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SS and Police Leader
SS and Police Leaders were senior Nazi Party officials that commanded large units of the SS during and prior to the Second World War. The office of SS and Police Leader was one of the most powerful postings in Nazi Germany.
The first SS and Police Leaders were appointed in 1938 from the existing office of the Allgemeine-SS Oberabschnitt Führer (Senior District Leader). The purpose of the SS and Police Leader was to be a direct command authority for every SS and police unit in a given geographical region with such authority answering only to Heinrich Himmler and Adolf Hitler. By the start of the Second World War, the SS and Police Leaders were divided into three levels those being SS and Police Leaders, Higher SS and Police Leaders, and Supreme SS and Police Leaders. The office of Higher SS and Police Leader was the most commonly appointed as was pronounced in German as: Höhere SS und Polizeiführer.
SS and Police Leaders directly commanded a headquarters staff with representatives from almost every branch of the SS. This typically included the Ordnungspolizei, Gestapo, Concentration Camp service, SD, and certain units of the Waffen-SS. In theory, an SS and Police Leader had authority to command and commandeer any SS unit available in a particular region; however, in practice SS units answered to their immediate chain of command and would only be requisitioned by the SS and Police Leader in the event of an emergency.
One of the more notorious functions of the SS and Police Leaders was to serve as the Commanding SS General for any Einsatzgruppen that were activiated in the SS and Police Leader’s area. Such duties typically involoved ordering the deaths of tens of thousands of persons and, following the close of the Second World War, nearly every SS and Police Leader, who had served in Poland and Russia, was charged with war crimes. A large number of the SS and Police Leaders, who had been involved with such crimes, committed suicide before capture.
SS and Police Leaders were also the overseeing authority of the Jewish Ghettos in Poland and, as such, directly coordinated deportations to extermination camps with the administrative help of the RSHA. The SS and Police Leaders were also afforded direct command over Police Battalions and SD Regiments that were assigned to keep order in the ghettos. The classic image of SS troops, storming through a Jewish Ghetto murdering victims at random, can be attributed to troops under the command of the SS and Police Leaders.
The grand dream of Heinrich Himmer was to evolve the SS and Police Leader into an SS Lord of the Lebensraum which the SS would rule and control after Germany had won the Second World War. Himmler’s dream envisioned twenty eight SS States, spread throughout the East, each one of which would be ruled by an SS and Police Leader, militarily controlled by the Waffen-SS, and worked and lived on by SS warriors of the Allgemeine-SS. Whether or not Himmler’s vison was plausible, and if the more rational elements of the Nazi government would have permitted an SS nation in the east, remains one of the great “what-ifs” of history.
Notable SS and Police Leaders
- Supreme SS and Police Leader of Italy: Karl Wolff
- Higher SS and Police Leader of the Elbe: Udo von Woyrsch
- Higher SS and Police Leader of the Donau: Ernst Kaltenbrunner
- Higher SS and Police Leader of Bohemia and Moravia Karl Hermann Frank
- Higher SS and Police Leader of Northern Russia: Friedrich Jecklen
- Higher SS and Police Leader of the Black Sea: Richard Hildebrandt
- Higher SS and Police Leader of the Adriatic Coastline: Odilio "Globus" Globocnik
- Higher SS and Police Leader of the Netherlands: Hanns Albin Rauter
- Higher SS and Police Leader of Central Russia: Erich von dem Bach
- Higher SS and Police Leader of Poland: Friedrich Wilhelm Krüger
- SS and Police Leader of Warsaw: Jürgen Stroop
- SS and Police Leader of Krakow: Julian Scherner
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