Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day009.05 Last-Modified: 2000/07/20 Q. May I, first of all, pardon my rudeness, welcome you to our country and say what a great pleasure I had in reading your book on Auschwitz -- for what it is worth, it is one of the few books that I have read from cover to cover and it was a book that I found very difficult to put down. I do not know how much of the book was written by you and I do not know how much of the book was written by your partner, Deborah Dwork. However, a number of questions arise from the book and, after we have seen the video, I would ask you just in one paragraph to give the court a brief history of Auschwitz in the way you have done in the book so admirably on the basis of documentation. You studied at the University of Leiden, am I correct? A. Yes, I did. Q. And you are now Professor of the History of Architecture at the University of Waterloo in Toronto? A. No. The issue of my appointment is kind of confusing. . P-38 I am in the Department of Architecture and hence I am officially a Professor of Architecture. Your title as Professor depends on the department you are in. However, I teach in what we call the Cultural History stream, so normally, in order to prevent confusion in ordinary usage, I would call myself Professor of Cultural History because, both in my background, my PhD and my teaching duties, I teach cultural history in the architectural school. However, when I was advised about the way I had to create my curriculum vitae for this proceeding, I was told that I had been to be extremely precise in the legal sense of what I was, so again I put in Professor of Architecture. MR JUSTICE GRAY: So you are really a cultural historian? A. I am really a cultural historian. MR IRVING: This is a point of some substance, my Lord. We need to know precisely what your qualifications are to offer your expertise to the court. I do not mean this in the least sense in a derogatory manner because, as I say, I have read both your book and your report with the utmost interest. However, we need to know what your areas of expertise actually are. In Britain, of course, we have the Royal Institute of British Architects. Are you familiar with the fact that it is illegal in England to call yourself an architect unless you are registered with the RIBA? A. That is in most countries like that, yes, I know. . P-39 Q. In Holland, the equivalent is the Bond van Nederlandse Architecten, am I correct? I am sorry about my pronunciation. A. Yes, Bond van Nederlandse Architecten. Q. Which is the rough equivalent of the RIBA? A. Yes. Q. Am I right in saying that you are not registered with the Bond van Nederlandse Architecten? A. I have never had any reason to do so since I never studied in an architectural school. Q. So you cannot legally pretend to be an architect, if I can put it like that? A. No, I could be prosecuted. Q. You could be prosecuted? A. Yes. Q. Rather like Mr Leuchter was prosecuted in Massachusetts for pretending to be an engineer? A. Yes. Q. You can probably see the thrust of this particular question. In other words, your expertise, as an architect, is the same as Mr Leuchter's expertise was an engineer? A. I do not really know. I have been teaching in architecture school now since 1984. I have taught design courses, specially in small architecture schools one needs to chip in wherever one does. I have been on . P-40 architectural juries and quick sessions, mostly on a weekly, bi-weekly, kind of frequency. I did ---- Q. You have never learned architecture? You have never studied architecture at university? You have never taken a degree in architecture? A. I do not have a degree in it, but I have been confronted with the architectural practice and, apart from that, I have worked for various architects, one of them, Sir Dennis Leston, here in England, when he was designing the Synagogue in Jerusalem. I have worked with Jack Diamond in Toronto. So I have been in architectural offices very often and other practices. Q. And, of course, you are now advising the present Auschwitz authorities on the reconstruction, if I can put it like that, of the Auschwitz site? A. I was advising them, yes. Q. You are no longer doing so. Very well. So if I am called a pseudo historian, then you are a pseudo architect, if I can put it like that? A. Yes, except I have never claimed to be either an architect or a pseudo architect. Q. Except that you are a Professor of architecture, you announce you are a Professor architecture, you leave people with the impression that you are an expert on architecture, and yet you have never studied it and you have never qualified and you are not registered as such? . P-41 A. I must say that I probably would prefer to be called a Professor of cultural history, but the fact of the matter is that the university has given me an appointment as Professor of architecture. So ---- Q. But you are not giving evidence here on the culture of Auschwitz; you are giving evidence on the architecture of Auschwitz. A. I am going to evidence, I hope, on the history of Auschwitz, and the architectural documents are a very important historical source. I think we both agree on that. I think, as an historian, you can talk about various forms of evidence and the architectural documents is one of these forms of evidence. Q. I do not mean these questions in the least sense as a put down, but I think it is important to draw his Lordship's attention to the fact that your qualifications as an architect are, in fact, no greater or lesser than mine? A. I agree that my formal qualifications are exactly the same as yours. Q. So when you look at light switches or architectural drawings or blue prints, as you call them, you are no better qualified than I am? A. No, but I would say, your Lordship, that I have been doing this for the past maybe 15 years, and so there is a certain practical experience, I would say, which may be is going to be relevant. . P-42 Q. Yes. There is only one other very general question on the question of credit which I would ask you before we settle back and watch the 10 minute video. Your