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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day009.18

Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day009.18
Last-Modified: 2000/07/20

   MR IRVING:  Bimko was going to be called in the Tesh case, was
        she not, in April 1946 against the manufacturer of
Zyklon B, but in fact eventually they did not call her as a
        witness.  They just put in her report as an affidavit, is
        that correct?
   A.   I do not know.
   Q.   Have you read the Tesh trial?
   A.   I have read significant parts of the Tesh trial because of
        the evidence given by Alfred Sohn.
   Q.   You quoted parts of the Bimko testimony in your report.
   A.   Yes, because I wanted to show the kind of statements which
        were made about Auschwitz in 1945.
   Q.   Did you, Professor van Pelt, quote all relevant parts of
        the Bimko testimony?
   A.   What do you mean?  Relevant to what?
   Q.   Well, relevant to enable the reader to form a judgment as
        to whether Bimko was telling the truth or not.
   A.   This was not my intention.  My point in the expert report
        at that moment was to give a sense to the reader, or to
        the judge more particularly, of what was the kind of
        evidence available at that moment in the courts and so

.          P-158

        on.  I did not write a critique of Bimko.
   Q.   So you were painting with a broad brush?
   A.   I was not painting with a broad brush.  I tried to give a
        very simple kind of picture of what people were saying.
   Q.   If Bimko had put in her report some detail that totally
        discredited the quality of her report, then you would of
        course have quoted it?  You would not have ignored it?
   A.   No.  Then it is very clear that she gives this testimony,
        and then the testimony is what is being said at that
        moment.  It is part of what is being said about
        Auschwitz.  I also quoted Polavoy.
   Q.   Can we stay with Bimko for the moment?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Let us stick with Bimko.  Mr Irving, if you
        are suggesting that she did discredit herself in some way,
        I think it is only right that you should give Professor
        van Pelt the opportunity of answering whatever it is you
        say discredited her.
   MR IRVING:  I believe I am leading the evidence the correct
        way, my Lord.  The next two questions will bring the
        matter to light.
   MR IRVING:  Professor van Pelt, in the gas chambers at
        Auschwitz was the gas introduced from cylinders, as in
        oxygen cylinders, or carbon monoxide cylinders, through
        pipes into the gas chamber?
   A.   No.  It was ----

.          P-159

   Q.   To your knowledge?
   A.   We are talking about which gas chamber?
   Q.   The gas chamber described by Bimko.
   A.   Then let's look at the text of Bimko and then I will
        comment on it.
   Q.   You said you have read Bimko's testimony.
   A.   Yes, but in principle I am not going to discuss things
        I do not have in front of me.
   Q.   Let me put the question more generally, Professor van
        Pelt. In any gas chambers in Auschwitz, in any of the gas
        chambers so-called at Auschwitz, was gas introduced into
        the chambers through pipes from cylinders?
   A.   No.
   Q.   And yet Bimko stated that, did she not, in her report?
   A.   Let us look at what Bimko actually says.  Then we can come
        to the conclusion if that is what she actually said.  I am
        not going to comment on a text I do not have in front of
        me.  If you want to raise this issue, which I think is a
        very legitimate issue, give me the text and we will look
        at it together.
   Q.   Let me put it other way round then, Professor.  If there
        was such a sentence in that report, you did not quote it,
        did you?  You stopped.
   A.   I do not know any more exactly what I quoted and what not.
   Q.   You stopped just short of that particular sentence?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Have you got it in court?

.          P-160

   MR IRVING:  Not in front of me, my Lord. I am derelict in that
        respect unless Miss Rogers can find it at short notice in
        her usually efficient way.  I shall have to bring it
        tomorrow.  Your Lordship can take it as said.  Although I
        am not a member of the Bar, I would certainly not lead
        this evidence if it was not in the files.  The evidence of
        Bimko is notorious for the fact, and this is one reason
        why she was not introduced as a witness at the Tesh
        trial.  She would have been cross-examined on that point.
                  So this is one document, one eyewitness account,
        which is very suspect.  But, Professor van Pelt, I put it
        to you that you left that sentence out of the report
        because it would have discredited the rest of her
        testimony, would it not?
   A.   I think that, if you would look -- you are now trying to
        go to my motivation.  In my expert report I have tried to
        give an account of what was said, in order to draw a
        picture of how the image of Auschwitz developed in 1944
        and 1945.  I have also included Polovoy's account done on
        the liberation of Auschwitz which again, as we probably
        both agree, contains a lot of friction.
   Q.   Is this the Pravda account?
   A.   Yes.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Can we not track this down because it must be
        in court somewhere, presumably?  Bimko's statement?  It is
        note 407 on page 268.

