Wilhelm Frick

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Wilhelm Frick (1933)
Wilhelm Frick as a defendant in the Nuremberg Trials, 1946

Wilhelm Frick (born March 12, 1877 in Alsenz , Northern Palatinate ; † October 16, 1946 in Nuremberg ) was a German lawyer and National Socialist politician , among other things Reich Minister of the Interior from 1933 to 1943 . He played a key role in building and establishing the Nazi state .

Frick was one of the 24 people indicted in the Nuremberg Trial of the major war criminals before the International Military Tribunal . He was found guilty on three out of four counts on October 1, 1946, sentenced to death by hanging, and executed on October 16, 1946.



Frick was the youngest of the four children of the Protestant district teacher Wilhelm Frick († 1918) and his wife Henriette († 1893). On April 25, 1910, he married Elisabetha Emilie Nagel (April 27, 1890– October 25, 1978) in Pirmasens , from whom he was divorced on February 1, 1934. The first marriage had two sons and a daughter.

On March 12, 1934, he married Margarete Schultze-Naumburg, born Margarete Karolina Berta Dörr (February 1, 1896– May 13, 1960) in Münchberg , who had been married to the architect and Reichstag member Paul Schultze-Naumburg until February 7, 1934 . The daughter Renate Günthert (1935–2011) and son Dieter Frick (1937–2007) emerged from this marriage.

School and study

Frick attended elementary school and high school in Kaiserslautern . From 1896 he first took a semester of philology at the University of Munich before studying law at the universities of Göttingen and Berlin from 1897 to 1900 . During his studies he became a member of the Academic Choral Society in Munich . He passed his exam in Munich in 1900. His doctorate as Dr. iur. followed in 1901 at the University of Heidelberg .

Bavarian civil service

Frick as accused of the Hitler putsch, on the picture from left to right: Heinz Pernet , Friedrich Weber , Wilhelm Frick, Hermann Kriebel , Erich Ludendorff , Adolf Hitler , Wilhelm Brückner , Ernst Röhm , Robert Wagner (April 1, 1924)

From mid-1900 Frick worked as a legal trainee in Kaiserslautern and in 1903, after successfully passing the state examination for the higher judicial and administrative service, was accepted into the Bavarian civil service as an administrative officer. From 1904 he worked for the district government of Upper Bavaria as a government attorney and as a public prosecutor at the police headquarters in Munich . In 1907 he was appointed District Office Assessor and transferred to the District Office of Pirmasens , which he headed from 1914 as administrative administrator. As unfit retired , he did not have the First World War to participate. He was promoted to government assessor and, at his own request, to the Munich police department. Frick initially headed the war usury department there , which is said to have influenced his anti-Semitic attitude, as a letter to his sister shows. In 1919 he was appointed district official to lead the political police . In this role he sympathized with right-wing extremism. He helped a volunteer corps member who had committed murders escape by issuing false passports. In 1919 he got to know Adolf Hitler through the police president Ernst Pöhner and supported Hitler and the NSDAP with the generous approval of meetings and propaganda posters. In 1923 he was promoted to senior bailiff and head of the security service of the Munich criminal police. In November 1923 he was involved in the Hitler putsch together with Pöhner, who was Munich's police chief until 1921 . Frick was to become the new police chief. During the attempted coup he stayed at the police headquarters and, among other things, made sure that the state police and the representative of the police chief were not alerted immediately. Because of "complicity in crimes of high treason ," he was in 1924 to a sentence of 15 months imprisonment sentenced, but after about five months of detention has been suspended. For his participation in the putsch in 1935, Hitler awarded him the Movement's Decoration. His dismissal from civil service was lifted by the Bavarian Disciplinary Court on the grounds that he had not acted with treason. Frick then worked from 1926 to 1930 and from 1932 to 1933 as a civil servant in Munich's Oberversicherungsamt - finally as a first class councilor.

Member of the Reichstag

After the Reichstag election on May 4, 1924 , Wilhelm Frick moved into the Reichstag for constituency 24 (Upper Bavaria-Swabia) as a member of the National Socialist Freedom Party - that was a list connection between the Deutschvölkische Freedom Party and the banned NSDAP - to which he belonged until 1945. On September 1, 1925, Frick became a member of the NSDAP ( membership number 10). He took over the chairmanship of the Reichstag parliamentary group, which had twelve members at the time, in 1928. In this function, he was appointed Reichsleiter by Hitler in 1933 . His speeches in the Reichstag were marked by radical anti-Semitism and racism as well as massive insults and insults against political opponents. Through his destructive work in the Reichstag, he played a key role in the fall of parliamentarism in the Weimar Republic.

