"Human Skin" Photo Album - The Auschwitz Museum's Academic Misconduct

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PrudentRegret
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"Human Skin" Photo Album - The Auschwitz Museum's Academic Misconduct

Post by PrudentRegret »

The Museum's Claims

The Auschwitz Museum has claimed to have acquired a Photo Album made of human skin. They concluded it was likely manufactured at Buchenwald.

Image

The Museum's conclusion is based on pseudoscience and fabricated results, and they have widely presented these conclusions as fact to the media and public.

Dr. Joachim Neander from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM), has already critiqued this research in a Facebook post:
"They tested part of the book cover with IR spectroscopy and compared the spectrum with that of a human fingernail and found similarity. To show that part of the book cover is human, similarity of spectrums would be a necessary condition, but it is not a sufficient one. One would have to prove, in addition, that no other organic material can also have a similar spectrum. And that seems impossible. All further conclusions, e.g. about a provenance from Buchenwald, are speculative. The sensationalist statement that the book cover is "an irrefutable proof of a crime against humanity" is also an exaggeration."
This post will document and archive the progression of this story, present methodological decisions that indicate intentional deception by the Museum, and serve as a discussion for corrective action that should be taken to fix the historical record.

Timeline

January 21st, 2020: The Asuchwitz State Museum publishes a press release entitled A unique cover. Historical proof of the crime.
This Press Release is currently (as of March 20th, 2020) the only known publication from the Museum describing the methodology and results of their research. The Press Release describes:
A unique historical object has enriched the Collections of the Auschwitz Museum. It is a photo album framed in a cover made of human skin. Research by Museum experts indicates that it could have been created at the German concentration camp in Buchenwald.

The Museum Collections already contain another, very similar object, due to the execution technique. Thanks to it, comparative research could be performed using FT-IR technology. Using a spectrophotometer available to the Museum's conservation laboratories, the composition of both covers could be established.

'The comparative analysis revealed the content of human skin and very similar amounts of polyamide 6 and polyamide 6.6...

...

'The research suggests that it is very likely that both dust jackets, owing to their technology and composition, came from the same bookbinding workshop. The use of human skin as a production material is directly associated with the figure of Ilse Koch, who, along with her husband, has disgracefully inscribed her name in history as the murderer from the camp in Buchenwald,' added Cajzer.

...

According to information gathered by the Museum staff, the album and the cover belonged to a Bavarian family that ran a guest-house in a health resort town during the Second World War. The cover was likely given to the owners as a gift by a crew member of the Buchenwald camp.

The object, which is undoubtedly a proof of the crime against humanity,
is now in the possession of the museum thanks to the courtesy of the donor, Mr Paweł Krzaczkowski. We got in touch with him thanks to the Sosenko Family Collections Foundation.
The Press Release states that the Museum used FT-IR technology to determine that the Photo Album was made of human skin. The Museum included one image containing results from the FT-IR analysis, comparing a sample to two different spectra of a Finger Nail:

In the results they presented, Okladka 1 translates to Cover 1.

Image

January 24th, 2020: The Asuchwitz State Museum Twitter account sends a tweet stating:
A unique new historical in @AuschwitzMuseum Collections. It is a photo album framed in a cover made of human skin.

Research by Museum experts indicates that it could have been created at the German concentration camp in Buchenwald.

March 5th, 2020: The story is picked up by the News Media. Multiple stories are published starting on this date through the middle of March. There are no further details from the Museum on the research they conducted since the Press Release in January. The news articles include:

The Daily Mail: Nazi photo album made from HUMAN SKIN of a death camp victim is discovered after collector noticed book cover had 'a tattoo, human hair and bad smell':
A gruesome WWII photo album made from the skin of Nazi death camp victims has been found at a bric-a-brac antiques market in Poland.

The battered WWII album was handed over to staff at the Auschwitz Memorial Museum after the buyer noticed the cover had 'a tattoo, human hair and a bad smell'.

