Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day006.03 Last-Modified: 2000/08/02 Q. So the reference to vergasungsapparate is nothing whatever to do with lice or rats or anything else? A. It does have a slight bearing on the fact that there were . P-18 extensive war crimes trial after the war. Dr Wetzel, who wrote this letter, was never prosecuted. He lived in complete comfort until the end of his life in Germany, and how can this be if this is the only interpretation to be placed on those words? MR JUSTICE GRAY: What does beseitegen mean? A. "Getting rid of". It is one of those vague words again, disposing of. MR RAMPTON: There is no objection, or we have no reservations, if those Jews who cannot or who are unable to work, incapable of work, are disposed of by Dr Brack's means? A. Dr Brack's methods, yes. Q. Again, I am not asserting a positive case, Mr Irving, about history. I do not have to do that. I am asking you, in your role as an open minded objective and scholarly historian, what is the natural interpretation of that letter and the word vergasungsapparate? A. I would say quite clearly they are going to be liquidated. Q. Liquidated by what means? A. Using the methods of Dr Brack. Q. What is a vergasungsapparatein that context? A. There are two paragraphs here of course. We know what was going on at Riga and this is that there was a major fumigation centre at Riga. Q. No, please. A. Well, you asked me the question; I gave you the answer. . P-19 Q. I want to know what the German word "Vergasungsapparate" means? A. Literally, "gassing equipments". "Unterkunfte" means "rooms". Q. Well, or huts or whatever, a place where you put people? A. "Unterkunfte" means "rooms". So we have those two words in conjunction. Q. We do not know whether these are nice little rooms with a view of the countryside? A. I do not think so. I think that they built a 50 cubic metre gassing chamber there for the clothing and this comes out at the test trial. The documents and the test trial make this quite plain. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, but let us get back to the Brack methods referred to on page 2 of that letter. You, as I understand it, accept that is a reference back ---- A. Yes, indeed, but I think it would be ---- Q. --- "fergasungs"? A. --- false to link these two matters because nobody has ever suggested that the gas chambers, homicidal gas chambers, were set up at Riga and that, frankly, my Lord, is the bottom line. Q. Whether or not they were set up, I just want to be clear what your evidence is about what was meant by the Brach methods of getting rid of these Jews. A. Well, I think we established several paragraphs earlier . P-20 that they used various methods to kill the euthanasia victims. Q. But including gas chambers? A. They used carbon monoxide, gas chambers using carbon monoxide. I do not think they ever used any kind of chemicals apart from carbon monoxide from cylinders. They used phenol injections. They used other lethal injections. MR RAMPTON: Could you then please turn, first of all ---- A. But I do emphasise once again that even the most determined Holocaust historian has never suggested that there was a homicidal gas chamber set up at Riga, which is what this letter is about. MR JUSTICE GRAY: I think Mr Rampton puts it forward as evidence of the genesis of a policy ---- A. Right. Q. --- of extermination by methods including gas, is that right? MR RAMPTON: It is, my Lord. My plain submission about this is that it is very strong evidence of intention at a high level to kill Jews by using gas. In the event, it is perfectly right they that did not build a gas chamber. They used trucks at this point. If we want to know what actually happened, may we please go to Professor Longerich's report, the second part, page 49? A. I can only emphasise the fact that in the test trial, all . P-21 this was exhaustively analysed, and the court accepted that there was never any suggestion that gassing equipment was used in Riga. MR JUSTICE GRAY: I think that is accepted. A. Yes. MR JUSTICE GRAY: By Mr Rampton, I mean. MR RAMPTON: In the sense that, yes, "unterkumfte" means accommodations really, does it not? A. Yes. Q. It is always almost used in relation to people in German, is it not? A. Yes. Q. Have you got that Longerich report? A. Yes. Q. At page 49 of the second part at the top of the page, Dr Longerich sets out a translation of the significant parts of the letter from Wetzel to Lohse which, as you have noticed, is marked "Geheim". That is not the highest security classification, is it, Geheim? A. No. Q. I will not read the first paragraph, but I will read the second since we have not done that: "The appropriate apparatus are not available in the required quantity at present, and must first be produced. As Brack is of the opinion that the production of the apparatus would provide greater difficulties in the . P-22 Reich than on-site, he considers it purposeful to send his people to Riga. His chemist, Dr Kallmeyer, in particular, will make all the necessary arrangements." Then it is clearly indicated by Dr Longerich that there is an ellipse. I can tell you that in the original the next sentence begins at the bottom of the first page of the letter. "According to Sturmbannfuhrer Eichmann, camps for Jews will be established in Riga and Minsk, into which Jews from the area of the Altreich will also possibly be brought. At the moment Jews are being evacuated from the Altreich who will be brought to", there probably should be an "o" on that "to" so that "brought too", in other words, "as well as", "in so far as they are fit for work. According to this state of affairs, there are no reservations if those Jews who are incapable of work, are eliminated by the Brackian means ... Those fit for