Yet, on December 19, 1942, SS Untersturmführer Walter Dejaco personally prepared technical drawing 2003, concerning the partial rearrangement of the ground floor of the western part of crematorium II and the junction between corpse cellars (morgues) 1 and 2 in the basement.
The elimination of the corpse chute makes the drawing incomprehensible, unless one accepts that the plan envisaged the entry of corpses, destined for incineration, into the two morgues on their own two feet -- that is, while they were still alive.[ Gerard Fleming Jewish chronicle 17 July 1992
https://phdn.org/archives/holocaust-his ... 0302.shtml
The Bauletung drawing, shown in the link, contained three of Pressac’s leading criminal traces or “bavures”. One of these was the vanishing corpse chute - the only subject of this thread. A narrow focus should help keep everyone on--topic. Fat chance, you may say.
Mr Justice Gray was persuaded by:
.....“ the evidence of van Pelt that the redesign of crematorium 2 in late 1942 was intended to cater for live human beings to walk down to an undressing room before being led into the chamber and to do away with the corpse-slide previously used to convey dead bodies downstairs...... Lipstadt trial –Judgment]
The source of this idea was Pressac:
The corpse chute has been eliminated, a vital point implying that this was no longer required and the Leichenkeller would no longer be morgues
Replacing a chute designed to take corpses by an ordinary stairway defies all logic - unless the future corpses entered while they were still living and could walk down the stairs. [Technique and Operation.. p302
But hey, it seems there was a chute in Krema 2. Though eliminated from a drawing, it had not been eliminated from reality. For Pressac also writes:
This drawing was made at a time when work on Krematorium II was well advanced and the main structure was completed, so only part of the modifications were actually realized in the building. The stairway was built, as can still be seen in the ruins, but the corpse chute was also built, no doubt because it was already in place when drawing 2003
was made. At a later date, in order to avoid the lower end of the
chute interfering with the passage of victims from Leichenkeller 2 to
Leichenkeller 1, the chute was enclosed behind a wooden wall.
Keeping the chute in Krema meant that if necessary the Krematorium could easily return to being a "normal" facility. By eliminating the chute completely, Dejaco clearly revealed that the role of the building was no longer to cremate people dying in the camp, but to cremate people dying on the spot. – Pressac, Technique p302/303
For evidence of the merely ontological existence of the completely eliminated chute in Krema 2, Pressac was relying on a later drawing, from which it had not been completely eliminated. But there were eyewitnesses too. Speaking of Krema 2, Tauber said: "there was a corridor to which there was access from the outside by way of few stairs, and a chute for throwing down the cadavers coming from the camp, to convey them to the crematories." So the chute was actually there in Krema 2. But it was only there in reality, says Pressac, because it had already been built when it was “completely eliminated” from a drawing that was supposed to depict that reality. One therefore might expect to find no sign of any chute in Krema 3, whose “main structure” was still six months away from completion. There would be plenty of time not to build one.
But hey, it seems there was a chute in Krema III.
The corpse chute was built in Krematorium III and can still be seen in the ruins. . As in Krematorium II, it was closed off by a wooden wall (Bauleitung order of 0/4/43,[?] completed by the DAW workshops on 14/4/43). The chute's being hidden in this way explains why, for example, it is absent from the memory of the former Sonderkommando member David Olère in his sketch of corpses being extracted from the gas chamber [Document 85] and his plan of Krematorium III drawn immediately after his return to France [see Author’s Postface]. [Technique P304
For Pressac then, a concrete chute existed in both Krema, but each was blocked or screened by a “wooden wall”. Van Pelt also had to concede that a chute existed in Krema 3, and his written Expert Report seemed to presume a chute in Krema 2 as well. He had doubts only as to whether it was ever used. He had cautiously retreated from Fleming’s full-blooded thesis – no-chute spells murder - to the more anaemic and defensive argument that a chute, even if it was used, would “not necessarily” contradict murder:
It is unclear to what extent that intention [to actually use the chute] was actually realized during the operation of crematorium 2. What is clear is that even if the slide was used, there is no necessary contradiction with the use of the basement as an extermination installation..... Especially before the Hungarian Action, there were many days that no gassings took place, and there was ample time and space for corpses of inmates who had died in the camp to be brought to the basement of the crematorium, where their numbers would be registered in the death books and, if any, their golden teeth would be removed. [written Expert Report chapter IV – Attestations]
But viva voce in the courtroom, Pelt affirmed boldly that no chute, none, was ever installed in Krema 2. He did this categorically enough to persuade Judge Gray. Some excerpts from his testimony at Lipstadt trial day 11:
PELT So we see that the stairs have been removed here and the Rutsche[chute]. I will come back to the Rutsche because it is a problem. In crematorium III the Rutsche is still there, I mean the fragment. There is no fragment of the Rutsche right here[in Krema2] , but in crematorium III you can see it under a collapsed piece of concrete.
