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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day006.03

Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day006.03
Last-Modified: 2000/08/02

   Q.   So the reference to vergasungsapparate is nothing whatever
        to do with lice or rats or anything else?
   A.   It does have a slight bearing on the fact that there were

.          P-18

        extensive war crimes trial after the war.  Dr Wetzel, who
        wrote this letter, was never prosecuted.  He lived in
        complete comfort until the end of his life in Germany, and
        how can this be if this is the only interpretation to be
        placed on those words?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  What does beseitegen mean?
   A.   "Getting rid of".  It is one of those vague words again,
        disposing of.
   MR RAMPTON:  There is no objection, or we have no reservations,
        if those Jews who cannot or who are unable to work,
        incapable of work, are disposed of by Dr Brack's means?
   A.   Dr Brack's methods, yes.
   Q.   Again, I am not asserting a positive case, Mr Irving,
        about history.  I do not have to do that.  I am asking
        you, in your role as an open minded objective and
        scholarly historian, what is the natural
interpretation of
        that letter and the word vergasungsapparate?
   A.   I would say quite clearly they are going to be
   Q.   Liquidated by what means?
   A.   Using the methods of Dr Brack.
   Q.   What is a vergasungsapparatein that context?
   A.   There are two paragraphs here of course.  We know what
        going on at Riga and this is that there was a major
        fumigation centre at Riga.
   Q.   No, please.
   A.   Well, you asked me the question; I gave you the

.          P-19

   Q.   I want to know what the German word
   A.   Literally, "gassing equipments".  "Unterkunfte" means
   Q.   Well, or huts or whatever, a place where you put
   A.   "Unterkunfte" means "rooms".  So we have those two
        in conjunction.
   Q.   We do not know whether these are nice little rooms
with a
        view of the countryside?
   A.   I do not think so.  I think that they built a 50 cubic
        metre gassing chamber there for the clothing and this
        comes out at the test trial.  The documents and the
        trial make this quite plain.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes, but let us get back to the Brack
        referred to on page 2 of that letter.  You, as
        I understand it, accept that is a reference back ----
   A.   Yes, indeed, but I think it would be ----
   Q.   --- "fergasungs"?
   A.   --- false to link these two matters because nobody has
        ever suggested that the gas chambers, homicidal gas
        chambers, were set up at Riga and that, frankly, my
        is the bottom line.
   Q.   Whether or not they were set up, I just want to be
        what your evidence is about what was meant by the
        methods of getting rid of these Jews.
   A.   Well, I think we established several paragraphs

.          P-20

        that they used various methods to kill the euthanasia
   Q.   But including gas chambers?
   A.   They used carbon monoxide, gas chambers using carbon
        monoxide.  I do not think they ever used any kind of
        chemicals apart from carbon monoxide from cylinders.
        used phenol injections.  They used other lethal
   MR RAMPTON:  Could you then please turn, first of all ----
   A.   But I do emphasise once again that even the most
        determined Holocaust historian has never suggested
        there was a homicidal gas chamber set up at Riga,
which is
        what this letter is about.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I think Mr Rampton puts it forward as
        evidence of the genesis of a policy ----
   A.   Right.
   Q.   --- of extermination by methods including gas, is that
   MR RAMPTON:  It is, my Lord.  My plain submission about
this is
        that it is very strong evidence of intention at a high
        level to kill Jews by using gas.  In the event, it is
        perfectly right they that did not build a gas chamber.
        They used trucks at this point.  If we want to know
        actually happened, may we please go to Professor
        Longerich's report, the second part, page 49?
   A.   I can only emphasise the fact that in the test trial,

.          P-21

        this was exhaustively analysed, and the court accepted
        that there was never any suggestion that gassing
        was used in Riga.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I think that is accepted.
   A.   Yes.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  By Mr Rampton, I mean.
   MR RAMPTON:  In the sense that, yes, "unterkumfte" means
        accommodations really, does it not?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   It is always almost used in relation to people in
        is it not?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Have you got that Longerich report?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   At page 49 of the second part at the top of the page,
        Dr Longerich sets out a translation of the significant
        parts of the letter from Wetzel to Lohse which, as you
        have noticed, is marked "Geheim".  That is not the
        security classification, is it, Geheim?
   A.   No.
   Q.   I will not read the first paragraph, but I will read
        second since we have not done that:
                   "The appropriate apparatus are not
available in
        the required quantity at present, and must first be
        produced.  As Brack is of the opinion that the
        of the apparatus would provide greater difficulties in

.          P-22

        Reich than on-site, he considers it purposeful to send
        people to Riga.  His chemist, Dr Kallmeyer, in
        will make all the necessary arrangements."
                  Then it is clearly indicated by Dr Longerich
        that there is an ellipse.  I can tell you that in the
        original the next sentence begins at the bottom of the
        first page of the letter.
                  "According to Sturmbannfuhrer Eichmann,
        for Jews will be established in Riga and Minsk, into
        Jews from the area of the Altreich will also possibly
        brought.  At the moment Jews are being evacuated from
        Altreich who will be brought to", there probably
should be
        an "o" on that "to" so that "brought too", in other
         "as well as", "in so far as they are fit for work.
        According to this state of affairs, there are no
        reservations if those Jews who are incapable of work,
        eliminated by the Brackian means ... Those fit for
        on the other hand, will be transported for labour in
                  The sense of that is, surely, this, is it
        Mr Irving -- you can surely accept this -- that the
        intention was -- what happened in the event is another
        matter -- as expressed by Wetzel in Berlin in the
        Ministry in Berlin, to bring train loads of Jews from
        Altreich to Riga and to send some of them that were
        for work to the East and to gas the rest?

