Zoom webinar with Professor Tomaz Jardin on the story of Ilsa Koch. Ilse Koch was singularly notorious, having been accused of owning lampshades fabricated from skins of murdered camp inmates and engaging in “bestial” sexual behavior. These allegations fueled a public fascination that turned Koch into a household name and the foremost symbol of Nazi savagery. Ilse Koch on Trial reveals how gendered perceptions of violence and culpability drove Koch’s zealous prosecution at a time when male Nazi perpetrators responsible for greater crimes often escaped punishment or received lighter sentences. Both in the international press and during her three criminal trials, Koch was condemned for her violation of accepted gender norms and “good womanly behavior.” Koch’s “sexual barbarism,” though treated as an emblem of the Third Reich’s depravity, ultimately obscured the bureaucratized terror of the Nazi state and hampered understanding of the Holocaust.
Sponsor: Carleton University Zelikovitz Centre for Jewish Studies