Organizational structure of the SS
From August 1934 to May 1945 it formed an independent organization directly subordinate to Hitler within the framework of the National Socialist German Workers' Party , led by Heinrich Himmler , Reichsführer SS from January 6, 1929 . Formally, the Schutzstaffel was initially subordinate to the Sturmabteilung (SA).
Before the attack on Poland (September 1, 1939), however, 90% of the founding members had retired from active service in the SS for reasons of age; only 10% of the old members were still members of the SS in 1945. Of the 260,000 SS members active in 1939, 170,000 or 60% were drafted into the Wehrmacht and around 36,000 into the SS army at the start of the war . The other SS members, who were not affected by military service, were either obsolete or, according to the opinion of the time, were assigned to "indispensable posts" in the public administration or in the police force.
During the time of National Socialism , the SS was largely responsible for war crimes , crimes against the civilian population in the German Reich and in occupied Europe, crimes against humanity , the Holocaust and Porajmos , the “industrial mass murder ” of European Jews as well as Sinti and Roma. It has been banned since the end of World War II and was classified as a criminal organization in the Nuremberg Trials .
The SS saw itself as an “ elite organization ” for the ruthless implementation of the Nazi racial theory and for the implementation of the NSDAP's expansion plans. The organization was only accessible to selected National Socialists, there was no compulsion of any kind to join. Submission to the orders and regulations was mostly voluntary, since membership of the SS had been associated with privileges and power since the takeover of power in 1933 and was considered an "honor" in National Socialist circles, according to the motto " My honor means loyalty ". Rarely deviant behavior was punished with violence and even murder. Even if there were female guards "in the SS entourage " in the SS death-head associations of the concentration camps , this extremely patriarchal association only accepted men.
The principle of dual subordination was still characteristic of the organizational structure of the SS. This meant that a subordinate rank was subordinate to two (or more) superordinate instances. An example of this principle is the subordination of the members of the commandant's office in the concentration and extermination camps . As a rule, they were subordinate to the concentration camp commanders in terms of discipline, but received their "technical" instructions from the functionally superior department in the inspection of the concentration camps . The principle of double subordination was usually only applied to higher ranks. The SS leaders, who were subordinate to two different SS administrative units, enjoyed relatively great freedoms due to the resulting diffuse relationship of authority, but at the same time were exposed to greater control of their “political reliability” and “efficiency”.
The beginnings (1925–1933)
As early as the spring of 1925, the later SS introduced the first organizational structures based on the structures of the SA at that time. At the 1926 Reich Party Congress, the NSDAP's hall protection set up at the beginning of April 1925 already had so many members that the first 4 standards could be awarded there on November 9th . On the same day, the hall protection was officially renamed Schutzstaffel .
In 1929 the SS already comprised 22 standards. These were organized both centrally and regionally. Those standards that were subordinate to the SS-Oberleitung were administered centrally and the Reichsführer SS had direct access to their personnel. In 1929 this affected a total of 12 standards.
In addition there were the regional SS standards. These goods:
- the two standards of the SS district Berlin-Brandenburg,
- the four standards of the SS-Gaus Franken,
- the three standards of the SS Gau Niederbayern (SS Gau leader for Lower Bavaria was 1926–1930 Heinrich Himmler, who also became Deputy Reichsführer SS from 1927 ),
- The four standards of the SS Gau Oberbayern (SS Gau leader for Upper Bavaria was Rudolf Hess from 1929 to October 31, 1931 ),
- the five standards of the SS-Gaus Rheinland-Süd and
- the four standards of the SS-Gaus Sachsen.
The SS Gau leaders acted autonomously via the SS standards assigned to them and were only formally subordinate to the SS overhead line until the end of 1928. This only changed in January 1929, when Heinrich Himmler was appointed Reichsführer SS. When Himmler took office, all existing standards were placed under his central command.
This immediately introduced a new SS order that lasted until the end of 1930. In addition to the SS Oberstab, there were now three SS Oberführer areas , which were distributed as follows:
- Area "East" (SS brigades Berlin-Brandenburg, East Prussia and Silesia with a total of 8 standards)
- Area "West" (SS brigades Hessen-Nassau, Rhineland-North, Rhineland-South, South Hanover-Braunschweig and Thuringia with a total of 16 standards)
- "South" area (SS brigades Baden, Württemberg, Franconia, Lower Bavaria, Upper Bavaria South and Austria with a total of 7 standards)
In 1931 the Schutzstaffel was not only expanded in all areas, but a different structure was also set up, which lasted until the takeover in 1933 and was also known as the "Reichsleitung SS" :
- SS office
- SS Central Chancellery
- SS personnel department
- SS administrative department
- SS medical department
- SS command staff (1932)
- SS liaison service (1933)
- SS Security Service (1931)
- SS race office
From 1930 the internal administration of the SS was completely restructured. An order was introduced that was based very closely on that of the SA. Furthermore, the badges of rank of the SA were completely taken over and now independent uniforms were introduced. The SS now began to dress in black throughout, thereby also visually distinguishing themselves from the SA. Himmler wanted to show the top SA leadership that he no longer saw himself as a subordinate, but as an equal partner.
In March 1933, 120 selected SS men were armed in Berlin under the leadership of Sepp Dietrich. These took over the guard duty within the Reich Chancellery, while the double posts of the Reichswehr were still standing outside . These 120 men, many of whom were already part of Adolf Hitler's raiding party in 1923 , were initially referred to as SS-Stabswache Berlin , but only a short time later they were known as Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler .
Other SS units were also grouped into SS special commandos and later in political readiness via staff guards , and were also armed. In order to achieve this, this readiness was given the rank of an official auxiliary police .
Restructuring after 1934
In September 1934, the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler and the political readiness by Hitler were combined to form the SS disposal force (in short: disposal force ). This was a barracked special formation of the SS, which was constantly under arms and was trained according to the strict guidelines of the Wehrmacht.
