The assassination took place at the rue du Roi Albert, close to Nantes cathedral, and was performed by a Resistance hit-squad.
It is thought by some that the killing of Hotz signalled the beginning of armed resistance in the west of France. Ironically, Hotz was liked by the French. He was not a Nazi.
He had worked in Nantes as an engineer in the 1920s and already knew the city well before he arrived and became Feldcommandant in 1940. Many of the citizens of Nantes were horrified by his death (and also realized that the Germans would take reprisals).
Hitler ordered the immediate execution of 100 French hostages. General Otto von Stülpnagel, head of the German occupation forces in France, reduced the number to 50—but declared that an additional 50 would be shot if the culprits were not found.
Maréchal Pétain was ready to hand himself over to the Germans as a hostage. He made a broadcast to the French people to say that an armistice had been signed and that the French had no right to shoot Germans in the back.Two of the three culprits were finally caught. The owner of the Boîte à Sardines, a restaurant in Nantes, remembered two suspicious men—later identified as Spartaco Guisco and Marcel Bourdarias. They were eventually captured by the Gestapo, tortured, and later executed. A third man who was involved, Gilbert Brustlein, was never found.
The assassination of Karl Hotz is described in detail by Robert Gildea in Chapter 10 his book Marianne in Chains (Metropolitan Books Henry Holt and Company, NY, 2002).