Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression Volume IV
Document No. 2164-PS

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NATIONAL SOCIALIST YEARBOOK 1940 [Nationalsozialistisches Jahrbuch 1940]

Editor: Dr. Robert Ley, Pp. 365-371

The SS (The Schutzstaffeln of the NSDAP)

The SS since the Reichparteitag 1938

Between today and the Reichsparteitag 1938 there is a span of time which, saturated with important political events, was rich in missions and commitments for the SS as a whole. Only three of those occurrences of special significance are mentioned:

the incorporation of the Sudetenland into the Reich,

the founding of the Protectorate Bohemia-Moravia,

the return of Memel to the greater Germany.

When the march into the liberated provinces of the Sudetenland began on that memorable 1 October 1938, the Emergency Force [Verfuegungstruppen] as well as the Death Head units [Totenkopfverbaende] were along with those in the lead. Already previously they have proven themselves in the fulfillment of their assigned missions in every respect and thereby contributed to the results. However, not only the garrisoned parts of the SS were employed. Also the General SS [Allgemeine SS] were brought forth for special missions. Thousands of younger and older SS comrades were employed for the strengthening of the Police and for the guarding of Concentration Camps and have faithfully fulfilled their duty throughout the weeks.

The 15th of March 1939 brought a similar utilization of the SS when it served to establish order in the collapsing Czechoslovakia. This action ended with the founding of the protectorate Bohemia-Moravia.

Only a week later, on the 29th March 1939, Memel also returned to the Reich upon basis of an agreement with Lithuania. Again it was the SS, here above all, the East Prussian SS, which played a prominent part in the liberation of this province.

Aside from these illustrated commitments, the cordon-service [Absperrdienst], which is included among the well known missions of the SS, goes on. It placed increased requirements on the Berlin SS as a result of visits by the Italian Foreign Minister, Count Ciano, (21 to 23 May 1939), the Prince regent Paul of Yugoslavia (1 to 5 June 1939), and the return of the Condar Legion (6 June 1939). Also these missions were readily fulfilled in cooperation with other formations of the movement.

It is here especially emphasized that the SS did justice to the demand required of it in all cases and have proven themselves worthy of the confidence of the Fuehrer.

Naturally the territorial expansion of the Reich also brought along a further expansion of the SS.

The return of Austria already resulted in the creation of the SS-Regiment "Der Fuehrer" in the SS-V.T. [Verfuegungstruppen] and the creation of the SS-Regiment "Austria" in the SS-T. [Totenkopfverbaende] and the formation of the SS Corps area "Donau" in the General [Allgemeine] SS. Likewise, the incorporation of the Sudeten-German provinces necessitates the organization of new units by the Allgemeinen SS.

The founding of the protectorate Bohemia-Moravia also brought the possibility to construct an SS here which consists out of the independent SS division XXXIX in Prague with the 107th SS Regiment in Iglau and 108th in Prague, which are under the command of the higher SS and Police-fuehrer Bohemia-Moravia, SS-Brigadier General Frank.

Upon the return of Memel, the whole Memel Ordungsdienst was taken over in the SS by the Reichsfuehrer SS. The members of the new Regiment retained the right to wear the native insignia of Memel, the elk antlers, as collar insignia.

The SS-Emergency Force [Verfuegungstruppen]

The SS-Emergency Force [Verfuegungstruppen]. The SS-Verfuegungstruppe is a standing armed force although it belongs to the SS in its entirety. It is neither a part of the Police nor a part of the Wehrmacht and stands at the exclusive disposal of the Fuehrer.

The construction of the individual groups of the SS-Verfuegungstruppe is similar to the corresponding units of the Army for organizational reasons. The Truppe was recruited out of volunteers from the number who are conscripted [Wehrpflichtigen]; these however are still subjected to special selective laws of the SS in addition to their usefulness determined by the Wehrmacht.

In the SS-Verfuegungstruppe, in which they must obligate themselves to four years service, they fulfill the first two years of their active lawful Army conscription.

In the year 1938 after the reincorporation of Austria into the Reich, new SS-Regiment "Der Fuehrer" was formed in Austria by Fuehrer decree. It appeared for the first time in public as a group on the Reichsparteitag 1938.

