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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day011.07

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Last-Modified: 2000/07/20

   Q.   But you do accept there could have been perfectly harmless
        reasons why the basement entrance was transferred from one
        side of the building to the other?  For example, in
        connection with intensification of the air war, the need
        to bring people in in a hurry from the street rather than
        making them go all the way around the buildings, round to

.          P-54

        the back, to a pokey little entrance around the back to
        get into an air raid basement?
   A.   I think if you want to go, I mean you raise the air raid
        issue right now, I mean, I do not want to -- I have studied ----
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  No.  I think you ought to deal with that
        because that is really an issue on the drawings.  I mean,
        we have a modification and the point has been put to you.
        Is one possible explanation for that that they wanted to
        make it easier to get in in a hurry when there is an air
        raid coming?
   A.   It is a possible explanation, but I also want to point out
        that since I have to give this answer, but since I am
        happy to give some, a possible explanation but improbable
        for a drawing like that to be made in December 1942, since
        all the other drawings and all the documentation in
        Auschwitz relating to air raid shelters come from mid and
        late 1944.  So we are two years, a year and a half, more
        than a year and a half out of synch.
   MR IRVING:  Profess van Pelt, I showed you about five days ago
        a list, or I introduced to the court, a three-page list of
        documents from the Moscow collection which clearly show
        planning for the air raid precautions in Auschwitz
        beginning in August 1942?
   A.   1942?  Mr Irving, I have to disappoint you on this point,
        that I actually studied that particular file and I have it

.          P-55

        here and I can submit it to the court.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  It is a bit difficult to know when we are
        getting on to air raid shelters as opposed to the
        drawings, but shall we leave that until later?
   MR IRVING:  We will deal with that at a later time.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Professor van Pelt, have you finished on the
        blue prints now or are there further points?
   A.   No.  This is crematorium No. (ii).  I just want to --
        I want to show some other things because they were
        raised.  Some of the photos, if that is OK, made of the
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Mr Irving, I do not see why not.
   MR IRVING:  I think this is a very interesting photograph, my
        Lord.  It shows the reinforcing bars being put down,
        presumably, on the roof of the crematorium, is that right?
   A.   No, on roof of morgue No. 2 which later becomes the
        undressing room.  So we are here in the fall of 19942.
        Here we see, we see very clearly, the reinforcing bars
        right there.  There is no drawings of those reinforcing
        bars.  I mean, you asked me for those.  There are no
        drawings of the particular thing like that.  We see here
        the slab being finished.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  What did they do?  Pour concrete on top of
        the reinforcing bars?
   A.   Yes.  We see already here there seems to be, these
        actually are tiles, there are some tiles, at the bottom

.          P-56

        there, and you see some of these tiles sort of hanging,
        kind of hollow tiles, and then you get the reinforcing and
        then the concrete is poured from that.
   MR IRVING:  I cannot see any tiles there, but I can see the
        reinforcing bars very clearly.  Professor van Pelt, would
        there have been the same kind of reinforcing in the roof
        over the mortuary No. 1 which is displayed here, the
        collapsed roof?
   A.   I presume so, yes.
   Q.   The same kind of mesh of steel bars?
   A.   Yes.  Now we are looking inside the ovens.  There is still
        this construction mess around it.  Again, the ovens and
        here the ash, the place -- the crucible and the ash column.
   Q.   Will you explain the purpose of those railway lines we can
        see there?  Are they just purely for the purposes of the builders?
   A.   Which one, this one?
   Q.   Yes.
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   They were not there at the time that the furnace stage was
        in operation?
   A.   No.  There is actually, these, we have here little, there
        is a -- originally, there was idea to put actually these
        rolling little trucks in crematorium No. (i), but they
        were actually never built.  So what you have is quite

