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Karl Otto Koch

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Karl Otto Koch
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Karl Otto Koch

Karl Otto Koch (August 2, 1897 - April 5, 1945), a colonel of German Schutzstaffel (SS), was the first commandant of the Nazi concentration camp at Buchenwald (from 1937 to 1941), and later at Lublin (Majdanek camp).

His wife was Ilse Koch, whom he married in 1936, better known as "The Witch of Buchenwald" (Die Hexe von Buchenwald), usually rendered more alliteratively in English as "The Bitch of Buchenwald." When Koch was transferred to Buchenwald, Ilse was appointed an "Oberaufseherin" (overseer) by the SS and thus had an active, official role in the atrocities committed there. There are many stories, credible but unsubstantiated, that she ordered gloves and lampshades made from the skin of camp prisoners. There are substantiated stories that Karl and Ilse decorated the Koch family dinner table with shrunken heads made from murdered prisoners.

According to The Buchenwald Report, Col. Koch was arrested in August 1944 by the Gestapo for forgery, embezzlement, mismanagement, and insubordination. The prosecutor was SS judge Konrad Morgen. After an investigation and trial Karl Koch was condemned to death, but Ilse Koch was acquitted. Koch's execution took place on April 5, 1945, one week before American liberators arrived.

Ilse Koch was sentenced after the war to life in prison. She later committed suicide by hanging while in prison in the year of 1967.de:Karl Otto Koch fr:Karl Otto Koch it:Karl Otto Koch sv:Karl Koch

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