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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit//transcripts/day009.19


Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day009.19
Last-Modified: 2000/07/20

   MR IRVING:  This particular element of it. She is embellishing,
        she may well have had an experience of being taken into
        the mortuary and seen the dead bodies lying around, which
        is, God knows, unpleasant enough, and she has now
        embellished on it, because she is now in British captivity
        or in British hands, being well looked after, and they
        have asked her to write a statement a deposition, because

.          P-166



        they needed to hang these criminals.
   A.   The issue, I think, is that the first question we have to
        ask is if that system actually existed.  Now Pressac and
        I have published a diagram of that situation in the
        crematorium, in this case crematorium 5, crematorium 4 is
        a slightly different one, where we actually talk about a
        pipe, and we see actually the ventilator sitting in a
        housing.  Now it is obvious that she saw something and
        that what she probably saw is that ventilation system, and
        that ventilation system which is connected to the ceiling
        of the gas chambers, it is very difficult at that moment
        to determine if it is something where the gas goes from an
        outside source, where the ventilator is from there inside
        of the gas chamber or the other way round.  I do not
want
        to speculate on what the SS man told her or not.  But
        certainly I could imagine that he would have wanted to
        scare her by saying this is the way the gas chamber
        operates, this is how the gas goes into the gas
chamber.
   MR IRVING:  Your imagination is not evidence in this court
room
        and I would ask you to adhere to what you know.
   MR RAMPTON:  That is not right.  His motivation for the way
he
        wrote the report is under attack.  What he thinks she
may
        have meant by what she said is directly relevant.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I think, if you are attacking the
motivation
        of Professor van Pelt, I am afraid Mr Rampton is
right.
   MR IRVING:  Very well.  Did it not strike you as being

.          P-167



        inaccurate that she described this scene in this
        particular way when quite clearly you knew from your
own
        expert knowledge that this apparatus did not exist and
        that this therefore devalued the quality of the rest
of
        her testimony?
   A.   I do not know if it really devalues it because, if she
        goes into the crematorium and she sees a detail which
is
        hidden to everyone else because it sits above the
ceiling
        and you have to go up to the attic, if she sees that,
and
        we know from the blue print that the thing was there,
or
        at least that it was installed, then it means that
first
        of all it is absolutely clear that she was in that
        building and that she at least on that detail is a
very
        reliable witness, even if she did not know what it was
        used for and took the evidence or the remark of an SS
man
        on face value.  I must say, if there were more witness
        like that, I think then probably one would not need
many
        courts to determine all kinds of disputes between
people.
   Q.   I can read out just one sentence from paragraph 740.
"I
        set out here afterward I myself observed with regard
to
        mass exterminations I will name the persons, each of
whom
        is individually selected." She is putting the finger
on
        people here, is she not?  Page 740, paragraph 1.
        Mrs Bimko is putting the finger on people she knew at
the
        camp.
                  I draw your attention to paragraph 7 on the

.          P-168



        opposite page, 741 while we are here: "In August 1943
        I saw SS man Tauber knock down a girl who arrived late
at
        roll call, beat her and kick her and stand on her
stomach
        for ten minutes until she died".  Assuming for a
moment
        that this story is true, is that the same SS man,
Tauber,
        on whom you rely as an eye witness?
   A.   No.  I am relying on the Sonderkommando Tauber.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  This Tauber is a rapport Fuhrer?
   A.   It seems to be so, yes, number 12.
   MR IRVING:  What is a rapport Fuhrer?
   A.   It is a man who is in charge of roll call.
   Q.   In charge of roll call, very well.  Can we now proceed
        please to the further eyewitnesses on whom you rely
for
        your description of the liquidation procedure in
        crematorium 2?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Perry Broad?
   A.   I do not think that Perry Broad described crematorium
2.
        We would have to look at Perry Broad.
   Q.   Yes.  He described two or three liquidations, one from
a
        range of I think 40 yards.
   A.   He described the Red Cross van coming, yes.  Then
Tauber
        is very important.
   Q.   On crematorium 2?
   A.   Crematorium 2, the early one.
   Q.   What does Tauber tell us about the liquidation
procedure