.          P-57

        short, like a two metre long, little kind of iron ----
   Q.   Trolley?
   A.   --- almost like little tracks going into each of the ovens
        in the concrete, but that is it.
   Q.   So when Aida Bimko in her testimony refers to the railway
        line or the rails bringing the bodies out through the
        doors and so on, she is lying ----
   A.   No, that is not necessarily so ----
   Q.   --- again?
   A.   --- because we know, for example, that one of the things
        which was done at crematorium -- and she thinks, I think
        she is talking about (iv) or (v).  There is a difference.
        One of the things which happened at the sonderkommando,
        when they moved corpses from the gas chambers to the
        incineration places, and it was clearly done at bunker
        No. 2, that they actually put in some very, very light
        track to move them, to move corpses on little trollies.
        Now, there is nothing in the design for that.
   Q.   We only have the eyewitness testimony, is that correct?
   A.   Eyewitness testimony, yes.  Zeigun talks about it, for
        example.  Here we have the photo we discussed yesterday.
   Q.   With the three objects on the roof.
   A.   Sorry?
   Q.   With the three objects on the roof?
   A.   With the objects on the roof.
   Q.   Three objects on of roof?

.          P-58

   A.   And the thing i pointed out, there is this slight thing of
        soot up there.  It actually becomes more in one of the
        next drawings.  So this is taken in February 1943.
                  One more to go round, you see here then how we
        have reconstructed the heating pipes, how they would be
        connected, the system which was installed which has broke
        down.  Again this is the speculation on the basis of the
        information on the blueprint and a particular letter of
        6th March 1943.  The red in this case is the heating and
        the heating insulation.  We have just gone through the
        attic level and then we brought down right very close to
        the wall.
   Q.   Is there some reason why you are telling us about the
        heating system in the mortuary?
   A.   The reason is that, of course, while it is not in the
        blueprint, it is in the letters, and the heating system in
        the mortuary is, in my opinion, again one of the
        indications that this building was transformed, that the
        morgue was being transformed for a use other than to
        simply store bodies.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Can you remind me -- I am so sorry, Mr Irving
         -- of the date of the letter about warming the morgue?
   A.   It is March 1943.
   MR IRVING:  So you disagree with Neufert, which is the standard
        architect's Bible in Germany, ever since before World War
        II, right up to the present day, that mortuaries need both

.          P-59

        central heating and cooling?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Mr Irving, we have had that debate, I think.
   MR IRVING:  Yes, thank you very much, but I wondered why he was
        telling the court about the heating.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Well, you asked him.
   A.   Sorry, the one thing I wanted to point out again is the
        little, the little ventilation chimneys, very clearly
        visible there.  We go round once more and now we make that
        trip around.  If there is anything -- I am just going
        relatively fast, if there is anything anyone wants to ----
   MR IRVING:  Professor van Pelt, can I ask, you mentioned those
        little chimneys, the ventilation chimneys.
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   And I mentioned the stack effect.  You asked two days ago
        where the provision was for cooling the gas chambers or
        the mortuary or the morgue?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   The stack effect which is known to architects is why they
        put these chimneys there because the top part of the stack
        is cooler than the below ground part of the stack, and it
        generates a draught of its own, a cooling draft.  That is
        one reason why they are there -- so I am informed by
        architectural experts.
   A.   So you say that which of these -- this chimney, basically,
        is the air conditioning system?
   Q.   They enhance the cooling effect which is already provided

.          P-60

        by the mortuaries having being been built underground to
        provide cool space?
   A.   I know that this happened in Middle Eastern countries very
        often, that you create these things, but I do not know to
        what extent the kind of controlled cooling and controlled
        heating which Mr Mulka describes for civilian crematoria
        in order that the corpses remain nice and pleasant to look
        at for people who go and pay their last respects would be
        served by the stacking effect of these chimneys.  But I am
        not a heating or cooling expert, so I am not going to say
        anything more on this.
                  Here again, crematorium (iii), I want to just
        show again the same.  This is the other one at the other
        side of the road again.  These ventilation systems were
        present in there.  This is the cover page of their section
        on crematoria in the Bauleitung book, the picture book
        from which all these photos come.
   Q.   Would you explain us to what significance you attach to
        the ventilation shafts or what inference you seek to draw?
   A.   The ventilation shafts are important that the ventilation
        shaft in combination with the blueprint.  The blueprints,
        when you have blueprints, you never know, of course, if
        these things were actually constructed.  What the photos
        show is that what is in the blueprint was actually
        constructed.  And so that the ventilation system was a
        ventilation system in the morgues, and at the outside you