Museum experts have now analysed the album's cover and binding and say it is likely that the skin came from an inmate murdered at the Nazi concentration camp Buchenwald, in Germany.

They added that it was 'without doubt proof of a crime against humanity.' ...
The Times of Israel: Researchers find Nazi photo album bound with human skin:
Researchers at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum said they have found a Nazi photo album with a cover made of human skin.
The album was likely made at the Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany, the museum said.
MSN Video: Horrifying Nazi photo album framed in human skin discovered:
This video contains direct statements from Elżbieta Cajzer, head of the Auschwitz Museum Collections. The text overlay on the video states:
Cajzer attributed the photo album to Ilse Kock, wife of SS commander Karl-Otto Kock, who ran the concentration camp in Buchenwald.
And more:
stopantisemitism.org
metro.co.uk

The Museum's Academic Misconduct

As demonstrated above, the Auschwitz Museum's conclusions regarding the provenance and materials of this Photo Album are unequivocal. They have claimed it is made of human skin, and suggested that it was manufactured in Buchenwald. However, the science they used to justify these conclusions, and the results they have so far published, are nothing short of fraudulent.

First, as Dr. Neander pointed out, the Auschwitz Museum in their FT-IR results presented the "fitness scores" of the sample against only Human Skin candidate materials. This is deeply dishonest because there is no basis for comparison to non-human materials. For example, in the plot I included above, the Museum presents the Fitness Score of the Sample as 97.77 when compared to a "Finger Nail", but that number is quite useless without comparison to other candidate materials such as animal leather and hide. That is not an oversight, it is an intentional omission. The fitness scores for other materials would be automatically calculated by the software used by the Museum to score the sample against the reference database.

It is possible that other animal-based materials had a higher fitness score than the Human Fingernail, and we cannot know because the Museum did not include them in their results.

Second, it is unexplained why the fitness score for the Fingernail is higher than the score for "Skin, Human, Dried." The Museum presents the FT-IR plots of the sample against the Finger Nail, but not against the Human Skin, which is the material that the Museum is claiming to match the sample. It is deceptive to include a plot against a candidate material that they are not claiming the cover is composed of, rather than to plot the results against the material that they are claiming is the match. Presumably, that plot does not look as compelling for the purposes of a press release.

Third, it is clear that some transformation has been done to the data from the Cover, as the Y-axis is on a completely different scale than the reference spectra of the Finergnails. It's not uncommon for such transformations to be used when measurements are taken by different instruments, but this underscores the negligence of the Museum in propagating these conclusions to the media before publishing their research for peer review.

The Museum's Sleight of Hand

I believe that an even more serious deception has been presented by the Museum. Again, refer to the plot of the FT-IR results I included above, which the Museum included in the Press Release. The sample in the top plot, Oklakda 1, translates to "Cover 1."

Here is a question that must be answered: does Oklakda 1 even refer to the "Photo Album"? Or does it refer to a completely different artifact?

On the surface this seems like a silly question, because anybody who reads the Press Release would assume that, surely, the FT-IR results included by the Museum in their press release relate to a sample of the Photo Album. However, a careful re-reading shows that this left ambiguous by the Museum. The Museum does not state that the sample in their FT-IR analysis refers to the Photo Album, and in fact they include vague language that alludes to the fact it is not a sample of the Photo Album:
The Museum Collections already contain another, very similar object, due to the execution technique. Thanks to it, comparative research could be performed using FT-IR technology. Using a spectrophotometer available to the Museum's conservation laboratories, the composition of both covers could be established.

'The comparative analysis revealed the content of human skin and very similar amounts of polyamide 6 and polyamide 6.6...
Image

I believe that what the Museum did was sample the notebook on the left, not the Photo Album, for the FT-IR results they presented in the Press Release. That would mean that all of the plots and results included in the Press Release wouldn't even pertain to a sample of the Photo Album itself. At the same time, they give the impression that the results they are showing pertain to a sample of the Photo Album to the reader.

