The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
7th January to 19th January, 1946

Thirty-Fifth Day: Wednesday, January 16th, 1946
(Part 9 of 11)


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Finally, I want to say a few words about the responsibility of this defendant for the systematic terror practised against the inhabitants of the occupied territory by the Nazis throughout the occupation. Referring again to the collected speeches in Document 3430-PS, on 29th January, 1943, the defendant left little doubt of his point of view. He said, and I quote:
"It is also clear, now more than ever, that every resistance which is directed against this fight for existence must be suppressed. Some time ago the representatives of the Churches had written to the Wehrmacht Commander and to me, and they presented their ideas in regard to the execution of death sentences which the Wehrmacht Commander announced in the meantime. To this I can say only the following: At the moment in which our men, fathers and sons with iron determination, look towards their fate in the East, and unflinchingly and steadfastly perform their highest pledge, it is unbearable to tolerate conspiracies whose goal is to weaken the rear of this Eastern front. Whoever dares this must be annihilated. We must be severe and become even more severe against our opponents. This is the command of a relentless sequence of events and for us, perhaps, unhumanly hard but our holy duty. We remain human because we do not torture our opponents. We must remain hard in annihilating them."
I do not offer any evidence of the commission of these crimes, because that is to be done by Prosecutors of the French Republic. But the position of the

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defendant Seyss-Inquart as Reich Commissar, the control which he exercised, which has been shown, particularly over the S.S. and Police, and the attitude of the man himself will make clear his authorisation and participation in the crimes to be proved and are a further indication of his part in the Common Plan.

Seyss-Inquart supported the Nazi Party as early as 1931. He was a traitor to the government to which he owed allegiance and in which he held high office. With full knowledge of the ultimate purposes of the conspirators he bent every effort to integrate Austria into the Reich and to make its resources and manpower, as well as its strategic position, available for the Nazi war machine. He performed these tasks with such ruthless efficiency that he was chosen thereafter for key positions in the enslavement of Poland and the Netherlands - the positions which he filled with such satisfaction to his superiors, that ultimately he came to be one of the foremost and most detested leaders in this Common Plan. As such, under Article 6 of the Charter, he is responsible for all acts performed by any persons in the execution of that plan. As such he is guilty of the crimes charged to him under Counts 1 and 2 of the Indictment.

I wish to introduce to the Tribunal at this time Dr. Robert M. W. Kempner, who will represent the prosecution in the next phase of the case dealing with the defendant Frick.

DR. KEMPNER: May it please the Tribunal: There have been distributed to the Tribunal and to all defence counsel trial briefs and documents relating to the defendant Frick. The trial brief prepared by my colleague Karl Lachmann sets forth in great detail evidence, in the form of both documents and decrees, against the defendant Wilhelm Frick, English translations of the evidentiary material referred to in the trial brief are included in the document book prepared by my colleague, Lt. Felton. This book has been marked "LL."

Defendant Frick's great contribution to the Nazi conspiracy was in the field of governmental administration. He was the administrative brain which devised the machinery of State for Nazism, who geared that machinery for aggressive war.

In the course of his active participation in the Nazi conspiracy, from 1923 to 1945, the defendant Frick occupied a number of important positions. Document 2978-PS, which has previously been introduced as Exhibit USA 8, lists the positions in detail. The original was signed by the defendant Frick on 14th October, 1945. I do not repeat these positions; they are known to the Court. Frick's past activity on behalf of the Nazi conspirators was his participation in promoting their rise to power. Frick betrayed, in his capacity as law enforcement official of the Bavarian Government, his own Bavarian Government, by participating in the Munich Beer Hall Putsch of 8th November,, 1923. Frick was tried and sentenced, together with Hitler, on a charge of complicity in treason. His position in the Putsch is described in a record of the proceeding called "The Hitler Trial before the Peoples' Court in Munich," published in Munich in 1924.

I will ask this Tribunal to take judicial notice of this record of these proceedings. Hitler's appreciation of Frick's assistance is evidenced by the fact that he honoured Frick by mentioning his name in "Mein Kampf." Only two other defendants in this proceeding share this honour; namely, Hess and Streicher. I ask the Tribunal to take judicial notice of the favourable mentioning of defendant Frick in "Mein Kampf," German edition, 1933, Page 403.

During the period after the Putsch, Frick made further contributions to the Nazi conspiracy. I should like to refer briefly to Document 2513-PS, an excerpt on Pages 36 and 38 from a Report entitled "The National Socialist Workers Party as an Association Hostile to the State and to the Republican Form of Government and Guilty of Treasonable Activity." This Report has been previously introduced as Document 2513-PS, Exhibit USA 235. It is an

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official report of the criminal activities of Hitler, Frick and other Nazis prepared by the Prussian Ministry of the Interior in 1930. It states that Frick, next to Hitler, can be regarded as the most influential representative of the Nazi Party at that time. This document reported that at the 1927 Party Congress in Nuremberg, Frick said that the Reichstag would first be misused by the Nazi Party, would then be, abolished, and that its abolition would, open, the way for racial dictatorship. The document also reported that Frick stated in a speech in 1929 at Pyritz that "this fateful struggle will first be taken up with the ballot, but this cannot continue indefinitely, for history has taught, us that in battle blood must be shed and iron broken."

