The Info List - Kurt Franz

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KURT HUBERT FRANZ (17 January 1914 – 4 July 1998) was an SS officer and one of the commanders of the Treblinka
extermination camp . Franz was one of the major perpetrators of genocide during the Holocaust .


* 1 Early career * 2 Action T4

* 3 Treblinka

* 3.1 Barry the dog * 3.2 The Treblinka
song * 3.3 Torment of prisoners

* 4 Post-war trial and conviction * 5 References


Kurt Franz
Kurt Franz
was born in 1914 in Düsseldorf . He attended public school in Düsseldorf from 1920 to 1928, and then worked as a messenger and as a cook. Franz's father, a merchant, died early. His mother was an observant Catholic. When she remarried, it was to a man with a strong right-wing nationalist outlook. Franz joined several right-wing national groups and served in the voluntary labor corps. He also trained with a master butcher for one year.

Franz joined the Nazi Party in 1932, and enlisted in the German Army in 1935. He fulfilled his military obligation and after his discharge, in October 1937, he joined the SS-Totenkopfverbände . First he received training with the Third Death Head Regiment Thuringia at Weimar , and then served as cook and guard at the Buchenwald concentration camp , where he attained the rank of _Unterscharführer _ (Corporal).


In late 1939 Franz was summoned to Hitler\'s Chancellery and detailed to take part in the Action T4 euthanasia program. Franz worked as a cook at Hartheim , Brandenburg , Grafeneck and Sonnenstein . In late 1941, he was assigned as cook at T4 headquarters.

On 20 April 1942, Franz was promoted to _ Oberscharführer _ (Staff Sergeant). In spring of 1942, Franz, along with other veterans of Action T4, went to Lublin concentration camp complex in the _Generalgouvernement_ , and was posted to the Bełżec extermination camp , where he stayed until the end of August 1942.


Main article: Treblinka
extermination camp

With a change of command in the Operation Reinhard death camp system, Franz was transferred to Treblinka
extermination camp . He quickly became the camp's deputy commandant on the orders of Christian Wirth . He was promoted to serve as the last camp commandant from mid August till November 1943 to conclude the Holocaust in Poland .

At first, Kurt Franz
Kurt Franz
supervised work commandos, the unloading of transports, and the transfer of Jews from the undressing rooms to the gas chambers. Franz had a baby-like face, and for this he was nicknamed "LALKE" ("doll" in Yiddish ) by the prisoners. But Franz's appearance belied his true nature. He was the dominant overseer in day-to-day interactions with prisoners in Treblinka, and he became the most feared man at Treblinka
for the cruelty which he visited upon them.

In Treblinka
I was commander of the Ukrainian guard unit as I had been in Belzec. In Treblinka
as in Belzec the unit consisted of sixty to eighty men. The Ukrainians' main task was to man the guard posts around the camp perimeter. After the prisoners' uprising in August 1943 I ran the camp more or less single-handedly for a month; however, during that period no more gassings were undertaken.

Facts prove otherwise. Despite visible damage to the camp during the revolt, the gas chambers were left intact and the killing of Polish Jews under Kurt Franz
Kurt Franz
continued, albeit at a reduced speed with only ten boxcars "processed" at a time until the last transport of victims arrived on 19 August with 7,600 survivors of the Białystok Ghetto Uprising . Franz followed Globocnik to Trieste
in November 1943.


Franz was known for being unusually cruel and sadistic. Franz made his rounds of the camp, often riding a horse, and he would take his St. Bernard dog , Barry, along with him. Barry was trained to follow Franz's command, and Franz's command was usually to bite the genitalia or buttocks of the prisoners.

