Hans Michael Frank (23 May 1900 – 16 October 1946) was a German war criminal and lawyer who worked for the Nazi Party during the 1920s and 1930s, and later became Adolf Hitler's personal lawyer. After the invasion of Poland, Frank became Nazi Germany's chief jurist in the occupied Poland "General Government" territory. During his tenure throughout World War II (1939–45), he instituted a reign of terror against the civilian population and became directly involved in the mass murder of Jews. At the Nuremberg trials, he was found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity and was executed.
|Governor-General of the |
General Government of Poland
26 October 1939 – January 1945
Hans Michael Frank
23 May 1900
Karlsruhe, Baden, German Empire
|Died||16 October 1946 (aged 46)|
Nuremberg, Allied-occupied Germany
|Political party||German Workers' Party (DAP)|
|National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP)|
|Spouse(s)||Brigitte Herbst (1925–1946; his death)|
|Branch/service||Imperial German Army|
|Battles/wars||World War I|
Frank, the middle child of three, was born in Karlsruhe to Karl Frank, a lawyer, and his wife, Magdalena (née Buchmaier), a daughter of a prosperous baker. He graduated from high school at the renowned Maximilians gymnasium in Munich, and right after, at seventeen, joined the German army fighting in World War I, barely reaching front-line combat.
After the war, in 1919 and 1920, he was a member of the Thule völkisch society. He served also in the Freikorps under Franz Ritter von Epp's command, taking part in the crackdown of the Münchner Räterepublik. In 1919, as did other members of the Thule society, he joined the German Workers' Party (DAP) at its beginning.
Although the DAP evolved quite soon into NSDAP (Nazi Party), Frank waited until September 1923 to become a member of the Sturmabteilung (SA), and in October he officially joined the NSDAP. In November of the same year, Frank took part in the Beer Hall Putsch, the failed coup attempt intended to parallel Mussolini's March on Rome. In the aftermath of the attempted putsch, Frank fled to Austria returning in Munich only in 1924, after the pending legal proceedings were stayed.
Frank studied law (he passed the final state examination in 1926) and rose to become Adolf Hitler's personal legal adviser. As the Nazis rose to power, Frank also served as the party's lawyer. He represented it in over 2,400 cases and spent over $10,000. This sometimes brought him into conflict with other lawyers. Once, a former teacher appealed to him: "I beg you to leave these people alone! No good will come of it! Political movements that begin in the criminal courts will end in the criminal courts!" In September–October 1930, Frank served as the defence lawyer at the court-martial in Leipzig of Lieutenants Richard Scheringer, Hans Friedrich Wendt and Hanns Ludin, three Reichswehr officers charged with membership in the NSDAP. The trial was a media sensation. Hitler himself testified and the defence successfully put the Weimar Republic itself on trial. Many Army officers developed a sympathetic view of the National Socialist movement as a consequence.
Frank was elected to the Reichstag in 1930, and in 1933 he was made Minister of Justice for Bavaria. From 1933, he was also the head of the National Socialist Jurists Association and President of the Academy of German Law. Frank objected to extrajudicial killings as it weakened the power of the legal system (of which he himself was a prominent member), both at the Dachau concentration camp and during the Night of the Long Knives.
Frank's view of what the judicial process required was that:
[The judge's] role is to safeguard the concrete order of the racial community, to eliminate dangerous elements, to prosecute all acts harmful to the community, and to arbitrate in disagreements between members of the community. The National Socialist ideology, especially as expressed in the Party programme and in the speeches of our Leader, is the basis for interpreting legal sources.
In September 1939 Frank was assigned as Chief of Administration to Gerd von Rundstedt in the German military administration in occupied Poland. Beginning 26 October 1939, following the completion of the invasion of Poland, Frank served as Governor-General of the occupied Polish territories (Generalgouverneur für die besetzten polnischen Gebiete), overseeing the General Government, the area of Poland not directly incorporated into Germany (roughly 90,000 km2 out of the 187,000 km2 Germany had gained).
