Wilhelm Frick was born in Germany (1877). He pursued a career with the police in Munich. He was an early member of the NAZI Party. At the time, he was head of the Kriminalpolizei (criminal police) in Munich. He joined Hitler in the abortive Beer Hall Putsch (1923). He was arrested and found guilty of high treason. After serving a short term he was released. He became a leading figure in the NAZI Party. He was elected to the Reichstag and played a leading role there. He was associated with the NAZI radicals led by vicious anti-Semite Gregor Strasser. He was the first NAZI to achieve a high office when he was appointed as Minister of the Interior in the state of Thuringia. When Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor (January 1933), he appointed Frick Minister of the Interior. He was one of the older NAZI leaders. In most of Europe, the Interior Ministry was responsible for the police and law enforcemrent. Because of Germany's federal system, this was not the case when Hitler was initially appointed Chancellor. Hermann G�ring in Prussia and Himmler in Bavaria had more control over the police. This changed with the Enabling Act (March 1933) which Frick helped draft. This was a major step in establishing Hitler's seizure of power and dictatorship -- Machtergreifung. Frick helped draft the Conscription Act, a key step in preparing for war (March, 1935). He also played an important role in drafting the Nuremberg Acts (September 1935) which defined NAZI racist policies and stripped Jews of their citzenship. This legalized the persecution of German Jews and initaited a more organized program of percecution. Frick as Minister of the Interior was involved in a range of crimes in occupied countries, most primenently in Poland where Poles were deprived of their rights and property, many driven on forced marches east into the General Government. Frick became involved in a struggle with Heinrich Himmler and the Schutzstaffel (SS). There does not appear to have been any major policy disagreemnents, but rather personal struggles for power. Frick was gradually sidelined by Göring and Himmler who took effective contol of the German police and completed the centralization of law enforcement within the SS structure. Hitler at Himmler's urging finally removed Frick as Minister of the Interior (1943). Hitler appointed him the Protector of Bohemia and Moravia to replace Heydrich who was assasinated. He acted ruthlessly to supress discent. Prague was the last occupied capital to be liberated. He remained there until the last days of the War, finally fleeing back to the Reich ahead of the advancing Red Army. Allied authorities arrested him. He was one of the leading NAZI figures tried at the Nuremberg IMT trials. He vand Hess refused ti testify in their defense. He was convicted of war crimes. The specific charges were planning, initiating and waging wars of aggression, war crimes and crimes against humanity. The most important acts were his role as Minister of the Interior in formulating both the Enabling Act and the Nuremberg Laws. He wasHe was executed by hanging.
Wilhelm Frick was born in the Palatinate municipality of Alsenz, then part of the Kingdom of Bavaria (1877). He was the youngest of four children. He came from a religious family. His father was Protestant teacher Wilhelm Frick ( -1918). His mother was Henriette (née Schmidt). One can olnly wonder about the religious instructioin he received.
Wilhelm was accepoted to the gymnasium (a selective seconady school) in Kaiserslautern. He passed the Abitur exams (1896). He began studying philology (iterary or classical scholarship). This is interesying given his view of history. He quickly shifted his focus to law which he pursued in Heidelberg and Berlin. He passed the Staatsexamen, the Germna Government examination required for professionals (1900). He was awarded a doctorate (1901).
He began working as a referendary (1900). This is a post in govermental agencies in Germany and other European countries. He entered the Bavarian civil service (1903). He pursued a career with the police in Munich, starting as attorney at the Munich Police Department. And steadily rose within the Deapoartment. He was appointed a Bezirksamtassessor in Pirmasens (1907). He was promoted to acting district executive (1914). He was promoted again to Regierungsassessor. At his request, re-assumed his post at the Munich Police Department (1917). He rose to be head of the Kriminalpolizei (criminal police) in Munich.
Unlike many NAZIs, Frick did not serve in World War I. He was rejected as unfit as a result of a medical condition.
