"The Buchenwald Report" on tattooed skin, lampshades, shrunken heads.

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"The Buchenwald Report" on tattooed skin, lampshades, shrunken heads.

Post by michael mills » 18 Dec 2015 03:05

In this thread I will post relevant excerpts from the book "The Buchenwald Report" dealing with the samples of tattooed human skin and shrunken heads found in the pathology laboratory at KL-Buchenwald, and the allegations of lampshades and other articles being manufactured from human skin.

The book "The Buchenwald Report", published in 1995 and edited by David Hackett, is a translation by Hackett of a German-language document with the title "Bericht ueber das Konzentrationslager Buchenwald bei Weimar, produced by a special intelligence team from the Psychological Warfare Division of SHAEF, headed by Albert Rosenberg, a Jewish refugee from National Socialist Germany.

Rosenberg's team was assisted by a committee of Buchenwald prisoners, whose names were listed as follows:

Eugen Kogon
Joseph Berman
Herbert Froebess
Valentin Gelber
Lionel Guierre
Stefan Heymann
Ernst Holzer
Jan Robert
Ferdinand Roemhild
Karl Stockmar

A list of the main informants was also given, together with their professions, their positions in the camp, and their political affiliation:

Dr Eugen Kogon (Nonpartisan): Vienna, author, first medical secretary in Block 50
Dr Werner Hilpert (Catholic): Leipzig, leader of the former Saxon Centre Party, member of the International Committee
Ferdinand Roemhild (Nonpartisan Socialist): Frankfurt am Main, author, first medical secretary of the prisoner hospital
Heinz Baumeister (Social Democrat): Dortmund, longtime executive member of the camp records office, Buchenwald, second secretary of Block 50
Franz Hackel (Nonpartisan Socialist): Prague, author
Walter Bartel (Communist): Berlin, chairman of the International Camp Committee
Hans Eiden (affiliation not stated): Senior camp inmate.
Ernst Busse (Communist): Solingen, former Reichstag deputy, kapo of the prisoner hospital
Otto Kipp (Communist): Dresden, deputy kapo of the prison hospital
Baptist Feilen (Communist): Aachen, kapo of the laundry, member of the illegal internal camp administration
Walter Wolf (Communist): Director of the camp information bureau
Ernst Thape (Social Democrat): Leader of the German Committee
Otto Horn (Communist): Vienna, leader of the Austrian Committee
Stefan Heymann (Communist): Mannheim, editor, member of the camp information bureau
Herbert Froebess (Catholic): Fulda and Brazil, Franciscan monk, preparer of secret plans for the commandant's office at Buchewald
[Nikolai] Kaltschin (affiliation not given, possibly Communist): Russian Prisoner of War, officer, member of the Russian Committee
Boris Danilenko (Affiliation not given, presumably Communist): Ukrainian Komsomol leader, member of the Russian Committee.

What is significant is the heavy representation of German and Austrian Communists among the informants, and also the senior positions they held in the prisoner hierarchy, reflecting the Communist domination of the prisoner population since 1942, a situation connived at by the German camp administration since it made their job easier.

In the following messages I will post excerpts from the book containing claims by prisoners about the collection of tattooed skin from deceased prisoners and the manufacture of items from that skin.

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Re: "The Buchenwald Report" on tattooed skin, lampshades, shrunken heads.

Post by michael mills » 20 Dec 2015 00:51

"The Buchenwald Report" edited by David Hackett is divided into two parts. The first part consists of the Main Report dictated by Eugen Kogon, and signed on 10 May 1945 by Second Lieutenant Albert Rosenberg, commanding officer of Detachment B of the 4th Mobile Radio Broadcasting Company of the Psychological Warfare Division of SHAEF. The second part consists of individual reports prepared by various former inmates.