Thuringian Minister of State

On January 23, 1930, Wilhelm Frick became Minister of State for the Interior and National Education in a coalition government in the state of Thuringia and thus the first minister of the NSDAP during the Weimar Republic . Frick was also deputy chairman of the state government Erwin Baum . This Thuringian state government became known under the name Baum-Frick-Government , a coalition of the Thuringian Landbund , NSDAP, Economic Party , German National People's Party and German People's Party .

Frick operated by ordinances the dismissal of communist teachers and mayors, downsizing, especially among the social democratic officials, and the preferential recruitment of National Socialists in the newly created state police. On March 19, 1930, Reich Interior Minister Carl Severing (SPD) blocked the Reich subsidies for the Thuringian state police, which was lifted again on April 16 after the state government had declared that it would not accept National Socialists in the police in future. The foreign press was also aware of these events. The London Times described Frick on the occasion of Hitler's rise to power as a "well-known interior minister in Thuringia who was guilty of many administrative eccentricities and who had made the police an instrument of the party."

Against the will of the University of Jena, Frick pushed through the appointment of race researcher Hans FK Günther to the newly created chair of social anthropology . Its aim was to promote the National Socialist movement and worldview . He ensured temporary publication bans for critical newspapers as well as bans on the performance of plays and films with pacifist content. On February 8, 1930, he decreed that Erich Maria Remarque's novel In the West, Nothing New , could no longer be read in any school in the country. He had the film of the same name , which appeared in December of the same year, banned in Thuringia before the general ban on performance by the film supervisory board on December 11th. His National Socialist style of school prayer (“Give us the heroic courage of the Savior… Germany awake! Lord make us free!”) He had to withdraw again due to unconstitutional content. Numerous teachers lost their jobs at art schools. In October 1930 the collection of the Weimar City Palace was " cleaned up " of the modern . Frick ensured that works by Paul Klee , Oskar Kokoschka , Emil Nolde and Ernst Barlach were removed from the collections.

After the SPD's successful motion of no confidence on April 1, 1931 against him and the National Socialist State Councilor Willy Marschler , he was overthrown and left the government.

Reich Minister

Hitler's cabinet , 2nd row standing:
Franz Seldte, Günther Gereke, Lutz Graf Schwerin von Krosigk, Wilhelm Frick, Werner von Blomberg, Alfred Hugenberg; on January 30, 1933 in the Reich Chancellery
Opening of the German Gymnastics Festival in Breslau in 1938 by Minister of the Interior Frick and Reichssportführer von Tschammer

On January 30, 1933, President Paul von Hindenburg appointed Adolf Hitler as Chancellor . He brought Frick and Hermann Göring into his cabinet as the only National Socialist ministers . As Reich Minister of the Interior, Frick was given a key position and was one of the most influential Nazi politicians at the time. Among other things, he took on the role of Reich election officer, who was responsible for conducting the plebiscitary Reichstag elections and influencing the awarding of Reichstag mandates. In March 1933, however, he had to cede the first areas of his ministry to the Reich Ministry for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda , which was newly established for Joseph Goebbels . A year later he lost responsibilities to the new Reich Ministry for Science, Education and Public Education . However, at the same time he also became Minister of the Interior of Prussia . Since May 1934 he was in the situation that as Reich Interior Minister he was superior, and as Prussian Interior Minister he was subordinate of the acting Prussian Prime Minister Hermann Göring. As a Prussian minister he was a member of the Prussian State Council .

Frick's participation in the Röhm Putsch in 1934 is not documented. However, he tried to legalize the murders retrospectively through the " Law on Measures of the State Emergency Defense ", which he signed on July 3, 1934, together with Hitler and the Reich Minister of Justice Franz Gürtner . On the other hand, it is known that in 1935 Frick, like his cabinet colleagues Gürtner, Neurath and Blomberg, campaigned for the lawyers detained by the Gestapo , who were the widow of the Catholic politician and former head of the police department who was murdered in the course of the political cleansing in the Röhm Putsch Prussian Ministry of the Interior Erich Klausener represented.

In 1935 the Reich Ministry for Church Affairs was founded, which in turn meant that specialist departments of the Ministry of the Interior were no longer available. With Heinrich Himmler's appointment as head of the German police force in 1936, Frick lost decisive powers. The University of Freiburg appointed him honorary senator on May 12, 1939, hoping that this would create a strategic bond. On September 9, 1939, the civil administration was converted to war conditions . Frick became a general agent for the Reich administration, thereby he was also a member of the Reich Defense Council . In 1942 he received from Hitler on the occasion of his 65th birthday an endowment of 250,000 Reichsmarks .