Back in 1927 Frick's prominent role in helping to bring the Nazis to power was recognised when, on 23rd January, 1930, he was appointed Minister of the Interior and Education in the State of Thuringia.

THE PRESIDENT: Are you passing from that document now? I thought you were reading from 2513.

DR. KEMPNER: No, this is an introduction of the next document.

THE PRESIDENT: I see, Dr. Kempner.

DR. KEMPNER: I just started to refer to the fact that Adolf Hitler at this time, when Frick was Minister of the Interior in the State of Thuringia, was an undesirable alien, not a German citizen. In his capacity as Minister of Thuringia the defendant Frick began his manipulations to provide Adolf Hitler, the undesirable alien, with German citizenship, an essential step towards the realisation of the Nazi conspiracy.

This lack of German citizenship was highly detrimental to the cause of the Nazi Party because, as an alien, Hitler could not become a candidate for the Reich Presidency in Germany.

It was the defendant Frick who solved this problem by an administrative manoeuvre. We now introduce in evidence Document 3564-PS, Exhibit USA 709. This document is an affidavit by Otto Meissner of 27th December, 1945. Meissner was former State secretary and chief of Hitler's Presidential Chancellery. The last two sentences of this affidavit read as follows:

"Frick also, in collaboration with Klagges, Minister of Brunswick, succeeded in naturalising Hitler as a German citizen in 1932, by having him appointed a Brunswick government official (Ministerialrat). This was done in order to make it possible for Hitler to run as a candidate for the office of President in the Reich."
When Hitler came to power on 30th January, 1933, Frick was duly awarded a prominent post in the new regime as Reich Minister of the Interior. In this capacity he became responsible for the establishment of totalitarian control over Germany, an indispensable prerequisite for the preparation of aggressive warfare. Frick assumed responsibility for the realisation of a large part of the Nazi conspirators' programme, through both administration and legislation.

I must explain very briefly the significance of the Ministry of the Interior in the Nazi State to show the contribution made by Frick to the conspiracy. I offer, as evidence of Frick's extensive jurisdiction as Minister of the Interior, Document 3475-PS, Exhibit USA 710, which is part of the official German manual for administrative officials, dated 1943. I ask the Tribunal to take judicial notice of Frick's jurisdiction mentioned in this document. The names of the men who, according to this document, worked under Frick's supervision, and I stress this point "worked under Frick's supervision" are symbolic. They are listed on Page 1 of the English translation. Here we find among the subordinates of Frick "Reich Health Leader Dr. Conti," "Reichsfuehrer S.S. and Chief of the German Police Heinrich Himmler" and "Reich Labour Service Leader Hierl." This document shows Frick as supreme commander of three important pillars of the Nazi State: the Nazi Health Service, the Nazi Police System and the Nazi Labour Service.

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The wide variety of Frick's activities as Reich- Minister of the Interior can be judged from the following catalogue of his functions, enumerated in the following pages of the manual. He had final authority over constitutional questions, drafted legislation, had jurisdiction over governmental administration and civil defence and was final arbiter in all questions concerning race and citizenship. The manual also lists sections of the ministry concerned with administrative problems for the occupied territories and annexed territories, the New Order in the Southeast, the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia and the New Order in the East. He also had full jurisdiction in the field of civil service, including such matters as appointment, tenure, promotion and dismissal.

The defendant Frick used his wide powers as Reichsminister of the Interior to advance the cause of the Nazi conspiracy. To accomplish this purpose, he drafted and signed the laws and decrees which abolished the autonomous State governments, the autonomous local governments, and the political, parties in Germany other than the Nazi Party.

In 1933 and 1934, the first two years of the Nazi regime, Frick signed about 235 laws or decrees, all of which are published in the "Reichsgesetzblatt." I should like to refer briefly to a few of the more important laws and decrees, such as the law of 14th July, 1933, outlawing all political parties other than the Nazi Party, Reichsgesetzblatt, 1933, Part 1, Page 479 (Document 1388A-PS); then the law of 1st December, 1933, securing the unity of party and State, Reichsgesetzblatt, 1933, Part 1, Page 1016 (Document 1395-PS); the law of 30th January, 1934, transferring the sovereignty of the German States to the Reich, Reichsgesetzblatt, 1934, Part 1, Page 75 (Document 3068-PS); the German Municipality Act of 30th January, 1935, which gave Frick's Ministry of the Interior final authority to appoint and dismiss all mayors of municipalities throughout Germany, Reichsgesetzblatt, 1935, Part 1, Page 49 (Document 2008-PS); and, finally, the Nazi Civil Service Act of 7th April, 1933, which provided that all civil servants must be trustworthy as defined by Nazi standards and also must meet the Nazi racial requirements, published in Reichsgesetzblatt, 1933, Part 1, Page 175 (Document 1397-PS).

