Structure of the NSDAP

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The structure of the National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP) characterized a centralist and tightly hierarchical leader party in the NS state . It competed to an exceptionally high degree with authorities and partly took over their tasks.

Official structure and practice

In practice, problems arose with the allocation of responsibilities. So could z. B. Reichsleiter and their offices often compete with Gauleiter and the Gauverwaltung. In addition, the party often competed with government agencies, such as ministries and administrative bodies, since the state was always oriented towards the interests of the NSDAP (regional) leadership. The Gauleitung had an influence on personnel decisions in public offices, for example through the preparation of expert reports. The main reason for this confusion of competencies was the allocation of administrative tasks to the Gau leadership. The competition between Reichsleiters and Reichsministers, for example, was quite intentional and intentional by Hitler.

Organized strictly according to the Führer principle , the Gauleiter competed with the state structures, i.e. with the Reich Governors who replaced the Prime Ministers after the states were dissolved . They even tried to fill this post themselves, which very often succeeded. Almost all Gauleiter therefore built their own power refuge in their regions. This is a typical example of the interwoven and confusing power structures of the Nazi state, in which the party and the state competed for influence with one another with unclear areas of responsibility.

If, for example, a legal lecture should be given in a district, the district leader would be responsible on the one hand, but also e.g. B. the (Reich) head of the Reich Law Office, Hans Frank , but also the Reich Propaganda Management or the Reich Ministry for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda .

Reinhard Bollmus and Hans-Adolf Jacobsen , for example, wrote that National Socialism did not establish a monolithic leadership state , but rather a polycracy without a clear hierarchy in which people, offices and authorities fought each other.

Of Interior Minister Wilhelm Frick a fundamental organizational reform was required for this reason, but never realized. He had asked for the division of powers according to territorial competencies, in which case there would hardly have been any more problems with the question of the responsible authority or party representation.

The problems that have arisen can be illustrated well using the example of Alfred Rosenberg's biography .

Management staff

At the top stood the chairman ("Der Führer "); he was endowed with absolute power and had full authority. All other party offices were subordinate to his position and had to follow his instructions. Here was the leader Adolf Hitler as head of state and because of the large number of its offices its own organ , the " Registry of the leader "; this was founded in 1934 after assuming the presidential office.

The state chancellery of the Fuehrer corresponded in the party with the staff of the "Deputy Leader" ( Rudolf Hess held this title from April 21, 1933 to May 10, 1941). The " Staff of the Deputy Leader " (StdF), later called the " Party Chancellery " (head from October 10, 1933: Martin Bormann ) had the task of ensuring that all laws and ordinances, but also the appointment of civil servants, were in accordance with the to check National Socialist ideology. A "liaison staff" arranged the connection to the state.

18 Reichsleiter with their Reich offices and offices were subordinate to the deputy of the Führer . Thus, the position of deputy leader was practically the second highest office that could be achieved in the NSDAP.

The Reichsleiter

The 18 Reichsleiter had the highest party rank and held the highest party political offices in the NSDAP. In the party hierarchy, the Reichsleiter were subordinate to either Hitler or his deputy, on whose behalf they carried out tasks assigned to them throughout the Reich . The 18 Reichsleiter formed the Reichsleitung of the NSDAP , which initially had its seat in the so-called Brown House in Munich (the above mentioned staff of the deputy of the Führer was practically a Berlin branch of the Reichsleitung in the Brown House). Some Reichsleiter also had a seat in the Hitler cabinet .

The tasks of the Reich leadership consisted in establishing and monitoring the guidelines for the political objectives of the German people . In addition, it was supposed to ensure that the Nazi party and the state were selected from the leaders. The Reich leadership also had to monitor the proper organization of the party and the associated offices. With regard to the party, the head of the Reich organization of the NSDAP was responsible for matters relating to the processing of all organizational questions, the structure and all affiliated associations . For these purposes, the main organization office, the main training office and the main personnel office were subordinate to him (status: 1944).

The offices of the 18 Reichsleiter of the NSDAP

Offices and tasks only shown in selection. The tasks were not always retained for the entire duration of the office. (Status of the listing 1935, newer changes mentioned as far as possible in additional information)

Reichsleiter for special tasks

The twelve Reichsleiter for special tasks had no authority over the associations, organizations or branches affiliated to the party, they included:

