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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day009.16

Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day009.16
Last-Modified: 2000/07/20

   Q.   There is no basis in the archival record that you have
        seen for the figures you gave, apart from that one
        document that we challenge?
   A.   Mr Irving, the point is, I think, very simple.  You claim
        that the epidemic in August 1942 -- you raised the issue
        of the epidemic in 1942, then you say that we can -- you
        suggest that we can, and others have said, that you can
        explain the enormous incineration capacity in Auschwitz by
        looking at the typhus as being the reason to plan this
                  Now, we are talking here about a typhus

.          P-139

        epidemic, an enormous typhus epidemic, I agree, it was a
        disaster.  In August 1942, the camp was in a very bad
        shape.  But if you start to plan on the basis of that
        worst possible scenario, or would you want to suggest then
        a typhus epidemic which wipes out in one month almost a
        whole camp population of 120,000 out of 150,000 projected;
        so if you want to use the typhus argument (and you
        introduced it and I did not) I can refute that by looking
        at the incineration capacities.
   Q.   Well, the facts are staring you in the face.  This
        conference is taken in the middle of a camp which is in
        quarantine, subjected to, as you yourself admit, the most
        appalling typhus epidemic, and you are determined not to
        see any connection between the two facts?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Well, I think the point here -- we do not
        want to spend too long on this -- he is really making is
        that the incineration capacity was three times the
        projected population of Auschwitz in 1943?
   MR IRVING:  My Lord, can I ask one question on that?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Is that right, Professor van Pelt?
   A.   No, I do not -- no, the incineration capacity is 4/5ths
        per month.  It is 4/5ths of the total projected population
        of the camp.  So in order to justify this by typhus, we
        would have to start to assume typhus epidemics which start
        to wipe out in one month 4/5ths of the total camp
        population, which means that, in terms of filling this

.          P-140

        camp up again or whatever like that, I mean, we have to --
        the Germans would have had to ship 120,000 people to
        Auschwitz every month in order to keep ahead or even with
        the typhus epidemic.  It is absurd, it is absolutely
        absurd, to use typhus as an excuse to explain the
        incineration capacity of the crematoria.
   MR IRVING:  Professor van Pelt, you used the word "absurd".
        What figure are we talking about in that green column?
        How many people?
   A.   Which one?
   Q.   The right-hand -- in the right-hand histogram?
   A.   The right-hand histogram.
   Q.   The green column?  How many ----
   A.   It is 120,000.  Projected incineration capacity for
        120,000 people per month.
   Q.   Approximately, so we get an idea what we are talking about
        here, that is four times Wembley stadium, that is 12,000
        tonnes of people, 12,000,000 tonnes of cadavers, that you
        are going to have to cremate with these very limited
        installations?  Am I getting it right?
   A.   I do not want to speculate on how many tonnes and how many
        at Wembley stadium.
   Q.   You do the calculation yourself.  The human body is
        roughly SPG of 1, is it not?  Specific gravity of 1
        because you float in water?
   A.   Yes.

.          P-141

   Q.   Am I right?
   A.   So where does this bring us?
   Q.   Well, the human body weighs what, 100 kilograms?  10
        people per tonne?
   A.   I do not think after you have you been in Auschwitz very
        long you weigh 100 kilograms.
   Q.   OK.  Say 12 people per tonne if you want to cavil, you are
        still going to end up with 10,000 tonnes of bodies to
        dispose of.  This is bringing it home to you the size of
        the figures you are talking about there.  That brings home
        to you the absurdity of the document you are relying on.
        10,000 tonnes of bodies.
                  If you will take it from me that it takes 30
        kilogrammes of coke to incinerate, as you say, one body,
        can you work out how many tonnes of coke we are going to
        put into those tiny coal bunkers that you can see on the
        aerial photographs to destroy, to incinerate, to cremate,
        120,000 bodies?  We are talking about train loads, if not
        ship loads of coke are going to have to go into Auschwitz,
        and there is no sign of the mountains of coke on the
        photographs, do you agree?  There is no sign of the
        mountains ----
   A.   I am just trying to get all the pieces of your question
   Q.   Do you appreciate -- let me sum it up like this -- that
        there are severe logistics problems in handling the

.          P-142

        disposal of 120,000 bodies a month?
   A.   We know there were severe logistic problems during the
        Hungarian action, yes.  The month of May and the month of
        June in Auschwitz, June 1944, were very difficult months.
        The logistic problems in Auschwitz were so big that they
        had to start introducing incineration pits again.  Yes, it
        is very difficult to incinerate so many bodies in any
        situation because it seems to be that, one way or another,
        these crematoria did do their job as well as they could.
   Q.   So you are saying because the story exists, therefore,
        these figures must be right?  Is this the kind of logic
        you apply?  You do not say to yourself, you have 120,000
        bodies in that right-hand green column, does this not
        sound a bit odd, as 10,000 tonnes of bodies that these
        Nazis have managed to dispose of, and nothing has been
        seen of this on the air photographs, does that not strike
        you as odd?  No huge columns of smoke have been seen on
        the air photographs?  Does that not strike you as odd?
   A.   There is only one photograph in May, yes?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  May '44?
   A.   May '44.  These are these big -- these big transports had
        ceased when the air photographs in, what is it, in August
        and September were taken.
   MR IRVING:  Can you show on these large photographs that we
        have here where they would have stored the tens of
        thousands of tonnes of coke?  If they were to bury the

