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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day009.03


Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day009.03
Last-Modified: 2000/07/20

   MR RAMPTON:  Yes, my Lord, I am.  I preface calling him with
        this request, perhaps is the right word.  I have the
        impression, and so do others, that the question of the
        various Polish reports may be a little bit confused.

.          P-18

                  The Rudolf report only came up yesterday.
        Professor van Pelt has not read the Rudolf report.  He
        does not have a copy with him, but he does know something
        about it.  What I propose to do is to ask just a very few
        questions in chief just to get that question straight, if
        your Lordship permits it?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Of course.  Anything, as it were, that has
        surfaced since he did his written report, I think that is
        entirely proper.
   MR RAMPTON:  This arises out of two things, one the Rudolf
        report mentioned for the first time yesterday, and second
        what I perceive to have been a bit of a confusion about
        the sequence of the Polish reports because there were, in
        fact, three.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes.  The one we have had is ----
   MR RAMPTON:  That is 1945.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  --- the 1945 zinc cover.
   MR RAMPTON:  That is right, and the bag of hair.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  But there is Dawidowski as well?
   MR RAMPTON:  No .  My belief is -- no, I am cautious about this
         -- that the 1945 report was done at the request of
        Dawidowski.  Then in 1990 there is a preliminary
        Markievitch report which we do not have and then in 1994
        there is what one might call the final Markievitch report,
        a part of which is in that first volume of the bundle
        I handed in yesterday.

.          P-19


   MR JUSTICE GRAY:   Right.  Mr Irving, I think that is right,
        that Mr Rampton should be able just to ask these
        supplementary questions about a new aspect of the case.
   MR RAMPTON:  My Lord, I also make this request.  Professor van
        Pelt has a family Bible which has been in his family since
        before the war.  May he swear on that?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Of course.

                  (PROFESSOR VAN PELT, sworn. Examined by MR RAMPTON, QC.)

   MR RAMPTON:  Professor van Pelt, are your full names Robert Jan van Pelt?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Have you made a report for the purposes of this case?
   A.   Yes, I have.
   Q.   Are you content that that report, save for some few
        questions which I shall ask you in a moment, shall stand
        as your evidence-in-chief in this case?
   A.   Yes, I am content.
   Q.   Do you confirm its accuracy so far as it contains
        statements of fact?
   A.   Yes, I do.
   Q.   And, so far as it contains expressions of opinion, do you
        confirm that those expressions of opinion are fair?
   A.   Yes, I do.
   Q.   Professor van Pelt, there is only one thing I want to ask
        you about.  You heard what it was.  Do you remember

.          P-20

        yesterday that there was some discussion of the various
        Polish investigations of the fabric at Auschwitz and
        Birkenhau?
   A.   Yes, I remember.
   Q.   My Lord, may I lead on this?  It is going to be much quicker.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I am sure we had the evidence yesterday.
   MR RAMPTON:  Yes, we did.  The first report was done in late 1945?
   A.   Yes, it was.
   Q.   That we looked at yesterday, you remember, and that was
        the one which said that it had found traces of hydrogen
        cyanide in the zinc ventilation covers from crematorium 2?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   You will have to say yes because you are recorded, you
        see.  And also in a 25 and a half kilogram bag of hair?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Where was that hair found?
   A.   The hair was found in Canada I.
   Q.   Explain to his Lordship what Canada I is, will you?
   A.   Canada I was a part of the camp located halfway between
        Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II in what is now an industrial
        area, where property of people who had been admitted to
        the camp or had been gassed was kept for some time and it
        was sorted and prepared for transport to the Reichs.
        Unlike Canada II, which was located between the crematoria

.          P-21

        2, 3, 4 and 5, Canada I was not destroyed at the
        evacuation of the camp.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  So, just to be blunt about it, what is your
        inference as to how the cyanide came to be in the human hair?
   A.   I think the logical conclusion is that the people from
        whom the hair came had been killed with cyanide.
   MR RAMPTON:  And the hair removed after death?
   A.   And the hair removed afterwards, yes.
   Q.   Now, if we can whiz forward to the early 90s, was there a
        second Polish report done which we do not have?
   A.   It is a little difficult to say if it is a real report
        since it was actually never completed or endorsed, as far
        as I know.  What happened was that, more or less within
        months after Leuchter did his investigation in Auschwitz,
        the conservator at Auschwitz, Mr Smerk, together with the
        director decided to do their own investigation and they
        got help from people from the forensic laboratory in
        Cracow, the Jensen Institute, and a small investigation
        more or less on the model of the Leuchter investigation
        was done, which did confirm the Leuchter report in so far
        that it found high cyanide traces in the delousing rooms
        BW 5A and I think BW 5B.  And much lower quantities
        I think in crematoria 2 or 3.
   Q.   Pause there, just so that it is all clear.  BW 5A is in
        Birkenhau, in what became the women's camp?