Franz Xaver Schwarz (with glasses) to the right of Adolf Hitler (December 1930)
  • The Reich Treasurer of the NSDAP (task: "Management and control of the finances of the whole movement" ( contemporary expression ) as well as awarding of uniforms etc.)
    Subordinate departments and offices:
    • Audit and budget office
    • Reichszeugmeisterei
    • Aid Fund
    • Administrative, legal, tax, real estate and contractual matters
    • Main checkout
    • General Ledger Accounting
    • HR department
    • Admission department
    • Central filing department
    • Home inspection
    • House and property management
    • Construction management
    • lottery
    • Party central archive
Otto Dietrich in the back row on the far left in the dock (1947)
  • The Reich Press Chief of the NSDAP
    Subordinate departments and offices:
    • Reich press office of the NSDAP
      • Main office of the Reich Press Office of the NSDAP
      • Press policy office of the Reich Press Office of the NSDAP
  • The head of the military policy office , then the head of the colonial policy office of the NSDAP
    • Franz von Epp (from August 31, 1933; Reichsleiter, Reichsstatthalter in Bavaria and General of the Infantry)
    Subordinate departments and offices:
    • Colonial Political Office of the NSDAP
      • Location Munich the Colonial Political Office of the NSDAP
      • Berlin Liaison Office of the NSDAP's Colonial Political Office

Reichsleiter with powers over associations and organizations

Three Reichsleiter had powers over the associations and organizations affiliated with the party:

The head of the Foreign Policy Office of the NSDAP and the representative of the Fuehrer for the supervision of the entire intellectual and ideological education of the NSDAP (DBFL) , also "Amt Rosenberg" (after the leader Alfred Rosenberg)
Subordinate departments and offices:
  • Country units
  • Academic exchange service
  • Foreign trade
  • Press
  • training
  • education
  • Philosophical archive
  • Press
  • Literature maintenance
  • prehistory
  • science
  • Main Office of Art Care (Head: Walter Stang )
The head of the Reich Law Office
Hans Frank in his prison cell before the Nuremberg Trials (1945)
Subordinate departments (Reich Law Office: Head of the NS-Juristenbund association ):
  • Legal administration
  • Legal policy
  • Legal support for the German people
Head of Office Walter Raeke, Deputy Friedrich Grimm
The rod head of the political organization of the NSDAP , later the Reichsorganisationsleiter
Robert Ley (1933)
Subordinate offices:
  • Chief Staff Office
  • Main personnel office
  • Main organizational office
  • Office for Education
  • Statistical Office
  • Test center for procurement projects

Reichsleiter with powers over SS, SA and youth

Three Reichsleiter had powers over three further branches of the party:

The Reichsführer SS (reporting directly to the Führer )
The Chief of Staff of the SA (reporting directly to the Führer )
  • Sturmabteilung ( SA )
The Reich Youth Leader

Development and classification of associations, organizations and structures

As an organization there was also the Reichsbund der Kinderreich , which was overseen by the Racial Political Office . One division that acted under the leadership of a Reichsamtsleiter and was subordinate to the Führer’s deputy was the NSD Student Union (NSDStB). From November 1936 Gustav Adolf Scheel was Reichsstudentenführer with his own main office and thus head of the NSDStB and the German Student Union (DSt) in personal union . One division that was subordinate to the corps leader was the NS-Kraftfahrkorps (NSKK). The corps leader (until 1942 Adolf Hühnlein , then Erwin Kraus ) reported directly to the leader .

From July 1935, the NS [D] -Dozentenbund (NSDDB) was added to the six branches , which replaced the NS-Lehrerbund (previously an association) in the field of university teaching. The NS teacher association existed until 1943. The NS lecturer association became an organization from July 1944. The eight organizations counted in 1944 of being incorporated from then on in the party Reichsluftschutzbund .

The party affiliated, ultimately nine associations (= NS-Juristenbund, Reichsbund der Deutschen Officials, NS-Lehrerbund, NS-war victim care, NSD-Ärztebund (until October 13, 1942), NS-Bund Deutscher Technik, NS-Volkswohlfahrt, die The German Labor Front and, from 1944 onwards, the Reichsluftschutzbund) had their own legal personality and their own assets. The ultimately seven divisions (= NS-Frauenschaft, NSD-Studentenbund, SA, SS, NSKK, HJ and from 1935 still the NSD-Dozentbund) had no legal personality, nor did the four organizations (= NS-Kulturgemeinde, Reichsbund der Kinderreich, German Community Day and the German Women's Work).

The structure of the associations and organizations corresponded to that of the party. The structure of the NSDAP in divisions and associations, including legal entities and assets, was legally defined in the “ Ordinance for the Implementation of the Law to Safeguard the Unity of Party and State ” of March 29, 1935, including three implementing provisions published that year .

Other organizations under National Socialist influence

Organizations, some of which already existed before the NSDAP was founded and most of which were not founded by the NSDAP, were often renamed and used for NSDAP purposes. They were mostly also subordinate to an office in the administrative apparatus of a Reich Leader or directly to an association. These organizations include B. ( if not already mentioned; selection ):

The list of prohibited organizations, associations and divisions can be read and set out in Control Council Act No. 2 ; This law also provides an overview of the extent of the NSDAP organizations.