Frank oversaw the segregation of the Jews into ghettos, especially the enormous Warsaw ghetto, and the use of Polish civilians as forced labour. In 1942 he lost his positions of authority outside the General Government after annoying Hitler with a series of speeches in Berlin, Vienna, Heidelberg, and Munich and also as part of a power struggle with Friedrich-Wilhelm Krüger, the State Secretary for Security – head of the SS and the police in the General Government. Krüger himself was ultimately replaced by Wilhelm Koppe.
On 16 December 1941, Frank spelled out to his senior officials the approaching annihilation of the Jews:
A great Jewish migration will begin in any case. But what should we do with the Jews? Do you think they will be settled in Ostland, in villages? We were told in Berlin, 'Why all this bother? We can do nothing with them either in Ostland or in the Reichskommissariat. So liquidate them yourselves.' Gentlemen, I must ask you to rid yourself of all feelings of pity. We must annihilate the Jews wherever we find them and whenever it is possible.
When this was read to him at the Nuremberg trials he said:
One has to take the diary as a whole. You can not go through 43 volumes and pick out single sentences and separate them from their context. I would like to say here that I do not want to argue or quibble about individual phrases. It was a wild and stormy period filled with terrible passions, and when a whole country is on fire and a life and death struggle is going on, such words may easily be used... Some of the words are terrible. I myself must admit that I was shocked at many of the words which I had used.
An assassination attempt by Polish Secret State on 29/30 January 1944 (the night preceding the 11th anniversary of Hitler's appointment as Chancellor of Germany) in Szarów near Kraków failed. A special train with Frank travelling to Lviv was derailed after an explosive device discharged but no one was killed.
The General Government was the location of four of the six extermination camps, namely, Bełżec, Treblinka, Majdanek and Sobibór. Chełmno and Birkenau fell just outside the borders of the General Government.
Frank later claimed that the extermination of Jews was entirely controlled by Heinrich Himmler and the SS and that he, Frank, was unaware of the extermination camps in the General Government until early 1944, a surprising claim and one found to be untrue by the Nuremberg tribunal.
During his testimony at Nuremberg, Frank claimed he submitted resignation requests to Hitler on 14 occasions, but Hitler would not allow him to resign. Frank fled the General Government in January 1945 as the Soviet Army advanced.
Frank was captured by American troops on 3 May 1945, at Tegernsee in southern Bavaria. He attempted suicide twice, but failed both times. He was indicted for war crimes and tried before the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg from 20 November 1945 to 1 October 1946. During the trial he converted, guided by Fr Sixtus O'Connor OFM, to Roman Catholicism, and claimed to have had a series of religious experiences.
Frank voluntarily surrendered 43 volumes of his personal diaries to the Allies, which were then used against him as evidence of his guilt. Frank confessed to some of the charges and expressed remorse on the witness stand, showing penitence for his crimes. On the witness stand, he said,
after having heard the testimony of the witness Rudolf Höss, my conscience does not allow me to throw the responsibility solely on these minor people. I myself have never installed an extermination camp for Jews, or promoted the existence of such camps; but if Adolf Hitler personally has laid that dreadful responsibility on his people, then it is mine too, for we have fought against Jewry for years; and we have indulged in the most horrible utterances.
He and Albert Speer were allegedly the only defendants to show remorse for their war crimes. At the same time he accused the Allies, especially the Soviets, of their own wartime atrocities. The former German Governor-General of Poland was found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity on 1 October 1946, and he was sentenced to death by hanging. The death sentence was carried out at Nuremberg Prison on 16 October by US Army Master Sergeant John C. Woods. Journalist Joseph Kingsbury-Smith wrote of the execution:
Hans Frank was next in the parade of death. He was the only one of the condemned to enter the chamber with a smile on his countenance. And, although nervous and swallowing frequently, this man, who was converted to Roman Catholicism after his arrest, gave the appearance of being relieved at the prospect of atoning for his evil deeds.