Frick was an early member of the NAZI Party. Ther Communist seizure of power in Bavaria must have had a major impact on Frick as a ranking police offucer in Munich. He became a true belizer, attracted by key NAZI concepts. It is unknown to what extent he had these beliefs nefore the advant bof the NAZIs. Althoug a NAZI parlimentarian, he rejected partlimentarian givernmenbt and liberal demnocracy. He wrote chillingly, "The purpose of history was to teach people that life was always dominated by struggle, that race and blood were central to everything that happened in the past, present and future, and that leadership determined the fate of peoples. Central themes in the new teaching including courage in battle, sacrifice for a greater cause, boundless admiration for the Leader and hatred of Germany's enemies, the Jews." He joined Hitler in the abortive Beer Hall Putsch (1923). He was arrested and found guilty of high treason. After serving a short term he was released. He became a leading figure in the NAZI Party. He was elected to the Reichstag (1924). He addressing the Reichstag, demanding that all Jews be removed from public office. At the time there was only a handful of NAZIs in the Reichstag. He became the parlimentary leader leader of the NAZI Party delegation and played a leading parlimentary role there (1928). This continued after the 1930 election when many NAZIs were elected and the Party became a major German political power. Frick was associated with the NAZI radicals led by vicious anti-Semite Gregor Strasser. He was the first NAZI to achieve a high office when he was appointed as Minister of the Interior and Education in the state of Thuringia (1930).
Hevimmediately tries to intrioduce NAZI policies. Hill issues a decree with the title 'Wider die Negerkultur für deutsches Volkstum' (For the Protection of the German People from Negro Culture). He attempts to NAZIfty both the police and schools. Reich Minister of the Interior Carl Severing (SPD) attempots to cut off funds to Thuringia, but fails. Frick appointeds Hitler, an Austrian citizen, to a civil servant position in the state of Braunschweig. This masde him a German citizen which enabled him to contest the Presidential election against Hindenburg. When Hitler is congragulated for officially becoming a Germjan citizen, he responds, "You should congratulate Germany, not me!"
After World War I, Frick as director of the Munich Criminal Police Force came in contact with World War I veteran Adolf Hitler who became involved with the fledgling NAZI Party. Hitler required police permits to hold political rallys. Munich descended into Chaos as the Communists attempted to create a Munish: Râterepublik -- Red Bavaria. Following the supressionm of the Communist effort to seize power, people were vetted to weed out the Bolsheviks. Right bwing groups had been viutal in defating the Communists. Frick was imopressed with Hitler and was drawn to his beliefs. He became Hitler’s contact in the Munich Police Department. He joined the NAZI Party (September 1923). He thus claimed to be one of the original NAZIs. Frick was imprtant to Hitler because he was a a well-respected individual at a time that the NAZIs were considered to be uneducated street brawlers. When after the attempoted Putch, Frick won a seat in the Reichstag, he became one of the most important NAZIs. He would become the leader of the NAZI Party parlimentary delegation. As such the must have has extensive personal contavct with Hitler. And then it was Frick who provided the administrative expoertise to convert NAZI policy into action and German law. this began with Enabling Act and concentration camps and culminated with the Nurenmberg Laws. Again this must have required consideranle interaction with Hitler. After this the interaction appoears to ahve declined. Hitler no longer needed law. The system Frick put in place no longer needed to operate within the law. Hitler as he increasingly focused on the military and more forcful actions against Jews no longer needed Frick. He was spending more time with Himmler, Heydrich, and the military. We don't recall seeing Frick in Eva Braun's Berchesgarden home movies. Frick was a vicious anti-Semite, but we are not sure he advocated the mass murder of millions of people including children. This was the work of Himmler, Göring, and Heydrich amd all done as extra-judicial action. Which they would have discussed freely duscussed with Hitler. After the War began and Germany began occupoying other countries, again he prepared the legal system for depriving Poles pf their basic rights and property. We are not sure to what extent he had direct contact with Hitler. Hitler gradually increased the role of Himmler and Heydrisch and ultimately removed Frick from the Interior Ministry. We are not entirely sure why, but suspect that Frick wanted to operate under some legal system, however, unjust. And it is not clear if Frick countenced mass murder of women and children, although he must have known about it and did not take any action to opppse it. Notably, Frick told his intrviewer at Nuremberrg, "Hitler was undoubtedly a genius but he lacked self-control. He recognized no limits. Otherwise the thousand-year Reich would have lasted more than twelve years." [Goldensohn, March 10, 1946.]
