|Born||2 Aug 1897|
|Died||5 Apr 1945|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseKarl-Otto Koch was born in Darmstadt, Grand Duchy of Hesse, Germany in 1897. His father passed away in 1905 when he was only eight years of age. He completed elementary school in 1912, then enrolled in a commercial apprenticeship program at a middle school. In 1916, he volunteered for the military and saw combat on the Western Front during WW1, earning the Iron Cross Second Class medal, among other awards. He was captured by the British and spent the final phase of the war as a prisoner of war. He was repatriated to Germany in 1919. In the 1920s, he worked as a commercial manager and then an insurance salesman. He married his wife in 1924; they would have one son together. In 1931, he joined the Nazi Party and its SS organization. In the same year, he divorced his first wife. In 1932, he became unemployed. In 1934, he took command of the Sachsenburg Concentration Camp in Frankenberg, Germany. He then briefly held three positions at Esterwegen Concentration Camp, Lichtenburg Concentration Camp, and Dachau Concentration Camp. In Jun 1935, he was made the commandant of the Columbia Concentration Camp in Berlin, Germany. In Apr 1936, he returned to Esterwegen. In May 1936, he married Ilse Koch (n├ęe K├Âhler), with whom he would have a son and two daughters. In Oct 1936, he was transferred to Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp. In Sep 1937, he was promoted to the rank of SS-Standartenf├╝hrer. In Aug 1937, he was made the commandant of the newly established Buchenwald Concentration Camp in Weimar, Germany. In Sep 1941, after accusations of negligence and drunkenness, he was relieved of command at Buchenwald and was relegated to become the commandant of Majdanek Concentration Camp in Lublin, Poland. In Aug 1942, several Soviet prisoners of war escaped from Majdanek due to the faults of the command staff, and Koch was once again relieved of command. Transferred to Berlin, he worked as a liaison officer between the SS and the post office. Meanwhile, Prince Josias of Waldeck and Pyrmont had been investigating Koch since 1941. Josias discovered that Koch had ordered the execution of hospital workers as political prisoners in order to hide the fact that Koch had suffered from the sexually transmitted disease syphilis, had embezzled wealth stolen from murdered Jewish prisoners, and other crimes. Charges were lodged against Koch as well as his wife Ilse Koch, who had held official positions in the SS. Found guilty, Koch was executed by a SS firing squad in Apr 1945. In 1947, his wife found guilty of incitement to murder, incitement to attempted murder, and incitement to the crime of committing grievous bodily harm and was given a prison sentence.
Last Major Revision: Feb 2018
Karl-Otto Koch Interactive Map
Karl-Otto Koch Timeline
|2 Aug 1897||Karl-Otto Koch was born in Darmstadt, Grand Duchy of Hesse, Germany.|
|13 Jun 1935||Karl-Otto Koch was made the commandant of Columbia Concentration Camp in Berlin, Germany.|
|1 Apr 1936||Karl-Otto Koch stepped down as the commandant of Columbia Concentration Camp in Berlin, Germany.|
|20 Apr 1936||Karl-Otto Koch was made the commandant of Esterwegen Concentration Camp in Esterwegen, Germany.|
|1 Aug 1937||Karl-Otto Koch was made the commandant of Buchenwald Concentration Camp in Weimar, Germany.|
|24 Aug 1942||Karl-Otto Koch stepped down as the commandant of Majdanek Concentration Camp in Poland.|
|5 Apr 1945||SS-Obersturmbannf├╝hrer Karl-Otto Koch, the notorious, brutal and corrupt former Commandant of Buchenwald Concentration Camp was executed by firing squad at Buchenwald after a trial in which he was convicted of bringing himself and the SS into disrepute.|
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