He answered to his name quietly and when asked for any last statement, he replied "I am thankful for the kind treatment during my captivity and I ask God to accept me with mercy."
While awaiting execution, he wrote his memoirs, Im Angesicht des Galgens (In the face of the gallows). In the capacity as his attorney, Frank was privy to personal details of Hitler's life. In his memoirs, written shortly before his execution, Frank made the sensational claim that Hitler had commissioned him to investigate Hitler's family in 1930 after a "blackmail letter" had been received from Hitler's nephew, William Patrick Hitler, who allegedly threatened to reveal embarrassing facts about his uncle's ancestry. Frank said that the investigation uncovered evidence that Maria Schicklgruber, Hitler's paternal grandmother, had been working as a cook in the household of a Jewish man named Leopold Frankenberger before she gave birth to Hitler's father, Alois, out of wedlock. Frank claimed that he had obtained from a relative of Hitler's by marriage a collection of letters between Maria Schicklgruber and a member of the Frankenberger family that discussed a stipend for her after she left the family's employ. According to Frank, Hitler told him that the letters did not prove that the Frankenberger son was his grandfather but rather his grandmother had merely extorted money from Frankenberger by threatening to claim his paternity of her illegitimate child.
Frank accepted this explanation, but added that it was still just possible that Hitler had some Jewish ancestry. But he thought it unlikely because, "... from his entire demeanor, the fact that Adolf Hitler had no Jewish blood coursing through his veins seems so clearly evident that nothing more need be said on this."
Given that all Jews had been expelled from the province of Styria (which includes Graz) in the 15th century and were not allowed to return until the 1860s, scholars such as Ian Kershaw and Brigitte Hamann dismiss as baseless the Frankenberger hypothesis, which before had only Frank's speculation to support it. There is no evidence outside of Frank's statements for the existence of a "Leopold Frankenberger" living in Graz in the 1830s, and Frank's story is notably inaccurate on several points such as the claim that Maria Schicklgruber came from "Leonding near Linz", when in fact she came from the hamlet of Strones near the village of Döllersheim. Some suggest that Frank (who turned against National Socialism after 1945 but remained an anti-Semitic fanatic) made the claim that Hitler had Jewish ancestry as way of proving that Hitler was really a "Jew" and not an "Aryan"; and in this way, "proved" that the Third Reich's crimes were the work of the "Jewish" Hitler. The full anti-Semitic implications of Frank's story were borne out in a letter entitled "Was Hitler a Jew?", written to the editor of a Saudi newspaper in 1982 by a German man living in Saudi Arabia. The writer accepted Frank's story as the truth, and added since Hitler was a Jew, "the Jews should pay Germans reparations for the War, because one of theirs caused the destruction of Germany".
But Jewish-American author Ron Rosenbaum suggested another reason for Frank's story:
On the other hand, a different version of Frank emerges in the brilliantly vicious, utterly unforgiving portrait of him by his son, Niklas Frank, who (in a memoir called In the Shadow of the Reich) depicts his father as a craven coward and weakling, but one not without a kind of animal cunning, an instinct for lying, insinuation, self-aggrandizement. For this Hans Frank, disgraced and facing death on the gallows for following Hitler, fabricating such a story might be a cunning way of ensuring his place in history as the one man who gave the world the hidden key to the mystery of Hitler's psyche. While at the same time, revenging himself on his former master for having led him to this end by foisting a sordid and humiliating explanation of Hitler on him for all posterity. In any case, it was one Frank knew the victors would find seductive.
On 2 April 1925 Frank married 29-year-old secretary Brigitte Herbst (25 December 1895 – 9 March 1959) from Forst (Lausitz). The wedding took place in Munich and the couple honeymooned in Venetia. Hans and Brigitte Frank had five children:
Brigitte Frank had a reputation for having a more dominant personality than her husband: after 1939 she called herself "a queen of Poland" ("Königin von Polen"). The marriage was unhappy and became colder from year to year. When Frank sought a divorce in 1942, Brigitte gave everything to save their marriage in order to remain the "First Lady in the General Government". One of her most famous comments was "I'd rather be widowed than divorced from a Reichsminister!" Frank answered: "So you are my deadly enemy!"