Frick married Elisabetha Emilie Nagel (1890-1978) in Pirmasens. They had two sons and a daughter. Hans was born (1911). While the family was separated, hus father's believes were fully accepted by Hans. He committed suicide with his wife and children (1945). Walter was born (1913). He was a leutnant killed in combat on the Russian front along the Dnepr River. That does not tell us, however, anything about his political attitudes in contrast to his brother who committed suiside and took his wife and children with him. Frick's daughter Annelise was born (1920). She served as a Luftwaffe nurse. The marriage ended in an ugly divorce because Frick was seeing a younger woman (1934). Only a few weeks after the divorce was finalized, he married the other woman, Margarete Schultze-Naumburg (1896-1960). She was the former wife of NAZI Reichstag MP and architect Paul Schultze-Naumburg who was also scandalized by his wife's affair. (He believed that Jews had distorted German arhitecture. He was named as one of the first rank of artists and writers important to NAZI culture in the Gottbegnadeten list--Septemnber 1944). Frick and his new wife has a son and a daughter. Their son Dieter survived the War and died (2007). Daughter Renate was born (1935). She died in München-Bogenhausen (2011). After the War, Margarete came to the attention of occupation authorities. She was classified as a 'lesser offender' an sentenced to 1 year of probation and a 10.000 Mark atonement fee. The lees than throrough judicial process attracted attention. The German public prosecutor was removed from his post because he had dined with Frau Frick. Shgevhad to face a denazification court
Frick would be on of the top NAZI war criminals at the Nuremberg IMT trials. And at the time Hitler and the NAZIs seized power, he was among the most prominent NAZIs and a contender for the Party's leading role in the new Government. His post as Reich Minister of the Interior was important and he played a key role in prioviding the legal and administratiuve structure that turned NAZI ideology into German state policy. Today, however, only serious readers will recognize the name Frick. And within only a few years, this NAZI luminary was sidelined and Hitler trans ferred his poloice powers Himmler who was a realtive unknown when the NAZIs first seized power. One his tirian orovides a good assessment of the early struugle among NAZI leaders for power. "With Hitler firmly in place as Chancellor, the jockeying for position as his number two and therefore his heir took on a new edge, and now there was genuine power at stake. For the moment, there were five possible candidates - Göring, Goebbels, Frick, Roehm and Hess - but two of these could be discounted at once. Roehm was too much of a maverick, a dangerous loose cannon who would never be accepted by the army or the 'respectable' middle classes. Hess had considerable authority within the party, and indeed would be named Deputy Führer (for Party Affairs) on 21 April, but he was essentially a functionary with little practical experience as a political operator and was seen strictly as Hitler's deputy, never as his successor. Of the other three, Frick was a skilful politician already holding high office as Reich Interior Minister, nominally ranking higher in the government than Göring, and clearly enjoying Hitler's confidence. But he was lethargic and colorless, at heart a bureaucrat, lacking both the charisma and the ruthless drive of his two colleagues. And at fifty-six he was an old man by party standards - the average age of the party elite was only forty years: Hitler himself was forty-three, Göring had just celebrated his fortieth birthday, and Goebbels, proud to be the youngest minister in the Cabinet when he was officially sworn in by Hindenberg on 14 March, was only thirty-five." [Read]
When Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor (January 1933), he immediately appointed appointed Frick to the key post of Reich Minister of the Interior. And as Minister he played a central role in making the the horific NAZI atrocities possible. Frick's role was in the governmental administration. He has been described as the 'administrative brain' who organized the German state to implement the NAZI dictrine with which he was in full agreement. He also helped prepare the NAZI state for aggressive war. It was Frick who payed the key role of transforming NAZI ideology intp into actual political action. Whivh he did swiftly and effeciuently. He was essentially the behind the