Bright as a Nazi lampshade,
Nazis are supposed to have made lampshades out of human skin. The veracity of this story has come into question since it first spread in the wake of WWII, but rumors and alleged artifacts periodically resurface. According to The New York Times:
The consensus among historians is that these Nazi lampshades may well be a myth, as are the bars of soap Nazis allegedly rendered from Jewish corpses. But soldiers, journalists and survivors reported seeing such lampshades at Buchenwald after its liberation, even if no one can locate one today.
Many of the stories center on Ilse Koch, a.k.a. the Bitch of Buchenwald, the sadistic wife of the commandant of Buchenwald prison camp. The Straight Dope explains:
Shortly after U.S. troops liberated Buchenwald in 1945, director Billy Wilder made a documentary about the camp to publicize Nazi atrocities. A widely circulated still photo from the film showed a table covered with preserved human remains, including two shrunken heads; several pieces of what appears to be tattooed skin; and an ordinary-looking table lamp. The film’s narration says that among the items found was “a lampshade, made of human skin, made at the request of an SS officer’s wife.” The press went nuts, and soon the lampshade became emblematic of Nazi barbarism.
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