Monday, July 18, 2016

Additions to the MP Third Edition - Lampshades

Anti-German propaganda was an important part of the war effort.  Many outrageous and untrue claims were made which should have been unnecessary.  The Nazi had committed sufficient atrocities deserving condemnation.  The false claims are actually counterproductive and damage the credibility of the people making them.  It is similar to an American politician announcing that he had a relative that took part in the liberation of Auschwitz although Auschwitz was liberated by the Soviets.  An example of this is the contention that Isle Koch, the wife of the commandant of Buchenwald had a collection of lampshades made of human skin.  Giles MacDonogh mentions these lamps on three occasions in his After the Reich.1  Koch may, in fact, have had such a collection.  However, it should be pointed out that there is some question about this assertion.  Koch was tried for war crimes and her sentence was reduced by General Clay.  Clay stated

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 lampshades 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. 2

Koch was tried again by a German count and this charge was again found groundless.  In 2010 a writer in New York attempted to donate what he believed to be a lampshade made of human skin to both the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. and the Yad Vashem museum in Jerusalem.  They “declined to take possession of the lampshade, saying that the concentration camp lampshades made of human skin were probably a ‘myth.’"3   Further testing revealed that the lampshade was found to be cow skin with 100% certainty. 4

1 Giles MacDonogh, After the Reich, pp. 85, 343, and 462.
2 “Ilse Koch,” Wikipedia, 5 October 2015.
3 Jon Kalish, “New Book Tells Grim Story Of ‘The Lampshade,’”  NPR, December 28, 2010,
4 Teddy Winroth, “‪Human Lampshade: A Holocaust Mystery‬,” YouTube, Aug 6, 2014,

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