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Into that Darkness: From Mercy Killing to Mass Murder

Sereny, Gitta | McGraw-Hill, 1974


p. 235

Franz Stangl, if you believe him and his wife, drifted into being commandant of Treblinka. He was assigned to this post by powerful Nazis whom he feared. Cowardice prevented him from abandoning his awful work. Nowhere to flee. He would be killed or, at least, imprisoned if he resisted the Nazi program. Finally his wife Theresa went to confessional with Father Mario at whose home she and Franz were staying in the mountains. (Franz went to mass every morning). She told Father Mario all about Treblinka, about how Franz was presiding over the daily slaughter of 5000 Jews. Father Mario “gave me such a shock. I remember, he brushed his face with his hand and then he said, ‘We are living through terrible times, my child. Before God and my conscience, if I had been in Franz’s place, I would have done the same. I absolve him from all guilt.”