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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