The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day010.09

Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day010.09
Last-Modified: 2000/07/20

   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  That is not a very good way of
        cross-examining, if I may say so.  Are you able to refer

.          P-71

        to them now?
   MR IRVING:  Not at this instant in time, my Lord.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  All right.
   MR IRVING:  If I was surrounded by research assistants, no
        doubt I would be bombarded with copies of that very
        document.  Does Tauber not say --, I refer you now to
        Pressac page 483.  Do you have a copy of Pressac?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I do not.
   MR RAMPTON:  Your Lordship has the tab of Pressac at the back
        of H 2(vi).
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I do not have H 2(vi).
   MR RAMPTON:  Then somebody will get it for your Lordship.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I am sorry, I do not have the supporting
        documents in court.
   MR RAMPTON:  I will find your Lordship the tab.  It is tab 5.
        It folds out because Pressac is an oblong book.  What has
        been copied here is just the Tauber chapter, I think.
   MR IRVING:  Would you agree, reading this very detailed
        account, Professor, that it is likely that, when Tauber
        made this deposition to Jan Sehn, I believe it was made,
        they had in front of them the architectural blueprints to
        jog his memory?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  We had this yesterday, that point.
   MR IRVING:  Very well.  I am just drawing attention to how
        detailed it was.  Yet he says that on either side of these
        pillars, the central support pillars, there were four

.          P-72

        others, two on each side.  Now He is relying on his memory ----
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Where are you now?
   A.   We are now back in the gas chamber?  Where are we at page
        483?  OK.  We are at the top of 484, the first column
        the left.
   MR IRVING:  Thank you very much.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I have not got the pagination so there is
        way I am going to find this.
   MR IRVING:  It is over the page, the page beginning with
        words "middle of its length".
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I just do not have page numbers, that is
        problem.  They have all been cut off.
   MR IRVING:  I will read it out.  It says, "On other side of
        these pillars there were four others, C1 to C4, two on
        each side".  Mr Pressac, who is quite an expert on
        says that Mr Tauber is mistaken, this arrangement is
        only in the gas chamber of crematorium (iii).  He is
        confusing things, is he not?
   A.   Mr Pressac?
   Q.   No.  Mr Tauber is confusing things.
   A.   I know that Mr Pressac thinks that.  I do not agree
        Mr Pressac.  There is no evidence at all that Pressac
        right on this issue.
   Q.   That Pressac is sometimes wrong, in other words?
   A.   Oh, yes.  Pressac is sometimes wrong.  I have had my

.          P-73

        quarrels with Pressac in the past.
   Q.   He says, and I am quoting again, "The gas chamber had
        water supply of its own".
   A.   Where are we now?
   Q.   I only have extracts, unfortunately.  Further down
        same column, Pressac says that three taps were in fact
        installed in the room, according to the drawing?
   A.   I am just trying to find this thing.
   Q.   According to the inventory.
   A.   I see the gas chambers, no water supply and so on, it
        around two inches from the bottom, and the first
        the same column where the pillars were described.
   MR IRVING:  Yes.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I am not following why that is a
criticism of
        Tauber at the moment.
   MR IRVING:  Well, he has made another error.
   A.   There is a little note.  It is followed by a little
        which says ----
   Q.   Saying they were later taken out?
   A.   Yes, so we do not know which day or date Tauber was
        referring to.
   Q.   Yes.  You yourself have confirmed that at the end of
        I believe, the gas chamber was divided into two by a
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   So the small transports could be handled.  Mr Tauber

.          P-74

        confirmed this.  He is the source of that information,
        he not?
   A.   No.  There is also a Greek.  Actually, in my report I
        mention a Greek Jew who was transported from Seloniki,
        actually mentions also, he was quite specific in his
        description of that division of the gas chamber.
   Q.   Another eyewitness?
   A.   Yes, another eyewitness.
   Q.   Is there any trace of that division in the ruins?
   A.   You cannot see that.  That is the problem because the
        has collapsed on the floor of the gas chamber.
   Q.   Yes.  It would not make much sense, would it, to all
        bodies that far because this small transports were
        in the chamber furthest from the entrance, so the
        would have been pulled the whole way down.  Would that
        have made gassing of large numbers like 2,000 at a
        very difficult?
   A.   If you have the small chamber at the back, you would
        fewer people and, in fact, as we have seen in the
        drawing, it actually provides an opportunity for the
        so-called dentists among the sonderkommando and the
        who cut the hair to actually do their work downstairs
        not in the incineration room, as was usually the
   Q.   He also describes, does he not, the crematorium
   A.   I presume that is crematorium chimney smoke, indeed,

.          P-75

        I would like to see it but I assume on your authority
        the crematorium chimneys do smoke, yes.
   Q.   From your memory, presumably you have read Mr Tauber's
        testimony in detail, is it right that he describes it
        being possible to cremate five or eight bodies
        simultaneously in one furnace?
   A.   I think that we can probably go to the passage itself.
   Q.   Well, he does say that, does he not?
   A.   Let us go to the passage, because he is very
particular in
        his description.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Is this in your report at page 194?
   A.   194 yes.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I cannot see the bit at the moment.
   A.   194.  We go to 192 and 193.  I can read the whole
        or Mr Irving can read the passage, starting: "The
        procedure was to put the first corpse with the feet
        towards the muffle, back down and face up".  Then he
        a very detailed description of that procedure.
   MR IRVING:  So he is the source of the information that
five to
        eight bodies were cremated simultaneously or quickly?
   A.   No.  I think that Mr Hirst also talks about that, that
        more bodies are inserted in the muffles at one time.
   Q.   Does Mr Tauber also describe the bodies of those
gassed as
        being red with green spots?
   A.   I do remember that he gives a quite a longish
        of the ----