From autumn 1934, the actual Schutzstaffel was renamed the Allgemeine SS (also “Black SS” or “Home SS”) in order to distinguish itself from the armed “daughter associations”, the disposable troops ( SS-VT ) and the SS-Totenkopfverband ( SS -TV ) to take off.
The General SS continued to be an organization governed by association law, the members of which (with the exception of approx. 10,000 full-time SS leaders) consisted predominantly of working people who did their service in the SS voluntarily and free of charge after work. Nonetheless, its unarmed members received regular military training. This training was carried out by members of the SS-Totenkopf-Standarten in the concentration camps Dachau, Sachsenhausen and Buchenwald. The "political and racial training" as part of the SS service of SS members also took place there.
The financial support of the General SS, whose high demands could hardly be borne by the membership fees, was incumbent on the private law associations " Freundeskreis Reichsführer SS " and the " Organization of Supporting Members of the SS ".
Between 1935 and the beginning of 1945, the weekly anti-Semitic SS newspaper " Das Schwarze Korps " was published by Gunter d'Alquen . It was the weekly newspaper with the highest circulation after the " Das Reich " published by Joseph Goebbels .
The SS and the police
From 1933, Himmler began to steadily expand his power. Shortly after the National Socialists came to power, he was appointed head of the Bavarian Political Police (BPP). Their reorganization in Bavaria became the model of the co-organization of the SS, SD and criminal police in the German Reich.
On June 17, 1936, Himmler was subordinated to the entire police force of the Reich - he now called himself Reichsführer SS and Chief of the German Police in the Reich Ministry of the Interior . Senior police leaders now had to join the SS .
From 1938/42 onwards, the SS was grouped into different main offices and the police forces in the Reich were divided:
The main office of the Ordnungspolizei included the uniformed protection police, the gendarmerie and the community police. The main office of the Ordnungspolizei was subordinated to the SS-Obergruppenführer and Police General Kurt Daluege .
The main office of the security police included the secret state police , the border and criminal police . The main office of the security police was subordinated to SS-Gruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich , who was at the same time chief of the security service of the Reichsführer SS and thus the second most powerful man in the SS. In 1939 Heydrich merged his offices to form the new Reich Security Main Office .
In 1943 Himmler also became Reich and Prussian ministers of the interior as well as plenipotentiary for the Reich administration. He now carried the title Reichsführer SS and Chief of the German Police without the addition "in the Reich Ministry of the Interior".
Restructuring after 1941
In 1941/42 the SS Totenkopf Standards were officially dissolved and their members were finally assigned to the Waffen SS (formally the SS Totenkopf Division). The SS-Totenkopf-Guard-Banne who served in the concentration camps no longer received their pay from the police budget, but received the pay books and the uniforms of the Totenkopf Division. However, one small detail distinguished the members of the former guard tower from members of the Totenkopf Division: They were forbidden to use any kind of sleeve stripes. This also included the current sleeve stripes of the SS division “Totenkopf” and its “traditional sleeves” (inscriptions “Oberbayern”, “Brandenburg” and “Thüringen”).
The "SS seniority lists"
Between August 1934 and November 1944, the so-called "SS-Seniority Lists" or "SS-DAL" for short were published on behalf of the SS Personnel Department or the later SS Personnel Main Office. These were a list of the active SS leaders. Since 1936 police officers were also listed as soon as their rank corresponded to an SS rank.
In the summer of 1944, a single copy of a "seniority list of the Waffen-SS" was issued for the Waffen-SS and in November 1944 the first part of the 1945 seniority list was published ahead of time, whereas on January 30, 1945 only one amendment sheet to this list was published. Brün Meyer has the "seniority list of the Waffen-SS. SS-Obergruppenführer to SS-Hauptsturmführer; As of July 1, 1944 ”, newly published, Osnabrück (Biblio Verlag), 1987, with appendix 1 - 2, illustrations, 274 p. With generals of the Waffen SS in the picture (103).
The main SS offices (1938–1941)
In 1938 the Reichsführer SS had three main offices :
- The SS main office as the highest command post of the three SS divisions,
- the main office security service as a political monitoring body and
- the Race and Settlement Main Office , which was responsible for the ideological education and implementation of the ideas of " blood and soil ".
In 1943 the SS was administered from twelve main SS offices.
The management staff
For applicants for an officer career , the submission of the great Aryan certificate , i.e. a tracing of the pure-blood ancestry back to the year 1750, was mandatory. The SS was hierarchically structured according to a military structure:
At the head of the SS was the Reichsführer SS (RFSS). The title was officially introduced in 1926 based on the Reichs-SA-Fuehrer and designated the formally supreme commander of the SS. In the period between 1925 and 1926, the title of supreme SS commander was Oberleiter .
SS Colonel Group Leader
"The Reichsführer SS has ordered that the new rank of the SS-Oberst-Gruppenführer - to avoid confusion with the rank of the SS-Obergruppenführer - is written as follows: SS-Oberst-Gruppenführer."
