The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day017.18

Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day017.18
Last-Modified: 2000/07/20

   Q.   Yes, would the existence of a Fuhrer order in his mind
        have let him off the hook?  "I was only acting on
        would that have let Eichmann off the hook in his own
        if there was a Fuhrer order?
   A.   It would have been a defence after being arrested, but
        he says it before that, I think it is a reflection of
        feeling that he had been carrying out a very major
   Q.   Is it evident from these papers that he wrote or
        to the journalist, Sassen, while in the underground in
        Argentina while hiding that he was aware that there
was a
        worldwide hue and cry searching for him?
   A.   I do not know how much he was aware of.  It is very
        strange that the man who, obviously, had fled to
        because he knew he was hunted would talk to a
        What sort of self-destruction wish he had, I do not
        but it was very strange behaviour for someone, but
        certainly not an indication that he would then take
        opportunity to lie.
   Q.   Would you not agree that it is possible that he was
        consciously or unconsciously creating an alibi for
        himself, rehearsing the alibi he would used when he
        caught or if he was caught?
   A.   No, I do not think he would be increasing his chances

.          P-159

        getting caught by trying to establish an alibi when if
        kept your mouth shut he would not be caught in the
   Q.   Is it not evident that Sassen had a commercial
interest in
        marketing these papers and that he sold them to a
        New York magazine?
   A.   He did sell them to Life magazine.  What his motive
        earlier, I do not know.
   Q.   So, in fact, we do not know whether Eichmann actually
        that confession or whether it was incorporated by the
   A.   Well, we do have -- the Israelis have the transcripts
        the tapes in which he made handwritten notations, and
        I would have to look at those to find if there was a
        discrepancy.  I think the one discrepancy in the Life
        magazine report, as opposed to what he consistently
        in his other testimony, is that they portray his visit
        Belzec where he talks about there is a camp in a sense
        under construction, I think the Life magazine account
        talks of this being already in operation.  My guess is
        that that is a Sassen invention to make it more
   Q.   Who was Kurt Gerstein?
   A.   Kurt Gerstein was a covert anti-Nazi in the SS who was
        the hygienic department.
   Q.   What makes you suggest that he was a covert anti-Nazi?
   A.   He had joined and then been expelled from the Nazi

.          P-160

        and then, at least in his own account, got back into
        SS because he had heard of the euthanasia programme
and he
        wanted to find out more.
   Q.   You say "in his own account", when was his account
        to which you are referring?
   A.   The accounts that he gave that he writes are dated in
        April and early May 1945.  He also had conversations
        others that have been related to us later, would be
        statements at a time earlier than 1945.
   Q.   Would it be to his advantage after World War II to
        establish or to maintain the position that he had been
        covert anti-Nazi?
   A.   Certainly, lots of people claimed that they were
        anti-Nazis who were not, and the question then is you
        to look, is this a bona fide claim or not?  Certainly,
        lots of people were claiming that, and that would be
        question you would have to put to the evidence.  If
        have other people such as Bishop Dalias(?) who said
        Gerstein came to him in 1942 or '43 and corroborates
        anti-Nazi stance, then you would lend more credibility
        the 1945 statement as opposed to someone who had been
        killing Jews over the years and then suddenly poses as
        anti-Nazi in 1945.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Was he tried?
   A.   Gerstein?  He was arrested and sent to a French prison
        where he died, and the French prison ruled it as

.          P-161

        Some have voiced suspicion that he was killed by
        prisoners as a traitor.
   MR IRVING:  Kurt Gerstein is used or relied upon as an
        important eyewitness, or was relied upon as an
        eyewitness, for various camps or killing operations.
        that right?
   A.   He is relied upon, as far as I know, for Belzec and
   Q.   For Belzec and Treblinka, because he visited these
   A.   This is the visits to the camps, yes, that he says he
        visited these camps and I am sure we will get into why
        I credit that.
   Q.   What was his actual position in the SS?
   A.   One of the things he was doing was delivering Zyklon-B
        places for fumigation.
   Q.   He was head of the SS pest control office, can we say,
        their fumigation or hygiene department?
   A.   Their fumigation department, I think we can say that,
   Q.   I mean in the non-homicidal sense ----
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   --- a straightforward meaning of the word.  So he
        these camps.  Was he delivering anything to these
   A.   According to his account, he brought out Zyklon-B to
        Lublin to fumigate the clothing that was there and
        went on to Belzec and Treblinka, and that in his
        at Belzec, I think it is, he buries the rest of the

.          P-162

        Zyklon-B and does not deliver that to the camp.
   Q.   You talk about "in his account".  How many accounts
        written by Mr Gerstein, to your knowledge?
   A.   I think there are a number of drafts and notes, but,
        general, in terms of the finished product, we have the
        French version and the German version and maybe even
        French versions, but how many -- I have not seen the
        actual notes.  I do not know how many drafts that we
        count as a version, but ----
   Q.   There is no question as to the authenticity.  He was
        author of these ----
   A.   I do not believe that has been challenged.
   Q.   Are you familiar with the work of a French academic
        Henry Rocques?  R-O-C-Q-U-E-S, I think it is.
   A.   I have not read his work.  I have heard the name.
   Q.   You have heard the name.  Did he write a dissertation
        the various reports by Kurt Gerstein in order to
obtain a
   A.   I believe so -- I have heard that.
   Q.   Was he awarded a doctorate on the basis of these,
   A.   I believe initially.
   Q.   On the basis of his PhD thesis.  Did he keep his
   A.   I believe not.
   Q.   What was the problem?

.          P-163

   A.   I think somebody said the document did not deserve a
        and it was looked into and they withdrew it.
   Q.   So the university decided to knuckle under pressure,
        I right?
   A.   I believe you could say that the university discovered
        somebody had let through a very sloppy dissertation
        decided that they had better get their house in order.
   Q.   Do these things happen often?  Are people often
        of their doctorates?
   A.   Not very often.
   Q.   Does it happen very often in France?
   A.   I do not know.
   Q.   Does it happen largely to revisionist historians?
   A.   I know of this case.  I do not know of any other.
   Q.   Professor Faurisson, are you familiar with the case?
   A.   I do not believe he has had his dissertation
   Q.   Did he have his Professorship removed from him?
   A.   I believe he is suspended from teaching but I do not
        that he had the position terminated.  I do not know.
   Q.   To get back to Gerstein, is it right that Henry Rock,
        writing his dissertation discovered no fewer than
        different versions of the Gerstein report?
   A.   I cannot answer that.
   Q.   And that he obtained also access in the French police
        files to all the private letters that Gerstein had

.          P-164

   A.   That I do not know.
   Q.   Not that either.  Is it not surprising that your
        historian, you have not read his PhD dissertation
        relies on these papers?
   A.   Well, I have not seen the PhD dissertation, and it is
        in circulation that I know of.
   Q.   Like most PhD dissertations, it can be obtained from
        university, can it not?
   A.   If it has been withdrawn, I do not know.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Mr Irving, I am not going to stop you,
        this is all slightly Alice in Wonderland, is it not?
        the reason we went through before, you accept there
        gas chambers so criticising Gerstein for saying there
        is slightly limited value, I think.  Do not take it
   MR IRVING:  A well deserved reprimand, my Lord.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  It is not a reprimand.
   MR IRVING:  Can I take you to page 50 of your report,
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   I want you to look at the second version of page 50,
        contains the bold type on it.  Your Lordship said in
        November you would interleave the pages?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes, I have done that and I have crossed
        the superseded one.
   A.   My account does not have bold type.
   MR IRVING:  It does not have bold type?

.          P-165

   A.   No.
   Q.   In the new version you interpolated certain sentences.
   A.   I can get my own version and I believe I may be able
        use that.
   MR IRVING:  My Lord, I shall be another half hour at most.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Do not hurry.  I really mean that.  I am
        seeking to hurry you, just to guide you to the areas
        I think are of greater significance.
   MR IRVING:  Is it fair to say that, after you wrote your
        initially, you realized that you had omitted, either
        accidentally or wilfully, certain passages which, if
        included, would have cast grave doubt on the
        of this man as a witness?
   A.   What happened is that I in fact sent a draft,
        you were sent what was not my final report, and, when
        I got back, it was clear that things that I had put in
        were not included.  One of the things was that I was
        to look at both the French and the German reports and
        French has some exaggerations not included in the
        and I then amended mine and I emphasised further the
        elements ----
   Q.   I do urge you, before you continue, to consider your
        replies carefully, because the tenor of each of these
        interpolations is very much material that has been
        previously left out or not included which, if left in,
        would have totally destroyed the veracity of this

.          P-166

        or certainly tended to undermine it.  In other words,
        all tends the same way.  It is not random omissions.
        is all that kind of document, right?  That kind of
   A.   The ones that were added were the cases that
        exaggerations in Gerstein, that on reflection I felt
        should go in.
   Q.   According to Gerstein, I am reading from the middle of
        paragraph, new version, this is the sentence
        you omitted but have now put in: "According to
        Globocnik also claimed with great exaggeration Belzec
        Treblinka and Sobibore respectively 15,000, 25,000 and
        20,000 Jews were killed daily with diesel exhaust
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Do you consider those figures to be reliable?
   A.   No.  I think they are not reliable at all.
   Q.   Rather lower down that same paragraph, we have a 45
        transport arriving from Woolf with 6,700 Jews, of whom
        1,450 were already dead.  That is about the same kind
        proportion, is it not, 20 per cent?
   A.   That is similar to the Versterman report and, given
        conditions under which the Galetian transports were
        coming, I do not consider that to be an exaggeration
        on the face of it, outrageous.
   Q.   This was in your original report.  What would have
        happened to those 1,450 corpses?  Would they have been

.          P-167

        dragged into the camp and disposed of?
   A.   I can only speculate, but my guess would be that after
        entire operation was over they would then bring the
        bodies from the transports.  That would have been the
        clean up item when they had finished liquidating the
   Q.   Now we have, "The Jews were forced to undress who
        on this transport", and then comes a parenthesis that
        originally left out, "the piles of shoes were
allegedly 25
        metres high".  Is that from the Gerstein report?
   A.   That is from Gerstein report.
   Q.   25 metres is, what, 80 feet?
   A.   Yes, it would be.
   Q.   About as tall as that building out there, probably?
   A.   I do not know, but it clearly is an exaggeration.

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