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KARL AUGUST WILHELM FRENZEL (20 August 1911 – 2 September 1996) was an SS non-commissioned officer in Sobibór extermination camp . As the commandant of _Camp I_, he supervised the _ Special
Special
squad _ of Jewish prisoners who were forced to handle the killing procedure and also herded the victims into the gas chambers.

After World War II he was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for war crimes, and served 16 years in prison, but was ultimately released.

CONTENTS

* 1 Biography

* 1.1 Early life * 1.2 Action T4 * 1.3 Sobibór * 1.4 Arrest and trial

* 2 Depictions * 3 Death * 4 Quotes * 5 References * 6 External links

BIOGRAPHY

EARLY LIFE

Frenzel was born in Zehdenick , Templin district on 20 August 1911. His father had worked for the railroad and was a local official of the Social Democratic Party of Germany
Germany
. Karl completed primary school from 1918 to 1926 in Oranienburg and then apprenticed as a carpenter . During this time, he was a member of the socialist carpenter's union. However, after passing the qualifying carpentry exam in 1930 he found himself unemployed. Later he found work for a short time as a butcher .

The Nazi Party promised that there would be more jobs after the seizure of power, a reason which motivated Frenzel when he joined both the party and the Sturmabteilung (SA) in August 1930. His brother, a theology student, had joined the Nazi Party the previous year. His father would join the party in 1934. Frenzel claimed that antisemitism was an aspect of the politics to which they were indifferent. He would later claim that he was appalled by the early persecution of Jews
Jews
in Germany.

In 1929, at the age of eighteen, Frenzel met his first girlfriend, who was Jewish . Their relationship dissolved after two years when her father heard that Frenzel was a Nazi Party member. She and her family emigrated to the United States
United States
in 1934.

Frenzel served in the auxiliary police force in the brown shirt SA during the summer of 1933. Through his party connections he then obtained jobs first as a carpenter and later as a custodian .

In 1934, Frenzel married his wife. Karl and his wife were Christians. They were married in a church and they went to church "if not every Sunday, at least every other or third Sunday". All of their five children were baptized. They bought the furniture for their new home from a Jewish merchant. Towards the end of the war, in 1945, Frenzel's wife was raped by Soviet soldiers . She developed abdominal typhus and died soon thereafter.

ACTION T4

At the start of the Second World War, Frenzel was drafted into the Reich Labor Service . However, he was soon released because he had many children to support. His brothers were in the army, and he felt left out of the action. Responding to an appeal to loyal party members, Frenzel applied for special service in the military through his SA unit, but instead he was assigned to Action T4 , the Nazi state's program to kill all people with disabilities . When the Wehrmacht later called for his service, T4 prevented his transfer.

Along with other T4 recruits, Frenzel reported to the Columbia Haus in late 1939, where he was first checked for political reliability and then watched a film on the supposed degeneration of handicapped people. First he worked in the laundry and as a guard at Grafeneck Castle , then he worked in construction at Bernburg Euthanasia Centre , and finally became a stoker at Hadamar Euthanasia Centre . As a stoker, he was responsible for removing the dead bodies from the gas chambers, breaking out gold teeth, and burning the bodies, as well as various other tasks around the gas chambers and crematoria.

It has been speculated that Frenzel helped in the design of the gas chambers at Hadamar. Like his colleagues, this was Frenzel's first experience with gassing and burning people, which would be useful later in the extermination camps. On 20 April 1942, he was assigned to Operation Reinhard and sent to Sobibór extermination camp .

SOBIBóR

Frenzel claimed that when he received his orders, he was told that Sobibór was merely a work camp which he had to guard. When he found out the camp's true nature, he was forbidden from discussing it with anyone, as it was to be kept a state secret. The penalty for violating this was imprisonment at a concentration camp or death.

Frenzel was the commandant of Camp I, which was the forced labor camp, at Sobibór. He also commanded the _Bahnhofkommando_. He served as Gustav Wagner 's replacement as the quartermaster-sergeant of the camp when Wagner was attending to duties elsewhere or was on vacation. During these times, Frenzel selected which prisoners from the newly arrived transports would work in and outside the camp (in effect, also selecting the vast majority that would go to the gas chambers). In this capacity, Frenzel carried out genocide , taking part in the industrial-scale extermination of hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children, as part of Operation Reinhard .

Frenzel freely used his whip on inmates without reservation. Erich Bauer , one of the commanders of Camp III, stated: "He was one of the most brutal members of the permanent staff in the camp. His whip was very loose." For instance, in spring 1943, when a worker prisoner tried to take his own life and was found dying, Frenzel shouted that Jews
Jews
had no right to kill themselves — only Germans had the right to kill. Frenzel whipped the dying man and finished him off with a bullet.

Years later in an interview, Frenzel claimed that he was always fair in doling out "punishments". In the spring of 1943, after two Jews from Chelm escaped from the camp, the staff consulted among themselves and Frenzel announced the verdict that every tenth prisoner at the morning roll call would be executed. Frenzel personally walked along the lines of the roll call and pulled the victims out of line to be shot at Camp III. Twenty prisoners were shot as a reprisal for the two who escaped.

Unlike many SS men, Frenzel supposedly had his limits. He testified that he tried to avoid participation in the more murderous actions of the camp. For instance, when he was put in charge of the trolley that transported Jews
Jews
to the gas chambers, he protested. Frenzel stated:

After the disembarking of the train, the children and the feeble Jews were forcibly thrown onto the trolley. Terrible scenes happened then. The people were separated from their families, pushed with rifle butts, lashed with whips. They cried dreadfully, so I could not cope with this task. Reichleitner complied with my request, and he appointed Bredow to escort the trolley.

