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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day009.21

Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day009.21
Last-Modified: 2000/07/20

   MR IRVING:  Professor van Pelt, we are wasting our time really,
        are we not?  There were never any holes in that roof.

.          P-185

        There are no holes in that roof today.  There were never
        four holes through that roof.  They cannot have poured
        cyanide capsules through that roof.  The concrete evidence
        is still there. You yourself have stood on that roof and
        looked for those holes and not found them.  Our experts
        have stood on that roof and not found them.  The holes
        were never there.  What do you have say to that?
   A.   I would just say why do we not put up the picture of the
        roof and look at the roof in the present condition?  The
        roof is a mess.  The roof is absolutely a mess.  A large
        part of the roof is in fragments.  The concrete has many
        different colours.  You pretend that you are talking about
        a piece which is intact.  It is not.
   Q.   Can I remind what you have written in your book?
   A.   It is impossible to determine nowadays what was the
        situation of that roof in 1945.
   Q.   Can I remind what you have written in your expert report
        for this case?
   MR IRVING:  I have page 295, my Lord, but that is my copy which
        I printed out again.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I imagine it is the same page for us too, is
        it not.
   MR IRVING:  I would not bank on it.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  It obviously is not.
   MR IRVING:  Would the witness kindly read out the paragraph

.          P-186

        I have outlined beginning with "Today the four holes
        cannot be found".
   A.   Can I -- I just want to let -- I will try to find the page
        number.  It is in the Leuchter interrogation.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Mr Irving, I am in your hands about time.
        You remember I said I would rise whenever was convenient
        to you after a quarter to 4.
   MR IRVING:  My Lord, you may apprehend that the trap is now
        sprung and it would be a pity to put the mouse back in its cage.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  The trap is what you have just asked?
   MR IRVING:  Precisely it, my Lord. There are no holes in that
        roof.  There were never any holes in that roof.  All the
        eyewitnesses on whom he relies are therefore exposed as liars.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I am just identifying the trap.
   A.   OK.  Now if I am sitting in the trap I will take a little
        longer to look for the information because ----
   MR IRVING:  Take as long as you like.
   A.   --- because I prefer to remain in the trap and eat the
        cheese while it lasts!  OK, we are here at page 518, my Lord.
   MR IRVING:  518?
   A.   Yes.  The bottom two lines: "Today, these four small holes
        that connected the wire-mesh columns and the chimneys
        cannot be observed in the ruined remains of the concrete

.          P-187

        slab.  Yet does this mean they were never there?  We know
        that after the cessation of the gassings in the fall of
        1944 all the gassing equipment was removed, which implies
        both the wire-mesh columns and the chimneys.  What would
        have remained would have been the four narrow holes and
        the slab.  While there is no certainty in this particular
        matter, it would have been logical to attach at the
        location where the columns had been some formwork at the
        bottom of the gas chamber ceiling, and pour some concrete
        in the hole and thus restore the slab."
   Q.   Hold it there.  So what you are saying is with the Red
        Army just over the River Vistula ever since November 1944
        and about to invade and, as we found out earlier this
        morning, the personnel of Auschwitz concentration camp in
        a blue funk and destroying their records and doing what
        they can, some SS Rottenfuhrer has been given the rotten
        job of getting up there with a bucket and spade and
        cementing in those four holes, in case after we have blown
        up the building they show?
   A.   I would like to point out that the gas chamber was removed
        in November 1944.
   Q.   The gas chamber was removed?
   A.   The gas chamber, the installations were removed.  The
        installations in the gas chambers were removed.  Also
        during the month of November and December 1944, because
        the Germans were still confident that they could hold back

.          P-188

        the Bolshevik hoard from the East, they were creating gas
        type air raid shelters in Auschwitz at that moment.  They
        had started constructing these things just before.  So
        there was still some local, small-term, small site
        construction activity going on.  This was very primitive,
        but certainly the SS would have been able in November
        1944, even December 1944, to repair the roof and to remove
        the evidence of the holes.  The invasion, the offensive,
        only started on January 12th, as we have established before.
   Q.   Professor van Pelt, do you know what the phrase in
        architecture, "fair face finish" or "fair face concrete"
        refers to?
   A.   I can guess, yes.
   Q.   It means concrete which is left bare to the public.  Are
        you aware that this is one of the most expensive finishes
        that an architect can specify?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Because -- can you speculate as to the reason why it is so
   A.   Because it is very difficult to get a very even texture.
   Q.   I know this.  I worked for three years in a concrete gang
        with John Lang working my way through university, so I
        know how difficult it was to get the concrete right.  If
        it was not properly vibrated and you had a cavity, you had
        to take down the whole beam because you cannot plaster

