Jacobson embarked on a quest to discover the origin of the lampshade. Genetic testing showed that it was indeed made from human skin. However, because of the condition of the tanned skin, there was no way to determine the ethnic origin of the person whose skin was used, or if it was indeed a relic of the Holocaust(...)Both the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., and the Yad Vashem museum in Jerusalem, declined to take possession of the lampshade, saying that the concentration camp lampshades made of human skin were probably a "myth."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lampsh ... ew_Orleans
DNA tests determine the lampshade is no hoax: it is indeed made from tanned human skin. But that’s all the tests reveal.
Purchased by a friend of the author's from a chronic down-and-outer, its provenance is unknown. What can be stated, however, is that following mitochondrial DNA analysis (done by a reputable laboratory and paid for by the author), the material is in fact, human skin.
But to whom did this skin belong? Who was the "skinner" who took it? And who made it into a lampshade?
The balance of "The Lampshade" strives to answer these questions. The proposition favored by the author is that the skin "came from a Jew and from Buchenwald," the notorious camp of Nazi Germany in the early-to-mid 1940's. For Jacobson, it's like having secured the Holy Grail but knowing nothing about it. After much sleuthing, there is scant evidence to support this thesis.
Although "the Buchenwald theory" continues as Jacobson's dominant driver, the skin of "The Lampshade" might just as easily have belonged to a victim of 1950's-era serial killer Ed Gein, known to have skinned several of his victims.
Most probable, however, the skin for the lampshade could have come from anyone.
Jacobson's heart-felt thesis continues to fall further from grace as the quest continues. His efforts to convince a reputable museum such as the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC or Yad Vashem in Israel to "accept" his donation fall flat. While the belief that Jewish camp prisoners were made into lampshades continues to hold sway among some Holocaust survivors, there is progressivley less credence to this view. As to the possibility of this particular lampshade--or any other lampshade made of human skin--actually did come from Buchenwald, the "myth" or "survivor legend" holds more sway than facts can support.
Harry Feinberg, a tank driver in the 4th, described an incident just before the unit discovered Ohrdruf when he met a German woman who asked him for some chocolate. She offered to give him a souvenir in return -- a lamp with a shade made of human skin.
"I was not the same person after that," Feinberg said.
Kingfisher wrote:What do people make of this?
I thought the mainstream abandoned the lampshades long ago, but this was published in 2011. Can anyone give some evidence of what the current position is?
Over the course of the next few years Jacobson attempted to track down the origin of and examine the meaning of the lampshade, how it ended up in New Orleans, and to decide what to ultimately do with the gruesome object. Both the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., and the Yad Vashem museum in Jerusalem, declined to take possession of the lampshade, saying that the concentration camp lampshades made of human skin were probably a "myth."
" 'In 1939 all prisoners with tattooing on them were ordered to report to the dispensary."'
THE PRESIDENT: Is this what Pfaffenberger said?
MR. DODD: Yes, Sir.
" 'No one knew what the purpose was; but after the tattooed prisoners had been examined, the ones with the best and most artistic specimens were kept in the dispensary and then killed by injections administered by Karl Beigs, a criminal prisoner. The corpses were then turned over to the pathological department where the desired pieces of tattooed skin were detached from the bodies and treated. The finished products were turned over to SS Standartenfuehrer Koch's wife, who had them fashioned into lamp shades and other ornamental household articles, I myself saw such tattooed skins with various designs and legends on them, such as "Hansel and Gretel," which one prisoner had on his knee, and designs of ships from prisoners' chests. This work was done by a prisoner named Wernerbach."
I also refer to Document 3421-PS, which bears Exhibit Number USA-253.
"I, George C. Demas, Lieutenant, USNR, associated with the United States Chief of Counsel for the Prosecution of Axis Criminality, hereby certify that the attached exhibit, consisting of parchment, was delivered by the War Crimes Section, Judge Advocate General, United States Army, to me in my above capacity, in the usual course of business, as an exhibitfound in Buchenwald Camp and captured by military forces under the command of the Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Forces."
