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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day009.04

Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day009.04
Last-Modified: 2000/07/20

   MR RAMPTON:  Yes, all right.  Will you tell his Lordship,
        Professor van Pelt, broadly speaking, what its findings
        were by reference, first, please to the crematoria and
        then to the delousing?
   A.   There were three parts to the Markievitch report.  First
        of all, there was a test of the crematoria, was there
        really cyanide compound in the walls of the crematoria?
        Second of all, were there cyanide compounds in the
        delousing building BW 5A and the delousing building which
        was used in Auschwitz I?  Then finally there was a test
        done with a control sample to see if in the building of

.          P-28

        which they knew there had been no Zyklon B, and the idea
        was would there be a kind of random cyanide content in the
        walls, which was one of the claims which had been made
        about the cyanide contents in the crematoria.
   Q.   Pause there, and take that last feature first.  What did
        they find when they looked in a place where there was
        neither gassing of humans nor of lice?
   A.   Negative.
   Q.   Nothing?
   A.   Nothing.
   Q.   So that eliminates that.  Where they were aware that it
        has been suggested that you could find it anywhere because
        at one stage during the typhus epidemic in 1942 the whole
        camp had been fumigated?
   A.   I think so, yes.  I do not remember exactly.
   Q.   What conclusion did they draw about that, do you know?
   A.   About these buildings?
   Q.   Yes.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  It is pretty obvious.  A single fumigation
        does not leave any cyanide presence.
   MR RAMPTON:  That is what Markievitch said in his conclusion.
        Then if you look now at, first of all, we are going back
        to 551, and notice, please, that all these concentrations
        are given in micrograms per kilogram of cyanide compound,
        is that right?
   A.   Yes.

.          P-29

   Q.   Is what is measured in micrograms the actual cyanide
        content of the samples?
   A.   I think that it is actually the combination.  It is not
        the cyanide content, but I think the whole, whatever it
        has bonded with.
   Q.   If you look at the second table on page 551, it concerns
        crematorium 1.  Do you see that?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   And only in one column, under sample 20 -- my Lord, the
        first block in the table is the number of the sample, and
        the second block is the readings beside B, the second row
        of blocks.  Only in one, number 20, does one find
        significant quantities of cyanide.
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Then look over the page, please and look, please, at 553
        first.  Now, samples 53 to 55, you tell us, were taken
        from blue staining on the outside of the building?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   And two of those, 53A and 55, have relatively high
        readings, particularly number 55?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   From 57 and 58 the readings, you tell us, are taken from
        the plaster, from dark blue stains on the inner side of
        the wall; in the building, in other words?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   And both of those have relatively high readings, do they

.          P-30

        not, particularly sample 57?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   840, 792, 840.  Then, please, look at the table on page
        552 and look at sample 25 which comes from crematorium 2.
        In the text on page 550 you tell us that samples 13 to 52
        were taken from places which served as homicidal gas chambers?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   So that includes the reading in the first table of
        crematorium 1, and it includes the readings under
        crematorium 2, does it not?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   The first sample 25 under crematorium 2, has relatively
        high readings, does it not?
   A.   Yes, it does.
   Q.   Not quite as high as sample 57 from the delousing
        building, but higher, I think, than any others in these
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   30 and 31 also have what is medium high readings?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Crematorium 3, nothing of any significance, yes?
   A.   Yes, I agree.
   Q.   Crematorium 4, samples 41 and 46, particularly 41 again ----
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  That is crematorium 5.

.          P-31

   MR RAMPTON:  Yes, that is 4 and 5.  In 4 again relatively high readings?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Do you have an explanation?  I know you are not a chemist,
        but do you have an explanation, perhaps supplied to you by
        others, why it is that in these gas chamber remains
        Professor Markievitch's team found readings of cyanide
        which are almost as great as the Prussian blue readings in
        the delousing building?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  He could read out page 555 of his report,
        could he not, on that?
   A.   May I correct you there?  Actually he did not test on
        Prussian blue.  You just said the readings of Prussian blue.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  This is the analysis of the material as
        opposed to the colour?
   A.   Yes.  But he did not test Prussian blue because there are
        problems with Prussian blue analysis in this.
   MR RAMPTON:  You say he did not test Prussian blue?
   A.   Markievitch did not test Prussian blue.
   Q.   Did not test Prussian blue?  Do you know why not?
   A.   One of the things which is very problematic, and again
        I am not speaking as a chemist, but I am speaking more or
        less on the basis of knowledge I have glossed from
        others.  It seems that there is a problem in the formation
        of Prussian blue which relates to one of the main things,

.          P-32

        the acidity of the environment.
   Q.   Wait a minute, take it in stages.  None of us is a
        chemist.  At least I am certainly not, I do not know about
        his Lordship, and I do not think Mr Irving is.  Prussian
        blue is a compound?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   A combination produced by a reaction between hydrogen
        cyanide and iron?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Is that right?
   A.   That is right.
   Q.   Now, what is the difference between Prussian blue then and
        other substances which react with hydrogen cyanide?
        Sorry, it is a bad question.  You were starting to talk
        about the acidity being a problem.  What do you mean by
   A.   The PH level of the environment.
   Q.   Yes?
   A.   Prussian blue seems only to be formed in very, very
        specific conditions, in which a number of environmental
        factors need to be present.  It seems to be that, in order
        for Prussian blue to be formed, one needs to have a PH
        level which is higher than 7.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Can we cut this short?  The PH level varied
        according to which chamber you were looking at, is that right?

