The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day010.02

Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day010.02
Last-Modified: 2000/07/20

   Q.   It was under construction.  Of course, if we cut straight
        to the bottom line in this, if we are to accept your
        hypothesis or theory that these were rather irregularly
        spaced openings in the roof, and these were some kind of

.          P-9

        pipe on top of that, as I understand you are putting to
        the court, with some kind of cover on top, then we would
        expect to find the openings in the roof, would we not, or
        some trace of those openings in the roof even today?  Here
        is the roof now, that is the very roof we are talking
        about, is it not?  That has pancaked downwards.  The
        underside of the roof is largely intact.  You can see just
        where those columns would have been then, these openings
        would have been, and there is not the slightest trace of
        them, is there?
   A.   I have said, it is in my report that one cannot observe
        these things, but I have also said before that when the
        gas chamber was dismantled before the destruction of this
        building, two months before the destruction of this
        building, it would have been a very likely, I mean, the
        obvious solution would have been to actually close these
        holes.  Now, I have also mentioned yesterday ----
   Q.   I am going to question you on that in a minute.
   A.   I wonder if I should go back to the discussion of
        yesterday or address straight the issue of the boxes with
        material, the alleged boxes with the material on the roof.
   Q.   Well, we will come back to the alleged boxes with material
        on the roof, but I must hold up your statement to the
        court where you said that just before demolition of the
        building, workers were sent in with the instructions to
        fill the holes with cement or concrete or something?

.          P-10

   A.   This is an inference on my side because you do not want
        these holes in the roof of a space to remain.  When you
        have taken out the columns, it is an obvious conclusion
        that you would close these holes.
   Q.   I can see his Lordship frowning and I think the whole
        court is inwardly frowning about this rather improbable
        story, implausible idea.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Well, just for the record and for the
        transcript, I did not frown.
   MR IRVING:  I am sorry, my Lord.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Let us get on with the question.
   MR IRVING:  Yes.  The implausibility of the story, that before
        putting in packs of dynamite beneath the building to blow
        everything up so that the Red Army does not find any
        criminal traces, they send in workmen with buckets of
        cement and trowels and tell them to make good the holes in
        the roof.  This sounds, I must say, totally implausible to
        me, and we know now that it never happened because the
        roof is there and there is not the slightest trace of such
        patchwork having been done on the concrete?
   A.   My Lord, it is at the moment impossible to see because of
        the state of the roof if there was patchwork or not.  The
        roof is fragmented.  The roof has weathered very, very
        badly over 50 years, and the colour of concrete in the
        roof is of a motley quality, to say, and there is a lot of
        growth has been on the roof.  It is impossible to tell one

.          P-11

        way or another.
   Q.   We are talking about the underside of the roof, of course,
        and we have any number of photographs of the underside of
        that roof where you can actually see the original wood
        grain in the formwork on the concrete that survives, and
        that shows not the slightest displacement or interference
        or tampering with.  This is the implausible part of your
        story.  I appreciate that you are anxious to move on to
        other topics because, frankly, this blows holes in the
        whole of the gas chamber story.  If there are no holes in
        that roof, no holes in that roof, there are no holes now
        and there were no holes then, and that totally demolishes
        the evidence of your so-called eyewitnesses?
   A.   My Lord, I have already yesterday pointed out that the
        column which remains and over which the room has been
        folded is the second column which was not the column where
        the column, the Zyklon-B introduction column was attached
        to, there were four of them, attached to column 1, 3, 5
        and 7.  May I address ----
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I wanted to ask you -- may I do it now --
        about the columns because I understood your evidence
        yesterday to be that jutting out, as it were, from the
        roof of the alleged gas chamber there were the columns as
        well as the metal apertures through which the Zyklon-B,
        you say, was poured?
   A.   The columns -- it is unlikely, my Lord, that the ----

.          P-12

   Q.   Did I misunderstand that?
   A.   --- columns would be going through the roof completely
        because the columns themselves were wider.  They had
        three concentric layers, but what would have happened
        that there were a hole through the roof, and then on
        top of it you get a kind if chimney like structure,
and as
        long as the hole is connected to the innermost, to the
        innermost kind of column inside and of the same width
        that this little thing can be brought up and down
        ultimately allowed people to retrieve the earth in
        the Zyklon was absurd during transport.  As long as
        hole was the same as the diameter of the inner column,
        then whatever you do above the roof is irrelevant.
        I mean, you can have a box or you can have just a lid
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I follow.  But the question I am really
        trying to get at is this.  If your evidence is that
        pillars were protruding above the level of the roof --
   A.   You said the Zyklon-B introduction pillars?
   Q.   Well, that is what I am asking you.  I thought you
        that the pillars, the structural pillars, were
        protruding  ----
   A.   No, the structural pillars did not and do not.
   Q.   Well, that was my misunderstanding of your evidence.
   A.   We have a blue print which shows those pillars and we
        look at if you want.

