Wednesday, January 26, 2000
poison supply at Auschwitz, says Irving
report: the David Irving libel trial
-- Eyewitness evidence of
the existence of homicidal gas chambers at
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".
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
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
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
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
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