Streams

The Lampshade's Story

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Mark Jacobson, contributing editor of New York Magazine and the author of The Lampshade: A Holocaust Detective Story from Buchenwald to New Orleans, traces the history of a rummage sale find in his new book.

Guests:

Mark Z. Jacobson

Comments [33]

Meg from New York

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4784910586890911682#

Night and Fog is one of the most vivid depictions of the horrors of Nazi Concentration Camps. Filmed in 1955 at several concentration camps in Poland, the film combines new color and black and white footage with black and white newsreels, footage shot by the victorious allies, and stills, to tell the story not only of the camps, but to portray the horror of man's brutal inhumanity. Directed by Alain Resnais.

Sep. 28 2010 02:04 PM
Koli Mitra from Washington DC

The stories have "all been debunked" by whom? Has this particular claim been debunked? Would you mind citing a source? Jacobson says he had it DNA-tested and the lab confirmed it was of human origina. Do you contend he's lying about that?

Don't get me wrong, I respect (and share) your sentiment that exaggerations demean the experience of actual victims. I also think people fall too easily for sensationalism. But we can't ASSUME something is an exaggeration simply because it SEEMS too atrocious to be true. Refusal to consider evidence is not rational skepticism. It's dogmatism. Jacobson offerred pretty solid evidence (assuming we don't question his veracity regarding his own actions).

Of course it would have been better if he explained more or named the lab by name, though I am guessing the book does those things.

Sep. 23 2010 12:19 AM
Anne from Westchester, New York

Please please, fellow listeners, read Mark Jacobson's piece in the New York magazine. As if the STORY itself were not chilling, his WRITING is absolutely haunting. Poetic and dark and so rich. Hard to believe I'd never run into his work before...

I hate to take attention away from the story of human suffering that he paints, but there is also a second lesser part in his article, which is his love letter to 1950's Queens. He makes it sound like a multi-ethnic, foul-mouthed, mischievous, apolitical immigrant paradise.

Mr. Jacobson, I am not Jewish, but mazel tov on such a gripping, eerie story and portrayal. May no people be ever subject to such subhuman monstrosities.

Sep. 22 2010 01:03 AM
Joachim Oppenheimer MD

BBC reporter Simon Finch interviewed a number of surviving children of top Nazi officials about 25 years ago, offsprings who were, by that time,adults. One specifically, Young Martin Bormann, described first hand obervations of human skin used as furniture decoration and book covers and lamp shades. I have read the transcripts of Finch's interviews. Horrible barbarism.

Sep. 21 2010 06:46 PM
freestufffff from Downtown Manhattan

Stop the nonsense, indeed. My statements are based on known fact, not on anonymous internet comments.

Can we please have some respect for the real victims of the Holocaust here? Exaggerated, sensationalized claims of unverified atrocities may shamelessly sell books, but decent people are rightfully offended.

Sep. 21 2010 11:52 AM

Freeeeeeeestuffff: it is not BS. Sorry to scare you with how dark and full of hate humanity can be. It is true. I second the poster AnnaK but I don't think Robert from NYC was trying to state it is a myth. If you re-read his comment, you might see that he was surprised that anyone was claiming it was a myth. He had never heard otherwise, it sounds from the tone of his comment.

Sep. 21 2010 11:38 AM
freestuffffff from Downtown Manhattan

The Holocaust was horrible enough. Making up sensational BS insults the memory of those who we know really suffered, as if their suffering was somehow not extreme enough. Nazi-made human skin lampshades, shrunken heads, soap from human fat have all long been debunked. The author offers up no evidence to change that, only cheap sensationalism.

There is a history of people actually willing their skin to be made into book bindings after their deaths as keepsakes for loved ones -- a creepy custom, but not an atrocity. We know of several ghoulish mass murderers in this country before and since WWII. The mere existence of an object made of human skin doesn't even imply a specific origin, let alone prove one.

Sep. 21 2010 11:30 AM
AnnaK from Brooklyn

Robert: this not a myth. As a student I traveled in Poland in 1969, visited a KZ-camp, I saw piles of human hair - they stuffed matrassess with it, piles of children's shoes, and also these lampshades on display. People, it happened only 70 years ago, this is not some Greek myths from BC trimes!

Sep. 21 2010 11:26 AM

jtt
thanks, i did not know that. one only hears the 6 mill number

Sep. 21 2010 11:17 AM

John, your point is not comparable at all.

Sep. 21 2010 11:14 AM
Angela from NYC

A very upsetting topic,
however, I thought it was indeed a fact
that items were manufactured from human body parts by the Nazis.
Let's face it, considering all the other atrocities committed on humans in the Concentration Camps, this would rank a few numbers down on the list.

