Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day009.20 Last-Modified: 2000/07/20 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Page 183, just complete it to the end of 184. A. "The sides of these pillars which went up through the roof were of heavy wire mesh. Inside this grid, there was another other fine mesh and inside of that further very . P-176 fine mesh. Inside this last mesh cage there was a removable can that was pulled out with a wire to recover the pellets from which the gas had evaporated. Besides that in the gas chamber there were electric wires running along the two sides of the main beam supported by the central concrete pillars. The ventilation was installed in the walls of the gas chamber. Communication between the room and the ventilation installation proper were through small holes along the top and bottom of the side walls. These lower openings were protected by a kind of muzzle, the upper ones by whitewash perforated metal plates", and these are plates, some of six were found and analysed by the Krakau Forensic Institute. MR IRVING: That is your presumption? A. That is my presumption. Q. You have no reason for saying that, saying that these are identical, other than your presumption? A. It seems that the description of these plates is exactly the same, of the ones which were analysed in Krakau. "The ventilation system of the gas chamber was coupled to ventilation ducts installed in the undressing room. This ventilation system, which also served as a dissection room, was driven by electric motors in the roof space of the crematorium. "The water tap was in the corridor and a rubber hose was run from it to wash floor of the gas chamber. At . P-177 the end of 1943 the gas chamber was divided in two by a brick wall to make it possible to gas smaller transports. In the dividing wall there was a door identical to that between the corridor and original gas chamber. Small transports were gassed in the chamber furthest from the entrance from the corridor. MR IRVING: I would like to stop you there, if I may, and now ask you what Taiber has actually told us about the gassing procedure. MR JUSTICE GRAY: We have not quite finished yet. Can we just go to the middle of 184, and then that is a convenient point I think to ask that question. MR IRVING: Very well, my Lord, yes. A. "The undressing room and the gas chamber were covered first with a concrete slab and then with a layer of soil sown with grass. There were four small chimneys, the openings through which the gas was thrown in that rose above gas chamber." Q. So this is the roof we are looking at on these large colour photographs, is that correct? A. Yes, or the remains of the roof to be very precise. "These openings were closed by concrete covers with two handles." Q. Not wooden, concrete covers? A. That is what it says, yes. "Over the undressing room the ground was higher than the level of the yard and perfectly . P-178 flat. The ventilation ducts led to pipes and the chimneys located in the part of the building above the corridor and undressing room. I would point out that at first the undressing room had neither benches nor clothes hooks and there were no showers in the gas chamber. These fittings were not installed until Autumn 1943 in order to camouflage the undressing room and the gas chamber as a bathing and disinfestation facility. The showers were fitted to small blocks of wood sealed into the concrete of the gas chamber. There were no pipes connected to the showers from which no water ever flowed. "As I have already said, there was a lift in the corridor or rather a goods hoist. A temporary hoist installed pending delivery of the electric lift to carry the corpses to the ground floor." End of quotation. Q. That final paragraph is quite interesting, is it not, because we now have the documents giving the actual dates for the arrival of the provisional lift. I believe it was finally ready in September 1943, is that correct? A. No, it was ready in March. The history of the lift is a very confused history, because they did not get the lift they wanted. They had the lift installed originally for 750 kilograms carrying capacity, and then they tried to improve on that one, since it did not seem to be enough, by doubling the cables on which this lift, it was basically a kind of building site hoist, so that it could . P-179 carry 1500 kilograms. This was all in something like March 1943. Q. Very well. So we have heard the description from Henrich Taiber of the liquidation procedure. On what other eyewitnesses did you base the ---- MR JUSTICE GRAY: I am sorry I will have to interrupt you, Mr Irving. I think if you have a case to put in relation to Taiber, that he is unreliable or that for some reason his account is not to be credited, I think it is right that you should put it. MR IRVING: Very well. MR JUSTICE GRAY: It may be your case is simply that all the eyewitnesses are to be treated with caution and you go no further. MR IRVING: I was go to treat them all summarily, in the same manner, and just ask the simple question, did they all give the same description in broad terms of people going up on the roof opening these manhole covers, pouring the cyanide capsules in. If I may ask the question like that, the eyewitnesses that you have, Taiber, which other ones would you rely on? A. In this case, as you mentioned Broad describes seeing it from some distance. Then later there are eyewitnesses who have been, other sonderkommando who would have made statements later, in 1960s, and of course Muller with his original statement for 1946 which is in the book by Kuhler . P-180 and then ---- Q. Of course if they make their statements in the 1960s there is the danger of cross-pollination, is there not? A. That is why I limited myself at the moment for this particular case to look at the very early ones. I must say that as an historian I am quite delighted to find people who seem