Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day025.11 Last-Modified: 2000/07/25 MR JUSTICE GRAY: That is common ground too, is it not? A. Yes. They were primarily used for the killing of Polish inmates of these institutions. MR IRVING: Was any plan made to build these gas vans before the beginning of Barbarossa, or was it a kind of ad hoc killing method that was developed during the Barbarossa campaign? A. Sorry? Q. An interim experimental method of killing people that was developed in the Barbarossa campaign? A. The gas vans actually exist since 1940, so they were used in the Warthegau and by Sonderkommando Langer to kill the Polish inmates of institutions for disabled persons in 1940. Then in late summer of 1941 they actually transferred this technology to the East. Q. Are there any documents that actually show Sonderkommando Langer operating at Chelmno? A. Yes, there are. Q. Documents as opposed to eyewitnesses? MR RAMPTON: Again I have to say I thought this was common . P-136 ground. MR IRVING: I am sorry, I am not going to question that. MR RAMPTON: I did not think there was any dispute at all about the slaughter of 97,000 people between December and whenever it was, May. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, and indeed that is true also, I think, of Treblinka and Sobibor, is it not? MR RAMPTON: I think so too. MR IRVING: There is dispute about the scale. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Well, up to a point that is true. MR IRVING: Yes. MR JUSTICE GRAY: But there is no future in challenging Sonderkommando Langer's recollection, is there? MR IRVING: There is only point in disputing what Sonderkommando Langer was up to. Are you familiar with the fact that it was also apparently flown, according to Brightman, to take part in operations, I think Novgarod? A. Yes. This is the link between the Warthegau killings and the killings in Russia because we know from actually, it is the intercepts I think, we know that Himmler summoned the Sonderkommando to Novgarod where they killed the inmates of a local home for disabled people. This is an essential part of the history of the Chelmno extermination camp. This is the link. Q. Does not the document show that the Sonderkommando was flown to Novgarod? . P-137 A. Yes. Q. How could they have put their van in a plane? A. I did not say that they used a van. They killed the people obviously with bottles. Q. By some other means? A. No, with bottles, gas in bottles. Q. They did not only use gas vans then. Page 51 paragraphs, 10 to 11. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Paragraph 10 are you going to now, did you say? 10. We can start with paragraph 10. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes. MR IRVING: You refer on line 4 to 600 Soviet prisoners of war being gassed. Is that right? A. Yes. Q. At Auschwitz? A. Yes. Q. Can I ask you just to have a look at one page from the book by the witness Professor van Pelt which I have included in the little bundle at page 12 this morning. The second paragraph is describing, the paragraph beginning with the words, "A major reason for the slow progress", it is describing the high mortality rate which has resulted from hygienic conditions in Auschwitz and Birkenhau. There it says in the month of October 1,255 Soviets, meaning Soviet prisoners, had died from these hygienic conditions. He does not refer to gassings. What . P-138 is the reason for this discrepancy, do you think? A. I think if you read the book carefully, you will find a reference to the killing. In the same chapter you will find a reference to the killing of 600. Q. Indeed. I wrote to him in Mat 1996 asking for an explanation for the discrepancy, that on one part he describes them as being gassed and here on this page he refers to them clearly as ---- A. There is no discrepancy. MR RAMPTON: This is a nonsense. I am sorry to have to keep standing up, but this is really such a waste of time. There is no inconsistency in this. MR JUSTICE GRAY: No, I can see that people were being gassed and people were dying for other reasons. MR RAMPTON: Of course and van Pelt's evidence ---- MR JUSTICE GRAY: I am just looking it up. MR RAMPTON: --- I say it in his absence and from memory was that either in August or September 1941 there was an experimental gassing with Zyklon-B of 600 Soviet prisoners and others at Auschwitz (i). There is no inconsistency in that. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Just pause a moment. MR RAMPTON: I am afraid I have not got his report here. MR JUSTICE GRAY: I have and I am just looking. MR RAMPTON: My Lord, he gives ---- MR IRVING: My Lord, I am sorry, but I am going to have to . P-139 stick with what I said, notwithstanding this renewed interruption. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Well, you have just I think challenged what Dr Longerich says about the first ---- MR IRVING: 600 who were gassed which is the standard story. MR JUSTICE GRAY: --- gassing, well, actually 850, but leave that on one side, as having taken place in September or December 1941. You put to him something that Professor van Pelt wrote, I think, in order to support your challenge and I am just trying to find it but I cannot. MR IRVING: Page 272 of his book, my Lord. MR JUSTICE GRAY: I know, but I am looking at his report which is possibly more complete, but I cannot immediately. We will have to move on. Perhaps somebody might be able to find the reference. MR RAMPTON: My Lord, try page 105 of van Pelt's report. