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Last-Modified: 2000/07/20

   Q.   If they had found a smoking gun, if they had found
        evidence of a system establishing the link between Himmler
        and Hitler, anything like that, they would have caught the
        next plane back to Washington and held a press conference.

   A.   Actually, I disagree with you on this, because now you
        assume that the issue which is so important to you, or the
        issue which is so important to maybe Mr Montonia, is also
        central to other people.  I admit that, when Mr Pressac
        started his work on Auschwitz, he was very much inspired,
        so to speak, by the research agenda set by Robert
        Faurisson.  For example, my own research agenda has been

.          P-111

        completely independent of the issues raised by Holocaust
        deniers, revisionists or whatever name we want to give to
        these people who look with a very particular perspective
        into the files to find, as you call it, a smoking gun.
   Q.   Do you not agree that it is quite an important element of
        the Holocaust story whether this was a series of arbitrary
        actions committed by individual gangsters and Nazi
        criminals, or whether there was an overall scheme or
        system directed by Adolf Hitler himself?
   A.   I think that it is an important question in so far as you
        think this is an open question.  I think that, if as an
        historian you have come to the conclusion, on the
        convergence of evidence and the work of many eminent
        historians, that it is not any more a great historical
        question, or a historical question at all, then I do not
        think that you are going to waste your energy researching
        that issue.
   Q.   Is "convergence of evidence" another way of saying
        "reading between the lines"?
   A.   No.  "Convergence of evidence" is exactly what it says.
        That is, at a certain moment, for example, I will give
        just the example of the morgue number 1 in crematorium 2,
        that is a convergence between what sonderkommandos say
        about it, what Germans say about it and what the blue
        prints tell us, and what the ruins tell us.
   Q.   This is the building where you say 500,000 people were

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        killed in round figures?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   In the mortuary number 1 of crematorium number 2 in
        Auschwitz, Birkenhau.  Can I ask you, please, in your
        report to turn to page 352?  My Lord it is 352 of the van
        Pelt report.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Thank you very much.
   MR IRVING:  Just going briefly back to the question of
        priority, which is not entirely unrelated to this,
        Professor van Pelt, do you recognize this as what you
        might call the verboder document?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   January 29th 1943?
   A.   Yes, I do.
   Q.   We have not read this document in court, my Lord.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I know I have read this but I am afraid it
        has gone out of my mind what exactly it is.
   MR IRVING:  It is a conference held on January 29 1943 between
        the central construction office at Auschwitz and the local
        AEG branch at Kattowitz, the nearest town. "AEG informs
        this is the record made and signed by the two participants
        in the conference that it has not received valid iron and
        metal certificates in response to its iron and metal
        request, which were partly already filed in November
        1942".  Has your Lordship found it?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  No.  There are an awful lot of pictures

.          P-113

        around this section.
   MR IRVING:  Page 352.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  It is more difficult than it would appear.
        I have it now.
   MR IRVING:  Page 352.  It is a conference held on January 29th
        1943, concerning electricity supply and installation of
        the concentrationslager, the concentration camp and the
        prison camp, at Birkenhau.  The conference was held
        between the Auschwitz construction office and the local
        AEG office, the electric company, and I start at five
        lines downs:
                  "AEG informs that it has not yet received valid
        iron and metal certificates in response to its iron and
        metal request which were partly already filed in November
        1942.  Therefore it was not possible for this firm to
        begin construction of the ordered parts of the
        installation.  There is a great likelihood that, due to
        the continued delay in the allotment of these requests,
        delivery will take much longer.  As a result of this it is
        not possible to complete the installation and electricity
        supply of crematorium 2 (that is the building we are
        talking about) in Birkenhau by January 31st 1943. " I jump
        the next sentence: "This operation can only involve a
        limited use of the available machines whereby it is made
        possible burning with simultaneous special treatment".
                  Overlooking this, the overview of this document

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        is that the defence relies on this document, I think I am
        right in saying, as another pointer to the existence of
        something called "special treatment" in crematorium 2,
        sonderbehandlung.  I am relying on the document for a
        totally different reason, saying that even Auschwitz,
        Birkenhau, had difficulty getting priorities.  The purpose
        of this document -- am I right, Professor van Pelt -- is
        saying that they have difficulty running the electric
        equipment with the existing power supply?  They cannot do
        this and that simultaneously because they do not have
        adequate power supply.  It will blow the fuses or whatever?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Is this not an extraordinary document, Professor van
        Pelt?  Does that not indicate that they had difficulty
        obtaining priorities even for an extra 100 or 200 yards of
        copper cable or whatever it took?
   A.   I think it is not an extraordinary document at all,
        because the history of Auschwitz, or one of the histories
        of Auschwitz, is the history of the building department
        being unable to get anything done.
   Q.   Because of lack of priorities?
   A.   No. I think we have to go back to one of the fundamental
        problems that the SS faced in the German wartime economy.
        That is that the SS at this moment does not have yet
        Wehrhoheit.  This means that it is not yet recognized as a

