National Security Headquarters


May 29, 2022

The National Security Headquarters (German: Reichssicherheitshauptamt; RSHA) is one of the headquarters of the Nazi German Guards, a political police organization that spies and uncovers enemy elements in Nazi Germany and occupied territories during World War II. After the Nazis gained power in 1933, Heinrich Himmler considered it necessary to search out dissidents in order to strengthen and defend the regime. Eventually, Himmler realized that the centralization of the police force was inevitable, and in 1936 he absorbed the police force of the Weimar Republic into the SS. In 1939, his right-hand man, Reinhard Heidrich, absorbed the SS, Secret Police and Criminal Police Departments into the SS's National Security Headquarters and entrusted it to him. It was an anti-people monitoring organization, a public security organization, and an appearance of an intelligence organization. After World War II, surveillance was carried out in Poland and Europe and even in Soviet-occupied territories. It was notorious for its reign of terror, and the Gestapo in particular led the crackdowns on resistance, spies, and genocide.


The RSHA was founded on September 27, 1939 by order of Heinrich Himmler. Himmler viewed Germany's security affairs and police force under the control of the SS as an essential prerequisite for the SS to seize the state and increase its power. Together they created RSHA. Zippo consisted of two sub-divisions: the Secret State Police (Gestapo) and the Criminal Police (Crepo). Meanwhile, the abbreviation RSi-H was also used to avoid confusion with the SS Race and Frontier Headquarters (RuSHA). As the war began, the RSHA rapidly expanded and reorganized several times. However, no matter how many times the reorganization was repeated, the trend towards centralization and the direct relationship of institutions such as the RSHA to the dictator Hitler did not change. The RSHA was already at the heart of Nazi Germany when Himmler and his direct subordinate, SS Senior Group Leader and Police Chief Reinhard Heidrich, controlled the Gestapo. They held the right of life or death for all Germans, and were in a position of de facto transgression of the law. Heidrich held the position of head of the RSHA until his assassination in Operation Apes in 1942. In January 1943, Himmler appointed Ernst Karltenbruner, the SS senior group leader and police chief, as the successor to the head of the division, and Karltenbruner served as the head of the division until the end of the war. The head of the RSHA was referred to as "Chief der Sicherheitspolizei und des SD" (Chef der Sicherheitspolizei und des SD), or CSSD for short.


According to British scholar Gerald Reitlinger, the RSHA was typical of overbureaucracy, with hundreds of subsystems. At its simplest, the sub-order was divided into 7 offices (German: Ämter, English: office) as follows. Amt I: "Administrative and Justice Department". Dr. Werner Bescht, the first president of the SS group leader. In 1940, SS Brigade leader Bruno Streeckenbach, and in April 1944 Erich Erlinger became the successor. Second Office (Amt II): "Ideology and Internal Affairs Office". Prof. Franz Ziggs, head of the SS brigade leader. Third Agency (Amt III): "German Living Office" or "Inland-Security Office (Inland-SD)". The head of the SS group leader Otto Ollendorf. Responsible for domestic intelligence in Germany. He was also responsible for ethnic German and cultural affairs across pre-war German borders. Amt IV: "Oppression and Response Agency". It was created by combining the Second and Third Bureaus of the Secret State Police (the so-called Gestapo). The head of the SS group leader Heinrich Muller. SS Senior Assault Squad Leader Adolf Eichmann, who was in charge of the Holocaust