The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
Ilse Koch’s Red Mask
by Marge Simon
Pure Arian, Ilse was the auburn-haired wife of a Commandant. Dressed for such
occasions, she wore a blood-red mask to tour the camp at Buchenwald. With swinging hips and teasing smile, she sought to mesmerize. But should one man stare, should one Jew dare – he was a dead man then, or shortly after.
And they knew it.
And they feared that mask.
She selected only those poor souls with tattoos. It mattered not his age or face. Indeed, it was the prisoner’s skins she sought for trophies. Her pet project was turning them into lampshades from the factory at Buchenwald. The human hides became a plethora of other types of goods in time, which she priced and sold to the Reich’s officious wives.
And they all knew it.
And they all feared that mask.
The families of nearby Weimar were summoned to see her wares. On foot they came, all eager to please, not knowing what she had done. Imagine their faces, caught in shock,
once realization set in.! Many were tearful as they left, as many were terrified too.
And everyone knew it.
And everyone feared that mask.
At “Buchenwald wanders a wraith in a mask, a bleeding lamp held high”;
the lamp-foot was made from a human foot and shinbone; on the shade side were tattoos and even nipples. On the occasion of Koch’s birthday party August 1941, the camp doctor brought the lamp to the Kochs’ villa. One of the party guests later said that the presentation of such a gift had been a huge success. Years later in her prison cell, a deranged Ilse committed suicide.
Fiction © Copyright Marge Simon
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from Marge Simon:
The Demeter Diaries
‘The Demeter Diaries’ is a record of love and longing and the inevitable horror that arises between the minds of Mina Harker and Vlad Dracula as they court one another in waking dreams. The dialogue, written in both poetry and prose, imagines a psychic connection that develops between the two even before Dracula arrives in England. As Dracula makes his way from Transylvania to Whitby on the doomed ship Demeter, the two would-be lovers transmit their thoughts across the waves and lands that separate them, alternately wooing and terrifying one another with the idea of love eternal and all the dark delicacies necessary to ensure it. Front cover art by Wendy Saber Core, interior illustrations by Luke Spooner.
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