.          P-23

   A.   That is a quantum leap which disregards the other
        evidence.  You are talking about the intention.
   Q.   I am.
   A.   In fact, it is not the intention.  It is the proposal.
   Q.   Yes.
   A.   And I think that there is more than just a nuance
        those two words; just the same as somebody in Posnan,
        I think it was Mr Hukner, in July 1941 wrote a letter
        Eichmann saying, would it not be far more humane if
        would dispose of these people before the winter comes
        some rapidly working means?  Well, nobody did that at
        time.  So these proposals were ventilated by these
   Q.   Rather than letting them starve to death, I think it
        was it not?
   A.   I beg your pardon?
   Q.   I said it was rather than letting them starve to death
        the proposal.
   A.   Yes, and that is exactly the same kind of thing.
        proposals were ventilated and aired.  As we find out,
        nothing was ever done in that direction.
   Q.   You may or may not agree with Professor Longerich.  If
        disagree, there is nothing I can do about it.  You
        have to wait until he gets here.  He says:  "Gas
        (here described as 'dwellings' (Unterkunfte) were not
        fact erected in Riga.  Rather, so-called gas vans were

.          P-24

        be employed"?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Where do you get that from?
   MR RAMPTON:  I do not know; maybe it is in the next
   A.   Well, oddly enough, I would agree with that.
   Q.   You would?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Well, there we are?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Then we need not bother.
   MR RAMPTON:  I will just read on, if I may?
   A.   But I think it is irresponsible to talk about gas
        chambers being described as "dwellings" in this.  I
        as we know ----
   Q.   You must take that up with him, I am afraid.
   A.   As we know, they did erect this very large fumigation
        chamber in Riga which is why Dr Hesch went there in
        October 1941.
   Q.   You would not describe a fumigation chamber as an
        "unterkunfte", would you?
   A.   Well, we do not know exactly what shape this
        chamber took.  They may have taken over a Nissan hut
        turned it into a gassing chamber with the appropriate
        sealants, and so on.
   Q.   No, no, the letter talks about the construction of the
        required dwellings.  That cannot be right, Mr Irving.
        am sorry.
   A.   Well, Nissan huts constructed.  I just gave that as a

.          P-25

        of ready translation.
   Q.   They are not probably (and I am only dealing in
        probabilities because I am interested in historical
        integrity rather than proof of what happened) they are
        likely, the words "dwellings which needs to be
        constructed", to be fumigation chambers, are they,
        the use of the German word "unterkunfte"?
   A.   Well, I gave precisely the reason why they are.  Given
        wartime circumstances, I find it highly likely they
        have taken an existing building, like a Nissan hut,
        applied the appropriate sealants and then used that as
        fumigation chamber.
   Q.   What word would you naturally use in German for a
        delousing or fumigation chamber?
   A.   Entlausungs kammer, Entwesungs kammer, Vergasungs
   Q.   But not this word?
   A.   Well, they have actually done the two.  They have said
        Unterkunfte, Vergasungsapparate.
   Q.   Let us read paragraph 5, may we?  "These gas vans were
        developed by the Criminal Police in autumn 1941 -
        to the transfer of the technology of 'euthanasia' to
        Eastern Europe".
   A.   That, I venture to suggest, if I may just interrupt
        is why the letter had a Geheim rating rather than the
        Secret rating.
   Q.   Yes.

.          P-26

   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Mr Rampton, I have read the next four or
        paragraphs.  What is really being said -- I think this
        agreed which is why I am intervening -- is that the
        of using gas vans was not only proposed but was
   A.   It was implemented, yes.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Eight or 10 of them were employed to kill
        Jews, starting, as I read it, in Chelmo.  Does one
need to
        go through it more detail?  Do you accept that, Mr
   A.   Except for the numbers, I think that is right.
   MR RAMPTON:  I do have a point to make about this.  If one
        looks at paragraph 5, halfway through the paragraph:
         "After having an execution of Jews performed for
        that is Himmler's, "observation, he demanded of Nebe,
        Head of EG B, that other methods of killing should be
        sought which were more 'humane' than execution", that
        by shooting, that is my interpolation, "methods, that
        which would put less strain on the firing squads of
the SS
        and policemen".  Is that correct?  Is that what
        demanded of Nebe?
   A.   What a waffly footnote, though, is it not?  This is
        reconstructed from the accounts of witnesses and ----
   Q.   Do you agree ----
   A.   Excuse me, and he then actually uses the "indictment"
        somebody as a source when an "indictment" is something
        that has been untested in law.  If it had been a

.          P-27

        by a court, that would be different.
   Q.   Mr Irving, you can, as I say, take up the cudgels with
        Dr Longerich and Professor Browning and anybody else,
        Professor Evans, about their methods, just as I am
        with you about yours.
   A.   Mr Rampton, you put the sentence to me and I
        draw attention to the waffly basis.
   Q.   Mr Irving, I wish you would sometimes just listen to my
        question.  Do you agree, as a matter of fact, with what
        Dr Longerich has there written?
   A.   That Himmler was squeamish?

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