Archive/File: imt/nca/supp-b/nca-sb-02-frick.01-00 Last-Modified: 1997/12/07 Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression, Supplement B Decrees for the Persecution of the Jews [Page 1400] Excerpts from Testimony of Wilhelm Frick, taken at Nurnberg, Germany, 1030-1230, 6 October 1945, by Mr. H.R. Sackett. Also present: Capt. Jesse F. Landrum, AGD; T/5 Gunther Kosse, Interpreter. Q. What was the purpose of requiring Jews to deposit their stocks, shares in mines, bonds and similar securities in a bank? A. So they would not own part of any business. Q. It also was just a preliminary measure to take the property away from them, wasn't it? A. These were preliminary measures so they could not be active any more; they could not vote in any directors' meetings, and so on. But I had nothing to do with the execution of this law. This was all the business of the Ministers of Finance and Economics. Q. But if you signed the law, you approved of it being executed by the Finance Minister, didn't you? A. That goes with the law. Q. Your answer is "yes"? A. Yes. I want you to know once and for all I am responsible for anything that is signed by me. Q. This law tended to deprive the Jews of their private [Page 1401] rights as well as their political rights, didn't it? A. This only concerns separate economic affairs; it had nothing to do with political affairs. Q. This is another one of those situations you really didn't believe in but you signed and assumed the responsibility rather than resign? A. There was nothing I could do. Even if I would have tried to resign, Hitler would have said, "you stay." Then if I said I didn't want to stay, then I would have been a rebel. Q. And that is why you stayed, is that right? A. Because there was nothing else to do for myself; I was in it and had to sign it; I couldn't get out of it. You could not convince the Fuehrer of anything opposite; he had his own ideas about it and he stuck to it. Q. By signing such a law as this you led the public to believe that you were wholeheartedly in favor of it, didn't you? A. Naturally, that I agreed with it. Q. Weren't you thereby really deceiving the people of Germany? A. You can't actually call it deceiving. You might be of different opinion to the Fuehrer but you cannot get through with the ideas; there is nothing you can do. Q. Didn't it have the effect of a lot of your friends and political supporters believing you were for something when you really weren't? A. You can only concern yourself with the signature itself; and that's what the public believed in. What went on within me, that only concerns me and myself and nobody else knows about that. Q. They you wanted the public and your friends to think that you were for it, even though you weren't? A. I wanted the public to believe that the cabinet favored the policy a hundred percent and holds the opinion of the Fuehrer. Q. The reason I am asking some of these questions is that it is difficult for me to understand that you, with a legal background, can say one thing to the public and not really believe in it. A. You should have been present in the whole leadership of the government at that time. I believe it's very hard for an American to think himself into a setup the way we had it at that time; it was a whole new system. Q. To my way of thinking, it is absolute dishonesty in government. A. Yes, it became more and more dishonest as time went by because the men who were actually responsible for the [Page 1402] leadership of the government were bypassed and their jobs given to men who did not know what responsibility means. Actually, it would not have made any difference if I would have signed the law or not because the Fuehrer would not be influenced by my signing or not signing the law and he would have made it legal anyway. Q. Then, on 6 July, 1938, there was a law passed by the Reich Government listing certain businesses that Jews could not engage in, such as real estate, etc. [See vol. I, pp. 980-981] A. Is that also a law from 6 July, 1938? I don't remember exactly any more but it must belong to the economic sector. I think it is a law that Jews were not allowed to be active in leading positions any more. Q. That was part of the Party program, wasn't it? A. No, that is not in the 25 points of the Party program. Q. Well, it was part of the government program at that time, wasn't it? A. It was not a program of the government because I don't think in 1933 there was anybody who thought it would take such a development. All this happened step by step. The measures taken against the Jews increased through happenings like I mentioned before, Gutloff, vom Rath, and so on. [Wilhelm Gustloff, a Nazi propagandist in Switzerland, was killed by a Jew in February 1936. His death was seized upon by Hitler as the occasion for a violent attack in Jewry. Eduard vom Rath, Third Secretary of the German Embassy in Paris, was murdered on 7 November 1938 by Herschel Grynszpau, a young Polish Jew. This incident served as the pretext for a vast pogrom throughout the Reich, ordered by the Nazi government. See documents 374-PS, vol. II, p. 277; 3051-PS, vol. V, p. 797; 3058-PS, vol. V, p. 854] Q. It was part of the government program in 1938, was it not? A. You could not call that a government program; it just was the wish of the Fuehrer. Q. Well, it was what the government did in 1938, then, wasn't it? A. It was the execution of the wish of the Fuehrer. Q. What do you know about the decree imposing the atonement fine of the Jews of one billion Reichsmarks? A. That's the atonement decree, I remember, but I don't remember exactly any more what it was caused by, whether caused by the killing of Gustoff or the affair of Rath. I don't think this law was signed by me. I think that was the affair of the Minister of Finance. Q. The cabinet discussed it, didn't it? A. There were no more meetings of the cabinet after 1937. Q. Before this fine was levied, it was talked about between you and other cabinet members outside of cabinet meetings, wasn't it? A. This was, but it did not happen too often that members of the cabinet met socially. Q. At the time at least you thought it was a good plan to levy this fine on the Jews, didn't you? A. I probably agreed upon it if my signature is on that. [Page 1403] Q. Whether your signature is on it or not, at that time you thought it was a good idea, didn't you? A. I don't know if you want to call it good; it was a personal measure. Q. You thought that the Jews should be punished as a group because of what had taken place, didn't you? A. That's not a question of whether I thought it good or not, it was ordered by the Fuehrer. Q. Well, can't you say whether you favored it or disfavored it? A. When this draft went through me or my office and I did not oppose it; I was probably in favor of it. Q. This really was the culmination of a plan to take the Jews' property away from them, wasn't it? A. To take their property away from them and to have them retire. Q. In other words, in sequence, there were laws fixed to require them to register their property, then to pledge certain of their property, then finally an enormous fine was levied taking away a great part of their property, is that true? A. The money they had to pay was a punishment; but the property that was taken away from them, they got some pay for that and, therefore, they were able to retire and live from that money. Q. But this was one method of not having to pay for all the property, wasn't it? A. The punishment was an individual affair. Q. And this fine was levied because some Jew had allegedly assassinated a German in Paris, isn't that the case? A. That was the sense of the general punishment. It was said that all Jews were responsible for the killing. Q. You didn't protest, did you? A. No. Q. So you signified your approval, didn't you, by not protesting? A. Well, like I said before, it would not have made any difference if I would have signed it or not, it would have been done anyway. Q. I understand that, but by not protesting and going along with the program, you signified your approval, didn't you? A. If I had not done it, I probably would have ended up in the concentration camp next day. Q. But my question is that you did subscribe to it by not dissenting. You can answer that "yes" or "no." A. Naturally, I did not object because if I had objected to it, I probably would have ended up in the concentration camp.
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