Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day011.15 Last-Modified: 2000/07/20 Q. If you were the architect who had designed this roof and indeed this entire building, this very expensive building, and you heard that some SS officer was hacking holes . P-128 through the reinforcing of a roof near the load bearing column, near the load bearing girder, the binder that goes across the roof, would you not be rather angry with the SS people who are tampering with your design? And indeed endangering the whole roof? A. But I do not see why they would have hacked through the roof. We know that the modifications, at least from the plan we saw there, the modifications of the design were decided -- I mean certainly for the hanging of the door in that new staircase was in December the building had been -- that the genocidal programme in Auschwitz had been adopted in August, the roof was probably being finished in December, so there was no reason to hack through the roof. They could immediately have made the holes in the roof as they were constructing it. Q. They could have made provision for them as they went along -- A. Yes. Q. -- they could have designed space with no reinforcing bars going across? A. Yes. Q. And they could put that in there? A. Yes. Q. But of course there are no such drawings, are there? A. But we have established before that there no drawings of the production of these concrete roofs at all. . P-129 Q. So that is where your convergence of evidence halts? It converges there and it comes up against, not a brick wall, but a concrete roof; the fact that there is not a single design blueprint showing the modifications to include those holes? They are so angry -- do you remember there is one document, Professor, in January 1943, where somebody is having strips torn off him because he did not put the anti-frost agent in the concrete of this very roof? And yet it has not occurred to anybody to complain, has it, that they had not made provision for the holes in the roof? A. I do not really know to how answer this right now. Q. Let us take it in two parts; have you seen a document where somebody is being reprimanded for not putting anti-frost liquid in the concrete as it is poured? A. I do not remember that document. Q. Very well. MR JUSTICE GRAY: I think, Mr Irving, you had better come back to this. MR IRVING: We are right at the end, my Lord. And I will just say, another 20 seconds and then we can adjourn. (To the witness) You have not seen any holes in the roof, have you, in the -- when you went there? You have not found any holes? A. I have not seen the holes for the columns, no. Q. Not for the introduction of the cyanide? . P-130 A. No. Q. May I say that if the Auschwitz authorities were now to agree to clean off that rubble off the top of that concrete slab and find the holes I would tomorrow halt this case and abandon my action. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Right, on that note we will adjourn until 2 o'clock. (Luncheon Adjournment) MR JUSTICE GRAY: Mr Irving, just so we know what we are with this bundle which I think you have finished with now, have you not? MR IRVING: I have, my Lord, yes. I may, of course, wish to come back to it later on. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Of course, but then we will know where it is. MR IRVING: In J, I believe. MR JUSTICE GRAY: J13? MR RAMPTON: 13, my Lord. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes. MR IRVING (To the witness): Before we adjourned for lunch I asked you about whether you were able to see certain smudges on certain photographs, and I also invited you to spend a few minutes in the adjournment looking at the original photographs. Did you have a chance to do that? A. I just went very quickly over them, yes. Q. Did you see anything on those photographs that would . P-131 indicate there were still smudges on these 1944 photographs of this roof? A. I am very sorry. I cannot see it, but the problem is that it is so small. You know, yours are really enlarged in the ones you showed, so I find it really difficult to see anything on these photographs right now. Q. But you were capable, you told the court, of seeing the smudges on the four blown up photographs that I showed to the court; you thought you saw smudges on them? A. I did not put those right next to these ones since I do not know which one belonged to these I just looked in general at them, and it seemed that these came from those, that is what I could say, but these ones are three times larger, four times larger, than those. So, without a magnifying glass, I cannot come to any conclusion. Q. But you accept that all these photographs were taken in 1944? None of them were taken before the construction of that particular roof or before the holes were put in the roof? A. No, they are '44 except that the German one is '45. Q. The German one was taken in February 1945 after the building was demolished, yes. So, really, the holes you are talking about should have been visible in the roof if they were of any substantial size? A. I do not know. I mean, first of all, one of the things I looked at was that, in fact, there are many smudges on . P-132 these negatives anyway, one way or another. It seems that there is a lot of, I mean, these are not clean negatives. There are black things on it also which can come from another source, not from the crematoria, but from other places. Q. But you accept that these are the original prints, maximum magnification, produced from the original film in the national archives in America? A. When you say that, I accept that. Q. It has the national archive stamp on the back? A. Yes, but, I mean, I cannot really see one way or another what is on that roof. Q. Professor van Pelt, you have been to Auschwitz in connection with your researches how many times? Once or twice? A. No. I have been there