Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day032.14 Last-Modified: 2000/07/25 MR IRVING: -- while numerous things were said. My Lord, I put to your Lordship at the time photographs of the underside of that roof. To say that the underside of that roof is fragmented is a gross distortion of what one could see with one's own eyes. The underside of that roof was as pristine as the concrete which is in this room today, . P-163 every inch of the underside of that roof which can be accessed. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, I remember the photograph quite well and quite how much of the roof it shows and which bit of the roof, it is impossible, I think, on the evidence to say. MR IRVING: I did, as your Lordship will know, make one very grand offer and very generous offer to the Defendants in this case saying, "Come back with photographs of those holes and I will stop the case within 24 hours because my position will be indefensible". I made that offer, not once, but twice. It is in the transcript. They did not take it up, and that would have saved ---- MR JUSTICE GRAY: Press on. MR IRVING: It reminds me of the early days in this action when every time I was making a killer point, Mr Rampton was up and it is happening again. Professor van Pelt: In his expert report, and for this honesty I give him full credit, he writes: "Today, these four small holes" -- this is his expert report which he provided in this case -- he did not have to write this, my Lord, but he put it in and it is a great testimony to his honesty, I think - "that connected the wire-mesh columns and the chimneys cannot be observed in the ruined remains of the concrete slab. Yet does this mean they were never there? We know that after the cessation of the gassings in the fall of 1944 all the gassing equipment was removed, which implies . P-164 both the wire-mesh columns and the chimneys. What would have remained would have been the four narrow holes and the slab. What would have remained would have been the four narrow holes and the slab. While there is no certainty in this matter, it would have been logical to attach at the location where the columns had been some formwork at the bottom of the gas chamber ceiling, and pour some concrete in the hole and thus restore the slab". That is why I listened with relative patience, my Lord, to Mr Rampton's interruption because it very largely bears out what I said. The point at which he rose to his feet was when I said van Pelt accepted those holes are not in that roof slab now. I think that his interruption was ill-called for. Professor van Pelt thus asserts, without any evidence at all, that late in 1944, with the Russian Army winding up to launch their colossal final invasion only a few miles away on the River Vistula, the Nazi-mass murderers would remove the "Zyklon introduction columns" and then fill in the holes in the ceiling, as he says, to "restore the slab" (before dynamiting the pillars supporting it anyway). He again asserted when I cross-examined him on January 25th as follows: "It would have been logical to attach", he then reads out what he said, "pour some concrete in the hole and thus restore the . P-165 slab". How would this have been more logical than completely removing the roof of Leichenkeller 1 just as the Nazis had removed the roof of Leichenkeller 2, identified by Professor van Pelt as the "undressing rooms", as shown in the aerial photographs taken on December 21st 1944 that one can see on page 15 of this book "The Holocaust Revisited", the book published by the CIA. The originals of this photograph were shown to Professor van Pelt in court. I showed them to him. To believe his version, we would have to believe that the Nazis deliberately created relics, architectural relics, of Leichenkeller No. 1 to confound later generations of tourists and Holocaust researchers. The fact is that the holes are not there - at least they are not visible from a distance of 0 to 4 feet or when photographed from the underside of that slab. Unable to point them out to us in close up at ground level, the Defendants invited us to consider instead either their vertical aerial photographs taken from 35,000 feet up, or a horizontal photograph taken from several hundred yards away, past a locomotive, where three (not four) unidentified objects are placed irregularly on the rooftop (the fourth "object" turns out to be a window on the wall behind). The Court will recall what my response was to the not unexpected discovery that during building . P-166 works such subjects as barrels of tar were placed on a large flat slab, and I will not repeat it here. The notion that the high flying plane could have photographed an object of 27 centimetres, let alone of tennis ball size, protruding from six inches above the ground from that roof is quite absurd. The four smudges seen on one photograph are evidently many feet long, nothing to do with these so-called holes. Your Lordship will remember that on day 11 I brought into the Court half a dozen very large vertical aerial photographs, black and white photographs, taken by the Americans or the South African Air Force during 1944, and invited Professor van Pelt to find those same smudges on that roof, the same dots. Where until this moment he had seen dots on another photograph with no difficulty, the witness van Pelt now pleaded poor eyesight: ("I have now reached the age I need reading glasses", he said, "and I do not have them with me. I did not expect this kind of challenge". Precisely). Had he used even a microscope, he would not have found the dots in