Participation in the synchronization

Through a large number of ordinances and laws, as Reich Minister of the Interior, he played a decisive role in building a pseudo-legality, undermining the Weimar constitution and finally securing the takeover of power by the NSDAP. As early as February 4, 1933, the government issued a presidential decree for the protection of the German people , presented by Frick , which massively restricted freedom of assembly and the freedom of the press and appointed the Reich Minister of the Interior as the decision-making body. With the ordinance of the Reich President for the protection of the people and the state passed after the Reichstag fire on February 28, he suspended the basic rights of the Weimar Constitution and disempowered the non-National Socialist state governments through Reich commissioners subordinate to him without any legal basis . For the passing of the Enabling Act on March 23rd by a minimum of 2/3 of the Reichstag members, Frick suggested a change in the rules of procedure, according to which “the unexcused absent MPs should also be present”. On March 31st, with the provisional law for the alignment of the states with the Reich, he ensured that the Reichstag election results of March 5, 1933 - without the votes for the KPD - were transferred to the state parliaments. On April 7, a law was ( Second Law for coordination of the states with the Reich adopted), the countries on the basis - by inserting Reich Governors  were finally removed from power -.

As Minister of the Interior, he was also responsible for promoting top-class sport. He saw the opportunity here to demonstrate the conformity as a model in such a way that the non-political part of the population could quickly see the advantage of standardization (with the exclusion of Jews and Communists ). The successful preparation of the athletes for the Olympic Games in 1936 took place under his responsibility, as he led and paid the Reichssportführer as State Secretary in his ministry.

Participation in racial politics

Wilhelm Frick and Heinrich Himmler in Sachsenhausen concentration camp , 1936
Frick 1938, on the picture from left to right: Wilhelm Stuckart , Wilhelm Frick, Adolf von Bomhard , Konrad Henlein , Hans Krebs

With great commitment, Frick took care of the laws to implement the National Socialist racial ideology , which he had repeatedly propagated in his speeches in the Reichstag. As early as April 7, 1933, under his leadership, the law for the restoration of the civil service came into force, which included in particular a professional ban for both Jewish and Communist civil servants. Most representations follow Bernhard Lösener's statements and assume that Frick was only marginally involved in the Nuremberg Race Laws of 1935. According to a study by historian Günter Neliba published in 1992, Frick is said to have been more involved in drafting the laws than previously assumed.

On January 1, 1934, the law for the prevention of genetically ill offspring , which included forced sterilization “for the benefit of public health” , came into force. A multitude of similar laws were to follow. Even if the so-called euthanasia law did not come into force in 1940, the murders of the sick under National Socialism were carried out with the knowledge of Frick under the later known name Aktion T4 without any legal basis . Department IV Public Health of the Reich Ministry of the Interior had authority over the psychiatric institutions and provided organizational support for the killing of institutions.

Differences with Hitler and disempowerment

On August 20, 1943, Hitler replaced Frick as Reich Minister of the Interior with Himmler. A specific reason for this is not recorded. As a defendant in the Nuremberg trial against the main war criminals, Frick claimed that he had no longer had direct access to Hitler as early as 1937. This is demonstrably inconsistent with the facts, but could, beyond a mere protective claim , have corresponded to Frick's impression. In fact, from 1940 onwards, Hitler no longer discussed important issues with Frick and repeatedly failed to respond to Frick's requests for presentations. Hitler is said to have remarked in 1942 that Frick was not consistently enough National Socialist and could not keep up with developments. These and other negative statements by Hitler about Frick are documented several times in Joseph Goebbels' diaries , among others .

The fact that Hitler refrained from Frick is attributed in particular to a reform of the Reich aimed at by Frick, which provided for clearer structures within and between the ministries and authorities, which would also have included the dissolution of various authorities and functionary positions that Frick considered superfluous. This naturally aroused distrust and resistance in the extended leadership of the regime, but above all ran counter to Hitler's leadership style, which wanted to preserve the amorphous structure of the regime with competing authorities and in some cases unclear responsibilities.

Although Frick retained the rank of Reich Minister, he was deported to Prague in 1943 as Reich Protector of Bohemia and Moravia . As Reich Protector, Frick had a representative function; the actual power was held by the "German Minister of State for the Protectorate", the head of administration, Karl Hermann Frank . Since Frick was fully aware of the insignificance of his new function, he initially rejected it, but eventually bowed to Hitler's dictation. During this time he often stayed at his private residence in Kempfenhausen on Lake Starnberg.