work, on the other hand, will be transported for labour in the East". The sense of that is, surely, this, is it not, Mr Irving -- you can surely accept this -- that the intention was -- what happened in the event is another matter -- as expressed by Wetzel in Berlin in the Ostland Ministry in Berlin, to bring train loads of Jews from the Altreich to Riga and to send some of them that were fit for work to the East and to gas the rest? . P-23 A. That is a quantum leap which disregards the other evidence. You are talking about the intention. Q. I am. A. In fact, it is not the intention. It is the proposal. Q. Yes. A. And I think that there is more than just a nuance between those two words; just the same as somebody in Posnan, I think it was Mr Hukner, in July 1941 wrote a letter to Eichmann saying, would it not be far more humane if you would dispose of these people before the winter comes by some rapidly working means? Well, nobody did that at that time. So these proposals were ventilated by these gangsters. Q. Rather than letting them starve to death, I think it was, was it not? A. I beg your pardon? Q. I said it was rather than letting them starve to death was the proposal. A. Yes, and that is exactly the same kind of thing. These proposals were ventilated and aired. As we find out, nothing was ever done in that direction. Q. You may or may not agree with Professor Longerich. If you disagree, there is nothing I can do about it. You will have to wait until he gets here. He says: "Gas chambers (here described as 'dwellings' (Unterkunfte) were not in fact erected in Riga. Rather, so-called gas vans were to . P-24 be employed"? MR JUSTICE GRAY: Where do you get that from? MR RAMPTON: I do not know; maybe it is in the next sentence. A. Well, oddly enough, I would agree with that. Q. You would? A. Yes. Q. Well, there we are? MR JUSTICE GRAY: Then we need not bother. MR RAMPTON: I will just read on, if I may? A. But I think it is irresponsible to talk about gas chambers being described as "dwellings" in this. I mean, as we know ---- Q. You must take that up with him, I am afraid. A. As we know, they did erect this very large fumigation chamber in Riga which is why Dr Hesch went there in October 1941. Q. You would not describe a fumigation chamber as an "unterkunfte", would you? A. Well, we do not know exactly what shape this fumigation chamber took. They may have taken over a Nissan hut and turned it into a gassing chamber with the appropriate sealants, and so on. Q. No, no, the letter talks about the construction of the required dwellings. That cannot be right, Mr Irving. I am sorry. A. Well, Nissan huts constructed. I just gave that as a kind . P-25 of ready translation. Q. They are not probably (and I am only dealing in probabilities because I am interested in historical integrity rather than proof of what happened) they are not likely, the words "dwellings which needs to be constructed", to be fumigation chambers, are they, given the use of the German word "unterkunfte"? A. Well, I gave precisely the reason why they are. Given the wartime circumstances, I find it highly likely they would have taken an existing building, like a Nissan hut, applied the appropriate sealants and then used that as a fumigation chamber. Q. What word would you naturally use in German for a delousing or fumigation chamber? A. Entlausungs kammer, Entwesungs kammer, Vergasungs kammer. Q. But not this word? A. Well, they have actually done the two. They have said Unterkunfte, Vergasungsapparate. Q. Let us read paragraph 5, may we? "These gas vans were developed by the Criminal Police in autumn 1941 - parallel to the transfer of the technology of 'euthanasia' to Eastern Europe". A. That, I venture to suggest, if I may just interrupt you, is why the letter had a Geheim rating rather than the Top Secret rating. Q. Yes. . P-26 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Mr Rampton, I have read the next four or five paragraphs. What is really being said -- I think this is agreed which is why I am intervening -- is that the policy of using gas vans was not only proposed but was implemented? A. It was implemented, yes. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Eight or 10 of them were employed to kill Jews, starting, as I read it, in Chelmo. Does one need to go through it more detail? Do you accept that, Mr Irving? A. Except for the numbers, I think that is right. MR RAMPTON: I do have a point to make about this. If one looks at paragraph 5, halfway through the paragraph: "After having an execution of Jews performed for his", that is Himmler's, "observation, he demanded of Nebe, the Head of EG B, that other methods of killing should be sought which were more 'humane' than execution", that is by shooting, that is my interpolation, "methods, that is which would put less strain on the firing squads of the SS and policemen". Is that correct? Is that what Himmler demanded of Nebe? A. What a waffly footnote, though, is it not? This is reconstructed from the accounts of witnesses and ---- Q. Do you agree ---- A. Excuse me, and he then actually uses the "indictment" of somebody as a source when an "indictment" is something that has been untested in law. If it had been a judgment . P-27 by a court, that would be different. Q. Mr Irving, you can, as I say, take up the cudgels with Dr Longerich and Professor Browning and anybody else, Professor Evans, about their methods, just as I am doing with you about yours. A. Mr Rampton, you put the sentence to me and I immediately draw attention to the waffly basis. Q. Mr Irving, I wish you would sometimes just listen to my question. Do you agree, as a matter of fact, with what Dr Longerich has there written? A. That Himmler was squeamish?
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