The 43 Gaue (1941) and their Gauleiter

NSDAP gauges 1941
Administrative structure of the NSDAP 1944

As early as 1925, the NSDAP divided Germany into 33, later 43 areas (1941), which were named Gaue based on a term from the medieval territorial constitution of Charlemagne . These (party) districts corresponded to the Reichstag electoral districts at that time and after 1933 took over the rights of the remaining states, which were considerably increased by the conformity laws (in particular by the so-called "second law for the synchronization of the states with the Reich" of April 7, 1933) were restricted.

Each Gau was a Gauleiter ago. In the organizational structure of the NSDAP, he was the regional head of the party and thus had political responsibility for his sovereign area. He received full disciplinary power and the right to oversee all party organizations and associations in his area. This naturally also led to disputes over competence with the Reichsleiter, who could or wanted to unite the entire leadership of the respective party organization or the respective party association. Some Gauleiter received great power in their regions as a person and as official ( see the modification of the official structure in practice ). This was based on the transfer of the regional organization and association management to the administrative apparatus of the head of the Gauamt, who was subordinate to the Gauleiter. Through this office, in turn, the power of the Gauleiter could be limited, as the NSDAP Reichsleitung could launch its subject-specific interests (such as important ones such as propaganda ) via the Gau administrative apparatus bypassing the Gauleiter.

The partial counterpart to a Gau of the party was in the state, founded after 1938, the Reichsgau . There were twelve of these by 1945. So not every Nazi Gau was a Reichsgau, and the sizes of the Reichsgaue did not always match the sizes of the Gaue, even if the name was the same. In addition, not all of the planned Reichsgaue were implemented - for example, Baden-Alsace and Westmark were also to become Reichsgaue, but this never happened.

Almost all Gauleiter were members of the SA or SS. In most cases, the Gauleiter were represented in the NSDAP before 1933 and were known to Hitler personally. As early as 1933, 22 out of 30 Gauleiters had also held a high state office - as Reich Governor , Upper President or Minister . When the Second World War broke out on September 1, 1939 , most of the Gauleiter became Reich Defense Commissioners and, from October 1944, also responsible for setting up the Volkssturm .

Table of Gaue including previous structures and leaders

Gaue of the NSDAP 1926, 1928, 1933, 1937, 1939 and 1943

(The information has been reconstructed as much as possible - due to the extreme confusion of the information, no guarantee is given)

The Gaue were reorganized on October 1, 1928. The numbers given are official serial numbers. The figures are from 1941, based on the regional division that existed at that time. The size and number of inhabitants do not always correspond to the realistically assumed values. Further information on older districts can be found in the second table below.

