“The father, a reckoning” (The Father, a revenge, in English), a work of the German journalist Niklas frank, is a publishing phenomenon in Germany. Because Frank, a common surname in German, is the son of Hans frank, a senior official in the Nazi regime and military governor of Nazi-occupied Poland.
Frank had absolute power in Poland until early 1945 Soviet troops entered Poland from the east and had to flee. On May 3 of that same year he was arrested in Germany for American soldiers.
A tough among tough, Hans Frank was tried by the International Military Tribunal during the Nuremberg trials, he was found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity and sentenced to death. He was hanged on October 16, 1946.
Nazi hierarchs during the Nuremberg trials. Photo: AFP file.
Frank had been a Nazi since the beginning of the movement led by Adolf Hitler. In 1919, after the First World War and at just 19 years of age, he joined the German Workers’ Party (DAP), the origin of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NSDAP), the official name of the Nazi party.
In 1930 he was already elected deputy. He was head of the Nazi Bar Association and approved, as minister, killings like the first that occurred in the Dachau field.
A charge against his father
The book is all a depth charge against his father. Frank says that every day he looks at the full-length photo of his hanged father “to remember and to be sure that is well dead”.
“The father, a reckoning” (The Father, a revenge, in English), a work by the German journalist Niklas Frank. Photo: waterstones.com
His father, Hans Frank, was held responsible for the murder of almost four million poles (a large part of them Jews) because one of their main tasks was to secure your deportation to death camps.
Hans Frank was gauleiter (district chief), a position that in practice meant being Hitler’s plenipotentiary representative in Poland. Frank never accepted responsibility for his crimes, nor before the gallows. Niklas Frank’s attitude is not the most common.
People like Edda Goering always refused to condemn the crimes of their parents. Niklas Frank no. After years of working for the weekly ‘Stern’, he decided to write a work that is openly a charge against his father.
Hermann Goering (standing) during the Nuremberg trials. Photo: AP
Niklas Frank does not remember World War II (he was born in 1939 and I was 6 years old when Nazi Germany was defeated). Today, at the age of 82, he publishes a work for which he spent years studying the abundant correspondence and diaries that the family kept from his father, who before being the military governor of Poland was a jurist who loved Renaissance art and was a friend of the Nazi theorist Carl Schmitt.
A coward and a liar
Niklas Frank does not follow the attitude of his family. While his brothers and sisters have never condemned his father, his book says that his father was a man drunk with pride, obsessed with his political career, a coward and a liar.
He also criticizes his mother, of whom he assures that he was above all pending to make money. Niklas last saw his father when he was seven years old, shortly before he was hanged.
He says that during his investigation sought “at least one good deed, a sign of something, a sign of a small flower somewhere in its existence, but I didn’t find anything ”.
His father, to Niklas Frank, was an ogre, the same man who ruled Poland by fire and blood under Hitler’s command. Remember that since childhood “I had the conviction of belonging to a family of criminals”.