The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Volume II
Criminality of Groups and Organizations
The Geheime Staatspolizei (Gestapo) & Sicherheitsdienst
(Part 4 of 9)

D. Criminal Responsibility of the Gestapo and SD.

In the remainder of this section the criminal responsibility of the GESTAPO and the SD will be considered with respect to certain crimes against the peace, war crimes, and crimes against humanity which were in principal part committed by the centralized political police system the development and organization of which has previously been considered. In some instances the crimes were committed in cooperation or conjunction with other groups and organizations.

Frequent reference will be made to the phrase, "SIPO and SD." The SIPO and SD was composed of the following organizations, the GESTAPO, the KRIPO and the SD.

The GESTAPO was the largest of these, having a membership of about 40,000 or 50,000 in 1943-45. It was the political police force of the Reich. Much of its personnel consisted of transferees from former political police forces of the States. Membership in the GESTAPO was voluntary.

The KRIPO was second largest. having a membership of about 15,000 in 1943-45. It was the criminal police force of the Reich.

The SD was the smallest, having a membership of about 3,000 in 1943-45. It was the intelligence service of the SS. Membership in the SD was voluntary. (3033-PS)

In common usage, and even in orders and decrees, the term "SD" was used as an abbreviation in the term "SIPO and SD." Since the GESTAPO was the primary executive agency of the SIPO and SD, and by far the largest, in most such cases the actual executive action was carried out by personnel of the GESTAPO rather than

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of the SD or of the KRIPO. In occupied territories members of the GESTAPO frequently wore SS uniforms. (3033-PS)

The term "Chief of the Security Police and SD" describes the person who is the head of the GESTAPO, KRIPO and the SD, and of their headquarters office called the RSHA. The "Chief of the Security Police and SD" and the "head of the RSHA" are always one and the same person. The RSHA was a department in the Reich Ministry of the Interior and in the SS. Sometimes organizational responsibility can be established by the fact that the orders in question were issued by or submitted to Amt III of the RSHA (in which case the action concerned the SD), to Amt IV of the RSHA (in which case the action concerned the GESTAPO), or to Amt V of the RSHA (in which case the action concerned the KRIPO ).

Although the GESTAPO was the chief executive agency in the political police system, all three organizations contributed to the accomplishment of most of the criminal activities discussed hereinafter.

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