No. gau Administrative headquarters Area (km²) Residents (1941) Gauleiter (without deputy)
01 Baden-Alsace ( contemporary spelling ), until 1941 Gau Baden Karlsruhe , after 1940 Strasbourg 23,350 2,502,023 Robert Wagner , from 1925 (later also Reichsstatthalter)
02 Bayreuth , until 1942 Gau Bayerische Ostmark, created through the merger of Gau Oberfranken and Gau Niederbayern - Oberpfalz ; the latter initially split into Gau Niederbayern and Gau Oberpfalz; Merger to Gau Niederbayern-Oberpfalz took place again later Bayreuth 29,600 2,370,658 Fritz Wächtler from June 2, 1942 (date of creation) to April 19, 1945, then from April 19, 1945 Ludwig Ruckdeschel
03 Greater Berlin , was created in 1928 as Gau Berlin by dividing Gau Berlin-Brandenburg (Gau Brandenburg was separated), later called Gau Groß-Berlin Berlin 884 4,338,756 Ernst Schlange from 1925 to 1926, then from November 1, 1926 to April 30, 1945 Joseph Goebbels
04 Danzig-West Prussia , formerly Gau Danzig Danzig 26,057 2,287,394 Hans Albert Hohnfeldt from 1926 to 1928, then from 1928 to 1930 Walter Maass , then from October 15, 1930 Albert Forster
05 Düsseldorf , was created in 1928 as the Bergisches Land / Niederrhein district from parts of the dissolved Groß-Gau Ruhr ( Elberfeld , 1926–1928), which in turn was created in 1926 through the merger of Gau Westfalen and Gau Rheinland-Nord; was renamed Gau Düsseldorf on August 1, 1930 Dusseldorf 2,672 2,261,909 District manager Fritz Härtl (* 1892), from October 1, 1929 Friedrich Karl Florian , from August 1, 1930 as Gauleiter
06 Essen , was created in 1928 as the Essen district from parts of the dissolved Groß-Gau Ruhr-Elberfeld (1926–1928); was renamed Gau Essen on August 1, 1930 eat 2,825 1,921,326 since 1928 Josef Terboven (from 1935 also high president of the Rhine Province )
07 Franconia , was created in 1929 when the Nazi district of Nuremberg-Fürth-Erlangen joined the Gau Middle Franconia, called Gau Franconia from 1936 Nuremberg 7,618 1,077,216 from April 2, 1925 to February 16, 1940 Julius Streicher (" Frankenführer "), then from March 21, 1940 to March 7, 1942 Hans Zimmermann , then from March 8, 1942 Karl Holz .
08 Halle-Merseburg Halle on the Saale 10,202 1,578,292 from 1925 to July 30, 1926 Walter Ernst August 1, 1926 to 1927, then from 1927 to 1930 Paul Hinkler , then from 1930 to April 20, 1937 Rudolf Jordan , then from April 20, 1937 Joachim Albrecht Eggeling
09 Hamburg Hamburg 747 1,711,877 Joseph Klant from 1925 to 1926, then from 1927 to 1928 Albert Krebs , then from 1928 to April 15, 1929 Hinrich Lohse , then from April 15, 1929 Karl Kaufmann
10 Hessen-Nassau , emerged from Gau Hessen-Nassau -Süd and Gau Hessen-Darmstadt Frankfurt am Main 15,030 3,117,266 Jakob Sprenger from 1933
11 Carinthia Klagenfurt 11,554 449.713 Hans vom Kothen from February 1933 to July 1934, Peter Feistritzer (also to be found as: Feistritzner or Feist-Ritzner ) from October 1936 to February 20, 1938, then from 1938 to 1939 Hubert Klausner , then from 1940 to 1941 Franz Kutschera , then from 1942 to 1944 Friedrich Rainer
12 Cologne-Aachen , created in 1931 through the division of Gau Rheinland (until 1926 Gau Rheinland-Süd) into Gaue Köln-Aachen and Koblenz-Trier (later to Gau Moselland) Cologne 8,162 2,432,095 Joseph Grohé from 1931
13 Kurhessen , 1927–1934 Gau Hessen-Nassau-Nord kassel 9,200 971.887 Walter Schultz from 1926 to 1927, then from 1928 to 1943 Karl Weinrich , then from 1943 Karl Gerland
14th Magdeburg-Anhalt , education from Gau Anhalt and Gau Elbe-Havel Dessau 13,910 1,820,416 from 1927, with a brief interruption by Paul Hofmann in 1933, until October 23, 1935 Wilhelm Friedrich Loeper , then from 1935 to 1937 Joachim Albrecht Leo Eggeling , then from 1937 Rudolf Jordan
15th Mainfranken , renamed Gau Unterfranken Wurzburg 8,432 840.663 Otto Hellmuth from September 3, 1928
16 Mark Brandenburg , was created in 1933 through the merger of Gau Ostmark (since 1925) and Gau Brandenburg (since 1928) to Gau Kurmark, later renamed Gau Mark Brandenburg Berlin 38,278 3,007,933 Wilhelm Kube from March 6, 1933 to August 7, 1936, then Emil Stürtz
17th Mecklenburg Schwerin 15,722 900.427 Friedrich Hildebrandt from 1925 with an interruption by Herbert Albrecht from July 1930 to 1931
18th Moselland , emerged from Gau Koblenz-Trier in 1941 because of the incorporation of Luxembourg Koblenz 11,876 1,367,354 Gustav Simon from June 1, 1931
