of war. I have extensive descriptions in my book
12 of the transformation of that space into a gas chamber and
13 of the use of that space into a gas chamber.
14 Q. [Mr Irving]: If you go there as a tourist now and you ask the guides,
15 they will admit to you that this was never used as a gas
16 chamber, is that, is that right?
17 MR JUSTICE GRAY: That is really worthless, is it not.
18 MR IRVING: I beg your pardon?
19 MR JUSTICE GRAY: That is worthless as a point.
20 MR IRVING: The guides would know, my Lord.
21 MR JUSTICE GRAY: They might or they might not. I should think
22 probably they were born 30 years after these events.
23 MR IRVING: My Lord, I will on Friday confront this witness, if
24 I may, with what he wrote in his original book on
25 precisely the building we are talking about, where he said
26 in terms that this building is a fake.
1 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Even if it is, I just do not want you to
2 build up a point that is not really at the moment
3 impressing me enormously. Tell me if I am wrong. This is
4 trying to convey to people, you call them tourists, all
5 right, call them tourists if you want to, what things were
6 like according to a lot of people’s opinion.
7 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Is there anything wrong with that?
8 MR IRVING: Yes, it is called “passing off”. The tourists are
9 not told that is a fake. They are not told that this
10 building was erected in 1948.
11 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Well, make of this point whatever you wish,
12 Mr Irving.
13 MR IRVING: My Lord, the point is quite clearly, of course,
14 that later on you will be hearing how I have been fined a
15 substantial amount for saying precisely this fact which
16 turns out to be true.
17 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I am not concerned with what other courts
18 have done, fined you or whatever.
19 MR IRVING: It will be held against me by the witnesses, my
21 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Well, not by me which is perhaps more
23 THE WITNESS:[Professor Van Pelt]: My Lord, may I just give Mr Irving one piece of
24 advice as he prepares for this, that I know which sentence
25 in the book you are going to refer to, but I also would
26 invite you to read pages 293 and following of my book
1 which describes in detail the transformation of this
2 morgue into a gas chamber and the operation as a gas
4 MR IRVING: The transformation of the morgue into a gas
6 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes. Page 293, in the late summer/early fall of 1941.
7 Because I will come back to those pages when you are
8 talking about my epilogue where the discussion is about
9 the present condition of the building. I will refer back
10 to this page, so we save each other and the judge a lot of
12 Q. [Mr Irving]: You are also discussing the integrity of the site, are you
14 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: I am quite happy to discuss the integrity of the site.
15 Q. [Mr Irving]: In your book you did?
16 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, I did.
17 Q. [Mr Irving]: And you complained that the integrity of the site has been
18 tampered with and that it is no longer the same buildings
19 and they are not being put to the same uses?
20 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: If you confront the same, the exact words, then I comment
21 on it. My major discussion is on the prisoner reception
22 building, and I deplore the fact that this building is not
23 shown in its original state, but has been used for tourist
25 Q. [Mr Irving]: Why would the present Director of the Auschwitz State
26 Museum in 1995 say to the French newspaper, L’Expresse,
1 “Toute y est faux”, “Everything there is fake”?
2 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: This is — I think I deal with it in my report and I am
3 happy to go to my report, to the particular thing which
4 was said. We are dealing here, certainly the one thing is
5 that the person did not speak French and, if you want,
6 I can go to my report and deal with this.
7 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I have made my position clear. I do not
8 understand where this gets anybody, this point.
9 MR RAMPTON: And I do not either and I, perhaps, in some
10 sense have as much interest in this aimless ramble as your
11 Lordship because the longer me and my team are in court,
12 the more money it costs my clients. I am OK, but it is
13 quarter past 4 and we are not sitting tomorrow, but if
14 this start up again on Friday, I am going to have
15 something to say about it.
