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"The finished products were given to the Commandants wife, Ilse Koch, who had them made into lampshades, and gloves".
"Someone in the camp had decapitated two Poles who had been hanged for having sexual relations with German girls. The skull bones were removed and the heads shrunken, stuffed and preserved. The heads were the size of a fist and the hair and the marks of the rope were still there".
"the author has himself seen these shrunken heads".
From - The Scourge Of The Swastika - Lord Russell Of Liverpool - 1954
- Pages 206/207
I have no idea if Lord Russell was correct or not.
"Apologists for defeated nations are sometimes able to play upon the sympathy and magnanimity of their victims, so that the true facts, never authoritatively recorded, become obscured and forgotten." Sir Hartley Shawcross.
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Thanks for posting the contemporary newspaper extracts about the German trial of Ilse Koch, which followed her release from United States custody.
I am sure you will have noticed the recurring theme in those extracts of her alleged "immorality".
For example, the indictment included, along with beating camp inmates and ordering some liquidated in crematoria, "personally leading an immoral life with her husbands aides in the camp".
Or this: "The chief judge, in obvious disbelief of her responses, reviewed some of the charges and caustically commented on her alleged immorality".
Or: "She admitted having been intimate with the camp physician while married to Karl Koch".
I am sure you will agree that screwing around is not a war-crime. One wonders why her "immorality" was brought up in a trial for committing atrocities, and why she was even asked about being intimate with the camp physician or anyone else.
The recurrence of the theme of Ilse Koch's "immorality" in the trial proceedings backs up a point I have always made in relation to the allegations against her; the reason why she was singled out and made the focus of all sorts of wild allegations, unlike all the other wives of senior camp officials who lived in the staff accommodation, and about whom nothing was ever alleged, was her openly expressed sexuality, which both attracted and repelled observers.
I believe that her sexual attractiveness made her the object of the sexual fantasies of the male prisoners, which they could not admit to, and in an act of psychological transference turned into allegations against her.
That is to say, the prisoners desired to have sex with her, but could not admit to feeling such desires toward a "Nazi bitch", so they converted those desires in their minds into the concept that she was tempting them, and also performing sadistic acts with a sexual basis, eg whippings. Their own fantasies about her, about performing sexual acts on her, were converted into allegations that she had performed sexual acts on them, albeit of a perverted kind.
Another noteworthy feature is the hearsay nature of much of the evidence against her. For instance, Benedikt Kautsky had seen pieces of tattooed skin taken from deceased prisoners, but did not know what was done with them; he also had not personally seen her beat any prisoner, but had been told "by his friends" that they had been whipped by her (a clear example of typical male sexual boasting, converting a desired fantasy into a reality).
Ackermann's tale of a lamp made out of a shinbone and foot, with a shade made of tattooed human skin, is utterly bizarre, and must be rejected as a fantasy. The original claim was that the lamps themselves were normal, but that the shades were made out of human skin; the lamps exhibited by the Americans were certainly not made out of shinbones, and the Americans never claimed that they were.
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I myself, had read of this shocking story from a book when I was back in gramar school, but I didn´t search more into the matter, because I believed it to be somekind of Allied propaganda from those times.
After a few years later I came across a photograph showing the exact "morbid" scenes as described in the stories I read.
I have this photo now, but will not post it up, because it is just morbid and a person must respect the dead , from which these atrocities were made from. Unless the house moderators give me permission to do so, for historical/research interests.
I have been searching, for awhile now, about this "shrunken head" and "tattooed skin" story. Because I WANT to know the truth, just like you.
Michael Mills said...
I quite agree with you on what you have said. The truth must be found out.The caption to the photograph states:
The shrunken head of a prisoner, discovered at the Buchenwald camp. To terrorize the other prisoners, the SS guards hung two shrunken heads in the middle of the camp. Source: Trials of Major War Criminals Before the International Military Tribunal, Nuremberg, 1946, Vol. XXXII.
The photograph itself merely shows a shrunken head. Other photographic evidence shows that two shrunken heads were put on display in the grounds of Buchenwald Camp by United States soldiers; the shrunken head in this photograph may well be one of them.
But the photograph alone does not demonstrate the origin of the shrunken head. The statement that it was the head of a prisoner is simply an unverified claim.