|Kurt Daluege||Chief of the Ordnungspolizei and Deputy Reich Protector of Bohemia and Moravia||1,119||July 25, 1930||31,981|
|Josef Dietrich||Commander 6th SS Panzer Army , Commander Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler||1,177||May 5, 1928||89.015|
|Paul Hausser||Commander II. SS Panzer Corps and Army Group G||239.795||November 15, 1934||4,158,779|
|Franz Xaver Schwarz||Treasurer of the NSDAP||38,500||September 16, 1931||6th|
|Surname||position||SS number||Entry into the SS||NSDAP number|
|Friedrich Alpers||Staff RF SS||6,427||March 15, 1932||132.812|
|Max Amann||SS honorary and rank leader||53,143||March 15, 1932||3|
|Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski||Higher SS and Police Leader (HSSPF) in the occupied part of the Soviet Union.||9,831||February 15, 1931||489.101|
|Herbert Backe||Reich Minister for Nutrition ; Race and Settlement Main Office||22,766||October 1, 1933||87,882|
|Thank God Berger||Head of the SS main office||275.991||January 30, 1936||426.875|
|Theodor Berkelmann||HSSPF Wartheland||6,019||March 1931||128,245|
|Werner Best||Reinhard Heydrich's deputy in the RSHA and governor in occupied Denmark||23,377||1931||341,338|
|Wilhelm Bittrich||Commander of the II SS Panzer Corps||39,177||December 1, 1931||829,700|
|Ernst Bohle||Head of the NSDAP foreign organization - NSDAP / AO||276.915||September 13, 1933||276.915|
|Martin Bormann||Head of the party chancellery of the NSDAP||555||September 1929||60.508|
|Philipp Bouhler||Head of the Fuehrer's office||54,932||April 20, 1933||12|
|Franz Breithaupt||Chief Justice at the SS Court , General of the Waffen SS||39,719||December 1, 1932||602,663|
|Walter book||Supreme party judge of the NSDAP||81,353||July 1, 1933||13,726|
|Josef Bürckel||Staff RF SS||289.230||January 30, 1942||33,979|
|Leonardo Conti||Staff RF SS||3,982||1930||72,225|
|Walther Darré||Head of the SS Race Office, Reich Minister and Reich Peasant Leader||6,882||July 1930||248.256|
|Karl Demelhuber||Commander East Coast Staff||252.392||March 15, 1935||4,439|
|Otto Dietrich||Reich Press Chief of the NSDAP; SS honorary and rank leader||101,349||1932||126,727|
|Friedrich Karl von Eberstein||HSSPF South||1,386||April 1, 1929||15,067|
|Joachim Eggeling||NSDAP Gauleiter of Halle-Merseburg||186,515||June 9, 1936||11,579|
|Theodor Eicke||Waffen-SS: Commander of the SS Totenkopf Division||2,921||July 29, 1930||114.901|
|August Eigruber||NSDAP Gauleiter Oberdonau||83,432||May 22, 1938||292,778|
|Karl Fiehler||Lord Mayor of Munich||91,724||July 31, 1933||37|
|Albert Forster||SS honorary and rank leader; NSDAP Gauleiter of Danzig||158||October 1, 1932||1.924|
|August Frank||Staff OKH||56,169||April 8, 1932||1,471,185|
|Karl Frank||SS and police leaders||310.466||1938||6,600,002|
|Herbert Gille||Waffen-SS: Commanding General IV. SS Panzer Corps||39,854||December 1931||537,337|
|Curt von Gottberg||Waffen-SS: Commanding General XII. SS Army Corps||45,923||September 1932||948.753|
|Ernst Grawitz||Reichsarzt SS and police||27,483||November 1931||1,102,844|
|Ulrich Greifelt||Head of the Main Staff Office of the Reich Commissioner for the Consolidation of German Ethnicity||72.909||June 1933||1,667,407|
|Arthur Greiser||Reichsstatthalter and NSDAP Gauleiter Wartheland||10,795||September 29, 1931||166,635|
|Karl Gutenberger||HSSPF West||25,249||June 1940||372.303|
|Karl Hanke||Staff RF SS||203.013||1941||102.606|
|August Heissmeyer||Head of the SS training department||4,370||January 1930||21,573|
|Wolf-Heinrich von Helldorff||Police chief of Potsdam, later of Berlin||325,408|
|Konrad Henlein||NSDAP Gauleiter of the Sudetenland||310,307||October 9, 1938||6,600,001|
|Maximilian von Herff||Head of the SS Personnel Main Office||405.894||April 1, 1942||8,858,661|
|Rudolf Hess||Deputy of the Führer||1.932||16|
|Reinhard Heydrich||Head of the RSHA||10.120||July 14, 1931||544.916|
|Friedrich Hildebrandt||Staff RF SS||128,802||December 5, 1933||3,653|
|Richard Hildebrandt||Head of the Race and Settlement Main Office of the SS||7,088||February 1931||89.221|
|Hermann Höfle||HSSPF Slovakia||463.093||July 1943||3,924,970|
|Otto Hofmann||HSSPF southwest||7,646||April 1, 1931||145.729|
|Friedrich Jeckeln||SS and police leader for the southern part of the occupied Soviet Union||4,367||January 12, 1930||163,348|
|Hugo jury||Staff RF SS||292,777||March 12, 1938||410,338|
|Hans Jüttner||Head of the SS Leadership Main Office||264.497||May 1935||541.163|
|Ernst Kaltenbrunner||Head of the RSHA (successor to Heydrich)||13,039||August 31, 1931||300.179|
|Hans Kammler||Head of Office Group C (Construction) of the SS Economic Administrative Main Office||113,619||May 20, 1933||1,011,855|
|Jürgen von Kamptz||Commander d. OP Italy||292.714||August 1944||1,258,905|
|Karl Kaufmann||Staff RF SS||119,495||January 30, 1942||95|
