A bar of human soap, and an extermination list

Victims’ Voices: Holocaust Memorabilia Tells an Unforgettable Story

Three sisters became separated as they attempted to flee Prague during World War II. Two of the three boarded a train; a third didn’t make it and was never seen again.

Half a century later, at a display of Holocaust memorabilia, one of the sisters noticed her missing sibling in a group photo. She asked the exhibit’s owner, Milton Kohn, what happened to those pictured. He confirmed what she had suspected: that her sister, along with the others in the photo, had been sent to a concentration camp and killed.


“I wanted nothing to do with Holocaust materials because I had lost most of my family in the Holocaust,” said Kohn, who initially refused to look at the items offered by [Bob] Lane: a boxcar number, a boarding pass for a boxcar and list of people scheduled for extermination on July 5, 1943. He gave them to his wife, Janet (now deceased), to return to Lane, and she noticed the name Kohn on the list; it was family member Adolph Kohn, one of 24 people cremated at Theriesenstadt that day.


The exhibit also features more graphic artifacts, including a tattoo-bearing patch of skin cut off a man’s chest and preserved for a German woman who collected unusual tattoos; a bar of soap made from human body fat; and human hair used to stuff pillows.



Tempo Southwest — Stories from the latest print edition
Theresa Tracy. Special to the Tribune
Web-posted Sunday, June 8, 1997; 6:08 a.m. CDT
© 1997 Chicago Tribune