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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day011.17

Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day011.17
Last-Modified: 2000/07/20

   Q.   You appreciate the point I am trying to make, do you not?
   A.   Yes, but I think ----

.          P-147

   Q.   It is an enormous reservoir of eyewitnesses.  Why is it
        always the same names?
   A.   Eyewitnesses of what?  We have the importance of the
        sonderkommandos in this case, Dragon and Tauber, is that
        they actually were in the crematoria and they worked in
        the crematoria.
   Q.   But the evidence of Tauber, am I not right in saying, is
        highly suspect because he describes, for example, the gas
        chamber as being so low that you had to stoop, and yet it
        turns out to have been nearly eight feet from floor to
        ceiling?  I mean, just to give one instance.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Where is that passage?  Can we find it?
   MR IRVING:  I beg your pardon?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  You have put that passage before and I think
        we were going to have a look at it from Mr Tauber.  I do
        not know whether it is quoted in ----
   A.   It should be around 183, if it is anywhere, because he
        describes at 183 and 182, and there are all these pictures
        in between, there is the description of the gas chamber.
        So page 182.
   MR IRVING:  This is the witness, is it not, who said he was
        able to burn up to eight corpses at once in one furnace;
        that he could light the corpses with a small fire in the
        ash container, that they would burn by themselves, that
        thick dark smoke rose out of the crematorium chimneys, and
        that fat was collected during open air cremations from the

.          P-148

        burning bodies?  He also describes ----
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Where is the bit about bending over in the
        gas chamber?
   MR IRVING:  It is a very long ----
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  You put it, you see, and I think Professor
        van Pelt said, "Well, show it to me", and that is fair and
        I cannot find it.
   A.   182, he describes the gas chamber.
   Q.   Yes, I know, but I cannot find the bit about bending
        down.  Do you remember where you saw it, Mr Irving?
   MR IRVING:  My mind is a blur over the last few days, my Lord.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Well, I quite understand that.
   MR IRVING:  Let me just rely on the other passages that I put
        to you just now, the bit about collecting the fact and so
        on.  Pauber is an emotional and unreliable witness, is he not?
   A.   I disagree with that.  I think he is a very unemotionally,
        I mean, remarkably unemotional and very reliable witness.
   Q.   Do you rely to any degree on Dr Bendal?
   A.   I have told you once, I have given, I have used Bendal
        once which is in a description of bunker No. 2.
   Q.   Yes.  So the eyewitness basis anyway is scattered, skimpy
        and, in my view, questionable.  The drawings which you
        have shown us only make sense taken in conjunction with
        the eyewitnesses.  As soon as one starts looking for holes
        in the roof -- I am not going to labour that point -- one

.          P-149

        runs into difficulties, namely, the fact that there are no
        holes in the roof to be seen now.  Taking an overall view
        of eyewitnesses, what is your opinion about the
        reliability of eyewitnesses in cases like this?  Suppose
        your name was Jean De Manjiok and not Professor Robert van
        Pelt, what would you think about eyewitnesses?
   A.   I cannot comment on that.  I mean, I can only comment on
   Q.   You know that all these eyewitnesses fingered him and he
        was on his way to the gallows until the brave Israeli
        judges decided that he had been railroaded and ordered his
        release, that the eyewitnesses had lied in that case to
        one man, a dozen of them had lied?
   A.   One of the reasons that I limited in my expert report only
        reports about eyewitnesses who gave testimony immediately
        after the war is that I exactly wanted to prevent the
        charge being raised that late -- people who later come
        forward would have been confused because of the time that
        had lapsed.  That is why I, for example, did not use
        Philip Muller because Philip Muller only published really
        a full account of what happened in, of his account in the
        gas chambers in the 1960s.  So that was too late for me
        and then I can even ----
   Q.   Would you agree that there was a reason to suspect he may
        have been motivated by commercial considerations?
   A.   I do not know what or not, what commercial or not

.          P-150

        consideration or not may have brought Mr Muller to write
        at that moment.  He gave testimony in 1946 which was
        included in the Kraus and Kulgar book, but it cannot be
        identified in that book as being Philip Muller's.  So it
        is very difficult to exactly say what is Philip Muller's
        in that book, but he already did it, and, you know, in the
        1960s, I do not know.  Maybe there were commercial
        reasons, maybe not; maybe he wanted really to testify and
        bear witness to what happened in the crematoria.
   Q.   And you do accept, do you not, that if you were to go to
        Auschwitz the day after tomorrow with a trowel and clean
        away the gravel and find a reinforced concrete hole where
        we anticipate it would be from your drawings, this
        make an open and shut case and I would happily abandon
        action immediately?
   A.   I think I cannot comment on this.  I am an expert on
        Auschwitz and not on the way you want to run your
   Q.   There is my offer.  I would say that that would drive
        a hole through my case that I would have no possible
        chance of defending it any further.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  That is not really a question, is it?
   MR IRVING:  Well, I am asking, the point I am making, my Lord,
        is that he has been to Auschwitz once a year for a number
        of years.  The temptation must have occurred to him to go
        there with a trowel and scrape away the gravel and look
        for the hole, not just one but three of them, and he

