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The "expert witness" Robert Jan Van Pelt
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Indiana University Press announces plans to publish Van Pelt's report on the Lipstadt trial and his expert evidence


[First chapter (65 pages) of Van Pelt's book on the Lipstadt Trial, posted for research purposes only as a read-only pdf file, 750k]


The Case for Auschwitz

Evidence from the Irving Trial

Robert Jan van Pelt

In this absorbing account of the much publicized David Irving libel trial, an expert witness analyses the historical evidence for the gas chambers at Auschwitz and refutes negationists' claims to the contrary. [printed catalog text: "... and refutes Holocaust deniers' claims that they didn't exist"]

"The Irving case has done for the new century what the Nuremberg tribunals or the Eichmann trial did for earlier generations." -- The Daily Telegraph

From January to April 2000 a high-profile libel case brought by the British historian David Irving against Penguin Books and Deborah Lipstadt, charging that Lipstadt's book, Denying the Holocaust (1993), falsely labeled him a Holocaust denier, was tried in the British High Court. The question about the evidence for Auschwitz as a death camp played a central role in these proceedings. Irving had based his alleged denial of the Holocaust in part on a 1988 report by an American execution specialist, Fred Leuchter, which claimed that there was no evidence for homicidal gas chambers in Auschwitz. In connection with their defense, Penguin and Lipstadt engaged architectural historian Robert Jan van Pelt to prepare for the court an expert report presenting the evidence for our knowledge that Auschwitz had been an extermination camp where up to one million Jews were killed, mainly in gas chambers.

Van PeltForthcoming
Cloth 0-253-34016-0 $45.00



Robert Jan van Pelt is Professor in the School of Architecture, University of Waterloo, Canada. He is coauthor (with Debórah Dwork) of Auschwitz: 1270 to the Present, winner of a National Jewish Book Award, 1996, and of the Spiro Kostof Award of the Association of Architectural Historians, 1997, and coauthor (with Carroll William Westfall) of Architectural Principles in the Age of Historicism.

Specs: 464 pages, 7 x 10, 130 b&w illus., notes, bibl., index


The Case for Auschwitz
Evidence from the Irving Trial

By Robert Jan van Pelt

Preface and Acknowledgments
1. The Negationists' Challenge to Auschwitz
2. Marshaling the Evidence for Auschwitz
3. Intentional Evidence
4. Confessions and Trials
5. "Witnesses Despite Themselves"
6. Auschwitz at the Irving Trial

Employing painstaking historical scholarship, van Pelt submitted an exhaustive forensic report, which he successfully defended in cross-examination in court. In his verdict in favor of the defendants, Mr. Justice Charles Gray concluded that "no objective, fair-minded historian would have serious cause to doubt that there were gas chambers at Auschwitz and that they were operated on a substantial scale to kill hundreds of thousands of Jews."

The Case for Auschwitz analyzes why Auschwitz has become central to Holocaust denial and how it became a focus in the Irving-Lipstadt trial. It presents the compelling evidence contained in the original expert report and details the way this evidence played out at the trial. Unique in its comprehensive assessment of the historical evidence for Auschwitz and devastating in its demolition of the arguments of Holocaust deniers against Auschwitz, van Pelt's book is essential reading for anyone interested in the history of the Holocaust and for those who seek to combat Holocaust denial.

[Hyperlinks and images above added by this website]

Related files on this website:

Index to Van Pelt
In which Professor Robert Jan Van Pelt testifies on oath January 25, 2000 during the Lipstadt Trial that he has no plans to publish his Report as a book
D J C Irving vs. Penguin Books Ltd & Lipstadt, Day 9, January 25, 2000, pages 43-45 (Verbatim transcript by kind permission of Harry Counsell & Company)