Schutzstaffel

  • schutzstaffel
    flag of the schutzstaffel.svg
    ss flag
    himmler besichtigt die gefangenenlager in russland. heinrich himmler inspects a prisoner of war camp in russia, circa... - nara - 540164.jpg
    bundesarchiv bild 101iii-lerche stereo-046-03, metz, sepp dietrich bei ordensverleihung.jpg
    bundesarchiv bild 183-r97512, berlin, geheimes staatspolizeihauptamt.jpg
    majdanek (june 24, 1944).jpg
    stroop report - warsaw ghetto uprising bw.jpg
    bundesarchiv bild 183-h04436, klagenfurt, adolf hitler, ehrenkompanie.jpg

    • himmler inspects a prisoner of war camp in the soviet union, 1941
    • men of the leibstandarte ss adolf hitler receive awards
    • ss headquarters in berlin
    • majdanek concentration camp, 1944
    • women and children captured during the warsaw ghetto uprising by sd men, 1943
    • adolf hitler inspects the leibstandarte ss adolf hitler, 1938
    agency overview
    formed4 april 1925[1]
    preceding agencies
    • sturmabteilung (sa)
    • stabswache
    dissolved8 may 1945
    typeparamilitary
    jurisdiction nazi germany
    german-occupied europe
    headquartersprinz-albrecht-straße, berlin
    52°30′26″n 13°22′57″e / 52°30′26″n 13°22′57″e / 52.50722; 13.38250
    employees800,000 (c. 1944)
    reichsführer responsible
    • heinrich himmler (longest serving)
      julius schreck (first)
      karl hanke (last)
    parent agencynazi party
    sturmabteilung (until july 1934)
    child agencies
    • allgemeine ss
    • waffen-ss
    • ss-totenkopfverbände (ss-tv)
    • sicherheitspolizei (sipo; until 1939, when folded into the rsha)
    • sicherheitsdienst (sd)
    • ordnungspolizei (orpo)

    the schutzstaffel (ss; also stylized as ᛋᛋ with armanen runes; german pronunciation: [ˈʃʊtsˌʃtafl̩] (about this soundlisten); literally 'protection squadron') was a major paramilitary organization under adolf hitler and the nazi party (nsdap) in nazi germany, and later throughout german-occupied europe during world war ii. it began with a small guard unit known as the saal-schutz ("hall security") made up of nsdap volunteers to provide security for party meetings in munich. in 1925, heinrich himmler joined the unit, which had by then been reformed and given its final name. under his direction (1929–1945) it grew from a small paramilitary formation during the weimar republic to one of the most powerful organizations in nazi germany. from 1929 until the regime's collapse in 1945, the ss was the foremost agency of security, surveillance, and terror within germany and german-occupied europe.

    the two main constituent groups were the allgemeine ss (general ss) and waffen-ss (armed ss). the allgemeine ss was responsible for enforcing the racial policy of nazi germany and general policing, whereas the waffen-ss consisted of combat units within nazi germany's military. a third component of the ss, the ss-totenkopfverbände (ss-tv), ran the concentration camps and extermination camps. additional subdivisions of the ss included the gestapo and the sicherheitsdienst (sd) organizations. they were tasked with the detection of actual or potential enemies of the nazi state, the neutralization of any opposition, policing the german people for their commitment to nazi ideology, and providing domestic and foreign intelligence.

    the ss was the organization most responsible for the genocidal killing of an estimated 5.5 to 6 million jews and millions of other victims during the holocaust.[2] members of all of its branches committed war crimes and crimes against humanity during world war ii (1939–45). the ss was also involved in commercial enterprises and exploited concentration camp inmates as slave labor. after nazi germany's defeat, the ss and the nsdap were judged by the international military tribunal at nuremberg to be criminal organizations. ernst kaltenbrunner, the highest-ranking surviving ss main department chief, was found guilty of crimes against humanity at the nuremberg trials and hanged in 1946.

  • origins
  • pre-war germany
  • ss in world war ii
  • war in the east
  • business empire
  • military reversals
  • ss units and branches
  • foreign legions and volunteers
  • ranks and uniforms
  • ss membership estimates 1925–45
  • ss offices
  • austrian ss
  • post-war activity and aftermath
  • see also
  • informational notes
  • citations
  • bibliography
  • further reading
  • external links

Schutzstaffel
Flag of the Schutzstaffel.svg
SS flag
Himmler besichtigt die Gefangenenlager in Russland. Heinrich Himmler inspects a prisoner of war camp in Russia, circa... - NARA - 540164.jpg
Bundesarchiv Bild 101III-Lerche Stereo-046-03, Metz, Sepp Dietrich bei Ordensverleihung.jpg
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-R97512, Berlin, Geheimes Staatspolizeihauptamt.jpg
Majdanek (June 24, 1944).jpg
Stroop Report - Warsaw Ghetto Uprising BW.jpg
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-H04436, Klagenfurt, Adolf Hitler, Ehrenkompanie.jpg

Agency overview
Formed4 April 1925[1]
Preceding agencies
Dissolved8 May 1945
TypeParamilitary
Jurisdiction Nazi Germany
German-occupied Europe
HeadquartersPrinz-Albrecht-Straße, Berlin
52°30′26″N 13°22′57″E / 52°30′26″N 13°22′57″E / 52.50722; 13.38250
Employees800,000 (c. 1944)
Reichsführer responsible
Parent agencyNazi Party
Sturmabteilung (until July 1934)
Child agencies

The Schutzstaffel (SS; also stylized as ᛋᛋ with Armanen runes; German pronunciation: [ˈʃʊtsˌʃtafl̩] (About this soundlisten); literally 'Protection Squadron') was a major paramilitary organization under Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party (NSDAP) in Nazi Germany, and later throughout German-occupied Europe during World War II. It began with a small guard unit known as the Saal-Schutz ("Hall Security") made up of NSDAP volunteers to provide security for party meetings in Munich. In 1925, Heinrich Himmler joined the unit, which had by then been reformed and given its final name. Under his direction (1929–1945) it grew from a small paramilitary formation during the Weimar Republic to one of the most powerful organizations in Nazi Germany. From 1929 until the regime's collapse in 1945, the SS was the foremost agency of security, surveillance, and terror within Germany and German-occupied Europe.

The two main constituent groups were the Allgemeine SS (General SS) and Waffen-SS (Armed SS). The Allgemeine SS was responsible for enforcing the racial policy of Nazi Germany and general policing, whereas the Waffen-SS consisted of combat units within Nazi Germany's military. A third component of the SS, the SS-Totenkopfverbände (SS-TV), ran the concentration camps and extermination camps. Additional subdivisions of the SS included the Gestapo and the Sicherheitsdienst (SD) organizations. They were tasked with the detection of actual or potential enemies of the Nazi state, the neutralization of any opposition, policing the German people for their commitment to Nazi ideology, and providing domestic and foreign intelligence.

The SS was the organization most responsible for the genocidal killing of an estimated 5.5 to 6 million Jews and millions of other victims during the Holocaust.[2] Members of all of its branches committed war crimes and crimes against humanity during World War II (1939–45). The SS was also involved in commercial enterprises and exploited concentration camp inmates as slave labor. After Nazi Germany's defeat, the SS and the NSDAP were judged by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg to be criminal organizations. Ernst Kaltenbrunner, the highest-ranking surviving SS main department chief, was found guilty of crimes against humanity at the Nuremberg trials and hanged in 1946.