Karl Otto Koch

Karl Otto Koch

Darmstadt, Stadtkreis Darmstadt, Hessen, Germany
Death 5 Apr 1945 (aged 47)
Buchenwald, Stadtkreis Weimar, Thüringen, Germany
Burial Burial Details Unknown
Memorial ID 148457615 · View Source
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War Criminal and Concentration Camp Commandant. Karl-Otto Koch was born in Darmstadt, Grand Duchy of Hesse. His father worked in local registrar's office and died when Karl was only eight years old. After completing elementary school in 1912, Koch began studying business and worked as a messenger and an apprentice in a bookkeeping department in a local factory. In 1916, he volunteered to join the army and fought on the Western Front until he was captured by the British in 1918. Koch spent the rest of the war as a POW and returned to Germany in 1919. As a soldier, he conducted himself well and was awarded the Iron Cross Second Class, the Observer's Badge and the Wound Badge in Black. Following World War I, Koch worked as an accounting supervisor in a bank and later in the same role in an insurance company. Koch first married in 1924 and had one son; however, his marriage ended in divorce 1931, due to his infidelity. In 1931, he joined the NSDAP and the SS. On May 25, 1936 he married Ilse Koch née Margarete Ilse Köhler, with whom he had a son and two daughters. Standartenführer (Colonel) Koch became the first commandant of KZ Buchenwald and KZ Sachsenhausen concentration camps (1937–1941). He then served as the first commandant of KZ Majdanek in occupied Poland, from September 1941 until August 1942. Standartenführer Koch's actions at Buchenwald caught the attention of some of his superiors. Dr. Walter Krämer, the head hospital orderly at Buchenwald, had been killed under questionable circumstances. The case was investigated and it was discovered that Koch, in a position as the Camp Commandant, had ordered Krämer and also Karl Peixof, a hospital attendant, killed as "political prisoners" because they had treated him for syphilis and he feared it might be discovered. Additional charges of embezzlement were also added and other camp officials were also charged, including Koch's wife Ilse who was known as "The Witch of Buchenwald". They all had stole vast amounts of valuables and money from murdered Jews and kept it for themselves. The subsequent trial resulted in Standartenführer Koch being sentenced to death for disgracing both himself and the SS. He was executed at KZ Buchenwald by a SS firing squad on April 5, 1945, just one week before allied troops arrived to liberate the camp and just one month before the war in Europe ended.

Bio by: Jay Lance

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Jay Lance
  • Added: 29 Jun 2015
  • Find a Grave Memorial 148457615
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Karl Otto Koch (2 Aug 1897–5 Apr 1945), Find a Grave Memorial no. 148457615, ; Maintained by Find A Grave Burial Details Unknown.