Questions that need to be answered, before the claim can be accepted, are:
1. Did any member of the Buchenwald Camp staff have the knowledge of the methodology of shrinking heads?
2. Was any individual member of the camp staff identified as having had such knowledge? If so, was that individual identified?
3. Was there any actual investigation of the claim that the head was that of a prisoner? For example, was the prisoner in question identified? Were members of the camp staff interrogated on the question, and if so, where are the records of the interrogation?
It is noteworthy that the claim is made that the two shrunken heads were hung in Buchenwald Camp for the purpose of terrifying the prisoners. That claim sounds quite reasonable and rational, but it says nothing about the origin of the heads themselves, which might well have been taken from an anthropological museum somewhere and brought to the camp for the above purpose. If that was the case, it is possible that camp staff had spread the tale that the heads were those of prisoners, either as a cynical joke or else for the purpose of increasing the terrorising effect.
It is also noteworthy that the above claim is quite different from the more sensational claim that the heads were prepared at the request of Ilse Koch, for the purpose of decorating her house.
As far as I have seen and read(from other sources), the Europeans were first interested in these "shrunken heads" about the same time as Napolean invaded Egypt. A few high-class snobs were fascinated in "collecting" everything that was Egypcian and especially if it was "old". One thing that became famous for high-class citizens at that time was collecting Egypcian mummies. Thousands of them were unburied by local grave-robbers just to please these "snobbish" European Rich and sold without any questions. At the same time, explorers were just discovering the islands of the south-seas and in particular those lost tribes in the jungles of indonisia. One certain tribe had the "ability" to literally shrink human heads, in a very laboureous process taking over a few weeks times. These heads usually happened to be members of dead soldiers and people from neighbouring tribes, and it was done as a ritual to "capture" that persons soul, which in turn made the hunter have more "power".
The europeans became fascinated with these shrunken heads and started to collect them. As far as I read it, they made this a new market of export for the head-hunting tribes. Thousands of heads were being exported to Europe from the Indonisian Islands. tribes were literally killing each other off , so as to get money from the heads. I am NOT joking. Some of these tribes became extinct. This "fashionable hobby" of the rich died down after awhile when the Victorian era was over. Although the "shrunken heads" weren´t all thrown out into the trash, someone must have kept (or still keeps) them in some closed closet. I believe that the "shrunken heads2 shown at the camps must have been some of those Indonisian tribesmen from long ago, used to scare the prisoners. I WILL NOT deny that they might have been a real prisoner from the camp, but one must take into account that, not everyone is familiar with the process of shrinking a head. That is my research and thoughts on the "head-shrinking" story.
As far as the skin-tattoed pictures go, well I believe it to be quite true.
Throughout the ages humankind as been fascinated with the humanskin being tattoed.Since the prehistoric times men have been tattoed and have "collected" the other persons tattoos. Even today in modern China and especially Japan, some wealthy businessmen pay a monthly salary to other men who tattoo their whole bodies. Throughout their lives they are paid an income to live off, until they die. When they are dead the other person will have the "rights to their skins". They are stripped from their bodies and placed in a picture frame. I kid you not. This is for real.
The same morbid fascination must have overrun into the sick and twisted nazis minds working in those concentration camps. So I am quite sure they are real.
That is my thought on the subgect...if you feel like reseaching some more into this topic, please research at your local library, I have given you something to start with.
With kind regards
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If my memory serves me correctly, the book Inside the Vicious Heart includes several photographs of the shrunken heads and tattooed skin pieces being displayed by GI's just after the liberation of Buchenwald.There is photographic evidence that pieces of tattooed skin, shrunken heads and lampshades were put on public display on the grounds of the Buchenwald concentration camp after it was handed over to the United States Army by the Communist prisoners who had taken charge after the flight of the German staff.
For additional information about the Buchenwald KZ, I would recommend David A. Hackett's The Buchenwald Report (Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1995)
The book Justice At Dachau (by Joshua Greene, Broadway Books, New York, 2003) includes a chapter titled "Tattoos, Lampshades and Shrunken Heads" which gives a brief overview of the first Ilse Koch trial. The testimony of former KZ inmate Kurt Froboess is on p.266, in which he mentions that during a work detail at construction site for the SS stadium, Ilse Koch took special notice of an particular inmate named Jean with numerous body tattoos. Jean was called to the KZ gate during the evening roll call, and never seen again - until Kurt Froboess visited the camp pathology department and saw "Jean" - or rather, his tattooed skin - at the medical facility. Additional testimony about tattoos in the camp pathology department is from former KZ inmates Kurt Wilhelm Lesser on p268.The pieces of tattooed skin were later tested and found to be of human origin. German documents reveal that the concentration camps were directed to collect specimens of tattooed skin from deceased prisoners and forward them to the Concentration Camp Inspectorate at Oranienburg.