In the Main Report, there is a reference to the collection of tattooed human skin in Chapter VIII, "Health Conditions", on page 64 of Hackett's book. That section reads as follows:
The infirmary was not just the place where the sick were supposed to be cared for and made well again, but it was also a place of experimentation for SS doctors. In this connection the camp doctor Eisele (from late fall 1940 to late summer 1941) probably exceeded every possible baseness; For his own personal "professional" training, he conducted vivisections on human beings. The sole surviving witness among the Dutch Jews is Meyer Nebig. The camp doctor, Dr Neumann, equalled Eisele, qualitatively if not quantitatively, by conducting experimental sectionings of the liver to "study" the effects of such operations on healthy humans. Dr Wagner wrote a doctoral dissertation on tattooing, had the entire camp searched for people with tattoos, and had them photographed. The prisoners were later called to the gate by Commandant Koch, selected according to the splendour of their tattooed skin, and sent into the infirmary. Soon thereafter the best examples of skin appeared in the pathology department, where they were prepared and shown to SS visitors as special treasures for years. Koch had an "artistic" table lamp made for himself out of human bones stretched over with human skin. Hundreds of prepared human skins were sent to Berlin on orders of the chief doctor for the concentration camps, SS Colonel Dr Lolling.
My comment:

The above passage contains what are essentially two separate claims: (1) that tattooed human skin was collected and prepared, and either retained in Buchenwald or sent to Berlin, and (2) that Commandant Koch had a table-lamp made out of human bones and human skin.

The truth of the former claim is proved by the fact that samples of preserved human skin bearing tattoos were found in the pathology department at KL-Buchenwald, and some of those samples are still kept at institutions in the United States. The dissertation on tattooing by Dr Wagner was also found, and was put on public display in the camp grounds together with the pieces of tattooed skin; it can be seen lying on the right end of the display table in the film made by Billy Wilder.

The dissertation was retained by Rosenberg, and today is reportedly in the possession of Hackett. According to statements made by the latter, the theme of the dissertation was the connection between tattooing and criminality.

The statement that "hundreds" of prepared human skins were sent to Berlin on the orders of Dr Lolling suggests that he was the person who initiated the whole process, probably for the same sort of purpose as the collection of skeletons of "Bolshevik commissars" made by August Hirt, namely for display in a museum to demonstrate the criminal nature of the inmates of concentration camps. If that is so, then the dissertation by Wagner, reportedly demonstrating the connection between tattooing and criminality, was probably part of the project initiated by Lolling.

It would seem that some of the prepared skins were retained in KL-Buchenwald for the purpose of a similar display as that possibly planned by Lolling in Berlin. If they were shown to SS visitors as alleged, it was probably for the same propaganda purpose of demonstrating the criminal nature of the prisoners being held in the camp.

By contrast, there is no hard evidence for the second claim, since no table-lamp made out of human bones and skin was ever found at Buchenwald, or anywhere else so far as I know. The table-lamp put on public display and seen in Billy Wilder's film had a normal frame, and it was only the parchment covering that was alleged to be made of human skin, although General Clay later stated that the covering had been found to be made of goatskin.

Thus, the claim that Koch had a lamp made of human bones is probably a myth of the same nature as the claim that Himmler had a chair made out of human bones. Possibly it was invented by inmates to explain the observed real collection of human skin; it is equally possible that it was a deliberate falsification for propaganda purposes.

More to follow.

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Re: "The Buchenwald Report" on tattooed skin, lampshades, shrunken heads.

Post by michael mills » 21 Dec 2015 02:44

Just as a matter of interest, here is a link to a newspaper article about a collection of tattooed human skin made in the 19th century by a Romanian forensic scientist, and put on display in Bucharest last year:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... splay.html

One significant item in the article is the statement that the Romanian scientist, Dr Nicolae Minovici, was looking into a possible connection between tattooing and criminal behaviour. So it would appear that a connection between tattooing and criminality was not just a crazy National Socialist idea, and that the collecting of the tattooed skin of deceased Buchenwald inmates had a respectable precedent.

Some of the tattoo, taken from the body of a Romanian member of the French Foreign Legion, bear a remarkable resemblance to the rather crude tattoos found on some of the Buchenwald specimens.

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Re: "The Buchenwald Report" on tattooed skin, lampshades, shrunken heads.

Post by michael mills » 21 Dec 2015 02:50

Here is another article on the same Romanian collection.

http://www.vice.com/read/19th-century-r ... n-skin-876

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Re: "The Buchenwald Report" on tattooed skin, lampshades, shrunken heads.

