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Treblinka Trials

Last Update 24 July 2005

These former SS men who served in Treblinka were brought to trial in Düsseldorf in 1964/1965 charged with murdering Jews in the Treblinka death camp.

Name --- Result --- T4

Franz, Kurt --- Life imp. --- Cook
Hirtreiter, Josef --- Life imp. --- T4 office
Küttner, Kurt --- died --- ?
Horn, Otto --- Acquitted --- Male nurse
Matthes, Arthur --- Life imp. --- Photographer
Mentz, Willi --- Life imp. --- Worker
Münzberger, Gustav --- 12 years imp. --- Cook
Lambert, Erwin --- Acquitted --- Builder
Rum, Albert --- 3 years --- Photographer
Stadie, Otto --- 6 years --- ?
Suchomel, Franz --- 7 years imp. --- Photographer

Prior to the above main trial, former SS man Josef (Sepp) Hirtreiter was the first to be brought to trial, over war crimes committed in Treblinka death camp.

During interrogations on the 6 July 1945 in Frankfurt, Hirtreiter was asked questions about the euthanasia program at the Hadamar sanitorium, disclosed information about death camps near Trawniki, and former Hadamar euthanasia men who had served in the Nazi death camps in Poland. He was released due to lack of evidence, but was arrested and tried in Frankfurt am Main in March 1951. At his trial he was recognised by Sawek Warszawski, who, left for dead in a burial pit, survived.

Hirtreiter was found guilty of war crimes and was sentenced to life imprisonment on 3 March 1951.

Another thirteen years were to elapse before the second of the Treblinka trials were held. This trial was held in Düsseldorf between 12 October 1964 and 24 August 1965.
This trial was known as The First Treblinka Trial, and among the SS men indicted was the last commander of Treblinka, Kurt Hubert Franz.
When Franz was arrested, a police search of his apartment discovered a photograph album, showing a number of photographs from his Treblinka and euthanasia days called "Schöne Zeiten" (Pleasant Times).

The Second Treblinka Trial was held to try Franz Stangl, the former death camp commander, who had been arrested in Brazil on 28 February 1967, and extradited to West Germany.
The trial commenced on 13 May 1970 in Düsseldorf and on 22 July 1970 he was sentenced to life imprisonment for the co-responsibility in the murder of 900,000 people during his tenure as commander of Treblinka.

Stangl died of a heart attack in prison on 28 June 1971, whilst awaiting the result of his appeal against sentence.

Of the former Ukrainian guards who had served at Treblinka, Fedor Fedorenko was deported to the Soviet Union from the USA where he had emigrated to, in December 1984. He was sentenced to death after a ten day public trial in June 1986. His execution by firing squad was announced in July 1986.
On 16 February 1987 John (Ivan) Demjanjuk was tried in Jerusalem accused of being "Ivan the Terrible" of Treblinka, after being deported from Cleveland in the USA. He was found guilty on 18 April 1988, and was sentenced to death on 25 April 1988.
Following a successful appeal, he was released, as it was never proved that Demjanjuk was indeed Ivan from Treblinka and the court in Israel decided to release him. However, it was duly noted that there was conclusive proof that Demjanjuk had been a guard in Sobibor.


Robin O'Neil. Belzec - The Forgotten Camp
Thomas Blatt. Sobibor - The Forgotten Revolt
Tom Teicholz. Ivan the Terrible
G. Reitlinger. The Final Solution
Gitta Sereny. Into that Darkness

© ARC 2005