Mikkel Andersson answers:
I am one of the volunteers who anwsers questions for The Holocaust History Project.
Kurt Hubert Franz was born 17th of January 1917 in Düsseldorf, Germany. Franz joined the SS in the mid-thirties and served at various camps, including Buchenwald and until he in 1940 was assigned to the "Euthansia" project. He was assigned to most of these sites including Grafeneck, Sonnenstein, Hartheim and Brandenburg. Here his primary function was that of a cook, which was trained as and worked as in civilian life. In late 1941 he was transferred to the headquarters of the "Euthanasia" project, T4 in Berlin - once again as a cook. On 20th of April 1942 having attained the rank of SS-Scharführer he was transferred first to Lublin and then to the death camp of Belzec. In the late summer of 1942 he was transferred to Treblinka where he was at first in charge of the Ukranian guards, but soon became the de-facto daily manager of the camp.
He was known as one of the most sadistic and cruel members of the SS and was greatly feared among the prisoners because of his bestiality and tendency to arbitrary killing. In the later trial his personal photo album from the camp, "The Kurt Franz Album" was introduced, and above the pictures of a grab used for loading corpses onto pyres, mass graves he had inscribed "Schöne Zeiten" (roughly translated into "Good times").
In Auguist 1943, after the revolt Kurt Franz was made commandant of Treblinka and oversaw the last gassing operations and dismantling of the camp. Thereafter he was sent to Triste in Italy along with much of the other Aktion Reinhard personnel.
After the war he lived in Düsseldorf under his own name, working as a construction worked until 1949 and from then on until his arrest in 1959 as a cook.
Kurt Franz was sentenced to life imprisonment at the first Treblinka Trial in 1965 for the killing of at least 139 inmates and complicity in the killing of at least 300,000 Jews.
Kurt Franz was released due to old age and health problems in mid-1993. He died July 4, 1998 in Wuppertal, Germany.
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Last modified: October 8, 2000