.          P-76

   Q.   If you remember it, there is no need to look it up.
   A.   I do not any more remember if it is Tauber or any
   Q.   Do you know what a body that has been gassed with
        cyanide looks like, what colour it turns?
   A.   I understand it starts to look slightly reddish.
   Q.   Like a radish? Red with green spots?
   A.   No, reddish.
   Q.   With green spots.  Would you think that that is
        the victim of some epidemic?
   A.   I am not an epidemiologist.  I do not know how people
        have died from typhus or other epidemics look like.
   Q.   Cyanide victims do not go red with green spots, not if
        they have just been gassed.  If they have been left
        around for a few days, perhaps they might.
   A.   I have no comment on that.  I cannot possibly comment
   Q.   Does he describe a prisoner being dowsed with naphtha
        which is a flammable substance?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  This is Tauber still?
   MR IRVING:  This is Tauber, yes, and then being burned
alive in
        a crematorium muffle, and then they let him out and he
        around screaming?
   A.   He has a particular incident.  Again, I do not know
        it is.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Is it in your report?

.          P-77

   A.   It is in my report, yes.
   MR IRVING:  Does he describe another prisoner being chased
        a pool of boiling human fat, which sounds like an
        Talmudic kind of quotation.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I am not quite sure, Mr Irving, perhaps
        can explain to me.  You are putting various things
        you say Mr Tauber described.
   MR IRVING:  Well, my Lord, the inference is ----
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  With what object?  Are you suggesting all
        this is invention?
   MR IRVING:  I am not suggesting they are all invention, but
        they test a reasonable historian's credulity, and one
        should therefore be inclined to subject this
        testimony to closer than normal scrutiny, if I can put
        like that.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Let us ask Professor van Pelt what he
        of that suggestion.
   MR IRVING:  I have two more of these episodes to put to
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Put two more and then answer the general
        question, would you?
   MR IRVING:  The prisoner was chased into a pool of boiling
        human fat -- does he describe that?
   A.   Mr Irving, if you give me the passage, I will----
   Q.   He is your principal eyewitness, or one of your
        eye witnesses.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  He wants the reference, Mr Irving, which

.          P-78

        not unreasonable.  I am trying to find it and I must
say I
   MR IRVING:  Certainly if I had read the Tauber report, I
        be able to say yes or no to that.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I am looking in Professor van Pelt's
   A.   Mr Irving, we are in a court of law here and whatever
        I say does matter.  It means that I need to respond to
        exact quotation of what Tauber says, and then I am
        prepared to say yes or nay.
   MR IRVING:  Very well.  We will look up the exact quotation
        time for lunch.  Let us proceed then to the final one.
        you agree that Mr Tauber also attests to the figure of
        million killed in Auschwitz?
   MR RAMPTON:  We thought we had found the passage in
        It is page 190 of the report.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Thank you very much.
   MR IRVING:  Yes.  This is the problem with writing with
        processors.  Things tend to go through the finger tips
        rather than through the memory and brain.  In other
        he does have this rather lurid description of the man
   A.   Mr Irving, I do not deny that I put this in, and I do
        remember the incident, but I do not want to comment on
        very general description you give of the incident when
        I do not have the text in front of me.
   Q.   Can I read it to you?  It is on page 190 of your own
        report. "When the shifts were changing over, they had

.          P-79

        found a gold watch and wedding ring on one of the
        labourers, a man Wolbrom called Lejb.  This Jew, aged
        about twenty, was dark and had a number of one hundred
        thousand and something.  All the Sonderkommando
working in
        the crematorium were assembled, and before their eyes
        was hung, with his hands tied behind his back, from an
        iron bar above the firing hearths.  He remained in
        position for about an hour, then after untying his
        and feet, they threw him  in a cold crematorium
        Gasoline was poured into the lower ash bin... And lit.
        The flames reached the muffle where this Lejb was
        imprisoned.  A few minutes later, they opened the door
        the condemned man emerged and ran off, covered in
         ... This fat was poured over the corpses to
        their combustion.  This poor devil was pulled out of
        fat still alive and then shot."
                  Does that sound to like a completely neutral
        plausible account of an atrocity?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Leave aside "neutral".  That is an
        word.  Do you think it is plausible?
   A.   Yes.
   MR IRVING:  Very well.  The figure of 4 million to which
        attested, do you call that also plausible at the time
   A.   The figure of 4 million?  Not, because nowadays we
        very detailed information on what actually the figure

.          P-80

        and it is more likely to have been around a million.
   Q.   So would you agree that this is an example of what I
        cross pollination?  He hits on the figure of 4 million
        because that was the current figure at that time?
   A.   I do think that we should look at how the figure of 4
        million originally arose.

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