A photograph album made of the skin of a Nazi extermination camp prisoner was spotted in an antique market in Poland by a collector, who noticed the outside layer had a “tattoo, human hair and a nasty smell”, it had been reported.
The collector bought it and handed it to the staff at the Auschwitz Memorial Museum who said that it was “without doubt proof of a crime against humanity”, the Metro newspaper said during a report on Thursday.
Analysts suspect that the album was made using the skin of an inmate murdered at the Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany – notorious for its executions and cruel human experiments.
Ilse Koch, wife of camp commandant Karl-Otto Koch, is believed to have on many occasions ordered the killing of male prisoners with interesting tattoos before using their skin to create lampshades, albums, and table covers, the report said.
Koch even used human thumbs to create light switches. She made such a large amount of human skin accessories that she earned a nickname as ‘The Lady of the Lampshade’.
She was thought to possess and have been given free rein of Buchenwald, sexually abusing prisoners and whipping them as she rode past on her horse, the Metro newspaper said in the report.
Her husband was hanged in 1944 and she was sentenced to life in prison in 1947 following the Nuremberg war crimes trials.
Speaking on the album’s discovery, head of the Auschwitz Museum Collections, Elzbieta Cajzer, said: “The research suggests that it’s very likely that both covers, due to their technology and composition, came from identical bookbinding workshop.”
“The use of human skin as a production material is directly associated with the figure of Ilse Koch, who, together with her husband, inscribed her name in history as one of the most prominent murderers from the camp in Buchenwald,” the newspaper quoted Cajzer as saying.