Episode 83: Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair

In WWI an urban legend was born that has persisted for a century. Its parents? British intelligence officers. They spread a nasty story about the Germans turning their own war dead into soap. And it stuck. But have people been turned into soap? We’ll examine the true stories of inhumane craft projects and the dirty secrets of notorious detergent-rendering diabolicals. We’ll also look into real world war crimes that yielded their own array of macabre souvenirs, concluding with the story of Ilse Koch and her infamous table lamps.

gonna wash that man

Correction: It was insinuated that Michael Shermer is a holocaust denier in this episode, and that was incorrect. Our Apologies!


Huckaby: Searching amid memories for Soap Sally

Soap Sally – Southern Muse

The Foxfire Book: Hog Dressing, Log Cabin Building, Mountain Crafts and …

You (posthumously) light up my life – Scientific American

The corpse factory and the birth of fake news – BBC

Lost Paris: The Cimetière des Innocents

Arrests made in ring that sold human fat, Peru says – CNN

Peru’s Fat-Stealing Gang: Crime or Cover-Up? – Time

The Danzig Soap Case: Facts and Legends around “Professor Spanner” and the Danzig Anatomic Institute 1944-1945, Joachim Neander

New Perspectives on the Holocaust: A Guide for Teachers and Scholars edited by Rochelle L. Millen

Human Fat Was Used to Produce Soap in Gdansk during the War – Auschwitz Memorial and Museum

Holocaust-era Soap Find Raises New Questions – The New York Jewish Week

100 Years of Fake News: The German Corpse Factory – Dr David Clarke

Soldiers Who Liberated Nazi Death Camps Meet at Holocaust Museum

Eisenhower Letter

Hunting for the Vampire of Barcelona – Vice

Enriqueta Martí – The vampiress of Barcelona

The Real ‘Beast of Belsen’? Irma Grese and Female Concentration Camp Guards

Soapman: Man buried in 1800s has turned to soap

Buchenwald Concentration Camp Atrocities

“I Was a Nazi, and Here’s Why” – New Yorker

Female Nazi war criminals.

The Role of Women in Nazi Germany

Hirsch, Ilse (Combatants/Military Personnel)


Ilse Koch – Jewish Virtual Library

The Lampshade: A Holocaust Detective Story from Buchenwald to New Orleans – Mark Jacobson

2 thoughts on “Episode 83: Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair

  1. WW2 wasn’t the first time death and soap have been connected. The short life of Nathan Roberts, born 1802, as told in “The Roberts Family”, by Mrs. Amorena Grant (no publishIng date listed, but the author was born in 1842):
    “His career was a short one, as he fell into a kettle of hot soap, and was so badly burned that he did not live long. He was sitting in his chair where his mother was at work. She heard a strange noise, and, turning around to see her baby, found he had died.”
    I wonder if she used that soap.


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