Franz Stangl
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See: Convenient Nazi deaths

See commandants: Richard Baer Rudolf Hoess Josef Kramer  Irmfried Eberl

The latest reminiscences to appear in print are those of Franz Stangl, the former commandant of the camp at Treblinka in Poland who was sentenced to life imprisonment in December 1970. These were published in an article by the London Daily Telegraph Magazine, October 8th, 1971, and were supposed to derive from a series of interviews with Stangl in prison. He died a few days after the interviews were concluded. These alleged reminiscences are certainly the goriest and most bizarre yet published, though one is grateful for a few admissions by the writer of the article, such as that "the evidence presented in the course of his trial did not prove Stangl himself to have committed specific acts of murder" and that the account of Stangl's beginnings in Poland "was in part fabrication."
    A typical example of this fabrication was the description of Stangl's first visit to Treblinka. As he drew into the railway station there, he is supposed to have seen "thousands of bodies" just strewn around next to the tracks, "hundreds, no, thousands of bodies everywhere, putrefying, decomposing." And "in the station was a train full of Jews, some dead, some still alive ... it looked as if it had been there for days." The account reaches the heights of absurdity when Stangl is alleged to have got out of his car and "stepped knee-deep into money: I didn't know which way to turn, which way to go. I waded in paper-notes, currency, precious stones, jewellery and clothes. They were everywhere, strewn all over the square." The scene is completed by "whores from Warsaw weaving drunk, dancing, singing, playing music", who were on the other side of the barbed wire fences.
    To literally believe this account of sinking "knee-deep" in Jewish bank-notes and precious stones amid thousands of putrefying corpses and lurching, singing prostitutes would require the most phenomenal degree of gullibility, and in any circumstances other than the Six Million legend it would be dismissed as the most outrageous nonsense. The statement which certainly robs the Stangl memoirs of any vestige of authenticity is his alleged reply when asked why he thought the Jews were being exterminated: "They wanted the Jews' money," is the answer. "That racial business was just secondary." The series of interviews are supposed to have ended on a highly dubious note indeed. When asked whether he thought there had been "any conceivable sense in this horror," the former Nazi commandant supposedly replied with enthusiasm: "Yes, I am sure there was. Perhaps the Jews were meant to have this enormous jolt to pull them together; to create a people; to identify themselves with each other." One could scarcely imagine a more perfect answer had it been invented. Did Six Million Really Die? by Richard Harwood

Franz Paul Stangl (b. 1908) served as commandant of Sobibor from March to September 1942, and as commandant of Treblinka from September 1942 to August 1943. After the war he was briefly interned but released and fled to Syria . In 1951 he and his family migrated to Brazil , where Stangl, living under his own name, worked at a Volkswagen factory. He was arrested in 1967 and extradited to West Germany , where he was sentenced to life in prison in 1970. While awaiting appeal he met and talked to Jewish journalist Gitta Sereny, who later published alleged transcripts of the conversations in her book Into that Darkness (1974). On June 28, 1971, the day after their last conversation, Stangl suddenly died, allegedly from a heart attack. A Brief List of the Conveniently Deceased by Thomas Kues

Franz Stangl confronted in a Brazilian Court