Human thumb light switches

50 Years Later, a Visit With Buchenwald’s Ghosts


New York Times. New York, N.Y.

Apr 10, 1995. pg. A3, 1 pgs

WEIMAR, Germany, April 9 — With a solemn and highly emotional gathering at the site of the former Buchenwald concentration camp, Germany today began a month of ceremonies to remember the victims of the Nazi horror.


She [Ilse Koch] was a very beautiful woman with long red hair, but any prisoner who was caught looking at her could be shot,” recalled Kurt Glass, a former inmate who worked as a gardener at the Koch family villa. “She got the idea she would like lamp shades made of human skin, and one day on the Appelplatz we were all ordered to strip to the waist. The ones who had interesting tatoos were brought to her, and she picked out the ones she liked. Those people were killed and their skin was made into lampshades for her. She also used mummified human thumbs as light switches in her house.