Post by Matt Seccombe
During April I finished the analysis of Hans Frank’s fourth and fifth document books, and then analyzed Wilhelm Frick’s defense documents. Frick, the Interior Minister, presented a more compact defense than the other high-level defendants, relying on his record as a bureaucrat who had no role in the planning of the war and no control over the activities of the SS.
The occupier as dairy farmer: As governor of occupied Poland, Frank described his strategy in a speech to factory workers in March 1944: “One can obtain from a cow the milk or meat; if I want milk, I must keep the cow alive. It is the same with a confused country . . . if I want production, then I must look after it. I must give it schools, churches, concerts.”
Frank and the concentration camps: In June 1944 Frank refused to authorize detention in concentration camps as part of Poland’s criminal justice system: As his official diary recorded, “He did not wish any official confirmation of the concentration camps.” When the camps in eastern Europe began be to be “liberated” in late 1944, and the atrocities committed there became global news, Frank’s concern was to demonstrate that the camps had not been under his jurisdiction.
The law and the SS (1942): As the head of a legal academy Frank gave a speech at the University of Heidelberg in 1942 on the rule of law in Germany. One function of the law was to protect “the erring and the failing little fellow countryman.” Punishment had its place, “But never should there be a police state, never!” As a consequence of this stance, Frank lost his positions in Germany’s legal system and was limited to his role in occupied Poland.
The law and the SS (1935): As Minister of the Interior, Frick struggled with the role of the “political police” in the government. In a memorandum of 1935, when the police system was being centralized, he described such police operations as “lawlessness,” noting an action against an official who had reported SS abuses. In terms of both policy and administration, he declared that the issue of control had to be decided clearly: whether the police operated under Frick’s authority or under Himmler. Himmler won that political conflict in 1935, just as he would in 1942 against Frank, and when Frick stepped down as Interior Minister in August 1943, Himmler took his place.
The HLS Library holds approximately one million pages of documents relating to the trial of military and political leaders of Nazi Germany before the International Military Tribunal (IMT) and to the twelve trials of other accused war criminals before the United States Nuremberg Military Tribunals (NMT). We have posted five trials so far (NMT 1 through NMT 4 and NMT 7) and have completed digitization of all the documents and transcripts.
We are now engaged in the process of analyzing, describing and making machine readable the remaining trials’ materials in preparation for posting them to the Web. We hope to complete this work as soon as possible based upon available funding. For more information about this project, please contact [email protected].