This issue must be clarified by the Museum. It is unacceptable that they present results from an FT-IR analysis without even clarifying what artifact was sampled in their analysis. Their ambiguity on this point is prima facie deceptive.

Corrective Action

Given that these conclusions reached by the Auschwitz State Museum have already spread in the media, the Museum must take immediate corrective action. Due to the shutdowns caused by COVID-19, some of these remedies will have to wait until things re-open, but answers to basic questions about their methodology do not:
  • The Museum should immediately clarify whether the FT-IR results they published in the Press Release even pertain to a sample of the Photo Album, or if that sample was from a different artifact.
  • The Museum should immediately publish the full results of the FT-IR "fitness score" against all the indices/materials that were included in their reference database.
  • The News publications above should retract their stories, as the headlines and conclusions that this Photo Album was made from "human skin at Buchenwald" are unfounded. While these stories remain un-retracted, they are spreading false news.
Longer term, legitimate research should be done on these artifacts to correct the public and historical record:
  • The Auschwitz Museum should transfer these artifacts to the USHMM for further study. The USHMM should conduct a thorough forensic analysis and transparently publish their research for peer-review.


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Huntinger
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Re: "Human Skin" Photo Album - The Auschwitz Museum's Academic Misconduct

Post by Huntinger »

PrudentRegret wrote:
Sat Mar 21, 2020 3:15 pm
The Museum's Claims
The Auschwitz Museum has claimed to have acquired a Photo Album made of human skin. They concluded it was likely manufactured at Buchenwald.
This post here was made after a few discussions at Klowns Soaps, lampshades and shrunken heads for those people interest in the background.

The museums JuTrix has to make this fit in with the previous myth debunked; soon no doubt they will find a shrunken head again. This is probably a real book, the practice was common 230 years ago. I bet they did no radiometric dating or pollen testing. Nah they want people to believe the evil Narzees did it.
There is a history worldwide of such sordid practices.
The identification of human skin bindings has been attempted by examining the pattern of hair follicles, to distinguish human skin from that of other animals typically used for bookbinding, such as calf, sheep, goat, and pig. This is a necessarily subjective test, made harder by the distortions in the process of treating leather for binding. Testing a DNA sample is possible in principle, but DNA can be destroyed when skin is tanned, it degrades over time, and it can be contaminated by human readers.
History
Anthropodermic bibliopegy is the practice of binding books in human skin. As of May 2019, The Anthropodermic Book Project has examined 31 out of 50 known books supposed to have anthropodermic bindings, of which 18 have been confirmed as human and 13 have been demonstrated to be animal leather instead.
An early reference to a book bound in human skin is found in the travels of Zacharias Conrad von Uffenbach.
Image
A book in the Wellcome Library bound in human skin.
Surviving examples of human skin bindings have often been commissioned, performed, or collected by medical doctors, who have access to cadavers, sometimes those of executed criminals, such as the case of John Horwood in 1821 and the William Corder in 1828. The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh preserves a notebook bound in the skin of the murderer William Burke after his execution and subsequent public dissection by Professor Alexander Monro in 1829. (Note that Horwood, Corder, and Burke were all hanged, not flayed.)

What Lawrence Thompson called "the most famous of all anthropodermic bindings" is exhibited at the Boston Athenaeum, titled The Highwayman: Narrative of the Life of James Allen alias George Walton. It is by James Allen, who made his deathbed confession in prison in 1837 and asked for a copy bound in his own skin to be presented to a man he once tried to rob and admired for his bravery, and another one for his doctor. Once he passed away, a piece of his back was taken to a tannery and utilized for the book.

Another tradition, with less supporting evidence, is that books of erotica or the occult have been bound in human skin.

The Newberry Library in Chicago owns an Arabic manuscript written in 1848, with a handwritten note that it is bound in human skin, though "it is the opinion of the conservation staff that the binding material is not human skin, but rather highly burnished goat". This book is mentioned in the novel The Time Traveler's Wife, much of which is set in the Newberry.