19th Munich-Upper Bavaria , merger of Gau Oberbayern and Gau Groß-Munich (so-called "traditional district") Munich 16,411 1,938,447 Adolf Wagner from 1933 to 1944, then from April 1944 Paul Giesler
20th Lower Danube , before 1938 Gau Lower Austria District capital: Krems , administrative seat: Vienna 23,502 1,697,676 From March 12, 1938 to May 24, 1938 Roman Jäger , then from May 24, 1938 to May 8, 1945 Hugo Jury
21st Lower Silesia , created in 1941 through the division of Gau Schlesien (like Gau Oberschlesien) Wroclaw 26,985 3,286,539 Karl Hanke from 1940
22nd Upper Danube , previously Gau Upper Austria Linz 14,216 1,034,871 Andreas Bolek from June 1927 to August 1, 1934, then August Eigruber from March 1935
23 Upper Silesia , created in 1941 through the division of Gau Schlesien (like Gau Lower Silesia) Katowice 20,636 4,341,084 Fritz Bracht from January 27, 1941 [gap from the time of the split (probably 1940) to January 27, 1941]
24 Ost-Hannover (also: Hannover-Ost ), previous name Gau Lüneburg-Stade Buchholz in the Nordheide , from April 1, 1937 Lüneburg , previously Harburg 18.006 1,060,509 from October 1, 1928 Otto Telschow
25th East Prussia Königsberg in Prussia 52,731 3,336,777 Bruno Gustav Scherwitz from 1925 to 1927, then from 1928 Erich Koch
26th Pomerania Szczecin 38,409 2,393,844 Theodor Vahlen from 1925 to 1927, then from 1928 to 1931 Walter von Corswant , then from 1931 to 1934 Wilhelm Karpenstein , then from 1934 Franz Schwede-Coburg
27 Saxony Plauen ,
from 1933 Dresden
14,995 5,231,739 Martin Mutschmann from 1925
28 Salzburg Salzburg 7.153 257.226 Leopold Malina from 1926 to?, Karl Scharizer from 1932 to 1934, then from 1939 to 1941 Friedrich Rainer , then from 1941 Gustav Adolf Scheel (Reichsstudenten- und Reichsdozentenführer)
29 Schleswig-Holstein Kiel 15,687 1,589,267 Hinrich Lohse from 1925
30th Swabia augsburg 10,231 946.212 Karl Wahl from 1928
31 Styria Graz 17,384 1,116,407 Walther Oberhaidacher from November 25, 1928 to 1934, then Sepp Helfrich , then from May 22, 1938 Siegfried Uiberreither
32 Sudetenland , until 1939 Gau Sudetengau Reichenberg 22.608 2,943,187 Konrad Henlein from 1939
33 South Hanover-Braunschweig , merger of Gau Hannover-Süd and Gau Braunschweig Hanover 14,553 2,136,961 from October 1, 1928 to November 1940 Bernhard Rust , then from November 1940 Hartmann Lauterbacher
34 Thuringia Weimar 15,763 2,446,182 Artur Dinter from 1925 to 1927, then from 1927 Fritz Sauckel
35 Tyrol-Vorarlberg innsbruck 13,126 486,400 Franz Hofer from 1932
36 Wartheland , until January 29, 1940 Warthegau district Poses 43.905 4,693,722 Arthur Karl Greiser from October 21, 1939
37 Weser-Ems Oldenburg (Oldb) 15,044 1,839,302 Carl Röver from 1929 to 1942, then from 1942 Paul Wegener
38 Westphalia-North , was created in 1931 through the division of the Westphalian Gaus, which was newly created in 1928, one of the three successor structures (alongside Essen and Düsseldorf) to the Groß-Gau Ruhr, founded by Joseph Goebbels and Gregor Strasser in 1926, which in turn was formed through the merger of Gau Westfalen and Gau Rheinland- North was created Münster in Westphalia (since 1932) 14,559 2,822,603 Alfred Meyer from 1931
39 Westphalia-South , created in 1928 as one of the three successor structures of the dissolved Groß-Gau Ruhr (Elberfeld), received its final form when it was separated from Westphalia-North in 1931; congruent with the Prussian administrative district of Arnsberg Bochum 7,656 2,678,026 Josef Wagner (Gauleiter Westphalia since 1928) 1931 to 1941, Paul Giesler from 1941 to 1943/44, then from 1943/44 Albert Hoffmann
40 Westmark , renamed from Gau Saar-Pfalz (also: Saarpfalz or until 1936 Pfalz-Saar ), which arose from the merger of Gau Rheinpfalz and Gau Saar (land) Neustadt an der Weinstrasse , Saarbrücken from 1940 14,713 1,892,240 Josef Bürckel from 1935 to September 28, 1944, from September 28, 1944 Willi Stöhr (sometimes also Willy and / or Stohr )
41 Vienna Vienna 1,216 1,929,976 Alfred Eduard Frauenfeld from 1930 to 1933, Franz Richter from February to May 1938, Odilo Globocnik until January 1939 , then Josef Bürckel until August 1940 , from 1940 Baldur von Schirach
42 Württemberg-Hohenzollern Stuttgart 20,657 2,974,373 Eugen Munder from 1925 to 1928, then from 1928 Wilhelm Murr
43 Foreign organization NSDAP / AO (Gau foreign) Berlin Hans Nieland from 1930 to 1933, then from May 8, 1933 Ernst Wilhelm Bohle
Other districts

