The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit//transcripts/day013.02


Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day013.02
Last-Modified: 2000/07/20

   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  But you make it clear that it was an SS rank
        you were talking about, is that your point?
   MR IRVING:  No.  What I am saying, my Lord, is that the correct
        rank, the proper designation, of Hans Kammler was SS
        Brigadefuhrer und Generalmajor der Waffen SS, and in every
        other document which exists it is written out in full.
                  Those are the only comments I have to make on
        the face of the document, but possibly, Professor, you
are
        qualified to comment on the content, and I am now
purely
        dealing with the crematoria.  Am I right in saying
that
        crematorium (i) was already out of service on July
19th
        1943?
   A.   It was taken out of service shortly before, but the
        crematorium was completely intact, which means it was
        never dismantled.  The incinerations, because, as we
have

.          P-10



        seen, in May and June 1943 the total incineration
capacity
        in the camp was so much larger than anything really
the
        Germans needed at that moment.
                  It was absolutely no problem to take out, to
        decommission the incinerators of crematorium (i)
because
        they were next to the SS, the house of the Kommandant
and
        the laseret and the Kommandantur, to move all
incineration
        capacity to Birkenhau and so that the SS quarters at
the
        Stammlager would be spared the kind of environmental
        disadvantages of having a working crematorium right
next
        to it.  So this crematorium remained actually on stand-
by
        throughout 1943, and these incinerations were only
finally
        dismantled in late '44.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  So the capacity still exists?
   A.   The capacity still exists.
   MR IRVING:  The capacity still exists.  Are you aware that
on
        the date of this document, June 28th 1943, crematorium
No.
        (ii) was also out of service?
   A.   Yes, but it was being repaired at the time and it was
        brought back into service a month later.
   Q.   You are familiar, presumably, with the letter from the
        Topf firm dated July 23rd 1943, which states, "Since
the
        crematorium has been out of service for six weeks now"
in
        one sentence?  In other words, this particular
crematorium
        was stated on July 23rd already to have been out of
        service for six weeks, so obviously it was a major
problem

.          P-11



        with crematorium (ii) and yet they list it here as
being
        capable of operating.
   A.   Yes, but this is a general accounting.  This letter
goes
        back to a request which was actually made early in
January
        when Hoess wanted to have, the first indication anyway
        that he wants to have an accounting of total cremation
        capacity in the camp.
                  Indeed, crematorium (ii), after having had
an
        overload of incinerations in March and April, had
shown
        problems with the flues, actually the flues started to
        collapse, and was taken out of commission in May for
        repair.  It took the Topf workers some time to
actually
        determine exactly what had happened.  It took them
even
        more time to actually decide who was to blame, because
the
        chimney maker said that it was Topf who was to blame,
and
        Topf blamed the chimney makers.  So they were,
basically,
        negotiating who was going to pay for all of this
        throughout June.  Finally, in August, the crematorium
was
        brought back into operation.  But throughout this
time,
        I mean, when you look at incineration capacity in
general
        in the camp, this letter does not refer to actually
that
        day, but to the general capacity available in the
camp.
   Q.   Professor, do you not agree that in that case, since
these
        crematoria were so frequently down, out of service and
        under repair and being squabbled over, it was improper
for
        a document to exist giving an overall figure which
made no

.          P-12



        reference to the fact that at any one given time, 20
or 30
        per cent of the capacity might be down?
   A.   That was not yet known in June 1943.  We know in
hindsight
        that indeed crematoria (iv) and (v) showed many
problems,
        and that ultimately even the incinerators were at a
        certain moment left alone for later '43 and early '44,
but
        the fact that we have, in hindsight, acknowledged does
not
        mean that on 28th June '43 that knowledge existed.
   Q.   Very well.  One final question:  in view of the
        discrepancies I that have drawn to your attention and
        which I allege exist in this document, will you be
        undertaking any steps to investigate whether there are
any
        similar documents with a similar letter registry
number
        and which contain similar discrepancies in the rank
and
        other items to which I have drawn your attention?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  That is really a question for Mr Rampton,
not
        for Professor van Pelt.
   MR IRVING:  I want it to go on the record, my Lord.  That
is
        all. I have no further questions.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Mr Rampton, do you want to re-examine on
that
        aspect?
   MR RAMPTON:  I would like the Professor -- I am sorry, I
have
        only got the German with me.  I have not got the
        Professor's report, unfortunately, or any of the other
        documents with me because I had no notice of it.  I
would
        just like him -- his German is pretty good -- if he
will,

.          P-13



        just to read the text.  (To the witness):  Leave out
the
        figures in the middle, if you will, Professor, but
just
        read the text of the letter to us in English starting
with
         "Unter den Eichen 126 - 135", will you?
   A.   So, OK.  There is the address, "Unter den Eichen 126 -
        135", which seems to be the correct address, as far as
        I remember.  "I announce the completion of crematorium
        (iii) on 26th June 1943.  With this all of the
crematoria
        which were ordered, which were commanded, have been
        completed.  The capacity of the now available
crematorium
        when used at a 24-hour work cycle", and then we get
the
        numbers.
   Q.   Then you get the numbers and the total at the bottom.
I
        have one other question only.  To your knowledge, did
they
        ever actually use any of these crematoria for a full
        24-hour period?
   A.   The time that they would have used it -- we have no
        account.  Quite literally, we use it 24 hours or 16 or
18,
        whatever like that, but the only period in which they
        would have had to use these crematoria on a 24-hour
cycle
        would have been in May and June 1944 during the
Hungarian
        action.
   Q.   Were they using all five of these crematoria in the
        Hungarian action?
   A.   They certainly used No. (ii) and (iii) which were in
full
        function at the time.  (iv) and (v) were repaired for
the

