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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day010.24

Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day010.24
Last-Modified: 2000/07/20

   Q.   Where large numbers of these Hungarian Jews put to work in
   A.   The question is difficult to determine that, because there
        are different numbers of how many durkhanstudent there
        were, and this is in some way a point which certainly
        I would like to have seen, you know, more clearly
        established.  One of the debates about the mortality
        during the Hungarian action of course ultimately has to
        relate, because when we know more or less how many
        Hungarian Jews were admitted to the camp and there are

.          P-206

        only two ways to explain what happened, only two ways one
        can explain what happened to the people who were not
        admitted to the camp, either they were killed or they were
        sent to the West.  So the issue of the mortality of the
        Hungarian Jews in Auschwitz ultimately is tied up to the
        number of durkhanstudent there were, and the Auschwitz
        camp, the numbers I remember of around 25,000 as to the
        number of durkhanstudent who went from Auschwitz to the West.
   Q.   How many remained in the camp and were liquidated, in your opinion?
   A.   I do not really want to give an opinion right now.  I mean
        I am happy again to look at the figures.  It seems to be
        that in May and June very high percentages of these
        transports were selected for death, but we are talking
        about hundreds of thousands of people who were killed in
        Auschwitz in the month of May and June.
   Q.   Let us just for two minutes talk about Sturmlager,
        Auschwitz one?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Which is now the big tourist centre, is it not?
   A.   This is where the reception building is where the film was
        shown and where there are exhibitions, yes.
   Q.   Yes.  They have a building there which they describe as
        the gas chambers and they show it to tourists as a gas
        chamber, is that right?

.          P-207

   A.   There is a crematorium there and in the crematorium is a
        room which is described as a gas chamber.
   Q.   There is a big chimney behind the building?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Which is not connected in any way whatsoever to the
   A.   The chimney there which is right next to it is a
        reconstruction of the original chimney which was in
        exactly the same position which was connected like the
        chimney in crematoria two and three by underground flue to
        the crematorium building.  This is a way to increase the
        draft of the chimney by leading the gas at basement level.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I am not quite sure what the point of these
        questions is.
   MR IRVING:  It is very brief, my Lord.  The prisoner reception
        centre at Auschwitz one is where now the tourists arrive,
        am I right?
   A.   That is where the cafeteria is.
   Q.   I have never been there, so I take your word for it.  They
        are then taken into a building and at the end of the tour,
        "This is the gas chamber".  They are invited to believe
        that this is the gas chamber, is that right?
   A.   One is not taken into building.  One can either visit the
        building yes or no.
   Q.   But they invited to believe that this was the gas chamber?
   A.   There is a sign which says "crematorium and gas chamber".

.          P-208

   Q.   Was that building that is described as tourists as a gas
        chamber ever used as a gas chamber?
   A.   Yes, it was used as a gas chamber.
   Q.   This is not what you wrote in your book?
   A.   That is exactly what I wrote.  I have a very long
        description in my book about the use of that space, and
        the space is not exactly the same as in the war.  I have a
        very long quotation.  A number of different places.
   Q.   The space is what?
   A.   At the moment the space is one bay bigger than it was
        during of war.  I have extensive descriptions in my book
        of the transformation of that space into a gas chamber and
        of the use of that space into a gas chamber.
   Q.   If you go there as a tourist now and you ask the guides,
        they will admit to you that this was never used as a gas
        chamber, is that, is that right?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  That is really worthless, is it not.
   MR IRVING:  I beg your pardon?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  That is worthless as a point.
   MR IRVING:  The guides would know, my Lord.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  They might or they might not.  I should think
        probably they were born 30 years after these events.
   MR IRVING:  My Lord, I will on Friday confront this witness, if
        I may, with what he wrote in his original book on
        precisely the building we are talking about, where he said
        in terms that this building is a fake.

.          P-209

   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Even if it is, I just do not want you to
        build up a point that is not really at the moment
        impressing me enormously.  Tell me if I am wrong.  This is
        trying to convey to people, you call them tourists, all
        right, call them tourists if you want to, what things were
        like according to a lot of people's opinion.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Is there anything wrong with that?
   MR IRVING:  Yes, it is called "passing off".  The tourists are
        not told that is a fake.  They are not told that this
        building was erected in 1948.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Well, make of this point whatever you wish,
        Mr Irving.
   MR IRVING:  My Lord, the point is quite clearly, of course,
        that later on you will be hearing how I have been fined a
        substantial amount for saying precisely this fact which
        turns out to be true.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I am not concerned with what other courts
        have done, fined you or whatever.
   MR IRVING:  It will be held against me by the witnesses, my Lord.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Well, not by me which is perhaps more important.
   THE WITNESS:  My Lord, may I just give Mr Irving one piece of
        advice as he prepares for this, that I know which sentence
        in the book you are going to refer to, but I also would
        invite you to read pages 293 and following of my book

