Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day009.14 Last-Modified: 2000/07/20 Q. Well, they regarded it as a priority -- this is my question -- that the extermination programme should proceed faster and on a broader basis than it had . P-120 hitherto? A. I would say that the extermination programme, yes, should become all inclusive at the moment. There are great discussions about when the decision for the Final Solution was taken. Professor Browning will be able to talk on that. But certainly what we see is that, in the summer of -- and we are only talking about Auschwitz right now. I would like to be very careful because I do not want that the discussion about what happens in Auschwitz in some way is going to be the discussion about the Final Solution as a whole. We are talking here about one camp. Other things are happening elsewhere. The Operation Reinhardt camps are being built, Treblinka common operation days later, Belzac has already been in operation before. So in the case of Auschwitz, and that is something which Deborah Dwork and I tried to demonstrate in our book, Auschwitz was not meant to be an extermination camp. It is in some way almost hijacked by that programme when other things which are happening in Auschwitz are not going to be realisable during the war. So certainly, yes, Auschwitz now, which is a place where these other projects are collapsing, these projects which Himmler had envisioned of settlement and so on, Auschwitz is now made available and it is going to be made available administratively, in the sense that within the next months you see that decisions are taken, of which there are . P-121 significant traces in the records of the architectural office. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Thank you very much. MR IRVING: Can I ask you what kind of significant traces we are talking about there? I was hoping to obtain from you during that statement some kind of indication of what documentary basis you were making those remarks on, because of course you have now stepped beyond the barbed wire of Auschwitz, so to speak, and are talking about grand policy and grand decisions. Is this what you have acquired from reading other people's books, or from what you have read from the archives in Auschwitz or Moscow? A. Let us forget, if you like, other people's books. It is going to be a kind of longish discussion. Q. I hope we can keep it short. A. No. Q. You made certain remarks in response to his Lordship's question about July 1942, and you said that, no, you did not think that a decision; was taken at that time, or words that effect, and I just wanted to know what your basis for saying that was? A. I said a decision was taken. Q. What was your basis for that statement? A. There are a number of things. We know from Commandant Hirst's account that Himmler came, and we know he visited the site. Hirst says that he watched a gassing. . P-122 Q. There is an inference then from cause and effect? A. No. Himmler does not like to go to Auschwitz at that time. I mean, it seems to be that Himmler is not going to go out of his way from the Wolffschanze, wherever the headquarters are in Russia, to Auschwitz on the way to Globocnik in Lublin. Q. He wrote to his mistress on the day before and said: "I have a very unpleasant journey to undertake. I am going to visit Auschwitz and there are certain things one has to do for Germany", a rather odd sentence. A. Whatever he writes to his mistress, I agree this probably was a trip he did not look forward to. Then, among the various meetings he has, he has a meeting with Kummler, which also he is going to. Q. Can you explain to the court who Kummler is, please? A. Kummler is the head of SS Construction, who is there and also they have a long meeting in the construction office, in the Auschwitz construction office with Bischoff, where they are discussing obviously construction matters. Now we see that within a month the first design for what will become crematorium 4 materialises, which is a document signed 14th August, which only shows the incineration part and part of whatever is connected to the incineration part. Q. Can I interrupt there and ask you to inform the court what happened to Bischoff after the war? Was he put on trial? . P-123 A. No, he was not put on trial. He died in Bremen in 1950. Q. He died in his bed in 1950? A. I do not know where he died, but he was never prosecuted. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Finish your answer, Professor van Pelt. You said they meet together and, as a result of that meeting, crematorium 4 was built? A. As a result of that meeting we first see a first drawing, blue print copy, whatever it is, for an incineration installation which had not been on the table before that. That is the very first thing. It is one for an incineration installation with eight ovens or two muffle ovens, a complete new concept. MR IRVING: Which one was that? A. This was crematoria 4 and 5. Then there is a letter. I think it is in the bundle but I do not know where it is in the bundle. I would like to maybe take the letter out. It is about a meeting which is five days later after this drawing appears, which actually discusses these buildings. It is famous and notorious letter which talks about the Bader anstalten versonderbehandlung. MR RAMPTON: Your Lordship will find that, as amongst other places, as the document in K 2 at tab 4, page 2. It is also reprinted in the report, but I cannot find where it is in the report at the moment. MR IRVING: This is August 1942? A. This is 19th August 1942. . P-124 Q. Will you tell the court, while they are looking for the documents, what was happening at this time in Auschwitz? A. Our transports were arriving. Q. Would it not be right to say that Auschwitz was in the grips of the most appalling epidemic, one of the biggest epidemics in a concentration camp in history? A. Yes, an epidemic was happening, but I am happy to come back to the epidemic or any other matter because actually we have to ---- Q. I think possibly it would be more frank with the court if you had mentioned this as you went along rather than try to draw inferences which the court might otherwise be misled into taking. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Give him a moment. He is at the moment describing the meeting that took place with Kummler and Bischoff and Himmler. MR IRVING: My Lord, I am very forgetful and, by the time he gets to the end of his remarks, I might forget to make this point. MR JUSTICE GRAY: I understand that. Go on. How does this document fit in with that? A. This document is a remarkable document because, first of all, it introduces in the history of the camp suddenly two buildings of which there is no other kind of earlier records. It is in clause number 2 that it talks about the creation of two, three-muffle ovens, near or next to the . P-125 "Badeanstalten fur Sonderaktionen", the bath installations for special actions. I would like to point out once more that it is between quotation marks, this sentence. They have been talking about these two triple muffle ovens, which is the kind of standard in the camp at that moment. These are the ovens which were originally designed for crematorium number 2. This is what they have been working with. They have been designing this. Prufer, the engineer of Topf, proposes instead to install in Auschwitz already completed bereits fertigestellten, ovens, or bereits fertigestellten Lieferung, which means it is a shipment which is already completed, which was going to another site, an SS site, at Mogilev, and that these ovens will be installed next to the badeanstalten fur sonderaktionen. We know that the ovens for Mogilev were designed in late 1941, taken into construction there and these were these eight muffle ovens. So one of the things, combined with that drawing and combined with the four-week period which separates this document from the meeting Himmler has in the architectural office in Auschwitz, we know that suddenly this is quite a big change of course in Auschwitz. They are going to build, these two crematoria come up, these two incineration installations, which are not yet named. If we go to clause number 7 on the next page, we actually see that Prufer comes back to it on the next day. That is . P-126 a meeting. It actually talks about a meeting of 20th August 1942. So Prufer stayed the night over in Auschwitz and Prufer asked then for an official confirmation, an official order, to basically get either the three muffle ovens, or he wants to know if he should get the eight muffle ovens, and in a little handwritten note to the side it actually says on the 24th August 1942, something like: Prufer seems to have whatever -- I cannot really read that -- (German spoken - handwriting on document illegible) -- which means that on 24th of August 1942 Prufer tells actually that the eight muffle ovens which he had suggested on the 19th to be taken from the Mogilev shipment actually is going to Auschwitz. MR JUSTICE GRAY: They are being diverted? A. They are being diverted. MR IRVING: Can I ask a question here, my Lord, and interrupt at this point? MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, but the answer was an answer to a question which was properly asked. MR IRVING: I appreciate that, my Lord, but it was beginning to run away with my cross-examination. MR JUSTICE GRAY: It does happen sometimes. MR IRVING: It is quite useful, but this document shows preparations being made in long term for the disposal of large numbers of cadavers. That is all it shows. . P-127 A. But there is an issue. I had asked for a easel. I wonder if I would be able to draw a graph which would make things, I think, more ---- MR JUSTICE GRAY: I can see it. Yes, you do not have any objection, do you, Mr Irving? MR IRVING: Can I just invite, while these are being set up, the witness to have a look at the letter which I wrote to him on May 29th 1997. My Lord, it is in the little bundle you have with about 10 pages in it headed: "Documents on Auschwitz". MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes. MR IRVING: It is within that. The second item is the letter I wrote to him. I am afraid it is not numbered, but about page 6 there is a page ---- MR JUSTICE GRAY: Have you got this, Professor van Pelt? A. The letter -- it is in one of my documents here. I do not which number. MR IRVING: It is the page headed: "Documentation is available", the first words on that page are "Documentation is available". It is about page 6, my Lord, of the letter. MR JUSTICE GRAY: I think I must be looking at the wrong thing. MR IRVING: It is the little bundle headed on the top left: "Quick navigation". MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, I have that, but I have not the page beginning ---- . P-128 MR IRVING: Page approximately 6 in that letter. It is the page beginning with the words "Documentation is available". MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, page 3 I have it as. MR IRVING: Yes. My Lord, the final paragraph of that is a paragraph from the second unpublished volume of my Churchill biography which gives an intercept, the text of an intercept, of an Auschwitz message in that very month, August 1942. I think it is of relevance, my Lord. "Further information did reach Churchill from his most secret sources lifting the veil on what was actually happening. ... (reading to the words) ... commandant transmitted in code to Berlin yielded figures for death rates in several concentration camps during the previous month. These included 21 deaths at ... (reading to the words) ... and in what was evidently a fast growing camp at Auschwitz and Upper Silesia there had been the notable totals of 6,829 male and 1,525 female fatalities during August 1942". This is precisely the month of this conference, my Lord. Not without significance, I think. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, well, it is a question, is it not, really? MR IRVING: Yes. MR JUSTICE GRAY: What has happening at Auschwitz. The question is this. A. I trust the mortality figure has been also arrived at by . P-129 other means. I mean, this is in the death books also you find the mortality of 9,000 people in Auschwitz in that month of August.
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