Reichleitner, Franz Karl.

Back to all people

- Medals

germanySS Member

Reichleitner, Franz Karl. born 02-12-1906 in Ried; Austria, was an Austrian member in the SS of Nazi Germany who participated in Operation Reinhard during the Holocaust. Reichleitner served as the second and last commandant of Sobibór extermination camp from 01-09-1942 until the camp’s closure on or about 17-10-1943. As the commanding officer of the camp, Franz Reichleitner directly perpetrated the genocide of Jews.

Reichleitner joined the Nazi Party  in 1936 as member number 6,369,213 and the SS  in 1937 as member number 357,065. He began his career as a Kriminalsekretär of the Gestapo  in Linz. Later Reichleitner was assigned to work in the Action T4 euthanasia program at the nearby Hartheim Euthanasia Centre.   He first served as an assistant supervisor (together with SS Hauptsturmführer Franz Paul Stangl)    under officer Christian Wirth   before assuming Wirth’s position of chief supervisor at Hartheim. Reichleitner was also partly responsible for getting Stangl a supervising job in T-4. Although Stangl’s role in the mass murder of men, women, and children was known to the Austrian authorities, a warrant for his arrest was not issued until 1961. In his prison interview with Sereny – she later wrote – Stangl had pronounced the words ‘my guilt’: but more than the words, the finality of it was in the sagging of his body, and on his face. After more than a minute he started again, a half-hearted attempt, in a dull voice. ‘My guilt,’ he said, ‘is that I am still here. That is my guilt.’ He died of heart failure nineteen hours after the conclusion of that interview, in Düsseldorf prison on 28-06-1971, age 63. Franz Reichleitner was married to Anna Baumgartner from Steyr.

On 01-09-1942, at the rank of SS-Obersturmführer (First Lieutenant) , on the orders of Wirth and Odilo Globocnik,

   Reichleitner took command of the Sobibór extermination camp with Franz Stangl’s departure to Treblinka. Reichleitner rarely showed his face in the camp, and it has been claimed that he was a heavy drinker, but his reign of Sobibór was even more strict than that of his predecessor. Moshe Bahir,   a camp inmate, wrote:

Franz Reichleitner, second from left   a man in his late forties, with an Austrian accent, was dressed always with great elegance and wore gloves. He did not have direct contact with the Jews and the transports. He knew that he could rely on his subordinates, who were very frightened of him. He ran the camp with German precision. During his time the Aktionen went smoothly, and all the transports that arrived on a certain day were liquidated. He never left them for the following day..

On one occasion, when an old man from the transports slapped SS officer Oberscharführer Karl Frenzel , Reichleitner took the man aside and shot him on the spot in front of his family and the entire convoy of people.Karl Frenzel survived the war and spent the last years of his life in a retirement home in Garbsen near Hanover, where he died on 02-09-1996, age 85

After Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmle  visited Sobibór on 12-02-1943, he promoted Franz Reichleitner to SS-Hauptsturmführer (Captain) Reichleitner was on leave on the day of the successful Sobibór revolt, 14-10-1943.  Stanislaw Smajzner after his escape from Sobibor With about 300 of the 600 prisoners having escaped, the remainder were shot dead and, per the direct orders of Himmler, Sobibór was closed within a few days and the Nazis attempted to remove any traces of its existence. Another surviving refugee was  Abraham Margulis who died on 04-10-1963, age 77, in Elmont, New York. The last living surviver was Seymon Rosenfeld   who died 03-06-2019, age 96.

Death and burial ground of Reichleitner, Franz Karl.


In autumn 1943, like so many of the perpetrators of Operation Reinhard, Reichleitner was then transferred to the Fiume area of Italy to kill Jews and quell the partisan resistance movement there. Franz Reichleitner was killed by partisans on 03-01-1944 at Fiume, Italy. Franz Reichleitner is buried German military cemetery in Costermano, Italy.

Message(s), tips or interesting graves for the webmaster:

Share on :


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *