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Libel Action between DJC Irving v Penguin Books Ltd and Deborah Lipstadt
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Closing Speech by David Irving

  Part V


Auschwitz Concentration Camp


Auschwitz has been a football of politicians and statesmen ever since World War II. The site has become, like the Holocaust itself, an industry, a big business in the most tasteless way. The area is, I am informed, overgrown with fast food restaurants, souvenir and trinket shops, motels, and the like. Under prime minister Josef Cyrankiewicz (who had been prisoner number 62,993) it was known at its opening in 1948as a "monument to the martyrdom of the Polish and other Peoples."104

Auschwitz was overrun by the Red Army in January 1945. The last prisoner had received the tattooed number 202,499. Informed by Colonel-General Heinz Guderian that the Russians had captured Auschwitz, Hitler is recorded by the stenographers as merely acknowledging: "Yes."105 The Court might find it significant that he did not prick up his ears and say something like, "Herr Himmler, I hope you made sure that the Russians will find not the slightest trace of what we have been up to." (Or even, "I hope you managed to get those holes in the roof slab of Krema II cemented over so there's no trace, before you blew it up." I will shortly explain the significance of that.) When the name of SS-Gruppenführer Hans Kammler, the architect of the concentration camps, was mentioned to him a few days later by Goebbels, it was evident that even Kammler's name meant little to Hitler.106

How many had died at Auschwitz? We still do not now with certainty, because the tragic figure has become an object of politics too. Professor Arno Mayer, Professor of European History at the University of Princeton, a scholar of considerably greater renommée than Professor Evans, and himself a Jew, expressed the view in one book that most of the victims of the camp died of exhaustion and epidemics. "From 1942 to 1945 more Jews died, at least in Auschwitz, and probably everywhere else, of 'natural' causes of death than of 'unnatural.'"107

The Russians who captured the camp did not at first make any mention in their news reports of "gas chambers". Moreover, as we saw on the newsreel which I showed on the first day of the trial, even the Poles, with access to all the records, claimed only that "altogether nearly 300,000 people from the most different nations died in the Auschwitz concentration camp." It concluded that the camp now stood "as a monument of shame to the lasting memory of its three hundred thousand victims." (Again, gassing was not mentioned).108 The New York Times quoted the same figure, 300,000 when the trial began in 1947.109 The figure gradually grew however. The Russians set up an inquiry including some very well known names - including the "experts" who had examined the "Nazi mass graves" at Katyn, and even the notorious Lysenko, and they announced that four million had been murdered at Auschwitz. Under the Polish communists, a monument to "four million dead" was duly erected, a number adhered to until the 1990s, even under Franciszek Piper, one of the later (but still communist) directors of the Auschwitz State Archives. After the communist regime ended that the figure was brought down, to 1.5 million, and then to 750,000 by the acknowledged expert Jean-Claude Pressac.110 The Defendants' own expert Peter Longerich spoke of one million deaths there from all causes, and in response to cross-examination by myself and to Your Lordship's queries Dr Longerich confirmed that he included all non-homicidal deaths, deaths "from other causes," including epidemics and exhaustion, in that figure.111

As for the overall deathroll of the Holocaust, what meaning can one attach to figures? The International Military Tribunal (IMT) at Nuremberg found that "the policy pursued resulted in the killing of six million Jews, of which four million were killed in the extermination institutions"? But the six million figure derives, as US chief prosecutor Mr Justice Robert H Jackson recorded in his diary in June 1945, from a back of the envelope calculation by the American Jewish leaders with whom he met in New York. Professor Raul Hilberg put the figure at 5.1 million or less.112 Gerald Reitlinger had the figure at 4.6 million, of which he stated about three million were conjectural as it was not known how many Jews had escaped into the unoccupied part of the USSR.113 The Israeli Prime Minister's office, we are told by Norman Finkelstein, recently stated that there were still nearly one million living survivors.114

There are doubts not only about precise figures but about specific events. The same IMT ruled on October 1, 1946 that the Nazis had attempted to "utilise the fat from the bodies of the victims in the commercial manufacture of soap." In 1990 historian Shmuel Krakowski of Yad Vashem announced in the world's press that that too had been a ("Nazi") propaganda lie.115 Gradually the wartime stories have been dismantled. As more documents have been found, widely stated propositions have been found to be doubtful. For a long time the confident public perception was that the Wannsee protocol, of the January 20, 1942 meeting, recorded the actual order to exterminate the European Jews. Yehuda Bauer, the director of Yad Vashem, the world's premier Holocaust research institution in Israel, - one of the correspondents of the Second Defendant - has stated quite clearly: "The public still repeats, time after time, the silly story that at Wannsee the extermination of the Jews was arrived at." In his opinion Wannsee was a meeting but "hardly a conference," and he even said: "Little of what was said there was executed in detail."116 Despite this, Your Lordship has had to listen to the "silly story" all over again in this Court from the expert witnesses.