.          P-169



        of crematorium 2 from the arrival of the victims?
   A.   Do you want me to read the whole thing?
   Q.   No, just your recapitulation unless you wish to read
it?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I would quite like to have a quick look.
   A.   Let us take Tauber at hand.
   Q.   177 to 196?
   A.   177, thank you, my Lord.
   Q.   The incineration procedure is at 186.
   A.   So Tauber was interrogated at the end of May 1945.
        Heinrich Tauber was a sonderkommando in crematorium
        number 2.  We are going to discuss crematorium 2.  It
        starts on page 182 of my report.
   MR IRVING:  Of your report?
   A.   Of my report, yes.  What he describes there is an
        underground arrangement of crematorium 2 which he
        describes as an undressing room and bunker or, in
other
        words, a gas chamber:
                  "To go from one cellar to the other there,
        there was a corridor in which there came from the
exterior
        a (double) stairway and a slide for throwing the
bodies
        that were brought to the camp to be incinerated in the
        crematorium.  People went through the door of the
        undressing room into the corridor, then from there
through
        a door on the right into the gas chamber.  A second
        stairway running from the grounds of the crematorium
gave
        access to the corridor.  To the left of the stairway
in

.          P-170



        the corner, there was a little room with hair
spectacles
        and other effects were stored.  On the right there was
        another small room used as a store for Zyklon-B.  In
the
        right-hand corner of the corridor, on the wall facing
the
        door from the undressing room, there was a lift to
        transport corpses.  People went from the crematorium
yard
        the undressing room via a stairway, surrounded by iron
        rails.  Over the door there was a sign which the
        inscription 'Zum Baden und Desinfektion' (to bath and
        disinfection), written in several languages.  In the
        undressing room, there were wooden benches and
numbered
        clothes hooks along the walls.  There were no windows
and
        the lights were on all the time.  The undressing room
also
        had water taps drains for the waste water.  From the
        undressing room people went into the corridor through
a
        door above which was hung a sign marked 'Zum Bade',
        repeated in several languages.  I remember the
[Russian]
        word 'banya' was there too.  From the corridor they
went
        through the door on the right into the gas chamber.
It
        was a wooden door, made of two layers of short pieces
of
        wood arranged like parquet.  Between these layers
there
        was a single sheet of material sealing the edges of
the
        door and the rabbets of the frame were also fitted
with
        sealing strips of felt.
                  "At about head height for an average man
this
        door had a round glass peephole.  On the other side of
the

.          P-171



        door, that is on the gas chamber side, this opening
was
        protected by a hemispherical grid.  The grid was
fitted
        because the people in the gas chamber, feeling they
were
        going to die, used to break the glass of the peephole.
        But the grid still did not provide sufficient
protection
        and similar incidents recurred.  The opening was
blocked
        with a piece of metal or wood.  The people going to be
        gassed and those in the gas chamber damaged the
electrical
        installations, tearing the cables out and damaging the
        ventilation equipment.
                  "The door was closed hermetically from the
        corridor side by means of iron bars which were screwed
        tight.  The roof of the gas chamber was supported by
        concrete pillars running down the middle of its
length."
   MR IRVING:  This is roof we can see on the big photograph
here,
        right?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   It is that self-same roof?
   A.   That same roof, yes, but we look now at the top.  "On
        either side of these pillars there were four others,
two
        on each side.  The sides of these pillars which went
up
        through the roof were of heavy wire mesh."
   Q.   What does it mean when it says "the pillars went up
        through the roof"?  Went up to the roof, presumably?
   A.   Yes, but they popped out above the roof.
   Q.   The pillars popped out?