Barry's first owner was Paul Groth , an SS officer at Sobibor . Depending on his mood, Franz set the dog on inmates who for some reason had attracted his attention. The command to which the dog responded was, "Man, grab that dog!" (German : _Mensch, faß den Hund_) By "man" Franz meant Barry; the "dog" was the inmate whom Barry was supposed to attack. Barry would bite his victim wherever he could catch him. The dog was the size of a calf so that, unlike smaller dogs, his shoulders reached to the buttocks and abdomen of a man of average size. For this reason he frequently bit his victims in the buttocks, in the abdomen and often, in the case of male inmates, in the genitals, sometimes partially biting them off. When the inmate was not very strong, the dog could knock him to the ground and maul him beyond recognition. But when Kurt Franz
Kurt Franz
was not around, Barry was a different dog. With Franz not there to influence him, the dog allowed himself to be petted and even teased, without harming anyone.


As reported by lower-ranking SS officers and soldiers, Kurt Franz also wrote the lyrics to a song which celebrated the Treblinka extermination camp. Prisoner Walter Hirsch wrote them for him. This song was taught to the few newly arriving Jews who were not killed immediately and were instead forced to work as slave laborers at the camp (_ Sonderkommandos _). These Jews were forced to memorize the song by nightfall of their first day at the camp. The melody for the song came from an SS officer at Buchenwald concentration camp . The music was written in a happy way, as though the deaths were a joyful process rather than one of mourning, in the key of D major . Franz's lyrics for the song are listed below:

Looking squarely ahead, brave and joyous, at the world. The squads march to work. All that matters to us now is Treblinka. It is our destiny. That's why we've become one with Treblinka
in no time at all. We know only the word of our Commander. We know only obedience and duty. We want to serve, to go on serving until a little luck smiles on us again. Hurray!


Kurt Franz
Kurt Franz
reviewed the prisoner roll call and participated in meting out punishments. For instance, when seven prisoners attempted to escape the camp, Franz had them taken to the _Lazarett_ and shot. He ordered a roll call and announced that if there were further attempted escapes, and especially if they were successful, ten prisoners would be shot for every escapee.

Franz enjoyed shooting at prisoners or those still in the rail cars with his pistol or a hunting rifle. He frequently selected bearded men from the newly arriving transports and asked them whether they believed in God. When the men replied "yes", Franz told each man to hold up a bottle as a target. He would then say to them, "If your God indeed exists, then I will hit the bottle, and if He does not exist, then I will hit you." Then Franz would shoot at them with a gun.

Undoubtedly, was the most terrifying of all the German personnel in the camp... witnesses agree that not a single day passed when he did not kill someone.

Kurt Franz
Kurt Franz
also had experience as a boxer before arriving at Treblinka. He put this training to sadistic use by victimizing Jews as punching bags. On occasion he would "challenge" a Jew to a boxing duel (of course the prisoner had to oblige), and gave the prisoner a boxing glove, while keeping one for himself, to give the illusion of a fair fight. But Franz kept a small pistol in the glove that he kept for himself, and he would proceed to shoot the prisoner dead once the gloves were on and they had assumed the starting boxing position.

Oscar Strawczinski wrote:

He rode through the camp with great pleasure and self-confidence. Barry, his big, curly-haired dog would lazily drag along behind...."Lalke" would never leave the place without leaving some memento for somebody. There was always some reason to be found. And even if there were no reason—it made no difference. He was an expert at whipping, twenty-five or fifty lashes. He did it with pleasure, without hurrying. He had his own technique for raising the whip and striking it down. To practice boxing, he would use the heads of Jews, and naturally there was no scarcity of those around. He would grab his victim's lapel and strike with the other hand. The victim would have to hold his head straight so that Franz could aim well. And indeed he did this expertly. The sight of a Jew's head after a "training session" of this sort is not difficult to imagine.

Once Lalka was strolling along the platform with a double-barrelled shotgun in his hand and Barry in his wake. He discovered a Jew in front of him, a neighbour of mine from Czestochowa, by the name of Steiner. Without a second thought, he aimed the gun at the man's buttocks and fired. Steiner fell amidst cries of pain. Lalka laughed. He approached him, commanded him to get up, pull down his pants, and then glanced at the wound. The Jew was beside himself with pain. His buttocks were oozing blood from the gashes caused by the lead bullets. But Lalka was not satisfied. He waved his hand and said, "Damn it, the balls haven't been harmed!" He continued his stroll to look for a new victim.