.          P-61

        can see that in, indeed, this ventilation system.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I am not quite sure that you have answered
        Mr Irving's question which was what inference do you draw
        from the fact that there is this ventilation system with  ----
   MR IRVING:  What inference does he seek to draw?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Seek to draw?
   A.   That morgue No. 1 was ventilated.
   MR IRVING:  Was?
   A.   Was ventilated.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  But I am not sure that is quite answering
the question.  So what?
   A.   So that the descriptions that the eyewitness testimony
        which talks about the fact that the poison gas is being
        extracted from morgue -- from the gas chamber, indeed, is
        a very plausible description of ----
   Q.   So the inference is that there is a system for extracting
        the poisoned air?
   A.   Thank you very much.
   Q.   Is that right?  Just so it is clear.
   A.   Yes.  OK.  I have done crematorium (ii), I think.  We go
        to crematorium (iv) now.  OK.  This is the very first
        drawing, this is that drawing of ----
   Q.   Sorry to interrupt.  Do you want a break because this is
        quite strenuous for the transcriber.  Would you like a
        break?  It is probably quite strenuous for you.

.          P-62

   A.   I would love a break.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  If everybody does not mind just having a
        five-minute break -- I do not want to break for longer --
        but I think it might be a good idea to break at this
        point, just five minutes.

                       (Short Adjournment)

   MR IRVING:  My Lord, this is technically my cross- examination.
        I mean no disrespect that I sit during this.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Of course not.  It is very sensible.
   A.   OK.  I think it was first the Tuesday or Wednesday that
        I discussed the sequence of events starting with Himmler's
        visit to Auschwitz in July 1942, and that the first
        drawing which has been drawn by the tabelleiten which has
        no precedent at all of any activity of tabelleiten before
        that visit of Himmler is this drawing, which is what it
        says (German), which means an incineration installation in
        the (German) which is the official destination of
        Birkenhau is that of a prisoner of war camp.  The only
        thing that this drawing does is actually draw in the
        incineration part.  It does not actually draw in the rest
        of the building, which is a problem but, as we know, at
        that time, because it is the meeting of the 19th, it is to
        prepare for the meeting of 19th August, where Prufer
        introduces the idea of using an eight muffle oven.  It
        actually depicts here the arrangement of an eight muffle
        oven, the Mogilev oven which had been designed, so

.          P-63

        I assume what happened was that Topf sent the plans of
        these ovens to Auschwitz for preparation into a drawing,
        and eight muffle ovens sitting between two chimneys, one
        to the left and one to the right.
                  I will come back to these drawings later.  This
        is the first one of August.  Then we get the meeting in
        which this building is discussed as being a building to be
        erected by the anlage gesundebadlung.  Then there is a
        second drawing which is from January 1943.  These are
        really the only two drawings we have of this building and
        there are photos of this building under construction.  The
        problem in this drawing, we will come back to this drawing
        again after we have had to walk through, is that the plan
        is reversed in relationship to the elevation.  So what is
        here left is the incineration room, and what is right
        there is left here.  So that is just to warn you.
                  I am going again to have a walk through to the
        building.  In this case there is nothing in the
        reconstruction which is not in the blueprint.  So in the
        last case we had the hot air installation and we had the
        Zyklon introduction columns.  This time there is nothing.
                  There are some pictures of this building under
        construction.  This is crematorium 5, and this is actually
        a postwar post card of a photo of this building.
        I actually have never seen, I must admit, the original
        photo of this one, where actually the building that we see

.          P-64

        here, crematorium 4 -- I think it is No. 4, it is
        difficult to say out of the quality of the photo how far
        the trees are.  In No. 5 there are also trees from this
        side where we see that the lower part with the fence
        contains either gas chambers, then here a number of rooms
        for a doctor or something like that, sonderkommando rooms,
        an undressing room but also used as a morgue and the
        incineration room.
                  What we are going to do now is look at, first, a
        number of basically models, actually asymmetrics, from
        above to get the sense of the building and then we are
        going to make a walk through.  This is the lower part
        where we have these two large rooms, with these tiny kinds
        of windows right in there, also between these two rooms
        and right there and there, and a big entrance vestibule
        right there, two kinds of rooms to the side here, a very
        big room in the middle and then after a kind of in between
        room we get incineration room, and a coke store place and
        an administration room.

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