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Franz Wolf
SS-Oberscharführer Franz Wolf in civilian clothing
Born 9 April 1907
Place of birth Krummau, German Empire
Allegiance  Nazi Germany
Service/branch Flag of the Schutzstaffel.svg Schutzstaffel
Rank SS-Oberscharführer Collar Rank.svg Oberscharführer
Unit 3rd SS Division Logo.svg SS-Totenkopfverbände
Commands held Sobibor extermination camp

SS-Oberscharführer Franz Wolf (born 9 April 1907) was a German Nazi senior squad leader serving with the Action T4 forced euthanasia program, and later, at the Sobibór extermination camp in occupied Poland during the most deadly phase of the Holocaust, codenamed Operation Reinhard. Leading a normal life in West Germany for the next twenty years,[1][2] along with thousands of war criminals protected by Konrad Adenauer,[3][4] Wolf was arrested in 1964,[1][2] and indicted during the Sobibór trial with participating in the murder of 115,000 Jews. On 20 December 1966,[2] the court in Hagen sentenced him to eight years in prison for taking part in the mass murder of "at least 39,000 Jews".[1][2]

Career[edit | edit source]

Little is known about his private life except that Wolf came from Krummau. He was in the Czechoslovak Army and in the German Wehrmacht, before he was posted to Hadamar Euthanasia Centre and the Heidelberg Psychiatric Clinic where the killing of patients deemed beyond the reach of therapy was taking place.[5] In the name of science, Wolf photographed the mentally ill before they were gassed.[6]

Together with his brother Josef Wolf (1900–1943), he was sent to Sobibór extermination camp in German occupied Poland sometime in early March 1943, as a specialist in euthanasia. The mass gassing operations at Sobibór were at full throttle already since mid-May 1942. In total, up to 200,000 (or more)[7] mostly Jewish prisoners were murdered there. Wolf was in Sobibór until the prisoner uprising. He liked to hang around the victims' "barber shop" where his brother was a squad leader[6] and watch naked women having their hair shorn off by the Sonderkommando.[8] He supervised the sorting barracks where belongings of the victims were processed, but also led the Waldkommando forest brigade,[8] cutting trees for the fuelling of corpse cremation pyres in the camp's killing zone.[9]

Arrest[edit | edit source]

Wolf was presented with an arrest warrant in 1964 at Eppelheim[10] as one of a selected twelve former members of the SS camp personnel, which constituted about a quarter of the German staff there. The rest went on to live normal lives. In 1966 the court in Hagen sentenced Wolf to eight years in prison for his role as an overseer of a slave labour commando that sorted the belongings of victims already "processed". Wolf, in his work as the warehouse clerk, was charged with personally killing one Jew and with helping to murder an additional 115,000 Jews. He was found guilty of having assisted in the murder of "at least 39,000 Jews", a number chosen arbitrarily for judicial purposes.[11] Sentenced to eight years in prison, Wolf, age 58 (at the time of his arrest), likely served at least a part of the sentence. This is all that is known about him,[1][2] other than he lived somewhere in Bavaria. His brother, SS-Scharführer Josef Wolf, was killed in the Sobibór uprising.[12]

Notes and references[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "Murderers". The Forgotten Revolt. Thomas T. Blatt. Archived from the original on 4 May 2008. https://web.archive.org/web/20080504213347/http://www.sobibor.info/murderers.html. Retrieved 27 September 2014. "3. Wolf, Franz, warehouse clerk; arrested in 1964." 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Chris Webb, Carmelo Lisciotto, Victor Smart (2009). "The Sobibor Trial". The Sobibor Death Camp. H.E.A.R.T – Holocaust Research Project.org. http://www.holocaustresearchproject.net/ar/sobibor.html. Retrieved 27 September 2014. "20 December 1966, the following sentences were handed out: Franz Wolf. Arrested in 1964. Found guilty of participation in the mass murder of at least 39,000 Jews." 
  3. "About Simon Wiesenthal". 2013. Section 11. http://www.wiesenthal.com/site/pp.asp?c=lsKWLbPJLnF&b=4441293#.UokrCZHKJZY. Retrieved 27 September 2014. 
  4. Hartmann, Ralph (2010). "Der Alibiprozeß" (in German). Den Aufsatz kommentieren. Ossietzky 9/2010. http://www.sopos.org/aufsaetze/4bdfd55e42f57/1.phtml. Retrieved 27 September 2014. 
  5. Mary V Seeman, MD (March 2005). "Psychiatry in the Nazi Era" (PDF file, direct download). p. 223. https://ww1.cpa-apc.org/Publications/Archives/CJP/2005/march2/cjp-mar2-05-Seeman-RP.pdf. Retrieved 27 September 2014. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 S.J., H.E.A.R.T (2007). "SS man Josef Wolf at The Hair Cutters ( Friseurs)". Jewish Working Kommando's in the Aktion Reinhard Death Camps. Holocaust Research Project.org. http://www.holocaustresearchproject.org/ar/Jewish%20Kommando/jewishkommando.html. Retrieved 2 October 2014. 
  7. Peter Hayes, Dagmar Herzog (2006). Lessons and Legacies VII: The Holocaust in International Perspective. Northwestern University Press. p. 272. http://books.google.ca/books?id=--fhfkLjI8AC&lpg=PA272&ots=Baznxm7jDl&dq=Sobibor%20200%2C000&pg=PA272#v=onepage&q=Sobibor%20200,000&f=false. Retrieved 11 October 2014. "Between May 1942 and October 1943 some 200,000 to 250,000 Jews were killed at Sobibor according to the recently published Holocaust Encyclopedia edited by Judith Tydor Baumel." 
  8. 8.0 8.1 De Ree Archiefsystemen (2014). "WOLF, Franz (9 April 1907, Krummau)". Biographies of SS-men. Sobibor Interviews.nl. http://www.sobiborinterviews.nl/en/extermination-camp/biographies-of-ss-men. Retrieved 27 September 2014. 
  9. ARC (1 May 2006). "The Forest Team (Waldkommando)". Jewish Work Commandos in the Death Camps. ARC, Death Camps.org. http://www.deathcamps.org/reinhard/work_commandos.html. Retrieved 2 October 2014. 
  10. "Ohne Scham und ohne Reue" (in German). DIE ZEIT Archiv. Ausgabe 13/1966. 25 March 1966. http://www.zeit.de/1966/13/ohne-scham-und-ohne-reue. Retrieved 28 September 2014. 
  11. J. Harrison, R. Muehlenkamp, J. Myers, S. Romanov, N. Terry (December 2011) (PDF file, direct download 5.30 MB). Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka. Holocaust Controversies, First Edition. pp. 459 (PDF, 460) / 571. http://www.adelaideinstitute.org/HomePage28April2009/Belzec%20Sobibor%20Treblinka%20Holocaust%20Controversies.pdf. Retrieved 9 October 2014. "Source: Urteil LG Hagen, 20 December 1966, 11 Ks 1/64. The Hagen Court expressly pointed out that the total figure it arrived at made no claim to historical completeness but was merely a minimum number established for judicial purposes." 
  12. Jules Schelvis (May 20, 2014). Josef Wolf. Bloomsbury Publishing. pp. 155, 175. ISBN 1-4725-8906-8. http://books.google.ca/books?id=OB1nAwAAQBAJ&q=%22Josef+Wolf%22#v=snippet&q=%22Josef%20Wolf%22&f=false. Retrieved 2 October 2014. 

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