Frank, Hans

Childhood and study

Hans Michael Frank was born May 23rd, 1900 in Frankfurt, the son of lawyer Karl Frank and Magdalena Buchmaier. He was the second of three children, he had an elder brother Karl jr. and a younger sister Elisabeth. After graduation from grammar school he was drafted for military service in June 1918. As the First World War ended in November that year, he did not participate in combat.

After military service, he studied science of economics and law at the universities of Munich, Vienna and Kiel from 1919 onwards. As a student, Frank was already active politically in more or less obscure extreme rightwing political splinter movements in Munich. So, in 1919, he joined the Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (D.A.P. German Workers Party) which focused mainly on rebuilding Germany’s military strength after the war that had been lost. The following year, partly from the D.A.P., the Nationalsocialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (N.S.D.A.P. Nationalsocialist German Workers Party) under Adolf Hiltler (Bio Hitler) was founded. Frank however did not join that party at the time. Not only political parties could enjoy Frank’s attention in those days. In 1919 he joined the Thule-Gesellschaft, an anti-Semitic and rightwing extremist organisation that actively resisted the communist Munich city council. Moreover in 1920, he became a member of the Freikorps of Franz Ritter von Epp which was involved in the overthrow of the communist radenrepublic in Munich.

The fact that Frank was formally not a member of the N.S.D.A.P. did not prevent him from being legal advisor of the party from 1920 onwards. In this capacity he represented the party in more than 2.400 cases. This brought him in conflict with fellow lawyers more than once. One of them yelled at him in court once: "I beg you, do abandon these people (the Nazis). Nothing good will come of it. Political movements that start in penal court will end up in penal court one day". A man with foresight.

In 1923, Frank joined the Sturmabteilung (SA, stormtroopers) and participated in the failed so called Bierhalleputsch (beer cellar revolt) of November 8th, 1923. This was an attempt by Hitler to violently overthrow the Bavarian government. In the Bürgerbräukeller in Munich, a number of Bavarian principals were having a meeting and Hitler barged in with his SA raiders. The principals were arrested and commotion erupted in the streets of Munich. This led to a shooting in the Residenzstrasse were Hitler and his followers were arrested. Frank however managed to make his way to Austria and continued his studies in Vienna. After his prosecution had been lifted in 1924 he returned to Germany, taking his degree in law in Kiel in the same year.

Frank completed his study of law in 1926 when he passed the state examination in law. Subsequently he started work in the law office of his father in Munich. He succeeded his father after the latter had been barred from practising law because of financial fraude. Later on, Frank stated about this period: "Since 1920 I have dedicated my work to the N.S.D.A.P. I have participated in the events of November 1923 as a National socialist. For this I was awarded the Blutorden. After the resurrection of the movement in 1926, I expanded my activities for the movement and initially I became part time and later almost full time legal advisor to the Führer and the Reichsleitung of the N.S.D.A.P. In that way I was the representative of the juridical interests of the upcoming Third Reich, ideologically as well as practically. (…) In this way I was, I am and will always remain the most important lawyer throughout the period of struggle of national socialism".


“Blood Order”. German decoration awarded in 1934 to those members of the NSDAP who had participated in the Bierhalleputsch of 1923.
German paramilitary units established directly after the Great War by former front soldiers. These groups were often named after their commander. Freikorps formed the basis of the eventual SA or Sturmabteilung.
German word for leader. During his reign of power Adolf Hitler was Führer of Nazi Germany.
national socialism
A political ideology drawn up by Hitler based on the superiority of the German race, the leader principle and fierce nationalism that was fed by the hard Peace of Versailles. National socialism was anti-democratic and racist. The doctrine was elaborated in Mein Kampf and organised in the NSDAP. From 1933 to 1945 National socialism was the basis of totalitarian Germany.
Political ideology aiming at slight or no class differences. Means of production are owned by the state. Evolved as a response to capitalism. Karl Marx tried to substantiate socialism scientific.
Storm detachment. Semi-military section of the NSDAP. Founded in 1922 to secure meetings and leaders of the NSDAP. Their increasing power was stopped during “The night of the long knives”, 29 and 30 June 1934.

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Badge of the Thule Gesellschaft
(Source: Public domain)

Franz Ritter von Epp
(Source: Public domain)


Translated by:
Arnold Palthe
Article by:
Robert Jan Noks
Published on:
Last edit on:
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