In 1987, Niklas Frank wrote a book about his father, Der Vater: Eine Abrechnung ("The Father: A Settling of Accounts"), which was published in English in 1991 as In the Shadow of the Reich. The book, which was serialized in the magazine Stern, caused controversy in Germany because of the scathing way in which the younger Frank depicted his father: Niklas referred to him as "a slime-hole of a Hitler fanatic" and questioned his remorse before his execution.
Niklas is the sole living child of Hans and Brigitte Frank. Sigrid remained a committed Nazi who emigrated to South Africa during the apartheid regime and died there. Brigitte committed suicide in 1981; Michael and Norman died in 1990 and 2010, respectively.
In an interview published in the 6 June 1940 edition of the Völkischer Beobachter:
In Prague, big red posters were put up on which one could read that seven Czechs had been shot today. I said to myself, 'If I had to put up a poster for every seven Poles shot, the forests of Poland would not be sufficient to manufacture the paper.'
A slightly different translation is given by another author. The occasion was a widely distributed proclamation in German–occupied Czechoslovakia announcing the execution of seven Czech students:
If I had to order a distribution of posters announcing such an event every time I order a shooting of seven Poles, there would not be enough trees in the Polish forests to supply the necessary paper.
In the Nuremberg trials:
A thousand years will pass and still Germany's guilt will not have been erased.
Hans Frank has been portrayed by the following actors in film, television and theater productions.
The Danzig Cross (German: Danziger Kreuz) was a Nazi decoration of the Free City of Danzig. The Danzig Cross was instituted on 31 August 1939 as a two grade decoration by Danzig Gauleiter Albert Forster. It was awarded to those who contributed to building up the Nazi Party in the free city. In all 88 first class crosses and 253 second class crosses were awarded, most of them in a ceremony on 24 October 1939. Hans Frank was a recipient of the award on 19 May 1940.Eidgenössische Sammlung
Eidgenössische Sammlung (German; literally "Confederate Collection") was a Swiss political party, founded in 1940 by Robert Tobler as a successor to the recently dissolved National Front.The party demanded an adjustment in Swiss policy to favour the Axis powers. This was particularly important as, after June 1940 the country was surrounded by fascist and Nazi states. It was open in its loyalty towards Nazi Germany.The Eidgenössiche Sammlung was closely supervised by the state because of its origins and so could not develop freely. In 1943 the police finally cracked down on the group and it was outlawed along with all of its sub-organisations as part of a wider government initiative against the National Front and its offshoots.General Government
The General Government (German: Generalgouvernement, Polish: Generalne Gubernatorstwo, Ukrainian: Генеральна губернія), also referred to as the General Governorate, was a German zone of occupation established after the joint invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union in 1939 at the onset of World War II. The newly occupied Second Polish Republic was split into three zones: the General Government in its centre, Polish areas annexed by Nazi Germany in the west, and Polish areas annexed by the Soviet Union in the east. The territory was expanded substantially in 1941 to include the new District of Galicia.The basis for the formation of General Government was a German-Soviet claim of the total collapse of the Polish state, announced by Adolf Hitler on October 8, 1939 through the so-called Annexation Decree on the Administration of the Occupied Polish Territories. This rationale was utilized by the German Supreme Court to reassign the identity of all Polish nationals as stateless subjects, with exception of the ethnic Germans of interwar Poland, named the only rightful citizens of the Third Reich in disregard of international law.The General Government was run by Nazi Germany as a separate administrative unit for logistical purposes. When the Wehrmacht forces attacked the Soviet positions in Kresy in June 1941 during its initially successful Operation Barbarossa, the area of the General Government was enlarged by the inclusion of the regions of Poland occupied by the Red Army since 1939. Within days, East Galicia was overrun and renamed Distrikt Galizien. Until 1945 the