Surely, say my critics, there must now be evidence for a Hitler Order?

Back in 1961 Raul Hilberg, one of Yehuda Bauer's great rivals for the laureate, asserted in The Destruction of the European Jews that there had been two such orders, one in the spring of 1941 and the other soon after. By 1985 - after I had corresponded with him and voiced my own doubts - Hilberg was back-pedalling: Hilberg went methodically through his new edition, excising the allegation of a Hitler Order. "In the new edition," as Professor Christopher Browning, an expert who testified before this Court, criticised in a learned journal, "all references in the text to a Hitler decision or Hitler order for the 'Final Solution' have been systematically excised. Buried at the bottom of a single footnote stands the solitary reference: 'Chronology and circumstances point to a Hitler decision before the summer [1941] ended'." "In the new edition," Browning repeats, scandalised, "decisions were not made, and orders were not given."117 Your Lordship will find my exchange with Browning as to whether he had indeed written those words in 1986 on Day 17 at page 121: you will find too that he regretted that he could not recall clearly the events of fifteen years ago, which invited a rather obvious riposte from me about the probably similar memory-deficiencies in the eye-witnesses on which he had on occasions relied.

The director of the Yad Vashem archives has stated that most survivors' testimonies are unreliable. "Many," he writes, "were never in the places were they claim to have witnessed atrocities, while others relied on second-hand information given them by friends or passing strangers" - the phenomenon I have referred to as "cross-pollination."118 Your Lordship may have been as startled as, I confess, was I, upon learning the degree to which the case for the mass gassings at Auschwitz relies on eye-witness evidence, rather than on any firmer sources. Your Lordship will remember the exchange I had with Donald Watt, professor emeritus of history at the London School of Economics and a learned diplomatic historian, early on in the trial, about the value of difference categories of evidence:


"IRVING: Professor, I was not going to ask you about eyewitness evidence but where would you rank eyewitness evidence on the scale, if you had, for example, aerial photographs, if you had prisoner of war intelligence, contemporary prisoner of war intelligence, if you had intercepts from Bletchley Park, if you had captured documents, either captured during the war or after the war, and eyewitness evidence, in other words, anecdotal evidence and, finally, interrogations, whether under oath or not in Court, how would you classify those in order of reliability, starting with the least reliable?
PROFESSOR WATT: I do not know that there is any way of classifying those, because it depends so much on the individual. I did a great deal of interviews, particularly in the period before the 1967 Public Records Act released documents of 30 years of age, and in my experience the kind of evidence I got differed according to the personality of the person giving it. In some cases I found that the man I was interviewing had his own documentary record and was consulting it, and that what he said was confirmed later. In other cases, including at least one Minister of the Crown, I was given a very plausible and, for all I know, a very true story of a meeting at which he was supposed to have been present; and when the records of that meeting subsequently became available, it was clear that he was not. He should have been, but he just was not that day, and he must have heard the story from one of the people there and then repeated it.
IRVING: But he seriously believed that he had been there?
PROFESSOR WATT: [...] If a gentleman who holds the rank of Admiral of the Fleet and is a junior Minister in the Cabinet tells you that he is there, one's reaction is not to question him [...]
IRVING: So to repeat my original question, where you would rank on that scale of material that is lying before you, at one end of the bench you have the eyewitnesses and at the other end of the bench you have, for example, the Bletchley Park intercepts?
PROFESSOR WATT: The Bletchley Park intercepts, in so far as they are complete, are always regarded as the most reliable because there is no evidence that the dispatcher was aware that his messages could be decoded and, therefore, he would put truth in them."


This supports my view that eyewitness evidence is less credible than forensic evidence and the Bletchley Park intercepts. I do not completely ignore eye-witness evidence, but I feel entitled to discount it when it is contradicted by the more reliable evidence, which should then prevail



The Leuchter Report


I am criticised by the Defendants for having relied initially on what is called the Leuchter Report. At the time they levelled their criticism at me, the Defendants appear to have been unaware that subsequent and, more able, investigations were conducted by both American and Polish researchers. The tests were in other words replicated.

