Ilse Koch, the wife of Karl Koch
, a known SS and Nazi Leader, is one of the few women who has her own reputation regarding the events that took place and her involvement in the Holocaust.
Known to many as "The Bitch of Buchenwald", Ilse was originally born in 1906 and worked at another concentration camp prior to meeting and marrying Karl in 1937. At this point, she followed Karl wherever he went, including his appointment to Buchenwald at Commandant. She didn't want to be a wife of the SS, but instead an overseer that was actually involved with the SS. She used this position to her advantage in many ways.
Her nickname didn't come unwarranted. Ilse was known for riding through the camps and randomly beating or whipping prisoners at her own desire. She was also known to choose those with interesting tattoos or scars to be killed and their skins tanned so that she could make lampshades and other items out of them. This was not unusual because many officers made lampshades out of human skin at this time. Ilse, however, took things a step further. She also had a handbag that was made from flesh that she was quite proud of.
Ilse had a reputation for walking around the concentration camp naked or scantily clad, and then whipping, beating, or having killed any man who looked at her. She was terribly evil, by all accounts, and was arrested when Buchenwald was liberated in 1944. She was found guilty of her crimes, but only of 'participation', so she was served a life sentence rather than death. Many historians argue that even though her actions were heinous, her female status kept her from being hanged. Ilse only served two years in jail but was re-arrested for murdering German nationals and once again sentenced to life in prison.
It isn't known whether Ilse Koch
was a victim of her environment, but with as much as she is held responsible for, it is likely that she was evil long before the Nazis overtook Germany. She found pleasure in torturing others and keeping mementos from their bodies to remind her of her "accomplishments". Ilse Koch ended up committing suicide in prison in 1967. Although there is limited information about her and her early life, her role in the Holocaust is definitely spelled out quite clearly. She did serve some of her time for the crimes and ultimately she took her own life so most people feel that justice was served.