yearly since 1990. I have sometimes twice or three times yearly. Q. Have you frequently visited this roof of the alleged factory of death, the mortuary No. ---- A. Yes, I have been there, yes. Q. --- 1? A. Certainly every trip I go there. Q. Have you never felt the urge to go and start scraping just where you know those holes would have been because you know approximately where, like a two or three foot patch of gravel to scrap away? . P-133 A. I have authored the report already in 1933 for the Poles in which I actually argued that they needed very, very strict preservation standards; and the last thing I would ever have ever done is start scraping away at the roof without any general plan of archeological investigations. Q. But now that these serious doubts have been raised as to the integrity of the gas chamber notion, and now that neo-Nazis around the world are benefiting from these doubts, would it not be in everybody's interests if this last element of uncertainty should be so easily removed, that the gravel there should be scraped off the virgin concrete slab beneath to see if those holes were there? A. With all respect, I do not think you are going to get a virgin concrete slab there. This concrete slab has been -- water has been seeping through it. I mean, a concrete road -- I mean, I have been travelling a lot through Germany where they still have the concrete roads created in the 1930s, the concrete autobahn. Q. Are those concretes roads made of reinforced steel concrete. A. Yes. Q. Are there reinforcing bars in those roads? A. I do not know if they are reinforced, but, I mean, but things are growing through the concrete, so... Q. But my experience of roads is that they have no . P-134 reinforcing bars in them, do they? A. But the thing is that I do not think, and maybe I can be completely wrong, that if you go under all the top layer, if you remove the top layer of that concrete, you would have to remove a top layer, that you are going to get a piece that is in tact because the roof itself already is terribly fragmented. Q. Would I be right in suspecting that the Defence in this case has spent a substantial sum of money in trying to establish the rights and wrongs of this particular allegation about the factory of death? A. You will have to ask someone else. I do not know what the Defence has spent on money. MR JUSTICE GRAY: What do you mean by "this particular allegation"? The roof? MR IRVING: Well, if they could have proved that I was wrong on this particular matter, this would really knock out the pillars from beneath my case. A. Mr Irving, you did the four holes ---- MR RAMPTON: No, I can speak about that. I happen to know the truth of it. Goodness knows how much money has been spent on the case as a whole, but the roof has cost practically nothing, except a little bit of my thinking time recently, because it has only just cropped up. MR IRVING: Professor van Pelt, approximately how much is an air ---- . P-135 MR RAMPTON: The roof came up about two days ago for the first time. MR IRVING: Approximately how much does an air ticket to Warsaw cost or Cracau? œ100, œ200? A. What, from Canada? Q. Well, from London or from Canada? A. I have no idea. Q. It is an infinitesimal amount compared with the expenses so far expended on this case? MR JUSTICE GRAY: Well, if Mr Rampton is right in what he just said, then really these questions get nowhere, do they, because if it was not raised as an issue until two days ago, how much money has been spent on it is really an irrelevant consideration. MR IRVING: If this matter had not occurred to the Defence, my Lord, then might I suggest with the utmost respect it ought to have occurred to the Defence. They have been negligent to that degree, that they could have gone and knocked the pillar out from underneath me by going and persuading the local Auschwitz authorities who, by all accounts, have been very compliant with them -- the very opposite of their attitude to me -- to have a look at just one of the sites where the holes should have been. We know what the underside of that slab looks like, my Lord. Your Lordship has seen the photograph. MR JUSTICE GRAY: I am looking at the photograph now. The . P-136 difficulty I have with that -- I do not know whether you can help, Professor -- is that I cannot -- it is this one. I have no idea where you have it because I have it floating free. A. It is probably floating around. I have it right here. Q. What I simply cannot work out at all is how much of the roof one is actually seeing. I just have not a clue, whether it is a quarter of it ---- MR IRVING: Indeed, my Lord ---- MR JUSTICE GRAY: --- half of it. MR IRVING: --- but an examination of the top surface of the roof would, undoubtedly, have provided the answers because I think it is common sense, and certainly any engineer would back this up, would they not, Professor van Pelt, that if the roof is going to fragment and splinter in any way as a result of a demolition, the fractures would have started at the holes where the roof had been weakened by the holes being placed ---- MR JUSTICE GRAY: I should have thought that was very speculative. MR IRVING: I beg your pardon? MR JUSTICE GRAY: What is the answer? Would he have a clue about that? A. Where the fracture would have started? Q. The suggestion is that if there were holes, the fracture would have started around the holes ---- . P-137 A. I have no idea. Q. --- because it would be a weak point. A. It is beyond my competence. MR IRVING: Well, my Lord, it is like a pane of glass; if you put a hole in a plane of glass, a bullet hole or something, that is going to be the place where the cracks start. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Well, whether that is true of reinforced concrete, I think neither of you can really say at the moment.
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