Post by Ironmachine » 21 Dec 2015 08:25

michael mills wrote:and that the collecting of the tattooed skin of deceased Buchenwald inmates had a respectable precedent
For what's worth, there are ,in fact, more "respectable" precedents:
The largest collection of human skins is at the Wellcome Collection at London's Science Museum, which has over 300 individual tattoo fragments. Angel notes that there are other substantive collections that similarly display preserved tattooed skin: "The anthropology department of the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle has around 56 pieces, very similar to the Wellcome Collection, dating from the 19th Century. The Department of Forensic Medicine at Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland has 60 tattoos, and the Instituto Nacional de Medicina Legal e Ciências Forenses (INMLCF) collections in Lisbon, Portugal, contains 70 specimens. And there are many more examples of smaller collections in London, Berlin, and Austria."
http://www.vice.com/read/the-art-of-pre ... -death-629
Additionally, Tokio University has a medical collection of over 100 preserved tattoed skins (including full body suits) begun in the mid-1920s by Dr. Masaichi Fukushi, a pathologist.

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Re: "The Buchenwald Report" on tattooed skin, lampshades, shrunken heads.

Post by michael mills » 22 Dec 2015 10:14

There is some further information in Individual Report no. 76, "Pathology", on page 224 of the book. This report is signed by Gustav Wegerer, who is described on page 17 of the book as an Austrian Communist engineer, who was organising the preparation of a history of Buchenwald Camp for the camp's Communist leadership.
Beginning in fall 1940 SS Captain Mueller worked in the pathology department. He was then called to the Obersalzberg [Berchtesgaden]. On orders from Berlin, Mueller initiated the project of peeling off the tattooed skin from the bodies of dead or murdered prisoners, tanning it, and producing lampshades out of it. How many lampshades were produced from human skin I can no longer say precisely today. But on many occasions several hundred pieces of tattooed human skin, tanned in various manners, were sent to SS Colonel Lolling, the chief of Section D III of the Main Economic and Administrative Office in Oranienburg.

Lolling was the chief doctor of all the concentration camps in Germany until the end. Mueller also gave Stoeckel and Werner Bach the assignment of producing sheaths for pocket knives and other objects out of tanned human skin. Moreover, Lolling requested written instructions for the preparation of shrunken human heads, that is, human heads that were shrunk to the size of a fist, like those produced by the cannibals of the South Sea islands. There were reports from the information section of the American army about the methods of the South Sea islanders, which I sent to Lolling. In addition, the SS doctors themselves "prepared" a sizable number of heads here according to these methods.

[There follows a paragraph on the arrival of corpses that had been killed with injections of various kinds, also corpses that had been strangled or garrotted].

The camp doctor, Dr Wagner, wrote a dissertation on tattooing; it was notable that all those prisoners he summoned to be tattooed died the next day in the hospital. The tattoos were peeled off and tanned. All of Wagner's victims were given lethal injections. Several hundred original autopsy reports on liquidated prisoners were confiscated in the pathology department and turned over to the American army.


In the above passage, Wegerer makes a number of claims:

1. The practice of collecting tattooed skin from dead prisoners was ordered from Berlin.
2. Several hundred pieces of tattooed skin were sent to Dr Lolling, at the WVHA at Oranienburg.
3. Lampshades were produced from tattooed skin, also on orders from Berlin.
4. Sheaths for pocket knives and other objects were made out of tanned human skin, on the orders of Dr Mueller (whether that was also on orders from berlin is unclear).
5. Instructions for the preparation of shrunken heads, which were in the possession of Wegerer at Buchenwald, were sent by him to Lolling, at the latter's request.
6. SS doctors at Buchenwald produced a "sizable number" of shrunken heads.
7. Dr Wagner had prisoners tattooed, then killed and the tattoos removed and tanned, in connection with the dissertation on tattooing that he was writing.

Claims 1 and 2 are consistent with each other, and also with the statement in the Main Report that "hundreds" of prepared skins were sent to Berlin on the orders of Dr Lolling. They provide further support for the conclusion that the collection of specimens of tattooed human skin had some sort of scientific or demonstration purpose, similar to the collection made by the Romanian forensic scientist Dr Minovici (which may indeed have served as a model for Dr Lolling), and indeed to collections in London and Tokyo.