Franz also frequently enjoyed kicking and killing babies from the arriving transports.

Franz was promoted to _ Untersturmführer _ (Second Lieutenant) and became an appointed official on 21 June 1943 on the orders of Heinrich Himmler . On 2 August 1943, Franz along with four SS men and sixteen Ukrainians went for a swim in the nearby Bug River
Bug River
, which depleted the security at Treblinka
significantly and helped to improve the chances of success of the prisoner revolt that took place at the camp that day. After the revolt, the camp's commandant Franz Stangl left. Kurt Franz
Kurt Franz
served as his replacement, and he was instructed to dismantle the camp and to eliminate every trace of evidence that it had ever existed. Franz had at his disposal some SS men, a group of Ukrainian guards and about 100 Jewish prisoners who had remained after the uprising. The physical work was carried out by the Jews during September and October 1943, after which thirty to fifty prisoners were sent to Sobibor to finish dismantling there, and the remainder were shot and cremated on Franz's orders.

After Treblinka, in late autumn 1943, Franz was ordered to Trieste and northern Italy, where he participated in the persecution of partisans and Jews until the war's end. He was wounded on end 1944 and, after recovery, employed as security officer on the Görz-Trieste railway line.


Following the war, Kurt Franz
Kurt Franz
first worked as a laborer on bridges until 1949, at which point he returned to his former occupation as a cook and worked in Düsseldorf for 10 years until his arrest on 2 December 1959. A search of his home found a photo album of Treblinka with the title, "Beautiful Years".

At the Treblinka
Trials in 1965, Franz denied having ever killed a person, having ever set his dog on a Jew, and claimed to have only beaten a prisoner once. On 3 September he was found guilty of collective murder of at least 300,000 people, 35 counts of murder involving at least 139 people, and for attempted murder. He was sentenced to life imprisonment. He was released in 1993 for health reasons. Kurt Franz
Kurt Franz
died in Wuppertal
in 1998.


* ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ * ^ _A_ _B_ Henry Friedlander (1995). _The Origins of Nazi Genocide: From Euthanasia to the Final Solution_, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, p. 239. ISBN 0-8078-2208-6 * ^ _A_ _B_ Treblinka
Death Camp, with photographs Archived 2012-03-22 at the Wayback Machine ., Ounsdale, PDF (2.2 MB) * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ Klee, Ernst , Dressen, Willi, Riess, Volker. _The Good Old Days: The Holocaust as Seen by Its Perpetrators and Bystanders_, p. 291. ISBN 1-56852-133-2 . * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ Christian Zentner, Friedemann Bedürftig. _The Encyclopedia of the Third Reich_, p. 292. Macmillan, New York, 1991. ISBN 0-02-897502-2 * ^ Norman M. Naimark, _Fires of hatred: ethnic cleansing in twentieth-century Europe_ Harvard University Press, 2001, pg. 71. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ Yitzhak Arad (1987). _Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka: The Operation Reinhard Death Camps_, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, pp. 189-190. * ^ Testimonies of Nazi SS-Men at Treblinka
Jewish Virtual Library. Retrieved December 9, 2013. * ^ Klee, Ernst , Dressen, Willi, Riess, Volker. _The Good Old Days: The Holocaust as Seen by Its Perpetrators and Bystanders_, p. 247. ISBN 1-56852-133-2 . * ^ _A_ _B_ Kopówka, Edward ; Rytel-Andrianik, Paweł (2011), " Treblinka
II – Obóz zagłady" (PDF), _Dam im imię na wieki _ (in Polish), Drohiczyńskie Towarzystwo Naukowe , pp. 86, 90, 110, ISBN 978-83-7257-496-1 , archived from the original (PDF file, direct download 20.2 MB) on 10 October 2014, retrieved 9 September 2013, with list of Catholic rescuers of Jews imprisoned at Treblinka, selected testimonies, bibliography, alphabetical indexes, photographs, English language summaries, and forewords by Holocaust scholars. * ^ Alexander Donat . The Death Camp Treblinka, p. 313. New York: Holocaust Library, 1979. * ^ Lyrics by Kurt Hubert Franz according to testimony of SS- Unterscharführer (Corporal) Franz Suchomel , who served at Treblinka, see: Shoah (film) (1985). * ^ Gitta Sereny (1974). _Into That Darkness: From Mercy Killing to Mass Murder, a study of Franz Stangl , the commandant of Treblinka
_. London. * ^ Chrostowski, Witold. _Extermination Camp Treblinka_, p. 39. London: Vallentine Mitchell 2004, ISBN 0-85303-456-7 . * ^ Dick de Mildt, _In the Name of the People: Perpetrators of Genocide
in the Reflection of their Post-war Prosecution in West Germany_ (Martinus Nijhoff, 1996), p256 * ^ Klee, Ernst , Dressen, Willi, Riess, Volker. _The Good Old Days: The Holocaust as Seen by Its Perpetrators and Bystanders_, p. 249. ISBN 1-56852-133-2 .