And the last paragraph of Document 3423-PS (Exhibit USA-252) is a conclusion reached in a United States Army report, and I quote it:
"Based on the findings in Paragraph 2, all three specimens are tattooed human skin."
This document is also attached to this exhibit on the board. We do not wish to dwell on this pathological phase of the Nazi culture; but we do feel compelled to offer one additional exhibit, which we over as Exhibit Number USA-254. This exhibit, which is on the table, is a human head with the skull bone removed, shrunken, stuffed, and preserved. The Nazis had one of their many victims decapitated, after having had him hanged, apparently for fraternizing with a German woman, and fashioned this terrible ornament from his head.
The last paragraph of the official United States Army report from which I have just read deals with the manner in which this exhibit was acquired. It reads as follows:
"There I also saw the shrunken heads of two young Poles who had been hanged for having relations with German girls. The heads were the size of a fist, and the hair and the marks of the rope were still there."
On the 13th of December we offered in evidence Document Number 3421-PS, and Exhibit Numbers USA-252 and 254. They were, respectively, the Court will recall, sections of human skin taken from human bodies and preserved; and a human head, the head of a human being, which had been preserved. On the 14th day of December, according to the Record, counsel for the Defendant Kaltenbrunner addressed the Tribunal and complained that the affidavit, which was offered, of one Pfaffenberger, failed to state that the camp commandant at Buchenwald, one Koch, along with his wife, was condemned to death for having committed precisely these atrocities, this business of tanning the skin and preserving the head. And in the course of the discussion before the Tribunal the Record reveals that counsel for the Defendant Bormann, in addressing the Tribunal, stated that it was highly probable that the Prosecution knew that the German authorities had objected to this camp commandant Koch and, in fact, knew that he had been tried and sentenced for doing precisely these things. And there was some intimation, we feel, that the Prosecution, having this knowledge, withheld it from the Tribunal. Now, I wish to say that we had no knowledge at all about this man Koch at the time that we offered the proof; didn't know anything about him except that he had been the commandant, according to the affidavit. But, subsequent to this objection we had an investigation made, and we have found that he was tried in 1944, indeed, by an SS court, but not for having tanned human skin nor having preserved a human head but for having embezzled some money, for what - as the judge who tried him tells us - was a charge of general corruption and for having murdered someone with whom he had some personal difficulties. Indeed, the judge, a Dr. Morgen, tells us that he saw the tattooed human skin and he saw a' human head in Commandant Koch's office and that he saw a lampshade there made out of human skin. But there were no charges at the time that he was tried for having done these things.
I would also point out to the Tribunal that, we say, the testimony of Dr. Blaha sheds further light on whether or not these exhibits, Numbers USA- 252 and 254, were isolated instances of that atrocious kind of conduct. We have not been able to locate the affiant. We have made an effort to do so, but we have not been able to locate him thus far.
M. DUBOST: I think, that the statement by this second witness will definitively enlighten the Tribunal on this point, whatever the efforts of the Defense might be to mislead us.
[Turning to the witness] Do you know anything about the fate of tattooed men?
BALACHOWSKY: Yes, indeed.
M. DUBOST: Will you please tell us what you know about them?
BALACHOWSKY: Tattooed human skins were stored in Block 2, which was called at Buchenwald the Pathological Block.
M. DUBOST: Were there many tattooed human skins in Block 2?
BALACHOWSKY: There were always tattooed human skins in Block 2.1 1 cannot say whether there were many, as they were continuously being received and passed on, but there were not only tattooed human skins, but also I tanned human skins-simply tanned, not tattooed.
M. DUBOST: Did they skin people?
BALACHOWSKY: They removed the skin and then tanned it.