....there is a problem [about Krema 2] because Tauber at certain moments mentions a slide in his testimony. The big problem with -- the question is, and this is a problematic point in Tauber's testimony because we know that the Sonderkommando of No. II and No. III were able to basically make use of those buildings, that when there were no gassings taking place, that these two compounds were in connection because some of the facilities used by the Sonderkommando No. II were in No. III and in No. III that slide is still there. The slide was actually constructed......
...........One of the buildings has a slide, the other buildings does not have a slide.
..... So what we have [in Krema 2] is that there is no way any more to get corpses into this building, according to this drawing, and that the only way to get corpses into the build is that a staircase [on the north side] which has been narrowed to such an extent that it is certainly very difficult to carry a stretcher inside.
Q. Your evidence for saying that there was no corpse slide in the building as built is...?
PELT. It is not in the drawing. In this drawing and it does not seem to be there. So, I mean, I can see it, well, I can still see it in crematorium III.
PELT .... The only evidence there is -- let me be more precise. There is evidence in Tauber. Tauber says there is a corpse slide. But I have addressed this problem already as a problem in the testimony, that I think he refers back to the corpse slide in crematorium No. III, which was installed.
IRVING. But is there not a lot of evidence that Tauber was being questioned on the basis of drawings put to him by Jan Sehn, the prosecutor? When you read his interrogation, he is actually being interrogated on the basis of ----
PELT. If we would have seen the drawing which was this drawing and was available also to Dawidowski and so to Jan Sehn, then I presume that he would not have invented [sic] the corpse slide when it is not in the drawings. See here, the corpse slide is still in this one, in the design.
[ The implication seems to be that Tauber’s testimony was, or ought to have been, guided by the drawings Sehn showed him when he “took him through” his testimony. So Tauber “invented” the chute in Krema 2 only because Sehn failed to show him the right drawing, ie the one specialised drawing that does not show it. Judge Gray tried to give a helping hand....]
MR JUSTICE GRAY: I suppose Jan Sehn may have used the drawings for crematorium No. III when he was taking Tauber through it [sic], if that is what happened?
PELT. No, there is not a special set for crematorium No. III.
Q. There is not?
PELT. Crematorium III, they use the same drawings as No. II, but they just reverse the building.
IRVING....... and in 1943 how would [the many who died from ordinary causes] have been brought into this building?
Pelt. This is the most likely reason why the slide remains in crematorium No. III.
Yes indeed, where were the ordinary corpses to be lined up before cremation? In the course of 1942 Auschwitz had cremated at least 44,000 corpses, and the camp population was expected to become many times larger. The planned or anticipated solution, according to Van Pelt, was to push the ordinary corpses down the chute of Krema 3 during intervals between the extraordinary trainloads. It is not so clear what was to expected to be done with those registered inmates who died during peak murder periods. Pelt seems to speculate these were not even cremated in the Krema furnaces but “incinerated” elsewhere.
So the Pelt thesis, which Gray accepted, is that the basement of Krema 2 was strictly intended for the killing of walkers. It had to be: there was no way down for corpses. Krema 3 undeniably did have a way down for corpses - as well as a stairway for the walking doomed. So this Krema 3 must have been a dual purpose basement. [numbskulls please take note: this last sentence is not an expression of my own opinion]
Differing from Pelt is the thesis of Jean-Claude Pressac: there was a way down in both places, but each of two concrete chutes was mothballed against the day when normal business might be resumed. Normal business never was resumed, however, and a wooden wall blocked and concealed the chutes in both Krema. As far as I can find, Pelt chose not to mention these wooden walls.
Here as elsewhere, Mr Justice Gray committed many judicial sins. Having himself judged that testimony from Tauber should never be lightly ignored, he chose to lightly ignore it. In addition to unambiguous testimony from this star witness concerning Krema 2, there was the undisputed fact that a concrete chute had been present in the physical reality of Krema 3, which was designed to be physical copy of Krema 2. An omission from one single drawing would be weak enough evidence in itself, even if that drawing had been specific to Krema 2. But Gray was explicitly told that the drawing was not specific to Krema 2. A drawing meant for both Krema omitted a chute which undisputedly existed in one of them.
It is true that Gray additionally learned that no fragment “seems to be there” in the ruins of Krema 2. But an absence of proof only proves an absence of fact under very narrow epistemological conditions: ie when the presence of some specified proof could be confidently predicted from the presence of some hypothesised fact. Judge Gray’s duty was to ask whether or not any competent investigator had sought and failed to find any trace of a concrete chute, in a place where it would necessarily have been found if such a chute had existed. He did not so ask. Pressac, who had personally surveyed all the destruction, never made such a claim. To Gray it did not seem odd that when constructing two large identical buildings with two large identical basement mortuaries the Germans chose to deny themselves a convenient descent for ordinary corpses - but only in one of them.