General Government comprised much of central, southern, and southeastern Poland within its prewar borders (and of modern-day Western Ukraine), including the major Polish cities of Warsaw, Kraków, Lwów (now Lviv, renamed Lemberg), Lublin (see Lublin Reservation), Tarnopol (see history of Tarnopol Ghetto), Stanisławów (now Ivano-Frankivsk, renamed Stanislau; see Stanisławów Ghetto), Drohobycz, and Sambor (see Drohobycz and Sambor Ghettos) and others. Geographical locations were renamed in German.The administration of the General Government was composed entirely of the German officials with the intent that the area was to be colonized by Germanic settlers who would reduce the local Polish population to the level of serfs before their eventual biological extermination. The Nazi German rulers of the Generalgouvernement had no intention of sharing power with the locals throughout the war, regardless of their ethnicity and political orientation. The authorities rarely mentioned the name "Poland" in legal correspondence. The only exception to this was the General Government's Bank of Issue in Poland (Polish: Bank Emisyjny w Polsce, German: Emissionbank in Polen).General Government chess tournament
General Government chess championships (Schachmeisterschaft des Generalgouvernements) were Nazi tournaments held during World War II in occupied central Poland. Hans Frank, the Governor-General of General Government, was the patron of those tournaments because he was an avid chess player.
The competition began when he organized a chess congress in Krakow on 3 November 1940. Six months later Frank announced the establishment of a chess school under Chess grandmasters, Efim Bogoljubov and Alexander Alekhine.Henri Donnedieu de Vabres
Henri Donnedieu de Vabres (8 July 1880 – 14 February 1952) was a French jurist who took part in the Nuremberg trials after World War II. He was the primary French judge during the proceedings, with Robert Falco as his alternate.
Donnedieu was born in Nîmes. Prior to the war, he had campaigned for the concept of an International Criminal Court while serving as a professor of Criminal Law at the University of Paris. He also became director of the Paris Institute of Criminology. Later in 1947, he would again submit his idea before the United Nations' Committee on the Progressive Development of International Law and its Codification.
In 1935 Donnedieu accepted an invitation to Berlin from Hans Frank Hitler's personal lawyer and later Governor-General of occupied Poland. They debated the idea of an international criminal court.
During the trials, Donnedieu was noted for protesting the charges of Conspiracy to Wage War as he felt it was too broad to be served in such a monumental trial. As a corollary of this view, he strongly protested the conviction of Colonel-General Alfred Jodl, stating that it was a miscarriage of justice for the professional soldier to be convicted - when he held no allegiance to Nazism. Jodl was later exonerated posthumously by a German court, citing Donnedieu's statement. On 28 February 1953, a West German denazification court declared Jodl not guilty of breaking international law. This not guilty declaration was revoked on 3 September 1953, by the Minister of Political Liberation for Bavaria. His trial secretary was Yves Beigbeder.
Donnedieu was also the one to suggest that a firing squad might be a more honourable way to execute those found guilty - though that was strongly contested by Francis Biddle and Iona Nikitchenko.
Along with Lemkin (the Academic who devised the term "genocide" in his 1944 book Axis Rule in Occupied Europe) and Vespasian V. Pella, he was consulted by John Peters Humphrey to prepare the United Nations Secretariat Draft for the Convention on the Prevention of Genocide.
Donnedieu died in Paris in 1952.
His grandson Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres served as France's Minister of Culture from 2004 to 2007.John Bailey (British actor)
John Bailey (26 June 1912 - 18 February 1989) was a British screen and TV actor who had a long screen, stage and TV career. He was born in South East London.
He took a number of film roles during the late 1940s and early 1950s which included a sinister role, Stringer, in High Treason. During the 1960s, he appeared in a number of high-profile BBC TV roles such as in Doctor Who. Most famously, he played the artist Aubrey Green in The Forsyte Saga in (1967). He also took the lead in a highly acclaimed Wednesday Night Play.
