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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day008.37

Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day008.37
Last-Modified: 2000/07/20

   Q.   No.  This is in February 1943.  It has all gone.  It was
        the summer of '42?
   A.   Yes.  And there would have been no more typhus
   Q.   There was not one in '43.
   A.   But did they know there was going to be no typhus
   Q.   No, of course not.  But this is mid winter in southern
        Poland, it is 11th February 1943, and he wants it all
        finished by 6th March.  Have I got an answer?
   A.   Are they not having problems at this time with the other
   Q.   With?
   A.   With the other crematoria?
   Q.   Not so far as I know.
   A.   They had run into other crematoria being rendered unsafe
        by chimney fires, this kind of problem?
   Q.   Not so far as I know.  Professor van Pelt will tell you
        yeah or nay if you ask him that question.
   A.   All I can say is that I have read the three letters.  This
        is one letter of three that were sent to me last night in
        conjunction with each other.  Bischoff, who is at
        Auschwitz, is, as you say, tearing strips off his
        suppliers for repeatedly failing to deliver on time, and
        supplies come back to him and say:  "We will give you a
        ten horse-power motor instead of a seven horse-power motor

.          P-146

        which will do the job as well".  I do not read any great
        significance into them saying "urgently" as the kind of
        thing I say to printers when I want books printed
        urgently.  What I say is that I urgently need.  What I did
        notice on one of the letters (I cannot put my finger on
        which one it was - I am sure Miss Rogers can help us on
        this) is Topf, the company that is supplying the equipment
        to Auschwitz, saying that we cannot get the priority for
        our shipments, we cannot get the railroad priority, which
        seems an odd thing if this is the Final Solution they are
        talking about, and the company who is supplying the
        equipment says, "We cannot get the priority to put our
        stuff on the trains".
   Q.   In February or March in Southern Poland, Mr Irving, I
        should think, I do not know, but I should think the
        temperature is pretty low, is it not?
   A.   Yes, but I also think and I am not an epidemiologist, but
        I do happen to know typhus epidemics are most prevalent in
        precisely these months of the year.  They come and go in
        cycles.  The early months of the year is when typhus
        epidemics are considered to be the most prevalent.
   Q.   That was not the experience in 1942, was it, in this
   A.   It began in 1942 and got out of hand in early 1942 until
        it reached its peak, I think, in about August 1942.
   Q.   We have now abandoned really air raid shelters, have we

.          P-147

   A.   As a topic for questioning, yes.
   Q.   We can forget air raid shelters.  You do not get a letter
        like this, "must complete, you are late, we cannot use the
        installation until these motors arrive, these ventilation
        motors", if we are talking about air raid shelters?
   A.   Like any other building that has been newly erected in
        Germany, no doubt in England, they are not allowed to put
        them into operation until they meet the building
        inspector's standard.  This equipment was undoubtedly
        considered to be essential before the building could be
        put into use.  German buildings, just like any other, had
        to be passed by a building inspector.  I think Professor
        van Pelt makes this point also.
   Q.   I have a piece of paper and I ask you simply to note, you
        can take it up with Professor van Pelt later on, a piece
        of paper which tells me that the mortality from the typhus
        epidemic during the summer of 1942 was, it looks like,
        about 20,000, about 20,000 -- 8,000, sorry 8,000, that is
        from the epidemic, and that there was virtually no typhus
        during 1943.  Do you accept that?
   A.   Not necessarily.  I would have to see the figures for
        myself, but also here we are in February 1943, they have
        had the most ghastly experience in 1942, and they are
        taking, to my mind, responsible precautions in case the
        same thing happens in 1943.

.          P-148

   Q.   But in the light of all the ----
   A.   They are getting ready and prepared and they have lost two
        of their crematoria by this time I believe.
   Q.   So you say.  You must put that to Professor van Pelt.  In
        the light of all the evidence, the reference
        gasungskeller, to a gaskammer, to all the rest of the
        documentary evidence, and of the eyewitness testimony,
        Mr Irving, the likeliest explanation for a document of
        this kind is this, is it not:  "We want to start the big
        extermination programme in March, get on with it"?
   A.   If I was to write a book and based that conclusion on a
        document like that I would rightly stand before a court
        like this for manipulation and distortion.
   Q.   No, Mr Irving, you know that is not a proper answer to my
   A.   Of course it is a proper answer.
   Q.   I said in the light ----
   A.   I am being accused of basing my hypotheses on what you
        describe as flimsy lines like Judentransport and keine
        liquidierung, and the conclusions I drew on those two
        lines I am accused of having distorted and manipulated,
        and yet you are trying to read into this one document ----
   Q.   No. You did not ----
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  No, you have not understood what the question
        was.  Mr Rampton's question expressly -- will you listen,
        please -- expressly referred to all the other evidence,

.          P-149

        including eyewitness evidence and the rest.  You know what
        he is talking about.
   A.   My Lord, precisely as I did ----
   Q.   He is saying in the light of all of that evidence would
        you not accept that gas chambers is the likely explanation?
   A.   The short answer is no, and I would add to say, add the
        remark that is precisely what I said when I was accused of
        having drawn adventurous conclusions on the documents laid
        before me.  I said remember I have the basis of my entire
        expertise and all the other documents I had, and I rely on
        them too.  This is precisely the argument being used by
        Mr Rampton to justify this as being a smoking gun.  This
        is a very flimsy document indeed.
   MR RAMPTON:  Mr Irving, I do not say that this document --- -
   A.   With no security classification on this document either.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  No, but it was not being put on that document
        alone.  That is the point, but let us move on.
   A.   My Lord, you appreciate the point I am trying to make?
   Q.   I certainly understand the point, but I think you may have
        underrated Mr Rampton's question.
   MR RAMPTON:  I think you have also, as you so often do, made a
        false comparison about the point I am making with the
        point I make against you in relation to Berlin Jews.
        However, I pass now from these documents.  I think, my
        Lord, that is perhaps enough for the moment.  We may come