There are several accounts from several KZ prisoners regarding the infamous lampshade, including Dr. Kurt Sitte, who worked in the camp pathology department.
Here's Dr. Sitte's testimony regarding the shrunken head on p 264:Was there any actual investigation of the claim that the head was that of a prisoner? For example, was the prisoner in question identified? Were members of the camp staff interrogated on the question, and if so, where are the records of the interrogation?
This particular shrunken head became "Exhibit 14" during the trial. The defense team objected to the head being admitted as evidence, as it was an item associated with Dr. Mueller and not any of the defendants of the case. The objection was overrulled."...It is the head of a Polish prisoner who escaped from the camp, was recaptured, executed, and then on the orders of SS doctor Mueller decapitated. This and one and the other head were among the main attractions when visitors came."
I dunno. It's probably more of an "art" than a science. The Jivaro Indians of South America boil them. (after removing the skin from the skull, of course!)Did any member of the Buchenwald Camp staff have the knowledge of the methodology of shrinking heads?
Although the lurid skin and lampshade stories made the headlines, the prosecution placed more emphasis on more mundane aspects of her sadism (beatings, etc.) in their case against her.
Ilse Koch's first trial was at Dachau in 1947. She was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison. Her sentence was reduced to 4 years per the orders of US General Lucius Clay, commander of the ETO.
Her sentence commutation caused a huge public outcry in the US, which lead to US Senate hearings on her case in 1948.
She was released from US custody in 1949, but rearrested and brought to trial in 1951.
Interestingly enough, Frau Koch got intimate with one of her US jail wardens and ended up "in a family way" during her first trial. Of course, it might have been love, rather than an attempt to cheat the hangman. She eventually had the GI's baby.I am sure you will agree that screwing around is not a war-crime. One wonders why her "immorality" was brought up in a trial for committing atrocities, and why she was even asked about being intimate with the camp physician or anyone else.
Ilse Koch hung herself in Aibach prison in 1967.
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Ilse Koch the wife of the former commandant of Buchenwald concentration camp, was proven to have had tattooed prisoners executed, so she could have their skin made into lampshades and covers for her photograph albums. She was sentenced to life imprisonment in August 1947.
In June 1948 her sentenced was reduced to four years, or time already served, by General Lucius D. Clay, the interim military governor of the American Zone in Germany, on the grounds "there was no convincing evidence that she had selected inmates for extermination in order to secure tattooed skins, or that she possessed any articles made of human skin."
Jean Edward Smith in his biography, Lucius D. Clay, an American Life, reported the general maintained that the leather lamp shades were really made out of goat skin. The book quotes a statement made by General Clay years later:
There was absolutely no evidence in the trial transcript, other than she was a rather loathsome creature, that would support the death sentence. I suppose I received more abuse for that than for anything else I did in Germany. Some reporter had called her the "Bitch of Buchenwald", had written that she had lamp shades made of human skin in her house. And that was introduced in court, where it was absolutely proven that the lamp shades were made out of goat skin.
According to the Buchenwald Report, there was a factory at Buchenwald, which produced leather goods out of animal skins, but it had caught fire during an Allied bombing raid on the camp on August 24, 1944.
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Incorrect, the shrunken heads were real and were made from the remains of executed Poles.Dan wrote: ↑15 Feb 2004 22:58Just typical slander. Those shrunken heads were made with goat skin and such.There were many non-Jewish people there, including Russian POW's which infact the shrunken heads were of the Russian POW's, but since they were not German their treatment was not a warcrime according to some of our fellow forum members.
As for lampshades, there is no evidence that any were made from Jewish skin. Neither is there any credible evidence that Ilse Koch ordered to make any.
That said, there's evidence that 1 or 2 such lampshades were made from tanned skin pieces (that were anyway collected in the camp pathology, a documented fact).
http://holocaustcontroversies.blogspot. ... -skin.html