Former Czech Vice-premier Says He Saw Lampshades of Human Skin in Koch Apartment

Peter Zenkl, ex-Vice-Premier of Czechoslovakia who is now living in Washington, told a press conference today that while he was a prisoner in the Buchenwald death camp he saw lampshades made of human skin in the apartment of Ilse Koch, widow of the former commandant of the camp whose life sentence was reduced to four years by the Army.

Zenkl, who worked in the section of the camp where the lampshades were made, declared that he considered the commutation of the sentence “incomprehensible.” Meanwhile, the staff of the Senate Investigations Committee today continued its study of the records of the Buchenwald trial in preparation for the inquiry into the commutation of sentence.

The Army is withholding a report from a special commission to Sec. Kenneth C. Royall recommending clemency for a number of convicted Nazi war criminals because of the nation-wide criticism raised over the commutation of a life sentence imposed on Ilse Koch, of Buchenwald notoriety, a spokesman for the Army Department admitted today.

(In Frankfort, senior officers of Gen. Clay’s war crimes staff today declared that it would be “virtually impossible” to bring Fran Koch to trial again on new charges, as demanded by Congressmen and members of the army court which originally tried her.)

Rep. Arthur G. Klein of New York, in letter to Secretary Royall today, said he still feels sure that another specific charge might be found on which Frau Koch might be tried despite the very broad indictment under which she was originally charged.

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