Well, it seems that some of this stuff was common in Europe in centuries past. Some, not all, and not necessarily in the form seen during the time of the Nazis.
I found this on the internet and it appears to be genuine. I was shocked. Now I am not so naive. The site is on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/BlyssfulWitch
The Dark Arts - The Forbidden and Taboo - Anthropodermic Binding (Occult and Mundane Examples)
Image: A book covered in the skin of Father Henry Garnet, an indirect collaborator in the plot to blow up the British Houses of Parliament in 1805.
The use of human skin as a writing surface and to cover sacred and important texts – today called Anthropodermic Binding - is thousands of years old and has always historically been associated with the founders and descendants of dark occult and magic from the beginning.
The first exponents of the act of flaying the skin of a human being for the purpose of using it for a writing surface as well as binding of other precious artefacts were the Ammurru, also known as the Amorites from the ancient city of Mari on the Euphrates in Syria.
The Ammuru (Amorites) were the first to develop the philosophy that the bones and especially the skin and blood of slain enemies possessed magic powers beyond death and gave the objects which they covered supernatural power.
Under the great Mari Empire King Shamshi-Adad I (1813 BC – 1791 BC) the use of the skin of slain enemies increased dramatically and upon the capture of the rival city of Assur, he skinned alive the royal family and court – including children - and had their skins displayed on the walls of the city for drying until finally being used as binding, writing material and other occult uses.
The Latin word vellum from vellus means not only a fleece or hide but also “human” skin, indicating that at the Roman times the meaning of this form of writing material was still known.
The use of human skin to bind books would disgust us today, but it was fairly widely practiced up until about 200 years ago, particularly with medical books.
In centuries gone by, doctors who wrote medical books would sometimes specify that they be bound in human skin. Some doctors even participated in the preparation of human skin for use in book binding.
Dr John Hunter (1728-1793), the famous anatomist, father of British scientific surgery, and the person after whom the London Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons of England is named, reputedly commissioned a textbook on dermatology to be bound in human skin.
The skin used was often that of a flogged prisoner who was later executed, particularly a murderer.
In 1821, John Horwood was hanged for murder in Bristol, England in 1821. Horwood's skeleton became a prized exhibit at the Bristol Royal Infirmary. A book containing details of his crime, trial, execution, and dissection was published and retained at the Infirmary. The book was bound with Horwood's skin.
The tanning of the skin was the work of Dr Richard Smith, the distinguished chief surgeon at the Infirmary for nearly 50 years. The classic medical text, 'Tables of the Skeleton and Muscles of the Human Body' by Bernhard Albinus (translated from Latin into English in 1749), not only was bound in human skin, but the original white skin was dyed black. This was intended to reflect one of the subjects within: "On the location and cause of the colour of Ethiopians and of other peoples."
Dr Victor Cornil (1837-1908), the famous professor of pathological anatomy in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Paris and author of 'Syphillis' (1882) the definitive work on the subject at the time, possessed a piece of tattooed human skin from the time of Louis XIII. He had his copy of The Three Musketeers, set during the time of Louis XIII, bound in human skin.
Written by Stephen Juan, Ph.D., anthropologist at the University of Sydney.