Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Volume II
Criminality of Groups and Organizations
The Geheime Staatspolizei (Gestapo) & Sicherheitsdienst
(Part 5 of 9)

The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Volume II
Criminality of Groups and Organizations
The Geheime Staatspolizei (Gestapo) & Sicherheitsdienst
(Part 7 of 9)

G. Crimes of the GESTAPO and SD Against Humanity.

The GESTAPO and the SD were primary agencies for the persecution of the Jews. The persecution of the Jews under the Nazi regime is a story of increasingly severe treatment, beginning with restrictions, then seizure and spoliation of property, commitment to concentration camps, deportation, slave labor, and finally mass murder. The responsibility of the GESTAPO and the SD for the mass extermination program carried out by the Einsatz Groups of the SIPO and SD and in the annihilation camps to which Jews were sent by the SIPO and SD has already been considered. In this subdivision, the place of the GESTAPO and SD in the development of this persecution will be treated.

Section B of the SD dealt with problems of nationality, including minorities race and national health, immigration, and resettlement. Section B4 of the GESTAPO, headed by Eichmann, dealt with Jewish affairs, including matters of evacuation, means

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of suppressing enemies of the people and State, and dispossession of rights of German citizenship. One of the functions of the SD was to furnish information concerning the Jews to the GESTAPO. One of the functions of the GESTAPO was to carry out the Nazi program of persecution of the Jews. (L-185; L-219)

The GESTAPO was charged with the enforcement of discriminatory laws, such as those preventing Jews from engaging in business, restricting their right to travel, and prohibiting them from associating with gentiles. Violations of such restrictions resulted in protective custody and confinement in concentration camps by the GESTAPO. (L-217; L- 152; L-167.)

The Chief of the Security Police and SD ordered the GESTAPO and the SD to supervise the anti-Jewish pogrom staged in November 1938 following the von Rath incident in Paris. As many Jews were to be arrested in all districts as the available jail space would hold. Well-to-do Jews were to be singled out for arrest, and primarily only healthy male adults of not too advanced age. Immediately after completion of the arrests, the competent concentration camp was to be notified in order to provide for speediest transfer of Jews to the camps. (3051-PS)

On 11 November 1938 Heydrich reported to Goering by secret express letter on the results of the action as reported by the GESTAPO. The report stated in part:

"*** The extent of the destruction of Jewish shops and houses cannot yet be verified by figures. The figures given in the reports: 815 shops destroyed, 171 dwelling houses set on fire or destroyed, only indicate a fraction of the actual damage caused, as far as arson is concerned. Due to the urgency of the reporting, the reports received to date are entirely limited to general statements such as 'numerous' or 'most shops destroyed.' Therefore the figures given must have been exceeded considerably.

"191 synagogues were set on fire, and another 76 completely destroyed. In addition 11 parish halls, [Gemeindehauser] cemetery chapels and similar buildings were set on fire and 3 more completely destroyed.

"20,000 Jews were arrested, also 7 Aryans and foreigners. The latter were arrested for their own safety.

"36 deaths were reported and those seriously injured were also numbered at 36. Those killed and injured are Jews. One Jew is still missing. The Jews killed include one Polish national, and-those injured include 2 Poles." (3058-PS)

On 31 July 1941 Goering sent the following order to the Chief of the Security Police and SD, Heydrich:

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"Complementing the task that was assigned to you on 24 January 1939, which dealt with arriving at a solution of the Jewish problem through furtherance of emigration and evacuation as advantageous as possible, I hereby charge you with making all necessary preparations in regard to organizational and financial matters for bringing about a complete solution of the Jewish question in the German sphere of influence in Europe." (710-PS)

In February or March 1943, according to Gottfried Boley, Ministerialrat in the Reich Chancery, a conference on the solution of the Jewish problem, attended by representatives of the ministries, was called by Kaltenbrunner as Chief of the Security Police and SD. Boley

"The meeting was presided over by Eichmann who had charge of Jewish problems in the GESTAPO. In his opening remarks Eichmann referred to former conferences that had taken place in the office of the Chief of the Security Police and SD, and that on this occasion he wished to discuss the matter in a more basic manner. He stated that the Jewish question had to be solved in a quick and proper way. Representatives of the Chief of the Security Police and SD who attended the conference made it clear to those present that the remaining Jews had to be sent forcibly to concentration camps or be sterilized. Those present at the conference must have carried away the impression that the objectives were the extermination of the Jewish people." (2645-PS)

The deportation of Jews into concentration camps was part of the program for slave labor. Jews not fit for work were screened out at extermination centers, such as Auschwitz, and the remainder were taken into concentration and work camps. The orders were issued by Himmler and passed through the Chief of the Security Police and SD, Kaltenbrunner (formerly Heydrich) to Mueller, Chief of the GESTAPO, and then to Eichmann for execution. (2376-PS; 147-PS.)