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Thank you very much. I would like to track it down whilst we are on this point. 105. MR RAMPTON: Yes, 104, 105. MR JUSTICE GRAY: That is in the area where I was looking. Yes. "It is important to note that after the war various witnesses confirmed that in early September the Germans had used block 11, the same block, as an experimental gas chamber". MR RAMPTON: That was the execution block until the crematorium at Auschwitz (i) was converted into a gas chamber. . P-140 MR IRVING: My Lord ---- MR JUSTICE GRAY: So, I mean, van Pelt appears to be at one with Dr Longerich, I think it is fair to say? MR RAMPTON: Absolutely, but there is no inconsistency between an experimental gassing in early September and deaths from something else in October. None at all. MR JUSTICE GRAY: I think this is right, Mr Irving, actually, is it not? MR IRVING: I refer only to the fact that the evidence for the gassings is our familiar source, eyewitnesses, and the following sentence in the book which I quoted is -- I will read both sentences together -- "This contributed to the high mortality rate. In the month of October 1,255 Soviets had died. None of this was welcome news to SS headquarters in Berlin where the prisoners, the Russian prisoners, were considered an asset." What are you gassing 600 assets for? MR JUSTICE GRAY: Do you have Professor van Pelt's book in court? MR IRVING: I do not have it in court, no, my Lord. A. Which page is this in van Pelt's report? MR JUSTICE GRAY: 105, I think it was. MR RAMPTON: 104 and 105 of Professor van Pelt's report. MR JUSTICE GRAY: I think let us press on. MR IRVING: I will just press on and ask one relevant question. (To the witness): Dr Longerich, the source you . P-141 relied on for the 600 prisoners being gassed and for the further 900 in December are the sources you have given in 235, is that right? A. Yes. Q. All secondary sources? There is nothing of a primary, no documentary source for that, is there? A. I think the statement of Brach is probably an eyewitness, partially an eyewitness statement. Q. Page 50, you say there were six gas vans. You say in paragraph 8, probably a total of six gas vans. Do you disagree with those who say the total was three, only three were ever built? A. Well, I am quite familiar with the Einsatzgruppen. I studied their material and I went through all evidence about the Einsatzgruppen, and my calculation is a minimum of six. There is probably, there is probably some material here mentioned or used by me which has probably not been available to others. Q. They did drive around a lot, did they not, from one killing area to another? A. No. It is referring here to reports by the Einsatzgruppen. They say, "We have one or we have two vans at our disposal at a certain time" and you can easily come to the conclusion they had a minimum of six vans available. I did this for all of the four Einsatzgruppen and it is a minimum. They could have -- it could have . P-142 been more but this is as far as I came. Q. Page 51, please, paragraph 11, we are looking at a visit by Adolf Eichmann allegedly to Auschwitz where he had a conversation with Rudolf Hoess, the Kommandant? A. Where are we? In 55 in? Q. As you comment, they disagree firmly on what the date of that visit was. A. Yes. Q. And, in fact, Eichmann in his own copy of Hoess's memoirs dismissed it as fantasy, that there never had been any such meeting. Are you familiar with that? A. Well, he also dismissed it -- he was very critical about Hoess in his interrogations in Israel. So we are at the moment at page? Q. 51? A. 51, sorry. Q. So you really have to decide which of these two criminals you believe, have you not? A. Well, I do not think we have to. You know, the history of the Holocaust is not or the decision-making or systematic character is not based on either the evidence of, you know, Hoess or Eichmann. Q. Paragraph 12, you are talking about the construction of a monster crematorium with 32 chambers, furnished chambers. Can you confirm that your source for that is just an article by Gerlach in Holocaust and Genocide Studies? . P-143 A. Yes, it is an excellent piece of work. He spent about eight years to study the Holocaust in White Russia. I know him personally, discussed it with him. I think he put, he actually supported his article with a lot of evidence. Q. Is there any document, any one document, that proves there was a plan to construct an extermination facility there? A. No. This is a conclusion because they built this large crematorium with 32, 32 chamber furnished, and I think the magnitude of this installation gives you a clear indication that they were planning something very sinister in Mogilev. Q. Is it possible there is another non-sinister interpretation like it was going to become a central corpse disposal facility for the whole of the Russian Front or the whole of the area or partisan war or something? A. Well, in this article Gerlach dealt with the suggestion. I did not, I cannot remember the calculation, but the calculation, you know, the