Hans Frank

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Hans Michael Frank (May 23, 1900 – October 16, 1946) was a German lawyer who worked for the Nazi party during the 1920s and 1930s and later became a high-ranking official in Nazi Germany. He was prosecuted during the Nuremberg trials for his role in perpetrating the Holocaust during his tenure as the Governor-General of that portion of occupied Poland that was not incorporated into the Reich, although administered by the Nazis, and known as the General Government. He was found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity and executed on October 16, 1946.

Contents

Pre-war career

Frank was born in Karlsruhe, and his parents were Karl Frank, a lawyer, and his wife Magdalena (née Buchmaier). He had an elder brother, Karl Jr., and a younger sister, Elisabeth. He joined the German army in 1917, during World War I. After the war he served in the Freikorps under the command of Franz Ritter von Epp, and then joined the German Worker's Party (which soon evolved into NSDAP), in 1919, and was one of the party's earliest members.

He studied law, passing the final state examination in 1926, and rose to become Adolf Hitler's personal legal adviser. In this capacity he was privy to personal details of Hitler's life. In his memoirs, written shortly before his execution, Frank made the sensational claim that he had investigated Hitler's family in 1930 after a "blackmail letter" had been received from Hitler's nephew, William Patrick Hitler, who allegedly threatened to reveal embarrassing facts about his uncle's ancestry. Frank claimed to have uncovered evidence that Maria Schicklgruber, Hitler's paternal grandmother, had been working as a cook in the household of a Jewish family named Leopold Frankenberger before she gave birth to Hitler's father, Alois, out of wedlock. According to Frank, Hitler told him that his grandmother had merely extorted money from Frankenberger by threatening to claim his paternity of her illegitimate child. Frank accepted this explanation, but added that it was still just possible that Hitler had some Jewish ancestry. Nevertheless, he thought it unlikely because, "from his entire demeanor, the fact that Adolf Hitler had no Jewish blood coursing through his veins seems so clearly evident that nothing more need be said on this."[1] Recent DNA test indicate that this may be true [2], although there are those who claim otherwise.[3]

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