First, the Leuchter Report: In April 1988 I was introduced by defence counsel at the Canadian trial of Ernst Zündel to the findings made by a reputable firm of forensic analysts of samples extracted from the fabric of various buildings at Auschwitz and Birkenau by Fred Leuchter, who was at the time a professional American execution-technology consultant. These, and his investigations at the Majdanek site, formed the backbone of his "engineering report".

Since there have been tendentious statements about why the Leuchter Report was not admitted in evidence at that trial I have studied the transcripts of that trial. It emerges that engineering reports are not generally admissible under Canadian rules of evidence unless both parties consent; in this case the Crown did not consent. As Mr Justice Thomas explained, "I get engineering reports all the time [in civil cases]. That doesn't make them admissible because they've prepared reports. They [the expert witnesses] go in the box, they're qualified as experts, and they testify."119 The non-admission of the report by Mr Justice Thomas was no reflection on the worth of the report or on the qualifications of the witness.

Mr Leuchter testified on April 20 and 21, 1988 as an expert in gas chamber technology. He had inspected the three sites in February and taken samples which were subsequently sent for analysis by a qualified analytical chemist in the United States, a Dr James Roth of Cornell University, who was not told where the samples had come from. His firm, Alpha Laboratories, were told on the test certificates only that the samples were from brickwork. Mr Justice Thomas ruled that Leuchter could give oral evidence, but that the report itself should not be filed.120 He held further that Mr Leuchter was not a chemist or a toxicologist.121 But he agreed that Mr Leuchter was an engineer, because he had made himself an engineer in a very limited field.122

A summary of the rest of the judge's findings was that Leuchter was not capable in law of giving the expert opinion that there were never any gassings or exterminations carried on in the facilities from which he took the samples.123 For the same reasons he was not capable of testifying regarding the results of the analysis. He was restricted to testifying as to the actual extraction of the samples,124 and his own observations on the feasibility of the buildings that he had examined being used as gas chambers.125

The Second Defendant therefore was wrong to state on page 164 of her book, "The judge ruled that Leuchter could not serve as an expert witness on the construction and functioning of the gas chambers."126 To give evidence in a criminal trial, Mr Leuchter must have been accepted as an expert. Professor Lipstadt further stated, on pages 164-5 of her book: "The judge's finding as to Leuchter's suitability to comment on questions of engineering was unequivocal." In fact the Judge's findings referred only to his lack of qualifications to testify on the results of the laboratory tests for cyanide and iron (this was Dr Roth's area, and he gave the testimony on those matters). On page 169, Professor Lipstadt insists: "The exposure to the elements lessened the presence of the hydrogen cyanide. . . Nor did Leuchter seem to consider that the building had been exposed to the elements for more than forty years so that cyanide gas residue could have been obliterated. He also took samples from a floor that had been washed regularly by museum staff." Dr Roth however testified under oath that the formation of Prussian Blue was an accumulative reaction, that it augmented with each exposure to the gas; and that it did not normally disappear unless physically removed by sandblasting or grinding down.127

Roth seems since then to have changed his mind, to judge by the television film "Mr Death" which is shortly to be shown on Channel Four, and upon which film both I and learned counsel in the current action rely. Zündel's counsel comments, "He [Roth] obviously is frightened" and no wonder, considering what was subsequently inflicted upon Mr Leuchter. Your Lordship will remember that in order to destroy Roth's absurd argument, quoted to the Court by learned Counsel, that the Prussian Blue stain would have penetrated only a few microns into the brickwork, I showed a photograph of the stain penetrating right through the brickwork to the outside face of one of the cyanide fumigation chambers, where it has been exposed to sun, wind, and rain for over fifty years, and where it is still visible, as deep and blue as ever. Krema II has been protected from these outside elements; it is possible to crawl beneath the famous roof - about which roof I shall have more to say - but neither Jan Sehn, nor Fred Leuchter, nor James Roth, nor Germar Rudolf, nor any of the subsequent investigations found any significant traces of cyanide compounds present in the fabric of this building, despite the eye-witness accounts of that same chamber having been used for the gassing of half a million people. Moreover, the wood-grain of the original wooden formwork (or moulds) can still be seen on the face of the concrete, which is evidence that it has not been sandblasted or ground down.



