The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: imt/tgmwc/judgment//j-accused-organisations.03

Archive/File: imt/tgmwc/judgment/j-accused-organisations.03
Last-Modified: 1997/09/04

                           of the
               International Military Tribunal
                           For The
             Trial of German Major War Criminals

               His Majesty's Stationery Office
                                                   [Page 71]

                       GESTAPO AND SD
Structure and Component Parts: The Prosecution has named Die
Geheime Staatspolizei (Gestapo) and Der Sicherheitsdienst
des Reichsfuehrer SS (SD) as groups or organisations which
should be declared criminal. The Prosecution presented the
cases against the Gestapo and SD together, stating that this
was necessary because of the close working relationship
between them. The Tribunal permitted the SD to present its
defense separately because of a claim of conflicting
interests, but after examining the evidence has decided to
consider the case of the Gestapo and SD together.

The Gestapo and the SD were first linked together on 26th
June, 1936, by the appointment of Heydrich, who was the
Chief of the SD, to the position of Chief of the Security
Police, which was defined to include both the Gestapo and
the Criminal Police. Prior to that time the SD had been the
intelligence agency, first of the SS, and, after 4th June,
1934, of the entire Nazi Party. The Gestapo had been
composed of the various political police forces of the
several German Federal states which had been unified under
the personal leadership of Himmler, with the assistance of
Goering. Himmler had been appointed Chief of the German
Police in the Ministry of the Interior on 17th June, 1936,
and in his capacity as Reichsfuehrer SS and Chief of the
German Police issued his decree of 26th June, 1936, which
placed both the Criminal Police, or Kripo, and the Gestapo
in the Security Police, and placed both the Security Police
and the SD under he command of Heydrich.

This consolidation under the leadership of Heydrich of the
Security Police, a State organisation, and the SD, a Party
organisation, was formalized by the decree of 27th
September, 1939, which united the various State and Party
offices which were under Heydrich as Chief of the Security
Police and SD into one administrative unit, the Reichs
Security Head Office (RSHA) which was at the same time both
one of the principal offices (Hauptamter) of the SS under
Himmler as Reichsfuehrer SS and an office in the Ministry of
the Interior under Himmler as Chief of the German Police.
The internal structure of the RSHA shows the manner in which
it consolidated the offices of the Security Police with
those of the SD. The RSHA was divided into seven offices
(Amter), two of which (Amt I and Amt II) dealt with

                                                   [Page 72]
matters. The Security Police were represented by Amt IV, the
head office of the Gestapo, and by Amt V, the head office of
the Criminal Police. The SD were represented by Amt III, the
head office for SD activities inside Germany, by Amt VI, the
head office for SD activities outside of Germany and by Amt
VII, the office for ideological research. Shortly after the
creation of the RSHA, in November, 1939, the Security Police
was "coordinated" with the SS by taking all officials of the
Gestapo and Criminal Police into the SS at ranks equivalent
to their positions.

The creation of the RSHA represented the formalisation, at
the top level, of the relationship under which the SD served
as the intelligence agency for the Security Police. A
similar coordination existed in the local offices. Within
Germany and areas which were incorporated within the Reich
for the purpose of civil administration local offices of the
Gestapo, Criminal Police, and SD were formally separate.
They were subject to coordination by Inspectors of the
Security Police and SD on the staffs of the local Higher SS
and Police Leaders, however, and one of the principal
functions of the local SD units was to serve as the
intelligence agency for the local Gestapo units. In the
occupied territories, the formal relationship between local
units of the Gestapo, Criminal Police, and SD was slightly
closer. They were organized into local units of the Security
Police and SD and were under the control of both the RSHA
and of the Higher SS and Police Leader who was appointed by
Himmler to serve on the staff of the occupying authority.
The offices of the Security Police and SD in occupied
territory were composed of departments corresponding to the
various Amts of the RSHA. In occupied territories which were
still considered to be operational military areas or where
German control had not been formally established, the
organisation of the Security Police and SD was only slightly
changed. Members of the Gestapo, Kripo, and SD were joined
together into military type organisations known as Einsatz
Kommandos and Einsatzgruppen in which the key positions were
held by members of the Gestapo, Kripo, and SD and in which
members of the Order Police, the Waffen SS and even the
Wehrmacht were used as auxiliaries. These organisations were
under the over-all control of the RSHA, but in front line
areas were under the operational control of the appropriate
Army Commander.

