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Unveiling the Horrors of the Holocaust: How Women Used Human Skin for Underwear

The Chronicles of Yesterday 5-7 minutes 2/12/2023


Nazi WomenPhoto byWikipedia

Nazi Women are rarely talked about when having a conversation about Nazis. Most of the women of the Nazi era are still unknown because the crimes committed by the men were much more horrendous and often overshadowed the ones committed by Nazi Women, but not in the case of Ilse Koch.

Ilse Koch, a large red-haired woman, was born in 1906 in Dresden, Germany. She was a wife to colonel Karl Otto Koch, the commanding officer of the Buchenwald concentration camp.

Ilse Koch was born in a relatively poor household where the father was a labourer, and the mother was a housewife, a typical German family.

Ilse was a secretary by profession and joined the Nazi party when she was just 26.

The person Ilse chose to marry was as sadistic as her. Both Ilse and Karl were not just in charge of The Buchenwald concentration camp, but they were the beasts who were running this hell.

Torturing And Killing Was An Entertainment

Being a sadistic person, Ilse found joy in seeing people in pain, whether emotional or physical. Riding through the camp was a hobby for Ilse, and wherever she went, terror followed.

Ilse would whip the prisoners using her riding crop while hunting for her new victim.

Prisoners being sent to the gas chamber for their death made her laugh and stripping the clothes off the prisoners to find someone special for nighttime experiments with the doctor was something that brimmed with satisfaction.

Her sadism did not end there. She got absolute pleasure when children were tortured or killed.

Ilse was found most excited and charged while seeing innocent being sent to their death in the gas chamber.

Human Organs As Decorations, Well, Why Not

While the skin was something that fascinated Ilse, her love for human organs wasn’t any lesser.

It is believed that Ilse’s love for the organs was developed when she started visiting the camp doctor when he conducted his experiments.

Seeing bodies being mutilated during the experiments intrigued her. She also witnessed organs being removed after the poison test.

Ilse had a collection of human organs like lungs, kidneys, liver and other body parts, which were displayed at her house in the form of decoration.

Killing Witnesses To Hide Her Atrocities

Ilse was not all cruel, wicked or sickening, but also brilliant. She had an idea that one day or another word would get out of the camp and on that day, she could be tried at the courts for all that she and her husband was doing in the Buchenwald camp.

According to some reports, Ilse ordered the killing of two medical personnel who treated her husband for syphilis. They had an idea about what was going on in the Buchenwald concentration camp.

Ilse had a fantastic relationship with the doctors and the guards at the camp, and Ilse used them to destroy or manipulate records at the base. If anyone was found suspicious, that person was often not seen again.

When Ilse was trialled by the SS for her crimes, no evidence was found, nor there was any witness because allegedly.

Ilse killed the witnesses and destroyed the record that proved her convict.

An Equally Sadistic Husband

Ilse married Karl Koch in 1936, he had a reputation for being sadistic himself, and this didn’t bother Ilse a bit; instead, for her, it was a match made in heavens.

Karl Koch was serving as a commandant of Sachsenhausen concentration camp at the time of his marriage with Ilse

Karl was a warden of a prison, and his methods of torturing caught the eyes of the Nazis.

Karl’s methods included kneeling and barking like a dog while Karl was on a round, forcing prisoners to live inside a dog cage while feeding on the bowl like a dog.

If the person questioned, hot tar was pushed from the back of the prisoner. Karl’s brutality was the reason behind his promotion to being a commandant at Sachsenhausen camp.

The Buchenwald concentration camp was built three years later, and it was the largest concentration camp in Germany.

It had over twenty thousand slave labourers, and Ilse and Karl were given the charge of handling this camp.

Collecting Human Skin, Especially With Tattoos

Collecting human skin with unique tattoos was one thing that attracted Ilse Koch.

This horrible collection was later used against her in the courts while being trialled for her crimes committed in the Buchenwald camp.

Her collection included things like book covers, lampshades, and gloves made from tattooed prisoners’ skin.

Surviving prisoners later revealed that prisoners with tattoos on their skins were often told to report to the dispensary.

After being examined by the lady, the one with the best art was killed, and the tattooed skin was carefully removed for further process.

Items made from tattooed human skin are one thing she also liked collecting tattooed skin as is. She was often gifted skin by the guards of the camp.

Final Words

Ilse Koch was sentenced to life for her crimes against humanity, but later it was reduced to four years of prison due to the lack of evidence against her.

On the other hand, her husband Karl Koch wasn’t as lucky as her, and he was sentenced to his death.

On 1st September 1967, Ilse Koch committed suicide by hanging herself at 60. Does it suffice for what she did? Well, no. One can still hold opinion that true justice was never done.