Franz Stangl, the son of a night-watchman, was born in Altmünster, Austria, on 26-03-1908. After working as a weaver, Stangl joined the Austrian police in 1931 and soon afterwards the then illegal Nazi Party.
After Anschluss, Stangl was quickly promoted through the ranks. In 1940, Stangl became superintendent of the T-4 Euthansia Program at the Euthanasia Institute at Schloss Hartheim where mentally and physically handicapped people were sent to be killed. Responsible for the Nazi Action T4 euthanasia program was SS Obergruppenführer and Chief of the Chancellery of the Führer of the NSDAP. Phillip Bouhler
In 1942, he was transferred to Poland where he worked under SS-Obergruppenfuehrer Odilo Globocnik . Stangl was commandant of Sobibor from March 1942 until September 1942, when he was transferred to Treblinka. Always dressed in white riding clothes, living in a nice house with his wife and children
.Stangl gained a reputation as an efficient administrator and was described by Odilo Globocnik as “the best camp commander, who had the greatest share of the entire action….”
At the end of the war, Stangl managed to conceal his identity and, although imprisoned in 1945, he was released two years later. He escaped to Italy with his colleague from Sobibór, Oberscharführer Gustav Franz Wagner
, where he was helped by some officials of the Vatican to reach Syrya on a Red Cross passport. Stangl was joined by his wife and family and lived in Syria for three years before moving to Brazil in 1951. With the help of friends, Stangl found work at the Volkswagen plant in Sao Paulo, still using his own name. In October 1980, Gustav Wagner was found with a knife in his chest in Sao Paulo. According to his attorney, Wagner committed suicide. Wagner, due to his brutality, he was known as “The Beast” and “Wolf“. His date of death was determined to be 03-10-1980, age 69.
For years his responsibility in the mass murder of men, women and children had been known to the Austrian authorities, but Austria did not issue a warrant for Stangl’s arrest until 1961. It took another six years before he was tracked down by Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal and arrested in Brazil.
After extradition to West Germany, he was tried for the deaths of approximately 900,000 people. He admitted to these killings but argued: “My conscience is clear. I was simply doing my duty …”. Found guilty on 22-10-1970, Stangl was sentenced to life imprisonment.
He died of heart failure in Düsseldorf prison on 28-06-1971. age 63.