Claim 7 is also partly consistent with the statement in the Main report about Wagner's dissertation on tattooing, the only difference being that in the Main Report Wagner selected prisoners who were already tattooed, whereas Wegerer claims that he had prisoners tattooed in order to provide him with specimens for his dissertation. Of the two claims, that in the Main Report is more logical, in view of the fact that Wagner was apparently trying to establish a connection between criminality and tattooing; it is possible that Wegerer was misrepresenting the situation in order to discount any scientific basis for Wagner's work, ie implying that Wagner was falsifying his evidence.

Nevertheless, the confirmation that Wagner was using the specimens of tattooed skin as data for his dissertation further supports the conclusion that the collection of tattooed skin had a scientific purpose and was not simply a ghoulish hobby of the camp staff.

Claim 3 echoes the claim made in the Main Report that Camp Commandant Koch had a lampshade made for himself of human skin; the difference is that the Main Report implies that that was a personal initiative by Koch, unrelated to the order from Lolling to send specimens of tattooed skin to Berlin, and also that only one such lampshade was made, whereas Wegerer claims that large numbers of such lampshades were made on orders from Berlin.

As already stated, no lampshades made of human skin were found at Buchenwald or anywhere else, so far as I know; the lamp put on public display at Buchenwald on 16 April and filmed by Billy Wilder was later found to be made of goatskin, according to a statement by Lucius Clay. It is possible that Wegerer was taking a rumour included in the Main Report and exaggerating it to make it appear that the manufacturing of lampshades out of human skin was a widespread practice condoned by the German Government, and even ordered by it. The propaganda element in Wegerer's claim is self-evident, and is most probably a function of his Communist allegiance; I will address later the reasons why Communists had a motive to claim that their "fascist" enemies made a practice of manufacturing items from human skin.

Claims 5 and 6 relate to the two shrunken heads put on display at Buchenwald on 16 April and shown in the Billy Wilder film, one of which was introduced into evidence at the IMT in December 1945. These will require more detailed comment, which will have to wait until after Christmas.

In the meantime, I wish you all a happy holiday season.

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Re: "The Buchenwald Report" on tattooed skin, lampshades, shrunken heads.

Post by michael mills » 22 Dec 2015 10:43

Further to my last message, the Billy Wilder film made in Buchenwald can be seen here:

https://archive.org/details/BillyWilder ... reDivision#

From 14:00, Dr Wagner's dissertation on tattooing is shown; it bears the title "Ein Beitrag zur Tatoewierungsfrage", and contains photos of tattooed skin.

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Re: "The Buchenwald Report" on tattooed skin, lampshades, shrunken heads.

Post by The Black Rabbit of Inlé » 13 Jan 2016 07:38

michael mills wrote:Thus, the claim that Koch had a lamp made of human bones is probably a myth of the same nature as the claim that Himmler had a chair made out of human bones. Possibly it was invented by inmates to explain the observed real collection of human skin; it is equally possible that it was a deliberate falsification for propaganda purposes.
The tattooed human skin lampshades story was being spread between inmates at Buchenwald for well over a year (at least) before the Americans rolled into Weimar in April 1945, several documents show this:

1. The October 4, 1944, British report on the interrogation of Peter Schlöder, a German farmer and communist imprisoned at Buchenwald between May 1937 - Jan 1944. He was conscripted following his release; captured in Lisieux on August 24, 1944, and transferred to the PoW camp at Kempton Park, Surrey. The report was found in UK NA: WO 208/3639:
Image



2. The December 19, 1944, report on the interrogation of Andreas Pfaffenberger. Imprisoned at Buchenwald between Nov 38 - June 1944 when he was conscripted; captured by the Americans in France on Nov 2, 1944.

I've not seen the original of this interrogation report, but a retyped version was submitted to the IMT as PS-3420 as well as forming part of PS-2223:
Image
http://doddcenter.uconn.edu/asc/researc ... _19-28.pdf



3. The January 1, 1945, recorded conversation between PoWs Andreas Pfaffenberger, Major Schuster and Major Frank. Found in UK NA: WO 208/4140:
PAFFENBERGER: [...]
In 1939 the blockleaders gave out that anyone who had tattoo marks was to report to them immediately what sort of tattoo marks he had and his number. That was an order coming right down from the commandant. The lists were taken to the M.I. room to the former Hauptsturmführer EISELE (?), who now has all the doctors under him. He looked through the lists and sent for about 200 men. 40 or 50, who had the best tattoo marks, were immediately kept down there. The others were sent away for the time being. [...]

