Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Translated as "order police", Ordnungspolizei referred to police units formed by an act of the German Interior Ministry in the summer of 1936. The act decreed that the regular German police forces were to be absorbed into the SS, which would then incorporate all local, state, and national level law enforcement agencies.
The police were divided into the Ordnungspolizei (Orpo or regular police), the Sicherheitspolizei (Sipo or security police), and the Kriminalpolizei (Kripo or criminal police). The Orpo assumed duties of regular law enforcement while the Sipo consisted of the Gestapo and Sicherheitsdienst (SD). The Kriminalpolizei was a core of professional detectives who were tasked with investigating violent and serious crimes. The Kripo existed on a fine line between full SS and regular police until 1942, when the Kripo, SD, and Gestapo were all combined under the authority of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt (RSHA).
The Orpo was commanded by SS-Oberstgruppenführer Kurt Daluege, who reported directly to Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler. As part of his duties as commander of the SS, which now controlled the Orpo, Himmler was also named as Chef der Deutschen Polizei. By 1941, the Orpo had been divided into the following offices, covering every aspect of German law enforcement.
The Hauptamt Ordungspolizei was the central command office of the entire Ordnungspolizei and was considered a full SS-Headquarters command
The Schutzpolizei served as Germany's municipal police force and was tasked with maintaining order in German cities and larger towns. The Schutzpolizei was further divided into the Schutzpolizei des Reiches (cities and large towns), Schutzpolizei der Gemeinden (smaller towns), and the Kasernierte Polizei (police reserve and riot surpression).
The Gendarmerie—the rural police—was tasked with frontier law enforcement to include small communities, landward districts, and mountainous terrian. Members of the Gendarmerie were mainly employed to combat poaching and also as Alpine troops for homeland defense.
The Verwaltungspolizei was the administrative branch of the Orpo and had overall command authority for all Orpo police stations. The Verwaltungspolizei also was the central office for record keeping and was the command authority for civilian law enforcement groups, which included the Gesundheitspolizei (health police), Gewerbepolizei (commerical or trade police), and the Baupolizei (building police).
The Verkehrspolizei (traffic police) was the traffic-law enforcement agency and road-safety administration of Germany. The organization patrolled Germany's highways and responded to major accidents. The Verkehrspolizei was also the primary escort service for high Nazi leaders who traveled extensive distances by automobile.
The Wasserschutzpolizei ("water protection" police) was the coast guard of the Third Reich. Tasked with the safety and security of Germany's rivers, harbors, and inland waterways, the group also had authority over the SS-Hafensicherungstruppen which were Allgemeine-SS units assigned as port security personnel.
The Bahnschutzpolizei (railway police) was made up of part-time police officers who were also employees of the Reichsbahn (state railway). The Bahnschutzpolizei was tasked with railway safety and also preventing espionage and sabotage of railway property.
The Postschutz (postal police) comprised roughly 4,500 members and was tasked with security at Germany's post offices and ensuring the security of other communications mediums such as telephone and telegraph lines.
In 1938, all of Germany's local fire brigades were absorbed into the Ordnungspolizei. The Feuerschutzpolizei (fire protection police) thus consisted of all of Germany's local fire departments under a national command structure. The Feuerschutzpolizei also had authority over the Freiwillige Feuerwehren, the local volunteer civilian fire brigades. At the height of the Second World War, in response to heavy bombing of Germany's cities, the combined Feuerschutzpolizei und Freiwillige Feuerwehren numbered nearly two million in membership.
The Luftschutzpolizei (air civil defence police) was the civil protection service in charge of air raid defence and rescue. The Luftschutzpolizei was subdivided into the Reichsluftbund (national civil defense), the Luftschutz Warndienst (air raid alert service), and the Sicherheits und Hilfsdienst (security and rescue service), an emergency service that rescued victims of bombings.
Known as the TeNo, the Technische Nothilfe (technical emergency corps) was a police formation in charge of breaking strike actions and surpressing civil uprisings. By 1943, the TeNo had over 100,000 members.
The Funkschutz ("radio guard") was made up of SS and Orpo security personnel assigned to protect German radio stations from attack and sabotage. The Funkschutz was the also the primary investigating service for illegal reception of foreign radio broadcasts.
The Werkschutzpolizei (factory protection police) were the night watchmen of the Third Reich. Its personnel were civilians who answered to a central Orpo office and typically were issued paramiltiary uniforms, mostly surplus black Allgemeine-SS jackets with Orpo insignia.
Between 1939 and 1945, the Ordnungspolizei also maintained separate miltiary formations, independent of the main police offices within Germany. The first such formations were the Police Battalions, established for law enforcement in occupied territories and anti-partisan duties. The Police Battalions were under the authority of local SS and Police Leaders and were used, more often than not, as security forces patroling the Jewish ghettos of Poland. The Police Battalions were also the primary pool from which the Einsatzgruppen drew personnel in accordance with manpower needs.
It should be noted that the regular military police attached to the Wehrmacht were separate from the Ordungspolizei.
Waffen-SS Police Division
The primary military arm of the Ordnungspolizei was the 4th Panzergrenadier Division of the Waffen-SS, known as the SS Polizei Division. Mainly used as a rear guard and reserve formation, the Polizei Division was historically known as being under-trained and lacking in skilled combat tactics. The division consisted of four police regiments comprised of Orpo personnel and was typically used to rotate police members into a military situation, so as not to lose police personnel to the general draft of the Wehrmacht or to the full SS divisions of the regular Waffen-SS.
Very late in the war several Orpo SS-Police regiments were transferred to the Waffen-SS to form the 35th SS and Police Grenadier Division.
Orpo and SS Unity
The Ordnungspolizei was considered a full branch of the SS but maintained a separate system of insignia and Orpo ranks. It was also possible for SS members to hold dual status in both the Orpo and the SS, and SS-generals were referred to simultaneously by both rank titles. For instance, an Obergruppenführer in the SS who was also a police general would be referred to as Obergruppenführer und General der Polizei. In addition, all Orpo police generals gained equivalent Waffen-SS rank in 1944, so that they would be treated as military officers, instead of police officials, if captured by the Allies. Subsequently Orpo generals who were also members of the SS would be referred to as SS-Obergruppenführer und General der Polizei und Waffen-SS.
Heinrich Himmler's ultimate desire for the Ordnungspolizei was to eventually phase the organization out of existence and replace the regular police forces of Germany with a combined racial/state protection corps of pure SS units. In Himmler's dream, local law enforcement would be undertaken by the Allgemeine-SS with the Waffen-SS providing homeland-security and political-police functions. Historical analysis of the Third Reich has revealed that senior Orpo personnel knew of Himmler's plans and were very much against the extinction of the Ordnungspolizei in favor of an SS state police.
At the close of the Second World War, the Orpo ceased to exist; but many of its personnel continued with business as usual, performing police services for the Allied occupation forces. The traditions of the Orpo continued in East Germany, which maintained a state police force designed closely after Orpo and SS structures. In West Germany, the police were decentralized and law enforcement functions given back to local authorities. The exception was the Landespolizei, which continues to this day as the police force patrolling the Bundesländer of Germany. Many Landespolizei regulations, procedures, and even some uniforms and insignia, can be traced back to Orpo origins.
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details