One of his notable early films was High Treason by Roy Boulting (1951). Set in a tense and austere London during the early Cold War, the tense plot follows the secret services MI5 pursuing a terrorist cell group. John Bailey's cold and ruthless assassin, Stringer, speaks with a convincing Russian accent. As an actor, he had considerable vocal range, notably employing a clipped, upper class English accent as Inspector Grant in Josephine Tey's The Franchise Affair (1951). His dark looks and convincing accents led to roles as Italians or Eastern Europeans.
The BBC TV Wednesday Night Play about Sacco and Vanzetti (1967) addressed the topical issue of the death penalty. Written by Jean Benedetti the play was entitled The Good Shoe Maker and the Poor Fish Pedlar. John Bailey played Bartolomeo Venzetti, an Italian immigrant in America whose execution was widely regarded as having been a miscarriage of justice.
He also made various appearances in Doctor Who, including "The Sensorites" (1964), playing Edward Waterfield in "The Evil of the Daleks" (1967) and "The Horns of Nimon" (1979), as well as appearing in several episodes of The Avengers and as Hans Frank in the 1978 American television miniseries Holocaust.Josef Bühler
Josef Bühler (also referred to as Joseph Buehler) (16 February 1904 – 22 August 1948) was a state secretary and deputy governor to the Nazi Germany-controlled General Government in Kraków during World War II.July Putsch
The July Putsch was a failed coup d'état attempt against the Austrofascist regime by Austrian Nazis, which took place between 25 – 30 July 1934.
Just a few months after the Austrian Civil War Austrian Nazis and German SS soldiers attacked the Chancellery in Vienna in an attempt to depose the ruling Fatherland Front government under Engelbert Dollfuss in favor of replacing it with a pro-Nazi government under Anton Rintelen of the Social Democrats. The Nazi putsch ultimately failed as the majority of the Austrian population and Federal forces remained loyal to the government. The Nazis did however succeed in killing Chancellor Dollfuss, though Kurt Schuschnigg succeeded him and the Austrofascist regime remained in power.
A German invasion of Austria in support of the putsch was averted due to the guarantee of independence and diplomatic support Austria received from Fascist Italy.Kraków District
Kraków District (German: Distrikt Krakau, Polish: Dystrykt krakowski) was one of the original four administrative districts set up by the Nazis after the German occupation of Poland during the years of 1939-1945. This district, along with the other three districts, formed the General Government. It was established on October 12, 1939 by Adolf Hitler, with the capital in occupied Kraków – the historic residence of Polish royalty. The Nazi Gauleiter Hans Frank became the Governor-General of the entire territory of General Government (German: Generalgouvernement). He made his residence in Kraków at the heavily guarded Wawel castle. Frank was the former legal counsel to the Nazi Party.List of Nazi Party leaders and officials
This is a list of Nazi Party (NSDAP) leaders and officials.Lublin Reservation
The Lublin Reservation (German: Lublin-Reservat) was a concentration camp complex developed by Nazi German Schutzstaffel (SS) in the early stages of World War II, as the so-called "territorial solution to the Jewish Question". The idea for the expulsion and resettlement of the Jews of Europe, into the remote corner of the Generalgouvernement territory bordering the cities of Lublin and Nisko, was devised by Adolf Hitler and formulated by his SS henchmen as the so-called Nisko und Lublin Plan named alternatively after both locations. The plan was developed in September 1939 after the invasion of Poland and implemented between October 1939 and April 1940, in contrast to similar Nazi "Madagascar" and other Jewish relocation plans drawn up before the attack on Poland at the onset of World War II.Adolf Hitler devised the idea with the help of Nazi chief ideologist Alfred Rosenberg and Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler, including active participation of SS-Obersturmbannführer Adolf Eichmann ("architect of the Holocaust"); as well as Heinrich Müller of the Gestapo, Hans Frank (Hitler's personal lawyer), and Arthur Seyss-Inquart of the Generalgouvernement administration. Gruppenführer Odilo Globocnik, the former Gauleiter of Vienna – appointed the SS and Police Leader of the new Lublin District – was put in charge of the reservation. During early implementation of the plan, the