.          P-161

   MR IRVING:  Somebody can find the original document.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Otherwise we leave all these points hanging
        in mid air.
   MR RAMPTON:  Mr Irving is quite right.  Mr Irving knows where
        everything is.  It is bundle H 2 (ii).
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Could we get it out and then dispose of this
        point one way or another, Mr Irving?  I think it is
        better, do you not?
   MR IRVING:  It is going to continue to hover like a vulture or
        an albatross across the court.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  That is the problem.
   MR RAMPTON:  What I said is accurate, except to this extent.
        When I say "it", all I have is a page and three- quarters
        of what Ada Bimko duly said.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Have you got page 68?
   MR RAMPTON:  No.  I have page 67.  It is split up, that is
        all.  I am sorry, there is lots more than I thought there
        was.  If your Lordship goes --
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I have not got it yet.  I would like it.
        (Same handed) thank you very much.
   MR RAMPTON:  Yes.  H 2 (iv) and turn to footnote 404, one sees
        the beginning of it.  408.  Has your Lordship found
        footnote 404?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes I have deposition of Dr Bimko.
   MR RAMPTON:  Yes.  You have got on 405, which is page 66 of the
        document itself, 5th day, Friday 21st September 1945, Ada

.          P-162

        Bimko sworn, examined by Colonel Backhouse.  Has your
        Lordship got that?
   MR RAMPTON:  That stops and then it begins again, further
        deposition of Ada Bimko on page 741 of the document, and
        that stops on page 742.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I am afraid the relevant bit, or the bit that
        Mr Irving wants, has been cut off.
   A.   I have it here.  I have it in note 408.
   A.   Footnote 408, I presume that is the section that he refers
        to, because it is talking about cylinders.
   MR IRVING:  "In a corner of the room were two large cylinders.
        The SS man told me the cylinders contained the gas which
        passed through the pipes into the gas cylinder." That is
        on page 742, my Lord, in paragraph 4.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes, I have it.
   MR IRVING:  There was no such equipment in Auschwitz, was
   A.   No.
   Q.   You did not quote this in your version of the report?
   A.   This report is not a discussion on the quality of
        eyewitness testimony.  I have told you that before.
   Q.   Yes, but this is a discussion now, Professor van Pelt.
   A.   OK.
   Q.   On the quality of eyewitness testimony.  It is a

.          P-163

        temptation we all fall into probably.  Sometimes we want
        to use the rest of the report because we like it, but
        there is something nasty in the report that, if we are
        going to manipulate, then we will leave it out.  Is that
        not so?
   A.   Yes.  I mean, the question is there are many differences.
        First of all, let us go over this text. "Let us go over
        the text right now.  We then walk back.  Basically they
        went through the gas chamber and it was rather dark in
        there at the time.  They could not see the far end of the
        passage.  There were two rails leading from the door of
        the gas chamber down the passage.  On these two rails was
        a flap top wagon.  The SS man told me that the wagon was
        used to take the dead bodies from the gas chamber to the
        crematorium at the other end of the passage.  We then
        walked through the gas chamber and undressing room to the
        door where it entered the building.  Near this door were
        some stairs.  We went up these stairs and came to a room
        above the gas chamber.  Across this room were two pipes,
        each about three inches thick.  I did not notice whether
        there were any branch pipes leading from them.  The SS man
        told me that the pipes that were in the floor were
        connected to the spray fittings in the gas chamber below.
        In the corner of the room were two large cylinders but
        I did not notice whether the cylinders were connected to
        the pipes.  The SS man told me that the cylinders

.          P-164

        contained the gas which passed through the pipes into the
        gas chamber and I then left the room".
                  We are basically talking here about crematorium
        number 4.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  And the room is a room above the gas chamber?
   A.   Yes.
   MR IRVING:  Yes.  But is any of this true, what the SS man
        allegedly told her?
   A.   The SS man was mocking her because she was looking at a
        new ventilation system which had been introduced to suck
        out air from the two gas chambers above the gas chambers
        of crematorium 4.  A ventilation system had been created
        in 1944 to improve the ventilation of crematoria 4 and 5
        because they had not been equipped with the ventilation
        system.  What happened is that she is shown the
        ventilation system and this SS man is mocking her by
        suggesting that this actually, instead of taking the air
        out, is taking the gas inside of the----
   Q.   That is not what she says, Professor van Pelt.  Is what
        she says not, "In a corner of the room were two large
   A.   But there was a ventilator up there which I presume would
        be in the cylinder and I do not think she is a
        specialist.  She sees this thing above the gas chamber.
   Q.   But you have no evidence ----
   A.   The only thing is that she believed what the SS man told

.          P-165

        her, this equipment was there.
   Q.   You have no evidence that he was mocking her, do you?  You
        appreciate that men were hanged on the basis of this
   A.   I do not know on the basis of what men are hanged.  What
        I do know is that in crematoria 4 and 5 above the gas
        chamber in 1944 was a ventilation system.
   Q.   Yes.
   A.   To extract the air or the gas from those rooms.  That is
        what she saw.
   Q.   We do not know that.  That is not what she says here.
   A.   But how do you expect a person who has no technical
        education to distinguish one pipe from another pipe?
   Q.   Is it not an equally plausible explanation that she is
        just inventing this story, and that she assumed this is
        the way that the gas chambers so-called operated, that gas
        came in through pipes?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Mr Irving, inventing the whole story or just
        this bit?

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