RIO DE JANEIRO (Mar. 5)
Franz Stangl, the long-sought Nazi who is charged with the responsibility of killing 700, 000 Jews in the Nazi death camps of Treblinka and Sobibor, of which he was the commandant, and who was arrested in Sao Paulo last week at the request of the Austrian Embassy, is being held under maximum security detention in Brasilia, the Federal Security Police revealed today.
The Brazilian Federal Police is especially interested in finding out if he knows about other former Nazi war criminals possibly hiding in Brazil. Stangl had lived quietly with his wife and two daughters in Brazil, under an assumed name, since 1951. He worked as an automobile mechanic in a Volkswagen plant in Sao Paulo.
The Austrian Government started proceedings this weekend for the extradition of Stangl, who was traced by Simon Wiesenthal, head of the Jewish Documentation Center in Vienna. Stangl, who fled from an Austrian prisoner-of-war camp in 1946, is on a list of missing war criminals issued by the Austrian Government in 1962. Evaristo de Morais Filho, a Brazilian lawyer retained by Treblinka survivors now living in Israel, will assist Austria in the extradition proceedings.
The extradition request must be considered by the Brazilian Supreme Court within 60 days. Under Brazilian law, a prisoner can be kept under custody for that period. Officials indicated there were no legal barriers to extraditing Stangl. Brazil does not have capital punishment. Its laws stipulate that a prisoner cannot be extradited unless the requesting nation agrees it will not apply the death penalty to the prisoner. Austria also has no death penalty.
The Brazilian file on Stangl indicated he had been born in Austria on March 26, 1908, and that he had been an Austrian police officer when the Hitler regime took control of Austria. He joined the Gestapo and rose from informer to captain in charge of construction of concentration camps. He supervised the building of the camps at Treblinka and Sobibor and later commanded both camps.
Stangl’s arrest was announced last week by Abreu Sode, Governor of Sao Paulo State, who said: “The genocide, Franz Paul Stangl, who made martyrs of the Austrian people and is responsible for the death of 700, 000 Jews, has been detained by the Department of Political and Social Order and transferred to federal authorities for the process of extradition.” He said Stangl ranked only behind Martin Bormann, Hitler’s deputy, and Lt. Gen. Heinrich Muller, head of the SS, on the list of “most wanted” Nazi criminals.