The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Individual Responsibility Of Defendants
Wilhelm Frick
(Part 5 of 11)

[Page 662]

(6) Suppression and terrorization of opponents. Having established this powerful police organization under his command, Frick used it especially in order to suppress all internal opposition. That this would be his aim he had repeatedly announced even in the years before 1933, when he declared that he was ready to establish the power of the conspirators with terror and violence (2513-PS).

As early as 1932, Frick threatened his opponents in the Reichstag with these words:

"Don't worry, when we are in power we shall put all of you guys in concentration camps." (L-83)

In pursuance of this long-planned campaign of political terrorism, Frick drafted and signed a series of decrees legalizing all those uses of the political police which he considered neces-

[Page 663]

sary in order to establish the dictatorial power of the conspirators within Germany.

Five days after the accession of the conspirators to power Frick signed the first law limiting the freedom of assembly and of the press in Germany. Then, on 28 February 1933, the day after the Reichstag fire, civil rights in Germany were abolished altogether by decree signed by Frick (1390-PS).

The preamble of this decree, which was published on the morning after the Reichstag fire, stated that the suspension of civil rights was decreed as a defense 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 Communists had set fire to the Reichstag building. It is not necessary here to go into the controversial question of who set fire to the Reichstag, but it should be stressed that the official Nazi statement that the Communists had set fire to the building, on which Frick's law was predicated, was issued without any investigation. Proof of this fact is contained in an interrogation of Goering on 13 October 1945, which contains the following passage:

"Q. How could you tell your press agent, one hour after the Reichstag caught fire, that the Communists did it, without investigation?

A. Did the public relations officer say that I said that?

Q. Yes. He said you said it.

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

Q. 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 was there once, wasn't it too early to say without any investigation that the Communists had started the fire?

A. Yes, that is possible, but the Fuehrer wanted it this way.

Q. Why did the Fuehrer want to issue at once a statement that the Communists had started the fire?

A. He was convinced of it.

Q. It is right when I say he was convinced without having any evidence or any proof of that at this moment?

A. 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." (3593-PS)

[Page 664]

This Act of 28 February 1933 also constituted the basis for the establishment of the concentration camps. Frick himself established in detail the handling of so-called "protective custody' under which inmates were held in concentration camps (779-PS; 1723-PS; L-302).

Frick also signed two laws designed specifically to suppress all criticism and opposition to the Government and the Nazi Party (1652-PS; 1393-PS).

Frick also signed the laws which brought about the suppression of independent labor unions as a potential source of opposition inside Germany to the progress of the Nazi conspiracy (405-PS; 1861-PS; 1770-PS). Among these decrees was the law providing for the confiscation of all labor union property in favor of the German Labor Front (1403-PS).

Furthermore, Frick and his subordinates took an active part in the persecution of the independent churches. An order of the Reich Minister of the Interior dated 6 November 1934 prohibited the publication of Protestant church announcements (1498-PS); likewise Frick issued a circular letter to Reich officials imposing severe restrictions on Catholic youth organizations (1482-PS). Frick further on 5 May 1938 wrote to the heads of government agencies proposing methods for invalidating the concordat between Austria and the Holy See (680 PS). His Ministry was also in correspondence with the SD from 1940-1942 concerning the confiscation of church property (R-101-A, through R-101-D).

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