M. DUBOST: Will you continue your testimony on that point?
BALACHOWSKY: I saw SS men come out of Block 2, the Pathological Block, carrying tanned skins under their arms. I know, from my comrades who worked in Pathological Block 2, that there were orders for skins; and these tanned skins were given as gifts to certain guards and to certain visitors, who used them to bind books.
M. DUBOST: We were told that Koch, who was the head at that time, was sentenced for this practice.
BALACHOWSKY: I was not a witness of the Koch affair, which happened before I came to the camp.
M. DUBOST: So that even after he left there were still tanned and tattooed skins?
BALACHOWSKY: Yes, there were constantly tanned and tattooed skins, and when the camp was liberated by the Americans,they found in the camp, in Block 2, tattooed and tanned skins on 11 April 1945.
M. DUBOST: Where were these skins tanned?
BALACHOWSKY: These skins were tanned in Block 2, and perhaps also in the crematorium buildings, which were not far from Block 2.
M. DUBOST: Then, according to your testimony, it was a customary practice which continued even after Koch's execution?
BALACHOWSKY: Yes, this practice continued, but I do not know to what extent.
M. DUBOST: Did you witness any inspections made at the camp by German officials, and if so, who were these officials?
BALACHOWSKY: I can tell you something about Dora, concerning such visits,
M. DUBOST: Excuse me, I have one more thing to ask you about the skins. Do you know anything about Koch's conviction?
BALACHOWSKY: I heard rumors and remarks about Koch's conviction from my old comrades, who were in the camp at that time. But I personally was not a witness of the affair.
M. DUBOST: Never mind. It is enough for me to know that after his conviction skins were still tanned and tattooed.
M. DUBOST: You expressly state it?
BALACHOWSKY: Absolutely. Even after his conviction, tanned and tattooed skins were still seen.
I submit half-finished and some finished soap. (Exhibit USSR-393) Here you shall see a small piece of finished soap, which from the exterior, after lying about a few months, reminds you of ordinary household soap. I give it over to the Tribunal. Beside this I now submit to the Tribunal the samples of semi-tanned human skin (Exhibit I]SSR-394). The samples which I now submit prove that the process of manufacturing soap was already completely worked out by the Institute of Danzig; as to the skin it still looks like a semi-finished product. The skin which resembles most the leather used in manufacture is the one you see on top at the left. So one can consider that the experiments on the industrial fabrication of soap from human fats were quite completed in the Danzig Institute. Experiments on tanning of human skin were still incomplete and only the victorious advance of the Red Army put an end to this new crime of the Nazis.
Kingfisher wrote:Have we any clear statements one way or the other from serious orthodox sources?
REPRODUCED AT THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES
University of Cincinnati
Department of Basic Science in Tanning Research
Tanners' Council Laboratory (#14)
Cincinnati Ohio 45221
Phone (513) 281-8501
August 19, 1982
Mr. Chandru J. Shahani, Chief
Technology Assistance Staff
National Archives and Records
General Services Administration
Washington, DC 20408
Dear Mr. Shahani:
I attach our Report No. 9580 concerned with the small sample of book binding leather which you submitted with your letter of August 11. We regret that since the sample was sueded, we could only conclude that it originated from some large animal, but that a specific species identification was impossible.
Robert M. Lollar
Tanners' Council of America
RML: j e c
... how do they get away with publishing a book about Ilse Koch and tattooed skin in 2011. Surely the mainstream gave up on that, as Yad Vashem and USHHM both have? Have we any clear statements one way or the other from serious orthodox sources?
Thanks, Malle. Interesting but inconclusive.
General Lucius Clay, the military governor of the US zone of occupied Germany, explained the lampshade story, "Well, it turned out actually that it was goat flesh [sic --clearly the general meant skin]. But at the trial [of Ilse Koch] it was still human flesh." (Interview with Lucius Clay, 1976, Official Proceeding of the George C. Marshall Research Foundation Quoted in M. Weber, "Buchenwald: Legend and Reality," The Journal of Historical Review, Winter 1986-87 7(4), pp. 406-407.)