Head from 1945 no longer existing district

Mere renaming recognizable by the addition " UB " in the column "became later". Numbering for guidance only, sorting is alphabetical.

No. gau arose from became later … along with ladder
01 Stop Magdeburg-Anhalt (1927) Elbe-Havel Gustav Hermann Schmischke
02 to bathe Baden-Alsace (March 22, 1941) UB s. O.
03 Bavarian East Mark Upper Franconia and Lower Bavaria-Upper Palatinate (II) (January 19, 1933) Bayreuth (June 2, 1942) UB Hans Schemm from January 19, 1933 to March 5, 1935, then from March 5, 1935 Fritz Wächtler
04 Berlin Berlin-Brandenburg (October 1, 1928) Greater Berlin UB Joseph Goebbels
05 Berlin-Brandenburg Berlin and Brandenburg (October 1, 1928) Ernst Schlange from 1925 to 1926, then from November 1, 1926 Joseph Goebbels
06 Brandenburg Berlin-Brandenburg (October 1, 1928) Kurmark (March 6, 1933) Ostmark from October 1, 1928 to 1932 Emil Holtz and from October 18, 1932 to March 16, 1933 Ernst Schlange
07 Braunschweig South Hanover-Braunschweig (October 1, 1928) Hanover South from 1925 to September 30, 1928 Ludolf Haase (possibly also only for Hanover-South)
08 Danzig Danzig-West Prussia (1939) UB s. O.
09 Elbe-Havel Magdeburg-Anhalt (1927) Stop from November 25, 1925 to 1926 [?] Alois Bachschmidt
10 Greater Munich (" traditional district ") Munich-Upper Bavaria (1933) Upper Bavaria [?]
11 Hanover South South Hanover-Braunschweig (October 1, 1928) Braunschweig from 1925 to September 30, 1928 Ludolf Haase (possibly only for Braunschweig)
12 Hessen-Darmstadt Hessen-Nassau (1933) Hessen-Nassau-Süd from March 1, 1927 to January 9, 1931 Friedrich Ringshausen , then only in 1931 Peter Gemeinder , then from 1932 to 1933 Karl Lenz
13 Hessen-Nassau-North Electoral Hesse (1934) [?]
14th Hessen-Nassau-Süd Hessen-Nassau (1933) Hessen-Darmstadt from 1925 to 1926 Anton Haselmayer , then from 1926 to 1927 Walter Schultz , then from 1927 to 1933 Jakob Sprenger
15th Koblenz-Trier Rhineland-South (1931) Moselland (1942) accession On June 1, 1931, the former Rhineland district of the NSDAP was divided into the two districts of Cologne-Aachen and Koblenz-Trier on the initiative of Gustav Simon , the Koblenz-Trier district leader. Simon was appointed Gauleiter of Koblenz-Trier. On January 24, 1941, the Koblenz-Trier district was renamed "Moselland".
16 Kurmark Ostmark and Brandenburg ([?]) Mark Brandenburg (1938) UB s. O.
17th Lueneburg-Stade East Hanover (1928) UB from March 22, 1925 to September 30, 1928 Bernhard Rust
18th Middle Franconia 1929 enlarged (from 1936 Gau Franken) Nuremberg-Fürth-Erlangen Julius Streicher (" Franconian Leader ")
19th Lower Bavaria Lower Bavaria-Upper Palatinate (I) (October 1, 1928) Lower Bavaria-Upper Palatinate (II) (April 1, 1932) Upper Palatinate from October 1, 1928 to 1929 Gregor Strasser, then from 1929 to April 1, 1932 Otto Erbersdobler
20th Lower Bavaria-Upper Palatinate (I) Upper Palatinate and Lower Bavaria (October 1, 1928) from 1925 to September 30, 1928 Gregor Strasser
21st Lower Bavaria-Upper Palatinate (II) Upper Palatinate and Lower Bavaria (April 1, 1932) Bavarian Ostmark (January 19, 1933) Upper Franconia from April 1, 1932 to January 19, 1933 Franz Maierhofer
22nd Lower Austria Lower Danube ([?]) UB from 1927 to 1937 Josef Leopold (there may be a gap from 1937 to 1939, as a Gauleiter for Lower Danube has only been known in this article since 1939)
23 Nuremberg-Fürth-Erlangen 1929 to Middle Franconia (from 1936 Gau Franconia) Middle Franconia from September 3, 1928 Wilhelm Grimm
24 Upper Bavaria Munich-Upper Bavaria (1933) Greater Munich from 1942 Paul Giesler
25th Upper Franconia Bavarian Ostmark (January 19, 1933) Lower Bavaria-Upper Palatinate (II) from 1928 Hans Schemm
26th Upper Austria Upper Danube ([?]) UB [exact point in time necessary for determining the conductor - otherwise see chap. o. at "Oberdonau"]
27 Upper Palatinate Lower Bavaria-Upper Palatinate (I) (October 1, 1928) Lower Bavaria-Upper Palatinate (II) (April 1, 1932) Lower Bavaria from October 1, 1928 to April 1, 1932 Franz Maierhofer
28 Ostmark Kurmark (March 6, 1933) Brandenburg from January 2, 1928 to 1933 Wilhelm Kube
29 Rhineland North Ruhr (1926–1928) Westphalia Joseph Goebbels, from 1925 to 1926 together with Karl Kaufmann
30th Rhineland-South from 1926 Gau Rhineland, 1931 divided into Cologne-Aachen and Koblenz-Trier 1925 Heinrich Haake (often also: Heinz Haake ), then from 1925 to 1931 Robert Ley
31 Rheinpfalz Saar-Palatinate (1935) Saar (land) 1925/26 Friedrich Wambsganß , from March 1926 Josef Bürckel (from March 1, 1933 also head of Saarland)
32 Ruhr, also Groß-Gau Ruhr (-Elberfeld) , seat of Elberfeld , divided into 10 districts Rhineland-North and Westphalia (March 1926) From the summer of 1928 three, and with the partition of Westphalia in 1931 four successor structures: District (from 1930 Gau) Essen; Bergisches Land / Niederrhein district (from 1930 Düsseldorf district); Westphalia (1931 divided into Gau Westfalen-Süd and Gau Westfalen-Nord) first Joseph Goebbels with Franz Pfeffer von Salomon and Karl Kaufmann, then from 1926 to 1928 Karl Kaufmann, Josef Wagner (from summer 1928 Gauleiter Westphalia, later Westphalia-Süd)
33 Saarland, sometimes just Saar Saar-Palatinate (1935) Rheinpfalz Jakob Jung (1927 to 1929), Gustav Staebe (1929), Adolf Ehrecke (1929 to 1931), Karl Brück (1931 to 1933), Josef Bürckel (1933), Alois Spaniol (1933–1934)
34 Saar-Palatinate, sometimes Saarpfalz Rheinpfalz and Saar (land) (1935) Westmark (1937) UB s. O.
35 Silesia Lower Silesia and Upper Silesia (1940) from March 15, 1925 to December 25, 1935 (possibly only until December 12, 1934) Helmuth Brückner , then until 1940 Josef Wagner
36 Sudetengau Sudetenland (1939) UB [?]
37 Lower Franconia Main Franconia (1935) UB s. O.
38 Warthegau Wartheland (January 29, 1940) UB s. O.
39 Westphalia Ruhr (1926–1928) Rhineland North from 1925 to 1926 Franz Pfeffer von Salomon


