Schutzstaffel

SSßNazi SSS.S.SS officerSS troopsSchutzstaffel (SS)German SSNazi ''SSSS guards
The Schutzstaffel (SS; also stylized as with Armanen runes; ; 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.wikipedia
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Heinrich Himmler

HimmlerAlfred HimmlerH Himmler
In 1925, Heinrich Himmler joined the unit, which had by then been reformed and given its final name.
Heinrich Luitpold Himmler (7 October 1900 – 23 May 1945) was Reichsführer of the Schutzstaffel (Protection Squadron; SS), and a leading member of the Nazi Party (NSDAP) of Germany.

Waffen-SS

SSWaffen SSSS division
The two main constituent groups were the Allgemeine SS (General SS) and Waffen-SS (Armed SS).
The Waffen-SS (, Armed SS) was the armed wing of the Nazi Party's SS organisation.

Allgemeine SS

SSGerman SS-Allgemeine'' SS
The two main constituent groups were the Allgemeine SS (General SS) and Waffen-SS (Armed SS).
The Allgemeine SS (General SS) was a major branch of the Schutzstaffel (SS) paramilitary forces of Nazi Germany, and it was managed by the SS Main Office (SS-Hauptamt). The Allgemeine SS was officially established in the autumn of 1934 to distinguish its members from the SS-Verfügungstruppe (SS Dispositional Troops or SS-VT), which later became the Waffen-SS, and the SS-Totenkopfverbände (SS Death's Head Units or SS-TV), which were in charge of the Nazi concentration camps and extermination camps, where millions were killed.

SS-Totenkopfverbände

SSDeath's Head UnitsSS-Sonderkommando
A third component of the SS, the SS-Totenkopfverbände (SS-TV), ran the concentration camps and extermination camps.
SS-Totenkopfverbände (SS-TV), literally translated as Death's Head Units, was the SS organization responsible for administering the Nazi concentration camps and extermination camps for Nazi Germany, among similar duties.

Sicherheitsdienst

SDSecurity ServiceSicherheitsdienst (SD)
Additional subdivisions of the SS included the Gestapo and the Sicherheitsdienst (SD) organizations.
Sicherheitsdienst (, Security Service), full title Sicherheitsdienst des Reichsführers-SS (Security Service of the Reichsführer-SS), or SD, was the intelligence agency of the SS and the Nazi Party in Nazi Germany.

Gestapo

authoritiesthe authoritiesGeheime Staatspolizei
Additional subdivisions of the SS included the Gestapo and the Sicherheitsdienst (SD) organizations.
Beginning on 20 April 1934, it passed to the administration of Schutzstaffel (SS) national leader Heinrich Himmler, who in 1936 was appointed Chief of German Police (Chef der Deutschen Polizei) by Hitler.

Nazi concentration camps

concentration campconcentration campsNazi concentration camp
A third component of the SS, the SS-Totenkopfverbände (SS-TV), ran the concentration camps and extermination camps.
Heinrich Himmler's Schutzstaffel (SS) took full control of the police and the concentration camps throughout Germany in 1934–35.

Ernst Kaltenbrunner

KaltenbrunnerKALTENBRUNNER, Ernst
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.
An Obergruppenführer (general) in the Schutzstaffel (SS), between January 1943 and May 1945 he held the offices of Chief of the Reich Main Security Office (Reichssicherheitshauptamt; RSHA).

The Holocaust

HolocaustShoahShoa
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 in the Holocaust.
Under the coordination of the SS, with directions from the highest leadership of the Nazi Party, killings were committed within Germany itself, throughout German-occupied Europe, and across all territories controlled by the Axis powers.

Joseph Berchtold

Originally the unit was composed of eight men, commanded by Julius Schreck and Joseph Berchtold, and was modeled after the Erhardt Naval Brigade, a Freikorps of the time.
Joseph Berchtold (6 March 1897 – 23 August 1962) was an early senior Nazi Party member and a co-founder of both the Sturmabteilung (SA) and Schutzstaffel (SS).

Nazism

NaziNazisNational Socialist
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 Sturmabteilung (SA) and the Schutzstaffel (SS) functioned as the paramilitary organizations of the Nazi Party.

Erhard Heiden

Berchtold was considered more dynamic than his predecessor, but became increasingly frustrated by the authority the SA had over the SS. This led to him transferring leadership of the SS to his deputy, Erhard Heiden, on 1 March 1927.
Erhard Heiden (23 February 1901 – 1933) was an early member of the Nazi Party and the third commander of the Schutzstaffel (SS), the paramilitary wing of the Sturmabteilung ("Storm Detachment; SA").

