Von Burkk was a Nazi spy that was active during World War II. By the summer of 1942, he was operating out of New York City. He had plotted to destroy the Sky City Plane Company and hired a mob led by a man named Romo to assist in his endeavor.

Sending Romo to raid a warehouse that was secretly storing dynamite for the American war effort tipped off the Human Torch and his partner Toro to the scheme. Although the first initial attempt ended in failure, Von Burkk threatened to torture Romo and his men if they did not succeed a second time. The second attempt was a success, but some of Romo's men were killed in the altercation, leaving behind a blueprint of the airplane manufacturer and informing the flaming heroes of Von Burkk's plot.

Von Burkk led Romo and his minions to the aircraft manufacturer and using a device created by criminal scientist Professor Mikki to fill a service tunnel with gas they attempted to blow up the plant. However, the Human Torch and Toro arrived, stopped the fuse and workers on the site, and emptied out all the gas from the tunnel, allowing the two heroes to use their flames. Seeking to avoid capture, Von Burkk tossed Romo into the Human Torch, burning his accomplice alive. Seeking to flee, Von Burkk entered what he though was an escape route but was in reality a wind turbine testing room and was blown into the turbine and cut to ribbons.[1]

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