4000bce - 399
400 - 1399
1400 - 1499
1500 - 1599
1600 - 1699
1700 - 1799
1800 - 1899
1900 - 1999
When the Fuehrer assumed the direction of the fate of the German Reich and people on 30 January 1933, he found in the domain of the police, as in all other fields, a situation which bore all the signs of the irresponsible incapability of the Weimar system. The concept of a police force, together with the Marxist-Liberal tendency and their characteristic practices were the main reasons for the insufficiently organized and therefore in many respects helpless condition of the police.
This was particularly obvious in that part of the police system to which was assigned the task of the safekeeping of the community against inner-political dangers from the beginning of all historical state activity. The activities to which we are accustomed today under the concept of "Security Police" was, under the "Weimar Interim State" in its political police field, exclusively directed towards a prevention of the unavoidable collapse of its system, especially against the National Socialist movement, with the use of more or less brutal means of power of the state, and was decisively handicapped in the domain of criminal police by the organizational splintering as well as the liberalistic sympathy towards crimes and criminals which existed at that time.
The task of the New National Socialist Security Police, which became apparent with the assumption of power in 1933, had to include as a nucleus the creation of an organism with the view towards the vital necessities of the people and without consideration of the individual interest the safeguarding of the communities against all disturbances and destructions. The prerequisite for its organization was the strict coordination of the political and criminal police, which were split through the federal state regulations and which alone could provide the necessary striking power for the struggle against the enemies of the nation and in the service of the commands of the leadership. The foundation for this achievement of restoration were the National Socialist views of the world, the occupation of important positions by proved national socialistic fighters and the inner core of a large part or the police officials which had remained unharmed in spite of all the attempts to rouse them.
The fight against the political, as well as the individual criminal which was the responsibility of the political departments of the police administration and of the criminal police and which is now combined under the term of "Security Police" took a continuously developing form in the execution of its central goal, as well as in its content as in its organization. With the knowledge that the police in the National Socialistic State, of which it is a distinguished representative, must not only be the best friend of the people but also, and just for the same reason, the most pitiless adversary of all the enemies of the nation, the preventive fight against criminals was added to the activities of the security police which was previously mainly punitive and executive. This constitutes a decisive innovation in the general development of the police. The activities of the security police were furthermore considerably supported by the communication service, and partially made possible only by the development of the security service of the Reichsfuehrer SS, which was created upon the assumption of power which came into ever closer personal and organizational contact with the security police in the course of years.
The general development of the police since 1933 was outwardly characterized by:
The Reichs Reconstruction Law [Reichsneuaufbaugesetz] of 1934 (central directive law for the federal states in individual domains).
The merger of the Reichs Ministry of the Interior and the Prussian Ministry of Interior of 1934.
The Fuehrer decree concerning the creation of a Chief of the German Police dated 17 June 1936.
The law about finance measures in the domain of the police of 1937, the German Police official law of 1937.
Within the general development of the police since 1933, the following regulations were of decisive importance for the security police and SD:
Decree of the Reichsfuehrer SS and the Chief of the German Police in the Reichs Ministry of the Interior of 26 June 1936 (Transfer of Direction of the Security Police, newly created from the political, secret state and criminal police to the SS Gruppenfuehrer HEYDRICH as chief of the Security Police.) Decree of the Reich and Prussian Ministers of the Interior concerning appointment of inspectors of the Security Police, dated 20 Sept 1936,
Decree of the Reichsfuehrer SS and Chief of the German Police of 27 Sept 1939, concerning the merger of the central bureaus of the security police and the SD along with the
Decree of execution of the chief of the Security Police and the SD of the same date concerning the creation of a Central Bureau of Reich Security [RSHA].
The organizational development of the three branches, Security State Police [Gestapo], Criminal Police, and Security Service [SD] of the Reichsfuehrer SS, which are now merged under the leadership of the Chief of the Security Police and SD took place in its details, as follows:
1. The Secret State Police [GESTAPO]
The first step towards the creation of a Secret State Police replacing the Political Police Forces of the various federal states was undertaken in Prussia by the law concerning the establishment of a Secret State Police, dated 26 April 1933. The same day a circular decree was issued by the Prussian Ministers of the Interior regulating the tasks and responsibilities of the Secret State Police and establishing a State Police Bureau in each government district of Prussia as a subordinate to the Secret State Police Bureau. The creator and Chief of the Secret State Police in Prussia was Prime Minister Hermann GOERING. The State police Bureaus were separated from their organizational connection with the District Government or the police administrations of the State and appointed as independent authorities of the Secret State Police, in the spring of 1934 by a circular decree of the Prime Minister and the Chief of the Secret State Police.
Parallel to that development in Prussia, the Reichsfuehrer SS Heinrich HIMMLER created in Bavaria, the Bavarian Political Police, and also suggested and directed in the other federal states outside of Prussia the establishment of Political Police. The unification of the Political Police, of all the federal states, took place in the spring of 1934 when Hermann GOERING appointed Reichsfuehrer SS Heinrich HIMMLER, who had meanwhile been nominated as Commander of the political Police Forces of all the federal states possible. the Prussian law about the Secret State Police, dated 10 Feb 1936, then summed up the developments hitherto and determined the position and responsibilities of the Secret State Police in the executive regulations issued the same day.
A new decisive chapter of the development began with the appointment of the Reichsfuehrer SS as Chief of the German Police by means of the Decree of the Fuehrer mentioned above dated 17 June 1936, and the nomination which followed of SS Gruppenfuehrer Maj Gen HEYDRICH, who up to then, had been Chief of the Secret State Police Bureau and Chief of the Central Security Bureau of the SS, as Chief of the Security Police (Secret State Police and Criminal Police). The term "Secret State Police" was decreed by the Reichsfuehrer SS and Chief of the German Police on 28 August 1936 in the process of establishing uniformity for all the political police forces of the federal states and their organization adapted to the one existing in Prussia by the creation of State Police Bureaus. The Chiefs of the State Police Bureaus assumed the functions of the political executive with the current "Oberpraesident" (later on also with the Reich Governor), that is the president of the Government, according to the decree of the Reich and Prussian Ministers of the Interior, dated 20 Sept 1936.
On the basis of these forms of organization and with the help of the powers bound up with them, the fight against the open and hidden political enemies of the National Socialist peoples State was taken up by the Secret State Police after the assumption of power and is still being tried on today. Its activity is not only limited to solving political crimes already committed or to seizing their perpetrators, but they are equally interested in the prevention of these crimes, thus eliminating these dangers for the community at their very start. Constant investigation and observation of the enemies of the State and quick action in the case of recognition or after commitment of the act, thus go hand in hand. The Secret State Police by carrying out these tasks, contributed decisively to the fact that the National Socialist construction work could be executed in the past ten years without any serious attempts of interference by the political enemies of the nation.
2. The Criminal Police
The subordination of the Criminal Police of the Reich under the Chief of the Security Police, as decreed on 26 June 1936 became the fundamental basis for the uniform development throughout all Germany of the Criminal Police, which had been organized differently in all the federal states up to this time, namely for the establishment of the Reich Criminal Police in its present form of organization. The circular decree of 20 Sept 1936 stated the first fundamental regulations for the reorganization of the Criminal Police of the State, separating the Prussian State Criminal Police Bureau, in locality as well as function, from the Police Presidency in Berlin and charging it with the Professional direction of the Criminal Police of all the German federal states, State as well as communal. The Reich Central Bureau for the struggle against the international and professional criminals as well as against habitual instinctive criminals, which was attached to the State Criminal Police Bureau, was particularly characterized in the course of this process by its close relationship to the practices of the Criminal Police.
The whole territory of the Reich was simultaneously divided into Criminal Police Bureaus on the basis of criminal geographical delineation of spheres of competence in place of the State Criminal [Police] offices. The new spheres occasionally combined several criminal police offices. Insofar as Criminal Police District Offices are not affiliated to State Police Administrative Offices, local duties falling within criminal police jurisdiction are to be taken care of by the crime sections of these State Police Administrative Officers.
In the course of further organizational development, the title of Reichskriminalpolizeiamt [Reich Criminal Police Bureau] was conferred on the Prussian State Criminal Police Bureau through a decree of 16 July 1937. This bureau was directly subordinated to the Chief of Security Police.
This newly created organizational system rendered possible the successful activity of the German Criminal Police, which also became increasingly more perfect in technical fields. From then on Criminal Police did not limit itself to repressive activity, but paid much attention to preventive combatting of crime on the basis of national protective ideology. The correctness of planning and development is demonstrated most clearly in the decline of criminality in the subsequent period.
3. The Security Service of the Reichsfuehrer SS (SD)
Recognizing that accurate knowledge of the enemy, of his methods and aims, is one of the most important bases of any successful struggle the Reichsfuehrer SS created an intelligence service organization as early as 1932 under the then SS-Standartenfuehrer (Colonel) Reinhard HEYDRICH. From the beginning members of the SS were the full-time agents of the SD, which had emerged from the SS.
