In a United Press International account of Buchenwald, correspondent Ann Stringer says she saw a lampshade, as well as book bindings, made from human skin. There was also testimony during the Nuremberg Trials from a Czech surgeon who claimed he was forced by the Nazis to remove skin from the backs and chests of dead prisoners at Dachau concentration camp.
A Holocaust Detective Story from Buchenwald to New Orleans
The doctor testified that this skin was used to make riding breeches, gloves, slippers and handbags. Jacobson also cites newspaper accounts of American veterans who brought home pieces of human skin after World War II. One is Lorenz Schmuhl, who served as the commanding officer of Buchenwald after it was liberated. Perhaps the most chilling account in the book comes from Albert Rosenberg, a German Jew who was nearly beaten to death in the s and lost 28 relatives in the Holocaust. He is now 91 and living in El Paso, Texas.
Shedding Grim Light – The Forward
Rosenberg told Jacobson that in the days just after Buchenwald was liberated, he was informed that a lamp at the desk at which he was working had a lampshade made from human skin. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum makes no mention of lampshades being made from human skin.
When Jacobson contacted Diane Saltzman, former head of collections at the museum, she told him that the museum would never display the lampshade.
Saltzman also declared that it had no educational value whatsoever. Holocaust scholar Michael Berenbaum was also interviewed for the book. Berenbaum served as project director for the creation of the museum and was heavily involved in the acquisition of objects.
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Not displaying it would respect the people who were victimized. He cites the possible historical value of the object in rebutting those who deny that the Nazis used human skin in such a manner.
The Lampshade: A Holocaust Detective Story from Buchenwald to New Orleans
Jacobson has thought seriously about burying the lampshade. He found an Orthodox rabbi in New Orleans who was receptive to the idea. While researching this macabre subject, Jacobson learned that a Wisconsin murderer and body snatcher named Ed Gein made lampshades and chairs out of human skin. Home Shedding Grim Light.
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Home Share 5 Search. Email Facebook Twitter. Give Advertise Subscribe. In The Lampshade, bestselling journalist Mark Jacobson tells the story of how he came into possession of one of these awful objects, and of his search to establish the origin, and larger meaning, of what can only be described as an icon of terror.
Holocaust Memorial Museum, almost everything Jacobson uncovers about the lampshade is contradictory, mysterious, shot through with legend and specious information. Through interviews with forensic experts, famous Holocaust scholars and deniers , Buchenwald survivors and liberators, and New Orleans thieves and cops, Jacobson gradually comes to see the lampshade as a ghostly illuminator of his own existential status as a Jew, and to understand exactly what that means in the context of human responsibility.
One question looms as his search progresses: what to do with the lampshade—this unsettling thing that used to be someone? Mark Jacobson takes us on an eerie detective trail.
“The Lampshade: A Holocaust Detective Story from Buchenwald to New Orleans”
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