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Wilhelm Frick was a prominent Nazi official

Dr. Wilhelm Frick Minister of the Interior Protector of Bohemia and Moravia
Dr. Wilhelm Frick Minister of the Interior Protector of Bohemia and Moravia

Dr. Wilhelm Frick (March 12, 1877 - October 16, 1946) was a prominent Nazi official. He was executed for war crimes after the end of World War II.

Early life and family

Frick was born in Alsenz, Germany, the last of four children of teacher Wilhelm Frick the elder and his wife Henriette (née Schmidt). He was educated in Kaiserslautern and studied jurisprudence at Heidelberg, graduating in 1901. He joined the Bavarian civil service in 1903, working as a lawyer at the police headquarters in Munich. He was made a Bezirksamtassessor in 1907 and rose to the position of Regierungsassessor by 1917. He took part in the Beer Hall Putsch (November 1923), at which time he was director of the Munich Kriminalpolizei. He was one of those arrested and imprisoned for the putsch and was tried for treason in April 1924. He was given a suspended sentence of 15 months' imprisonment and was dismissed from his police job.

In 1910 Frick married Elisabetha Emilie Nagel (1890 - 1978) in Pirmasens, they had two sons and a daughter. The marriage ended in an ugly divorce in 1934. Later that year Frick remarried, to Margarete Schultze-Naumburg (1896 - 1960), the former wife of Paul Schultze-Naumburg. Margarete gave birth to a son and a daughter.

Third Reich career

He joined the NSDAP in September 1925 and worked for an insurance company.

He was elected to the Reichstag in May 1924 and associated himself with the radical Gregor Strasser; he was Fraktionsführer for the NSDAP from 1928. He was appointed Minister of the Interior and of Education for Thuringia in 1930.

When Hitler came to power in January 1933 Frick was appointed Minister of the Interior, one of only three Nazis in the original Hitler Cabinet, and was responsible for drafting many of the laws that set up the Nazi regime. In distinction to most other Central European countries, the Minister of the Interior of the Reich did not control the Nations police forces, which were controlled by the Ministers of the Interior of the individual German States. By far the largest State was Prussia, where Hermann Göring was nominated as Minister of the Interior. Frick lost the post of Interior Minister in 1943 to Heinrich Himmler; while Himmler succeeded in gaining control over most of the German police apparatus, he never achieved control over the Criminal Police (Kriminalpolizeiampt, or Kripo). He was Minister without Portfolio until August 1943 when he lost out in a power struggle with Himmler. He was then appointed to the ceremonial post of Protector of Bohemia and Moravia.

The body of Wilhelm Frick after his execution.
The body of Wilhelm Frick after his execution.

He was arrested and tried before the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, where he was the only defendant who refused to testify on his own behalf. His role in formulating the Enabling Act as Minister of the Interior, the later Nuremberg Laws (as co-author with Wilhelm Stuckart) and as controller of German concentration camps led to his conviction for planning, initiating and waging wars of aggression, war crimes and crimes against humanity. He was sentenced to death on October 1, 1946, and was hanged two weeks later. Of his execution, journalist Howard K. Smith wrote:

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.

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