I had a friend in the pathological department named WEREBACH (?) from the BLACK FOREST. He was in charge of the pathological department and had about twelve or fifteen detainees under him. They had the corpses brought up - from the parts where the tattoo marks were they removed the skin, as much as they could use, the measurement was given, and WEREBACH (?) tanned it. One man had a few ships on him because he was a sailor, one had 'Hänsel and Gretel' on his knees in blue and red, you could see it really well because human skin tans better than any other skin. One man was tattooed all over from his head to the soles of his feet. There were various tattoo marks; one man had a snake all round his whole body, I saw all sorts of things. The two pieces with 'Hänsel and Gretel' on them looked so beautiful I said: "You might give me them." "What are you thinking of?" He said: "When every tattoo mark has been entered up; I can't give you any." I was often in there in the hut at night and saw the things. I said: "What are you making out of the things then?" He said: "They all belong to commandant KOCH, and there was a special place in the camp where they were processed further, and Frau KOCH had lampshades made to go round the light. The various tatto marks were put together and she had lampshades made. Out of the pieces, like 'Hänsel and Gretel', she had a 'chamois' leather made. Commandant KOCH's wife used only 'chamois' leather with tattoo marks made of human skin. The detainees didn't need to have done anything. Even if you were a 'Major', if you had some fine tattoo marks on you, you had to be killed because this woman this preversion [sic]. Then he told me, but I didn't see it myself, that she had had [sic] a chandelier made of three human feet. That was the story going round the camp, but i didn't see it myself, I didn't see the human feet, but it is possible. In the doctor's room there were two human heads, of two young Poles. All their hair was still on, but the heads were quite small and brown. The bones had been taken away from inside, and I asked: "How is it that they are so small?" He said: "The bone is taken away from the inside, that's why they are like that." They were about this size (demonstrating).

FRANK:
Is he still commandant?

PAFFENBERGER:
He was arrested - I will tell you about that later. He told me that they were the heads of two young Poles - so many young Poles, who had intercourse with German girls, were hanged. When they were caught, they were taken into protective custody and hanged at BUCHENWALD. Two other young Poles had to hang them. They took two young Poles, for the job of hanging their comrades, and it was the heads of two such young Poles who had been hanged that he had made small.
4. The 2013 British documentary Spying on Hitler's Army: The Secret Recordings [US version called: Bugging Hitler's Soldiers] dramatises another recorded Pfaffenberger conversation dated December 30, 1944, with Gefreiter Helmink and Obergefreiter Haase [according to a document shown on screen]. The documentary quotes Pfaffenberger as saying:
The senior inmate in each hut told us: “All those who have tattoo marks are to report to me.” He needed about a 100 of them. Those who had attractive tattoo marks were injected and killed. They were handed over to the pathologists who removed as large a piece of skin as they needed with the tattoo mark on it and the rest of the body was taken to the crematorium and burnt. The pieces of skin were impregnated and tanned. The wife of the commandant got them and she had a lamp-shade made out of them.

Human skin tans wonderfully, I’ve held pieces in my hand. I wanted to steal a couple.
Transcript of the US version: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/secrets/bugging ... cript/950/
See from 43:38 on this version: http://www.intodocs.com/watch.php?vid=bae9c34cd

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Re: "The Buchenwald Report" on tattooed skin, lampshades, shrunken heads.

Post by dasreich2010 » 13 Jan 2016 10:32

tapping hitlers generals is a excellent book
sehen, dass das ist das Ende des Reiches

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Re: "The Buchenwald Report" on tattooed skin, lampshades, shrunken heads.

Post by The Black Rabbit of Inlé » 13 Jan 2016 11:40

dasreich2010 wrote:tapping hitlers generals is a excellent book
I don't have it. Does either [or both] of the Pfaffenberger conversations feature in it?

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Re: "The Buchenwald Report" on tattooed skin, lampshades, shrunken heads.