.          P-14



        Hungarian action, shortly before the Hungarian action,
        because they had been out of commission.  But during
the
        Hungarian action (v) and (iv) showed problems, and I
think
        that ultimately (v) was a crematorium where the
        incinerator collapsed.  We always have to make the
        distinction between the incinerating and the gas
        chambers.  The gas chambers of (iv) and (v) were in
full
        operation during the Hungarian action, but ultimately
they
        created these outside incineration pits during the
        Hungarian action to compensate for the problems in
        crematoria (iv) and (v).
   Q.   Just to complete the picture of potential capacity, if
we
        go on to the Hungarian action in the early summer of
         '44, what about bunker 2?
   A.   Are we talking about gassing capacity?
   Q.   Yes bunker 2 was brought back into operation during
the
        Hungarian action because they felt that the gas
chambers
        of crematoria (ii) to (v) would not be able to cope
with
        the arrivals.
   Q.   Where did they incinerate the people that were killed
in
        bunker 2?
   A.   They were incinerated in open air pits which followed
the
        example developed by Stammamptfuhrer Bloebbel in
Chelmno
        which Dejaco Hussler had inspected in mid September
1942.
   MR IRVING:  My Lord, this re-examination is rather
exceeding
        the bounds of the original cross-examination.

.          P-15



   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  You are quite right, it is.  But I want
to
        ask you a question which I hope does reflect the
        cross-examination, and that is this, Professor van
Pelt.
        Taking on board, as it were, all the points that have
been
        put to you by Mr Irving about the authenticity of this
        document, do you have a view about it?  Are you
doubtful
        about it?
   A.   If this document were to pop up right now, after
having
        not been seen for 50 or 60 years, given the kind of
        challenges which have been made by Holocaust
        denier/revisionist historians, however one would want
to
        call people who challenge the historical record, I
would
        be more suspicious, because, you know, where does this
        document come from?  The issue is, however, that this
        document has been in existence, and the records of
these
        documents before ever a challenge was being made to
the
        incineration capacity of the crematoria.  In fact,
this
        document shows a much lower incineration capacity of
the
        crematoria than we find in the testimonies of Hoess
and
        others.
                  So what I do not understand is what purpose
        would have been served, let us say, in the 1950s by,
let
        us say, somebody who wants to make a case that
Auschwitz
        was an extermination camp, by creating a document, by
        falsifying a document, which shows a lower
incineration
        rate for the crematoria than that which has been
attested

.          P-16



        to under oath by the German eyewitnesses.  That is the
        discrepancy.  So, given the fact that it is lower, and
        given the fact that it appeared at a time that no one
was
        challenging the incineration capacity, because the
German
        testimony on it was kind of self-evident, and given
the
        fact also that this document, I think, shows a very
good
        convergence with Tauber's testimony, and Tauber's
        testimony which after 1945 really was not published
until
        Pressac did it, and Tauber describes in detail the way
the
        corpses in the incinerators were incinerated, with
many
        corpses at the time, and he gives times for this, and
in
        fact Tauber's figures do converge with this one, I
think
        there is absolutely no reason to doubt the
authenticity of
        this document as far as the content is concerned.
   Q.   Can I ask you one more question?  When did the issue
about
        incineration capacity really surface?
   A.   The issue of incineration capacity really started to
        surface, I think Faurisson mentioned it.  Faurisson in
the
        late 70s really concentrated on the issue of the gas
        chambers.  The first major challenge which was made
        I think was Fred Leuchter in 1988.  Butts in 76 also
made
        an issue of it, but in some way this was buried, I
think,
        in the larger context of his work.
   Q.   In the 70s anyway?
   A.   In the 70s, after this document had been admitted as
        evidence in the Vienna court.

.          P-17



   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Mr Irving, there is a bit of a new point
        there, so do you want to ask any further questions?
   MR IRVING:  I do wish to re-examine just briefly.  I do not
        want to go into the matter of the burning pits.  I
think
        that that is a side issue that was raised in
        cross-examination.  I do not think it should have been
        because we had not mentioned the burning pits, but I
do
        want to raise just two or three of the points you
        mentioned there. You referred to the witness Hoess,
and
        you relied on his figures.  Is it correct that the
witness
        Hoess in his statements said that 2.8 million Jews
were
        killed in Auschwitz?
   A.   I feel uncomfortable discussing what Hoess says
without
        the documents, but since I discussed it in length in
my
        expert report, Hoess ultimately comes down to 1.125
        million.  He makes a detailed calculation, and he does
it
        actually on two or three different occasions.
   Q.   Did he use the figure 2.8 million at any time?
   A.   As a general, he said there were different ways to
account
        to it.  He said he had one kind of figure based on, he
        thought how many people had been killed, but then at a
        certain moment he corrects himself and he says but the
        real way to calculate it is by looking at how many
Jews
        arrived by the transports.  Then I come to 1.15
million
        people.

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