The Morgue roof


I referred earlier to the expert witness on Auschwitz and Birkenau in this case, Professor Robert Van Pelt. He has made unequivocal statements both here and elsewhere about Krema II, crematorium No. II at Birkenau. To him, it was the factory of death, the mass gassing chamber of Birkenau. He did not mince his language. In the new television film MR DEATH we saw him, and we saw him, as the film camera showed Fred Leuchter descending into the hole which was broken post-war through the collapsed concrete roof slab and reinforcing bars of Leichenkeller 1 (morgue No. 1) of Krema II, and we heard him (Van Pelt) uttering these words:

" Crematorium II is the most lethal building of Auschwitz. In the 2500 square feet of this one room, more people lost their lives than any other place on this planet. 500,000 people were killed. If you would draw a map of human suffering, if you created a geography of atrocity, this would be the absolute Center."128

The Court will recall that on the ninth day of this action I cross-examined this witness most closely about this statement, and I offered him a chance to change his mind about the pivotal importance of Krema II and its underground Leichenkeller 1, the chamber which Pelt alleged had been a mass-gassing chamber.


Irving: Very well. You say: "In any case, Krematorium II is the most [something] of Auschwitz. In the 2500 square feet of this one room", and you are pointing downwards, "more people lost their lives than in any other place on this planet. 500,000 people were killed. If you would draw a map of human suffering, if you create a geography of atrocities, this would be the absolute centre." That is a reference to Krematorium II and you are standing on the roof of Leichenkeller No. 1?

PROF. VAN PELT: It is a reference to Krematorium II, but I am actually not in the picture. It is Fred Leuchter standing on the roof of Leichenkeller 1.
IRVING: But you are speaking yourself?
PROF. VAN PELT: But I am speaking.[...]
IRVING: Professor, just so that we can be completely clear about this and the record can be clear, you are describing Krematorium II as being the place where 500,000 people were killed or -
IRVING: - give or take a few numbers.
IRVING: And that this was the centre of the atrocity?
IRVING: So if I am to concentrate a large part of my investigation in this cross-examination on that one building and, in fact, on Leichenkeller 1, the one arm of the crematorium, this is not entirely unjustified if I am trying to establish that the factories of death did not exist as such?
PROF. VAN PELT: No. I think that that the obvious building to challenge would be Krematorium II.129


The expert witness could hardly have been clearer in his answer. At page 53, I then asked him to identify the buildings referred to, on the aerial photographs of Birkenau and Krematorium II, so that there could later be no doubt as to which precise building he had just agreed was the "factory of death."

The great problem about accepting that this building was an instrument for mass murder is that the evidence produced by Professor Van Pelt relies on three "legs": a handful of eye-witnesses; a few architectural drawings; and a slim file of documents.

The eye-witnesses have turned out to be liars, particularly those who testified to the SS guards opening manhole covers on top of the flat roof of Leichenkeller 1 (morgue No. 1) and tipping tins of Zyklon B pellets inside. One witness was David Olère, an artist, who drew sketches years later in Paris, obviously intending to sell them. His sketches show flames and smoke belching from the crematorium chimney of Krema III, which was quite impossible130; he portrays the victims of the Nazi killers mostly as nubile young females, all naked and sketched in a pornographic way, often clutching naked teenage children to their breasts.131 It was Olère, I invite the Court to remember, who told Jean-Claude Pressac that the SS made sausage in the crematoria out of human flesh (a passage which Mr Van Pelt did not inform us of).132 Ada Bimko proved at the Belsen Trial that she too had lied. Entering another "gas chamber" building at Auschwitz she said she "noticed two pipes which I was told contained the gas. There were two huge metal containers containing gas." She evidently did not even know that the "gas" supposed to have been used, Zyklon B, was actually in pellet form, not cylinders.133 Distorting her account too, Pelt also omitted this part of her testimony. Dr Bendel, another of Pelt's eye-witnesses, stated that at Krema IV the people crowded into the gas chambers found the ceiling so low that "the impression [was given] that the roof was falling on their heads."134 This too was untrue, as the Court has seen how high those ceilings were in the computer-generated "walk through." The Court will find that in my cross-examination of Van Pelt, I destroyed the worth of each supposed eye-witness after eye-witness in the same way.

Let us first look for those holes. The roof pillars were blown up in 1945, and the reinforced concrete roof slab pancaked downwards into the morgue basement, starred but otherwise intact. Van Pelt suggested that the Zyklon B introduction holes in the roof of Leichenkeller 1 were not much larger in diameter than tennis balls. The evidence of his eye-witnesses Henry Tauber and Michal Kula was that they were closer to the size of manholes - "70 centimetres [27 inches] square."135 Kula testified that the wire-mesh columns that he had made were of that cross section and three metres (ten feet) tall. One witness said the concrete covers had to be lifted off "with both hands". As the ceiling height in Leichenkeller 1 was 2.40 meters, 60 cm of each column would have had to extend through the "holes" in the concrete ceiling, with about six inches poking up outside.136 There is no trace of those holes in the roof today. The underside, which can be inspected and photographed from beneath, is intact. Even if one could lose sight of the much smaller, three-inch diameter holes in the pancaked concrete roof, of which Van Pelt spoke137, one could not possibly have lost sight of four holes as large as manholes. Those holes would be perfectly obvious today, on the ground at Auschwitz, to any observer using the naked eye, without the slightest possible doubt as to their location.

