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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit//transcripts//day032.14

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Last-Modified: 2000/07/25

   MR IRVING:  -- while numerous things were said.  My Lord, I put
        to your Lordship at the time photographs of the underside
        of that roof.  To say that the underside of that roof is
        fragmented is a gross distortion of what one could see
        with one's own eyes.  The underside of that roof was as
        pristine as the concrete which is in this room today,

.          P-163

        every inch of the underside of that roof which can be accessed.

   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes, I remember the photograph quite well and
        quite how much of the roof it shows and which bit of the
        roof, it is impossible, I think, on the evidence to say.

   MR IRVING:  I did, as your Lordship will know, make one very
        grand offer and very generous offer to the Defendants in
        this case saying, "Come back with photographs of those
        holes and I will stop the case within 24 hours because my
        position will be indefensible".  I made that offer, not
        once, but twice.  It is in the transcript.  They did not
        take it up, and that would have saved ----

   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Press on.

   MR IRVING:  It reminds me of the early days in this action when
        every time I was making a killer point, Mr Rampton was up
        and it is happening again.  Professor van Pelt: In his
        expert report, and for this honesty I give him full
        credit, he writes:  "Today, these four small holes" --
        this is his expert report which he provided in this case
         -- he did not have to write this, my Lord, but he put it
        in and it is a great testimony to his honesty, I think -
         "that connected the wire-mesh columns and the chimneys
        cannot be observed in the ruined remains of the concrete
        slab.  Yet does this mean they were never there?  We know
        that after the cessation of the gassings in the fall of
        1944 all the gassing equipment was removed, which implies

.          P-164

        both the wire-mesh columns and the chimneys.  What would
        have remained would have been the four narrow holes and
        the slab.  What would have remained would have been the
        four narrow holes and the slab.  While there is no
        certainty in this matter, it would have been logical to
        attach at the location where the columns had been some
        formwork at the bottom of the gas chamber ceiling, and
        pour some concrete in the hole and thus restore the slab".

                  That is why I listened with relative patience,
        my Lord, to Mr Rampton's interruption because it very
        largely bears out what I said.  The point at which he rose
        to his feet was when I said van Pelt accepted those holes
        are not in that roof slab now.  I think that his
        interruption was ill-called for.

                  Professor van Pelt thus asserts, without any
        evidence at all, that late in 1944, with the Russian Army
        winding up to launch their colossal final invasion only a
        few miles away on the River Vistula, the Nazi-mass
        murderers would remove the "Zyklon introduction columns"
        and then fill in the holes in the ceiling, as he says, to
         "restore the slab"  (before dynamiting the pillars
        supporting it anyway).  He again asserted when
        I cross-examined him on January 25th as follows: "It would
        have been logical to attach", he then reads out what he
        said, "pour some concrete in the hole and thus restore the

.          P-165


                  How would this have been more logical than
        completely removing the roof of Leichenkeller 1 just as
        the Nazis had removed the roof of Leichenkeller 2,
        identified by Professor van Pelt as the "undressing
        rooms", as shown in the aerial photographs taken on
        December 21st 1944 that one can see on page 15 of this
        book "The Holocaust Revisited", the book published by the
        CIA.  The originals of this photograph were shown to
        Professor van Pelt in court.  I showed them to him.  To
        believe his version, we would have to believe that the
        Nazis deliberately created relics, architectural relics,
        of Leichenkeller No. 1 to confound later generations of
        tourists and Holocaust researchers.

                  The fact is that the holes are not there - at
        least they are not visible from a distance of 0 to 4 feet
        or when photographed from the underside of that slab.
        Unable to point them out to us in close up at ground
        level, the Defendants invited us to consider instead
        either their vertical aerial photographs taken from 35,000
        feet up, or a horizontal photograph taken from several
        hundred yards away, past a locomotive, where three (not
        four) unidentified objects are placed irregularly on the
        rooftop (the fourth "object" turns out to be a window on
        the wall behind).  The Court will recall what my response
        was to the not unexpected discovery that during building

.          P-166

        works such subjects as barrels of tar were placed on a
        large flat slab, and I will not repeat it here.  The
        notion that the high flying plane could have photographed
        an object of 27 centimetres, let alone of tennis ball
        size, protruding from six inches above the ground from
        that roof is quite absurd.  The four smudges seen on one
        photograph are evidently many feet long, nothing to do
        with these so-called holes.

                  Your Lordship will remember that on day 11
        I brought into the Court half a dozen very large vertical
        aerial photographs, black and white photographs, taken by
        the Americans or the South African Air Force during 1944,
        and invited Professor van Pelt to find those same smudges
        on that roof, the same dots.

                  Where until this moment he had seen dots on
        another photograph with no difficulty, the witness van
        Pelt now pleaded poor eyesight:   ("I have now reached the
        age I need reading glasses", he said, "and I do not have
        them with me.  I did not expect this kind of challenge".
        Precisely).  Had he used even a microscope, he would not
        have found the dots in the 1944 pictures I showed him.
        Because the holes were not there and are not there, and he
        and the Defendants know it.

