Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day010.21 Last-Modified: 2000/07/20 Q. --- was originally designed for the purpose of acting as a joint mortuary crematorium? A. But this crematorium was of a size and a capacity which has absolutely no precedent at all, or for that matter has never been followed by a crematorium of this size ever. There is no civilian crematorium at all of this size. The largest civilian crematorium so far as I know had three single muffle ovens and never had something like 15 muffle ovens. Q. Was that in wartime or in peacetime? A. In Germany people built in peacetime and destroy in wartime. It is very unusual to build these kind of buildings in wartime. Q. Yes. You appreciate, do you not, that that lift shaft was the bottleneck through which all the victims of the Holocaust had to go, if we follow the standard version? A. I think most of the victims in the Holocaust died outside Auschwitz. So at least ---- Q. These 500,000 you talk about? A. --- these people who went through that lift, that would have been a bottleneck between gassing and incineration. Q. I appreciate your earlier point. Of course far more people died than those 500,000 and I have never challenged . P-180 that point, let there be no doubt about that. We are looking at this building where, as you yourself said, more people died in this gas chamber than in any in other place on earth? A. But bottleneck, of course, the bottleneck of course -- if there is going to be a bottleneck, let us say this door is going to be a bottleneck, a real serious bottleneck, if somebody screams "fire" in this room and we all try to get out as quickly as possible and some do not notice there is another room, another exit which says "fire exit" there, but if people file out, as they do at the end of these sessions, in a relatively orderly fashion, this is not a bottleneck. Q. If everyone here is dead, then they have a problem, then things slow down? A. But the question is, the issue is, is it a bottleneck, also has to be considered in relationship to how long it will take to incinerate those bodies. So if at a certain moment it would take, let us say, 20 hours to incinerate the bodies of the people who have been gassed in the morgue, you have 20 hours to move the bodies upstairs. So then question is over that time would there be a bottleneck, yes or no, because the incineration room upstairs cannot also take all the 1500 bodies, whatever number of people were gassed downstairs. So only if you want to get all the bodies up simultaneously is this going . P-181 to be a serious bottleneck. Q. So they used the mortuary, however the people died, for the time being as a mortuary then? A. I mean corpses were removed in small batches from the mortuary to the incineration room to feed the incinerators. Q. Yes. Can we get some idea of the speed of the operation, because your eyewitnesses differ, do they not, as to how frequently this procedure was repeated? A. Which procedure? Q. The liquidation procedure, people being rammed into the gas chamber 2,000 at a time. We are looking at figures basically here. We not concerned with the "if". We are looking at how many. A. Again I am happy to discuss these testimonies when I have them in front of me. I thought we were talking about the elevator right now. Q. We are talking about the elevator. If the people are being rammed in at one time into the gas chamber and they are being liquidated and then they are being taken out through that one exit, up that relatively small lift shaft, this is the bottleneck which is going to be like the bottleneck in an hour glass. You cannot speed up the process? A. But the bottleneck in an hour glass is only a bottleneck if you want all the sand to go down simultaneously. If . P-182 you want the sand to go down in an hour it is not a bottleneck. Q. But it is a controlling factor on the speed of the whole liquidation programme, is it not? A. But there are much more important factors like the speed of incineration in the ovens. Q. You say it is more important, but let us look at the elevator. To make it absolutely plain, there was no other way of bringing the bodies from downstairs up to the furnace stage level? A. There is another way. You could take the stairs, but that would have been very, very ---- Q. But that was not used? A. --- it would be very inefficient and awkward. Q. Yes. A. My Lord, I presume that a question is coming. MR JUSTICE GRAY: I am presuming. I am waiting for it. MR IRVING: Yes. What do we know about the carrying capacity of that elevator? A. There is a document for that. The elevator, this document in March for that, I think it is March 1943, they carried the original one which was installed for 750 kilos. Q. 750 kilos. A. They immediately asked to increase the carrying capacity of that elevator by providing extra cables to 1500 kilos. Q. What do we know about the provision of the motors for . P-183 those elevators? A. Again I do not want to talk about that right now. I do not have the document. But I do know, because I actually looked it up this morning, that they were adapting that particular -- it was a temporary elevator -- to a weight, to a carrying load of 1500 kilos. So I presume if they do that, that indeed there is a motor which will be able to hoist 1500 kilos. Q. This was made by Daemarg, I believe, the company? A. Yes. Q. The provisional one. Why was there a provisional one installed, because the final ones were not ready? A. Because the SS, despite whatever they were doing in Auschwitz, were unable to get an elevator in early 1943. Q. They could not get the priority. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Anyway, carrying a load of 1500 kilos, that would be how many corpses? A. An average one 60 kilos. It seems a little high, by that would be -- the theoretical carrying capacity would be, let us say, 20 corpses, so that would be 20, 25 corpses. MR IRVING: The same question of course is how many people you can pack into a telephone box, but packing them in takes time. It would be difficult to envisage having a working lift system with people piled four or five or six or seven high, because quite simply the doors would not close? A. There were no doors. . P-184 Q. There were no doors? A. No. It was simply a platform which went up and down. Q. That would be even worse then. The bodies would presumably get jammed against the side of the lift shaft if they piled them too high. I am just looking at practicalities here, that although technically the final version of the lift, and I emphasise that, was going to have the 1500 kilogram capacity, in theory, when was that lift actually installed? A. The 750 kilograms was installed by the time the building was finished and immediately they asked to double the capacity the oven. Q. And the 1500 one was not of course installed at this time? A. It was not immediately, but they asked immediately for the increase in the carrying capacity. So obviously they wanted, whatever they were bringing up from the morgue, they probably wanted, they felt they needed more capacity for this lift. Q. Yes. It was not in fact installed until the end of 1943, the bigger the one? A. The final one, no. This is only a modification to add extra cables. This is not the final elevator which is put in when finally the factory gets around to deliver them. Q. Is it not odd that once again the question arises here, that here is one of the most important killing centres in . P-185 the Third Reich and they just cannot get the stuff, they are not getting the priorities? MR JUSTICE GRAY: Shall we stick to one point at a time? You are on whether this was a bottleneck. MR IRVING: Can we now look at how long it took to make one round trip and load up? Have you any estimate of how many minutes or seconds it would take? A. To load up how many corpses? Q. Well, this is the question. You have told us that it would take a large number of corpses, but I find this hard to believe if they had no doors and walls on this lift; it was just a platform going up and down? A. I think there are too many variables right now to stand here in court. I am happy to sit down and, like the Zyklon-B, spend a couple of days considering this question. Q. I am not asking you to do that. I am just asking you to do a back-of-an-envelope calculation which will help us to form some idea of how long it would take to raise 2,000 bodies from this underground morgue to the furnace level, bring them in, stack them on, raise them up, unload them at the top level, bring the thing down empty again and repeat the cycle? A. I do not do a back-of-the-envelope and I would just want to do it as I am thinking out loud and nothing more. Let us say that it would take three to four minutes to load . P-186 this platform, that it takes another minute ---- Q. With how many? With how many bodies? A. Let us 10 bodies, 15 bodies, three to four minutes. Let me just make a note of it as I am going on. Then let us say it takes one minute and that is a long time for this platform to go up one storey. Q. No, because if it is a freight elevator in fact it takes twice as long. We know that from Neufert, do we not? A. But we are talking one storey and we talk about a minute and a minute is a very long time. Q. A freight elevator does go slower than a passenger elevator? A. Yes, but we still talk about ---- MR JUSTICE GRAY: Come on much, not much turns on that, does it? We must keep an eye on realities. A. We talk about 2 metres 50. We talk about 8 feet going up. Let us say it is another three, and I am very, very generous, you know, three, whatever, two, I mean less, one minute to unload the thing. MR IRVING: One minute to unload ten bodies? A. Yes. A minute is a long time. Q. That is being very generous. I would suggest that the round trip, loading and unloading, would take about ten minutes each time? A. Ten minutes. So? Q. Then we have 2,000 bodies to process in this manner. . P-187 A. So in your calculation we have, and I am slightly disgusted right now by the thing I have to do, but --- - Q. These are very rough calculations, but I am suggesting that we have a serious bottleneck which indicates that the figures that talk about have been inflated. I am only looking here at the figures. I am not looking at whether this happened or not. A. It is going a little fast for me, my Lord, right now. I am happy to come back to this on Friday. MR JUSTICE GRAY: If you prefer to, as it is a new point to you. A. I am just trying to calculate in my head on the 10- minute basis, and, let us say we, what did we say, 10, 15 corpses on the thing, it would mean that in 10 minutes you get ---- Q. 10 to 15. A. It is one ---- MR IRVING: My Lord, I think it would be useful if he was to return to this after he has had time to do a calculation. MR JUSTICE GRAY: If you prefer. A. Yes, I would prefer to do that, because I think it seems to be a very important point.
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