One category of Frick's activities, however, deserves special notice; that is, the crushing of opposition by legally camouflaged police terror. This is shown by the book, "Dr. Wilhelm Frick and His Ministry," our Document 3119-PS, which is in evidence as Exhibit USA 711, written by Frick's under-secretary and co-conspirator, Hans Pfundtner, apparently written to establish Frick's eternal contribution to the creation of the Nazi's Thousand Year Reich. It states, and I quote briefly from Page 4, paragraph 4, of the English translation:

"While Marxism in Prussia was crushed by the hard fist of the Prussian Prime Minister, Hermann Goering, and a gigantic wave of propaganda was initiated for the Reichstag elections of 5th March, 1933, Dr. Frick prepared the complete seizure of power in all States of the Reich. All at once the political opposition disappeared. All at once the Main (River) line was eliminated - from this time on only one will and one leadership reigned in the German Reich."
How was this done? On 28th February, 1933, the day after the Reichstag fire, civil rights in Germany were abolished. This decree was published in the Reichsgesetzblatt, 1933, Page 83, and an English translation of it appears in the document book as 1390-PS. I refer to this decree at this time because it carries the signature of the Reich Minister of the Interior Frick. And, now something important. It is stated at the beginning of the decree, which was published on the morning after the Reichstag fire, that the suspension of civil rights is decreed as a defence measure against Communist acts of violence endangering the State. At the time of publication of this decree, the Nazi Government announced that a thorough investigation had proven that the

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Communists had set fire to the Reichstag building. I do not intend to go into the controversial issue of who set fire to the Reichstag, but I should like to offer proof that the official Nazi statement, that the Communists were responsible for the fire, was issued without any investigation, and that the preamble of the decree which had Frick's signature was a mere subterfuge.

I offer in evidence a very short excerpt of an interrogation of defendant Goering, dated 13th October, 1945, our Document 3593-PS, Exhibit USA 712, and I should like to read the following brief portion, beginning on Page 4:

My question to Goering: "How could you tell your Press agent, one hour after the Reichstag caught fire, that the Communists did it, without investigation?"

Goering's answer: "Did the Public Relations Officer say that at that time?"

My answer: "Yes. He said you said it."

Goering: "Is it possible when I came to the Reichstag, the Fuehrer and his gentlemen were there. I was doubtful at that time, but it was their opinion that the Communists had started the fire."

My question: "But you were the highest law enforcement official in a certain sense. Daluege was your subordinate. Looking back at it now, and not in the excitement that existed there at the time, was it not too early to say without any investigation that the Communists had started the fire?"

Goering: "Yes, that is possible, but the Fuehrer wanted it this way."

Question: "Why did the Fuehrer want to issue at once a statement that the Communists had started the fire?"

Answer: "He was convinced of it."

Question: "Is it right when I say he was convinced without having any evidence or any proof of that at this moment?"

Goering: "That is right, but you must take into account that at that time the Communist activity was extremely strong, that our new government as such was not very secure."

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Kempner, what has that got to do with Frick?

DR. KEMPNER: He signed the decree, as I said before, abolishing civil liberties, on the morning after, pointing out that there was a Communist danger. On the other side, this Communist danger was a mere subterfuge and was one of the things which finally led to the second World War.

The defendant Frick not only abolished civil liberties within Germany, but he also became the organiser of the huge police network of the Nazi Reich.

Parenthetically, I may state that before this time there was no unified Reich police system; the individual German States had police forces of their own.

I ask the Tribunal to take judicial notice of the decree of 17th June, 1936, signed by Frick and published in the Reichsgesetzblatt, 1936, Page 487. An English translation of this decree is in the document book as Document 2073-PS. Section 1 of this Frick decree reads as follows:

"For the unification of police duties in the Reich, a Chief of German Police is instituted in the German Ministry of the Interior, to whom is assigned the direction and conduct of all police affairs."
And from Section 2 we learn that it was the defendant Frick and Hitler, the signers of the decree, who appointed Himmler as Chief of the German Police.

Paragraph 2 of Section 2 of the decree states that Himmler was, and I quote, "subordinated individually and directly to the Reich and Prussian Minister of the Interior." And, of course, that is Frick.

The official chart of the German police system, Document 1852-PS, which has already been introduced into evidence as Exhibit USA 449, clearly shows

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the position of the Reich Minister of the Interior, Frick, as the supreme commander of the entire German police system, including the notorious R.S.H.A., of which the defendant Kaltenbrunner became chief, under Frick, in January, 1943.

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