Sep. 21 2010 11:13 AM
ktross

When I was in 7th grade, in 1969, our class was shown a film about the atrocities of the Holocaust and the narrator in the film talked in length about the lampshades that were made from the skin of the prisoners in the concentration camps and I have never forgotten it. To this day, the horror has stopped me from ever buying any lampshade that was not clearly made of fabric or paper. I was attending Eastwood School in Salt Lake City at the time. We had to have our parents sign a permission slip in order for us to view this film.

Sep. 21 2010 11:07 AM
eric

not to steer away from the likelyhood that it was a nazi made lampshade, but i wonder if Mr.Jacobson
has also looked into the Ed Gein story

Sep. 21 2010 11:05 AM
ktross

When I was in 7th grade, in 1969, our class was shown a film about the atrocities of the Holocaust and the narrator in the film talked in length about the lampshades that were made from the skin of the prisoners in the concentration camps and I have never forgotten it. To this day, the horror has stopped me from ever buying any lampshade that was not clearly made of fabric or paper. I was attending Eastwood School in Salt Lake City at the time. We had to have our parents sign a permission slip in order for us to view this film.

Sep. 21 2010 11:05 AM
jacqueline Roux

My father in law was in this camp and WAS NOT Jewish.
Regards

Sep. 21 2010 11:05 AM

hjs:

TWELVE million.
six million was "only" the Jews.

Sep. 21 2010 11:04 AM
Andy from Brooklyn

John from office, how do you always manage to put your foot in your mouth?

Sep. 21 2010 11:03 AM

john from office
6 mill vs 4000. think about it!

Sep. 21 2010 11:01 AM
Karen Dinan from Long Beach, NY

Hi, I'm not Jewish and only 47 yrs old. This story is extremely upsetting to me.
You only need to be human to be upset by this.

Sep. 21 2010 11:01 AM
Marielle from Brooklyn

His last words made me cry - monsters turned human beings into objects, but for him, that object has become a human being again.

Sep. 21 2010 11:00 AM
Karen Dinan from Long Beach, NY

Hi, I'm not Jewish and only 47 yrs old. This story is extremely upsetting to me.
You only need to be human to be upset by this.

Sep. 21 2010 10:59 AM

Moderators: please replay the call from Ruth and remember her voice. She gets on air all the time and is aggressive and has nothing to add to the discussion.

Sep. 21 2010 10:58 AM

I wonder if brian and the author know that many types of people died in the death camps not just jewish people.

Sep. 21 2010 10:58 AM
john from office

This is a horrible story that is true.

But, we are to be horrified by the holocaust, but not 9/11. Think about it.

Sep. 21 2010 10:58 AM
Robert from NYC

I grew up with the belief that the Nazi's did this. I was not aware that it was later believed to be a myth! I've seen documentaries where there were held up such items and I always thought the items were verified. I don't think a dna test would be required to tell if it's human skin. I'm sure there were available simpler ways to prove it before dna testing. Maybe dna for the ethnicity but not just for human. It's very horrifying. I don't think I would be able to handle it.

Sep. 21 2010 10:56 AM
Lance from Miami

Horrible, horrible story.

______

But how could the lab be really confident that the lampshade itself was derived from human tissue, rather than merely contaminated by human skin/tissue? Contamination is a major problem with DNA studies. Humans made the lampshade and handled the materials. How can the lab be sure the DNA they detected wasn't from the craftsman who made it or from someone who handled it in all these subsequent years?

Sep. 21 2010 10:55 AM

why does this Ruth get on air so often? Is this the same woman who was interviewed following the Gelnn Beck Rally in DC? Stop taking her calls!!

Sep. 21 2010 10:55 AM
Yosif from Manhattan

This is a crazy story. DNA tests can tell if somebody is of Jewish origin sometimes. Did you test for that?

Sep. 21 2010 10:54 AM
Barbara

Was Jacobson able to find out more identification about the person? Sex? Mitochondria? Y-chromosome?

Sep. 21 2010 10:53 AM
Benny from UES

Brian, not to argue with your statement this would send chills through any Jew, but this is shocking to anyone. Frankly it is horrifying to me an atheist.

Sep. 21 2010 10:53 AM
Laura from Brooklyn, NY

Yes, I know this is true... my grandfather was in the British air force in WW2 (back when Jamaica was a colony) and told me many of these stories ... and they brought everyone to see the camps after they had taken over everything... My grandfather told me he was told it was so they would never forget what had happened and see with their own eyes what had been going on.

Sep. 21 2010 10:53 AM
Andy from Brooklyn

One doesn't have to be of a certain age to know it. As a 30 year old New York jew, I've grown up hearing it, too.

Sep. 21 2010 10:52 AM
Ash in Chelsea

Ugh! What a horrible blot on my morning!

Sep. 21 2010 10:50 AM

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