.          P-22

   A.   Yes.  BW 5A means Bowerk 5A; it is a delousing
        installation in what is generally known as the women's
        camp in Birkenhau.
   Q.  Where is BW 5B?
   A.   It is an opposite location slightly to the West of BW 5A.
        They are around 50 metres apart.
   Q.   Is it right that those are both brick built buildings?
   A.   These are both brick buildings.
   Q.   Do they have their roofs on them or not?
   A.   They have their roofs on them, yes.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  What puzzles me about this is that one of the
        documents Mr Irving just handed in says that this further
        Polish or Auschwitz investigation has been published in
        the summer 1991 Journal of Historical Review.
   A.   Yes.  The history of that report was kind of a rude
        wake-up call for the people at Auschwitz museum, because
        what happened was that, one way or another, the document,
        which had not been finalized as far as I know, was leaked
        to people of the Institute of Historical Review and then
        immediately published rather triumphantly as a Polish
        investigation and/or sister Leuchter investigation.  It
        was this kind of experience which then made both the
        people at the museum and the people at the Jansen
        institute to decide to move with greater care in the future.
   MR RAMPTON:  Yes, pause there.  Are you also familiar with

.          P-23

        something called the Rudolf report?
   A.   I am vaguely familiar with it.  I have not read it in its entirety.
   Q.   How long is it?
   A.   20 pages, something like that.
   Q.   Would you just have a look at this document?  (Same
        handed)  like your Lordship, I have not seen this before.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I am just trying to work out what
        qualifications Dr Rudolf has.
   MR IRVING:  My Lord, perhaps I can help you there.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  He is a chemist.
   MR IRVING:  Rudolf is a chemist at the Max Bank Institute in
        Germany, which is one most prestigious research
        foundations.  While he was there, he had a university
        degree in chemistry, he was working for his doctorate, he
        was halted in full tracks when he supplied an expertise
        for a court action in Germany, which resulted in demands
        from a certain community in Germany that he should be
        instantly dismissed, which was resisted by the Max Bank
        Institute.  He was then dismissed, which brought to an end
        his chances of getting a doctorate.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  That is very helpful, thank you.
   MR RAMPTON:  Would you look on the inside so that we can see
        what this is?  I can tell you, Professor van Pelt, that
        this is not the Rudolf report.  Can you look on the inside
        page?  At the bottom there is a line and immediately under

.          P-24

        the line we see this: "A German language edition of the
        complete Rudolf report, 120 A4 pages on gloss paper etc.
        etc., is now available for 8".  If that be right,
        Professor van Pelt, we can be confident, can we not, that
        this is not the Rudolf report?
   A.   I presume so, if this disclaimer is placed at the copyright page.
   Q.   Tell me this.  What do you know of Rudolf's conclusions
        concerning the residues, if any, of hydrogen cyanide in
        whatever compounds it was he tested for in, first of all,
        BW 5A -- if he went there?  Did he?
   A.   I think he went there, yes.
   Q.   What did he found in BW 5A?
   A.   I would be hesitant to give any kind of definite opinion
        on this because it is a very long time ago that I read a
        gloss on the Rudolf report, but I think that he found that
        in substance the Leuchter results were substantiated by
        Rudolf, which means a high level of Prussian blue.
   Q.   So he tested for Prussian blue?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   He found high residues in the delousing facility?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   What did he find in the gas chambers at the crematoria?
        Did he go to crematoria 2 and 3?
   A.   Yes, I think so.
   Q.   What did he find there?

.          P-25

   A.   As far as I remember, but again I have not consulted this
        report for a long time or the gloss on it, he did not find
        much there.
   Q.   Right.  You have your report there, I think, that you made
        for this case?
   A.   My report, yes.
   Q.   I am not going to read out any great amount of this.
        Could you turn to page 545?
   A.   I have done so.
   Q.   Thank you.  This is the passage, is it not, in which you
        discuss, first of all, what I might call the Markievitch
        prototype or provisional report, and then the Markievitch
        main report which I think came in 1994?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   That has been published, has it?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   In how many languages?
   A.   It was published in Polish and in English.
   Q.   I think you already told us that he Markievitch, or rather
        his team, went back and redid it, because they were
        unhappy about the first rather hurried or botched
        attempt.  Is that right?
   A.   That were quite unhappy, yes, and they did the tests again.
   Q.   What substances or compounds did they test for?  Did they
        test for Prussian blue?

.          P-26

   A.   No.  I am not a chemist so forgive me if I am not going to
        give great detail on this.  What I do know is that they
        found that the Prussian blue test was problematic and this was ----
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Can I interrupt you just to make sure I am
        understanding?  The Prussian blue is simply the physical
        manifestation of a chemical reaction caused by the acid in
        the cyanide, is that right?
   A.   With iron.  It is an iron compound and ultimately it is
        one of the things which can occur when you, for example,
        have hydrogen cyanide being applied to iron, but also
        other reactions can follow.
   MR RAMPTON:  Can you just pause there?  I want to take it
        slowly so that we are quite sure we understand so far as
        you are able to tell us because, as you say, you are not a
        chemist, what the reasons may be for what we are going to
        see in a moment.  Can you turn to page 552?  Page 553
        I hope is the opposite page.  Is it?
   A.   No, but I will be able to turn the page.
   Q.   We are lucky because we have them on facing pages.  On the
        left-hand side of your report you have put a table with
        crematorium 2 at the top.  Yes?
   A.   Yes, I have.
   Q.   Where did that come from?
   A.   I made the tables on the basis of the English language
        edition of the 1994 Markievitch report.  The only change

.          P-27

        I made was that I basically formatted all the tables in
        the same way because in the Markievitch report they were
        formatted differently.  So I wanted that the way the
        information was going to be presented was going to be
        identical throughout the tables.
   Q.   Do you have the complete original of the Markievitch
        report here if anybody should want to look at it?
   A.   I have one copy here.
   Q.   Just put it down for the moment, please?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Mr Rampton, before plunging into these
        tables, would it be helpful for me to know what exactly it
        was that the revised Markievitch report decided or concluded?
   MR RAMPTON:  That it concluded?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes.

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