The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day011.04

Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day011.04
Last-Modified: 2000/07/20

   MR IRVING:  Would you like to explain the significance of the
        slide please, the chute?
   A.   The chute is something one has in every underground
        morgue.  For example, one can go to Satzenhausen today.
        There is a morgue and above it a dissection room and there
        is an outside entrance into that underground morgue, and
        what happens is that the slide can be interpreted both in
        a more or less kind of gross manner.  One of the things is
        that the slide can be used actually to slide corpses down,
        which is probably the more unusual way to do it, but the
        other thing is that, if one carries a corpse down on the
        stretcher, then in this case one had people on the left
        and the right of the stretcher, and the stretcher can
        actually go over the middle.  So this is more or less the
        width of the stretcher with two people on each side

.          P-28

        carrying it.  But one could also slide the corpse down.
        I think that is probably the more unusual thing to do.  In
        the Auschwitz museum one has actually a picture in the
        model one created of actually a truck unloading corpses in
        that way.  Now I do not know what the evidence is for that
        but ----
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  That is the slide anyway.
   A.   Yes.  So what is important here is the way the doors open
        into the morgue.  So there is a very large morgue here
        like morgue No. 2, and this is morgue No. 1, and the doors
        open inwards into the morgue in the original design.
                  Now we come to the first set of blueprints as it
        was actually drawn up, and now I have turned them.  We
        have here the incineration room with the five triple
        muffle ovens.  This is the chimney.  Around the chimney
        the three sauzuanlage, the forced draught which becomes
        important with the proposal to heat morgue No. 1.  Then
        these are motor rams, this is actually for the engine, to
        run these ventilators.  This was then the trash
        incinerator, the coke storage offices and here we have the
        dissection rooms with in this case again the slide, and we
        have the stairs at the side.  There are no stairs at this
        side right now.
   MR IRVING:  Professor van Pelt, would you estimate for the
        court the distance from the closest furnace to the mouth
        of the chimney in terms of feet or metres?

.          P-29

   A.   Sorry, this furnace?
   Q.   Well, either as shown on this drawings or as finally
        built, just in rough terms.  Would it be 70 feet?
   A.   From this furnace?
   Q.   It would be fair to take the shortest.  What is the
        shortest path?
   A.   The shortest path?  This is 3 metres.  Quite literally,
        this is 6 metres.  It is 20 feet.  Let us say this is 10
   Q.   I am talking about from the entrance to the actual
   A.   This one here?
   Q.   Yes.
   A.   This is 10 feet, 20 feet, 30 feet.
   Q.   Then up the chimney another 30 or 40 feet?
   A.   Higher than that, I think.  I do not think have the thing
        right now.
   Q.   Just in rough terms.  You say the total path travelled
        would be about 80 or 90 feet?
   A.   I do not really know exactly the height of the chimney
        right now, because you are below ground in the chimney so
        it is also a problem.  You enter through the entrance
        below ground, so if the chimney is visible above ground
        you need to add another 6 feet for that.
   Q.   So in simple terms a flame would have to travel about 90
        feet before it emerged?

.          P-30

   A.   Whatever.  I presume so.  I do not know exactly the
        behaviour of flames in chimneys.  But there is a
        considerable distance, yes, which of course is important
        to create the draught.  Now I want to go back to the
        original design because we are going to the basement,
        which I have now turned around to be exactly in the same
        position as we are looking at the rest of the blueprints,
        doors open very clearly inwards.
   Q.   They open inwards into the mortuary?
   A.   Into the mortuary, yes, which comes later as the defence
        alleges, the gas chambers.  That is in accordance with the
        way the doors open in these other spaces.
                  Now we get the second blueprint.  The problem in
        this particular point of the presentation is that this
        image, this black and white slide, was made for me at the
        museum in 1990, and it is very difficult to see exactly
        what happens here.  But, when you go to the archive right
        now and look very carefully and that is what we have done,
        actually that is a detail I was shown, one can actually
        see there a door, that the door in this original copy of
        the final blue print of 1942 still opens inwards, but in
        fact at a certain moment the way the door opens inwards
        has been scratched out, but I show the remains of it.
        This is what I tried to photograph with my assistant in
        these details.
   Q.   Is that on this map?  The one you are showing us?  On this

.          P-31

   A.   Yes.  It is in this particular copy not visible.  But it
        is in the trial bundle.
   Q.   May I approach the screen and have a closer look, my Lord?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes, please do.  You are talking about
        photograph 3 on 3B?
   A.   Yes.
   MR RAMPTON:  My Lord, for reference at page 3B of section 1 of
        the second Auschwitz file, there is a small colour enlargement.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes, I have it open.
   MR RAMPTON:  When the light comes back on again, one can
        actually see quite clearly, as the Professor has said, at
        any rate one half of the door opening inwards.  It is
        probably difficult to see in this light, but it can be seen.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  You need proper light.  I follow.
   A.   That is exactly why I wanted to show this so that we all
        know exactly what we are talking about, this thing, and
        what we will see is the remains basically of the door
        opening inside.
   MR IRVING:  Approximately when was the alteration made in your opinion?
   A.   We will look at that at the next slide.  This is the
        blueprint for that, for the alteration of December 1942.
                  I would like to show at the moment also some of

