Double Victory: Minorities and Women During World War II
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Frick, Wilhelm (1877–1946)

Title: Wilhelm Frick arrives in motorcade
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German minister of the interior. Born on 12 March 1877 in Alsenz, Wilhelm Frick studied law from 1896 to 1901 at Göttingen, Munich, Beylin, and Heidelberg (where he received his doctorate). From 1904 to 1924, Frick worked in the Munich police department, heading the political police section after 1919. An early adherent of Adolf Hitler, Frick participated in the 1923 Munich Beer Hall Putsch, Hitler's abortive effort to seize power in Munich, and was arrested, tried, and sentenced to 15 months' imprisonment. He was able to avoid a prison term when the newly renamed National Socialist Freedom Party picked him as one of its representatives to the Reichstag in 1924. He served in the Reichstag from that point forward.

On 23 January 1930, Frick became the first National Socialist minister in a provincial government, responsible for education and the Ministry of the Interior in Thuringia. Under his administration, the Thuringian police force was purged of officers who supported the Weimar Republic; Nazi candidates for office were illegally favored; the antiwar film All Quiet on the Western Front was banned, as was jazz music; and rabidly militaristic, anti-Semitic propaganda was allowed to flourish unchecked. On Frick's instruction, special German freedom prayers were instituted in Thuringian schools, glorifying the German Volk and German national honor and military power while denouncing "traitors." Frick used his influence as interior minister to grant Hitler German citizenship by implementing a provision of the law that extended citizenship to anyone named to an official post in Germany. Frick managed to have Hitler named a councilor for the state of Braunschweig.

When the Nazis came to power in Germany in January 1933, Frick was appointed minister of the interior, a key position that he held until August 1943. In this post, he was directly responsible for many measures taken against Jews, Communists, Social Democrats, dissident churchmen, and other opponents of the regime. Frick also had charge of drafting and then administering the laws that gradually eliminated the Jews from the German economy and public life, culminating in the Nuremberg race laws that reduced Jews to second-class status in the Reich. It was Frick who framed the extraordinary law that declared all Hitler's actions during the Blood Purge of the Sturmabteilung (SA, storm troops) in June 1934 to be legal and statesmanlike. Although nominally Heinrich Himmler's superior, Frick singularly failed to impose any legal limitations on the power of the Gestapo and the Schutzstaffel (SS, bodyguard units) nor seriously interfered with their encroachment on his area of jurisdiction.

On 24 August 1943, Frick was appointed Reichsprotektor (administrative head) of Bohemia and Moravia, a position he held until the end of the war, although real authority was concentrated in the hands of his subordinate Karl-Hermann Frank. At the Nuremberg trial, Frick was charged with and found guilty of crimes against peace, war crimes, and crimes against humanity committed in concentration camps in the Protectorate (Bohemia and Moravia). The dedicated Nazi bureaucrat and loyal implementer of Hitler's ruthless aims was hanged at Nuremberg on 16 October 1946.

Joseph C. Greaney


Further Reading
Fischer, Klaus. Nazi Germany: A New History. New York: Continuum Publishing Co., 1995.; Persico, Joseph E. Nuremberg: Infamy on Trial. New York: Viking Penguin, 1994.
 

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