Birth of Karl-Otto Koch, First Commandant of Buchenwald and Sachsenhausen Hot

Birth of Karl-Otto Koch, First Commandant of Buchenwald and Sachsenhausen

Karl-Otto Koch

Timeline of History


Karl-Otto Koch is born in Darmstadt, Germany. As a Standartenführer (Colonel) in the Schutzstaffel (SS) Koch will become the first commandant of the Buchenwald and Sachsenhausen concentration camps.

In May 1936 he will marry Ilse Köhler who, as Ilse Koch, will be overseer at the camp and become infamous as Die Hexe von Buchenwald ("The Witch of Buchenwald" or "The Bitch of Buchenwald") because of her extreme cruelty.

Karl-Otto Koch will also serve as commandant at the Majdanek concentration camp, though there is some question as to why since he will be removed from Buchenwald due to allegations of corruption, fraud, embezzlement, murder, and sexual offenses.

Koch will only be in charge of Majdanek for a single year and is removed after 86 Soviet prisoners escape. He's charged with criminal negligence and transferred to Berlin.

After more investigations into his actions at Buchenwald, though, Koch will be arrested, tried, convicted, and executed for embezzlement and insubordination in the running of the camp.

In the Nazi system of ethics, slaughtering thousands of Jews is a moral good while embezzling funds provided for that task is worthy of the death penalty.


Karl-Otto Koch's photo album goes on display in Berlin

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