The United States of America vs. Friedrich Flick, et al. or the Flick Trial
The United States of America vs.
Friedrich Flick, et al. or the Flick Trial was the fifth of twelve Nazi war crimes trials held by U.S. authorities in their occupation zone Germany (Nuremberg) after World War II. It was the first of three trials of leading industrialists of Nazi Germany; the two others were the IG Farben Trial and the Krupp Trial.
These trials were all held before U.S. military courts—not the International Military Tribunal, though they took place in the same rooms at the Palace of Justice. The twelve U.S. trials are collectively known as the "Subsequent Nuremberg Trials" or, more formally, as the "Trials of War Criminals before the Nuremberg Military Tribunals" (NMT). (See also Nuremberg Trials)
The defendants in this case were Friedrich Flick and five other high-ranking directors of Flick's group of companies, officially called Flick Kommanditgesellschaft, or Flick KG. The charges centered on slave labor and plundering, but Flick and the most senior director, Otto Steinbrinck, were also charged for their membership in the "Circle of Friends of Himmler." The circle was a group of influential German industrialists and bankers—founded originally in 1932 by Wilhelm Keppler and taken over by Himmler in 1935—for the purpose of giving financial support to the Nazis. Its members "donated" annually about 1 million Reichsmark to a "Special Account S" in favor of Himmler.
The judges in this case, heard before Military Tribunal IV, were Charles B. Sears (presiding judge), former Chief Judge of the court of appeals of the state of New York, William C. Christianson from Minnesota, Frank N. Richman from Indiana, and Richard D. Dixon from North Carolina as an alternate judge. The Chief of Counsel for the Prosecution was Telford Taylor, and the lead Prosecutor in this case was Joseph M. Stone, Esq., a labor lawyer on leave from the U.S. Department of Labor in Washington, D.C. The indictment was filed on February 8 and amended on March 18, 1947; the trial lasted from April 19 to December 22, 1947. Friedrich Flick was sentenced to seven years of imprisonment, two of the other defendants received shorter sentences, and the remaining three were acquitted.
The men had been indicted on March 18, with the indictment listing five counts. All the defendants were charged with committing war crimes and crimes against humanity through the use of slave labor, the deportation for labor of civilians of German-occupied territories, and the use of POWs for war operations. Moreover, all the defendants except Terberger were charged with committing war crimes and crimes against humanity through participating in the plunder of public and private property, spoliation, and offenses against property which came under German occupation. Flick, Steinbrinck, and Kaletsch were charged with committing crimes against humanity through their participation in the persecution of people because of their race, religion, or politics, specifically their participation of the "Aryanization" of Jewish properties. Furthermore, Flick and Steinbrinck were charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity through their participation in the murder, torture, and atrocities committed by the Nazi Party, and specifically the SS; and Steinbrinck was charged with being a member of the SS, which was declared a criminal organization by the International Military Tribunal.