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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day009.14

Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day009.14
Last-Modified: 2000/07/20

   Q.   Well, they regarded it as a priority -- this is my
        question -- that the extermination programme should
        proceed faster and on a broader basis than it had

.          P-120

   A.   I would say that the extermination programme, yes, should
        become all inclusive at the moment.  There are great
        discussions about when the decision for the Final Solution
        was taken.  Professor Browning will be able to talk on
        that.  But certainly what we see is that, in the summer of
        -- and we are only talking about Auschwitz right now.
        I would like to be very careful because I do not want that
        the discussion about what happens in Auschwitz in some way
        is going to be the discussion about the Final Solution as
        a whole.  We are talking here about one camp.  Other
        things are happening elsewhere.  The Operation Reinhardt
        camps are being built, Treblinka common operation days
        later, Belzac has already been in operation before.
                  So in the case of Auschwitz, and that is
        something which Deborah Dwork and I tried to demonstrate
        in our book, Auschwitz was not meant to be an
        extermination camp.  It is in some way almost hijacked by
        that programme when other things which are happening in
        Auschwitz are not going to be realisable during the war.
        So certainly, yes, Auschwitz now, which is a place where
        these other projects are collapsing, these projects which
        Himmler had envisioned of settlement and so on, Auschwitz
        is now made available and it is going to be made available
        administratively, in the sense that within the next months
        you see that decisions are taken, of which there are

.          P-121

        significant traces in the records of the architectural office.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Thank you very much.
   MR IRVING:  Can I ask you what kind of significant traces we
        are talking about there?  I was hoping to obtain from you
        during that statement some kind of indication of what
        documentary basis you were making those remarks on,
        because of course you have now stepped beyond the barbed
        wire of Auschwitz, so to speak, and are talking about
        grand policy and grand decisions.  Is this what you have
        acquired from reading other people's books, or from what
        you have read from the archives in Auschwitz or Moscow?
   A.   Let us forget, if you like, other people's books.  It is
        going to be a kind of longish discussion.
   Q.   I hope we can keep it short.
   A.   No.
   Q.   You made certain remarks in response to his Lordship's
        question about July 1942, and you said that, no, you did
        not think that a decision; was taken at that time, or
        words that effect, and I just wanted to know what your
        basis for saying that was?
   A.   I said a decision was taken.
   Q.   What was your basis for that statement?
   A.   There are a number of things.  We know from Commandant
        Hirst's account that Himmler came, and we know he visited
        the site.  Hirst says that he watched a gassing.

.          P-122

   Q.   There is an inference then from cause and effect?
   A.   No.  Himmler does not like to go to Auschwitz at that
        time.  I mean, it seems to be that Himmler is not going to
        go out of his way from the Wolffschanze, wherever the
        headquarters are in Russia, to Auschwitz on the way to
        Globocnik in Lublin.
   Q.   He wrote to his mistress on the day before and said:
        "I have a very unpleasant journey to undertake.  I am
        going to visit Auschwitz and there are certain things one
        has to do for Germany", a rather odd sentence.
   A.   Whatever he writes to his mistress, I agree this probably
        was a trip he did not look forward to.  Then, among the
        various meetings he has, he has a meeting with Kummler,
        which also he is going to.
   Q.   Can you explain to the court who Kummler is, please?
   A.   Kummler is the head of SS Construction, who is there and
        also they have a long meeting in the construction office,
        in the Auschwitz construction office with Bischoff, where
        they are discussing obviously construction matters.  Now
        we see that within a month the first design for what will
        become crematorium 4 materialises, which is a document
        signed 14th August, which only shows the incineration part
        and part of whatever is connected to the incineration part.
   Q.   Can I interrupt there and ask you to inform the court what
        happened to Bischoff after the war?  Was he put on trial?

.          P-123

   A.   No, he was not put on trial.  He died in Bremen in 1950.
   Q.   He died in his bed in 1950?
   A.   I do not know where he died, but he was never prosecuted.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Finish your answer, Professor van Pelt.  You
        said they meet together and, as a result of that meeting,
        crematorium 4 was built?
   A.   As a result of that meeting we first see a first drawing,
        blue print copy, whatever it is, for an incineration
        installation which had not been on the table before that.
        That is the very first thing.  It is one for an
        incineration installation with eight ovens or two muffle
        ovens, a complete new concept.
   MR IRVING:  Which one was that?
   A.   This was crematoria 4 and 5.  Then there is a letter.
        I think it is in the bundle but I do not know where it is
        in the bundle.  I would like to maybe take the letter
        out.  It is about a meeting which is five days later after
        this drawing appears, which actually discusses these
        buildings.  It is famous and notorious letter which talks
        about the Bader anstalten versonderbehandlung.
   MR RAMPTON:  Your Lordship will find that, as amongst other
        places, as the document in K 2 at tab 4, page 2.  It is
        also reprinted in the report, but I cannot find where it
        is in the report at the moment.
   MR IRVING:  This is August 1942?
   A.   This is 19th August 1942.

