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Bitch Of Buchenwald, The (2009)

Various , Documentary  |  NR |  DVD
2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Frequently Bought Together

Bitch Of Buchenwald, The + The Beautiful Beast: The Life & Crimes of Ss-Aufseherin Irma Grese + The Beasts of Buchenwald: Karl & Ilse Koch, Human-Skin Lampshades, and the War-Crimes Trial of the Century (Buchenwald Trilogy)
Price for all three: $41.59

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Product Details

  • Actors: Various
  • Directors: Documentary
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: ARTSMAGIC
  • DVD Release Date: July 28, 2009
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0026LYME6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #208,490 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Ilse Koch has won a diabolic kind of immortality as the lady with the lamp made of human skin. She was never convicted for having owned this possession, but there was still enough against her for her to be jailed for life, released, and then jailed for life again. This groundbreaking program puts her career in the context of Nazi Germany, with the SS to which she belong in control, and the social life that as the wife of a concentration camp commander, she was to grow accustomed. This life, financed mainly through embezzlement, and her criminal activities saw her brought before 3 courts: that of the SS, the American Military Tribunal, and finally the German High Court.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Informative documentary on the corruption within the SS January 28, 2010
I feel the title of this DVD is rather misleading - "The Bitch of Buchenwald" is supposed to portray the life and times of Isle Koch, the infamous wife of Karl Koch, commandant of Buchenwald concentration camp during WW II. Although it does portray aspects of Ilse's life especially during her husband's time as Buchenwald's commandant, the nefarious activities she was involved in and the fall-out from those activities, the documentary also focuses on other issues, especially of the rampant corruption amongst the SS in the concentration camp system. Despite this flaw, the documentary still makes for riveting viewing, especially since there is not much material on this infamous Nazi criminal.

Ilse Koch by all accounts seemed a nice enough young girl growing up, but then she joins the Nazi Party as an adult, meets and eventually marries Karl Koch who despite a patchy past would go on to become a concentration camp commandant. Ilse is portrayed as a loving mother through the photographs she kept in various albums, and also a dedicated wife (at least in the initial years of the marriage), but later, ugly and horrifying aspects of this woman's nature emerge. As narrated in the documentary, Ilse was very interested in the inner workings of Buchenwald, coming to the Appelplatz to see how prisoners were being processed. Her vicious and sadistic nature is well-documented - her insatiable appetite for sex, deliberately dressing provocatively to arouse prisoners' interest, and then reporting any prisoner who so much as glanced her way - the prisoner is then taken away to suffer a brutal punishment, often resulting in death. She has been known to set her dogs on prisoners for no apparent reason and watching the hapless be mauled.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars loads of info, very educational August 4, 2009
By no means a sensationalist exploitation film, this is a sober investigation of the corruption that was inherent in the concentration camp system, as well as a grim record of the practices that not only evolved within it but were built into the training of the SS guards, who considered themselves an elite force. You won't find shocking photos or films.. there is already an excess of them freely available on the internet ready to satisfy the cravings of any gore-hound.. but you will get a clear picture of a system in which common-place people were trained to regard themselves as gods, and behave like demons.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing May 27, 2011
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This disk delivered a whole lot less than I was expecting. That may be my fault. It consisted mostly of period still photos with a voice-over of a man reading a script. There are some color clips of the site today, a tourist attraction. All the prisoner barracks and other important buildings are gone. One gets little sense of how Buchenwald looked back then.

As for the central character, the villainess, she is a slightly cleaned up version of what I had read about her. According to this, many of the crimes of which she was accused were never proved, i.e., of having lampshades and other items made from the tatooed skin of slain prisoners, of hhaving shrunken heads, of having sex with prisoners and then seeing them killed. It almost feels as if she were not really an ogre at all but a somewhat misunderstood victim of her time. Perhaps it is true, but if it is, the disk doesn't make that convincing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Terrible film quality June 28, 2013
There were some interesting bits regarding early life with Karl Koch, not too much information on Ilse that a lot of people didn't already know, but the quality of the film made it impossible to follow much. The sound quality is horrible, even at the highest volume on my TV I still couldn't hear a lot of what the narrator was saying. Another problem was the narrator's severe over-pronunciation of everything German. On the whole, an unsatisfactory DVD, even if there were some good points to it, the bad production quality drowned everything out.
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