During the September crisis of the year 1938, the SS-Verfuegungstruppen was placed under the Army by special decree of the Fuehrer in order to solve the mission of the liberation of the Sudeten provinces with this combination.

In all parts of the newly returned German Sudeten provinces, units of the SS-Verfuegungstruppen marched over the border, along with the first formations of the Army. All the tasks assigned to the Truppe were entirely fulfilled in every case. Hereby, the Truppe showed excellent accomplishments.

Following the completion of this employment the order came to completely motorize the Truppe during the course of the winter. This brought a huge amount of work for all officers and men of the SS-Verfuegungstruppe for the winter.

In addition to the organizational measures which were required by this rearrangement, the training of a large number of drivers for the various types of vehicles had to take place in this short time. Specialists had to be schooled. Aside from that, the leadership principles of offices and men had to be retaught. While everyone still worked with all their might in the fulfillment of this task, already the March of 1939 saw the new employment for the pacification of the protectorate Bohemia-Moravia.

By decree of the Fuehrer the SS-Verfuegungstruppe again was committed into the Framework of the Army. This commitment offered an excellent test of efficiency for the employability of the SS Verfuegungstruppe. Hardly was the work of motorization completed when a new employment in this new form had to follow without any apparent large preparatory practices.

The return from this commitment however in no way signified the continuation of the uninterrupted training period. A new decree by the Fuehrer demanded the immediate conversion of the existing units of the SS-Verfuegungstruppen into a motorized division. And so the organizational preparations for the construction of new groups already began on the military training grounds following their commitment in the protectorate. The SS Artillery Regiment, the SS Anti-tank Battalion, the SS Anti-aircraft machine gun Battalion and the SS Reconnaissance Squadrons were created.

The training of these new formations to a battle-ready, employable unit was the goal of the so short summer training of the year 1939.

The SS-Death Head Units [Totenkopfverbaende]

Once a year the SS-Totenkopfverbaende step forth into the open on a large scale: on the Reichparteitag. The participation on this day is a reward for the officers and men for the heavy services accomplished during the preceding year. At the same time it should bear testimony of the exclusiveness and of the soldierly discipline of this Armed part of the SS.

If the work of construction and the commitment during the preceding years should be quickly summarized then it must be said beforehand that hardly a young German goes through a tougher school of self-training and self-discipline as the men of the SS-Totenkopf regiments. The service in the concentration camps, the guarding of State enemies and of criminal subhumanity requires unheard of demands of the man in physical as well as in psychological respects; the man who fulfills his duty day by day for the community in his unselfish commitment and in his exemplary trustworthiness. Here it does not only mean to be a soldier, but also beyond that, to be a character who remains hard despite all enmities and who remains hard toward any temptations which may approach him. Only the best human material, selected according to character and heredity, grew in this organization for service.

During the last year, as in all of the years of its existence, the spiritual tools for their daily employment were given by schooling and instruction in the quiet work of the troop while the military training provided for the increased striking power of the troop. This systematic training made it possible for the SS Totenkopf regiments [Standarte] to do justice to all their missions which were assigned to them outside of the sphere of their daily service. Was it the employment during the reincorporation of the Sudeten district into the Reich in which especially the men of the SS Totenkopf regiments were placed in the front lines and where it served to execute the quickest and most reliable commitment capabilities under orders; or was it the reception of foreign State officials which required the troop to serve as parade troops in public-always the SS Totenkopf regiments immaculately fulfilled their duties. Therefore, they can look back with justifiable pride upon all their achievements, in which they were employed and where they served to represent the SS. This also goes for their employment on district and county days [Kreistag] of the Party or on other occasions, as the Reich Warriors day in Kassel for example. Everywhere the men happily and unselfishly served according to their motto: "Be more than appears."

One of the main missions in the past year was the continued construction of Special Units [Sondereinheiten], for example, all matters concerning transportation, communication and medical affairs. In addition, there also was the establishment of E-Battalions (Educational), the task of which is the training, in courses of 3 months each, of those comrades of the General [Allgemeinen] SS who are not inducted for service in the Wehrmacht. They were trained in weapons and terrain.

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

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