- 23 May 1900
- Karlsruhe, Germany
Hans Frank was born in Karlsruhe, Germany, on May 23, 1900. At age 17 he joined the German army and fought in World War I. After the war he got involved in the "freikorps" movement, extreme right-wing paramilitary units that engaged in intimidation, extortion, street brawls and political murders (many of these groups were later absorbed into the SS when the Nazis came to power). Frank joined the Nazi party and took part in the abortive "Beer Hall Putsch" of 1923, when Adolf Hitler and a small band of Nazi followers attempted, unsuccessfully, to overthrow the Bavarian government. Frank later became a lawyer and a legal advisor to both Hitler and the Nazi party. In 1930 he was elected to the German parliament (Reichstag). Upon Hitler's ascension to German Chancellor in 1933, Frank was appointed as Justice Minister in Bavaria. In 1934, when Hitler moved against Ernst Röhm and the "brownshirts" of the SA, whom he feared were planning to seize power from him, Frank apparently objected to the summary executions of many of the SA's leaders, but his objections were ignored and the executions were carried out. As a result, Frank lost much of what influence he had in the party organization. When World War II broke out Frank was appointed Governor General of Poland, and under his administration the infamous death camps were utilized as part of the Nazis' "Final Solution" program of exterminating European Jews, which resulted in the death of millions of Jews, Gypsies and other "undesirables". Also under his administration, the SS and Gestapo were known to have committed horrific atrocities against Polish civilians whom they suspected of being involved with the Polish resistance, including mass rapes, liquidation of entire villages, massacres of women and children and wholesale deportations to concentration camps (at his trial after the war Frank denied any and all knowledge of those incidents and placed the blame on Heinrich Himmler, head of the SS). Frank was captured by Allied forces in May of 1945 and placed on trial with other high Nazi officials at the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal, charged with, among other things, crimes against humanity. He was found guilty and sentenced to death. Before the sentence was carried out he converted to Roman Catholicism, and finally admitted his involvement in the carrying out of the Holocaust, among other things, and asked to be forgiven. He was hanged on October 1, 1946.
|Ο θρίαμβος της θέλησης – Triumph des Willens (1935)
|March 28, 1935