Tattoos in German Concentration Camps

A Forensic Biologist’s View

In German concentrations camps, tattoos were sometimes used to register and mark the imprisoned slave labourers. Also, human skin — tattooed or not — was allegedly used to make lamp shades. Some famous stories about the topic have been disproven, mostly because they were either clad in the form of novel writing with artistic license, or they had been hearsay from the beginning. Since most persons who were in direct contact with the KL (KZ) tattoos — prisoners as well as SS, medical doctors and juridical persons — avoided talking about the topic after the war, we decided to check original protocols and actual stains in our forensic biology laboratory.

Mark Benecke

Room 304 – Slot: 9: Fri. 7:00pm-8:30pm