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Karl Hermann Frank
January 24, 1898 - May 22, 1946 (aged 48)
KHF1000.jpg
Place of birth Karlsbad (Karlovy Vary)
Place of death Prague
Allegiance Germany
Years of service 1918-1945
Rank SS-Obergruppenführer und General der Waffen-SS und Polizei
Awards Golden Party Badge, SS-Ehrenring

Karl Hermann Frank (24 January 1898 – 22 May 1946) was a prominent Sudeten German Nazi official in Czechoslovakia prior to and during World War II and an SS-Obergruppenführer. He was executed by hanging after World War II for his role in organizing the massacres of the people of the Czech villages of Lidice and Ležáky.

Contents

Early life

Born in Karlsbad, Bohemia in Austria-Hungary (present-day Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic), Frank was taught by his father (a proponent of Georg Ritter von Schönerer’s policies) about nationalist agitation. After spending an unsuccessful year at the law school of the German University in Prague, Frank served in the Austro-Hungarian Army at the end of World War I. After the war, Frank operated a book store and joined various right wing groups and societies, such as the Kameradschaftsbund. An extreme advocate of the incorporation of the Sudetenland into Germany, Frank joined the Deutsche Nationalsozialistische Arbeiterpartei (Sudeten German National Socialist Party-DNSAP) in 1919 and set up a book store out of which he distributed Nazi propaganda. When the party was suppressed by the Czechoslovak government, Frank helped organize the Sudeten-German Homeland Front in 1933, which officially became the Sudeten German Party (SdP) in 1935. In 1935, Frank became deputy leader of the SdP and was elected a member of the Czechoslovak Parliament. Coming to represent the most radical National Socialists in the SdP, Frank was made Deputy Gauleiter of the Sudetenland when it became part of Germany in October 1938. Frank’s radicalism gained him the favor of Heinrich Himmler, who made Frank an SS Brigadeführer in November 1938.

World War II

K. H. Frank (left) in the field

In 1939, Frank was promoted to SS Group Leader (Gruppenführer) and appointed Higher SS and Police Leader of and Secretary of State of the Reich Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia under Reich Protector Konstantin von Neurath. Although nominally under Neurath, Frank wielded the real power in the protectorate due to his vast knowledge of Czech affairs and Himmler’s support. As Secretary of State and leader of the police, Frank pursued a policy of harsh suppression of dissident Czechs, pushed for the arrest of Bohemia and Moravia’s Prime Minister, Alois Elias, and secretly worked to discredit Neurath. When Neurath was dismissed from his post in September 1941, Frank hoped to be appointed Reich Protector in his place but was passed over in favor of Reinhard Heydrich. Although the working relationship between Frank and Heydrich was initially tense, the two eventually put aside their differences and became an efficient and effective duo.

Bodies of men murdered at Lidice, a notorious crime against humanity organized by Frank and Kurt Daluege.

When Heydrich was assassinated in May 1942, Frank was once again passed over for promotion when Kurt Daluege became the new Reich Protector. Daluege and Frank were instrumental in initiating the destruction of the Czech villages of Lidice and Ležáky in order to get revenge on the Czech populace for Heydrich’s death. Under Daluege, Frank continued to consolidate his power and by the time Wilhelm Frick was appointed Reich Protector in 1943, Frank was the most powerful official in Bohemia and Moravia. In August 1942, he was made a Minister of State as Reich Minister for Bohemia and Moravia. In June 1943, he was promoted to SS Senior Group Leader (Obergruppenführer) and General of Police in Prague. Frank was also made a General of the Waffen SS.

From 30 April to 1 May 1945, before the Prague Uprising, Frank announced over the radio that he would drown any uprising in a "sea of blood." Later, as rumors of an impending Allied approach reached Prague, the people of Prague streamed into the streets to welcome the victors. Frank ordered the streets to be cleared and instructed the German army and police forces in Prague to fire at anyone who disobeyed.

Trial and death

After surrendering to the U.S. Army in Pilsen on 9 May 1945, Frank was extradited to a People’s Court in Prague and tried between March and April 1946. After being convicted of war crimes and the obliteration of Lidice, Frank was sentenced to death and hanged, via the Austro-Hungarian "pole method," in the courtyard of the Pankrac prison in Prague before 5,000 onlookers on 22 May 1946. He was buried in an anonymous pit at Prague's Ďáblice cemetery.

Personal life

Frank was married twice. On 21 January 1925 he married Anna Müller (born 5 January 1899 in Karlsbad). They divorced on 17 February 1940 (later the same year Müller remarried to Karl-Hermann’s successor as deputy Gauleiter of Sudetenland, SA-Brigadeführer Dr. Fritz Köllner). The couple had two sons Harald, born 20 January 1926 and Gerhard born 22 April 1931. Harald served as a SS-Panzergrenadier with the 1. SS Division Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler and was severely wounded in March 1945 in Hungary. Frank remarried on 14 April 1940 to a physician, Dr. Karola Blaschek (born 13 August 1913 in Brüx). They had together one son, Wolf-Dietrich (born 20 August 1942) and two daughters Edda (born 16 August 1941) and Holle-Sigrid (born 8 March 1944). After the war, Dr. Blatschek was held a prisoner by the Soviets until 1956 and her children grew up in care homes.

Summary of SS career

Dates of rank

Notable decorations

References

  • Michael D. Miller, Leaders of the SS & German Police, Volume I: Ahrens to Gutenberg (Bender Publishing, (2007), ISBN 9329700373).
  • Gordon Williamson, The SS: Hitler's Instrument of Terror: The Full Story From Street Fighters to the Waffen-SS (Motorbooks International, (March 1994), ISBN 0879389052, ISBN 978-0879389055).







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