“The Bitch of Buchenwald:” The Story Of One Of The Holocaust’s Biggest Monsters

Ilse Koch may not be as famous as the Holocaust’s ringleaders, but she was every bit as evil. This is the life story of the woman who made lampshades from the skin of her prisoners.

Ilse Koch

Ilse Koch. Image Source: Google Cultural Institute

We’ve written twice before about women who not only survived the Holocaust, but saved the lives of fellow prisoners with their superhuman courage and will to survive. The stories of Gisella Perl and Stanislawa Leszczyńska highlight one vital aspect of human nature: Our ability to persevere and care for others in even the most harrowing and cruel of circumstances.

But the Holocaust also presented many opportunities for humanity’s terrible dark side to run wild, as well. While Adolf Hitler, Josef Menegle, and Heinrich Himmler are rightly remembered as its figureheads, there were others just as villainous, but their names didn’t quite make the history books.

One of these individuals was Ilse Koch, whose sadism and barbarism would lead to her to receive the nickname The Bitch of Buchenwald.

What Happened When I Was Ambushed By The Taliban

Each week, we bring you an incredible experience from someone who lived it. In this edition, former U.S. army medic Adam Linehan tells us what happened when the Taliban attacked — and the only way out was a path you’d never take unless you absolutely had to.

Soldier In Afhganistan

A soldier fires an M4 while battling insurgents in Barge Matal, Afghanistan, 2009. Image Source: Flickr

In the summer of 2010, 25-year-old Adam Linehan arrived in Afghanistan for the first time. Deployed as a medic for an infantry platoon with the 101st Airborne, he soon found himself, with around 25 other soldiers, on a tiny, desolate outpost in Kandahar.

“It was part of the big troop surge mission,” Linehan explains, referring to President Obama’s much-publicized plan to insert a further 30,000 troops into the area in an effort to turn the tide of the war. “We were the tip of the spear. Kandahar was historically the spiritual heartland of the Taliban, so we were running daily and nightly patrols through the villages in the surrounding area.”

The landscape came as a shock to the newly arrived American soldiers. Surrounded by grape fields, pomegranate orchards, and goat herders, the outpost sat in an area of flat farmland with no electricity or running water. “It looked like a picture you’d see in a children’s bible,” marvels Linehan.

Outside the front gate of the outpost lay a barren field, broken up by a few low, crumbling stone walls. On the far side of that field, just a few hundred meters away, was the Taliban.

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Why Are Girls Starting Their Period Younger And Younger?

We often take the age a girl starts her period for granted. But history shows us that, since Medieval times, that age has been getting steadily lower.

Tampon

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

On average, a woman will have approximately 450 periods in her lifetime. With bleeding typically lasting anywhere from 5-7 days, a woman spends around 2,700 days of her life bleeding.

Most young women today get their first period (called menarche) at around 12.5 years old, but in the scope of human history, what seems normal to us is actually a very young age. Indeed, the age of menarche has steadily trended downward since the Victorian Era. Here’s a look at the average age throughout history, what influences that age, and some reasons why the downward trend may have started…

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