The Punishment That Friedrich Flick Deserves

By Birendra Kumar Agarwal

(Krzyżowa, Poland) The case of Friedrich Flick is up for judgment tomorrow at the Model International Criminal Court (MICC). Given Ubi societas, ibi ius (wherever there is society, there is law), which says that the law serves a stable society, what should be the right decision?

After following the case intensely over the last days, here is my thinking:

The prosecution argued that Flick was involved in investing in a crime. He was owner of an organization where crimes of enslavement, and the death of over 10,000 persons, happened. As well, he had been a member of the Nazi party since 1933. The defense did not deny this membership, nor the financing and ownership of crucial war industries. As the owner, Flick must have had control of his organizations.

However, the defense also mentioned that Flick did not have “effective control”, even if being in ownership. The prosecution mentions that news must be reaching him of what was happening in his factories, because he was the owner, and in the management hierarchy, and thus, he had the knowledge of crime. But prosecution is not able to establish that Flick had effective control and exercised such control, as the plain reading of the statute requires. Rather, the case of defense is that he operated the factory so that he could, in the guise of employment, save as many people.

Nobody denies the fact that Flick had created a huge business empire, but whether he engaged with what happened inside the factories has not been established. I believe he did not engage, even if he knew what was happening. 

We all agree that Flick could be a valuable resource for society. Undoubtedly he knows how to set up profitable industries. Post-war Germany was destroyed, and needed industry to be rebuilt.

Given these circumstances, my view would be that the court should consider taking a more unconventional approach:

  1. There is no doubt that the money and wealth owned by Flick is blood money. His empire was built on 10,000 graves. This money should be taken away from him.
  2. Society’s next concern is the impending deaths by hunger and the damaged and broken world which needs to be restored. Definitely Flick has been bestowed the ability to create industries, which means he could create livelihoods. Flicks punishment should be, that for each person who suffered under him, he should create 10 more jobs in the next 10 years.
  3. The defense has pleaded that even if Flick is punished, courts may consider leniency. I feel true penance for such crime would be to live as Count Leo Tolstoy proposed for all mankind, i.e. a life of “plain living and high thinking.” To translate this into action would mean a little more than leniency. For rest of his life, Flick should be restrained and prevented from ever holding assets more than $10,000 in any form, whatsoever, and that while he may be provided the basic amenities required to run businesses, his remuneration should be only enough to allow him to have a plain living with basic food, clothes and shelter.