.          P-210

        which describes in detail the transformation of this
        morgue into a gas chamber and the operation as a gas chamber.
   MR IRVING:  The transformation of the morgue into a gas chamber?
   A.   Yes.  Page 293, in the late summer/early fall of 1941.
        Because I will come back to those pages when you are
        talking about my epilogue where the discussion is about
        the present condition of the building.  I will refer back
        to this page, so we save each other and the judge a lot of time.
   Q.   You are also discussing the integrity of the site, are you not?
   A.   I am quite happy to discuss the integrity of the site.
   Q.   In your book you did?
   A.   Yes, I did.
   Q.   And you complained that the integrity of the site has been
        tampered with and that it is no longer the same buildings
        and they are not being put to the same uses?
   A.   If you confront the same, the exact words, then I comment
        on it.  My major discussion is on the prisoner reception
        building, and I deplore the fact that this building is not
        shown in its original state, but has been used for tourist purposes.
   Q.   Why would the present Director of the Auschwitz State
        Museum in 1995 say to the French newspaper, L'Expresse,

.          P-211

         "Toute y est faux", "Everything there is fake"?
   A.   This is -- I think I deal with it in my report and I am
        happy to go to my report, to the particular thing which
        was said.  We are dealing here, certainly the one thing is
        that the person did not speak French and, if you want,
        I can go to my report and deal with this.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I have made my position clear.  I do not
        understand where this gets anybody, this point.
   MR RAMPTON:  And I do not either and I, perhaps, in some
        sense have as much interest in this aimless ramble as your
        Lordship because the longer me and my team are in court,
        the more money it costs my clients.  I am OK, but it is
        quarter past 4 and we are not sitting tomorrow, but if
        this start up again on Friday, I am going to have
        something to say about it.
   MR IRVING:  Well, my Lord, we spent some time looking at the
        integrity of crematorium No. (ii) which has been held to
        be highly pertinent to this case.  The other extermination
        centre is supposed to be Auschwitz 1 or the Sturmlager,
        and I hold that I am entitled to look at the integrity of
        that site too.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Well, yes, as it originally was, of course,
        but whether it is a tourist reconstruction, which is,
        I think, how you like ----
   MR IRVING:  Or what I call a "fake".
   MR JUSTICE GRAY: --- or a tourist fake, whatever label you like

.          P-212

        to put on it, seems to me not really to be the point.  If
        you want to investigate what it was used for at the
        relevant period, 1942/43, that is one thing, but you are
        now investigating whether it has been described by the
        Superintendent at Auschwitz as being a fake.  Well, so what?
   MR IRVING:  This is of relevance only when we come to the
        political part of this case, my Lord, where I am accused
        of having said despicable and perverse things which could
        not possibly be true.  For this reason, I was proposing to
        ask this expert on the Holocaust and on Auschwitz to what
        degree what I said was true.  Your Lordship may consider
        this is totally irrelevant in which case, of course,
        I shall bow to your Lordship's ruling.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Well, if that is what it is said to be relevant to ----
   MR IRVING:  I apologise for not having made that plain.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  --- I would like to see quite what it was
        that you did say about Auschwitz being a tourist
        attraction or part of Auschwitz being a tourist
   MR IRVING:  The actual sentence was:  "The building which is
        shown to the tourist today is a fake built by the Poles
        after the war as a gas chamber".
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Do you want to take that any further?  I
        mean, you have the answer.

.          P-213

   MR IRVING:  Not at this moment, my Lord.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  "No, it is not a fake because it was used as
        a gas chamber".  That is what Professor van Pelt says.
        You do not have to accept it, obviously.
   MR IRVING:  Except that I may wish very briefly confront him
        with what he himself wrote, if I may, but not at this
        moment, my Lord.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  You will look at page 293 as well?
   MR IRVING:  It may not be the page I am relying upon, my Lord.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I suspect it will not be.
                  Now, I think we have probably reached the end of
        the day.  10 o'clock on Friday.  (To the witness): You
        are going to be able to be back?
   A.   Yes, I will come back tomorrow night.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Mr Irving, I think it might help everybody to
        know how much more cross-examination -- it is very
        difficult to estimate, I realize.
   MR IRVING:  I have already informed leading counsel for the
        Defendants that I do not want anticipate having much more
        than about another half day of questions because I would
        like to think that Professor van Pelt can return over the
        weekend, given adequate time for re-examination where necessary.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes.  Well, that is very kind of you to have
        given that indication.  Mr Rampton, do you think that you
        will reach somebody else on Friday?

.          P-214

   MR RAMPTON:  I have not got any witnesses.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  You have not?
   MR RAMPTON:  No, not to bring on Friday, no, but I am not
        really doing my case.  I am cross-examining Mr Irving.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes.  Will you resume cross-examining him?
   MR RAMPTON:  I can easily do that.
   THE WITNESS:  My Lord, may I just -- since I think that I still
        have to give the presentation on the blueprints, so
        I think that -- I do not know exactly how long it will
        take me, but I think it will take me an hour, an hour and
        a half to do that, to go through the material.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Will it really take as long as that?  That is
        slightly gloomier, but that is no disrespect to you, but
        if you can present it more ----
   A.   If you want it shorter, give me time and I will try to do
        it much shorter.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Well, you are going to have a bit of time to
        think about it.  10 o'clock on Friday.

                  (The witness stood down)
        The court adjourned until Friday, 28th January 2000)

.          P-215

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