Van Pelt accepts that those holes are not in that roof slab now. In his expert report and for this honesty I give him full credit - he writes:


Today, these four small holes that connected the wire-mesh columns and the chimneys cannot be observed in the ruined remains of the concrete 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.138


Van Pelt thus asserts, without any evidence at all, that late in 1944, with the Red Army winding up to launch their colossal final invasion only a few miles away on the River Vistula, the Nazi-mass murderers would remove the "Zyklon introduction columns" and then fill in the holes to "restore the slab" (before dynamiting the pillars supporting it anyway). He again asserted when I cross-examined him on January 25 that: "It would have been logical to attach at the location where the columns had been, some formwork at the bottom of the ceiling, and pour some concrete in the hole and thus restore the slab."139

How would this have been more logical than completely removing the roof of Leichenkeller 1, as the Nazis had removed the roof of Leichenkeller 2, identified by Van Pelt as the "undressing rooms," as shown in the aerial photos taken on December 21, 1944 that one can see on page 15 of THE HOLOCAUST REVISITED, the book published by Dino A Brugioni of the CIA. The originals of this photo were shown to Van Pelt in Court. To believe his version, we would have to believe that the Nazis deliberately created architectural relics of Leichenkeller 1 to confound later generations of tourists and Holocaust researchers.

The fact is that the holes are not there - at least they are not visible from a distance of zero to four feet, or when photographed from the underside. Unable to point them out to us in close-up at ground level, the Defendants invited us to consider instead either vertical aerial photographs taken from 35,000 feet up, or a horizontal photograph taken from several hundred yards away, past a locomotive, where three (not four) unidentified objects are placed irregularly on the rooftop (the fourth "object" turns out to be a window on the wall behind). The Court will recall what my response was to the not unexpected discovery that during building works such objects as barrels of tar were parked on a large flat slab, and I shall not repeat it in detail here.140 The notion that the high flying plane could have photographed an object of 27 cm diameter, let alone of tennis ball size, protruding six inches above the ground, is quite absurd. The four smudges seen on one photograph are evidently many feet long.

On Day 11, I brought into the Court half a dozen vertical aerial photographs taken by the Americans or South African airforces during 1944, and I invited Van Pelt to find those same smudges on that roof.141

Where until this moment he had seen dots on another photograph with no difficulty, the witness Van Pelt now pleaded poor eyesight ("I have now reached the age I need reading glasses," he said, "and I do not have them with me. I did not expect this kind of challenge." Precisely.) Had he used even a microscope, he would not have found the dots on the 1944 pictures I showed him. Because the holes were not there, and are not there, and he and the Defendants know it.

Even if the Nazi architects did willingly agree to the weakening of the roof by having makeshift holes of that size cut through the slab right next to the supporting pillars - I say "makeshift" holes, because there is no provision for them in any of the architectural drawings - we should certainly expect to see the holes now. My Lord, the Court will recall two things:


1. I asked the witness Van Pelt if he was familiar (in view of the fact that he is not qualified architecturally) with the expression "fair faced concrete finish".142 He confirmed that it is concrete left untreated. It is not covered with, e.g. cement or plaster or pebble-dash or tiling. He confirmed that it is the most expensive such finish that an architect can specify, because the concrete has to be poured right first time: blemishes like holes and cavities can never be retouched afterwards. Filling in the holes with cement, as Van Pelt suggested in an extraordinary piece of naiveté, would have been evident in the concrete face for ever after by differences in general appearance, colouring, wear and fracturing; there would have been a visible "drying line" as a ring around the patch, and the wood grain pattern left by the wooden formwork would have been interrupted. Common sense tells us all of this as well.

2. We have photographed the underside of that slab. There is no trace of any such blemish on the concrete roof's underside.


On two occasions I stated a challenge in Court, including to the witness Van Pelt. I challenged the Defendants to send somebody to Auschwitz even now, to scrape the thin layer of gravel and dirt off the topside of the roof slab where they "know" the "holes" must be - because the eye-witnesses agreed they were next to the main columns - and bring back a photo of just one of the holes or evidence that it had been filled in.

