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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day009.15

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Last-Modified: 2000/07/20

   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  But the question is, let us just put the
        question, that what was going on at Auschwitz in
        August/September had nothing whatever to do with Himmler's
        visit in July.  It was because there was a raging typhus
        epidemic.  That is the question, is it not?
   A.   If that is the question, I disagree with it, and I would
        like to review that question by actually looking at the
        relationship between incineration rates in the camp as
        plant in 1942 about peak mortality on the typhus about --
        and at a certain amount we can even talk about more
        capacity but we probably need to do that; but I have
        prepared some diagrams which I would just like to have as
        a reminder so I can draw it up on the board.
   MR RAMPTON:  Can I ask where they are?
   A.   On the board.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I think they are going to be drawn now, as I
        understand it?
   A.   I am happy to draw them now.
   MR RAMPTON:  He has done some prep, I think, and he would like
        to do the drawings, big drawings, by reference to the prep.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I follow.
   A.   They are there.

.          P-130

   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Mr Irving, you may not be keen on this, but
        it is something Professor van Pelt is entitled to do.
   MR IRVING:  My Lord, I am in your hands.  This is your
        Lordship's court and I am capable, I am sure, of ----
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I am afraid I am deciding that it is a proper
        thing for him to do if he wants to illustrate his evidence.
   A.   OK.  The first basis for this is to establish red in this
        drawing, red will be population.  Now, in 1942, we are now
        talking about early summer of 1942, there is an
        actual population in Auschwitz, and I am going to do this
        by 50,000 increments, actual population in Auschwitz - ---
   MR IRVING:  Are you referring to Auschwitz or Auschwitz and
   A.   Auschwitz and Birkenhau.  I am talking about the whole
        camp.  The whole camp for which, basically, incinerators
        are being drawn.  At that moment there is an actual
        population of 25,000 people in the camp, over 25,000
        people.  But at that moment also there is a projected
        inmate population, they are working towards, they have
        designed and under construction, the camp to hold in total
        150,000, which is 120,000 in Birkenhau and 30,000 in
        Stammlager.  So they are designing with that in mind.
        That is what they are investing for.  This is the actual
                  Now, at that moment there is a typhus epidemic

.          P-131

        going on and the typhus epidemic reaches 
        in August of 1942, a mortality in one month of little over
        a third of the camp population.  Now, people are being
        shipped in which makes it kind of difficult at that time
        to know exactly.  It is an enormous mortality.  In three
        months the typhus epidemic would have continued in the
        camp and nobody would have been brought in.  Everyone
        would have died.
   MR IRVING:  Is it right that the camp was under quarantine at
        this time?
   A.   The camp was under quarantine, but people were still being
        brought in.  So if we look by implication at, let us say,
        the next year, if the camp were to have an inmate
        population of 150,000, and if hygienic conditions would
        not have improved, if the German medical department in
        Auschwitz would have been as incompetent and so little
        resources, the same small resources would be brought in,
        it would make sense to start planning for a mortality of
        50,000 people of the summer of 1943.  It is a very rough
        calculation, but in some way this would have been -- you
        would have start to look at that possibility.
                  Now, at that moment in Auschwitz one has
        actually an incineration capacity, and I am only talking
        about crematoria ----
   MR IRVING:  My Lord, I am unhappy about this kind of evidence
        because I do not think Professor van Pelt is an

.          P-132

        epidemiologist and we had ----
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I do not think we are getting into the realms
        of epidemiology on what he is doing so far.
   MR IRVING:  Well, we do not know at what rate epidemics grow,
        whether they grow exponentially or by mathematical
        progression or how.  It is not a simple, straightforward
        linear progression, my Lord, and I am sure an
        epidemiologist could inform us on that.
                  Although I have no objection to Professor van
        Pelt continuing this line of evidence, I would wish to
        make it plain that ----
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  No, but he is making the very simple point,
        if I may say so ----
   MR IRVING:  It is very, very dangerous ----
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  --- that it was not an unreasonable
        assumption for the planners to make that they were going
        to continue to have one-third mortality from typhus.  Is
        that really what it comes to?
   A.   This is the point I make.  What would be the situation if
        they said, "We face this disaster right now.  We do not
        think we can deal with it next year.  We have to plan for
        a similar disaster next year"
   MR IRVING:  I shall ask questions about this when the time comes.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Of course you can, but just let him develop the point.

.          P-133

   A.   So we are now going to get what is the actual cremation in
        an incinerator in crematorium (i)?  It is the only
        crematorium operation at that time.  It is 10,000 corpses,
        according to German sources, 10,000 corpses per month, 340
        per day, which means that the incineration capacity in
        crematorium (i), and we are not even talking about
        arriving Jews, but simply for the mortality in the camp
        itself during the typhus epidemic, more people are dying
        from typhus, incidentally, then the crematorium working
        full-time can deal with.
                  There is also at that moment a crematorium which
        is under design, which is crematorium No. (ii).  Now,
        crematorium (ii) was going to replace crematorium No.
        (i).  We have plans for that.  It was going to be built on
        top of crematorium No. (i).  It is a plan of early January
        1942.  This means that crematorium (ii) would not be
        backed up by crematorium (i).  So if in the next year
        crematorium (ii) would be available, crematorium (ii) has
        an incineration rate of 1440 corpses per day, which the
        Moscow document says which was yesterday challenged -- --
   MR IRVING:  This is the document that was challenged?
   A.   Yes, which means that when crematorium (ii) would have
        been built, the next year available that still the
        cremation, the incineration capacity of crematorium (ii),
        once crematorium (ii) would be built, would have been less
        than the worst case scenario if a typhus epidemic in 1943