to be as observant as Mr Taiber actually as a witness giving with very fresh this thing in his memory his statement in May 1945 to Judge Sehn. Q. It is almost as though Jan Sehn held the blueprints in front of him and said: "So they went from here, to there, through this door and then this and this and this happened", is that right? A. I do not know. I mean I do not know what happened. I do not know what happened in that room. Certainly the Taiber testimony is largely convergent with the blueprints. However, when Taiber starts talking about, for example, either the gassing procedure or the incineration procedure of course, then that is not in the blueprints and very important the wire mesh columns are not in the blueprints either. We have that from a different source. Q. So these wire mesh columns, so it is plain what we are saying, what size were they? We have not nailed it down. In rough terms 10 inches across from side to side? A. They were probably, I mean again I want to try to find Kuhler, but they were probably the same thickness as the . P-181 structural columns supporting the roof. Q. Which is quite a substantial size. These wire mesh columns that are going to go up to the roof where the hole is through which the cyanide capsules are being poured? A. Yes. Yes. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Before we have leave Taiber, I am sorry to interrupt you again, Mr Irving, he gives a detailed account of the incineration procedure which you have set out at page 186 of your report, is that right? A. Let me just get to 186. MR RAMPTON: Is the witness looking for Kuhler, in which case I can tell him where it is? MR JUSTICE GRAY: I am asking him to look for something else. MR RAMPTON: I am sorry. It is 196 to 198 and 516 to 517. MR JUSTICE GRAY: We will have to deal with Kuhler tomorrow. MR IRVING: I only wanted to know roughly what size of wire mesh we are talking about, what the width of this column going up to the ceiling was. We have probably got a pretty clear picture of kind of thing it was; larger than a drainpipe. A. Yes. Kuhler says these columns were around 3 metres high and they 70 metres square. Q. 70 metres? A. 70 centimetres. Q. The wire mesh columns? A. Yes. . P-182 Q. 70 centimetres is of the order of 2 feet 6 inches? A. Yes, a little less, 2 feet three inches. Q. So this hole in the roof or these holes in the roof, how many wire mesh columns were there, four? A. Four. Q. So the holes in the roof would have been up to 2 foot 6 inches across? A. Absolutely not, because the whole column may be 2 feet 4 inches, but Zyklon-B is only introduced right in the centre piece. The centre piece, we have concentric columns, so ultimately the centre piece can be a rather narrow thing, so the hole through the roof could have been a relatively narrow pipe. Q. But we are told here he had a concrete cover with two handles covering this whole, which rather suggests something larger than a tennis ball? A. But the concrete cover, we have a picture of these actual chimneys in the documents. Of course you do not when you create this pipe which comes up out the centre of the wire mesh columns, of course you take a larger kind of little chimney around it. MR JUSTICE GRAY: As a funnel? A. As a funnel, yes. Like a chimney itself always is wider than the actual smoke channel going through it. MR IRVING: Yes. So you are saying there was a relatively small hole or four small holes smaller than 2 foot six . P-183 inches across then, and after they had spent all this money building this underground crematorium with all the problems of damp that is implicit in that, somebody was allowed to come along after the event, because it was not included in the drawings, and knock holes in right next to the supporting pillars? A. I did not say that. The crematorium roof, as we know from other documents, there were problems with finishing the crematorium, roofs of the Leichenkeller, in December of 1942 and January 1943. We actually have photos of the completion of the roof. Q. But this is not the question. A. May I finish? No, but the thing is you assert that they knocked holes inside the roof of the gas chamber. Q. Through the roof. A. That did not happen. Q. Through the roof? A. Through the roof. Well, the modification and design had been made before that roof was completed. Q. What modification? A. The roof of the gas chamber, or morgue No. 1, and the roof of morgue No. 2, later the undressing room, were only completed in December and January, in December 1942 and January 1943, by which time the modification of the building into a genocidal extermination machine had already been decided on. But they did not have to make . P-184 holes in the roof because the roof was not yet complete at the time. Q. But if you were an architect, and neither of us is an architect, and some SS Rottenfuhrer comes along and says, "I am going to knock four holes in the roof right next to the supporting pillars", what would you have told that man? A. May I just point out that if we look here at, for example, that column and that column, there is a beam supporting, connecting the two columns. Of course it is going to be a real problem when you go right through the beam you weaken the beam. That is one of the reasons that these columns are placed next to the column, so that they do not challenge the structural integrity of the main beam. If they had been -- may I point it out? MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes. I think I understand what you are saying. A. I am just going to make a drawing here. This is the gas chamber. The columns are right here. The structural beam sits right on top of that. So your point is absolutely valid if you put the columns right there, but if you put the grid columns right here, then there is absolutely no structural, the structural integrity of the roof is in no way challenged.
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