Gray’s larger sin lay in having admitted Van Pelt as an Expert Witness at all, having read his Expert Report. While it is not so rabidly partisan as the parallel work by Professor Evans, this Expert Report deprives its author in a hundred tendentious ways of any claim to objectivity. In Anglo-Saxon judicial theory an expert witness is supposed to be an impartial servant of the court, not an advocate for the party that pays him. Unlike such an advocate, he is not permitted to select only the facts that suit one side of the case. He is supposed to tell all. Any dutiful judge must probe an “expert witness” to see that he has not disqualified himself by withholding awkward news. In this context, one blazingly obvious question would be: does the disappearing chute re-appear on any document later than the famous Bauleitung drawing 2003? If Gray had asked this obvious question, Pelt would have been obliged to answer that he had failed to report Pressac’s findings.
As an Expert and an architect, Pelt must very carefully have studied pages 306 thru 313 of Pressac’s Technique and Operation, where Pressac discusses the various sub-drawings of Bauleitung drawing 2197. This is explicitly a depiction of Krema 2 and is dated 19 March 1943. Pressac gives a list on page 309 of the inscriptions belonging to this whole drawing. A corpse chute (Rutsche) is plainly listed. This chute is apparently depicted on the extremely faded kellergrundriss/basement plan on 2197 (a)(r) as shown on Technique page 311. “with the chute retained, contrary to what had been planned, though the bottom was truncated to stop it encroaching on the vestibule (making the passage from LK 2 to LK1 easier” [ Technique P310
On Technique page 306 are shown both the new proposed staircase on the north side and the old “Rutsche” stairway at the junction on the south side, plainly enough even to someone of my low visual receptivity. Note that this drawing 2197(p) I is a plan of the Erdgeschoss or ground level.
https://phdn.org/archives/holocaust-his ... e306.shtml
The foundation of the original argument was that the drawing 2003 was good evidence that there was no chute. No chute, no ordinary corpses. Fair enough. But the drawing 2003 is not good evidence that there was no chute. Pelt clings to the conclusion after the premise has crumbled. Pelt (and Gray and Pressac) all treat one particular model of reality, drawing 2003, as if it were more real than reality itself. There may exist good reasons believe that the mortuaries were never used as mortuaries, but the missing chute on Drawing 2003 cannot be counted among them.
So why is the chute not in 2003? One explanation is so obvious that Pressac himself cannot ignore the possibility that Dejaco,
... left out the chute which was unimportant in this drawing, the main purpose of which was to show the creation of a stairway from the north yard of the Krematorium to the basements. But the ground floor plan confirms the abolition of the chute, for a storeroom is installed in its place
So the Kellargeschoss/basement plan of drawing 2003 shown by Pressac on page 302 proves for him that the chute has been “abolished” even though the chute had actually been built. The Erdgeschoss/ground floor plan shown on page 303 “confirms” for him the same abolition. But the upstairs plan can confirm nothing; a stairway absent from one will necessarily be absent from the other. We have seen that the 2197 Erdgeschoss/ ground level plan of 19 March1943 “confirms” the existence of the abolished-but-actually- built chute, although the this upper room may well have been used for temporary storage (“Abstellraum”). Stairways shown (or not) on a downstairs plan were typically shown (or not) in an upstairs plan as well. This holds true of the proposed north side entrance on 2003 and it was true of the chute entrance on earlier and later drawings.
What is surprising to me is that the SS and general inmate staff were ever expected to enter the building down a stairway straddling a concrete corpse chute for “throwing” down masses of diseased bodies which would often be busily manned by specialists. What is not surprising is a proposal to transfer their entrance to the north side. Irving made this point forcefully in court and Pelt had to accept it. He acceped therewith that the new staircase can only count as a second criminal trace if, as a first criminal trace, there was no chute anywhere. The Krematoria were not staffed by corpses.
Once can see why Pelt, hoping to disappear the chute, preferred to disappear Pressac’s “wooden wall” instead. If there was a wooden wall, there had to be something behind it. If the wooden wall proves to be merely a “Blendmauer” for screening off downwardly mobile dead bodies, then it would not be much of a criminal trace. Pelt has no excuse that I can think of for not mentioning the drawing 2197. Perhaps Hans can help out here. Possibly Pelt's excuse for not mentioning the wooden walls is that Pressac offers no clear information about them - just widely differing dates for their supposed order by the Bauleitung.