The Bitch Of Buchenwald


Described as ‘the most famous of all Germans having committed atrocities during the war’ by the Jewish Virtual Library, Ilse Koch has won a diabolic kind of immortality as the lady with the lampshade made of human skin.


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The Bitch Of Buchenwald  This programme puts the career of Ilse Koch (1906-1967) in the context of the Germany of the Nazi era, with the SS to which she belonged in control. As the wife of a concentration camp commander, she was to grow accustomed to a privileged existence. This elite lifestyle, financed mainly through embezzlement, together with her sadistic activities, saw her brought before a court of the SS. Later, the American Military Tribunal, and finally the German High Court were to find her guilty of crimes against humanity. She was to be jailed for life, released, and then jailed again.

War crimes

The Bitch Of Buchenwald  While at Buchenwald, Koch allegedly engaged in a gruesome experiment, where it was claimed that she ordered selected tattooed prisoners to be murdered and skinned to retrieve the tattooed parts of their bodies.[11] It was allegedly done to help a prison doctor, Erich Wagner [de], in his dissertation on tattooing and criminality.[12]

In 1940, she built an indoor sports arena, which cost over 250,000 reichsmarks (approximately $62,500), most of which had been seized from the inmates. In 1941, Karl-Otto Koch was transferred to Lublin, where he helped establish the Majdanek concentration and extermination camp. Ilse Koch remained at Buchenwald until 24 August 1943, when she and her husband were arrested on the orders of Josias von Waldeck-Pyrmont, SS and Police Leader for Weimar, who had supervisory authority over Buchenwald. The charges against the Kochs comprised private enrichment, embezzlement, and the murder of prisoners to prevent them from giving testimony.[13]

Ilse Koch was imprisoned until 1944 when she was acquitted for lack of evidence. Her husband was found guilty and sentenced to death by an SS court in Munich, and was executed by firing squad on 5 April 1945 in the court of the camp he once commanded. She then lived with her surviving family in the town of Ludwigsburg, where she was arrested by U.S. authorities on 30 June 1945.



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