If they did, I said, I would abandon my action forthwith, because my position would have become indefensible. To my knowledge, the Defendants have not attempted this exercise. They know, and they knew from the outset, that I was right about that roof. Their entire case on Krema II - the untruth that it was used as a factory of death, with SS guards tipping canisters of cyanide-soaked pellets into the building through those four (non-existent) manholes - has caved in, as surely as has that roof.

Accordingly the eye-witnesses who spoke of those holes also lied, or bluffed: and I have called their bluff. In the absence of the holes themselves, and minus his "eye-witnesses," Professor Van Pelt's only remaining proofs that Leichenkeller 1 of Krema II was an instrument of mass murder - a factory of death in which five hundred thousand Jews were gassed and cremated - are these: architectural drawings (rather oddly for a "professor of architecture" he calls them blueprints); and wartime documents. He confirmed this to Your Lordship, when your Lordship asked.

As for the wartime documents, he referred for instance to the - to him, sinister - requirement that the morgue should be vorgewärmt by a central heating plant. In cross-examination I drew his attention to the relevant section of the wartime NEUFERT, the architect's handbook or building code which was standard for the S.S. architects, which specifies that morgues must have both cooling and central heating facilities to avoid damage to the corpses.143 Document after document fell by the wayside in the manner. Mr Rampton introduced the timesheet of one humble workman in March 1943, showing him actually concreting "the floor in the Gaskammer." But Birkenau camp was full of gas-chambers. In his fine facsimile book of the camp documents, Jean-Claude Pressac has printed the drawing No. 801 of November 8, 1941, for an Entlausungsanlage (delousing installation) for the prison camp, right in the middle of which drawing is a Gaskammer.144 He also reproduces drawing No. 1293 dated May 9, 1942, of the drainage and water supply of the delousing barracks, buildings BW5b. Here too there is a Gaskammer smack in the middle of the drawing.145

The real handling capacity of the crematoria is also surprisingly difficult to establish. Professor Van Pelt produced a histogram, on an easel, for us, which showed truly staggering projections of cadavers to be cremated in coming years; but on cross-examination he admitted that the projection was based solely on one document, the questionable "crematorium capacities" document of June 28, 1943, and that all else was extrapolated backwards from that.146 Pelt relies heavily on this document.147 Even if genuine, the handling figures which this document gives for the furnace installation in Krematorium II do not tally with any of the figures in the specifications provided by the manufacturers, the Topf Company, for this type of equipment.148 Furthermore, the document refers to some crematoria which were at that time shut down, and to others that were due to be taken out of commission.149

I had shown the Court on the previous day that this one page of paper contained not just one or two, but four or even five bureaucratic discrepancies which indicated that the document is not authentic.150 Any one of those flaws would normally be enough to call its integrity into question: but five in one document, including the wrong rank for the highest man in the SS site-construction system, SS Gruppenführer Hans Kammler? Van Pelt was unable to explain these flaws; he had not noticed them. The document was first published in East Berlin in the 1950s, and it is now to be found in the Auschwitz archives, because it was sent there in 1981. That alone is why it now bears an Auschwitz archival stamp.151 It did not originate there, but elsewhere. Even if the flaws can be explained, and the figures were genuine, there is no indication of how such huge numbers of bodies were to be handled within 24 hours; nor of where the coke was to come from (there is no acceptable evidence that the Auschwitz staff found any way of improving on the average coke consumption of 30 kg per cadaver achieved by other camps).

The bottleneck in the entire Krema II "factory of death" story is however the little freight elevator that was installed between Leichenkeller 1, as in any such state-of-the-art crematorium, to haul the bodies from the basement-level morgue up to the crematorium furnaces on the ground floor. We are told by the Defendants that this elevator was never anything more sophisticated than something like a builder's hoist. The real elevator was never delivered. It had no door, or cage, or walls - it was just a platform jolting up and down that elevator shaft. We do know that as finally installed it had a specified load bearing capacity of 1500 kg. Van Pelt suggested that the hoist could therefore have hauled twenty-five cadavers at a time.152 In practice, as there was just a flat platform with no walls or door, jolting up and down the narrow concrete elevator shaft, it would have been impossible to stack onto one small flat platform twenty-five naked cadavers in the conditions of filth and slime that were described by the eye-witnesses.

It does not bear thinking about, I agree. We can not produce hard figures for this part of the exercise, but one thing is plain: that one elevator in Krema II was the inescapable bottleneck, and it makes plain that, whatever was happening downstairs in Leichenkeller 1, it was not on the huge scale that history now suggests.