A Gauwinkel was used to be able to assign the carrier to a corresponding Gau. Today the symbol is used by right-wing extremists (see the article: Right-wing symbols and signs ).

Division of the party below the Gaue

Structure of the NSDAP (mid-1939)

The Gaue were again subdivided into circles with district leaders and district leaders, including local groups with local group leaders and local group leaders. These were in turn subdivided into eight cells , each with a cell ladder. As the smallest unit, there were four to eight so-called blocks (around 40 to 60 households) with their own head, who was popularly known as the block warden . If one takes into account that the NS-Volkswohlfahrt was based on the party organization in its own organization, the familiar list of the structures of the NS-Volkswohlfahrt clearly shows how extensively the party was organized: 40 Gau, 813 district, 26,138 local groups, 97,161 cells and 511,689 blocks (mid-1939). In 1935 the Gau Kurmark (from 1938 Mark-Brandenburg) consisted of 46 districts, 903 local groups, 2467 cells and 10873 blocks. At that time it was the largest of all districts in terms of area.

District leader

By order of the head of the Reich organization of the NSDAP from June 1932, all districts in the German Reich were divided into NSDAP circles. At the newly created level, a district leader now acted as the party's “sovereign”. This was initially appointed provisionally by the Gauleiter. After some time as a probationary head of the service, taking part in a course at the State Driving School and submitting a certificate of proficiency and an Aryan certificate, the candidate was finally confirmed by Hitler. The appointment as a regular district leader took place in a festive setting by handing over an identity card as a certificate. If a final transfer of office was not intended, the person concerned used the designation "Kreisleiter" with additions such as "entrusted with the management" (m. D. F. b.), " Entrusted with the performance of the business " (md W. d. G. b .) or "for special disposal / use" (e.g. V.).

The district leader of the NSDAP was at the head of his own office ("district management") with a staff of employees. He received his orders from the Gauleiter and thus - from a geographical point of view - held the fourth highest post in the NSDAP after the Gauleiter, the deputy and the Führer . The position of the district leader corresponded to that of a deputy Gauleiter, a Gauhauptamtsleiter or a Reichsamtsleiter. From 1939 he could be awarded NSDAP ranks from main section head to service manager. In absentia, the district leader was usually represented by the district manager of the NSDAP. During the war, the lengthy process up to the final appointment by Hitler could no longer be practiced, which is why more and more provisional district leaders took office. In 1943 the office of the "war circle leader" appointed by the Gauleiter was introduced. He no longer had a mere representative position, but was a sovereign equipped with all powers.

The district leader was to organize relief measures for the party in the event of air strikes by providing food and emergency quarters and ensuring that the bomb victims' household items were secured. In the course of the bombing war, the district leader in large cities increasingly became the central control point for combating the consequences of the air war. So he set up task forces of the party who helped extinguish fires after air raids. Other duties of the district leader included the NSDAP's "honorary ceremonies". The aim of these measures was to persuade the population to persevere.

Because of the small German population, some districts of the NSDAP included the territory of several state districts.

