Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day013.02 Last-Modified: 2000/07/20 MR JUSTICE GRAY: But you make it clear that it was an SS rank you were talking about, is that your point? MR IRVING: No. What I am saying, my Lord, is that the correct rank, the proper designation, of Hans Kammler was SS Brigadefuhrer und Generalmajor der Waffen SS, and in every other document which exists it is written out in full. Those are the only comments I have to make on the face of the document, but possibly, Professor, you are qualified to comment on the content, and I am now purely dealing with the crematoria. Am I right in saying that crematorium (i) was already out of service on July 19th 1943? A. It was taken out of service shortly before, but the crematorium was completely intact, which means it was never dismantled. The incinerations, because, as we have . P-10 seen, in May and June 1943 the total incineration capacity in the camp was so much larger than anything really the Germans needed at that moment. It was absolutely no problem to take out, to decommission the incinerators of crematorium (i) because they were next to the SS, the house of the Kommandant and the laseret and the Kommandantur, to move all incineration capacity to Birkenhau and so that the SS quarters at the Stammlager would be spared the kind of environmental disadvantages of having a working crematorium right next to it. So this crematorium remained actually on stand- by throughout 1943, and these incinerations were only finally dismantled in late '44. MR JUSTICE GRAY: So the capacity still exists? A. The capacity still exists. MR IRVING: The capacity still exists. Are you aware that on the date of this document, June 28th 1943, crematorium No. (ii) was also out of service? A. Yes, but it was being repaired at the time and it was brought back into service a month later. Q. You are familiar, presumably, with the letter from the Topf firm dated July 23rd 1943, which states, "Since the crematorium has been out of service for six weeks now" in one sentence? In other words, this particular crematorium was stated on July 23rd already to have been out of service for six weeks, so obviously it was a major problem . P-11 with crematorium (ii) and yet they list it here as being capable of operating. A. Yes, but this is a general accounting. This letter goes back to a request which was actually made early in January when Hoess wanted to have, the first indication anyway that he wants to have an accounting of total cremation capacity in the camp. Indeed, crematorium (ii), after having had an overload of incinerations in March and April, had shown problems with the flues, actually the flues started to collapse, and was taken out of commission in May for repair. It took the Topf workers some time to actually determine exactly what had happened. It took them even more time to actually decide who was to blame, because the chimney maker said that it was Topf who was to blame, and Topf blamed the chimney makers. So they were, basically, negotiating who was going to pay for all of this throughout June. Finally, in August, the crematorium was brought back into operation. But throughout this time, I mean, when you look at incineration capacity in general in the camp, this letter does not refer to actually that day, but to the general capacity available in the camp. Q. Professor, do you not agree that in that case, since these crematoria were so frequently down, out of service and under repair and being squabbled over, it was improper for a document to exist giving an overall figure which made no . P-12 reference to the fact that at any one given time, 20 or 30 per cent of the capacity might be down? A. That was not yet known in June 1943. We know in hindsight that indeed crematoria (iv) and (v) showed many problems, and that ultimately even the incinerators were at a certain moment left alone for later '43 and early '44, but the fact that we have, in hindsight, acknowledged does not mean that on 28th June '43 that knowledge existed. Q. Very well. One final question: in view of the discrepancies I that have drawn to your attention and which I allege exist in this document, will you be undertaking any steps to investigate whether there are any similar documents with a similar letter registry number and which contain similar discrepancies in the rank and other items to which I have drawn your attention? MR JUSTICE GRAY: That is really a question for Mr Rampton, not for Professor van Pelt. MR IRVING: I want it to go on the record, my Lord. That is all. I have no further questions. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Mr Rampton, do you want to re-examine on that aspect? MR RAMPTON: I would like the Professor -- I am sorry, I have only got the German with me. I have not got the Professor's report, unfortunately, or any of the other documents with me because I had no notice of it. I would just like him -- his German is pretty good -- if he will, . P-13 just to read the text. (To the witness): Leave out the figures in the middle, if you will, Professor, but just read the text of the letter to us in English starting with "Unter den Eichen 126 - 135", will you? A. So, OK. There is the address, "Unter den Eichen 126 - 135", which seems to be the correct address, as far as I remember. "I announce the completion of crematorium (iii) on 26th June 1943. With this all of the crematoria which were ordered, which were commanded, have been completed. The capacity of the now available crematorium when used at a 24-hour work cycle", and then we get the numbers. Q. Then you get the numbers and the total at the bottom. I have one other question only. To your knowledge, did they ever actually use any of these crematoria for a full 24-hour period? A. The time that they would have