In response to Your Lordship's helpful questioning, Professor Van Pelt stated that the wartime documents had to be interpreted if they were to be relied on for this proof. These interpretations are tenuous. He produced to us a document referring to the special secrecy to be attached to the crematorium drawings, and suggested that this was because of the mass gassings being carried on in it. It stressed that this was because of the wehrwirtschaftlich importance [importance to the military economy] of the work being conducted there. But Van Pelt confirmed under my cross-examination that the homicidal Final Solution, the genocide, was never regarded as being wehrwirtschaftlich important. I submitted that the reference was clearly to keeping secret the ugly business of the looting by the SS of gold and valuables from the corpses processed by the building, a system which was undoubtedly wehrwirtschaftlich important to the SS.153

Similarly, the architectural drawings seemed to provide the required "proof" only when one was compared with another. As Van Pelt said: ". . . we can look now at two or three drawings together and . . . we start to observe some very weird things and some modifications made between one drawing and the other drawing . . ."154

Is that the best level of proof that is available now, even after fifty-five years? During his slide-show Professor Van Pelt told us that one cardinal piece of evidence in these drawings was the relocation of an internal double-door which sealed off Leichenkeller 1 from the interior of the building, from the inside of the Leichenkeller doorframe (in a December 1942 drawing) to the outside (January 1943). I pointed out that in the new layout, the doors were showed as being actually rebated into the doorframe, and I suggested to the witness that this was indicative of a gas-tight door being fitted as in any standard air raid shelter design. Air raid shelter doors are fitted outside the shelter, to open outwards, so as to withstand blast. NEUFERT, the wartime architects' handbook, bears this out.

The witness seems not to have considered this possibility. The doors allegedly found around the Birkenau and Auschwitz sites subsequently are all of standard air-raid shelter design, complete with the obligatory peephole that is fitted to air raid shelter doors. The amendment of the drawings to provide for an external door, leading from the far end of the subterranean Leichenkeller 1 to the open air, was also consonant with its dual use as a shelter, and I put this to the witness on Day 11,155 as was the relocation of the main entrance staircase from the back of the building, to the street-side. Among the architectural drawings provided to us from the Auschwitz archives is one entitled: "Modification of the old Crematorium," namely Krema I in Auschwitz; subtitled: "Air Raid Bunker for SS Station HQ with an Operating Theatre."156 So such modifications of the morgues to provide air raid shelters were clearly nothing extraordinary. Mr Rampton made a lot of the order for doors with peepholes.157 But peep holes were standard fittings not only on the gastight air raid shelter doors, but also to delousing facilities. Jean-Claude Pressac prints photos of two such doors on the "Canada" delousing chamber at Birkenau.158



Krema II as air raid shelter


Krema II, like its mirror-image Krema III on the other side of the road, was originally designed as a state-of-the art crematorium, possibly not just for the camp but for the whole catchment area of Auschwitz which had for centuries been an area of pestilence and plague. No expense was spared in its design; the best equipment and architects were used on what was clearly a permanent facility. Building the Leichenkeller underground, instead of above ground, increased construction costs by several times, but provided for keeping the morgue cool during the baking hot Central European summers. Had the building been designed from the start as a human slaughterhouse, it would certainly not have been designed on several levels, with the resultant handling problems. Slaughterhouses are normally built on one level.159

We saw in Professor van Pelt's slide-show the pouring of the concrete roof slab of the subterranean Leichenkeller 2; the roof was undoubtedly much the same as Leichenkeller 1 with a six inch reinforced steel mesh.). This undoubtedly made the new building one of the most robust on the site: certainly more robust and fireproof in an air raid than the flimsy wooden horse-barracks in which the prisoners and slave labour were housed.

The captured Bauleitung records of Auschwitz housed in Moscow confirm that from mid 1942 onwards they began to consider the construction at the camp of shelters, splinter trenches, and other Air Raid Precaution (ARP) measures.160 To be fair to the witness, when these Moscow catalogue entries were put to Van Pelt he seemed unfamiliar with them. After the air raids on Cologne, Rostock, Lübeck etc., in March/April 1942, the German High Command recognised the likelihood that air raids would spread across Poland and central Europe, and they ordered the construction of extended ARP facilities throughout the occupied eastern territories insofar as they were within bomber range. Existing basements were to be converted into shelters, and anti-gas-equipment provided, and personnel trained in anti-gas warfare, as gas attack was widely expected.161 I put one such document to Prof. Longerich, and on Day 10 I said (at page 95): "[...] the Defence rely on a number of photographs of doors found scattered around the compound of Auschwitz and Birkenau, and we will show that these are standard German air raid shelter doors complete with peep holes." (Photographs of such air raid shelter doors will be found in the bundle that I provided at page ••).

