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Thomas Blatt takes on Karl Frenzel

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Sobibor survivor Thomas Tovi Blatt confronts Death Camp Commandant Karl Frenzel (forced labour section) in 1983

Thomas Tovi Blatt (left) and Karl Frenzel meet in a hotel room in Hagen Germany in 1983

Thomas Blatt: Here you are drinking beer. With that smile on your face you could be anybody’s neighbour, anybody’s fellow sporting club member.

But you are not anybody. You are Karl Frenzel, the SS commandant. You ranked third in the chain of command at the extermination camp of Sobibor. You were the commandant of Lager 1. Do you remember me?


Karl Frenzel: Not exactly you were a small boy then


Thomas Blatt: I was fifteen years old. I survived because you made me your shoeshine boy. Besides me nobody survived; not my father, not my mother, not my brother, none of the two thousand Jews from my town, Izbica.


Karl Frenzel: That was terrible, just terrible………


Thomas Blatt: At least a quarter- million Jews were murdered at Sobibor. I survived why would you want to speak with me?


Karl Frenzel: I would like to apologise to you


Thomas Blatt: You want to apologise to me?


Karl Frenzel: I would like to apologise. Nothing can be done about the victims. What happened - happened. We can’t change anything about that. But I would like to extend my personal apologies to you.


I am not angry with you and the other witnesses, those who already testified and those who are still to come.


Thomas Blatt: You would like to apologise?


Karl Frenzel: I can only say it again in tears. Not only am I beside myself now, no back then too. I was greatly bothered by it all.


Thomas Blatt: But you didn’t prevent any of it from happening. You took part in it.


Karl Frenzel: You don’t know what went on inside of us. You don’t understand the circumstances in which we found ourselves.


Thomas Blatt: And we, and our circumstances?


Karl Frenzel: I spent sixteen and a half years in prison. I suffered a lot and I thought long about justice and injustice.


Thomas Blatt: Were you an anti-Semite or did you do these things because you were ordered to do them?


Karl Frenzel: I was no anti-Semite but we had to do our duty. For us this was a bad time.


Josef Cukerman

Thomas Blatt: Duty. That’s what it always comes down to, duty. Why did you club my father to the ground immediately upon arrival? Was that your duty too?


Karl Frenzel: I don’t remember.


Thomas Blatt: Do you remember Cukerman?


Karl Frenzel: Yes, he was the cook. At one time, five or eight kilograms of meat were missing. When we searched the kitchen, the meat was found. That’s why I beat him.


Thomas Blatt: And the son?


Read more here: www.holocaustresearchproject.org/survivor/blattfrenzel.html


The Holocaust Education & Archive Research Team



Copyright Carmelo Lisciotto H.E.A.R.T 2012

Copyright Carmelo Lisciotto H.E.A.R.T 2010

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