.          P-189

        over it in a way that it does not show.  Is this not so?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   So you would expect that it would be unlikely that these
        panic stricken Germans could have managed to trowel the
        finish on both the gravel covered side of the roof and the
        underside of the roof in such a way that nothing would
        show, you would not see what is called a drying line
        around the circle where the hatch had once been.  Is that
        correct, you would expect to find a drying line?
   A.   If you would have had this kind of concrete, but, sadly
        enough, one does not have that kind of concrete in the
        ceiling of morgue No. 1 of crematorium (ii).  There is
        actually one little place you can go under it, and this is
        where Mr Leuchter derived some of his samples, and I have
        been also in that place and, in fact, the formwork is a
        complete mess.  It is a very irregular formwork.  You
        cannot draw any conclusion from that formwork one way or
        the other of what kind of hole was located where.
   Q.   Is it not so that when you have formwork made of wooden
        planks, the concrete retains the grain of the wood; you
        can see the grain of the wood and that too would show that
        you could not plaster over the holes in such a way that
        Holocaust deniers years later would not find them?
   A.   Yes, but there is one problem, and that is the column
        which remains.  There is one column remains and it is the
        second column.  The second column of the crematorium

.          P-190

        remains.  So it is not a column to which one of these mesh
        columns was attached.  The mesh columns were attached to
        the first, the third, the fifth and the seventh.
   Q.   Fortuitously, the one that remains was the one that did
        not have the wire mesh?
   A.   Yes, or sadly so for your case maybe.  So, in any case, we
        cannot draw any conclusions from the nature of the
        formwork around that column because that is not a column
        where the wire-mesh column was.  So, I mean ----
   Q.   I am talking about the ceiling.
   A.   There is a one little bit of ceiling only visible.  The
        amount of ceiling is only a few square metre there.  You
        can crawl under the roof of Leichenkeller No. 1.  I have
        done it and I have looked at that roof.
   Q.   Professor van Pelt, would it surprise you to hear that the
        Poles have made 400 photographs of the underside of that
        roof in an attempt to map every square inch of it looking
        for those holes and they failed?
   A.   But the problem is that holes are not under that part.
   Q.   The holes are not under that part?
   A.   I mean, the roof falls back into the ground.
   Q.   Here is a map of the roof as it now is.  This is the large
        yellow page that I gave his Lordship, right?  There are no
        holes in that.  It has been mapped from top and bottom.
        The only holes that exist are where it has been punched
        through in recent years by people curious about what is

.          P-191

        going on underneath, and you can see that is the case
        because the steel reinforcing bars have been bent back,
        and the one place where the pillar has also broken
        through.  The holes that your eyewitnesses refer to, as
        you correctly say, cannot be found for the simple reason
        they were never there and there is not the slightest trace
        of them being there, and I also draw your attention, my
        Lord, if you go back to page 184 ----
   MR IRVING:  --- about 10 lines down:  "The showers were fitted
        to small blocks of wood sealed into the concrete roof of
        the gas chamber".  We have probably all seen these little
        blocks of wood that get embedded in the concrete when it
        is poured, so that things can be screwed to those little
        blocks of wood.  Those little blocks of wood also are not
        in the ceiling, as you can see, my Lord, as I gave you two
        photographs in a heap this morning.  I gave your Lordship
        two photographs, colour photographs, in a heap this morning.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes.  I am just underlining that.
   MR IRVING:  I cannot find mine.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I have got ----
   MR IRVING:  Yes.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  --- the ones you gave me.
   MR IRVING:  One is of the underside of the concrete roof and
        you can see -- exactly, my Lord -- you can see the

.          P-192

        condition of the concrete roof underneath this messy slab
        is in.  You can see the wooden markings on the concrete
        where formwork was all these years ago when they built
        crematorium No. 2 in Auschwitz.  You can appreciate that
        if there had been those holes in the roof, which are the
        cardinal linchpin of the Defence in this action, they
        would have been found by now.  They have not found them,
        and so their eyewitness evidence collapses because these
        people are exposed for the liars they were.
                  My Lord, it is four minutes to 4.  Unless
        Mr Rampton wishes to say something to repair the damage at
        this point ----
   A.   My Lord, may I respond to this?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes, but not until 10 be 30 tomorrow
        morning.  What I would be like to know from you then is
        what evidence there is from the likes of Taiber about the
        way in which the pellets were inserted into the gas
        chamber.  In other words, are there other witnesses who
        describe that?
   A.   There are other witnesses.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  We will have to deal with Kuhler as well,
        will we not, Mr Irving?
   MR IRVING:  I think so, my Lord, to have a look at the
        wire-mesh columns.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I hope you will have enough time.  If you get
        into difficulties I will be sympathetic.  10.30 tomorrow.

.          P-193

                   (The witness stood down)
            (The Court adjourned until the following day)

.          P-194

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