the 1944 pictures I showed him. Because the holes were not there and are not there, and he and the Defendants know it. Even if the Nazi architects who designed the building had willingly agreed to the weakening of the roof by having makeshift holes cut that size right through the . P-167 slab next to the supporting pillars - I say "makeshift" because there is no provision for them in any of the architectural drawings that were shown to us - we should certainly expect to see those holes now. My Lord, the court will recall two things: Firstly, I asked the witness van Pelt if he was familiar (in view of the fact that he is not qualified architecturally, as it turned out) with the expression "fair faced concrete finish". He confirmed that it is concrete that has been left untreated. In other words, it is not covered with cement or pebble dash or tiling. He confirmed also that it is the most expensive such finish that an architect can specify because the concrete has to be poured right first time because blemishes like holes and cavities can never be retouched afterwards. Filling in the holes with cement, as van Pelt suggested in an extraordinary piece of naivete, would have been evident in the concrete face for ever after by differences in general appearance, colouring, wear and fracturing; there would have been a visible "drying line" as a ring around the patch, and the wood grain pattern left by the wooden formwork would have been interrupted. Common sense tells us all of this as well. The second point is, of course, we photographed the underside of that slab and there is no trace of any such blemish on the concrete roof's underside, and there . P-168 are supposed to have been four of those filling holes. Those holes are a major problem for this entire case. On two occasions I stated a challenge in Court, including to the witness van Pelt, as I said earlier. I challenged the Defendants to send somebody to Auschwitz even now, to scrape the thin layer of gravel and dirt off the topside of the roof slab where they "know" the holes must be because they know where the pillars - because the eyewitnesses agreed they were next to the main columns - and bring back a photograph of one of the holes or evidence that it had been filled in. If they did, I said, I would abandon my action forthwith because my position would have become quite indefensible. To my knowledge, the Defendants have not attempted this exercise. They know and they knew from the outset that I was right about that roof. Their entire case on crematorium No. II - the untruth that it was used as a factory of death, with SS guards tipping canisters of cyanide-soaked pellets into the building through those four (non-existent) manholes - has caved in, as surely as that flat roof. Accordingly, the eyewitnesses who spoke of those holes also lied, or bluffed, and I have called their bluff. In the absence of the holes themselves, and minus his "eyewitnesses", Professor van Pelt's only remaining proofs that Leichenkeller 1 of Crematorium No.II was an . P-169 instrument of mass murder - a factory of death, as he said, in which 500,000 Jews were gassed and cremated - are these: architectural drawings (rather oddly for a "professor of architecture" he calls them blueprints) and wartime documents. He confirmed this to your Lordship when your Lordship asked. As for the wartime documents, to take them first, he referred, for instance, to the - to him, sinister requirement that the morgue should be vorgewarmt, prewarmed, by a central heating plant. In cross-examination I drew his attention to the relevant section of the wartime Neufert, which is the architect's handbook or building code which was standard for the SS architects, which specifies that morgues, mortuaries, must have both cooling and central heating facilities to avoid damage to the corpses in the kinds of extremes of temperature which exist in Central Europe. Document after document fell by the wayside in this manner. Mr Rampton introduced the timesheet of one humble workman in March 1943, showing him actually concreting "the floor in the Gaskammer", the gas chamber. But Birkenau camp was full of gas chambers. In his fine facsimile building of the camp documents, Jean-Claude Pressac has printed drawing No. 801 of November 8th, 1941, for an Entlausungsanlage (delousing installation) for the prison camp, right in the middle of which is a Gaskammer. He also reproduces . P-170 drawing No. 1293, dated May 9th 1942, of the drainage and water supply of the delousing barracks, building BW5b. Here too there is a Gaskammer smack in the middle of the drawing. So there goes that one too. The real handling capacity -- my Lord, of course, we did look at other documents and I am sure your Lordship will attend to that particular part of the transcript in detail, but I just wanted to give the flavour of the problem. The real handling capacity of the crematoria is also surprisingly difficult to establish, notwithstanding what Mr Rampton said this morning. Professor van Pelt produced a histogram on an easel for us which showed truly staggering protections of cadavers to be cremated in coming years; but on cross-examination the witness admitted that the projection was based solely on one document, the questionable "crematorium capacities" document of June 28th, 1943, and that all else was extrapolated backwards from that sheet of paper. Mr Rampton said that, as ever, I challenge that document, as though I had challenged many other documents. My Lord, to my knowledge, I have challenged ---- MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes. If I may just intervene and say that I would find it easier if there were not such an overt reaction to what you are saying on the other side of the court. MR RAMPTON: I am sorry. . P-171 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, sorry, you got to the Bischoff document? MR IRVING: The Bischoff document. Professor van Pelt relies heavily on this document. My Lord, you will notice that I have given all the appropriate footnote references to assist you in navigating through the transcripts, and so on. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, thank you. MR IRVING: Even if genuine, even if the actual paper itself is genuine, the handling figures which this document gives for the furnace installation in Crematorium No. II do not tally with any of the figures in the specifications provided by the manufacturers, the Topf Company, for this type of equipment. Furthermore, the document refers to some crematoria which were at that time shut down, and to others that were due to be taken out of commission, which is again a mystifying business. I had shown the Court on the previous day that this one page of paper contained not just one or two, but four or five, four or even five, bureaucratic discrepancies which indicated to me that the document is not authentic. It was not just that the year date was wrong. Any one of those flaws would normally be enough to call its integrity into question: but five such flaws in one document, including the wrong rank for the highest man in the SS site-construction system, SS Gruppenfuhrer Hans . P-172 Kammler? Professor van Pelt was unable to explain these flaws; he had not noticed them. The document was first published in East Berlin in the 1950s, and it is now to be found in the Auschwitz archives, because it was sent there from East Berlin in 1981. That alone is why it now bears an Auschwitz archival stamp. It did not originate there, but elsewhere. Even if the flaws can be explained, and the figures were genuine, there is no indication of how such huge numbers of bodies were to be handled within 24 hours; nor of where the coke was to come from. There is no -- logistic problems defeat the document. (There is no acceptable evidence that the Auschwitz staff found any way of improving on the average coke consumption of 30 kg per cadaver achieved by other camps). The bottleneck in the entire crematorium II "factory of death" story is however that little freight elevator that was installed between that morgue, the underground mortuary, Leichenkeller No. 1, as in any such state-of-the-art crematorium, to haul the bodies up from the basement-level morgue up to the crematorium furnaces on the ground floor. We are told by the Defendants that this elevator was never anything more sophisticated than something like a builder's hoist. The real elevator was never delivered. It had no door, no cage, no walls - it was just a platform jolting up and down that elevator shaft. We do know that as finally installed it had a . P-173 specified load bearing capacity of 1,500 kilograms. Professor van Pelt suggested that the hoist could, therefore, have hauled 25 cadavers at a time. In practice, as there was just a flat platform with no walls or door, jolting up and down that narrow concrete elevator shaft, I submit that it would have been impossible to stack on to one small platform 25 naked cadavers in the conditions of filth and slime, the horror, that had been described by the eyewitnesses. It does not bear thinking about, I agree, and that is why I am not going to dwell on it. We cannot produce hard figures for this part of the exercise, but one thing is plain: that one elevator in crematorium II was the inescapable bottleneck, and it makes plain that, whatever was happening downstairs in the mortuary, Leichenkeller No. 1, it was not on the huge scale, on the huge scale that history now suggests. In response to your Lordship's helpful questioning, Professor van Pelt stated that the wartime documents to interpreted if they were to be relied on for this proof. These interpretations are quite tenuous. He produced to us a document referring to the special secrecy to be attached to the crematorium drawings. I am sure your Lordship remembers that document. It was at first blush quite an interesting document. He suggested that this was because of the mass gassings being carried on in . P-174 the buildings, in the crematorium. It stressed that this was because -- the document stressed that this was because of the wehrwirtschaftlich importance [the importance to the military economy] of the work being conducted in that building or those buildings. But van Pelt confirmed under my cross-examination that the homicidal Final Solution, the genocide, was never regarded as being wehrwirtschaftlich important, important to the economy. I submitted that the reference was clearly to keeping secret the ugly business of the looting by the SS of the gold and valuables from the corpses being processed by the building, a system which was undoubtedly of economic importance to the SS. Similarly, the architectural drawings seemed to provide the required "proof" only when one was compared with another. That was one of the other problems. As Professor van Pelt said: "... we can look now at two or three drawings together and ... We start to observe some very weird things and some modifications made between one drawing and the other drawing..." Those were his words, to which my comment is, is that the best level of proof that is available now, even after 55 years?
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