.          P-115

        part of the armed forces.  The armed forces can get
        supplies relatively easily in the wartime economy because
        they are given this priority status and the SS is not.
                  On top of that, the crematorium we are talking
        about, the building which we are talking about, is a
        building which was commissioned, the original design had
        been created and all the paperwork had been done in early
        1942, for this building, that is before there were plans
        to bring the Final Solution to Auschwitz.
                  So one of the reasons that happened exactly at
        crematorium number 2 and not any of the other crematoria
        is because crematorium 2 is quite literally, both in its
        design and in its whole administrative history, a holdover
        of an earlier history of the camp, that is an history
        which is not connected to Final Solution because the Final
        Solution only comes in Auschwitz in 1919, the paperwork is
        not the right paperwork.  So you do not find a document
        like that for crematorium 3 or crematorium 4 or
        crematorium 5.
   Q.   It says here: "Because of this, it is absolutely
        impossible to supply crematorium 3 with electricity".
        They are referring again to the shortage of metal to build
        the extra copper cable to keep these things going.
   A.   Yes, but crematorium 3 is an appendix to crematorium
        number 2.  I was maybe a little too hasty on that thing.
        The problem is that, throughout the form, we are faced

.          P-116

        with a situation in Auschwitz in which, in some way, this
        building in August 1942, there is a switch in the kind of
        design office after the Himmler visit of July 1942 which
        suddenly they will have to start to accommodate the Final
        Solution one way or another.  There was a meeting on 19th
        August where these problems are discussed.
   Q.   1942?
   A.   1942, and crematoria 4 and 5 are then in some way brought
        up as a solution to that particular problem.  Then, for a
        number of months, crematoria 2 and 3 remain in limbo in
        some way.  It is not exactly clear, for a number of
        months, if these buildings will be fully committed to the
        Final Solution or not.  Then what you see is that it is
        only by December that the final papers are drawn up for
        the transformation of the basement.
                  Again, I think that we are dealing in this
        document with requests which have been made in November.
        It is the end document of a long history of problems.
        There continued to be problems in 1943 and 1944 with
        getting anything to Auschwitz.  I am not surprised by
        This is basically the nature of getting things done in
        Auschwitz at the time.
   Q.   But all this implies, certainly to any objective observer,
        does it not, that here you have a document dealing with
        sonderbehandlung, which either means liquidating people or
        it does not.  If it does mean liquidating, then it is part

.          P-117

        of the Final Solution which this court is told was ordered
        by Adolf Hitler, or by the system, or by Himmler at the
        very least, yet they cannot get the priority for 200 yards
        of copper cable.
   A.   It seems also that what we hear from the historical record
        is that trains with Jews were parked on sites for days and
        days while other trains went by because the trains did not
        get priority to send the Jews to the extermination camps.
   Q.   Would I be right in inferring from that remark and from
        this document that whatever sonderbehandlung was, or
        whatever these trains were going towards, was not being
        done in the highest priority ordered by Adolf Hitler or by
        the system?
   A.   I do not think you can draw that conclusion.  I think the
        only conclusion you probably can do is that
        administratively, and I am only talking administratively
        and maybe even technically, the Final Solution was
        piggybacked on some other larger infrastructure, technical
        infrastructure, something like that, which was already in
        place, and which of course makes sense because the Final
        Solution, by its very nature, is a short-term process.
        I mean already by the end of 1943 the Germans had been
        able to kill more or less all the Jews they had been able
        to lay their hands on.  Only Hungarian Jewry were still
        there intact because they had been able to go to Hungary
        yet.  So in that sense there is no need to make this - ---

.          P-118

   Q.   Professor, that is rather an exaggerated statement to say
        the Germans had been able to kill all the Jews they had
        been able to lay their hands on.  Do you wish to
        reconsider that statement?
   A.   No, I do not.  I think that this is a very fair
        description of the historical situation.
   Q.   There were very large numbers of Jews in Germany still
        alive at that time and performing useful tasks in the
        munitions factories.
   A.   If you provide the evidence for all this very large number
        of Jews, I am happy to consider it, but at the moment ----
   Q.   Very large numbers of German Jews actually survived in
        Germany for one reason or another.
   A.   If you give me the evidence, if you mention ----
   Q.   Is it not so that in some cities like Berlin or Stuttgart
        the round up was pursued with great energy and verve and
        in other cities it was not pursued with much energy or
        verve at all?
   A.   My Lord, I am not a specialist on round-ups in Berlin and
        I prefer not to ----
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  May I ask you a question and it is this.  Do
        you accept that when, or shortly after, Himmler visited
        Auschwitz in July 1942, a decision was taken to accelerate
        the extermination programme, what you call bringing the
        Final Solution to Auschwitz?
   A.   No, I do not agree with the way you formulate it right

.          P-119

   Q.   You do not?
   A.   No.  I think a distinction we made in the book, and which
        maybe I should make right now, is that there was a
        practice of killing Jews in Auschwitz before 4th July
        1942, that from 4th July to 19th July, 18th July 1942, a
        kind of inbetween situation emerged, it is only a 14 day
        period, and that after 18th July, the Himmler visit,
        Auschwitz was really directed to become a place where a
        policy of extermination exists, so we move from practice
        to policy, and where the practice of killing Jews in
        Auschwitz before 4th July 1942, and maybe in a more larger
        sense before 19th or 18th July 1942, is the result of a
        number of contingent situations that the SS in general and
        particularly the SS in Auschwitz sees itself confronted
        with when certain groups of Jews arrived.
   Q.   So it becomes policy but it does not become urgent
        policy?  Is that what you are saying?
   A.   It is certainly very urgent for the people on the ground
        in Auschwitz.  They tried to get things done.
   Q.   I meant for those directing the policy.
   A.   I wonder what your Lordship means by "urgent for the
        people who are directing the policy"?

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