* Kurt Franz
Kurt Franz
biography at Olokaustos. (in Italian)


Preceded by SS-_Obersturmführer_ Franz Stangl COMMANDANT OF TREBLINKA EXTERMINATION CAMP August 1943 – November 1943 Succeeded by None

* v * t * e

extermination camp

Timeline and List of individuals responsible


* Odilo Lotario Globocnik * Hermann Julius Höfle * Erwin Hermann Lambert * Richard Wolfgang Thomalla * Christian Wirth


* Irmfried Eberl

* 11 July to 26 August 1942

* Franz Paul Stangl

* 1 September 1942 to August 1943

* Kurt Hubert Franz

* August to November 1943


* Theodor van Eupen * Heinrich Arthur Matthes * Karl Pötzinger

Gas chamber executioners

* Gustav Münzberger * Fritz Schmidt


* Max Biala * Paul Bredow * Herbert Floss * Erich Fritz Erhard Fuchs * Lorenz Hackenholt * Hans Hingst * Josef Hirtreiter * Otto Richard Horn * Kurt Küttner * Karl Emil Ludwig * Willy Mätzig * Willi Mentz * August Wilhelm Miete * Max Möller * Willi Post * Albert Franz Rum * Karl Schiffer * Otto Stadie * Ernst Stengelin * Franz Suchomel


* "Ivan the Terrible " * John Demjanjuk
John Demjanjuk
a * Feodor Fedorenko * Nikolay Yegorovich Shalayev * " Trawnikis " a


* Ernst Arndt * Yitzchok Breiter * Amalia Carneri * Julian Chorążycki * Samuel Finkelstein * Artur Gold * Ludwik Holcman * Janusz Korczak * Berek Lajcher * Henryka Łazowertówna * Yechiel Lerer * Yitzchak Lowy * Simon Pullman * Natan Spigel * Symche Trachter * Zygmunt Zalcwasser * Lidia Zamenhof

* Resistance * Survivors

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* General Government
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* a Alleged * b Numbering 90 to 120

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* v * t * e

The Holocaust in Poland

Main article The Holocaust Related articles by country Belarus Belgium Croatia Denmark Estonia France Latvia Lithuania Norway Russia Ukraine

* v * t * e

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* Auschwitz-Birkenau * Chełmno * Majdanek

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Jewish ghettos in German-occupied Poland

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* Josef Bühler * Eichmann * Eicke * Ludwig Fischer
Ludwig Fischer
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Ernst Lerch
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Oswald Pohl
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Otto Wächter
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* Aumeier * Baer * Boger * Braunsteiner * Eberl * Eupen * Kurt Franz * Karl Frenzel
Karl Frenzel
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Josef Kramer
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Johann Niemann
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Szmul Zygielbojm


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Jewish Ghetto Police
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Stroop Report
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Sonderaktion 1005


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Kielce pogrom
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* Auschwitz trial
Auschwitz trial
(Poland) * Stutthof trials
Stutthof trials
* Extraordinary (Soviet) State Commission


* Museum of the History of Polish Jews
Polish Jews
* Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum
Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum