Frank, Karl Hermann, born 24 January 1898 Karlsbad, Austro-Hungarian Empire, was taught by his father about nationalist agitation. After spending an unsuccessful year at the law school of the German language Charles University in Praque, Frank wished to serve in the Austro-Hungarian Army at the end of World War I, but he was rejected due to an eye injury. After the war, Frank operated a book store and joined various right wing groups and societies, such as the Kameradschaftbund.
An extreme advocate of the incorporation of the Sudetenland into Germany, Frank joined the Deutsche Nationalsozialistische Arbeiterpartei in 1919 and set up a book store from which he distributed Nazi propaganda. When the party was suppressed by the Czechoslovak government, Frank helped organize the Sudeten-German Homeland Front in 1933, which officially became the Sudeten German Party (SdP) in 1935.
In 1935, Frank became deputy leader of the SdP and was elected a member of the Czechoslovak Parliament. Coming to represent the most radical National Socialists in the SdP, Frank was made Deputy Gauleiter of the Sudetenland when it became part of Germany in October 1938. Frank’s radicalism gained him the favor of Heinrich Himmler (did you know) , who made Frank an SS Brigadeführer in November 1938.
In 1939, Frank was promoted to SS Gruppenführer and appointed Secretary of State of the Reich Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia under Reich Protector Konstatin von Neurath. Himmler also named him the protectorate’s Higher SS and Police Leader, making him its ranking SS officer. Although nominally under Neurath, Frank wielded great power in the protectorate due to his vast knowledge of Czech affairs and Himmler’s support.
As Secretary of State and chief of police, Frank pursued a policy of harsh suppression of dissident Czechs and pushed for the arrest of Bohemia and Moravia’s Prime Minister, Alois Elias . These actions by Frank were countered by Neurath’s “soft approach” to the Czechs thereby encouraging anti-German resistance by strikes and sabotage. This frustrated Frank and led to him secretly working to discredit Neurath. On 27-05-1942, age 51, Eliáš was finally executed at the Kobylisy Shooting Range as a part of the wide German reprisals for Heydrich’s death.
Hitler’s decision to adopt a more radical approach in Bohemia and Moravia should have worked in Frank’s favor. Hitler relieved Neurath of his active duties on 23 September 1941, though he still remained Reich Protector on paper. Frank hoped to be appointed as Deputy Protector and day-to-day head of the protectorate, but was passed over in favor of Reinhard Heydrich. The working relationship between Frank and Heydrich was initially tense, even though they both believed that the Czechs needed to be dealt with harshly. However, they soon put aside their differences and became an efficient and effective duo. They launched a reign of terror in the protectorate, arresting and killing dozens of opponents and ramping up the deportation of Jews to concentration camps.
When Heydrich was assassinated in May 1942
, Frank was once again passed over for promotion to Deputy Protector; Kurt Daluque was chosen instead. Daluege and Frank were instrumental in initiating the destruction of the Czech villages of Lidice and Lezaky in order to take revenge on the Czech populace for Heydrich’s death. Under Daluege, Frank continued to consolidate his power and by the time Wilhelm Frick was appointed Reich Protector in 1943, Frank was the most powerful official in Bohemia and Moravia. In August 1942, he was made a Minister of State as Reich Minister for Bohemia and Moravia. In June 1943, he was promoted to SS-Obergruppenführer and General of Police in Prague. Frank was also made a General of the Waffen SS. Daluque He was convicted on all charges and sentenced to death on 23-10-1946. Daluege was hanged in Pankrac prison in Praque, age 49, on 24-10-1946
From 30 April to 1 May 1945, before the Praque Uprising. Frank announced over the radio that he would drown any uprising in a “sea of blood”. Later, as rumors of an impending Allied approach reached the city, the people of Prague streamed into the streets to welcome the victors. Frank ordered the streets to be cleared and instructed the German army and police forces in Prague to fire at anyone who disobeyed.
His first wife, Anna Muller, was also born in Karlsbad, in 1899. They married in January 1925, just prior to Frank’s 27th birthday. The couple had two sons, the eldest, Harald, who was born on 20-01-1926, later served as an SS-Panzergrenadier in the 1st Division SS Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler . Harald was severely wounded fighting in Hungary during March 1945. The couple’s second son, Gerhard, was born in 1931. After 15 years of marriage, the couple divorced in February 1940. Anna later married Fritz Kollner who was Karl Frank’s successor as Deputy Gauleiter of Sudetenland. Kollner survived the war and died age 82 on 08-11-1986 in Taufkirchen.
On 14-04-1940, Frank married Karola Blaschek who was born on 13-08-1913, in Brux, Bohemia. Karola gave birth to two daughters, Edda, who was born on the 16-08-1941, and Holle-Sigrid, who entered the world on the 8th March 1944. Between the two girls, the couple also had a son, Wolf-Dietrich, who was born in August 1942. Karola Frank was very kind. She interceded for a number of Czech people. Despite this, after war she was prisoned by Soviets until 1956. The children grew up in care homes. During the occupation, various stories arose regarding Frank, and his alleged Czech lovers, including famous actresses.
Death and burial ground of Frank, Karl Hermann.
As the Reich crumbled, Prague remained under Nazi control. Indeed, the city was the last to be freed amongst major European cities. On the night of April 30th/May 1st 1945, Frank delivered a chilling message over the radio. He said that should any uprising occur then he would drown anybody involved in “a sea of blood”. He then ordered the streets cleared, and instructed army and police units to shoot on sight. The final days of the Protectorate were indeed, a bloody mess.
Not wanting to be captured by the advancing Soviets, Frank gave himself up to the Americans at Plzen, on 09-05-1945. Following his extradition, he was tried in Prague during March/April 1946, and convicted of war crimes and the obliteration of Lidice and sentenced to death.
On 22-05-1946, Karl Hermann Frank was executed using the Austro-Hungarian “Pole” method in front of a crowd of 5.000 onlookers in the courtyard of Pankrac Prison, Prague. Later, the forensic doctor Oldrich Navarra conducted an autopsy . Navarra’s wife had earlier helped assist the wounded Reinhard Heydrich, following the assassination attempt in May 1942.