scenes manager of the NAZI reign of terror. He was not one of the headk=line killers like Himmler, Göring and Heydrich, but Hitler gave him broad discretion which he exercised fully, and was well aware of the criminal purpose of the acts committed by his cocorspirators. Frick played a leading role faciltating NAZI anti-Semitic measures, abolishing political parties, and sending political dissidents to concentration camps. Frick was one of the older NAZI leaders. In most of Europe, the Interior Ministry was responsible for the police and law enforcemrent. Because of Germany's federal system, this was not the case when Hitler was initially appointed Chancellor. Hermann Göring in Prussia and Himmler in Bavaria had more control over the police. This changed with the Enabling Act (March 1933) which Frick helped draft. Thus was a major step in establishjing Hitler's seizure of power and dictatorship -- Machtergreifung. Frick helped draft the Conscription Act, a key step in preparing for war (March, 1935). He also played an important role in drafting the Nuremberg Acts (September 1935) which defined NAZI racist policies and stripped Jews of their citzenship. This legalized the persecution of German Jews and initaited a more organized program of percecution. Frick became involved in a struggle with Heinrich Himmler and the Schutzstaffel (SS). There does not appear to be any major policy disagreemnents, but more of a personal struggles for power. Frick was gradually sidelined by Göring and Himmler who took effective contol of the German police and completed the centralization of law enforcement within the SS structure. Despite his anti-Semitism, Frick does not see to have been a major player in the killing phase of the Holocaust. It was Frick, howeverm that played an important role in setting up concentration camps and had full kmnowledge of them. It is bekieved that Frick ordered around 100,000 people to be sent to one of them. Here we are not talking about the death camps, but concentration camps. Hitler tranferred actual control over the police to Himmler (1936). Frick as Minister of the Interior was involved in a range of crimes in occupied countries, most primenently in Poland where Poles were deprived of their rights and property, many driven on forced marches east into the General Government (1939-40). As the War progressed. it was the SS that was essentially holding the NAZI dictatorship together and playing an increasingly important battlefield role. Thus Frick was no going to win any power struggle with Himmler. Hitler at Himmler's urging finally removed Frick as Minister of the Interior (1943).
Hitler appointed Frick the Protector of Bohemia and Moravia (1943). Frick was apparently trying to resign his post as Minister of the Interior for sometime, frustrated that he was a mere figure head. Hurker would not allow it, but finally gave in. Frick wanted to retire. Hu=itler would not allow him and for some reason offered him the post of Reich Protector. Frick did not want it, but Hitler insisted. [Lammers] Frick replaced Heydrich who had bveen assasinated (1942). Frick is accused of acting ruthlessly to supress discent. Actually the post was now a largely ceremonial post. Appoarently Hitler had a desire to honor Frick for his previous service. After Heydrisch's assainatiion, the SS was running security ooperatioins. Frick had no real control over security opeerations. He made no effort to intervene, but it was not Frick that ordered murderous operations like the transport of Jews in the Theresienstadt ghetto camp to Auschwitz to be murdered. And while Frick may not have ordered murderous actions, being the ceremonial head of aan occupation authority conductung such actions means you are endorsing the actions taken. And of course it was Frick who played an immportant role in converting NAZI policies into the functioning dictatorial state responsible for the atrocuities commited in Czechoslovakai and other occyupied nations. Prague would be the last occupied capital to be liberated. He remained there until the last days of the War, finally fleeing back to the Reich ahead of the advancing Red Army.
Allied authorities arrested him. He was one of the leading NAZI figures tried at the Nuremberg IMT trials. He and Hess refused to testify in their defense. He did insist outside of court, "The whole indictment rests on the assumption of a fictitious conspiracy." [Tusa]
Frick, Frank, Sauckel and Shairach unsuccessfully apply for the services of a Munich lawyer named Scanzoni.
