Wilhelm Frick

Wilhelm Frick

Wilhelm Frick was born in Germany in 1877. A police officer in Munich, he joined the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP) and took part in the Beer Hall Putsch. Along with Adolf Hitler was found guilty and was imprisoned for his role in the attempted putsch.

In 1924 Frick was elected to the Reichstag where he associated with the NSDAP radicals led by Gregor Strasser. He became the first Nazi to hold high office when he was appointed as Minister of the Interior in the state of Thuringia.

When Adolf Hitler became Chancellor in 1933 he appointed Frick as his Minister of the Interior and was responsible for operating the Enabling Act.

Wilhelm Frick claimed that the idea that history teaching should be objective was a fallacy of liberalism. "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."

Frick also drafted the Nuremberg Laws, that began the persecution of the Jews in Germany. He was involved in a struggle with Heinrich Himmler and the Schutzstaffel (SS) and in 1943 lost his job as Minister of the Interior. Adolf Hitler now appointed him the Protector of Bohemia and Moravia, a post he held until the end of the Second World War.

Frick was accused of crimes against humanity at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trial. At his trial Frick argued that he had never intended the Nuremberg Laws to be used for mass murder, although he accepted that this is what happened. Wilhelm Frick was found guilty and executed on 1st October, 1946.

Primary Sources

(1) Wilhelm Frick, testimony at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trial in 1946.

As far as the charge against me is concerned I have a clear conscience. My whole life was service to people and the Fatherland. By the fulfillment of my legal and moral duty I think I have earned punishment just as little as the tens of thousands of dutiful German officials who have now been imprisoned only because they carried out their duties.

(2) The journalist, Howard K. Smith, observed the execution of Wilhelm Frick and nine other leaders of the Nazi Party on 1st October 1946.

The sixth man to leave his prison cell and walk with handcuffed wrists to the death house was 69-year-old Wilhelm Frick. He entered the execution chamber at 2.05 a.m., six minutes after Rosenberg had been pronounced dead. He seemed the least steady of any so far and stumbled on the thirteenth step of the gallows. His only words were, "Long live eternal Germany," before he was hooded and dropped through the trap.