used it -- we have no account. Quite literally, we use it 24 hours or 16 or 18, whatever like that, but the only period in which they would have had to use these crematoria on a 24-hour cycle would have been in May and June 1944 during the Hungarian action. Q. Were they using all five of these crematoria in the Hungarian action? A. They certainly used No. (ii) and (iii) which were in full function at the time. (iv) and (v) were repaired for the . P-14 Hungarian action, shortly before the Hungarian action, because they had been out of commission. But during the Hungarian action (v) and (iv) showed problems, and I think that ultimately (v) was a crematorium where the incinerator collapsed. We always have to make the distinction between the incinerating and the gas chambers. The gas chambers of (iv) and (v) were in full operation during the Hungarian action, but ultimately they created these outside incineration pits during the Hungarian action to compensate for the problems in crematoria (iv) and (v). Q. Just to complete the picture of potential capacity, if we go on to the Hungarian action in the early summer of '44, what about bunker 2? A. Are we talking about gassing capacity? Q. Yes bunker 2 was brought back into operation during the Hungarian action because they felt that the gas chambers of crematoria (ii) to (v) would not be able to cope with the arrivals. Q. Where did they incinerate the people that were killed in bunker 2? A. They were incinerated in open air pits which followed the example developed by Stammamptfuhrer Bloebbel in Chelmno which Dejaco Hussler had inspected in mid September 1942. MR IRVING: My Lord, this re-examination is rather exceeding the bounds of the original cross-examination. . P-15 MR JUSTICE GRAY: You are quite right, it is. But I want to ask you a question which I hope does reflect the cross-examination, and that is this, Professor van Pelt. Taking on board, as it were, all the points that have been put to you by Mr Irving about the authenticity of this document, do you have a view about it? Are you doubtful about it? A. If this document were to pop up right now, after having not been seen for 50 or 60 years, given the kind of challenges which have been made by Holocaust denier/revisionist historians, however one would want to call people who challenge the historical record, I would be more suspicious, because, you know, where does this document come from? The issue is, however, that this document has been in existence, and the records of these documents before ever a challenge was being made to the incineration capacity of the crematoria. In fact, this document shows a much lower incineration capacity of the crematoria than we find in the testimonies of Hoess and others. So what I do not understand is what purpose would have been served, let us say, in the 1950s by, let us say, somebody who wants to make a case that Auschwitz was an extermination camp, by creating a document, by falsifying a document, which shows a lower incineration rate for the crematoria than that which has been attested . P-16 to under oath by the German eyewitnesses. That is the discrepancy. So, given the fact that it is lower, and given the fact that it appeared at a time that no one was challenging the incineration capacity, because the German testimony on it was kind of self-evident, and given the fact also that this document, I think, shows a very good convergence with Tauber's testimony, and Tauber's testimony which after 1945 really was not published until Pressac did it, and Tauber describes in detail the way the corpses in the incinerators were incinerated, with many corpses at the time, and he gives times for this, and in fact Tauber's figures do converge with this one, I think there is absolutely no reason to doubt the authenticity of this document as far as the content is concerned. Q. Can I ask you one more question? When did the issue about incineration capacity really surface? A. The issue of incineration capacity really started to surface, I think Faurisson mentioned it. Faurisson in the late 70s really concentrated on the issue of the gas chambers. The first major challenge which was made I think was Fred Leuchter in 1988. Butts in 76 also made an issue of it, but in some way this was buried, I think, in the larger context of his work. Q. In the 70s anyway? A. In the 70s, after this document had been admitted as evidence in the Vienna court. . P-17 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Mr Irving, there is a bit of a new point there, so do you want to ask any further questions? MR IRVING: I do wish to re-examine just briefly. I do not want to go into the matter of the burning pits. I think that that is a side issue that was raised in cross-examination. I do not think it should have been because we had not mentioned the burning pits, but I do want to raise just two or three of the points you mentioned there. You referred to the witness Hoess, and you relied on his figures. Is it correct that the witness Hoess in his statements said that 2.8 million Jews were killed in Auschwitz? A. I feel uncomfortable discussing what Hoess says without the documents, but since I discussed it in length in my expert report, Hoess ultimately comes down to 1.125 million. He makes a detailed calculation, and he does it actually on two or three different occasions. Q. Did he use the figure 2.8 million at any time? A. As a general, he said there were different ways to account to it. He said he had one kind of figure based on, he thought how many people had been killed, but then at a certain moment he corrects himself and he says but the real way to calculate it is by looking at how many Jews arrived by the transports. Then I come to 1.15 million people.
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