.          P-32

        the other details.  How do we know where the
        entluftungskanal was, how the ventilation system works?
        For example, you see here, this is at the bottom of the
        thing, this little dotted line, which is the
        entluftungskanal.  It says right here, entluftungskanal.
        Its also says right there entluftungskanal.  This dotted
        line goes here and goes right there into the chimney.  It
        is very clear.  This one ultimately is connected over the
        gas chamber to this one.
   Q.   Into which chimney?  Into the main chimney?
   A.   No, into the chimney for the entluftung, for the vent for
        taking out the foul air.
   Q.   You have what is called a stack effect?  We will come to
        that in a moment.
   A.   OK.  Then there is a second chimney here, but it does not
        go down to basement level so it is not depicted at
        basement level.  What is very important here is that we
        have the staircase, we have another staircase and we have
        these two entluftungskanal, and we have here the columns.
        Of course we do not see these Zyklon-B insertion columns
        because this drawing is from early 1942.
                  Now, one of the things which happened is that in
        these drawings they always use the same set of
        blueprints.  When they create modifications at a certain
        moment, they only make a small drawing of the particular
        modification, which is put literally on top of it, because

.          P-33

        it is transparent originally.  We see also that one more
        morgue has been included, we see here quite clearly how
        the door opens inwards.  It opens inwards here.  At least
        where I stand it is very clear.  So this was never taken
        out with some razor blades.
                  You see, by the way, just at this level we see
        also very clearly these underground flues.  As they then
        are joined these two are then connected above with one
        particular sauzuanlage going into the chimney.
                  Here we have then the elevation and we are now
        looking at the elevation of the building.  Just here in
        the original 1942 drawings we see here the elevation of
        morgue No. 1.  It is a little higher.  We are now going to
        look in section at the same thing, so first one needs to
        flip it up.
                  Now we are looking in section.  The first
        section, we see here the slide, the staircase, side
        entrance going down into the little vestibule.  We see
        here the elevator shaft.  Then here we see, and we will
        get much better ones in a moment, the section through
        morgue No. 1.  What is important is that the section is
        exactly at the point where the connectors are between the
        ventilating systems which are on the left and the right of
        the thing, so it is not so that there is a hollow space
        all above, or all below, above the ceiling or above the
        floor.  It is only at two points that that actually

.          P-34

        occurs, to connect those systems.  We will come back to
        that later.
   MR IRVING:  The next one is even better, in fact, Professor.
        While we have that picture up, could you estimate the
        thickness of that concrete roof slab?
   A.   This roof slab?
   Q.   The reinforced concrete roof slab over mortuary No. 1?
   A.   We have actually the one which is here.
   Q.   This is the actual reinforced concrete?
   A.   This is the reinforced concrete.  It is actually
        indicated.  The problem is it is written right here and it
        is almost impossible to read.
   Q.   About 12 inches, do you think?
   A.   No.  This says 38 centimetres right here.  038.  This is
        38 centimetres.  So we are talking here about probably 20
   Q.   20 centimetres?
   A.   This is 20 centimetres thick roof.
   Q.   Steel reinforced concrete?
   A.   Steel reinforced concrete, yes.  So this whole thing is 2
        metre 5, so this is clearly around 20 centimetres.  It is
        a pity I cannot read this right here.
   Q.   Is that the double door?
   A.   This is 50 centimetres wide there, so probably even less
        than 20 centimetres, probably more.
   Q.   Is that the double door that your hand was over?

.          P-35

   A.   This is the original double door, yes.
   Q.   Is there any kind of indication of what kind of door it
        is, or what kind of handle?
   A.   The only indication we have is that it was a gastur, which
        means a gas door.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  That is not from the blueprint?
   A.   Not from the blue print, that is from the documents.
   MR IRVING:  In fact, of course, these are not blueprints, are
        they?  They are drawings.
   A.   We call these things blueprints.
   Q.   Architects do not.  They call them drawings.
   A.   They are copies and this happens to be a colour copy.
        None of the originals, which was drawn on basically
        vellum, actually exist any more.  These are all basically
        copies made in the normal way, and then they
        were dispersed.  The originals were probably in Berlin
        because as far as we know they were kept and openly sent
        to the SS headquarters, and they were boxed.
                  I just want to show here that the most important
        thing is against the ventilation system sitting in the
        wall, this is the entluftungsanlage, this is taking out of
        air.  This is the beiluftungsanlage, and here we are at
        what is the normal situation where they are not
        connected.  The left and the right is not connected but in
        this one we see them connected at a particular point.
        This is just to show how you only need ultimately --

.          P-36

        because the left is connected to the right and then the
        right is connected to the chimney.  You do not have to
        have a special connection from the left side to the
        chimney, or connected to one ventilator.
                  I just want to point out, because we probably
        are going to go there, that the thickness, if indeed we
        agree the thickness of the slab, was around maximum 20,
        probably closer to 18 or 19 centimetres.  If one looks
        also at the kind of support given by this column, one may
        of course at a certain moment ask to compare this, if
        indeed the challenge or the suggestion is being made that
        this is an air raid shelter, if this indeed follows the
        kind of normal structural strength of an air raid shelter.
                  Now we come to a first declat.  The first declat
        is not very important from an argument, except that it is
        a piece in a sequence.  What we see is that the first
        modification has already been made, and in this declat
        this was created by putting basically tracing paper on top
        of the original.  One of the things which is not of any
        interest to the architect at the moment -- but he does not
        actually draw any doors in so we do not know how the doors
        are hung.  What is important here is that we have this
        sort of little leichenkeller, which is now much smaller.
        We have the leichenkeller No. 1.  What we do have here is
        a kind of rather gruesome modification because this is
        called office.  This is called vault.  This is either gold

.          P-37

        arbeite or gold arbeiten, or this could be gold workers or
        gold works.  The question of course is what would they do
        right here?

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