|Georg Keppler||i. V. Commanding General III. SS Panzer Corps||273,799||October 10, 1935||338.211|
|Wilhelm Keppler||SS honorary and rank leader||50,816||March 21, 1935||62,424|
|Dietrich Klagges||Staff RF SS||154.006||January 30, 1942||7,646|
|Matthias Kleinheisterkamp||Commanding General of the XI. SS Army Corps||132,399||November 1, 1933||4,158,838|
|Kurt Knoblauch||SS Leadership Main Office, Head of Office Group B||266,653||April 1935||2,750,158|
|Wilhelm Koppe||HSSPF Wartheland||25,955||September 1, 1932||305,584|
|Paul Koerner||Staff RF SS||23,076||February 1931||714.328|
|Friedrich Kruger||SS and Police Leader for Poland, Waffen-SS: Commanding General V. SS Mountain Corps||171.199||February 1931||6.123|
|Walter Kruger||Commanding General VI. SS Army Volunteer Corps||266.184||1935||3,995,130|
|Hans Lammers||SS honorary and rank leader||118,404||September 29, 1933||1,010,355|
|Hartmann Lauterbacher||Staff RF SS||382,406||November 9, 1940||86,837|
|Werner Lorenz||Head of the Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle||6,636||January 31, 1931||397.994|
|Benno Martin||HSSPF Main||187.117||April 10, 1934||2,714,474|
|Heinrich von Maur||Staff Oa. southwest||276.907||September 13, 1936||5,890,310|
|Emil Mazuw||HSSPF Baltic Sea||2,556||June 7, 1930||85.231|
|Wilhelm Murr||Staff RF SS||147,545||September 9, 1934||12,873|
|Konstantin Freiherr von Neurath||Reich Foreign Minister; Reich Protector of Bohemia and Moravia||287,680||September 18, 1937||3,805,229|
|Carl Oberg||HSSPF Paris||36,075||June 1932||575.205|
|Günther Pancke||Higher SS and Police Leader in Denmark||10.110||June 1, 1931||282,737|
|Karl Pfeffer-Wildenbruch||SS leadership main office||292.713||March 12, 1939||1,364,387|
|Artur Phleps||Commander of the 7th SS Volunteer Mountain Division "Prinz Eugen"||401.214||June 30, 1941|
|Oswald Pohl||Head of the SS Economic and Administrative Main Office||147.614||February 1934||30,842|
|Hans Prützmann||Waffen-SS: Plenipotentiary German General in Croatia and General Inspector for Special Defense||3,002||1930||142,290|
|Rudolf Querner||HSSPF middle||308.240||May 22, 1938||2,385,386|
|Friedrich Rainer||Staff RF SS||292,774||November 9, 1940||301,860|
|Hanns Albin Rauter||HSSPF Northeast||262,958||April 1935|
|Wilhelm Rediess||HSSPF North Sea||2,839||July 22, 1929||25,574|
|Wilhelm Reinhard||Staff RF SS||274.107||September 1935||63,074|
|Joachim von Ribbentrop||Reich Foreign Minister||63,083||May 1933||1,199,927|
|Erwin Rösener||HSSPF Alpenland, Wehrkreis XVIII, Salzburg||3,575||November 4th 1930||46,771|
|Ernst Sachs||Personal Staff Reichsführer SS||278.781||November 9, 1936||4,167,008|
|Fritz Sauckel||SS honorary and rank leader||254,890||1934||1,395|
|Paul Sharp||Temporary head of the Race and Settlement Main Office||14,220||October 1, 1931||665.697|
|Julius Schaub||long-time personal chief adjutant of Hitler||7th||February 1925||81|
|Gustav Adolf Scheel||Staff RF SS||107.189||September 1934||391.271|
|Fritz Schlessmann||Staff RF SS||2,480||1930||25,248|
|Ernst Schmauser||HSSPF Lower Silesia||3,359||October 14, 1930||215.704|
|Walter Schmitt||Personal Staff Reichsführer SS||28,737||February 8, 1932||592.784|
|Oskar Schwerk||Staff RF SS||276.825||July 16, 1944||5,420,196|
|Arthur Seyss-Inquart||Reich governor of Austria||292,771||March 12, 1938||6,270,392|
|Felix Steiner||Commander of the III. SS Panzer Corps||253.351||1935||4,264,295|
|Wilhelm Stuckart||State Secretary in the Reich Ministry of the Interior||280.042||1936||378.144|
|Siegfried Taubert||Personal Staff Reichsführer SS||23,128||1931||525.246|
|Fritz Wächtler||NSDAP Gauleiter of the Bavarian East Mark||209.058||November 1934||35,313|
|Karl Wahl||NSDAP Gauleiter of Swabia||228.017||1934||9,803|
|Josias to Waldeck and Pyrmont||Higher SS and Police Leader||2.139||March 2, 1930||160.025|
|Paul Wegener||NSDAP Gauleiter Weser-Ems||353.161||April 20, 1940||286.225|
|Fritz Weitzel||HSSPF "West" and "North"||408||1927||18,833|
|Otto Winkelmann||HSSPF Hungary||308.238||September 1938||1,373,131|
|Karl Wolff||Head of the Personal Staff Reichsführer SS||14,235||October 7, 1931||695.131|
|Udo von Woyrsch||HSSPF Elbe||3,689||November 13, 1930||162,349|
|Alfred Wünnenberg||Chief of the German Police||405,898||January 1, 1940||2,222,600|
Overview of the ranks
The SS had a hierarchy based on the military model, which was manifested by appropriate ranks. The rank designations and rank insignia were largely taken over by the SA . Similar to the military ranking, three ranking groups were distinguished. The SS men corresponded to the Wehrmacht men, the SS-Unterführer corresponded to the NCOs and the SS leaders corresponded to the officers.
Service ranks of the SS compared to the SA and the army
The following table shows the ranks of the SA and SS in ascending order as of April 7, 1942. The corresponding ranks of the Wehrmacht are also listed.