.          P-151

        assures us that they were built in holes, not just casual holes.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I think if he had been digging around with a
        trowel he would have got into trouble with the
        authorities, would he not?
   MR IRVING:  It has been done by others, my Lord, I understand.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Well, with their permission.   I do not think
        that is really a question in a way.  You have made the
        point and I understand it, that nobody has actually done
        the excavation work or whatever you like to call it.
   MR IRVING:  This is, obviously, not the time to make
        submissions, so I will not, my Lord, and with that I will
        end my cross-examination of this witness with my many
        thanks.  I wish you a pleasant flight home.
                    < Re-examined by MR RAMPTON, QC.
   Q.   My Lord and Professor van Pelt, page 182 of your report
        contains, as you have noticed, a lengthy extract from
        Tauber's evidence as reported in Pressac, is that not right?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   It goes over on to 183.  You notice -- this is on the
        question of whether you had to crouch to get into or
        whether Tauber ever said that you had to crouch to get
        into the gas chamber -- almost at the beginning of the
        last quarter of the page is a sentence which in your
        report starts at the end of the line "At about", do you

.          P-152

        see that?  There is a line which says:  "The door and the
        rabbets of the frame were also fitted with ceiling strips
        of felt"?
   A.   Yes, I see it.
   Q.   Then there is this sentence:  "At about head height for an
        average man this door had a round glass peephole".  How
        far from the roof or ceiling of the chamber do you
        estimate that the peephole will have been?
   A.   How far from the ceiling?
   Q.   You have a man of average height -- that is me -- looking
        through a peephole?
   A.   That would be 5 foot 6.
   Q.   How much above me is the ceiling?
   A.   We know that the height of the building was, the height of
        the room was 8 feet.  So there would be another two and a
        half feet.
   Q.   Thank you very much.  Now, I am afraid I have some
        questions, Professor.  They are naturally somewhat
        disorderly in the sense they follow the track of the
        cross-examination.  That is no criticism of Mr Irving;
        that is just the way things turn out.  Have you got the
        file K2, the second Auschwitz file, there?
   A.   Which -- is that the pictures?
   Q.   Yes, the pictures and the correspondence?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Can you turn to divider 4?

.          P-153

   A.   Yes, I am there.
   Q.   To save moving around, I am going to ask you questions
        about a couple of documents in here -- three of them, in
        fact.  At page 49 ----
   A.   No. 9?
   MR RAMPTON:  49 in tab 4?
   A.   49, yes.
   Q.   You see the letter of 28th June 1943?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   With Jahrling's name at the bottom in handwriting, do you
        see that?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   The bottom left-hand corner?  Mr Irving does not like this
        document.  Professor, do you see any reason to doubt the
        authenticity of this document?
   A.   I do not see any reason to doubt the authenticity of the
        letter of 28th June 1943.
   Q.   Remind me because I have forgotten, where does it come
   A.   This one, this particular comes from Moscow.
   Q.   Moscow.  Thank you.  Can you turn then right to the front
        of this section of the file?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  And dates back to 1950, I think, does it not?
   A.   I am sorry?
   Q.   It dates back to 1950 in the sense that is when it first

.          P-154

        surfaced?  That is what Mr Irving said.
   A.   The copy which surfaced came from Dumburg, as far as I
        know, from Dumberg, an archive in the DDR.  But it was a
        different sheet, it was not this actual, this actual copy.
   MR RAMPTON:  Right at the front of the file, I have put them in
        the front, my Lord.  I do not know where your Lordship has
        put them?  Those recent documents have been produced by
        Mr Irving and then some by us by Entwesungsanlage.
   A.   I do not have that in this file.
   Q.   I have a spare here.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  This is the problem, is it not?
   MR RAMPTON:  I know.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  We have to keep track of these.
   MR RAMPTON:  I know, it is awful.  They should have gone into
        this part of the file.
   A.   I have the Vedag here.
   Q.   But you need the document of 13th April 1943.  You only
        need two documents.
   A.   I have the 13th April, yes.
   Q.   Does your Lordship have it?  Let me pass those up.  My
        Lord, I have not put mine yet in chronological order.  We
        will do that in due course.  Can I take, first of all, in
        reverse chronological order, the document of 20th August
        1943, which is the long invoice?
   A.   Yes.

.          P-155

   Q.   Addressed by Topf to the central building people at
        Auschwitz.  On the second page of that, the penultimate
        entry 43/204/1, it reads: "Entwesungsanlage", does it not?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Whatever it is that it was going to cost has been
        scratched out by somebody.  That matters not.  Can you
        then turn back to the first document which is dated 13th
        April 1943?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Look at the penultimate item in that.  What is
   A.   Aufstellung?
   Q.   Yes.  This document is called an "aufstellung".
   A.   Aufstellung means to actually erect, so this particular
        use, I think it means quite literally it is a list.
        I would interpret it like that, but it also could be the
        aufstellung means things that have been erected or that
        are to be erected.
   Q.   Then the penultimate item reads: "To Topf
        Entwesungsofen".  What are "Entwesungsofen"?
   A.   "Entwesungsofen" are disinfestation ovens or vessels.
        They are like autoclaves really.
   Q.   Using what substance or material to achieve the Entwesung?
   A.   Hot air or hot steam.
   Q.   Is there a copy of the Leuchter report anywhere up there?
        Has anybody got one?  I am doing this from memory because

.          P-156

        I gave mine up to somebody.  Do you see the front cover there?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Can you hold it up so that I can see?  I cannot see from
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Bottom right.
   MR RAMPTON:  No, it is not.  That I think is an oven for
        burning corpses.
   MR IRVING:  The contents are the same.

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