.          P-124

   Q.   Will you tell the court, while they are looking for the
        documents, what was happening at this time in Auschwitz?
   A.   Our transports were arriving.
   Q.   Would it not be right to say that Auschwitz was in the
        grips of the most appalling epidemic, one of the biggest
        epidemics in a concentration camp in history?
   A.   Yes, an epidemic was happening, but I am happy to come
        back to the epidemic or any other matter because actually
        we have to ----
   Q.   I think possibly it would be more frank with the court if
        you had mentioned this as you went along rather than try
        to draw inferences which the court might otherwise be
        misled into taking.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Give him a moment.  He is at the moment
        describing the meeting that took place with Kummler and
        Bischoff and Himmler.
   MR IRVING:  My Lord, I am very forgetful and, by the time he
        gets to the end of his remarks, I might forget to make
        this point.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I understand that.  Go on.  How does this
        document fit in with that?
   A.   This document is a remarkable document because, first of
        all, it introduces in the history of the camp suddenly two
        buildings of which there is no other kind of earlier
        records.  It is in clause number 2 that it talks about the
        creation of two, three-muffle ovens, near or next to the

.          P-125

        "Badeanstalten fur Sonderaktionen", the bath
        installations for special actions.  I would like to point
        out once more that it is between quotation marks, this
        sentence.  They have been talking about these two triple
        muffle ovens, which is the kind of standard in the camp at
        that moment.  These are the ovens which were originally
        designed for crematorium number 2.  This is what they have
        been working with.  They have been designing this.
        Prufer, the engineer of Topf, proposes instead to install
        in Auschwitz already completed bereits fertigestellten,
        ovens, or bereits fertigestellten Lieferung, which means
        it is a shipment which is already completed, which was
        going to another site, an SS site, at Mogilev, and that
        these ovens will be installed next to the badeanstalten
        fur sonderaktionen.  We know that the ovens for Mogilev
        were designed in late 1941, taken into construction there
        and these were these eight muffle ovens.
                  So one of the things, combined with that drawing
        and combined with the four-week period which separates
        this document from the meeting Himmler has in the
        architectural office in Auschwitz, we know that suddenly
        this is quite a big change of course in Auschwitz.  They
        are going to build, these two crematoria come up, these
        two incineration installations, which are not yet named.
        If we go to clause number 7 on the next page, we actually
        see that Prufer comes back to it on the next day.  That is

.          P-126

        a meeting.  It actually talks about a meeting of 20th
        August 1942.
                  So Prufer stayed the night over in Auschwitz and
        Prufer asked then for an official confirmation, an
        official order, to basically get either the three muffle
        ovens, or he wants to know if he should get the eight
        muffle ovens, and in a little handwritten note to the side
        it actually says on the 24th August 1942, something like:
        Prufer seems to have whatever -- I cannot really read
        that -- (German spoken - handwriting on document
        illegible) -- which means that on 24th of August 1942
        Prufer tells actually that the eight muffle ovens which he
        had suggested on the 19th to be taken from the Mogilev
        shipment actually is going to Auschwitz.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  They are being diverted?
   A.   They are being diverted.
   MR IRVING:  Can I ask a question here, my Lord, and interrupt
        at this point?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes, but the answer was an answer to a
        question which was properly asked.
   MR IRVING:  I appreciate that, my Lord, but it was
beginning to
        run away with my cross-examination.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  It does happen sometimes.
   MR IRVING:  It is quite useful, but this document shows
        preparations being made in long term for the disposal of
        large numbers of cadavers.  That is all it shows.

.          P-127

   A.   But there is an issue.  I had asked for a easel.  I wonder
        if I would be able to draw a graph which would make
        things, I think, more  ----
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I can see it.  Yes, you do not have any
        objection, do you, Mr Irving?
   MR IRVING:  Can I just invite, while these are being set up,
        the witness to have a look at the letter which I wrote to
        him on May 29th 1997.  My Lord, it is in the little bundle
        you have with about 10 pages in it headed:  "Documents on
   MR IRVING:  It is within that.  The second item is the letter
        I wrote to him.  I am afraid it is not numbered, but about
        page 6 there is a page ----
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Have you got this, Professor van Pelt?
   A.   The letter -- it is in one of my documents here.  I do not
        which number.
   MR IRVING:  It is the page headed:  "Documentation is
        available", the first words on that page
        are "Documentation is available".  It is about page 6, my
        Lord, of the letter.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I think I must be looking at the wrong thing.
   MR IRVING:  It is the little bundle headed on the top
        left:  "Quick navigation".
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes, I have that, but I have not the page
        beginning ----

.          P-128

   MR IRVING:  Page approximately 6 in that letter.  It is the
        page beginning with the words "Documentation is
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes, page 3 I have it as.
   MR IRVING:  Yes.  My Lord, the final paragraph of that is a
        paragraph from the second unpublished volume of my
        Churchill biography which gives an intercept, the text of
        an intercept, of an Auschwitz message in that very month,
        August 1942.  I think it is of relevance, my Lord.
         "Further information did reach Churchill from his most
        secret sources lifting the veil on what was actually
        happening. ... (reading to the words) ... commandant
        transmitted in code to Berlin yielded figures for death
        rates in several concentration camps during the previous
        month.  These included 21 deaths at ... (reading to the
        words) ... and in what was evidently a fast growing camp
        at Auschwitz and Upper Silesia there had been the notable
        totals of 6,829 male and 1,525 female fatalities during
        August 1942".  This is precisely the month of this
        conference, my Lord.  Not without significance, I think.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes, well, it is a question, is it not,
   MR IRVING:  Yes.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  What has happening at Auschwitz.  The question is this.
   A.   I trust the mortality figure has been also arrived at by

.          P-129

        other means.  I mean, this is in the death books also you
        find the mortality of 9,000 people in Auschwitz in that
        month of August.

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