.          P-134

        would have broken out.
                  So it means that the SS, in terms of the typhus
        epidemic of 1942, was not adequately prepared to deal with
        some of the typhus epidemic of the same scale a year
        later.  This is the situation before Himmler's visit.
   Q.   Is it not true that cremation is not the only way of
        disposing of bodies?  They can be interred.  They can be
        sent to other places to be cremated?
   A.   There is, but I think that you would like to point that,
        in fact, the incineration capacity is not going to be
        sufficient and, of course, people can be interred.
                  Let us look now at the next year, where we are
        in 1943, and then I will go and look at what happened in
        between.  In 1943, the early summer, we are sitting with
        exactly the same maximum planned inmate population of
        150,000.  It has changed somewhat in the make-up because
        Birkenhau will have less people, because what is called
        building BA3, building section No. 3, will not become any
        more a full camp, it will get a kind of Lazarett
        installation, but instead of that people will be
        accommodated in various satellite camps close, so still we
        deal with ----
   Q.   Did you say it was going to have a hospital built in
   A.   Oh, yes.  As I said in my book, and I think you
        complimented me on this section.

.          P-135

   Q.   I thought they exterminated all the sick prisoners?
   A.   We can deal with that later, if you want to put that to
        me, Mr Irving.  By that time, the inmate population in
        Auschwitz itself has risen to 75,000.
                  Now, if we now look at what if a typhus epidemic
        of the same scale would have occurred (and this is a big
        "if") one would have been wise to have available
        one-third of that, which is 25,000, and, theoretically, to
        have available -- sorry, 50,000.  So this is 25,000
        available if such a typhus epidemic occurs again, and if
        the camp is going to be completely free, one would expect
        at least to have an incineration capacity of 50,000
                  Instead, the available incineration capacity in
        the camp at that moment -- and this is available, this is
        not any more planned -- is 120,000 corpses per month.
   Q.   What is that based on?
   A.   This is based on the calculation that the Taiber itself
        gives of the incineration capacity of the four crematoria
         -- may I finish?
   Q.   Based on the document that we are challenging?
   A.   That is based on the documents you are challenging, but
        the document which seems to be supported also by
        eyewitness testimony.
                  The only point I want to make right now at this
        moment is that the incineration capacity in the camp on

.          P-136

        the monthly basis in Auschwitz in 1943 far and far exceeds
        the absolutely worst case scenario of typhus developing,
        typhus developing in this camp; and I have to stress here
        the worst case scenario because, in fact, the SS doctors
        have worked very hard to limit the possibility for typhus
        to occur.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Right.  Thank you very much then.  That was
        all an answer, Mr Irving, to your question -- actually
        I put it for you -- whether the increase in capacity might
        have been nothing to do with Himmler's visit, but solely a
        response to the typhus epidemic.  It was a long answer but
        that is what it was answering.
   MR IRVING:  We share the guilt for inviting that answer, my Lord.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Well, if "guilt" is the right word.
   MR IRVING:  I would only draw attention to two or three aspects
        of it.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes, of course.  Ask questions.
   MR IRVING:  Firstly, if we are to believe these figures, then
        the SS, or whoever, were planning to wipe out over
        three-quarters of the entire camp population and
        incinerate them which seems a rather pointless exercise as
        this is a slave labour camp?
   A.   Sorry, is this a question?
   Q.   Yes.
   A.   The issue, of course, is that they are not intending to

.          P-137

        wipe out the camp population; they are intending to wipe
        out people who do not belong to the camp population,
        because people are arriving in Auschwitz and who are not
        going to be registered in the camp.
   Q.   So the left-hand column in that case, is it not, is
        irrelevant to the calculations because that left-hand
        column refers to a totally different body of people, to
        people who are living there and not the arrivals, shall we
   A.   No, but the left-hand graph refers to the situation before
        the visit of Himmler on 19th July.  The right-hand graph
        represents a situation after Himmler's visit, and the big
        change in incineration capacity is, in fact, the decision
        taken at that meeting which is confirmed by the document
        to actually not only have crematorium (ii) but also
        crematorium (iii) and crematorium (iv) and crematorium (v).
   Q.   But the figures that you are relying on here with these
        two histograms, if I am right in saying, they rely
        entirely on that document which, you may remember, I was
        challenging the integrity of yesterday?
   A.   I mean, if you want me to rely on, for example, Hirst's
        testimony, I would say that the green bar would even
        higher, or if I have to rely on Mr Taiber, we actually get
        very close to that.  It is not only the document; it is a
        convergence of the document with eyewitness testimony,

.          P-138

        both of sonderkommandos and of German officials.
   Q.   Professor van Pelt, we will be hearing a little bit more
        about the quality of the testimony given by Taiber and
        Hirst later on.  But the fact remains that in all the
        construction department records that you have read,
        including that August 1942 memorandum you are relying on,
        there are no figures that anywhere come near these.  It is
        speculation by yourself and back of envelope calculations,
        projections of what might have been and a kind of rough
        and ready kind of scaling up and extrapolation for which
        we have no basis in epidemiology (because neither of us is
        an expert in that field); we do not know the way that
        epidemics grow or whether they grow exponentially or in
        any other manner, is that not so?
   A.   Mr Irving ----

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