Traces of War online - Nazi Hunters TV - Gustav Wagner & Brazilian TV - Guy Walters - Tom Bower - Richard Rashke - Franz Stangl - Franz Stangl & Gitta Sereny - Last Days of the Nazis TV -
Franz Stangl is seen by many as the role model of the loyal and obedient police officer in any circumstance. Because of his upbringing in an authoritarian family and an education where blind obedience came first, he has carried out his tasks with meticulous dedication to which many hundreds of thousands have fallen victim. The life of Stangl was one of an inconspicuous civil servant who became a conscious cog in the machinery of the Holocaust.
Austrian police officer Stangl started his career in the mass murder factory in the Nazi euthanasia program and continued his work as commander of the extermination camps Sobibor and Treblinka respectively. During the last years of he war he was active in northern Italy and Yugoslavia. Traces of War online article 2017
Kommandant Franz Stangl was in charge of both Sobibor and Treblinka extermination camps. He helped to perfect these killing machines. At the end of the war he and one of his brutal subordinates went on the run, hiding out in South America. They would be pursued for thirty years by Simon Wiesenthal – himself a survivor of the Nazi concentration camps ... Wiesenthal was to become Stangl’s nemesis. Nazi Hunters: Death Camp Kommandant
In early 1942 Stangl was sent as commandant to what became known as Sobibor in eastern Poland. He later claimed he thought he’d been sent there to build an army supply camp in the forest. ibid.
In the three months Stangl was in charge at Sobibor about 100,000 Jews were killed in this way. ibid.
Stangl was taken completely by surprise. Just as Simon Wiesenthal had planned. ibid.
Vienna, Austria, 22nd February 1964: Simon Wiesenthal was the world’s most famous Nazi hunter. In his office at the Jewish Documentation Centre he amassed files on hundreds of fugitive War criminals. It was solitary work. But one day came an unexpected visitor ... Weisenthal was intrigued. Franz Stangl was high on his list of wanted war criminals. But he couldn’t help but be suspicious of the unusual offer. Nazi Hunters: Stangl & Wagner
After the war Franz Stangl found refuge in Brazil. He made a comfortable life for his wife and three daughters. ibid.
The police took Stangl to prison to await extradition. Five thousand miles away in Vienna what Simon Wiesenthal didn’t know was that Stangl’s capture would eventually put him on the trail of another major war criminal. When questioned, the former death camp Kommandant insisted his job was simply to record the victims’ names before they were gassed. Days later Wiesenthal heard from the mysterious informant. As promised he honoured their agreement. ibid.
Brazilian television reporter 30th May 1978: This man says you were the head of the concentration camp.
Gustav Wagner: That’s untrue. Stangl was the boss.
This man [Stangl] is responsible for so much death. He was unmolested for so many years. Guy Walters
He [Stangl] quite happily shopped his old friend Gustav Wagner. Guy Walters
He [Wagner] is found with supposedly self-inflicted knife wounds. Guy Walters
Wagner escaped justice. He should have suffered the trial and suffered the long imprisonment. Tom Bower, author
He [Wiesenthal] did come to symbolise the hunt for the Nazi war criminals when everyone else had forgotten it. Tom Bower
Stangl was in charge of a massive killing machine responsible for the death of 800,000 people. That’s big-time mass murder. Richard Rashke, author Escape from Sobibor
To tell the truth, one did become used to it ... They were cargo. I think it started the day I first saw the Totenlager [extermination area] in Treblinka. I remember Wirth standing there, next to the pits full of black-blue corpses. It had nothing to do with humanity – it could not have. It was a mass – a mass of rotting flesh. Wirth said, ‘What shall we do with this garbage?’ I think unconsciously that started me thinking of them as cargo ... I rarely saw them as individuals. It was always a huge mass. I sometimes stood on the wall and saw them in the ‘tube’ – they were naked, packed together, running, being driven with whips. Franz Stangl, cited Yitzhak Arad 1987
‘My conscience is clear about what I did, myself,’ he said, in the same stiffly tone he had used countless times at his trial, and in the past weeks, when we had always come back to this subject, over and over again. But this time I said nothing. He paused and waited, but the room remained silent. ‘I have never intentionally hurt anyone, myself,’ he said, with a different, less incisive emphasis, and waited again – for a long time. For the first time, in all these many days, I had given him no help. There was no more time. He gripped the table with both hands as if he was holding on to it. ‘But I was there,’ he said then, in a curiously dry and tired tone of resignation. These few sentences had taken almost half an hour to pronounce. ‘So yes,’ he said finally, very quietly, ‘in reality I share the guilt ... Because my guilt ... my guilt ... only now in these talks ... now that I have talked about it all for the first time ...’ He stopped. Gitta Sereny, interview Franz Stangl recorded ‘Into that Darkness’
Franz Stangl: detained in Austria in 1945: Stangl’s interrogators knew he was a high-ranking Nazi. They also suspected that he had a critical role in what would become the Final Solution. Last Days of the Nazis: War of Conquest
Franz Stangl: ran security for the T4 euthanasia programme before being assigned to extermination camps in Poland. Last Days of the Nazis IV: The Executioners