Wilhelm Frick

02.05.2016 ( Last modified: 08.06.2016 )
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facts

Wilhelm Frick was born on 12 March 1877 in Alsenz in the region of Rhineland-Palatinate. In 1901, he obtained a Doctorate in Jurisprudence at the University of Heidelberg and began working in various local administrations before serving in the police headquarters beginning in 1917. In 1923, he made the acquaintance of Hitler and joined the Nazi party, the NSDAP. After participating in the attempted putsch of 9 November 1923, he was sentenced to 15 months in prison but was released in April 1924.

After the restoration of the NSDAP, he once again took up his activities within the party, before being appointed Interior Minister for the region of Thüringen in 1930.

When Hitler came to power on 30 January 1933, Frick was one of only two Nazis, with Goering, to be part of the government. At the time he was Interior Minister and played a decisive role in the internment of Nazi opponents in concentration camps and, two years later, in concocting the Nuremberg laws which ousted the Jews from many occupations and deprived them from exercising their civic rights.

In August 1943, Frick was forced into surrendering his position of Interior Minister to Himmler. He was subsequently appointed Reich Protector for Bohemia-Moravia. In this position he oversaw and approved pillaging, the execution of hostages and other exactions which took place up until the end of the war.

Wilhelm Frick was accused of using his positions, his personal influence and his intimate connection with the Führer in such a manner that he promoted the accession to power of the Nazi conspirators and the consolidation of their control over Germany, as set forth in count 1 of the indictment; he was also accused of participating in the planning and preparation of the Nazi conspirators for wars of aggression and wars in violation of international treaties, agreements and assurances as set forth in counts 1 and 2 of the indictment. Frick was also accused of authorizing, directing and participating in war crimes as set out in count 3 of the indictment and of crimes against humanity as set fort in count 4.

Frick was captured in May 1945.

legal procedure

Frick was captured in May 1945.

Charged with counts 1 (concerted plan or conspiracy), 2 (crimes against peace), 3 (war crimes) and 4 (crimes against humanity), he pleaded not guilty.

Frick was acquitted on count 1.On the other hand, it was proven that the re-introduction of military service instituted by Frick was in complete violation of the Treaty of Versailles and was aimed therefore at committing a crime against peace. Similarly, it was proven that Frick, as Interior Minister, had influence over all of the institutions which came under his jurisdiction, as, for example, the concentration camps. The prosecution also was able to prove that the atrocities committed in Bohemia-Moravia had for the most part been ordered or approved by Frick.

As a result, the Military Tribunal found Frick guilty on counts 2, 3 and 4.

On 1 October 1946, the Military Tribunal sentenced Wilhelm Frick to death.

His appeal to the Control Council was rejected on 10 October 1946.

Wilhelm Frick was executed by hanging on 16 October 1946.

context

After the Second World War numerous trials against war criminals and those responsible for Nazi crimes took place in Germany and other countries. It is not possible here to give an overview of all the trials. Below are the main facts concerning the major trials of war criminals at Nuremberg.

BASIS UNDER INTERNATIONAL LAW

The German armed forces surrendered unconditionally on 7-8 May 1945. The Allies (USA, Soviet Union, Great Britain and France) took over all governmental functions in Germany, instituted the Allied Control Council and divided Germany into four zones of occupation.

After the adoption of the London Charter of 8 August 1945, the Allies set up the International Military Tribunal (IMT) in order to judge the major German war criminals. Annex III of the Agreement contains the Statute of the International Military Tribunal (IMT Statute [2]).

NUREMBERG TRIAL OF MAJOR WAR CRIMINALS

According to Articles 1-3 of the London Charter, war criminals with offenses having no particular geographical location were to be judged by the IMT. However in accordance with Articles 4 and 6 of the Convention, the principle of territoriality was to apply to the other German war criminals, with the courts of those states where crimes had been committed having the competence to try these criminals on the basis on their national laws.

Crimes within the jurisdiction of IMT:

– Crimes against peace;

– War crimes and

– Crimes against humanity (Article 6 of IMT Statute).

The IMT was composed of four judges and four substitutes who were appointed by the four Allied powers (Article 2 IMT Statute). In application of Article 13 of the IMT Statute, the Tribunal drew up its own Rules of Procedure

The IMT indicted 24 people in total. The trials took place from 14 November 1945 until 1 October 1946. Twelve defendants were sentenced to death, three were acquitted and seven others were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 10 years to life imprisonment. In one case, the procedure was suspended for health reasons and in another the defendant committed suicide before his trial.