Post by michael mills » 14 Jan 2016 01:05

Black Rabbit, thanks very much for the information.

I was aware of the Pfaffenberger interrogation report of December 1944, since it was presented to the IMT at the same time as samples of tattooed human skin and one shrunken head were shown to the court. However, the details of the recorded conversations that you posted have answered the queries I had about how Pfaffenberger came to be in KL Buchenwald and to see the pieces of tattooed skin and the two shrunken heads.

The likelihood is that when the PWD special intelligence team led by Rosenberg entered KL-Buchenwald in April 1945 they knew about the collection of tattooed human skin and were expecting to find samples.

Like the statements of prisoners collected by Rosenberg's team, the testimony of Pfaffenberger consists of two parts:

1. A description of the process of collecting samples of tattooed human skin.

2. An explanation of the reason for that collection.

The first part is backed up by the physical existence of the samples of tattooed human skin found at Kl-Buchenwald in April 1945. The second part, that the human skin was used to make lampshades and other leather articles for Ilse Koch, a claim also made by some other prisoners, is questionable, given the alternative, more credible explanation that the collection was made for the quasi-scientific purpose of demonstrating a connection between tattooing and criminality.

That quasi-scientific purpose is backed up by some prisoner statements, such as that of the Communist Wegerer, and also the existence of the thesis on tattooing written by Dr Wagner. The prisoners also suggest that the collection of tattooed human skin was not initiated by Dr Wagner for the purpose of his thesis but had been ordered from Berlin by Dr Lolling. The most likely explanation is that the collection of specimens of tattooed skin and their despatch to Berlin was part of a project to demonstrate a connection between tattooing and criminality, and that Dr Wagner's the
sis was part of that project.

In that regard, it should be noted that the pre-war collection of tattooed human skin assembled by the Romanian doctor Minovici had been sourced from criminals, and apparently had the purpose of demonstrating a connection between tattooing and criminal behaviour.

The balance of probabilities, therefore, is that the collection and preparation of tattooed human skin at KL-Buchenwald was not a ghoulish initiative by the camp doctors, but rather part of a quasi-scientific project similar to that of Dr Minovici, and perhaps even inspired by it. On the same balance of probabilities, the claims that articles were manufactured from the tattooed skin, in particular for use by Ilse Koch, must be regarded as fabrications by the prisoners, particularly as no such articles were ever located, unlike the samples of tattooed human skin which are still extant.

The question remains as to why some prisoners would have fabricated such a ghoulish explanation for the collection of tattooed skin. In my opinion, the most likely answer can be deduced from two contextual facts:

1. The prisoner population at KL-Buchenwald had by 1939 come under the control of Communist prisoners, a control that was accepted de facto by the camp commanders, and the supply of information to the US investigators was to a large extent under the control of those Communist prisoners.

2. In the early 1920s, opponents of the Bolshevik regime in Russia had made allegations that members of the Bolshevik political police, the Cheka, had manufactured items including gloves from skin taken from executed prisoners. One of the main sources of those allegations is the book "Red Terror in Russia" by the anti-Bolshevik Socialist refugee Sergei Melgunov, originally published in Berlin in 1924. Melgunov's book, which I have read, even contains photos of items alleged to have been manufactured from human skin.

Melgunov's book also contains rather lurid allegations about female members of the Cheka, whom Melgunov describes as both brutal toward prisoners and also sexually perverted, perpetrating sadistic acts with a sexual element. One of those women described by Melgunov is Rivke Plastinina-Maisels, the wife of the commandant of one of the earliest Bolshevik concentration camps; she is alleged by Melgunov to have killed and tortured prisoners and perpetrated sadistic acts upon them.

At the time German Communists were sent as prisoners to KL-Buchenwald, Melgunov's book was widely known in Germany, and the lurid allegations made in it were fresh in the public mind. It is likely that the Communist inmates of KL-Buchenwald were well aware of those allegations and were embarrassed or perhaps outraged by them, and would be seeking to counter them in some way.