16 MR IRVING: Well, my Lord, we spent some time looking at the
17 integrity of crematorium No. (ii) which has been held to
18 be highly pertinent to this case. The other extermination
19 centre is supposed to be Auschwitz 1 or the Sturmlager,
20 and I hold that I am entitled to look at the integrity of
21 that site too.
22 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Well, yes, as it originally was, of course,
23 but whether it is a tourist reconstruction, which is,
24 I think, how you like —-
25 MR IRVING: Or what I call a “fake”.
26 MR JUSTICE GRAY: — or a tourist fake, whatever label you like
1 to put on it, seems to me not really to be the point. If
2 you want to investigate what it was used for at the
3 relevant period, 1942/43, that is one thing, but you are
4 now investigating whether it has been described by the
5 Superintendent at Auschwitz as being a fake. Well, so
7 MR IRVING: This is of relevance only when we come to the
8 political part of this case, my Lord, where I am accused
9 of having said despicable and perverse things which could
10 not possibly be true. For this reason, I was proposing to
11 ask this expert on the Holocaust and on Auschwitz to what
12 degree what I said was true. Your Lordship may consider
13 this is totally irrelevant in which case, of course,
14 I shall bow to your Lordship’s ruling.
15 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Well, if that is what it is said to be
16 relevant to —-
17 MR IRVING: I apologise for not having made that plain.
18 MR JUSTICE GRAY: — I would like to see quite what it was
19 that you did say about Auschwitz being a tourist
20 attraction or part of Auschwitz being a tourist
22 MR IRVING: The actual sentence was: “The building which is
23 shown to the tourist today is a fake built by the Poles
24 after the war as a gas chamber”.
25 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Do you want to take that any further? I
26 mean, you have the answer.
1 MR IRVING: Not at this moment, my Lord.
2 MR JUSTICE GRAY: “No, it is not a fake because it was used as
3 a gas chamber”. That is what Professor van Pelt says.
4 You do not have to accept it, obviously.
5 MR IRVING: Except that I may wish very briefly confront him
6 with what he himself wrote, if I may, but not at this
7 moment, my Lord.
8 MR JUSTICE GRAY: You will look at page 293 as well?
9 MR IRVING: It may not be the page I am relying upon, my Lord.
10 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I suspect it will not be.
11 Now, I think we have probably reached the end of
12 the day. 10 o’clock on Friday. (To the witness): You
13 are going to be able to be back?
14 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: Yes, I will come back tomorrow night.
15 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Mr Irving, I think it might help everybody to
16 know how much more cross-examination — it is very
17 difficult to estimate, I realize.
18 MR IRVING: I have already informed leading counsel for the
19 Defendants that I do not want anticipate having much more
20 than about another half day of questions because I would
21 like to think that Professor van Pelt can return over the
22 weekend, given adequate time for re-examination where
24 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes. Well, that is very kind of you to have
25 given that indication. Mr Rampton, do you think that you
26 will reach somebody else on Friday?
1 MR RAMPTON: I have not got any witnesses.
2 MR JUSTICE GRAY: You have not?
3 MR RAMPTON: No, not to bring on Friday, no, but I am not
4 really doing my case. I am cross-examining Mr Irving.
5 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes. Will you resume cross-examining him?
6 MR RAMPTON: I can easily do that.
7 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Good.
8 THE WITNESS:[Professor Van Pelt]: My Lord, may I just — since I think that I still
9 have to give the presentation on the blueprints, so
10 I think that — I do not know exactly how long it will
11 take me, but I think it will take me an hour, an hour and
12 a half to do that, to go through the material.
13 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Will it really take as long as that? That is
14 slightly gloomier, but that is no disrespect to you, but
15 if you can present it more —-
16 A. [Professor Van Pelt]: If you want it shorter, give me time and I will try to do
17 it much shorter.
18 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Well, you are going to have a bit of time to
19 think about it. 10 o’clock on Friday.
20 <The witness stood down)
21 <(The court adjourned until Friday, 28th January 2000)