Human Lampshades

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It takes a lot to shock me, especially when it comes to the Holocaust. I’ve been told stories from the Holocaust since I was a kid, and I have visited the camps in Poland. So when I hear a story of a horrible atrocity, as much as it saddens me, I never would call myself surprised.

That’s why this story I just read from last month’s New York Magazine is so unbelievable. In the piece, Mark Jacobson, who’s book Lampshade came out on September 28th, tells the story of a lampshade found at a garage sale in New Orleans. The owner of the lampshade claimed that it came from Nazi era Germany and was made out of human skin.

The claim is not the first to have ever been made. During the trial of Ilse Koch, the wife of Karl Koch, the camp commandant at Buchwald, stories began to surface that she would line up Jews to see who had the best skin, and would have them killed so she could make products out of them. There was no proof offered to back up the stories and Koch denied them.

I highly recommend reading the entire piece as we follow Jacobson’s pursuit of figuring out if this lampshade, found in an abandoned home after Hurricane Katrina, was actually made from a victim of the Holocaust.

The piece is a bit long. Print it out. Sit down on the couch, and leave some time to take it all in.

Posted on October 7, 2010

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