1967

► Franz Stangl, the commander of the extermination camps in Treblinka and Sobibor was captured. His postwar fate was surprising but also somehow typical for German oppressors avoiding justice. After the war Stangl concealed his identity and unrecognized got released from Austrian prison in 1947. Then, along with another criminal Gustav Wagner - deputy commander of the Sobibor camp, they fled to Italy. From Italy with the help of Vatican officials (including Bishop Alois Hudal, see year 1948) Stangl escaped to Syria. In 1951 Franz Stangl and his family left for Brazil. He lived there for several years using his own name. It took 6 years to hunt Stangl down, the investigation was led by Simon Wiesenthal, which resulted in the 1967 capture.

Franz Strangl commander of the death camps in Treblinka and Sobibor with a whip in his hand (source:    www.facinghistory.org   )

Franz Strangl commander of the death camps in Treblinka and Sobibor with a whip in his hand (source: www.facinghistory.org)

Franz Stangl's extradition from Brazil to Germany (source:    deuxiemeguerremondia.forumactif.com   )

Franz Stangl's extradition from Brazil to Germany (source: deuxiemeguerremondia.forumactif.com)

The extradition requests for Franz Stangl were issued by Israel, Poland and Austria. Ultimately the Brazilian authorities sent the criminal to the Federal Republic of Germany. Stangl process ended in 1970. He was found guilty of the death of 900,000 people and sentenced to the maximum term in Germany: life imprisonment. Stangl also testified that during his time in "the office" he sent to the Reichsbank 2.8 million dollar, 400 thousand pound, 400 thousand watches, 145 tons of golden rings and 4 thousand carats of diamonds stolen from the camps prisoners. Franz Stangl was always impeccably dressed in a white uniform, reputed to be "the best commander of the Nazi camps in Poland." He built new gas chambers which could accommodate up to 3,000 people. He improved the camps organization, making the process of extermination run much faster. He changed the train station in Treblinka to an elegant building so the victims did not expect what awaited them upon arrival. Stangl did not see his victims as humans but a "commodity" that must be eliminated. During the hearing in Düsseldorf in 1970,he said: "I had gassed Jews, otherwise there would be no place in the camp" and added that "I have a clear conscience because I was only fulfilling my duties."
► "I could have done nothing else in my entire life, just to bring this man to justice and that would be enough to live for" - Simon Wiesenthal's famous statement, 1967 after the capture of Franz Stangl.

An article in a Brazilian newspaper on the capture of Franz Stangl (source:    www.ckalman.wordpress.com   )

An article in a Brazilian newspaper on the capture of Franz Stangl (source: www.ckalman.wordpress.com)

► Erich Koch's testament. German Nazi criminal Erich Koch, convicted in Poland to death penalty was transferred to the prisoners hospital in Lodz for a surgery. The night before the treatment he wrote nine pages long will (A4 both sides). It started like this: "Dear brothers, dear niece, dear relatives and friends, this my last will to be announced tomorrow in case I do not survive the operation." He did survive. And - despite the death sentence - he was alive for another 10 years until his 90s. Erich Koch died of natural causes on Nov. 12, 1986 in the Barczewo prison. Testament fell into the hands of a Barczewo deputy warden. It remained with him until 2013, when it was discovered by a newspaper "Gazeta Olsztyn". The former prison's employee, now a historian and collector, decided to give this extraordinary document to the Polish National Institute of Remembrance.

Fragment of Erich Koch's testament, 1967 (source:    www.se.pl   )

Fragment of Erich Koch's testament, 1967 (source: www.se.pl)

Erich Koch was a former Gauleiter and a Nazi leader in East Prussia, a close associate of Adolf Hitler, the man within the NSDAP top management. The criminal was captured in the 50s and handed over to Poland (though also wanted in the Soviet Union). Koch was sentenced to death for murdering 400 thousand Poles. The death sentence was never imposed. It was suspected that Koch had some information on the location of the most famous Third Reich treasure - the Amber Room. It was probably Erich Koch who commissioned the Amber Room's dismantling and transportation to the secret hideout. In his will there was no information on it. If Koch actually knew where the Amber Room was, he decided not to disclose it probably hoping that this knowledge was his life insurance.
For several years the Amber Room was searched for by Polish, German and USSR officials, special services and thousands of amateurs. They even employed diviners and seers. It became a symbol of a lost treasure. The chamber commissioned by Frederick I in Gdansk was made entirely of amber. The Amber Room was taken by Nazis from Catherine Palace in Tsarskoye Selo, now featuring a copy which cost 11.5 million dollar. The original was never found.
► July 1st. The new treaty was introduced that assembled into one existing European executive institutions (ECSC, EEC, Euratom). From that day the European Communities had a single Commission and a single Council. On the July 3rd the first European Communities Council took place under German leadership.