|Sturmabteilung SA||protection Squad||remark-
|General SS||Armed SS|
|SA candidate||Volunteer applicant for the Waffen SS||Conscript or volunteer applicant as a regular
or professional soldier
( SA-man before 1942)
|SS man||SS riflemen||Soldier , e.g. B. Riflemen , gunners, grenadiers etc.|
|SS upper rifle||Senior soldier z. B. Oberschützen , Oberkanonier, Obergrenadier etc.|
( SA-Sturmmann before 1942)
|SS storm man||Private|
|SA Rottenführer||SS Rottenführer|
|-----||-----||Corporal||H / Lw|
|SA squad leader||SS-Unterscharführer||
SS-Junker FA (leader candidate)
|SA Oberscharführer||SS squad leader||
|SA troop leader||SS-Oberscharführer||
|SA upper troop leader||SS-Hauptscharführer|
|-----||-----||SS-Stabsscharführer (only service position )||"Pike"||Hauptfeldwebel (company sergeant)||"Pike"|
|SA main troop leader||SS Sturmscharführer||from 1938|
|SA storm leader||
(until 1935 SS-Sturmführer)
|SA-Obersturmführer||SS-Obersturmführer||from 1933||First lieutenant|
( before 1939/40 SA-Sturmhauptführer)
(until 1935 SS-Sturmhauptführer)
|SA Obersturmbannführer||SS-Obersturmbannführer||from 1933||Lieutenant colonel|
|SA standard leader||SS standard leader||Colonel|
|SA brigade leader||SS Brigade Leader||
SS Brigadefuhrer and
Major General of the Waffen SS
|from 1933||Major general|
|SA group leader||SS group leader||
SS group leader and
lieutenant general of the Waffen SS
General of the Waffen SS
|General of the branch of service|
|-----||SS Colonel Group Leader||
SS Colonel Group Leader and Colonel
General of the Waffen SS
|from 1942||Colonel General|
|Chief of Staff of the SA||Reichsführer SS||Field Marshal General|
- 1931: Creation of the ranks of Sturmhauptführer for SA and SS as an equivalent to Captain of the Wehrmacht. 1935 renaming to SS-Hauptsturmführer or 1939/40 to SA-Hauptsturmführer.
- 1933: New ranks of SS-Obersturmführer , SS-Obersturmbannführer and SS-Brigadführer .
- 1934: For special services to the interests of the SS and public life , Himmler introduced the special ranks of SS honorary and senior leaders .
- 1935: Renaming SS-Sturmführer to SS-Untersturmführer . The SA kept the designation SA-Sturmführer as the lowest officer rank that was comparable to the lieutenant.
- 1938: Creation of the ranks of the SA Haupttruppführer and SS Sturmscharführer .
- 1940: The designations of relay applicants and relay candidates that had previously been customary for volunteer applicants in the General SS were largely given up. For the Waffen-SS, the ranks SS-Schützen and SS-Oberschützen became binding as the lowest ranks of the crew. The designation SS man , however, was retained and could refer to a member of the SS in general, but could also be considered a team rank of the General SS.
- April 7, 1942: Personal decree of Adolf Hitler to create the new rank of General Leader SS Colonel Group Leader .
The structure of the SS
Closer administrative units of the SS
The General Schutzstaffel consisted of 23 administrative units in November 1944, which were called upper sections . These upper sections were divided into 45 sections , to which the standards of the General SS were subordinate. The SS standards were subdivided into 127 so-called foot standards and 22 equestrian standards ( Reiter-SS ). The SS standards were divided into storm bans , storms , troops , flocks and groups . In November 1944, the upper sections were also subject to 17 communication towers , 15 engineer towers and 18 motor towers (Motor-SS).
The armed special units of the SS, the SS disposable troops and the SS guard units were also grouped into various standards across all administrative bodies.
The SS upper sections
The SS upper sections (Oa) comprised several SS sections and were usually subordinate to a group or upper group leader. An unofficial alternative designation was also the upper group , which the SS did not have at its disposal in 1933 because of its membership at the time and which had existed between 1933 and 1934 with the rank of upper group leader in the SA.
A division of the army corresponded to the upper section . After a reorganization in the course of the Second World War, the 23 upper sections of the SS were spatially adapted to the regular German military districts of the Wehrmacht, so that both finally matched.
|No.||Upper section||Seat||No.||Upper section||Seat|
The SS sections
The SS section (Ab) comprised several SS standards and was usually subordinate to an SS brigade leader or an SS Oberführer. It was also unofficially referred to as a subgroup . A brigade of the army corresponded to it .
|Section No.||Upper section||Seat||Section No.||Upper section||Seat|
|XII||"Spree"||Frankfurt (Oder)||XXXVI||"Alpine country"||Salzburg|
The SS standards
The management level SS section was the SS regiment downstream. The standard was usually headed by an SS-Standartenführer , it comprised 3–4 storm bans and had a normal personnel strength of 1000 to 3000 men. In the army, the standard corresponded to the regiment . The Sturmbanne I-III was formed from the active membership, the Sturmbann IV was a reserve association.
All SS divisions - such as the General SS and the Reiter-SS subordinate to it, but also the death's head associations and the available troops - were divided into standards. From 1935 onwards, this designation was replaced by the military equivalent of the army in the SS disposal force - much to the displeasure of Reichsführer SS Himmler.
At the end of the war (1945), the General SS's foot standards formally comprised 127 standards, most of which, however, only existed on paper and had not even reached the nominal strength prescribed by Reichsführer Himmler.