Nazis set up a system of ghettos for Jewish civilians to utilize them as the German workforce. The first forced labour camps were established for the Burggraben project intended to fortify the Nazi-Soviet demarcation line, and to supply the local SS units at Lublin from Lipowa.In total, about 95,000 Jews were deported to the Lublin Reservation. The main camp of the entire complex was set up in Bełżec initially (before the construction of death camp) for the Jewish forced labor. In March 1942 it became the first Nazi extermination camp of Operation Reinhard, with permanent gas chambers arranged by Christian Wirth in fake shower rooms. Though the Burggraben camps were temporarily closed in late 1940, many of them were reactivated in 1941. Two other extermination camps, Sobibor and Majdanek, were later set up in the Lublin district also. The Lipowa camp became a subcamp of the latter in 1943. The Nisko Plan was abandoned for pragmatic reasons; nevertheless, the Zwangsarbeitslagers (German for "forced labor camps") already established for DAW became the industrial base of other SS projects such as Ostindustrie. A number of them functioned until Aktion Erntefest, others beyond the massacres.In 1942, the so-called "Territorial Solution to the Jewish question" was abandoned in favour of the "Final Solution to the Jewish Question".Niklas Frank
Niklas Frank (born 9 March 1939) is a German author and journalist best known for an intimate and strongly accusatory book about his father, Hans Frank, the Nazi lawyer who became Governor-General of occupied Poland during World War II.Nuremberg executions
The Nuremberg executions took place on 16 October 1946, shortly after the conclusion of the Nuremberg Trials. Ten prominent members of the political and military leadership of Nazi Germany were executed by hanging: Hans Frank, Wilhelm Frick, Alfred Jodl, Ernst Kaltenbrunner, Wilhelm Keitel, Joachim von Ribbentrop, Alfred Rosenberg, Fritz Sauckel, Arthur Seyss-Inquart, and Julius Streicher. Hermann Göring was also scheduled to be hanged on that day, but committed suicide using a potassium cyanide capsule the night before. Martin Bormann was also sentenced to death in absentia, but reportedly had committed suicide while attempting to escape Berlin on 2 May 1945.
The sentences were carried out in the gymnasium of Nuremberg Prison by the United States Army using the standard drop method instead of long drop.The executioners were Master Sergeant John C. Woods and his assistant, military policeman Joseph Malta. Woods may have miscalculated the lengths for the ropes used for the executions, such that some of the men did not die quickly of an intended broken neck but instead strangled to death slowly.Some reports indicated some executions took from 14 minutes to 28 minutes. The Army denied claims that the drop length was too short or that the condemned died from strangulation instead of a broken neck.Additionally, the trapdoor was too small, such that several of the condemned suffered bleeding head injuries when they hit the sides of the trapdoor while dropping through.The bodies were rumored to have been taken to Dachau for cremation, but were instead incinerated in a crematorium in Munich and the ashes scattered over the river Isar.Kingsbury Smith of the International News Service wrote an eyewitness account of a reporter watching the hangings. His historical press account of it appeared with photos in newspapers.Otto Wächter
Baron Otto Gustav von Wächter (8 July 1901, Vienna, Austria-Hungary – 14 July 1949, Rome, Italy) was an Austrian lawyer, Nazi politician and a high-ranking member of the SS, a paramilitary organisation of the Nazi Party.
During the occupation of Poland in World War II, he was the Governor of the district of Kraków in the General Government and then of the District of Galicia (now for the most part in Ukraine). Later, in 1944, he was appointed as head of the German Military Administration in the puppet state of the Republic of Salò in Italy. During the last two months of the war, he was responsible for the non-German forces at the Reich Main Security Office (RSHA) in Berlin.
In 1940 68,000 Jews were expelled from Kraków and in 1941 the Kraków Ghetto was created for the remaining 15,000 Jews by his decrees. On 28 September 1946 the Polish government requested the Military Governor of the United States Zone that Wächter be delivered to Poland for trial for "mass murder, shooting and executions. Under his command of District Galicia more than one hundred thousand Polish citizens lost their lives,...”
