Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day009.09 Last-Modified: 2000/07/20 Q. No. Would you accept from me that this is a coal bunker? A. A coal bunker? Q. Or coke bunker. A. I thought you meant another one. This particular thing there? Q. Yes. A. Yes. Q. That is a coke bunker. I have not got equipment here for measuring the size of that bunker, but it appears to be about 10 feet square, in other words a very small space. A. It seems to be a larger to me from what I remember but, again, 10 feet, 13 feet square, whatever. It is not a very large bunker. . P-75 Q. Not very large bunker for holding the fuel supplies for fuelling a mass incineration programme, I believe Mr Rampton would have called it, for incinerating hundreds of thousands of bodies? A. May I remind you, Mr Irving, that also in the crematorium itself was a very large coke storage space right next to the incineration building. Q. Yes, I am familiar with the position of that in the drawings of the building. Not very much larger than that little hut outside? A. I think it will be probably possible to establish the size of that when we consult a plan, and I am happy to consult the plans in my trial bundle. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Was there a coke bunker in each crematorium or just one? A. Each crematorium has its own coke bunker, yes. MR IRVING: It is also right to say that these crematoria were adapted to burn trash as well, the regular camp trash that came in? A. The trash furnace in crematorium 2 was never installed. There was a trash furnace in crematorium 3, largely used to burn identity papers of people, and there were no trash incinerators in 4 and 5. Q. Very well. The last picture that I wish to show the court and the witness and ask a question on is this large picture. This is crematorium number 2. You can see the . P-76 scale of it from the people standing down there, the tourists who arrived up that path, and this is Leichenkeller number 1, morgue number 1, on which we have now zeroed in, in other words. A. Yes. Q. Mortuary number 1? A. Morgue number 1. Q. Will you describe the condition of that building, that particular mortuary, which is the one that you pointed at and said 5 "00,000 people died here", or you also said "this is the instrument with which millions were killed". A. We just saw the state of that room in more detail when we looked at the film clip. When we see Fred Leuchter measuring, together with his assistant, the size of the ruins, and there is my voice-over saying that Fred Leuchter is no Sherlock Holmes, we are actually looking at the site of the morgue 1 of crematorium 2. Q. Was this building destroyed by the Nazis or by the Russians, I think there is some dispute on this, at the end of World War II? A. The evidence points to the fact that the Nazis destroyed this building in two phases, and specially morgue 1. First of all, that when the gassing ceased in late 1944 we have the testimony of sonderkommandos and others that the gas chambers were dismantled, which means that the actual . P-77 installation within the morgue number 1 and of crematorium 2 and number 3, which had been created to adapt this room into a gas chamber, was removed, and that later the shell of the room, so to speak, was destroyed by dynamiting. It was a very detailed account of one sonderkommando, how they actually made holes in the columns. Dynamite is put in it and ultimately, in the case of crematorium 2, all the columns collapsed, with the exception of one. In crematorium 3 they were more successful and virtually everything collapsed there. So what you have now in crematorium 2 is that we have the remains of a concrete roof, which is basically collapsed on the floor. Q. It is pancaked downwards? A. It is pancaked downwards. One column is still there and in some way it has folded over, that one column. Q. So there are reinforced steel bars inside the roof? A. Reinforced steel bars in the roof yes, and there is a hole right next to the column, and that is the hole through which Fred Leuchter climbed into that space at a certain moment. It is a very tiny space under that roof. Q. When do you say this happened? In 1945? A. The demolition of the gassing equipment happened in late 1944, November 44, and the ultimate demolition, the final demolition, of the crematoria happened in January 45. MR IRVING: Just so that we can get this quite straight, the evidence for this is verbal evidence from a member of the . P-78 sonderkommando? A. Yes. There are no construction documents about the demolition. Also, the construction office had been closed for some time. Q. Are there any written orders from the camp commandant or from Liebehenschel or from some other official saying, I order that this building must be destroyed for whatever reason? A. There are no records but I have to point out that the archive of the commandant, which was virtually systematically destroyed, began in that same period of the evacuation and that only by accident the bauleitung papers survived because they were forgotten. Q. I was about to come on to that, Professor. Is it not extraordinary that the Nazis in their ruthless efficiency would go round destroying buildings and removing incriminating equipment which might have helped us very much today in this courtroom otherwise, but at the same time they allowed the Red Army to capture the entire construction files without the slightest murmur? A. There are reasons for that which have to do with first the fact that the construction office was closed at the end of 1944 but none of the architects any more dared to oversee the destruction of the archive. They have been drafted back into the SS to fight on the Eastern Front, which by then had more or less come to Auschwitz. Second of all, . P-79 that the architecture office was at some distance from the camp itself and that there were two archives