|SS standard||Upper section||Seat||SS standard||Upper section||Seat|
|1 " Julius Schreck "||"South"||Munich||66 "Friedland"||"Northeast"||Bartenstein|
|2 "Hesse"||"Rhein-Westmark"||Frankfurt (Main)||67 "Wartburg"||"Fulda-Werra"||Erfurt|
|3 "Thuringia"||"Main"||Nuremberg||68 "Upper Palatinate"||"Main"||regensburg|
|4 "Schleswig-Holstein"||"North Sea"||Altona||69 "Sauerland"||"West"||Hagen (Westphalia)|
|6 "Eduard Felsen"||"Spree"||Berlin||71 "Vistula"||"Vistula"||Elblag|
|7 "Friedrich Schlegel"||"Elbe"||Plauen||72 "lip"||"West"||Detmold|
|8 "Lower Silesia"||"Southeast"||Hirschberg||73 "Middle Franconia"||"Main"||Ansbach|
|9 "Pomerania"||"Baltic Sea"||Szczecin||74 "Baltic Sea"||"Baltic Sea"||Greifswald|
|10 "Palatinate"||"Rhein-Westmark"||Kaiserslautern||75 "Widukind"||"Spree"||Berlin|
|11 "Planetta"||"Danube"||Vienna||76||"Alpine country"||Salzburg|
|12 "Lower Saxony"||"Center"||Hanover||77||"Baltic Sea"||Schneidemühl|
|15 "Brandenburg"||"Spree"||Neuruppin||80 "large berries"||"Spree"||Berlin|
|16 "Lower Elbe"||"Southeast"||Wroclaw||81||"Main"||Wurzburg|
|18 "East Prussia"||"Northeast"||Koenigsberg||83 "Upper Hesse"||"Rhein-Westmark"||to water|
|19 "North Westphalia"||"West"||Munster (Westphalia)||84 "Saale"||"Elbe"||Chemnitz|
|20 " Fritz Weitzel "||"West"||Dusseldorf||85||"Rhein-Westmark"||Saarbrücken|
|21st||"Center"||Magdeburg||86 "Hanauer Land"||"Southwest"||Offenburg|
|22 "From the Schulenburg"||"Baltic Sea"||Schwerin||87 "Tyrol"||no information||innsbruck|
|23 "Upper Silesia"||"Southeast"||Bytom||88 "Stedingen"||"North Sea"||Bremen|
|24 "East Frisia"||"North Sea"||Oldenburg||89 "Wood weaver"||"Danube"||Vienna|
|25 "Ruhr"||"West"||eat||90 "Franz Kutschera"||"Alpine country"||Klagenfurt|
|26 " Paul Berck "||"Elbe"||Halle (Saale)||91||"Elbe"||Wittenberg|
|27 "Ostmark"||"Spree"||Frankfurt (Oder)||92 "Old Bavaria"||"South"||Ingolstadt|
|29 "Swabia"||"South"||Lindau||94 "Upper Styria"||"Alpine country"||Leoben|
|30 "Adolf Höh"||"West"||Bochum||95||"Bohemia-Moravia"||Trautenau|
|31 "Lower Bavaria"||"Main"||Landshut||96||"Bohemia-Moravia"||Brus|
|33 "Rhine-Hesse"||"Rhein-Westmark"||Darmstadt||98||"Bohemia-Moravia"||Moravian Schönberg|
|34 "Upper Bavaria"||"South"||Weilheim||99||"Danube"||Znojmo|
|37 "Whether the Enns"||"Danube"||Linz||102||"Bohemia-Moravia"||Hunter village|
|39 "East Pomerania"||"Baltic Sea"||Koslin||104||"Bohemia-Moravia"||Troppau|
|41 "Upper Franconia"||"Main"||Bayreuth||106||"South"||augsburg|
|42 " Fritz von Scholz "||"Spree"||Berlin||107||"Bohemia-Moravia"||Brno|
|53 "Dithmarschen"||"North Sea"||pagan||118||"Vistula"||Prussian Stargard|
|54 "Seidel-Dittmarsch"||"Spree"||Landsberg (Warta)||119||"Vistula"||Graudenz|
|55 "Weser"||"North Sea"||Luneburg||120||"Vistula"||Kulm|
|57 "Thuringian Forest"||"Fulda-Werra"||Meiningen||122||"Southwest"||Strasbourg|
|61 "Masuria"||"Northeast"||Allenstein||126||"Alpine country"||Marburg / Drau|
|65 "Black Forest"||"Southwest"||Freiburg (Br.)|
The SS-Reiterstandarten (Reiter-SS)
The SS also comprised mounted units, commonly referred to as "Reiter-SS". It was subordinate to the inspector of the SS riding schools Christian Weber and summarized in the inspection of the SS cavalry .
The standards of the SS troops and the SS guards
The standards of the SS available troops (SS-Standarten / VT)
The SS standards of the disposal troops (SS-St./VT) emerged in autumn 1934, when the political readiness "Munich" (Ellwangen) and "Württemberg" (Jagst) the new SS standard "Germany" and from the political readiness " Hamburg ”,“ Arolsen ”and“ Wolterdingen ”the SS standard“ Germania ”were formed. In Berlin and the surrounding area, the “Staff Guard Berlin” and the “SS Sonderkommandos” Crossen and Jüterbog , who were soon (1937) given the name “ Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler ”, watched and paraded .
From March 1935, the term “standard” began to be replaced by that of the regiment within the available troops; From October 1938 onwards there was no longer any official talk of the "Standards of the SS-VT", but of the SS regiments .
|Standard name||official abbreviation||Seat||Wehrmacht supplement office||Remarks|
|Leibstandarte SS "Adolf Hitler"||LSSAH / LAH||Berlin-Lichterfelde||Amendment I||All applicants whose place of residence is in military districts I, II, III, IV and VIII. Furthermore, all applicants from the Reich who reach the minimum height of 178 cm|
|I. SS standard "Germany" / VT||1. Sta Germany / VT||Munich||Supplementary section III||All applicants whose place of residence is in military districts V, VII and XII|
|II. SS standard "Germania" / VT||2. Sta Germania / VT||Hamburg-Veddel||Supplementary section II||All applicants whose place of residence is in military districts VI, IX, X and XI|
|III. SS standard "Der Führer" / VT||3. Sta "Der Führer" / VT||Vienna||Supplementary section IV||All applicants whose place of residence in the East mark is|
The standards of the SS guards (SS-Totenkopfstandarten)
The SS standards of the Totenkopfverband (SS-T-St./WV) included the guards of the concentration camps.
As early as January 1933, selected SS men under the command of SS-Sturmbannführer Hilmar Wäckerle were assigned to inspect the concentration camps by the Schutzstaffel. Under their later commandant Theodor Eicke , these SS men were withdrawn from the Schutzstaffel as such. According to various statements by Eicke at various SS leadership conferences, this was an SS in the SS .
The SS guard units were popularly given the title Totenkopf-SS in 1936 when they were allowed to wear a skull symbol on the right collar tab. They were considered brutal, shrouded in mystery and absolutely loyal to their camp commanders.
In 1934 a concentration camp guard, namely the "Oberbayern" guard tower, supported the Leibstandarte during the Röhm putsch .
