May 22nd, 2009 Headsman
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 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)
Also on this date
- 1824: Antonio Brochetti, galley-dodger
- 1942: Stjepan Filipovic, "death to fascism, freedom to the people!"
- 1856: Casey and Cora, by the San Francisco Vigilance Committee
- 2001: Terrance Anthony James, snitch-killer
- 1393: The Muzaffarids, by Timur
- 1833: Midgegooroo, Noongar rebel
Entry Filed under: 20th Century,Capital Punishment,Czechoslovakia,Death Penalty,Execution,Hanged,History,Infamous,Mature Content,Occupation and Colonialism,Politicians,Public Executions,Racial and Ethnic Minorities,Soldiers,War Crimes