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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day008.35

Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day008.35
Last-Modified: 2000/07/20

   MR RAMPTON:  I suppose so, though, frankly, given his public
        stance in relation to Leuchter, I am not sure it any
        longer has much point.  I am not here to debate whether
        the gas chambers existed.  To my mind, I may be wrong --
        your Lordship may disagree and we have still to hear the
        cross-examination -- van Pelt demonstrates that with
        admirable clarify.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes, I agree, but I do think one or two
        questions, and I hope it does not come to much more than
        that, along the lines of, well, the evidence does not
        consist only in, as it were, rubbishing Leuchter's report;

.          P-126

        there is a whole body of positive evidence which you have
        put forward as establishing beyond the possibility of
        doubt that the gas chambers did exist, so that Mr Irving
        can then make either a general or a more detailed response
        to that.
   MR RAMPTON:  I will start in the most general way.  (To the
        witness):  Ignoring the eyewitness accounts, Mr Irving, do
        you agree that the most suggestive effect of the
        contemporaneous documentary evidence, by which I mean the
        plans, the memoranda and the correspondence, retrieved
        from Auschwitz, the most suggestive effect of that is that
        these were, indeed, homicidal gas chambers?
   A.   No.
   Q.   Why not?
   A.   From the Auschwitz archives and from the Moscow archives,
        historians have now retrieved many hundreds of thousands
        of pages of documents, and we are entitled to at least one
        explicit, non-ambiguous, non-reading between the lines,
        non-euphemism type of document which would gives us the
        clear smoking gun.  That document does not exist.
   Q.   No, it is bit like the order by Adolf Hitler for the
        beginning of the Final Solution:  Since it does not exist,
        it did not happen; is that right?
   A.   I did not say that.
   Q.   I thought that was nature, the effect of your
        evidence  ----

.          P-127

   A.   No.
   Q.   --- about Hitler and the Final Solution?
   A.   I am saying that because two bodies of documents -- you
        may not appreciate this point -- of such integrity have
        been captured, presumably intact, on the one hand, there
        in the Auschwitz state archives, on the other hand, they
        are captured by the Red Army, the entire records of the SS
        construction unit, and now they linger in the Moscow
        archives ever since, and, presumably, no incriminating
        documents have been removed by anyone, one would have been
        entitled to expect that by now when historians have had
        some 10 years to go through every single page many times,
        they would have found a document slightly more
        incriminating than those you have so far been able to
   Q.   Leaving aside the absence of an actual document
        saying, "Now we must build some homicidal gas chambers at
        the order of SS Reichfuhrer Himmler ----
   A.   I try to avoid sarcasm like that.  I try to look at it at
        a more serious and objective level.
   Q.   No, but, I am sorry, it does seem to me perhaps
        appropriate to use sarcasm in this area?
   A.   Sarcasm is the last resort of the scoundrel.
   Q.   Leaving that on one side, do you agree that otherwise the
        tendency of the surviving contemporaneous evidence -- by
        this I include the remains of the buildings such as they

.          P-128

        are -- is to suggest that, yes, indeed, these were
        homicidal gas chambers?
   A.   The tendency of?
   Q.   Surviving documentary evidence and the ruins is to suggest
        that these were, indeed, homicidal gas chambers?
   A.   No, I do not agree that.
   Q.   Why not?
   A.   Because there are alternative explanations which are
        equally plausible.
   Q.   No, I am talking about tendency.
   A.   It depends how tendentious you are.
   Q.   We have dealt with the word "vergasungskeller"?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Which you say means, oh, well, that was only for gassing
        clothes or corpses?
   A.   Perhaps I can put it the other way round.  A German would
        never translate "gas chamber" "vergasungskeller", never
        ever.  Not any German in this room would translate the
        German word "gas chamber" by "vergasungskeller".
   Q.   What do you take to be the meaning of the phrase found in
        Wetzel's letter to Lohse of 25th October 1941,
   A.   Gassing equipment -- whatever it was.
   Q.   You saw on the second page of that letter, did you not,
        the statement to this effect, "We have no objection if you
        use that equipment to dispose of Jews who are unable to

.          P-129

   A.   Now, you have drawn a link between the
        "vergasungsapparate" and the second page which does not
        exist.  I am familiar, you remember, with the Tesh trial.
        Bruno Tesh himself went to Riga, as the head of the Zyklon
        B manufacturing company, to train the staff in the
        operation of the fumigation chambers which were installed
        in Riga.  So we know precisely what the vergasungsapparate
   Q.   What would a German mean -- I am not in any sense
        deferring to you on this, Mr Irving, I am afraid; I just
        want to know what your answer is -- what would an ordinary
        German, who actually did not even get his grammar right,
        by saying that he had concreted the floor in gaskammer?
   A.   Can we see that document, please?
   Q.   Yes, if you like.  It is ----
   A.   Because, of course ----
   Q.   It is the time sheet of a humble workman at crematorium
        (iv) in March 1943, 2nd March 1943.
   A.   Well, every German in this room will be able to tell you
        what is wrong with that phrase, of course.
   Q.   We know that he has the gender wrong.
   A.   It is not the kind of thing one gets wrong.
   Q.   It is, perhaps, if you are a humble workman in southern
        Poland.  It perhaps is the sort of mistake which our
        humble workmen, if I may call them that without offence,