The French astronomer Camille Flammarion's book Les terres du ciel (The Worlds of the Sky) (1877) was supposedly bound with the skin donated from a female admirer.

The National Library of Australia holds a 19th-century poetry book with the inscription "Bound in human skin" on the first page. The binding was performed 'before 1890' and identified as human skin by pathologists in 1992.

An exhibition of fine bindings at the Grolier Club in 1903 included, in a section of 'Bindings in Curious Materials', three editions of Holbein's 'Dance of Death' in 19th century human skin bindings; two of these now belong to the John Hay Library at Brown University. Other examples of the Dance of Death include an 1856 edition offered at auction by Leonard Smithers in 1895 and an 1842 edition from the personal library of Florin Abelès was offered at auction by Piasa of Paris in 2006. Bookbinder Edward Hertzberg describes the Monastery Hill Bindery having been approached by "[a]n Army Surgeon ... with a copy of Holbein's Dance of Death with the request that we bind it in a piece of human skin, which he brought along."

A portion of the binding in the copy of Dale Carnegie's Lincoln the Unknown that is part of the collection of Temple University's Charles L. Blockson Collection was "taken from the skin of a Negro at a Baltimore Hospital and tanned by the Jewell Belting Company".

Conclusion
Due to the history above and relative frequency of such sordid practices throughout the world it is probable that there are more of these human bound books to be found which has nothing to do with Nationalsozialismus, Konzentrationslager, Illse Koch or Buchenwald. This is just another scheming jüdisch embellishment to keep the horror hoax alive; however, we are on to their JuTrix. As mentioned these covers were around 230 years before the second world war started. I would like to see some attempt to date the cover, though radiometric dating may be of some value, also pollen samples within would locate the area of its origin; I suspect this book has been no where near Buchenwald but possibly from a collection of Zach below or someone like him.
Zacharias Conrad von Uffenbach. Writing about his visit to Bremen in 1710:
Auch sahen wir noch ein klein Büchelgen in Duodetz, Molleri manuale præparationis ad mortem. Man würde daran wohl nichts merkwürdiges finden, und warum es allhier stehe, erkennen, wenn man nicht vornen läse, daß es in Menschen-Leder eingebunden sey; welcher sonderbare Band, desgleichen ich noch nie gesehen, sich zu diesem Buche, zu besserer Betrachtung des Todes, wohl schicket. Man sollte es wohl vor Schwein-Leder ansehen.

— Zacharias Conrad von Uffenbach, Merkwürdige Reisen durch Niedersachsen, Holland und Engelland
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We also saw a little duodecimo, Molleri manuale præparationis ad mortem. There seemed to be nothing remarkable about it, and you couldn't understand why it was here until you read in the front that it was bound in human leather. This unusual binding, the like of which I had never before seen, seemed especially well adapted to this book, dedicated to more meditation about death. You would take it for pig skin.

A genuine museum would take all reasonable and professional steps to find the history of this artefact, not make erroneous conclusions to support a tale. They would have then informed the public of the real history behind Anthropodermic bibliopegy, its frequency as well as the methods of testing including the deficiencies. Instead they say the following:
A unique historical object has enriched the Collections of the Auschwitz Museum. It is a photo album framed in a cover made of human skin. Research by Museum experts indicates that it could have been created at the German concentration camp in Buchenwald.

Could have been is not professional or good enough and shows a complete lack of professionalism; the link to Buchenwald is given in the following misleading statement:
According to accounts by prisoners of the German concentration camp in Buchenwald, human skin was treated at the camp as material for the production of objects of everyday use.

They are using anecdotes to create a new reality, one specially for their horror hoax. Then the third bit of nothingness:
According to information gathered by the Museum staff, the album and the cover belonged to a Bavarian family that ran a guest-house in a health resort town during the Second World War. The cover was likely given to the owners as a gift by a crew member of the Buchenwald camp.

There is absolutely no verification of this, just anecdotes, if buts and maybes.
The most likely explanation it is a human cover but one from a collection from elsewhere.


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