corpses they wanted to burn there is extraordinary. It exceeds, as far as I am aware, of the number of ---- Q. Was it ever built? A. No, it was a plan. Q. A plan. Paragraph 13, I am a bit confused about what you are actually saying in this paragraph. Do you confirm . P-144 that all the various preparations for mass killings you have described were designed for limited regional killing actions only? A. Well, can I comment on this? I think you have to put this in a context. What I am trying to say here is that in phase, autumn '41 to spring 1942, we have -- the killing is extended from the Soviet Union to other regions, particularly to the Warthegau, to the district of Lublin, to -- it also extended to Serbia and you have in this period the large mass killings in Riga and in Minsk. You can, if you look at the transfers of the gas technology, the gas killing technology, to the East, you can see that exactly in these areas of the cities they are either building gas killing facilities or they are planning to build them. Lodz, for Lodz you have Chelmo, the first wave, 20,000 Jews deported to Lodz. They are building Chelmno, first of all, for there to kill the local Polish Jews. Q. The killing of what? A. Building a, well, Chelmno, the ---- Q. Yes? A. --- a station for gas vans. Yes? Then we have evidence that in October 1941 they started to build Belzec, the extermination camp, in the district of Lublin. At the same time they were planning to send German Jews to Lublin. They were planning this to kill the local Jews. . P-145 The same applies to Riga. We have the famous letter, 25th October 1941, where actually the Reisigerhauptamt a gas van -- a gas killing installations to Osland. There is this plan in Mogilev. So this I think, in my view, gives a very clear picture. They are sending Jews from Central Europe to certain ghettos in the East and they are either making preparations for gas killing installation at exactly these places, or they have plans to do so. Q. This is the confusion because you said that in section A there was no indication during that same time span of any overall plan for extermination? A. Yes, the extermination, I am not sure whether I did not say this clearly enough, but the extermination, first of all, relates to the local Jews, so the non-German Jews, the Jews who lived there, the Jews of Lodz, the Jews of the district of Lublin, the Jews of Riga, the Jews of Minsk. They are not at this stage, they are not -- they are, obviously, not killing the German Jews on arrival. They are making preparations or are about to kill the local Jews. Q. To make space for the arrival of the German Jews? A. If you want to say it in a cynical way, yes. Q. So was this an integral part of the German plan to exterminate all Jews, is that what you are saying? A. I do not know whether you can call it a plan, but I think . P-146 it gives you an idea of the systematic character of the operation. They are -- you have in 1941, autumn 1941, to spring 1942, the killing extended to certain areas, and these are exactly the areas where actually Jews from Germany are deported to or where they are waiting for the trains from Germany. I think if you look at this, if you tie the loose ends together, it gives you an idea that behind this is a system, an idea, to systematically kill ---- Q. So you are going back on your suggestion that section A, during the section A period of your report, there was no overall plan to exterminate? MR JUSTICE GRAY: No, because I think -- can I just check I understand -- your section A was really talking about European Jews? A. Central European Jews. Q. Central European Jews? A. Yes. Q. And the beginning of the systemized killing that you have described in October or thereabouts of 1941 applied still to the local Jews? A. Yes. Q. I think that is the way he is putting it. You may not accept it. MR IRVING: Right. Perhaps I can clarify with another question. Are you saying then that all these . P-147 preparations, the exporting of the gas technology, is part of an overall plan to kill all Jews under German control? A. Well, I am not trying to perceive as a kind of preplanned, of a kind of blueprint or a plan which actually existed in, let us say, 1940, 1941. I am trying to explain that the killing of the European Jews was a process which emerged, you know, step by step, and we are now in a phase where obviously the killing was extended to other parts of Europe than the Soviet Union. My argumentation, I am simply very cautious. I am saying, here are the facts, we know what happened and I am really hesitant to say this was the result of a plan which existed before the killing actually started. I am just showing you, I am trying to lead you through the different phases of this policy. Q. Yes. Are you aware that the judgment in the Eichmann trial said that all these preparations were part of a plan to exterminate all Jews under German control. A. Well, first of all, again I would like to have the verdict here, but, you see, the Eichmann trial was held in 1960, and we cannot ignore that we have historical research on the subject now for four decades and, of course, in some areas we have much, much more evidence than the Judges in the Eichmann case.
Site Map ·
What's New? ·
Home · Site Map · What's New? · Search Nizkor