.          P-13

   Q.   Whilst I am asking you questions, I am not sure you
        really responded to the suggestion that was implicitly
        being put to you by Mr Irving which is that these
        that one can see on the roof of the gas chamber,
        gas chamber, are, in fact, drums containing some sort
        sealant.  You have not actually dealt with that
   A.   No, and I would like to deal with that, if it is
   MR IRVING:  Are you saying that all four of those objects
        the pipes, as you call them?
   A.   No, these would be, this would be the chimney.  There
        would be some structure around the pipe, because if
        just have a pipe coming up, you want to have probably
        kind of insertion mechanism.  If you take a tin of
        Zyklon-B, that probably there is a little funnel
        to, and also you want probably not the pipe to run
        straight through the earth, you probably want to have
        kind of protection around that pipe.
   Q.   My Lord, can I draw your attention to picture 10A in
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes.  I still do not think, Professor van
        Pelt, you have really dealt with the suggestion that
        are drums containing sealant.  Could that be so?
   A.   I would like to deal with it.
   Q.   Deal with it now.
   A.   First of all, we are coming, of course, in a -- the

.          P-14

        problem is the exact dating of this image.  If this
        had been taken, let us say, in November, December, let
        say December 1942, I think it could have been a
        suggestion.  I mean, we would have to look then in
        shape of tins sealant is coming, but let us assume
        this is, this is December, at that moment we know that
        there was construction activity on the roof.  We also
        that by the end of January, I mean, in fact, by the
        of January already, from correspondence, that the roof
        morgue No. 1 had been completed, and one of the
        for that we know that is the notorious Fergantung's
        of January 29, 1943.  So, what is the reason that we
        that this is not December 1942, but that this is or
        we are already talking about probably February 1943.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I thought you said '42, I am bound to
   MR IRVING:  November '42?
   A.   My argument is that Mr Irving's argument could be
        seriously at least for a moment until we have
        what shape these containers come if this photo had
        taken in December 1942.  My argument is that the roof
        already completed by January 1943.
                  My second argument is that one can, if one
        carefully at this photo, see that there is some kind
        black line on the top of the chimney.  There seems to
        some soot on the top of the chimney which means that
        chimney, as it is depicted in this photo, has had some

.          P-15

        kind of activity already.
                  We know that there were trials, the first
        firing of the incinerators was, in fact, in late
        1943.  That was the first trial firing of the
        incinerators.  On the basis of that, it is very clear
        this photo must be taken after the first trial firing
        the incinerators.  That is again the letter of 19, 29
        talks about the trial firing of the incinerators,
        otherwise there would be no soot on the top of the
                  On the basis of that, it is possible to date
        this photo at least after the end of January 1943 when
        roof was completed and, therefore, would be no reason
        that moment for any other kind of boxes with sealant
to be
        on the roof.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Can I just ask one question and then I
        stop?  How do you date this photograph as February
   A.   Because we know that by early March '43, the whole
        building was completed and, by implication, the gas
        chamber would have been covered with dirt.  We know
         -- so that is the last date that is possible.  I
        these photos are not dated.
                  We also know that the first experimental
        of the incinerators happened in end of January 1943.
        it must have been, this photo must have been taken
        the end of January 1943 and before the official

.          P-16

        of the building in early March 1943.  This is why I
   MR IRVING:  Professor van Pelt, have you seen a photograph
        that roof with just snow on it and no kind of
        protruberances at all, that flat roof?
   A.   Yes, I think there is a photograph of that, yes.
   Q.   What conclusions do you draw from examining that
        photograph?  Those protruberances were moveable?
   A.   If you present me to the photograph, I will draw
        conclusions from it.
   Q.   You say you have seen the photograph.  If there is a
        photograph of that roof with flat snow on it, a pure
        of white snow, and no protruberances on it, and that
        implies that the protruberances were mobile and could
        carried around like drums of tar, for example?
   A.   Mr Irving, I am not going to speculate upon a
photograph I
        do not have in front of me.  If you present the photo,
        am very happy to explain that photo and I have an
        explanation for that photo.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Professor, actually I think you are wrong
        this point because you have accepted there is such a
        photograph.  You have seen it.  Can you not help Mr
         -- he obviously has not got the photograph -- by
        the explanation that you obviously have?
   MR IRVING:  I have the photograph but not immediately
        available, my Lord.

.          P-17

   A.   OK.  Then the explanation is simple.  What happens is that
        after the dirt was brought on top of the roof of the gas
        chamber or morgue No. 1, the protection of these chimneys
        would have been less.  If we then had snow on top of that,
        it is very unlikely we would have seen much of these
        little chimneys.

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