                  Even if the Nazi architects who designed the
        building had willingly agreed to the weakening of the roof
        by having makeshift holes cut that size right through the

.          P-167

        slab next to the supporting pillars - I say "makeshift"
        because there is no provision for them in any of the
        architectural drawings that were shown to us - we should
        certainly expect to see those holes now.  My Lord, the
        court will recall two things:

                  Firstly, I asked the witness van Pelt if he was
        familiar (in view of the fact that he is not qualified
        architecturally, as it turned out) with the expression
         "fair faced concrete finish".  He confirmed that it is
        concrete that has been left untreated.  In other words, it
        is not covered with cement or pebble dash or tiling.  He
        confirmed also that it is the most expensive such finish
        that an architect can specify because the concrete has to
        be poured right first time because blemishes like holes
        and cavities can never be retouched afterwards.  Filling
        in the holes with cement, as van Pelt suggested in an
        extraordinary piece of naivete, would have been evident in
        the concrete face for ever after by differences in general
        appearance, colouring, wear and fracturing; there would
        have been a visible "drying line" as a ring around the
        patch, and the wood grain pattern left by the wooden
        formwork would have been interrupted.  Common sense tells
        us all of this as well.

                  The second point is, of course, we photographed
        the underside of that slab and there is no trace of any
        such blemish on the concrete roof's underside, and there

.          P-168

        are supposed to have been four of those filling holes.
        Those holes are a major problem for this entire case.

                  On two occasions I stated a challenge in Court,
        including to the witness van Pelt, as I said earlier.
        I challenged the Defendants to send somebody to Auschwitz
        even now, to scrape the thin layer of gravel and dirt off
        the topside of the roof slab where they "know" the holes
        must be because they know where the pillars - because the
        eyewitnesses agreed they were next to the main columns -
        and bring back a photograph of one of the holes or
        evidence that it had been filled in.

                  If they did, I said, I would abandon my action
        forthwith because my position would have become quite
        indefensible.  To my knowledge, the Defendants have not
        attempted this exercise.  They know and they knew from the
        outset that I was right about that roof.  Their entire
        case on crematorium No. II - the untruth that it was used
        as a factory of death, with SS guards tipping canisters of
        cyanide-soaked pellets into the building through those
        four (non-existent) manholes - has caved in, as surely as
        that flat roof.

                  Accordingly, the eyewitnesses who spoke of those
        holes also lied, or bluffed, and I have called their
        bluff.  In the absence of the holes themselves, and minus
        his "eyewitnesses", Professor van Pelt's only remaining
        proofs that Leichenkeller 1 of Crematorium No.II was an

.          P-169

        instrument of mass murder - a factory of death, as he
        said, in which 500,000 Jews were gassed and cremated - are
        these:  architectural drawings (rather oddly for a
        "professor of architecture" he calls them blueprints) and
        wartime documents.  He confirmed this to your Lordship
        when your Lordship asked.

                  As for the wartime documents, to take them
        first, he referred, for instance, to the - to him,
        sinister requirement that the morgue should be vorgewarmt,
        prewarmed, by a central heating plant.
        In cross-examination I drew his attention to the relevant
        section of the wartime Neufert, which is the architect's
        handbook or building code which was standard for the SS
        architects, which specifies that morgues, mortuaries, must
        have both cooling and central heating facilities to avoid
        damage to the corpses in the kinds of extremes of
        temperature which exist in Central Europe.  Document after
        document fell by the wayside in this manner.  Mr Rampton
        introduced the timesheet of one humble workman in March
        1943, showing him actually concreting "the floor in the
        Gaskammer", the gas chamber.  But Birkenau camp was full
        of gas chambers.  In his fine facsimile building of the
        camp documents, Jean-Claude Pressac has printed drawing
        No. 801 of November 8th, 1941, for an Entlausungsanlage
        (delousing installation) for the prison camp, right in the
        middle of which is a Gaskammer.  He also reproduces

.          P-170

        drawing No. 1293, dated May 9th 1942, of the drainage and
        water supply of the delousing barracks, building BW5b.
        Here too there is a Gaskammer smack in the middle of the
        drawing.  So there goes that one too.

                  The real handling capacity -- my Lord, of
        course, we did look at other documents and I am sure your
        Lordship will attend to that particular part of the
        transcript in detail, but I just wanted to give the
        flavour of the problem.  The real handling capacity of the
        crematoria is also surprisingly difficult to establish,
        notwithstanding what Mr Rampton said this morning.
        Professor van Pelt produced a histogram on an easel for us
        which showed truly staggering protections of cadavers to
        be cremated in coming years; but on cross-examination the
        witness admitted that the projection was based solely on
        one document, the questionable "crematorium capacities"
        document of June 28th, 1943, and that all else was
        extrapolated backwards from that sheet of paper.
        Mr Rampton said that, as ever, I challenge that document,
        as though I had challenged many other documents.  My Lord,
        to my knowledge, I have challenged ----

   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes.  If I may just intervene and say that
        I would find it easier if there were not such an overt
        reaction to what you are saying on the other side of the court.