.          P-130

        sometimes make:  "I ain't been there today"?
   A.   Can we see the actual document, please?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  It is "im", is it?
   MR RAMPTON:  "Im", he has just got the wrong gender.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  "Kammer" is "das kammer".
   MR RAMPTON:  "Kammer" is feminine.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  It is feminine? "die kammer", is it?
   A.   No, die kammer, "in der gaskammer" it should be
   MR RAMPTON:  Yes, exactly.  He has made a grammatical mistake.
   A.   Can we have a look at the document and see how much else
        is ungrammatical about it?
   Q.   It is in the second volume new 3 and it is in tab 4 at
        page 38.  Unfortunately, the photograph we have has been
        cut off.  I assure you that the word is "gaskammer"
        because I have the reproduction.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  You said tab 4?
   MR RAMPTON:  Tab 4, my Lord, page 38.  It is a coloured
        photograph of a handwritten entry in a time sheet.  Page
        38.  One of the numbers on it is 35, unfortunately, but
        the one to look out for is a new handwritten No. 38.  In
        the third line from the end he has written something about
        "fussboden", something or other, in gaskammer?
   A.   Yes, with the two Ss in the "gass" as well.
   Q.   Sorry?
   A.   Two Ss in the "gass", G-A-S-S, kammer.
   Q.   Quite right.

.          P-131

   A.   What does the other "S" stand for, do you think?
        Gasschuts?  Gas protection?
   Q.   You tell me.
   A.   I do not know.  I am just drawing attention to further
        errors in this document.
   Q.   Right.
   A.   But, in view of the fact that I have stated that the odds
        are that the vergasen to which reference is made is
        Leichenkeller 1.
   Q.   This is to do with crematorium (iv)?
   A.   And this is, therefore, in all likelihood, the
        entwesungsanlager to which the document refers which
        I shall be showing you tomorrow.
   Q.   Leave aside the grammatical mistakes and the misspelling,
        Mr Irving, what does a German mean by the word
   A.   "Gas chamber".  But this is almost certainly a reference
        to the building they are making at this time, namely
        entwesungsanlager to which reference is made in the
        document I referred to earlier, the fumigation equipment.
   Q.   I do not have that document.
   A.   Well, it will below all these things right out of the
        water tomorrow.
   Q.   We look forward to it.  I am still a little puzzled why
        the gas chamber or, sorry, the vergasungskeller at
        crematoria (ii) and (iii) need -- now could you please

.          P-132

        turn to page 44?
   A.   Well, it needs a steel door with a peep hole, right?
   Q.   No.  I want to look at the first paragraph first.
   A.   Right.
   Q.   That relates to the crematoria (iv) and (v), does it not?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   BW 30B and 30C, and there is an order for three gas type
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Ignore the "M".  That is a misprint.  It should be "turn"
        and "gas type towers" is what the person has written?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   It is another error?
   A.   Yes, "gas type doors".
   Q.   The second paragraph says that they have -- you read it to
        me and tell me what it says?
   A.   "On this occasion we remind you of a further order dated
        March 6th 1943 for the supply of one gas door, 100/192,
        for the mortuary No. 1 of crematorium No. (iii), the
        construction project 30A, which has to be manufactured
        precisely according to the type and scale of the cellar
        door, basement door, of the crematorium No. (ii) which is
        directly opposite with a peep hole with a double eight
        millimetre glass with a rubber gasket and mounting".
   Q.   Steel, a metal mounting, is it not?
   A.   That is right, yes.

.          P-133

   Q.   Now, why would you need that for a room which was to be
        used either for gassing corpses or clothes?
   A.   You remember the third alternative use which I suggested
        this morning.
   Q.   Oh, you mean it might be an air raid shelter?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   With no emergency exit?
   A.   This was one of the few underground buildings in
        Auschwitz.  It was built almost entirely subterraneously
        with a concrete roof, a cast concrete roof, reinforced
        concrete roof, ideally suited as an air raid shelter.  The
        door described here, and the door which is, indeed, found
        in Auschwitz, is a typical air raid steel door, a gas
        tight door, of the kind which was standard throughout
        Germany at that time.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Why do you need a gas type door for an air
        raid shelter in 1943?
   A.   Because they did not know that we were not going to use
        poison gas, and all air raid shelters in Germany from this
        time onwards were being built with gas tight doors.
   MR RAMPTON:  If it be the case, Mr Irving, that the metal
        grille ----
   A.   Excuse me a minute.  My Lord, tomorrow I will produce the
        appropriate German air raid manuals producing pictures of
        precisely these doors with the peep holes.
   MR RAMPTON:  Two things puzzle me about this, well, there are

.          P-134

        three.  The first is the absence of any kind of emergency
        exit which I had been led to believe de rigour in German
        air raid shelter design.  Second, if it be the case that
        the metal protection for the peep hole was on the inside
        of the door, that does not speak of air raid shelter, does
   A.   I do not know what the standard at that time -- you see,
        the problem is they do not make these doors ad hoc.  There
        is ----
   Q.   They do.
   A.   If -- the air raid shelter doors are all supplied with
        peep holes, all the gas tight doors had peep holes.  It is
        rather like the ATM machines which have a little braille
        pad on them, whether or not it is even a drive by ATM
        machine, it still has the braille pad on it, although,
        obviously, drivers are not blind, because that is the
        cheapest way to make ATM machines.  They do not make - ---
   Q.   Mr Irving, I rather think you are making things up as you
        go along.  This is an order from Bischoff?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Who is the head of the architectural department, building
   A.   Indeed, yes.
   Q.   To the work shop in Auschwitz?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   They made these things to order?

.          P-135

   A.   Excuse me, no.  It is being sent to the Deutsche [German].
   Q.   Yes.  That is in Auschwitz.  Look.
   A.   All it just says is the factory, Auschwitz, Obeschlazien.
   Q.   Look, and [German - document not provided]  "OS"?
   A.   "Obeschalzien".  It just says, "The factory at Auschwitz"
        which is the town of Auschwitz.
   Q.   Exactly.
   A.   It does not say, "Concentration camp, Auschwitz".

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