ENGLAND—Niklas Frank visited the Philadelphia Trumpet’s regional office in Edstone, England, on May 25 and sat for interviews with the Trumpet staff. Frank is an author and writer and the son of a prominent Nazi official who was convicted and executed in 1946 for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Frank appeared live in studio on The Trumpet Daily Radio Show and sat for videotaped interviews for theTrumpet.com.
Frank has devoted much of his writing career to exposing and denouncing the ideology and actions of his father, Hans Frank. The elder Frank was the personal lawyer to Adolf Hitler from 1925 to 1933 and was the legal representative of the Nazi Party as it rose to power. After Hitler became German chancellor and launched World War II in 1939, he appointed Frank as governor general of Nazi-occupied Poland. Frank was in power for five years, during which Polish civilians were exploited and subjected to forced labor, reprisal executions were carried out, Jews were segregated and deported, and millions of Jews, Poles and Ukrainians were murdered. Four of six extermination camps in the Third Reich were under Frank’s jurisdiction; the other two were located close by.
Frank was captured by Allied forces and tried in the International Military Tribunal in Nuremburg after the war. He was convicted and hung in 1946. Niklas, his youngest son, was 7 years old.
During his long writing career, Niklas Frank has uncovered and published numerous details of the life of his father, as well as his mother. He has authored several books and written plays from his unique personal perspective on the subject of Germany’s dark Nazi past.
The Trumpet staff first heard Niklas Frank on April 26, in connection with his interview on the bbc’s Hardtalk, in which he said, “Don’t trust us.” TheTrumpet.com executive editor Stephen Flurry focused on Frank’s comments in his April 27Trumpet Daily Radio Show episode and wrote about them on May 3.
Following the April 27 broadcast, the Trumpet staff contacted Frank and invited him to visit its regional office in Edstone. A month later, Frank traveled from his home in Ecklack in northern Germany to the English countryside, dining with Mr. Flurry, theTrumpet.com managing editor Brad Macdonald, and other Trumpet staff members. Over pub fare, he related details about his childhood, such as the fact that Hitler once mentioned “Niki” (Niklas’s childhood nickname) on one of his radio-broadcasted speeches, how his brother Norman once sat on Hitler’s knee, and how Hitler forbade his parents from divorcing.
He also discussed the warning message, similar to the one the Trumpet has published for decades, that the Germans are still capable of unleashing destruction as they did in World War II. He has spent decades warning against the German fascist spirit, which he says never died. He warns that Germans are sophisticated and liberal when happy and wealthy, but if economic disaster and social crises strike, the “dark soul” of the German empire will emerge. His views and his ways of expressing them have caused him to become something of a pariah in Germany.
Frank also spoke of his 23-year career working for the German magazine Stern, where he worked as a war correspondent, reporting on numerous conflicts in Iraq, Colombia, the Balkans and elsewhere.
Trumpet writer Richard Palmer was among those at the table, and said he was impressed by Frank’s friendliness and candor, but also his willingness to delve into subjects such as the rise of Nazism and the Catholic Church’s involvement in the Third Reich, topics that most people are not as eager to discuss. He said, “For those of us who were born when World War II was decades ago, there is something that is really brought to life by talking to someone with such a first-hand connection to what really went on there.”
“Over beer, we established a good connection going into the interviews the following day,” Mr. Macdonald said. “It gave us a good opportunity to get a sense for what questions to explore in the interviews and what questions he would be most comfortable answering or not.”
The next morning, Frank took a tour of the small campus and gave a 75-minute interview to Mr. Macdonald. During lunch, Frank asked questions of his own, inquiring about the publisher of the Trumpet, the Philadelphia Church of God, about the Church’s copyright litigation with the Worldwide Church of God, and about the Church’s founder, Herbert W. Armstrong.
Frank joined Mr. Flurry and Mr. Macdonald on the Trumpet Daily Radio Show, where he was heard by approximately 1,500 listeners around the globe. The one-hour interview was heard over the air on kpcg FM at the Philadelphia Church of God’s headquarters in Edmond, Oklahoma, and live-streamed online on theTrumpet.com, kpcg.fm, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. These social media streams reached 500 listeners in addition to the usual audience.
Before his last interview of the day, Frank showed a collection of his personal photos from the Third Reich time period and explained each picture. He gave the Trumpet permission to use the photos for a short documentary about Germany and the Nazi spirit, which is planned for release ahead of German elections in September.
Frank then sat for two more hours of interviews with Mr. Macdonald in the Edstone library, which will be used primarily for the documentary.
Mr. Macdonald said that going into his first major interview of this sort, “I was a little nervous, but I felt like it went well.” Not knowing exactly how all the content will be used, Mr. Macdonald said one of his aims was to get as much content on record as he could. “He was a goldmine of information on subjects we have been writing about for years,” he said. “And he is a firsthand source. One of the biggest lessons I came away with was: We’re right. Mr. Flurry is right. Mr. Armstrong was right!” Mr. Frank affirmed what the Trumpet has written about the German national character, the ratlines that helped defeated Nazis escape, the Vatican’s support of Hitler’s regime, the nation’s failure to denazify after the war, the still-prevalent Nazi spirit in Germany.
“It was reassuring and faith-building,” Mr. Macdonald said. “Of course, we know we are right because of Bible prophecy and the historical record. But here is the son of one of the top Nazis, a man who has done a ton of research into these things, and he confirmed everything we believe.” He said it was gratifying yet also “sobering.”
Mr. Macdonald said Frank was “excited about the angle we want to take with the documentary.”
After a full day of interviews, Mr. Frank joined nearly 40 Edstone staff and residents and local Philadelphia Church of God members for a barbeque on the Edstone patio, conversing with the group for nearly four hours.
Frank found he shared a connection with television and radio assistant Samuel Livingston, who is originally from Chicago, Illinois. Livingston’s grandmother, a German Jewess who survived World War II in Germany, was born in the same small village as Frank’s mother. Livingston said that Frank thought the barbeque was “special,” “peaceful” and “very unique.” Edstone resident Brooke Davis said he “felt really welcomed.”
Frank’s visit follows a personal visit by another journalist, British writer Melanie Phillips, to the Trumpet’s headquarters campus in Edmond on May 7 and 8.
“One thing I took away from Melanie Phillips’s editorial meeting was the value in developing firsthand sources and stories. This is something we should probably do more, especially with us being so close to London,” Mr. Macdonald said. “Obviously God has to open the doors, but I think this is something we would like to do more of.”
Niklas Frank’s interview on the Trumpet Daily Radio Show’s can be found on theTrumpet.com and SoundCloud, and Mr. Macdonald anticipates that the forthcoming documentary featuring him will be available this autumn.