Frick scores 124 on the IQ test vadministered by the Allies. Frick pleads "Not guilty." Some of the most moving testimony was deilvered by Otto Ohlendorf concerning the murder of hundreds of thousands of Jews by the Einsatz groups. Dr Gilbert, an Allied psycologist, recorded the reactions of some of the defendants during the lunch break (October 26). "Fritzsche was so depressed, he could not eat. Frick, however, remarked how nice it would be to be able to go skiing in this fine weather. Fritzsche stopped eating and looked at me in desperation, then glared at Frick." [Gilbert] In an effort to minimize his influence, Goering is now required to eat alone during the courts daily lunch break. The other defendants are split up into groups, with Frick dining with Rosenberg, Jodl, and Kaltenbrunner. [Tusa]
Frick was not popular with the other defendents, especially after he called Hans Bernd Gisevius in his defense. Gisevius was a rare Juky 1944 Bomb Plot member to surviuve the War. Here we have a good histirical assessment. "Frick had undoubted abilities as a bureaucrat, but also embodied all the bureaucrat's possible weaknesses. These came to the surface in Nuremerg jail. He was pernickety. A psychologist told the Chicago Daily News: 'He is like a little old woman, worrying about trivial things all the time.' He had lived his life with facts and figures, diagrams and the minutiae of bureaucratic systems. Andrus had received a report from Gilbert which called Frick callous and unimaginative. His fellow defendants found him taciturn and totally cold. He shared their general inability to see connections between his acts and what happened outside his office. Just before his case began he told Gilbert: 'The mass murders were certainly not thought of as a consequence of the Nuremberg Laws...It may have turned out that way, but it certainly wasn't thought of like that.' He felt no responsibility or regret. Frick seemed incapable of feeling, except for himself. He was the most constant and bitter complainer about prison conditions. He was not sybaritic, just totally selfish, and this selfishness must ultimately explain why Frick decided not to go into the witness box. He had decided there was little to be said in his defense. He accepted the prosecutions charges in the main, just wanted to make a few corrections of detail...All these points, thought Frick, could be adequately dealt with by his lawyer and a witness. He could leave it to them to tidy up the record; why bother to go into the witness box...by not going into the witness box, Frick was letting down his fellow defendants. He was dodging the chance to speak on their behalf, to take responsibility for measures which might otherwise be attributed to some of them and defend legal and administrative aspects of the regime they had all served. To make matters worse, the one witness (Gisevius) he intended to call was an inveterate opponent of Nazism and a doughty fighter against Hitler and his henchmen. It was certain that this witness would use his appearance in court to attack those he had regarded with implacable hatred for years. Frick did not care what his witness said, who he implicated, or what crimes he exposed. All that concerned him was to make slight adjustments and corrections in the prosecutions case against him. Let the rest, quite literally, go hang." [Tusa]
American prececutor Robert Jackson described Frick as a 'ruthless organizer'. He was convicted of counts two, three, and four (2. planning, initiating, and waging aggresivewar, 3. war crimes, and 4. crimes against humanity). The most important acts were his role as Minister of the Interior in formulating both the Enabling Act and the Nuremberg Laws.
He was accused of having full knowledge of the concentration camps. It is thought that Frick ordered around 100,000 people to be sent to one of them.
He was executed by hanging.
Gilbert, Gustave. Nuremberg Diary (1947). Gustave Mark Gilbert was an American psychologist best known for his writings containing observations of high-ranking Nazi leaders during the Nuremberg trials. He also wrote The Psychology of Dictatorship (1950).
Goldensohn, Leon. "March 10, 1946," The Nuremberg Interview (History: 2007).
Lammers, Hans Heinrich. Dr Hans Heinrich Lammers, Chief of the Reich Chancellery reported this in his testimony in Keitel's defense. (April 8, 1946).
Read, Anthony. The Devil's Disciples.
Tusa, Ann and John Tusa. Nuremberg Trial (2010).
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