He managed to evade the Allied authorities for 4 years. In 1949, Wächter was given refuge by pro-Nazi Austrian bishop Alois Hudal in the Vatican where he died the same year, aged 48, reportedly from kidney disease.Radom Ghetto
Radom Ghetto was a World War II ghetto set up in March 1941 by Nazi Germany in the city of Radom during occupation of Poland, for the purpose of persecution and exploitation of Polish Jews. It was closed off from the outside officially in April 1941. A year and a half later, the liquidation of the ghetto began in August 1942, and ended in July 1944, with approximately 30,000–32,000 victims (men, women and children) deported aboard Holocaust trains to their deaths at the Treblinka extermination camp.Sonderdienst
Sonderdienst (German: Special Services) were the Nazi German paramilitary formations created in semicolonial General Government during the occupation of Poland in World War II. They were based on similar SS formations called Volksdeutscher Selbstschutz operating in the Warthegau district of German-annexed western part of Poland in 1939.Sonderdienst were founded on 6 May 1940 by Gauleiter Hans Frank who stationed in occupied Kraków. Initially, they were made up of ethnic German Volksdeutsche who lived in Poland before the attack and joined the invading force thereafter. However, after the 1941 Operation Barbarossa they also included Soviet prisoners of war who volunteered for special training, such as the Trawniki men (German: Trawnikimänner) deployed at all major killing sites of the "Final Solution". A lot of those men did not know German and required translation by their native commanders. The Abteilung Sonderdienst (Department of Special Services) was subordinate to Oberkommando der Wehrmacht sabotage division under Colonel Erwin von Lahousen (1 September 1939 – July 1943), and Colonel Wessel Freytag von Loringhoven (July 1943 – June 1944).The Immortals (neo-Nazis)
The Immortals (German Die Unsterblichen) was a neo-Nazi organization based in Germany that uses flash mobs to coordinate, gather and demonstrate. The members wear black clothing with white facial masks and carry torches when they march.Thule Society
The Thule Society (; German: Thule-Gesellschaft), originally the Studiengruppe für germanisches Altertum ("Study Group for Germanic Antiquity"), was a German occultist and völkisch group founded in Munich right after World War I, named after a mythical northern country in Greek legend. The society is notable chiefly as the organization that sponsored the Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (DAP; German Workers' Party), which was later reorganized by Adolf Hitler into the National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP or Nazi Party). According to Hitler biographer Ian Kershaw, the organization's "membership list ... reads like a Who's Who of early Nazi sympathizers and leading figures in Munich", including Rudolf Hess, Alfred Rosenberg, Hans Frank, Julius Lehmann, Gottfried Feder, Dietrich Eckart, and Karl Harrer.However, Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke contends that Hans Frank and Rudolf Hess had been Thule members, but other leading Nazis had only been invited to speak at Thule meetings or they were entirely unconnected with it. According to Johannes Hering, "There is no evidence that Hitler ever attended the Thule Society."Veit Stoss altarpiece in Kraków
The Altarpiece by Veit Stoss in Kraków (Polish: Ołtarz Wita Stwosza, German: Krakauer Hochaltar), also St. Mary's Altar (Ołtarz Mariacki), is the largest Gothic altarpiece in the world and a national treasure of Poland. It is located behind the High altar of St. Mary's Basilica in Kraków. The altarpiece was carved between 1477 and 1489 by the German sculptor Veit Stoss (known in Polish as Wit Stwosz) who lived and worked in the city for over 20 years.
In 1941, during the German occupation, the dismantled altarpiece was shipped to the Third Reich on the order of Hans Frank – the Governor-General of that part of occupied Poland. It was recovered in 1946 in Bavaria, hidden in the basement of the heavily bombed Nuremberg Castle. The High Altar underwent major restoration work in Poland and was put back in its place at the Basilica 10 years later.