Erich Bauer would later remark:

I estimate that the number of Jews
Jews
gassed at Sobibor was about 350,000. In the canteen at Sobibor I once overheard a conversation between Karl Frenzel, Franz Stangl and Gustav Wagner . They were discussing the number of victims in the extermination camps of Belzec , Treblinka and Sobibor and expressed their regret that Sobibor "came last" in the competition.

After the prisoner revolt of 14 October 1943, Frenzel helped in dismantling the camp. He was then sent to participate in _Sondertruppe R_ in Trieste
Trieste
and Fiume
Fiume
, which confiscated the houses of deported Jews
Jews
in Italy.

ARREST AND TRIAL

At war's end, he was arrested by United States
United States
troops at a prisoner of war camp near Munich , but was soon released. Frenzel found a job in Frankfurt
Frankfurt
as a stage lighting technician . On 22 March 1962, while on a break at work, he was again identified, arrested and brought to trial along with other former SS officers at the Sobibór trials on 6 September 1965.

The official charge brought against Frenzel was the personal murder of 42 Jews
Jews
and participation in the murder of approximately 250,000 Jews.

Frenzel's justification for his activity at Sobibór:

As I already pointed out, under the prevailing war conditions, which are now difficult to comprehend, I unfortunately believed that what was going on in Sobibor was lawful. To my regret, I was then convinced of its necessity. I was shocked that just during the war, when I wanted to serve my homeland, I had to be in such a terrible extermination camp. But then I thought very often about the enemy bomber pilots, who surely were not asked whether they wanted to carry out their murderous flights against German people in their homes in such a manner.

On 20 December 1966, Frenzel was sentenced to life imprisonment for personally murdering six Jews, and for his participation in the mass murder of a further 150,000 Jews
Jews
as Commandant of Sobibór's Lager (camp) No. I. He was released on a technicality in 1982, re-tried, and again sentenced to life imprisonment on 4 October 1985. Due to his advanced age and poor health, the sentence was not imposed and he was released.

Sobibór survivor Thomas Blatt was among those called to testify as a witness against Frenzel at the post-war trial, and when Blatt traveled to the court venue city, Blatt and Frenzel met at a hotel in order to discuss historical questions and technical details about camp operation for the history of the uprising Blatt was then writing; the event is presumed to be the only time that a Nazi death camp supervisor was interviewed by a death camp prisoner. In the years after the war, Frenzel frequently expressed remorse for his actions, but explained that he had simply complied with his duty. He renounced his belief in the Nazi Party.

Ever since 1945, I have been cursing the Nazis — for everything, for what they did, and everything they stood for. I fought against the devil. Since 1945 I have refrained from any involvement in politics.

DEPICTIONS

In the 1987 movie _Escape from Sobibor _, Karl Frenzel
Karl Frenzel
was played by Kurt Raab . Frenzel's role as Solibor Camp Commandant was featured in the PBS TV Movie _Escape from a Nazi Death Camp_ (2014)

DEATH

Karl Frenzel
Karl Frenzel
spent the last years of his life in a retirement home in Garbsen near Hannover, where he died on 2 September 1996.

QUOTES

In a 1983 interview, Frenzel — who was at the camp from its inception to its closure — admitted the following about Sobibór:

Poles
Poles
were not killed there. Gypsies were not killed there. Russians were not killed there ... only Jews
Jews
, Russian Jews
Jews
, Polish Jews
Jews
, Dutch Jews
Jews
, French Jews
Jews
.

When my children and friends ask me whether it is true, I tell them yes, it is true. And when they say, but this is impossible, then I tell them again, it is really true. It is wrong to say that it never happened.

REFERENCES

* ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ Sobibor - The Forgotten Revolt Archived 2008-05-04 at the Wayback Machine . * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ _F_ Frenzel interview Archived July 11, 2006, at the Wayback Machine . * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ Sobibor Interviews: Biographies of SS-men * ^ Schelvis, Jules : _Sobibor: A History of a Nazi Death Camp_, Berg: Oxford 2007, p. 250 * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ _F_ _G_ _H_ Thomas Blatt . _From the Ashes of Sobibor_, pp. 235-42. Northwestern University Press, 1997. * ^ Klee, Ernst : _Das Personenlexikon zum Dritten Reich. Wer war was vor und nach 1945?_. Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, Zweite aktualisierte Auflage, Frankfurt
Frankfurt
am Main 2003 ISBN 3-10-039309-0 * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Henry Friedlander (1995). _The Origins of Nazi Genocide: From Euthanasia to the Final Solution_, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, p. 241. ISBN 0-8078-2208-6 * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ Yitzhak Arad (1987). _Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka: The Operation Reinhard Death Camps_, Bloomington: Indiana University Press , pg. 192. * ^ _A_ _B_ Klee, Ernst , Dressen, Willi, Riess, Volker. _The Good Old Days: The Holocaust as Seen by Its Perpetrators and Bystanders_, p. 243; ISBN 1-56852-133-2 . * ^ Yitzhak Arad (1987). _Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka: The Operation Reinhard Death Camps_, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, pg. 266. * ^ _A_ _B_ Sobibor Trial * ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3756824/fullcredits?ref_=ttfc_ql_1

EXTERNAL LINKS

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