In Galicia, the deportation of Jews was carried out during the period from April 1942 to June 1943. At the end of that time Galicia had been entirely cleared of Jews. In all, 434,392 Jews were deported from Galicia alone. In connection with the deportations Jewish property was confiscated, including furniture, clothing, money, dental fillings, gold teeth, wedding rings, and other personal property of all kinds. The Security Police participated in this action along with other police and SS detachments. (L-18)

In Warsaw the Security Police played a responsible role in the

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segregation of the Jews and placing them in the Ghetto, in the subsequent removal of the Jews to concentration camps, and in the final clearance of the Ghetto. The Ghetto was established in November of 1940. Over 300,000 Jews were deported from it between July and October 1942, and 6,500 more were deported in January 1943. In April and May 1943 the final clearance of the Ghetto was accomplished under the direction of the SS and Police Leader of the Warsaw area, and with units of the SIPO, Waffen SS, Order Police, and some military and Polish police units. Thousands of Jews were killed in the action. About 7,000 were transported to "T. II" where they were exterminated. The remaining 40,000 to 45,000 were placed in concentration camps.

In Denmark the Kommandeur of the SIPO and SD was ordered in September of 1943 to arrest all Danish citizens of Jewish belief and send them to Stettin by ship and from there to the concentration camp at Theresienstadt. In spite of the protests of the Kommander of the SIPO and SD, Kaltenbrunner as Chief of the Security Police and SD gave direct orders to carry out the anti-Jewish action. Eichmann, head of the Jewish section in the GESTAPO, had direct charge of the clearance program. (2375-PS)

In Hungary the deportation of Jews was again carried out by Eichmann. This action took place under direction of the GESTAPO after the German occupation of Hungary in March 1944. About 450,000 Jews were deported from Hungary due to the pressure and direction of the GESTAPO. (2605-PS)

(2) The GESTAPO and the SD were primary agencies for the persecution of the churches. The fight against the churches was never brought out into the open by the GESTAPO and the SD as in the case of the persecution of the Jews. The struggle was designed to weaken the churches and to lay a foundation for the ultimate destruction of the confessional churches after the end of the war. (1815-PS)

Section C2 of the SD dealt with education and religious life. Section B1 of the GESTAPO dealt with political Catholicism. Section B2 with political Protestantism sects, and Section B3 with other churches and Freemasonry. (L-185)

As early as 1934 the GESTAPO enforced restrictions against the churches. An order by the State Police of Dusseldorf prohibited the churches from engaging in public activities, especially public appearances in groups, sports, hikes, and the establishment of holiday or outdoor camps. (R-145)

In 1934 the Bavarian Political Police placed three ministers in

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protective custody for refusing to carry out the order of the Government to ring church bells on the occasion of the death of Hindenburg. (1521-PS)

The GESTAPO dissolved those church organizations which it I considered to have political objectives. In 1938 the GESTAPO at Munich dissolved by order the Guild of the Virgin Mary of the Bavarian dioceses. (1481-PS)

An insight into the hidden objectives and secret methods of the GESTAPO and the SD in the fight against the churches is disclosed in the file of the GESTAPO regional office at Aachen (1816-PS). On 12 May 1941 the Chief of the GESTAPO issued a directive in which he reported that the Chief of the Security Police and SD had issued an order under which the treatment of church politics which had theretofore been divided between the SD and the GESTAPO was to be taken over entirely by the GESTAPO. The SD "church specialists" were to be temporarily transferred to the same posts in the GESTAPO and operate an intelligence service in the church political sphere there. SD files concerning such political opposition were to be handed over to the GESTAPO, but the SD was to retain material concerning the confessional influence on the lives of the people.

On 22 and 23 September 1941 a conference of church specialists attached to GESTAPO regional offices was held in the lecture hall of the RSHA in Berlin. The notes on the speeches delivered at this conference indicate that the GESTAPO considered the church as an enemy to be attacked with determination and "true fanaticism." The immediate objective of the GESTAPO was stated to be to insure that the Church did not win back any lost ground. The ultimate objective was stated to be the destruction of the confessional churches. This was to be brought about by the collection of material through the GESTAPO church intelligence system to be produced at a proper time as evidence for the charge of treasonable activities during the German fight for existence.

The executive measures to be applied by the GESTAPO were discussed. It was stated to be impractical to deal with political offenses under normal legal procedure owing to lack of political perception which prevailed among the legal authorities. The so-called "agitator-Priests," therefore, had to be handled by GESTAPO measures, and when necessary removed to a concentration camp. The following punishments were to be applied to priests according to individual circumstances: warning, fine, forbidden to preach, forbidden to remain in parish, forbidden all activity as priest, short- term arrest, protective custody. Retreats, youth and recreational camps, evening services, processions and pil-

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grimages were all to be forbidden on grounds of interfering with the war effort, blackouts, overburdened transportation, etc.

In executing this program close cooperation was required between the GESTAPO and the SD. The study and treatment of the Church in its opposition to the Nazi state was the responsibility of the GESTAPO. The result of this treatment of the Church in the sphere of "religious life" remained the province of the SD. By these means the GESTAPO and the SD carried on the struggle of the Nazi conspirators against the Church.

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