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Karl Hermann Frank
Karl Hermann Frank (January 24, 1898 - May 22, 1946) was a prominent Sudeten-German Nazi official in Czechoslovakia prior to and during World War II and an SS-Obergruppenführer.
Born in Karlsbad, Frank was taught by his father (a proponent of Georg Ritter von Schönerer’s policies) at a young age to hate Czechs and Jews. 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 Sudetenland being incorporated 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 of 1938. Frank’s radicalism gained him the favor of Heinrich Himmler, who made Frank an SS Brigadeführer in November of 1938.
World War II
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 of 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.
When Heydrich was assassinated in June of 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 of 1942, he was made a Minister of State as Reich Minister for Bohemia and Moravia. In June of 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 May 9, 1945, Frank was extradited to a People’s Court in Prague and tried between March and April of 1946. After being convicted of war crimes and the obliteration of Lidice, Frank was sentenced to death and hanged in the courtyard of the Pankrac prison in Prague before 5,000 onlookers on May 22, 1946.
Frank was married twice. On January 21, 1925 he married to Anna Müller (born January 05, 1899 in Karlsbad). They divorced on February 17, 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 (born January 20, 1926 and April 22, 1931). Frank remarried on April 14, 1940 to Dr. Karola Blaschek (born August 13, 1913 in Brüx). They had together one son, Wolf-Dietrich (born August 20, 1942) and two daughters Edda (born August 16, 1941) and Holle (born March 08, 1944). After the war, Karola Blatschek was held a prisoner by the Russians until 1956 and her children grew up in care homes.
Summary of SS career
Dates of rank
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