Julius Schreck

Originally the unit was composed of eight men, commanded by Julius Schreck and Joseph Berchtold, and was modeled after the Erhardt Naval Brigade, a Freikorps of the time.
Later in 1925, he became the first leader of the Schutzstaffel ("Protection Squadron"; SS).

Nazi Germany

GermanGermanyNazi
The Schutzstaffel (SS; also stylized as with Armanen runes; ; 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.
In response, Hitler used the Schutzstaffel (SS) and Gestapo to purge the entire SA leadership.

Wewelsburg

Wewelsburg CastleMuseum Wewelsburg
In 1933, Himmler bought Wewelsburg, a castle in Westphalia.
After 1934, it was used by the SS under Heinrich Himmler, and was to be expanded into a complex which would serve as the central SS cult-site.

Extermination camp

death campsdeath campextermination camps
A third component of the SS, the SS-Totenkopfverbände (SS-TV), ran the concentration camps and extermination camps.
After the invasion of Poland in September 1939, the secret Action T4 euthanasia programme – the systematic murder of German, Austrian, and Polish hospital patients with mental or physical disabilities – was initiated by the SS in order to eliminate "life unworthy of life" (Lebensunwertes Leben), a Nazi designation for people who had no right to life.

SS-Junker Schools

Junkerschule Braunschweig
In the latter half of 1934, Himmler oversaw the creation of SS-Junkerschule (Junker schools), institutions where SS officer candidates received leadership training, political and ideological indoctrination, and military instruction.
SS-Junker Schools (German SS-Junkerschulen) were leadership training facilities for SS-Junkers, officer candidates of the Schutzstaffel (SS).

Nazi Party

NazisNaziNSDAP
The Schutzstaffel (SS; also stylized as with Armanen runes; ; 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.
The SA and the SS members (the latter founded in 1925 as Hitler's bodyguard, and known originally as the Schutzkommando) had to all be regular party members.

Reinhard Heydrich

HeydrichR. HeydrichReinhard Tristan Eugen Heydrich
Himmler named his deputy and protégé Reinhard Heydrich chief of the Gestapo on 22 April 1934.
He was an SS-Obergruppenführer und General der Polizei (Senior Group Leader and General of Police) as well as chief of the Reich Main Security Office (including the Gestapo, Kripo, and SD).

Obergruppenführer

SS-Obergruppenführer und General der Waffen-SSSS-ObergruppenführerSS-Obergruppenführer and General of the Waffen-SS
Himmler's title of Reichsführer-SS now became his actual rank, equivalent to the rank of field marshal in the army (his previous rank was Obergruppenführer). As Himmler's position and authority grew, so did his de facto rank.
Obergruppenführer (, "senior group leader") was one of the Third Reich's paramilitary ranks, first created in 1932 as a rank of the Sturmabteilung (SA), and adopted by the Schutzstaffel (SS) one year later.

SS and police leader

Higher SS and Police LeaderHSSPFHöherer SS- und Polizeiführer
Most of these SS and police leaders held the rank of SS-Gruppenführer or above, and answered directly to Himmler in all SS matters within their district.
The title of SS and police leader ( SS- und Polizeiführer) was used to designate a senior Nazi official who commanded large units of the SS, Gestapo and the German uniformed police (Ordnungspolizei), prior to and during World War II.

Sepp Dietrich

Josef "Sepp" DietrichJosef DietrichDietrich
Sepp Dietrich commanded the new unit, previously known as SS-Stabswache Berlin; the name was changed to SS-Sonderkommando Berlin.
Josef Dietrich (28 May 1892 – 21 April 1966) (also known as "Sepp") was a German politician and SS commander during the Nazi era.

Ordnungspolizei

OrpoOrder PoliceGerman police
Police and intelligence forces brought under their administrative control included the SD, Gestapo, Kriminalpolizei (Kripo; criminal investigative police), and Ordnungspolizei (Orpo; regular uniformed police).
The Orpo was under the administration of the Interior Ministry, but led by members of the Schutzstaffel (SS) until the end of World War II.

Night of the Long Knives

Röhm PutschRöhm purgeRöhm-Putsch
The Gestapo's transfer to Himmler was a prelude to the Night of the Long Knives, in which most of the SA leadership were arrested and subsequently executed.
The primary instruments of Hitler's action, who carried out most of the killings, were the Schutzstaffel (SS) paramilitary force under Himmler and its Security Service under Reinhard Heydrich, and the Gestapo, the secret police, under Göring.

Meine Ehre heißt Treue

Unsere/Meine Ehre heißt Treue
Their official motto was "Meine Ehre heißt Treue" (My Honour is Loyalty).
Meine Ehre heißt Treue ("My honour is called loyalty") is the motto of the former National Socialist organization, the Schutzstaffel (SS).