It can thus be seen that from a functional point of view
both the Gestapo and the SD were important and closely
related groups within the organisation of the Security
Police and the SD. The Security Police and SD was under a
single command, that of Heydrich and later Kaltenbrunner, as
Chief of the Security Police and SD it had a single
headquarters, the RSHA; it had its own command channels and
worked as one organisation both in Germany, in occupied
territories, and in the areas immediately behind the front
lines. During the period with which the Tribunal is
primarily concerned applicants for positions in the Security
Police and SD received training in all its components, the
Gestapo, Criminal Police, and D. Some confusion has been
caused by the fact that part of the organisation was
technically a formation of the Nazi Party while another part
of the organisation was an office in the Government, but
this of no particular significance in view of the law of 1st
December, 1933, declaring the unity of the Nazi Party and
the German State.

The Security Police and SD was a voluntary organisation. It
is true that many civil servants and administrative
officials were transferred into the Security Police. The
claim that this transfer was compulsory amounts to nothing
more than the claim that they had to accept the transfer or
resign their positions, with a possibility of having
incurred official disfavor. During the war a member of the
Security Police and SD did not have a free choice of
assignments within that organisation and the refusal to
accept a particular

                                                   [Page 73]
position, especially when serving in occupied territory,
might have led to serious punishment. The fact remains,
however, that members of the Security Police and SD joined
the organisation voluntarily under no other sanction than
the desire to retain their positions as officials.

The organisation of the Security Police and SD also include
three special units which must be dealt with separately. The
first of these was the Frontier Police or Grenzpolizei which
came under the control of the Gestapo in 1937. Their duties
consisted in the control of passage over the borders of
Germany. They arrested persons who crossed illegally. It is
also clear from the evidence presented that they received
directives from the Gestapo to transfer foreign workers whom
they apprehended to concentration camps They could also
request the local office of the Gestapo for permission to
commit persons arrested to concentration camps. The Tribunal
is of the opinion that the Frontier Police must be included
in charge of criminality against the Gestapo.

The border and customs protection or Zollgrenzschutz became
part of the Gestapo in the summer of 1944. The functions of
organisation were similar to the Frontier Police in
enforcing border regulations with particular respect to the
prevention of smuggling. It does not appear, however, that
their transfer was complete but about half of their
personnel of 54,000 remained under the Reich Finance
Administration or the Order Police. A few days before the
end of the war the whole organisation was transferred back
to the Reich Finance Administration. The transfer of the
organisation to Gestapo was so late and it participated so
little in the over-all activities of the organisation that
the Tribunal does not feel that it should be dealt with in
considering the criminality of the Gestapo.

The third organisation was the so-called Secret Field Police
which was originally under the Army but which in 1942 was
transferred by military order to the Security Police. The
Secret Field police was concerned with security matters
within the Army in occupied territory, and also with the
prevention of attacks by civilians on military installations
or units, and committed War Crimes and Crimes against
Humanity on a wide scale. It has not been proved, however,
that it was a part of the Gestapo and the Tribunal does not
consider it as coming within the charge of criminality
contained in the Indictment, except such members as may have
been transferred to Amt IV of the RSHA or were members of
organisations declared criminal by this Judgment.

Criminal Activity: Originally, one of the primary functions
of the Gestapo was the prevention of any political
opposition to the Nazi regime, a function which it performed
with the assistance of the SD. The principal weapon used in
performing this function was the concentration camp. The
Gestapo did not have administrative control over the
concentration camps, but, acting through the RSHA, was
responsible for the detention of political prisoners in
those Gestapo officials were usually responsible for the
interrogation of political prisoners at the camps.

The Gestapo and the SD also dealt with charges of treason
and with questions relating to the press, the churches and
the Jews. As the Nazi program of anti-Semitic persecution
increased in intensity the role played by these groups
became increasingly important. In the early morning of 10th
November, 1938, Heydrich sent a telegram to all offices of
the Gestapo and SD giving instructions for the organisation
of the pogroms of that date and instructing them to arrest
as many Jews as the prisons could hold "especially rich
ones," but to be careful that those arrested were healthy
and not too old. By 11th November, 1938, 20,000 Jews had
been arrested and many were sent to concentration camps. On
24th January, 1939, Heydrich, the Chief of

                                                   [Page 74]
the Security Police and SD, was charged with furthering the
emigration and evacuation of Jews from Germany, and on 31st
July, 1941, with bringing about a complete solution of the
Jewish problem in German dominated Europe. A special section
of the Gestapo office of the RSHA under Standartenfuehrer
Eichmann was set up with responsibility for Jewish matters
which employed its own agents to investigate the Jewish
problem in occupied territory Local offices of the Gestapo
were used first to supervise the emigration of Jews and
later to deport them to the East both from Germany and from
the territories occupied during the war. Einsatzgruppen of
the Security Police and SD operating behind the lines of the
Eastern Front engaged in the wholesale massacre of Jews. A
special detachment from Gestapo headquarters in the RSHA was
used to arrange for the deportation of Jews from Axis
satellites to Germany for the "final solution."

