Bavarian Political Police

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Bavarian Political Police (BPP) was a political police force that existed from 1933 to 1936 and was tasked with combating "political enemies of the state" in the area of Bavaria . It formed the institutional starting point for Heinrich Himmler's position in power and the Schutzstaffel (SS) after the National Socialists came to power in the German Reich .

Origin and history of the BPP

The Political Police in the German Reich

Immediately after Hitler was appointed Reich Chancellor in January 1933, the National Socialists began to consolidate their power within the German Reich by systematically taking control of the existing police organizations as the most direct bearer of state power . In order to combat their political opponents in a targeted manner, they also set up so-called “political police forces”. Building on older institutions of the Weimar Republic - which correspond to today's state security departments of the criminal police - these were supposed to eliminate the political opponents of the National Socialists who were still active from state positions of power and prevent the organization of new opponents from the outset.

Until the law on the reconstruction of the Reich of January 30, 1934, the German Reich was a federally structured state made up of several countries , each with their own police sovereignty and their own police forces operating separately from one another. At first it was not possible to call a police force across the Reich to fight the political opponents. Instead, separate police forces were set up in the individual countries of the Reich.

In Prussia, the largest country within the empire, the Prussian Interior Minister Hermann Göring called the Secret State Police into being, which, under the leadership of his protégé Rudolf Diels, became part of his personal household power. In the smaller states, similar political police forces were created, the control of which was subordinate to regional National Socialist leaders, such as the Württemberg Political Police under the Württemberg Interior Minister Wilhelm Murr .

The foundation of the BPP

Heinrich Himmler, since April 1933 the "Political Police Commander Bavaria"

Immediately after the National Socialists took over state power in Bavaria in March (more details here ), the political department of the Munich Police Department - which had carried out a political police function in Bavaria during the Weimar period - became the Bavarian Political Police and the Bavarian Ministry of the Interior as its own Subordinate to the police department. The name Bavarian Political Police was first announced in the Völkischer Beobachter on March 17, 1933. On April 1, 1933 , the then acting Bavarian Interior Minister Adolf Wagner appointed Heinrich Himmler, the leader of the Schutzstaffel (SS) as the National Socialist defense organization, as head of the BPP , which from then on combined both functions (leadership of the SS and the BPP) in personal union. Himmler's official title as head of the BPP was "Political Police Commander Bavaria"; his office was officially located in the Ministry of the Interior. Reinhard Heydrich , head of the SD , the SS intelligence service, was appointed as Himmler's deputy head of the BPP . Numerous other management positions within the apparatus were also filled with SS functionaries. The subordination to Interior Minister Wagner was only formal within a short time.

The BPP as the core of the connection between SS and police

Meeting of the former leaders of the Bavarian Political Police in 1939. From left to right: SS-Obersturmbannführer Franz Josef Huber , SS-Oberführer Arthur Nebe , Reichsführer SS Heinrich Himmler , SS-Gruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich and SS-Oberführer Heinrich Müller

In the following years, the BPP was used to eliminate opponents of the National Socialists from the period before 1933, above all communists and social democrats , and to prevent the formation of new political opposition groups. For this purpose, common police methods such as the observation of suspects, the search of their premises and their arrest and construction of new offenses from criminals in the traditional sense to political criminals, i. H. actual or perceived dissidents applied. Due to the personal identity of the leadership, the BPP worked closely with the SS and the SS security service from the start. There was also a close connection to the concentration camps maintained by the SS, in particular the Dachau concentration camp as the first and most important Bavarian concentration camp, which the BPP had been subordinate to since April 1, 1933 and to which it had numerous people arrested by it assigned as protective prisoners . In contrast to the “wild” concentration camps of the SA and SS in Prussia, the concentration camps in Bavaria were subordinate to a state administrative body from the start.

In the summer of 1933, Himmler had members of the BPP set up the so-called Reich Security Service (not to be confused with the SS Security Service , the SD), which from then until 1945 was used as the dictator's personal protection command in addition to the so-called Führerbegleitkommando , Hitler's closer bodyguard . Himmler entrusted police officer Johann Rattenhuber with the management of this unit .

In 1933 and 1934, the Munich police, led by SA-Obergruppenführer August Schneidhuber , were in a certain rivalry with the BPP . This conflict ended with the shooting of Schneidhuber on June 30, 1934.

In the early summer of 1934, the Bavarian Political Police were involved in making arrests in the course of the Röhm affair : A BPP command led by Konrad Schmidbauer accompanied Hitler on the morning of June 30, 1934 to Bad Wiessee , where the SA Chief of Staff Ernst Röhm and arrested several other SA leaders.

Himmler and Heydrich used their position of power as heads of the BPP in the following period to systematically expand their influence and the influence of the SS within the power structure of the National Socialist state, so that the BPP can be seen as the nucleus of the later Himmler power complex of SS and state police . In 1933, Himmler and Heydrich were able to unite control of the political police in the rest of the German states with the exception of Prussia. In April 1934 Göring actually ceded control of the Gestapo as the Prussian Political Police to his rivals, making them de facto the rulers of the German police.

For the further development of the National Socialist terror apparatus, the BPP was a kind of cadre forge: So when Heydrich took over the management of the Secret State Police Office in Berlin in April 1934, he took many of his employees from Munich with him and put them there in leading positions which they z. Some of them played a key role in shaping the police apparatus of the Nazi regime until the end of the Nazi regime in 1945. Heinrich Müller , who was one of the most important employees of Himmler and Heydrich in Munich from 1933 to 1934 and who after 1934 was entrusted by Heydrich with the management of the Secret State Police, should be mentioned as the most important individual of this "Bavarian Brigade" . Other prominent functionaries of the Gestapo apparatus (and the SD) that Himmler and Heydrich had brought with them from the BPP to Berlin were Werner Best , Reinhard Flesch , Franz Josef Huber (head of the Gestapo in Vienna since 1938 ), Anton Dunckern and Josef Meisinger .

In 1936 the BPP was dissolved like the other police forces of the federal states and transferred to the state police organization under Himmler, who had since been officially appointed head of the entire German police force. The previous BPP offices in Bavaria were henceforth state police offices and were subordinate to the Secret State Police Office in Berlin.


  • George C. Browder: Foundations of the Nazi Police State. The Formation of Sipo and SD , 2004.
  • Wilhelm Volkert (Hrsg.): Handbook of the Bavarian offices, communities and courts 1799–1980 . CH Beck, Munich 1983, ISBN 3-406-09669-7 .