.          P-33

   MR RAMPTON:  No, my Lord.
   A.   Very particularly in the case of the gas chambers the PH
        level would have been much lower than 7, because of the
        carbon dioxide being brought into the environment by
        people who are brought into the gas chambers.
   Q.   So an acidity or a PH lower than about 6, high acidity,
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Is this that you are telling us interferes in such a way
        with the chemistry that the hydrogen cyanide does not
        react with iron?
   A.   Yes.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Going back to what you were being asked
        about, namely the conclusions to be drawn from the
        readings which Mr Rampton has just taken you through, am
        I right, just to short circuit it again, that at page 555
        of your report you in a few sentences summarise what the
        conclusion of Markievitch report was?
   A.   Yes, I do, and the conclusion was that it was a positive
        proof that the spaces in the crematoria they had tested
        had been used with Zyklon B, hydrogen cyanide had been
        brought in those rooms, and I would like to make maybe one
        kind of caveat to this whole report, and this is if you
        allow me?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Of course.
   A.   It is a problem which relates to crematoria 4 and 5, and

.          P-34

        this is a problem which goes back to the Leuchter report.
        It goes back to any tests which have been done.  That is
        the fact that the crematoria 4 and 5 which are above
        ground buildings, brick buildings on a concrete slab were
        completely demolished at the end of the war, and that all
        the bricks were brought to a big heap behind crematorium
        5, and that whatever we see there now has been
        reconstructed with those bricks, but that these bricks in
        some way come from a random pile.  So it is very difficult
        to know which brick was originally where.
   MR RAMPTON:  So the reading on page 552 on crematoria 4 and 5,
        the relatively high readings, numbers 41 and 46, there is
        no way of being able to say that those pieces of fabric
        that are now in what is supposed to be the gas chambers
        were there originally?
   A.   No, there is no way one can say that.  So I would say that
        any investigation of crematoria 4 or 5 on residual
        hydrogen content would be, as far as I am concerned, a
        useless exercise.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  So we concentrate on the other crematoria?
   A.   Yes.
   MR RAMPTON:  But the same problem does not beset the samples
        taken from crematorium 2.  Thank you very much, Professor van Pelt.
                  My Lord, before cross-examination starts,
        I should have done this earlier, your Lordship has I hope

.          P-35

        a supplemental or supplementary report from Professor van Pelt?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I remember that there was one.
   MR RAMPTON:  Mr Irving certainly has it.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I am just wondering where I put it.
   MR RAMPTON:  It has to do with a very limited topic.  It has to
        do with B Zyklon deliveries to Auschwitz.  What I will do,
        if your Lordship does not mind, is hand up a file with it
        in, which I have marked "van Pelt supplementary".
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I think I have it, although I am a bit
        puzzled I have not put it in the existing file.
   MR RAMPTON:  That there is not much room is perhaps one reason.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  That could be true. It suggests to me that I
        perhaps have not had it.
   MR RAMPTON:  I am not going to refer to it now.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Mr Irving, you have seen this supplemental report?
   MR IRVING:  I have indeed, my Lord.
   MR RAMPTON:  My Lord, also in the file, which Mr Irving does
        not know about but I have a copy for him now, is a
        document produced in consequence of a critique that
        Mr Irving published on his web site of Professor van
        Pelt's book about Auschwitz.  I suggested that it would be
        helpful for me if Professor van Pelt did answer to that
        critique which he has recently done and I have got, in
        case he was cross-examined on the basis of the critique.

.          P-36

        It emerged from the questions that I asked Mr Irving
        yesterday that that indeed is going to be so.  It seems to
        me, since this is quite detailed, that everybody therefore
        should have a copy.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Well maybe.  I just am a little concerned
        that every day we are generating more files. We have
        enough files to keep most people happy for a long time.
   MR RAMPTON:  It is not something I am suggesting anybody should
        read from beginning to end, but Professor van Pelt may
        want, as experts do, make reference to it for the detail.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Shall we slot it into the same file.
   MR RAMPTON:  I have done it.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Thank you.
   MR RAMPTON:  I have called it "van Pelt supplementary 2 and 3".
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I am going to put the Rudolf report into J as well.
   MR RAMPTON:  Yes, my Lord, that must be right.  Miss Rogers
        thinks it is about ten.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  We have to keep a track on it, actually.

                    (Cross-examined by MR IRVING)

   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes, Mr Irving?
   MR IRVING:  My Lord, may I propose to proceed as follows with
        the cross-examination?  That I briefly cross-examine the
        witness as to credit; I would then like to test your
        Lordship's patience by showing the court for about ten
        minutes a video film of Professor van Pelt visiting the

.          P-37

        Auschwitz site, which will serve a double purpose.  There
        are things which he says during that video and it will
        also give us a sense of what the site looks like now.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Certainly.  I am afraid I have not noticed
        the video, but certainly do.
   MR IRVING:  I will then proceed after that to the court
        examination.  Professor van Pelt, you are a Dutch citizen
        or Canadian citizen now?
   A.   I am a Dutch citizen.

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