In 1934, Eicke was given the entire concentration camp, which he was supposed to organize based on the model of the Dachau concentration camp . Eicke and his men were now also responsible for the military training of the unarmed SS. This was the beginning of the real history of the SS guards: as early as 1935/36 it was said that the available troops (with their earthy gray uniforms) were to receive the regular field gray uniforms of the German army, Eicke introduced earthy brown uniforms for the men of the Totenkopf SS .
On March 29, 1936, Eicke's men were officially given the name SS-Totenkopfstandarten / Wachverbände . But generally these units were called SS-Totenkopf-Wachverbände or SS-Totenkopfverbände . The latter term in particular caught on in the linguistic usage at the time. Theodor Eicke then formed independent SS-Sturmbanne from the guards of the concentration camps, which he, however, removed from the control of the SS leadership; as long as Himmler knew Eicke was on his side, he could do whatever he wanted in the camps. The skull and crossbones were generally considered to be the "private army of Himmler" as they were only responsible to him.
In April 1937 Eicke combined the five storm bans into three separate "SS-Totenkopf standards", since he now had control of 3,500 men. The permanent staff of Dachau have now been combined to form the 1st SS skull standard "Upper Bavaria" , the regular staff from Sachsenhausen to the 2nd SS skull standard "Brandenburg" and the regular staff from Buchenwald to the 3rd SS skull standard "Thuringia" . An SS subordinate school for the lower ranks has now been set up in the Dachau concentration camp, while the "Inspection of the SS Guard Associations" has been located in Oranienburg, Brandenburg.
The relatives in active camp service now wore the earth-brown uniform with the skull and the rank badges on the collar tabs and the sleeve stripes with the respective standard name. The members of the death's head associations who were not on active camp duty but were assigned to patrol duty or to attend courses continued to wear the black uniform of the General SS.
While service in the SS-VT was recognized as completing general military service in the ranks of the Wehrmacht, members of the skull and crossbones associations were exempt from this rule - the Wehrmacht leadership refused to recognize service in the T associations. As a result, however, the death's head associations remained in fact a legal vacuum in which Theodor Eicke could rule and switch as he wanted.
The death's head associations took part in the occupation of Austria and the later Reichsgau Sudetenland ( Ascher Zipfel ) in 1938 and were also actively involved at the beginning of the Second World War. Parts of them formed the so-called " Home Guard Danzig " and gained modest "combat experience".
On October 1, 1939, Eicke was able to officially begin in Dachau to set up his "own" SS Totenkopf division . For the military training of his front division, even the Dachau concentration camp was temporarily evacuated and used by Theodor Eicke as a "training camp". On November 1, the training was considered complete and the Totenkopf Division established.
|SS skull standard||Main camp / founding seat||SS skull standard||Main camp / founding seat|
|I "Upper Bavaria"||Dachau concentration camp||X||Weimar-Buchenwald|
|II "Brandenburg"||Sachsenhausen concentration camp||XI||Radome|
|III "Thuringia"||Weimar Buchenwald concentration camp||XII||Poses|
|IV "Ostmark"||Mauthausen concentration camp||XIII||Vienna|
|V "Dietrich Eckart"||Oranienburg concentration camp||XIV||Weimar-Buchenwald|
|IX||Danzig||Reserve standard "Upper Bavaria"||Dachau|
On February 25, 1941, the designation "SS-Totenkopfstandarten" was officially dropped and renamed SS-Standarten . The designation "Totenkopf-Standarte" was only granted to the regiments of the 3rd SS Panzer Division Totenkopf as a "traditional designation".
The SS storm bans
The name comes from the SA and was adopted in the other Nazi organizations. The Sturmbann was comparable to the battalion in the army, could consist of three to five storms and had a staff of 250 to 600 men.
The SS storms
An SS storm comprised three troops led by an SS storm leader until October 1934. It comprised between 70 and 120 men and consisted of an active part and a reserve unit. The company corresponded to him in the army . With the increase in the number of personnel in the SS and the increasing takeover of the army structures, the introduction of additional ranks became necessary. So from October 1934 the rank of SS-Sturmführer was renamed SS-Untersturmführer .
As an example, the message, engineer and motor towers of the General SS are given below. The SS storm of a foot standard had its counterpart in other SS structures such as the Reiter-SS and the Totenkopf standards.
But the Leibstandarte SS “Adolf Hitler” and the SS disposal troops also originally had storms, but from 1935 the military equivalent in these SS divisions became generally binding.
The SS news storms
The news units of the General SS, the so-called SS news storms, were originally assigned to the general SS foot standards and their members were in fact assigned to the disposal force or the death's head associations by 1938 at the latest. The news storms were de jure subordinate to a senior section chief of the SS.
|SS news storm||Upper section||Seat||SS news storm||Upper section||Seat|
The Pioneer Storms of the General SS
The pioneer units of the General SS, the so-called Pionierstürme , were initially assigned to a foot standard of the SS. Its members have been assigned to the available troops or the skull and crossbones associations since 1938. De jure they were subordinate to a senior section chief of the SS.
|SS pioneer tower||Upper section||Seat||SS pioneer tower||Upper section||Seat|
|4th||"West"||Cologne||13||"Rhein-Westmark"||Frankfurt (Main) / Ludwigshafen / Weilburg|
|6th||"Baltic Sea"||Szczecin||15th||"Alpine country"||Salzburg|
The SS motor towers
The motorized SS units, the so-called SS-Kraftfahrstürme or SS-Motor-Stürme , were de facto part of the Motor-SA from 1930 to late summer 1934 . These were generally called Motor-SS and were originally assigned to the general SS foot standards. De jure, however, these units have been autonomous since their creation. Since 1938 they were in fact assigned to the disposal troops or the SS skull and crossbones associations. De jure they were subordinate to a senior section chief of the SS.