Nuremberg Trial

After his arrest in 1945, Frick was interned and interrogated along with other NSDAP figures and high-ranking members of the Wehrmacht at Camp Ashcan in Bad Mondorf , Luxembourg . In August 1945 he was transferred to Nuremberg, where he was indicted in the Nuremberg trial of the main war criminals. He has been accused of common plan or conspiracy  (1), crimes against peace  (2), war crimes  (3) and crimes against humanity  (4). He was the only one of the defendants who did not allow himself to be questioned orally under oath and therefore not cross- examined. On October 1, 1946, the International Military Tribunal found him guilty on Counts 2, 3, and 4 and sentenced to death by hanging . In his closing remarks, Frick showed no understanding and said: “I have a clear conscience about the prosecution. My whole life has been service to the people and the country. I have dedicated my best strength to them in the most faithful fulfillment of duty. I am convinced that no patriotic American or national of another country in the same situation in his country would have acted differently in my place. Because any other course of action would have broken my oath of loyalty, high treason and treason ”.

On October 16, 1946, Frick was executed in the Nuremberg judicial prison, as were nine other convicts of the Nuremberg trial of the main war criminals . The body was cremated a day later in the municipal crematorium in Munich's Ostfriedhof and the ashes were scattered in the Wenzbach , a tributary of the Isar .

In the Soviet occupation zone , all of Frick's writings were placed on the list of literature to be sorted out.


  • The National Socialists in the Reichstag 1924–1928. Munich 1928.
  • Education to the living people. Berlin 1933.
  • The rebuilding of the empire. Berlin 1934.
  • The German woman in the National Socialist state. Langensalza 1934.
  • We are building the Third Reich. Oldenburg 1934.
  • Student in the people. National tasks of the universities. Langensalza 1934.
  • One people - one empire. To announce the reform of the Reich. Langensalza 1934.
  • Nordic ideas in the Third Reich. Munich 1936.
  • Freedom and binding of self-administration. Munich 1937.
  • Administration during the war. Freiburg im Breisgau 1940.


Web links

Commons : Wilhelm Frick  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b [saaleck-werkstaetten.de/archiv/kunden/familie_schultze-naumburg.html Family Paul Schultze-Naumburg. ] Retrieved May 15, 2011.
  2. Günter Neliba: Wilhelm Frick: The legalist of the injustice state. P. 24.
  3. https://de.findagrave.com/memorial/23546261/dieter-wilhelm-frick
  4. ^ Association of Alter SVer (VASV): Address book. Membership directory of all old men. As of October 1, 1937. Hanover 1937, p. 149.
  5. ^ Wilhelm Frick in the database of members of the Reichstag
  6. Günter Neliba: Wilhelm Frick: The legalist of the injustice state. P. 43.
  7. ^ Reichstag December 11, 1929 .
  8. Herr Hitler in Office. In: The Times , Jan. 31, 1933, p. 11.
  9. Michael Wagner-Kern: State and change of name. Mohr Siebeck 2002, ISBN 3-16-147718-9 , p. 257.
  10. ^ Curriculum vitae on Wilhelm Frick in the report of the expert group Honorary Senators from June 1, 2017 of the Albert Ludwig University (page 12 ff.)
  11. Gerd R. Ueberschär , Winfried Vogel : Serving and earning. Hitler's gifts to his elites. Frankfurt 1999, ISBN 3-10-086002-0 .
  12. Jonathan Petropoulos: Art as Politics in the Third Reich. 1999, p. 277
  13. Original (Rgbl. I 1933 / p. 173).
  14. Arnd Krüger : Today Germany belongs to us and tomorrow ...? The struggle for the sense of conformity in sport in the first half of 1933 , in: Wolfgang Buss & Arnd Krüger (eds.): Sport history: maintaining tradition and changing values. Festschrift for the 75th birthday of Prof. Dr. W. Henze. (= Series of publications by the Lower Saxony Institute for Sports History, Vol. 2). Duderstadt: Mecke 1985, 175 - 196.
  15. ^ Arnd Krüger: Sieg Heil to the most glorious era of German sport: Continuity and change in the modern German sports movement, in: International Journal of the History of Sport 4 (1987), 1, 5 - 20.
  16. ^ André Krajewski: Biography on Shoa.de.
  17. August 31, 1946, morning session.
  18. Thomas Darnstädt : A stroke of luck in history . In: Der Spiegel . No. 14 , 2005, pp. 128 ( online ).
  19. ^ List of literature to be discarded. German Administration for Public Education in the Soviet Occupation Zone, Zentralverlag, Berlin 1946, accessed on March 22, 2013.