WWII soap sold online to be tested for Holocaust victim remains

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The concentration camp at Stutthof, Germany, where some soap from deceased prisoners is believed to have been produced (photo: Wisnia6522 / Wikimedia). The concentration camp at Stutthof, Germany, where some soap from deceased prisoners is believed to have been produced (photo: Wisnia6522 / Wikimedia)

Police were notified this week of an online advertisement for the sale of soap produced during World War II, possibly made from human remains collected at concentration camps. After consulting the Public Prosecutor, officers opened an investigation into the sale, police said on Friday. 

The military memorabilia dealer behind the ad for RIF soap voluntarily brought the package to the Dokkum, Friesland police station for investigation on Monday. The soap was sent to the Dutch Forensic Institute for further examination.

"The ad implies that the soap would date back to the time in World War II when soap was processed from the remains of deceased Jewish people at the concentration camps," the police press release states.

The public prosecutor's office for Northern Netherlands knows of no previous prosecutions for trading in soap made from the remains of Holocaust victims, newspaper NRC reports.

The ad, which was placed on Marktplaats, was for two pieces of soap. Bidding began at 150 euros, and rose to nearly 200 euros, according to the NRC. It has since been removed from the site.

It is not known when the NFI investigation will be completed.

While many scholars and chemistry experts have proven that bars of soap containing human fat were produced during World War II, it is not known if it was widely-produced. City University of New York professor John Drobnicki also writes that historians have generally refuted claims that RIF soap was made from human fat, attributing the practice instead to the Danzig Anatomical Institute.

Danzig is about 35 kilometers away from the concentration camp location in Stutthof, Germany.

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