.          P-143

        bodies, have you any idea what size the pit would have been?
   A.   Mr Irving, I challenge your use of the tens of thousands
        tonnes of coke.  First of all, we do not know how much
        coke was delivered to Auschwitz in 1944.  We do know how
        much coke was delivered into Auschwitz in 1943.  We do
        also know that there is a German document, it is a
        document Zeitwei Zuvielarbeiter, Jahrling, from, what is
        it, March and April -- actually two documents, two
        calculations made in Zentralebauleitung about the coke use
        of the crematorium.
   Q.   Yes?
   A.   And these two documents, the amount of the coke use is
        not, as you say, 35 kilos per body.
   Q.   Which crematorium are we talking about?
   A.   We are talking about -- he made a calculation for all the
   Q.   Yes.
   A.   And he does it -- I mean, I have it -- if may consult my
        notes on this?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes, of course.
   MR IRVING:  Can you say off the top of your head?
   A.   No, I am not going to say anything off the top of my head
        right now.  It is too serious -- it is absolutely too
        serious a question.
   Q.   I agree.

.          P-144

   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Is it in your report your main report?
   A.   It is in my kind of informal report.
   MR RAMPTON:  My Lord, it is the second half.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  The supplementary one, I see.
   A.   The supplementary...
   MR RAMPTON:  The second half of the little blue...
   A.   I am sorry, I did not put a page number on it.  This was
        for internal private use, and so...
   MR RAMPTON:  I have paginated mine.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes, I have it.
   A.   I have found it here.
   MR IRVING:  Is this an actual document that you are going to
   A.   It is document -- no, the document is actually in Pressec.
   Q.   The document is in Pressec?
   A.   Yes, and I think that my Pressec has a little tab to it.
        I can give the page.
   MR RAMPTON:  It must be treated with great care.  It is fragile
        and extremely valuable.
   A.   I will just identify the page and then maybe it should go
        to you for inspection.  The documents are -- the first
        document is on page 223 and the second document is on page 224.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Do not bother to pass it to me.  You can
        describe what you say that reveals.
   A.   OK.  There are -- basically, there is a calculation made

.          P-145

        by Jahrling who was a Zuvielarbeiter which means he is not
        in the SS hierarchy in the camp, and he talks about the
        use of coke in the crematoria.  The heading is only about
        No. (ii), but ultimately he makes a calculation for all
        the crematoria, and he comes to a use per 12 hours.  He
        does that for 2,800 kilos in 12 hours for crematorium
        (ii); 2,800 kilos in crematorium (iii); 932 kilos in
        crematorium (iv) and 932 kilos in crematorium (v), which
        is a total of 8,264 kilos in 12 hours.
                  Then he has made some calculation mistakes
        because a couple of days later, which is the 17th -- the
        first document is on 12th March -- he comes back to his
        calculation and what seems to have happened is that he
        made a calculation, he comes to 2,800 kilos for
        crematorium (ii), again 2,800 for crematorium (iii), 1,120
        for (iv) and 1,120 for No. (v), a total of 7,840 kilos in
        12 hours with the seven tonnes or seven-and-a-half tonnes.
   MR IRVING:  Professor van Pelt, would you read the final
        paragraph of that document beginning with the word "dieses
   A.   Then he says, ""dieses sind spitzenleistung".
   Q.   "These are maximum amounts, maximum figures"?
   A.   Yes.  "It is difficult to" -- [German - document not
        provided] -- "indicate how much it will be per year
        because it would not be known for how many days or how
        many hours or how many days we can, we must heat the

.          P-146

        thing" which means he is prepared to give it on a daily
        basis but not more on a yearly basis because if the
        crematorium is going to be used every day or not, he does
        not know.
   Q.   Would you like to do the ----
   A.   May I just finish the document, discussing the document,
        and I am happy to consider your question.  In the
        paragraph above it, he says something else.  [German -
        document not provided]  It goes on the basis of an earlier
        thing which means that when you work constantly ----
   Q.   Around the block?
   A.   --- around the clock, then the amount of coke needed is
        much less.  So here we have, on the basis of this
        document, you can make a relatively simple calculation
        because we know the German document which has been
        challenged here in court -----
   Q.   Precisely.  This is what throws up the German document as
        being unreliable?
   A.   No, it is not.  We have two documents, one which talks
        about incineration capacity, and one which talks about the
        coke use.  It is about the same buildings.  On the basis
        of that, we know that, we can calculate the amount of coke
        which is going to be used per corpse which is not a happy
        calculation, I must say, but the bottom line is you come
        to three-and-a-half kilo of coke per corpse.

.          P-147

   Q.   Do you really, sincerely believe that you can burn one
        corpse with enough coke that you could fit in one of these
        water bottles, is that what you are saying?
   A.   I would like to point out there are two documents which
        support this.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Can you just pause for a second?
        Three-and-a-half kilos of coke per corpse, one has to put it?
   A.   That is when the ----
   Q.   That is assuming a rate of incineration equivalent to that
        in the document of 28th June 1943 which Mr Irving challenges?
   A.   Yes.
   MR IRVING:  Can I ask, Professor van Pelt, has it ever crossed
        your mind that this document of 28th June 1943 might not
        be authentic or a document of integrity?  Did you ever
        investigate that possibility?  Did you check any details
        about it?  Did you just accept it at face value?
   A.   I think that the document is in perfect accordance with
        all the other documents.

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