On this date in 1946, the Sudeten German whose fifth column had paved the way for the Nazi conquest of Czechoslovakia expiated his war crimes at Prague’s Pankrac Prison.
Karl Hermann Frank (English Wikipedia page | German) had been a prewar mover and shaker in the Sudeten German Party, increasingly the Reich’s stalking-horse as it bluffed European rivals into acceding to Czechoslovakia’s dismemberment.
The onetime Czechoslovakian MP did well by the Anschluss, gaining the rank of Obergruppenführer and becoming one of Bohemia and Moravia’s top evildoers.
The Lidice operation formed a war crimes charge against Herr Frank after the war, and Frank’s own lasting badge of infamy: the systematic destruction of the entire male population of an arbitrarily chosen village remains the emblematic crime of the Nazi occupation to this day.
Thousands of spectators came to see the former “Protector of Bohemia and Moravia” executed in Prague’s Pankrac Prison by the Austro-Hungarian “pole hanging” method, as depicted in the film above.
Those of Lidice’s widows who were able to come — and widows of some of the 30,000 other Czechs for whose executions Frank had been adjudged indirectly responsible — occupied the second row of seats. …
Not the slightest gleam of compassion could be seen in that long row of unforgiving eyes as Frank, garbed in a ragged Nazi Elite Guard uniform, walked quietly between two guards. …
As the noose was adjusted about his neck, Frank muttered: “Deutschland wird leben auch wenn wir nicht leben” (“Germany will live even if we do not live.”)
The spectators, admitted by special cards, watched quietly in the bright sunshine. (New York Times)