   MR RAMPTON:  I am sorry.

.          P-171

   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes, sorry, you got to the Bischoff document?

   MR IRVING:  The Bischoff document.  Professor van Pelt relies
        heavily on this document.  My Lord, you will notice that I
        have given all the appropriate footnote references to
        assist you in navigating through the transcripts, and so on.

   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes, thank you.

   MR IRVING:  Even if genuine, even if the actual paper itself is
        genuine, the handling figures which this document gives
        for the furnace installation in Crematorium No. II do not
        tally with any of the figures in the specifications
        provided by the manufacturers, the Topf Company, for this
        type of equipment.  Furthermore, the document refers to
        some crematoria which were at that time shut down, and to
        others that were due to be taken out of commission, which
        is again a mystifying business.

                  I had shown the Court on the previous day that
        this one page of paper contained not just one or two, but
        four or five, four or even five, bureaucratic
        discrepancies which indicated to me that the document is
        not authentic.  It was not just that the year date was
        wrong.  Any one of those flaws would normally be enough to
        call its integrity into question: but five such flaws in
        one document, including the wrong rank for the highest man
        in the SS site-construction system, SS Gruppenfuhrer Hans

.          P-172

        Kammler?  Professor van Pelt was unable to explain these
        flaws; he had not noticed them.  The document was first
        published in East Berlin in the 1950s, and it is now to be
        found in the Auschwitz archives, because it was sent there
        from East Berlin in 1981.  That alone is why it now bears
        an Auschwitz archival stamp.  It did not originate there,
        but elsewhere.  Even if the flaws can be explained, and
        the figures were genuine, there is no indication of how
        such huge numbers of bodies were to be handled within 24
        hours; nor of where the coke was to come from.  There is
        no -- logistic problems defeat the document.  (There is
        no acceptable evidence that the Auschwitz staff found any
        way of improving on the average coke consumption of 30 kg
        per cadaver achieved by other camps).

                  The bottleneck in the entire crematorium II
        "factory of death" story is however that little freight
        elevator that was installed between that morgue, the
        underground mortuary, Leichenkeller No. 1, as in any such
        state-of-the-art crematorium, to haul the bodies up from
        the basement-level morgue up to the crematorium furnaces
        on the ground floor.  We are told by the Defendants that
        this elevator was never anything more sophisticated than
        something like a builder's hoist.  The real elevator was
        never delivered.  It had no door, no cage, no walls - it
        was just a platform jolting up and down that elevator
        shaft.  We do know that as finally installed it had a

.          P-173

        specified load bearing capacity of 1,500 kilograms.
        Professor van Pelt suggested that the hoist could,
        therefore, have hauled 25 cadavers at a time.  In
        practice, as there was just a flat platform with no walls
        or door, jolting up and down that narrow concrete elevator
        shaft, I submit that it would have been impossible to
        stack on to one small platform 25 naked cadavers in the
        conditions of filth and slime, the horror, that had been
        described by the eyewitnesses.

                  It does not bear thinking about, I agree, and
        that is why I am not going to dwell on it.  We cannot
        produce hard figures for this part of the exercise, but
        one thing is plain:  that one elevator in crematorium II
        was the inescapable bottleneck, and it makes plain that,
        whatever was happening downstairs in the mortuary,
        Leichenkeller No. 1, it was not on the huge scale, on the
        huge scale that history now suggests.

                  In response to your Lordship's helpful
        questioning, Professor van Pelt stated that the wartime
        documents to interpreted if they were to be relied on for
        this proof.  These interpretations are quite tenuous.  He
        produced to us a document referring to the special secrecy
        to be attached to the crematorium drawings.  I am sure
        your Lordship remembers that document.  It was at first
        blush quite an interesting document.  He suggested that
        this was because of the mass gassings being carried on in

.          P-174

        the buildings, in the crematorium.  It stressed that this
        was because -- the document stressed that this was because
        of the wehrwirtschaftlich importance [the importance to
        the military economy] of the work being conducted in that
        building or those buildings.  But van Pelt confirmed under
        my cross-examination that the homicidal Final Solution,
        the genocide, was never regarded as being
        wehrwirtschaftlich important, important to the economy.
        I submitted that the reference was clearly to keeping
        secret the ugly business of the looting by the SS of the
        gold and valuables from the corpses being processed by the
        building, a system which was undoubtedly of economic
        importance to the SS.

                  Similarly, the architectural drawings seemed to
        provide the required "proof" only when one was compared
        with another.  That was one of the other problems.  As
        Professor van Pelt said:  "... we can look now at two or
        three drawings together and ... We start to observe some
        very weird things and some modifications made between one
        drawing and the other drawing..." Those were his words, to
        which my comment is, is that the best level of proof that
        is available now, even after 55 years?

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