in the camp, one archive which was kept in the kommandantur, where people were until the very end, people who could attend to the destruction of incriminating evidence, and then there was in the Bauleitungbaracke, which was at some distance and I can point it out on the air photo if you want, this second archive which had been bundled up and simply was forgotten. Q. So the Nazis remembered to destroy the buildings and remembered to take out every nut and bolt which might have helped us today, but they allowed the Russians to capture all the incriminating paperwork, except that it is not very incriminating either? A. I do not think that simply they allowed. I do not think that by early 1945, as the Russian Army was pushing through and Silesia was on the point of collapse, that the German Army was still very efficient or the SS in Auschwitz. I mean they were on the run and they were in a panic. Q. A bit of panic and these things just got left behind? A. Yes. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Mr Irving, I have a feel there is a suggestion lurking there and I want to try and put my finger on it. Are you suggesting that what the Russians captured were not authentic documents, or what the . P-80 Russians had produced were not authentic documents? MR IRVING: No, my Lord, totally the opposite. I am sorry I am being so frightfully obtuse in my cross-examination. MR JUSTICE GRAY: No, you are not. You are doing very well but I want to understand the suggestion. MR IRVING: I am indebted to my Lord. The reason I am asking this is for two reasons. I am laying a bit of a trap, if I may put it like that, which will be sprung either before or after lunch. MR JUSTICE GRAY: I see. Then I will not enquire any further. MR IRVING: I wanted to bring to your Lordship's attention the detail that the incriminating equipment that had apparently been carefully dismantled, every nut and bolt, and yet they had allowed all these records to fall into Russian hands, which does seem odd. MR JUSTICE GRAY: I know, but I was wondering what the underlying suggestion is. You develop it after lunch. MR IRVING: We have discovered in fact that the Nazis were in a blue funk and in a terrible panic and just anxious to get away. How far away? Was the Russian line stationary for sometime on the River Vistula? A. The Russian offensive of either the second Ukrainian Front and the Russian Front started moving on 12th January. Q. 12th January 1945, yes, in the early hours? A. Until then it had been stationary. That is also one of the reasons that the Auschwitz camp remained from, let us . P-81 say, November 1944 until that offensive began on 12th January in a kind of limbo state. Then, after that offensive started on 12th January, in fact the decision was taken, no document again but a decision was taken, to actually evacuate the camp population and to destroy the most incriminating parts of the crematorium. Q. So how far away was the Russian front during that limbo period, in rough terms, 20 miles, 50 miles? A. No. I think they were -- they were substantially east of Cracow still at the time. Q. On the River Vistula that basically was not there ---- - A. Yes -- no, no, but the River Vistual more to the east. At that time they would have been as south as Auschwitz. They would probably have been, I would say, 100/150 kilometres away. Q. Very well. So we have narrowed it down to this building which has collapsed. The roof, as we see it in the air photographs, is in a mess. Beneath that roof we would have found all the equipment, bits and pieces, that would have been incriminating, but the Russians -- somebody blew up the building and it pancaked downwards, this roof, and for some reason the archeologists have never gone in there to find out what is still there, have they? A. No. People, I mean, Fred Leuchter went down there. I mean, it is on this tape. Q. Hats off to Fred Leuchter, in other words ---- . P-82 A. But, I mean, which archeologist, I mean, what kind of expedition are you looking at? I mean, I do not think that many archeologists would have been particularly interested, given all the choices available in doing archaeology, in actually going down into that very small space under the roof to do their investigations there. Q. Not only in this particular building, of course, there are many archaeological sites around the Auschwitz camp, I would have thought, which would have helped to solve a lot of questions. For example, mass graves, burning pits, which could have been investigated with modern archeological means like proton magnetometers, something which would detect the pattern of burning, things like this. Has any investigation like that been conducted by the Polish or any other authorities? A. As far as I know not. Q. Yes. But investigations like that have been conducted at one or two other sites, though, have they not? I think recently at Treblinka or Maidanek? A. At the moment very big investigations have been done in Belzec, and part of this is as a result of the transformation of Belzec, to create actually a monument in Belzec, and like many of these, you know, when, in fact, you are going to make a change to the site, you want to know, first of all, what the site is, and let us say in Rome, when you put up a new apartment building, you first . P-83 send in the archeologist to see what is below there. So Belzec is -- actually still very serious work is being done right now. Q. Am I right in saying the investigations being done at Belzec are roughly into discovering the size of any mass graves. A. They are finding large mass graves and I have not seen detailed results. Q. Have they been able to quantify the size of the mass graves? A. I have only this by hearsay, what the size of mass graves are. I mean, that these are large mass graves, I cannot further comment on it.
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