After the seizure of power the leaders of the National-Socialist movement felt the necessity for current objective information about newsworthy events. This caused the NSDAP to issue an ordinance on 9 June 1934 which merged all information facilities then existing within the Party organization with the SD, and declared the latter to be sole Party information service. The original task of intelligence coverage of the enemy was thereby expanded to general intelligence activity.
In the course of the development as a whole, an increasingly closer cooperation of the SD with the offices of the Security Police resulted as a matter of course. The successful combatting of all activity hostile to the state by the Security Police can be traced back to a considerable extent to the intelligence groundwork of the SD. In addition the field of activity of the SD was progressively expanded, because top Reich authorities delegated to the SD in a series of agreements the task of informing these authorities about the effects of official measures upon popular morale. These agreements also regulated the details of cooperation between these top Reich authorities and the SD. Today the exploration of the situation in all fields of life from the information point of view is incumbent upon the Security Service (SD) of the Reichsfuehrer SS, with special consideration of the morale factors and repercussions among the population. The results of its variegated and responsible activity transmit an objective, always up-to-date picture of the situation to the leading authorities of Party and State. In addition they form valuable hints for current planning of the competent authorities.
The organizational structure within which the SD became active during the first years of its existence and was headed by the Chief of the Main Security Bureau of the SS, to whom in turn the regional sub-divisions were subordinate. The elimination of SD-Oberabschnitte in September 1939 resulted in direct functional connection between the SD-Abschnitte, as the regional sub-divisions were now termed, and the Main Security Bureau as central authority. The current close personal and organizational connection between the SD and the Security Police resulted from the Decree of the Reichsfuehrer SS and Chief of German Police, dated 27 September 1939. This Decree amalgamated the central authorities of the security police and of the SD, and vested it in the newly-created Chief of Security Police and SD, and above him in the Reich Main Security Bureau. Since that time the SD-(Leit)-Abschnitte and their subordinate offices have been under the jurisdiction of the Reich Main Security Bureau.
The above description of the History of the Secret State Police [Gestapo], of the Criminal Police and of the Security Service [SD] of the Reichsfuehrer SS only recounts the external stages of development. It can express only incompletely the great degree of personal initiative and unlimited National-Socialist prowess in work and organization which was brought to bear by the authoritative leadership personalities in building up the undertaking. However, the result of this concentrated effort is such that in these decisive times an apparatus was created on an entirely new basis which was from the beginning a necessary and effective instrument in the hands of the nation's leadership and proved that it is capable of protecting the national community against protracted interference with communal life. It is obvious that these entire tasks could be handled only by men who are deeply rooted in National Socialist ideology, and who are ready to devote not only their total working capacity, but also their life, to the comprehensive realization of the National Socialist idea in the course of the fulfilment of their duties which is frequently dangerous. Because of this, and according to the wish of the Reichsfuehrer SS and of their late Chief, General Heydrich, it is the duty of the Security Police and of the SD not only to form a perfectly working administrative machinery, but in addition it is their duty to form a battle community sworn to a common ideology and brotherhood. The currents of strength generated by this battle community in fulfilling its difficult task of continuous combatting of everything inimical to the nation, a task which has to be accomplished in inglorious silence, shape the National Socialist idea ideologically. These currents of strength also shape the basic law of the SS, from the members of which Security Police and SD are recruited in increasing measure. Tangibly they shape the continuous work in thoroughly training the individual. Ideological schooling, comradeship, professional education and physical fitness are inculcated without cease; they take up a prominent position side by side with the professional daily routine proper, especially in the schools of the Security Service and the SD established for these purposes.
Trained in such a manner, Security Police and SD could do justice even to the great additional requirements, which the four year battle for the living rights of the German people brought in its train. In all battle areas, and in all occupied territories, the men of the Security Police and of the SD stand side by side with the Armed Forces. In a struggle full of sacrifice they devote all their strength to keep the rear of the front free, and to help make secure German reconstruction in occupied territory. In the offices of the home front, on the other hand, the men employed make certain that the fight for life of the German people is not impaired by criminal elements. Through increased effort they equalize the additional tasks and the additional work, which are necessitated by the war as such and especially by the reduced number of personnel due to drafting of men for front-line duty. All faithful to the words of the Reichsfuehrer SS, to do more than their duty in time of war.
Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression Volume IV
Office of the United States Chief Counsel for Prosecution of Axis Criminality
Washington, DC : United States Government Printing Office, 1946