|SS-Kraftfahrsturm '||Upper section||Seat||SS motor tower||Upper section||Seat|
|1||"South"||Munich / Augsburg||11||"Center"||Magdeburg / Hanover|
|2||"Fulda-Werra"||Erfurt / Frankfurt||12||"Main"||Bamberg / Schweinfurt / Nuremberg|
|3||"Spree"||Berlin / Senftenberg||13||"Baltic Sea"||Schwerin / Stettin|
|4th||"North Sea"||Hamburg / Kiel / Bremen||14th||"Rhein-Westmark"||Frankfurt (Main) / Wiesbaden-
Biebrich / Pirmasens
|5||"West"||Düsseldorf / Buer (Westphalia) / Dortmund||15th||"Alpine country"||Graz / Innsbruck|
|6th||"Elbe"||Dresden / Chemnitz||16||"Vistula"||Danzig / Elbing|
|7th||"Northeast"||Koenigsberg||17th||"Warta"||Poznan / Litzmannstadt|
|8th||"Danube"||Linz / Vienna||19th||"Bohemia-Moravia"||Asch / Reichenberg / Brno|
|10||"Southwest"||Stuttgart / Karlsruhe / Freiburg (Br.)|
The SS troops
An SS troop was formed from three troops and was generally led by a troop leader until October 1934. It comprised between 20 and 60 SS men and in the army it corresponded to the train . In October 1934 the rank of "troop leader" was changed to "Oberscharführer".
Officially binding for all SS divisions, the SS disposable troops began to adopt the army designation in 1935; it was followed a little later by the Leibstandarte and the skull and crossbones associations. The SS troop corresponded to the train in the Wehrmacht .
The SS troops
An SS squad consisted of two SS squads, could have a staff strength of 8 to 16 men and was usually led by an SS squad leader . In October 1934 the rank of SS-Scharführer was changed to SS-Unterscharführer . The designation SS-Schar was used in all SS divisions. In the Wehrmacht, the SS crowd corresponded to the group with similar personnel and was comparable to the SA crowd .
The SS Rotten
An SS-Rotte was the smallest unit of the Schutzstaffel. It consisted of four to eight men and was usually subordinate to an SS Rottenführer . The name was used by all SS divisions. The SS-Rotte corresponded to the troop in the Wehrmacht . The SA also used the designation SA-Rotte .
- Gunter d'Alquen : The SS. History, task and organization of the protection squadrons of the NSDAP (writings of the School of Politics 2,33). Berlin 1939.
- Robert Bohn : The Sporrenberg Report. A document from inside the SS apparatus. In: Historical communications. Vol. 6, No. 2, 1993, pp. 250-277.
- Bernd Boll : Actions according to the custom of the war. Wehrmacht and 1st SS Infantry Brigade 1941. In: Journal of History. Vol. 48, No. 9, 2000, pp. 775-788.
- Charles von Denkwoski: On the merging of the SS and the police - the Reich Security Main Office. In: Criminology. Vol. 57, No. 8-9, 2003, pp. 525-533.
- Carlo Gentile : Political Soldiers. The 16th SS Panzer Grenadier Division "Reichsführer SS" in Italy in 1944. In: Sources and research from Italian archives and libraries. Volume 81, 2001, pp. 529-561.
- Werner Haupt : Structure and organization of the SS (as of November 9, 1944). Stuttgart 1981.
- Aleksander Lasik: Sztafety Ochronne w systemie niemieckich obozów koncentracyjnych. Rozwój organizacyjny, ewolucja zadań i Struktur oraz socjologiczny obraz obozowych załóg SS. (Schutzstaffel in the system of the German concentration camps. The organizational development, formation of tasks and structures as well as the sociological picture of the SS camp crews.) Państwowe Muzeum Auschwitz. 2007, ISBN 977, Auschwitz-Birkenau -83-60210-32-1 .
- Klaus D. Patzwall : The SS radio protection battalion of the Waffen SS. In: Militaria. Vol. 18, No. 4, 1996, , p. 106.
- Klaus D. Patzwall: The SS clothing. 2. White service coat for SS leaders. In: Militaria. Vol. 9, No. 2, 1985, pp. 24-26.
- Edward Prus: Powstanie i działania zbrojne 14 Galicyjskiej Dywizji SS. In: Wojskowy przegląd historyczny. Bd. 33, No. 4, 1988, , pp. 104–135, here p. 104, ( The formation and combat activities of the 14th SS division “Galicia”. ).
- Hans Joachim Schneider: The SS-Totenkopfsturmbann Stutthof. In: Dachauer Hefte. Vol. 10, No. 10, 1994, pp. 115-141.
- Norbert Podewin (Ed.): "Brown Book". War and Nazi criminals in the Federal Republic and in West Berlin. State, economy, administration, army, justice, science . Edition Ost, Berlin 2002, ISBN 3-360-01033-7 (reprint of the 3rd edition from 1968).
- SS seniority lists 1934–1943 (photographs)
- Numery członkó SS, (German: SS membership numbers ) (Polish)
- Heinz Höhne : The order under the skull. The history of the SS. Weltbild, 1992, ISBN 3-89350-549-0 , p. 127.
- Heinz Höhne: The order under the skull. The history of the SS. Weltbild, 1992, p. 29.
- Ordinance the Waffen-SS , Volume 3, No. 12 of June 15, 1942, p. 46 Quoted from Klietmann in: Feldgrau , 13th vol., No. 1, Berlin 1967.
- Hans-Jürgen Döscher : The Foreign Office in the Third Reich. Diplomacy in the shadow of the “final solution”. Siedler Verlag, Berlin 1987, ISBN 3-88680-256-6 , p. 148 ff.
- Volunteers of the Allgemeine SS were given a mandatory three-month probationary period and during this time were officially regarded as relay applicants .
- the first three years, volunteers of the Allgemeine SS were considered to be relay candidates , but appeared in public as SS men .
- This rank corresponded de facto to that of a senior colonel who was entitled to wear the silver-gray lapels and the aluminum cap piping of a general, while he still had the shoulder boards of a colonel. (Source: Andrew Mollow: Uniforms of the Waffen-SS , p. 154)
- This standard was drawn up on December 1, 1944.