These precautions were not in vain. In May 1943, there was an air raid on the nearby Auschwitz Buna plant. This is reflected in Auschwitz documents. At least one of the American aerial photographs of Birkenau that I produced to the Court and to the witness Van Pelt shows a stick of heavy bombs just released by the plane that took the photograph. By the end of the war there was also an anti-aircraft unit assigned to defending the region, as shown by the reference to Judge Stäglich's membership of the Flak unit that manned it.162

Your Lordship will also recall that during his slide show the Dutch historian Van Pelt showed the Court a series of most interesting computer-generated "walk-through" reconstructions of the interiors of Kremas IV and V. Your Lordship memorised the dimensions of the shutters designed to be fitted on the openings inside: 30cms by 40cms. There were also said to be steps leading up to the openings. The wartime German civil defence journal Luftschutz (Air Raid Protection) shows precisely this arrangement of gas-tight shutters and steps as a standard air raid shelter feature, designed for the event of gas warfare.

I put this fact to the witness Van Pelt: "Would you agree that those shutters that have been found in the Auschwitz camp are in fact standard German air raid shutters supplied by manufacturers to a standard design?"163

The eye-witnesses stated that thousands of victims were gassed in these rooms, and their bodies burned in large pits to the building's rear. But the contemporary air photographs reveal no such pits, nor are they evident today. Confronted with what your Lordship has yourself referred to as the lack of any documentary evidence for the gassings, Van Pelt could only offer the suggestion that the use of gas chambers at Auschwitz and Birkenau was a "moral certainty". Three times in his report he fell back upon that semi-religious phrase.164 The available proofs certainly do not support the belief that the gassings there occurred on a mass scale.

I will not dwell long on the uniformly poor evidentiary basis on the other extermination camps, known to the Court as the Operation Reinhard camps. - Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka. Here we do not even have the "moral certainty" which comforted Professor Van Pelt. I can challenge here only the scale and the systematic nature of the alleged gassing of more than one million people in these centres. The Defendants' own witness, Professor Browning, admits that the documentation for these camps is "scant". I place great weight on this admission. Here, the expert cannot even find one contemporaneous document. He relies entirely upon the eye-witnesses - men of the ilk of Kurt Gerstein, Jan Karski, Adolf Eichmann and Rudolf Höss. The fictional elements - the "130 foot mountains of clothes" which Browning in his first draft skipped over,165 the "electrocution chambers", the "steam chambers"166, the deliberately inflated death tolls which would otherwise shriek their warnings to critical researchers are ignored or suppressed, in order to maintain appearances.

There is an impressive level of documentation which demonstrates that the liquidation by shooting of hundreds of thousands of Jews, probably over a million, by the Einsatzgruppen, but there is nothing of equivalent value for the Reinhard camps. One word, Why?, justifies a revisionist's scepticism.

The Walter Föhl letter produced a similar response. Found in his Berlin Document Center personnel file, this man, in charge of a resettlement office at Krakow, is seen writing on June 21, 1942 to his SS comrades,

"Every day, trains are arriving with over 1000 Jews each from throughout Europe.

"We provide first aid here give them more or less provisional accommodation, and usually deport them further towards the White Sea to the White Ruthenian marshlands, where they all - if they survive ( and the Jews from Kurfürstendamm or Vienna or Pressburg certainly won't) - will be gathered by the end of the war, but not without having first built a few roads. (But we're not supposed to talk about it.)"167


The expert witnesses, unable otherwise to explain this document, dismissed it as obvious "camouflage" talk.168 But why should Föhl use camouflage writing to his "SS comrades"? As I pointed out to Dr Longerich, Reinhard Heydrich himself had spoken of the White Sea option on February 4, 1942 in Prague too.169

It was also noticeable elsewhere that none of the experts was willing to give documents their natural meanings when they did not accord with their views. The Ahnert document, recording a meeting at the RSHA in Berlin, under Eichmann, on August 28, 1942, was one example. There was talk of the need for the deportees to be provided with blankets, shoes , eating utensils before dispatch to Auschwitz. Eichmann requested the purchases of barracks for a Jewish deportee camp to be erected in Russia, with three to five such barracks being loaded aboard every transport train. In each case, because the document did not accord with their "exterminationist" views, the expert had failed to pursue it. Dr Longerich who included it as appendix 94 in Die Ermordung der europäischen Juden, had forgotten it even existed when I cross-examined him about it.170