Thus, when the collection of tattooed human skin began at KL-Buchenwald in 1939, the Communist prisoners held there, who by that time were in a dominant position, must have seen an opportunity to turn the tables on their National Socialist oppressors, who were the most violent opponents of Communism, both in Germany and in the Soviet Union. Thus, the collection of human skin by the camp doctors could serve as the basis for allegations that the purpose of that collection was to manufacture items from them, in the same way as the Russian Bolshevik comrades of the imprisoned German Communists were alleged by Melgunov to have manufactured such articles during the Red Terror.

I think it also highly likely that image of Rivke Plastinina-Maisels served as the basis for the allegations of sadistic cruelty and sexual perversion made against Ilse Koch who, like Plastinina-Maisels, was the wife of a camp commandant and also a highly visible personage.

There is a possibility that the lurid allegations made by Melgunov against the Bolsheviks in relation to the manufacture of articles from human skin and the similar allegations made by Buchenwald prisoners against the camp doctors and Ilse Koch are both true. However, I think it more likely that both are untrue, and are fabrications made for the purposes of political propaganda; I think it also most likely that the exaggerated and most probably fabricated allegations made by Melgunov against the Russian Bolsheviks served as the model for the equally exaggerated and fabricated allegations made by the Buchenwald prisoners against Ilse Koch and other camp staff.

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Re: "The Buchenwald Report" on tattooed skin, lampshades, shrunken heads.

Post by michael mills » 14 Jan 2016 01:30

An interesting site with information on the allegations made against Ilse Koch:

http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Buchenwal ... ities.html

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Re: "The Buchenwald Report" on tattooed skin, lampshades, shrunken heads.

Post by The Black Rabbit of Inlé » 14 Jan 2016 17:58

No worries, Mr Mills.

British pathologist Sir Bernard Spilsbury examined a knife sheath and a piece of tattooed leather (that he was told was cut from a lampshade) given to him by two politicians who visited Buchenwald in April 1945. He concluded that both were made from human-skin.

I understand that the only tangible piece of evidence which proves that items were manufactured in the Buchenwald pathology department is the famous memo telling them to stop making Amazon-style shrunken heads:
It is brought to [your] attention that, effective immediately, the preparation of so-called gift articles (shrunken heads etc.) is to be stopped. A written report is to be made to the local SS physician for the SS Medical Academy in Graz on the 1st and 15th of every month concerning the status of current assignments.

The medical treatment of internees falls outside the framework of pathology and is prohibited, effective immediately. This order is also to be made known to the internees involved with pathology

https://web.archive.org/web/20110718062 ... olman.9712

(Original now displayed in the Permanent Exhibition at Buchenwald: http://fotos.fotoflexer.com/010db092984 ... e4ed2e.jpg)

Two defendants at the Buchenwald trial (Hermann Pister and Otto Barnewald) and one witness (Hermann Nett, a Weimar policeman) said that they partook in the search of the Kochs' house on August 25, 1943, as part of Konrad Morgen's investigation. All of them said they were looking for human-skin items but found nothing. Morgen himself told John Toland that he'd looked into the human-skin claims as part of his investigation but had dismissed it as unfounded. Morgen, who also testified at the Buchenwald trial, also told Toland that the Americans had severely beaten him for refusing to testify that Ilse Koch had lampshades made. If the Americans were prepared to beat Morgen, then they surely could have given Pister, Barnewald and Nett similiar treatment, but considering they all said they found nothing in Koch's house, it would seem unlikely that they were forced to state that they were looking for lampshades etc. in August 1943.

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Re: "The Buchenwald Report" on tattooed skin, lampshades, shrunken heads.

Post by Knouterer » 15 Jan 2016 08:57

michael mills wrote:
The balance of probabilities, therefore, is that the collection and preparation of tattooed human skin at KL-Buchenwald was not a ghoulish initiative by the camp doctors, but rather part of a quasi-scientific project similar to that of Dr Minovici, and perhaps even inspired by it.
Killing people just to obtain samples of tattooed skin is not ghoulish? That's a strange point of view I must say. In the other cases of skin collections mentioned, I assume samples were taken after the persons had died from natural causes, or perhaps had been lawfully executed in some cases.

Big difference.
"The true spirit of conversation consists in building on another man's observation, not overturning it." Edward George Bulwer-Lytton

PF
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Re: "The Buchenwald Report" on tattooed skin, lampshades, shrunken heads.

Post by PF » 15 Jan 2016 21:00


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