Local offices of the Security Police and SD played an
important role in the German administration of occupied
territories. The nature of their participation is shown by
measures taken in the summer of 1938 in preparation for the
attack on Czechoslovakia which was then in contemplation.
Einsatzgruppen of the Gestapo and SD were organized to
follow the Army into Czechoslovakia to provide for the
security of political life in the occupied territories.
Plans were made for the infiltration of SD men into the area
in advance, and for the building up of a system of files to
indicate what inhabitants should be placed under
surveillance, deprived of passports, or liquidated. These
plans were considerably altered due to the cancellation of
the attack on Czechoslovakia, but in the military operations
which actually occurred, particularly in the war against
USSR, Einsatzgruppen of the Security Police and SD went into
operation, and combined brutal measures for the pacification
of the civilian population with the wholesale slaughter of
Jews. Heydrich gave orders to fabricate incidents on the
Polish-German frontier in 1939 which would give Hitler
sufficient provocation to attack Poland. Both Gestapo and SD
personnel were involved in these operations.

The local units of the Security Police and SD continued
their work in the occupied territories after they had ceased
to be an area of operations. The Security Police and SD
engaged in widespread arrests of the civilian population of
these occupied countries, imprisoned many of them under
inhumane conditions, subjected them to brutal third degree
methods, and sent many of them to concentration camps. Local
units of the Security Police and SD were also involved in
the shooting of hostages, the imprisonment of relatives, the
execution of persons charged as terrorists and saboteurs
without a trial, and the enforcement of the "Nacht und
Nebel" decrees under which persons charged with a type of
offense believed to endanger the security of the occupying
forces were either executed within a week or secretly
removed to Germany without being permitted to communicate
with their family and friends.

Offices of the Security Police and SD were involved in the
administration of the Slave Labor Program. In some occupied
territories they helped local labor authorities to meet the
quotas imposed by Sauckel. Gestapo offices inside of Germany
were given surveillance over slave laborers and
responsibility for apprehending those who were absent from
their place of work. The Gestapo also had charge of the so-
called work training camps. Although both German and foreign
workers could be committed to these camps, they played a
significant role in forcing foreign laborers to work for the
German war effort. In the latter stages of the war as the SS
embarked on a slave labor program of its own, the Gestapo
was used to arrest workers for the purpose of insuring an
adequate supply in the concentration camps.

                                                   [Page 75]
The local offices of the Security Police and SD were also
involved in the commission of War Crimes involving the
mistreatment and murder of prisoners of war. Soviet
prisoners of war in prisoner of war camps in Germany were
screened by Einsatz Kommandos acting under the directions of
the local Gestapo offices. Commissars, Jews, members of the
intelligentsia, "fanatical Communists" and even those who
were considered incurably sick were classified as
"intolerable," and exterminated. The local offices of the
Security Police and SD were involved in the enforcement of
the "Bullet" decree, put into effect on 4th March, 1944,
under which certain categories of prisoners of war, who were
recaptured, were not treated as prisoners of war but taken
to Mauthausen in secret and shot. Members of the Security
Police and SD were charged with the enforcement of the
decree for the shooting of parachutists and commandos.


The Gestapo and SD were used for purposes which were
criminal under the Charter involving the persecution and
extermination of the Jews, brutalities, and killings in
concentration camps, excesses in the administration of
occupied territories, the administration of the slave labor
program, and the mistreatment and murder of prisoners of
war. The defendant Kaltenbrunner, who was a member of this
organisation, was among those who used it for these
purposes. In dealing with the Gestapo the Tribunal includes
all executive and administrative officials of Amt IV of the
RSHA or concerned with Gestapo administration in other
departments of the RSHA and all local Gestapo officials
serving both inside and outside of Germany, including the
members of the Frontier Police, but not including the
members of the Border and Customs Protection or the Secret
Field Police, except such members as have been specified
above. At the suggestion of the Prosecution the Tribunal
does not include persons employed by the Gestapo for purely
clerical, stenographic, janitorial, or similar unofficial
routine tasks. In dealing with the SD the Tribunal includes
Amts III, VI, and VII of the RSHA and all other members of
the SD, including all local representatives and agents,
honorary or otherwise, whether they were technically members
of the SS or not.

The Tribunal declares to be criminal within the meaning of
the Charter the group composed of those members of the
Gestapo and SD holding the positions enumerated in the
preceding paragraph who became or remained members of the
organisation with knowledge that it was being used for the
commission of acts declared criminal by Article 6 of the
Charter, or who were personally implicated as members of the
organisation in the commission of such crimes. The basis for
this finding is the participation of the organisation in war
crimes and crimes against humanity connected with the war;
this group declared criminal cannot include, therefore,
persons who had ceased to hold the positions enumerated in
the preceding paragraph prior to 1st December, 1939.

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.