.          P-172



   A.   Yes, so the pillars went through a hole in the roof
and
        then they went in through, basically the earth which
was
        assembled on top of the roof, and then there was a
little
        kind of chimney on top of that.
   Q.   On top of a pillar?
   A.   On top of a pillar.
   Q.   What was the purpose of that, architecturally
speaking?
   A.   Because these were hollow pillars and these were the
        pillars where Zyklon-B was inserted into the gas
chamber.
   Q.   Just so the court can hear what Professor van Pelt is
        saying, these were hollow pillars?
   A.   These were hollow pillars.
   Q.   Made of what, concrete?
   A.   These were made of metal.
   Q.   These are the wire mesh pillars you are now talking
about?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Not the concrete pillars supporting the roof?
   A.   No, these are the wire mesh pillars which are
connected on
        either side of these pillars.  These pillars, that is
in
        the sentence before, we have concrete pillars which go
        down the middle of the length and one of these pillars
is
        still there holding up a bit of the roof, and then
        connected to these concrete pillars, there are seven
of
        them, connected to four of them were wire mesh metal
        pillars, two on one side and two on the other side.
   Q.   My Lord, I gave you a large yellow map which shows the

.          P-173



        layout.  You can see the pillars there with the wire
mesh
        columns next to them.  It is one of the large yellow
maps.
        There are two yellow maps.  That is the one, my Lord.
If
        I can just interrupt you, there is a room there
numbered
        No. 9 and No. 10.  What do you call that, an
axonometric
        view?
   A.   An axonometric view, yes.
   Q.   In other words, a kind of exploded view of the
        Leichenkeller No. 1, am I correct?  This is, just to
        remind the court, the one we have seen in the
photographs
        with the collapsed roof?
   A.   Yes, No. 9 and 10.
   Q.   Yes. It has a number of concrete columns, and you have
        drawn in those wire mesh columns, have you not?
   A.   I mean the whole thing is a drawing by one of my
students
        of the whole building.
   Q.   Yes, but the wire mesh is an addition; it is not based
on
        any drawings or blue prints, is it?
   A.   It is drawn on, it is based on the drawing made by the
man
        who actually made these pillars and who gave testimony
in
        Poland shortly before Mr Taiber.
   Q.   Are they round pillars or square pillars?
   A.   Square pillars.
   Q.   Have you any idea, can you tell the dimension of the
        pillar was, the wire mesh?
   A.   I will have to consult Mr Kuhler's testimony which is
----

.          P-174



   Q.   It is quite important.
   A.   Then I will consult his testimony on that.
   Q.   While you are consulting, can you tell us was it just
one
        layer of wire mesh or several concentric layers of
wire
        mesh?
   A.   There was concentric layers of wire mesh.
   Q.   Two, three, four, five, six?
   A.   I think there were -- basically there were two layers
        creating, basically, a narrow space inside, a wire
mesh
        cage around it and another air space with a wire mesh
cage
        around it, and then there was a kind of thing which
moves
        up and down inside that inner hollow space.
   Q.   So let me get this straight, how many actual
concentric
        tubes are we concerned with or wire tubes, two or
three
        inside each other?
   A.   There is an outer one.  There is an inner one and I
think
        then there was one inside that, and there was this
movable
        thing which could go up and down.
   Q.   What is the purpose of having so many layers?
   A.   According to the testimony, it was to allow for a more
        even spread of the Zyklon-B in the gas chamber.
   Q.   What was the thickness of the wire?
   A.   The thickness of the wire changed as you went from the
        inside to the outside.
   Q.   Is it not right that the thickness of the wire was 3
        millimetres the whole way through?

.          P-175



   A.   I do not recall that right now.
   Q.   So if you have a wire mesh made of 3 millimetres, you
have
        in fact a 6 millimetre thickness of that particular
layer,
        because the wire mesh overlaps?
   A.   I presume so, but again I would like to see -- there
is
        basically one very particular piece of eyewitness
        evidence, so we can look at eyewitness evidence and
then
        we can reconstruct exactly how thick those wire mesh
        columns are.
   Q.   This is why I was asking what the overall dimensions
of
        these alleged wire mesh columns were, so we could form
an
        impression of their practicability.
   A.   Let us look at Kuhler's testimony.  If we can stop
reading
        the Taiber testimony.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I want you at some stage to complete
reading
        Taiber.
   MR IRVING:  Can we continue reading Taiber then, my Lord?  That
        is probably a good idea.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Then you come back to the wire mesh columns.
   MR IRVING:  We have to come back to the wire mesh columns tomorrow.

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