AR-Online logo 



Posted Wednesday, January 26, 2000

Quick navigation  

Press Association, London

Wednesday, January 26, 2000

[verbatim trial transcripts]

No poison supply at Auschwitz, says Irving

Special report: the David Irving libel trial



London -- Eyewitness evidence of the existence of homicidal gas chambers at Auschwitz was "totally demolished" because there were no holes in the roof through which to insert poison, historian David Irving told the high court today. Mr Irving, the 62-year-old author of Hitler's War, who is seeking libel damages for being called a "Holocaust denier", said that his theory "blows holes in the whole gas chambers story".

Inside krema II "gas chamber"

He said that a number of "revisionist" researchers had entered the ruins of Crematorium Two at Auschwitz, in which Holocaust historians say 500,000 died, and photographed the collapsed underside of the roof [see Website picture above] -- but found no holes.

"I do not accept that the Nazis in the last frantic days of the camp, when they were in a blue funk, would have gone around with buckets of cement filling the holes that they were going to dynamite."

Mr Irving, who is representing himself, made the comments during his cross-examination of Professor Robert van Pelt, who has said that there was a "massive amount of evidence" of the camp's use for mass extermination. Prof van Pelt has said that the gas chambers were first dismantled and then dynamited when the gassings stopped in November 1944 as the Russians advanced.

Giving evidence for American academic Deborah Lipstadt and Penguin books, who are fighting Mr Irving's action, he says that the evidence for gassing included eyewitness accounts, photos and drawings from memory of a sonderkommando -- a Jewish inmate selected to work in the crematoria.

He referred Mr Justice Gray to a photo taken by an SS man in February 1943 which showed openings above ground on the newly completed roof of Crematorium Two with a kind of cover on top of them. The defence case is that these projections were from four introduction columns through which Zyklon B pellets travelled.

Mr Irving, who says that the gas chambers were only used to de-louse corpses and objects, claimed that the picture was taken in December 1942 during building works and that the objects on the roof were drums containing sealant.

Prof van Pelt also relied on an aerial photo taken by the Americans in the summer of 1944 which showed "four dots" on the roof of Crematorium Two. He said that this showed very clearly that there were "introduction devices" on top of the building.

Mr Irving questioned the authenticity of the photo and said that whatever the dots were, they were too big for the purpose put forward by the defence.

Prof van Pelt also cited the drawings, undertaken in 1945-46, of surviving sonderkommando David Olere, which showed openings for the introduction of the pellets into the gas chamber at Crematorium Three in Auschwitz. Olere, he said, was a "very experienced draughtsman and painter" who had a good visual memory and was a credible witness.

Mr Irving is suing over Prof Lipstadt's 1994 book, Denying The Holocaust: The Growing Assault On Truth And Memory. Accused by the defendants of being "a liar and a falsifier of history", he depends on a 1988 report by a man called Fred Leuchter, who had taken samples from ruins at Auschwitz and concluded that there were never homicidal gas chambers there.

Mr Irving says Prof Lipstadt's book has generated "waves of hatred" against him.

Mr Irving said that the defence's "so-called" eyewitnesses were a relatively small number for the large proposition at stake. Apart from that, he added, there was not "a single document of any credible worth" which explicitly set out the defence case in all the "hundreds of thousands" of papers in the Auschwitz museum and the Moscow archives.

He submitted that his position on the Holocaust was justifiable and not perverse.

He went on to question Prof van Pelt's reliance on the evidence of sonderkommando Henryk Tauber which included descriptions of gassings in Auschwitz's crematoria.

He said that some of Tauber's accounts "test a reasonable historian's credulity" and "should be open to more than normal scrutiny". He questioned the validity of Tauber's evidence as he had wrongly asserted that four million had died at Auschwitz.

Prof van Pelt said that he considered that Tauber was "an absolutely amazingly good witness... I find his power of observation very precise and don't have any general reason to doubt his credibility as a witness".

Mr Irving suggested that at the time of his evidence Tauber would have been furnished with drawings and documents by the interrogating Polish authorities.

© Copyright 2000 Press Association
 Register your name and address to go on the Mailing List to receive

[ Go back to AR Online Index | Index to AR.#14 | Go to Main Action Report Index ]

© Focal Point 2000 e-mail:  write to David Irving