.          P-150

        back to them in Professor van Pelt cross-examination.
        I just ask you to look at page 49 before I leave this.
        This is a letter I think, Mr Irving.  It is dated 20th
        June 1943.
   A.   28th June.
   Q.   Sorry, 28th June 1943, to Kammler who is the head of
        Waffen SS Supply Department in Berlin, am I right?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   From Bischoff, though it has not got his signature in and
        that is no doubt because it is an office copy, setting out
        what he perceives to be or is reporting to be the
        theoretical capacity of each of five crematoria at the
        time when he writes in a 24-hour period.  Have I got it right?
   A.   Yes.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  So that is 4,756 corpses in 24 hours.
   MR RAMPTON:  That is 4,756 people corpses -- I must not suggest
        they were alive -- 4,756 corpses to be incinerated by
        these five installations in a 24-hour period.  If you
        multiply, Mr Irving, 4,756 by 7 you get something like
        33,000 in a week; and you if multiply that by 4 you get
        something like 130,000 a month; and if you multiply that
        by 12 you get about 1.6 million in a year.  What,
        Mr Irving, did they need that kind of capacity for?
   A.   Can we discuss the document first?
   Q.   By all means.

.          P-151

   A.   This is one of the few documents whose integrity I am
        going to challenge.
   Q.   Ah!  On what basis, please tell us?
   A.   Well, I prefer to discuss this with one of the expert
        historians who you are calling as witnesses.
   MR RAMPTON:  No, absolutely not, Mr Irving.  Do not keep your
        cards in your pocket, it is not allowed.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  You have to explain why now.
   A.   Well, as I explained already to the court and we discussed
        this briefly with Professor Watt, all German documents of
        this character had to follow a standard layout, a German
        Civil Service layout, if you can put it like this.  They
        were typed in a certain way.  They had certain
        characteristics like the security classification and so on
        put in.  Certain things were written in by hand.  Certain
        things were typed in.  There are I think five or six
        different versions of this document I have seen in the
        files over the last couple of years, and there are a
        number of discrepancies.  I am only going to point to one
        discrepancy and this is right in the top left.  The
        "31550" has been typed in,.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Why is that a discrepancy?
   A.   My Lord, if you go back to page 39 you will see that
        characteristically it would start off with "Brief
        Tagebuch" BFTGB.  This is a very good one for comparison.

.          P-152

        Then you follow with a handwritten number 24365 which
        always handwritten on the documents, followed then by the
        "43" which is the year and that is missing in this page
        49, the year is missing and the year is always there
        normally, followed by JA, and if it is supposed to be
        "Janisch" it should be a JA with an umlaut, followed on
        page 49 by NE full stop, dash, and there is no other
        document in the entire Auschwitz archives which has a
        secretary initial "NE".
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Why do you say that is the secretary?
   A.   The last initials to come there would always be the
        secretary who has typed the document.  The one before it
        is the one who has dictated it.  So that is the
        discrepancy, just in that one line.  The line above the
        date we are missing the word "Auschwitz".  So this is a
        document that I am very unhappy with, not to mention the
        fact that the figures do not tally with any of the
        established figures that are provided by the top company
        who actually manufactures these crematoria.
   MR RAMPTON:  Yes, Mr Irving.  That is what happens, is it not?
        You come across something absolutely insuperable, so
        immediately you cast doubt on its authenticity?
   A.   I have been careful not to do this with any other
        documents, Mr Rampton.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  What is the provenance of this document,
        Mr Rampton, do you know.

.          P-153

   MR RAMPTON:  It has on my copy "reproduced from the holdings of
        the US Holocaust Memorial Museum Archives", but ----
   A.   I think it is ----
   Q.   --- but at the bottom of the page there is a signature or
        the handwritten word "Jahrling" or it might be "Jahrling?
   A.   "Jahrling".
   Q.   It has the umlaut on it there at the bottom of the page,
        has it not?
   A.   Yes, but the typist obviously did not bother to put it in
        because on a German typewriter it is a different letter.
        I think it first surfaced in about 1950 when it was
        supplied by the East German Government to the Auschwitz
        Museum which is a rather odd way round for it to go.
   Q.   Do you know that?
   A.   From studies -- I am not reproducing my own conclusions on
        this document.  I am not an expert on these documents, but
        I have read a study on it.  But I have subsequently heard
        from someone that it did actually surface in Soviet hands
        back in the 1945 period.
   Q.   Let us suppose for a moment it is an authentic document so
        we can get on a bit faster.  You can take it up with
        Professor van Pelt probably tomorrow.
   A.   I just want to say it is a suspect document, but I am
        quite happy to accept that I may be wrong on that.
   Q.   Let us ----
   A.   It has things that would make my ----

.          P-154

   Q.   Let us assume you are wrong.  Why do you think, if you are
        wrong, that they contemplated that kind of capacity?
        I mean they are contemplating incinerating more than the
        whole population of the camp once a month?
   A.   Well, that again is  a pointer to the totally absurdity of
        the document frankly.
   Q.   Oh no, it is not, Mr Irving.  If they are incinerating
        people who will never form part of the population of the
        camp at all, it is not absurd in the very least bit.
        People who are selected on arrival for being killed and
        incinerated, they never get registered in the camp, do they?
   A.   The entire population of the camp is going to be between
        150,000 and 200,000 people.

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