report is unusual in one respect, and your Lordship may have noticed it, it has a copyright line on page 2. In other words, you claim copyright in this document. Now, remembering you are on oath, would you tell the court if you have any intention eventually of publishing this? A. At the moment I do not have. I think it is an unpublishable document. Q. I disagree. It is set out in chapter form. It has literary quotations at the beginning of every chapter, quotations from Mediaeval poets and other authors in a way you do not normally find in an expert report, I would have thought. I would have thought it was designed explicitly for publication at some future date? A. No. When the occasion would arise, I would be very pleased if some of the things could be used, but I have learned to respect a big difference, for example, between a Ph.D. dissertation and a book and there is a big difference between an expert report, and I understand this report as a means for an intelligent judge to make up his mind about Auschwitz who has never been there, which is quite a difference for when one writes a book for the general public. Q. So why the copyright line? . P-43 A. Oh, it is a habit of mine which I do whenever I submit any manuscript to anyone, and maybe this is inappropriate in this case. None of the lawyers has told me that it was inappropriate, so the copyright line remained there. MR JUSTICE GRAY: You can have an argument about the copyright after this case is over. MR IRVING: My Lord, the reason I ask this, of course, if the witness was intending to publish this work, and he has now said on oath he has no intention of publishing it, then I would ask him the following question. (To the witness): If you were to write a report which came out with the conclusion that crematorium No. (ii) had never been used as a homicidal gas chamber, that Auschwitz was not a factory of death, that Leuchter was right, David Irving was right, whatever, what would the commercial prospects of that be as compared with the commercial prospects of the report that you have actually written? Would they be greater or less? A. It is difficult to say. It seems to be that the book buying habits of the people who are believing that the gas chambers were not used for homicidal purposes seems to have been much more active than for the people who believed that they were used for homicidal purposes. After all, I think that you sell more books than I sell of my Auschwitz books. Q. Not currently I do not. . P-44 A. I mean, it is very difficult to say this. Certainly, controversy seems to have served you well in the past in a number of books. I have been, I believe, in some way less controversial and controversy certainly helps sales figures in general, so I probably put some more books. Q. Very well. I will take your statement that you have no intention of publishing this ever, as you have now told the court. My Lord ---- A. May I just come back to this? I said "in this form". MR JUSTICE GRAY: Quite briefly, if you would. A. Sorry? Q. Quite briefly, if you would. A. No, I said "in this form". I did not -- I did not write this with publication in mind as such. MR IRVING: Yes. Very well. My Lord if your Lordship will turn to the transcript ---- MR JUSTICE GRAY: Play the video? MR IRVING: --- which I provide your Lordship of the video, just so you can confirm what is actually said. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Let me find it. Is that one of the documents you have handed in. MR IRVING: It is called Mr Truth -- Mr Death. There are two excerpts that I wish to play. (The video was played) MR IRVING: My Lord, this is Fred Leuchter. My Lord, I think this is not the part I wanted in fact. I would speed the . P-45 court along, I think, if I ask the witness if he remembers what was said. MR JUSTICE GRAY: It is not your fault. Shall we turn it off? MR IRVING: Yes. If I could borrow a transcript from someone? Professor van Pelt, you remember appearing in a video which is part of a film now called "Mr Death". Do you remember the filming of that project? A. Yes. Q. When exactly was that filmed? A year ago? Half a year ago? A. We went to Auschwitz in April 1998 -- was it 1998? 1999, I think. 1999. Q. '98? A. 1999. No, 1998. I am sorry. Q. Do you remember saying: "Auschwitz is like the Holy of Holies. I have prepared for years to go there, and have a fool come in, coming completely unprepared, it is sacrilege, somebody who walks into the Holy of Holies and doesn't give a damn"? A. Yes, I remember saying that. Q. This was a reference to Mr Leuchter, was it not? A. Yes, it was a reference to Mr Leuchter. MR RAMPTON: Should not the witness have a transcript like everybody else? MR JUSTICE GRAY: Do you feel the need for a transcript? A. No, I remember the -- it is useful, but I remember this. . P-46 MR RAMPTON: Except that some pages down the road we come to some German, so it might be helpful. A. Thank you. MR IRVING: You were deeply moved to visit the actual location where these atrocities had occurred? A. More than moved. I was frightened. I ---- Q. Ghosts of the dead were still all around? A. No, I do not believe in ghosts and I have never seen in ghosts in Auschwitz, but it is an awesome place in many ways, and it is also an awesome responsibility one takes upon oneself when one starts to engage this place as an historian. For many years I felt I was not up to that task. It was only after very careful preparation that I finally decided to go there and to start work in Auschwitz. As many things in life, it became easier to work on it as I was there as you actually start confronting what the place is. Q. Can I ask you about a part on the next page of the transcript, the page beginning with the words, "Very little left", "to suddenly have in that room that concentration of evidence, you are sitting in the archives, to actually hold the stamps in your hand which you see on the drawings". Am I right in understanding that the Auschwitz archives have the original wartime rubber stamps still? A. Yes, there is a box with all the rubber stamps.
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