Local group leader

The National Socialist local group leader headed a local group of the NSDAP. He belonged to the “ Corps of Political Leaders ” and was part-time “official” of the party. The local group leader (sometimes referred to as the local group leader ) stood in the pyramid-shaped leadership structure of the NSDAP on the third level from below, above the cell leader and the block warden ( block leader ) below . Above the local group leader followed the district leaders , the 32 Gauleiter, the 18 Reichsleiter as well as the leader and his deputy.

Not only the NSDAP party members (at least 50 and at most 500), but all households (at least 150 and at most 1500) in the local group were subordinate to the Ortsgruppenleiter. The cell and block leaders were also subordinate to the local group leader. He himself was responsible to the party's district leader and was proposed by him for appointment to the Gauleiter. The local group leader had an adjutant , the base leader , as his deputy , whose office was dissolved in 1939. The local group usually consisted of eight cells and, if possible, should not cross the boundaries of a community; nevertheless, in rural areas a local NSDAP group could well comprise several communities.

The party legal function of the local group leader actually corresponded to that of the chairman of a current party division at the level of a commune; In fact, however, the respective local group leader even controlled the mayor or lord mayor and was allowed to assume authority over him in disregard of the law. The responsibilities between the state organization and the party structure were by no means clearly delimited. The functionaries - on the one hand the mayor and on the other hand the local group leader - often pursued different goals and acted partly with one another, partly against each other. The lack of a definition of the responsibilities sometimes led to chaotic conditions, which increased the population's uncertainty. As is the case today in states with parallel structures of state organization and party apparatus, the implementation of radical goals was made easier.

It was the task of the local group leader to “orient the population in a National Socialist way by means of suitable events” and “to have the political leaders of his staff report on communal projects and resolutions and, if necessary, to make reports to the party commissioner”. This “representative of the party” was usually the superordinate NSDAP district leader. The local group leader was responsible for the "concerns of the entire population of a place" and not just for the party members.

The Ortsgruppenleiter resided in the "Ortsgruppendienststelle", which also housed the local representatives of the DAF , the National Socialist Women's Association and the NSV . The top representatives of these local sub-organizations of the NSDAP together with the local group leader formed the "local group staff", which was responsible for training, organization, management and propaganda in the local group.

The local group leader was commissioned to prepare questionnaires not only about members of the NSDAP, but also about all residents of a town: The political reliability in terms of National Socialism was checked in 45 questions.

Cell Head

The cell leader was sixth in the ranking of NSDAP officials. He had to take care of the administration of about four to eight blocks, each of which was led by a block manager . Especially in the case of low population density in rural areas, the functional level of the cell leader was also saved and the tasks were taken over by the local group leader himself.

The cell leader took part in the monthly meetings that the block leaders held with their helpers. Cell leaders should regularly give the local group leader an oral report on the mood and inform him of any grievances.

Block manager (block warden)

The block leader of the NSDAP was the lowest-ranking party functionary within the NSDAP. He was responsible for around 40 to 60 households.

Ranks, collar tabs, vehicle flags and badges of the NSDAP

Official party uniforms, uniform parts, fabrics, flags and badges were awarded by Reich Treasurer Schwarz and protected from abuse in the treachery law. The individual parts of the uniform could be read in the notice published on January 16, 1935.

There was also the NSDAP Golden Decoration of Honor (donated in 1933), unofficially known as the NSDAP Golden Party Badge , and the NSDAP Party Badge for foreigners . The German Order was very rare . Stage (died 1942) as the highest party award. The medal of 9 November 1923 (d. 1934), the so-called blood order, was rare . Finally, there was the NSDAP service award 3rd – 1st for full -time employees. Stage (died 1939).


The following badges were used on party uniforms (from 1938):

1: Candidate (non-party member), 2: Candidate, 3: Helper, 4: Head helper, 5: Work manager, 6: Head work manager, 7: Main work manager, 8: On-call manager, 9: On-call manager, 10: Main on-call manager
11: Operations Leader, 12: Senior Operations Leader, 13: Main Operations Leader, 14: Community Leader, 15: Senior Community Leader, 16: Main Community Leader, 17: Section Leader, 18: Upper Section Leader, 19: Main Section Leader
20: Head of Department, 21: Head of Department, 22: Head of Department, 23: Head of Service, 24: Head of Service, 25: Head of Service, 26: Head of Command, 27: Head of Command, 28: Head of Chief, 29: Gauleiter, 30: Reichsleiter

There were also the following service badges (most of them up to 1937):

  • Block leader: Golden angle in the brown mirror with silver surround
  • Head of position: Silver angle in the brown mirror with silver surround
  • Cell ladder: two golden angles (the rest is always the same)
  • Main office manager: Two silver angles
  • Head of Office: Mirrors looked something like the sergeant's mirrors of the German Wehrmacht ; in silver
  • Base manager: Mirrors looked roughly like the Wehrmacht crew mirrors; in gold
  • Local group leader: mirror like officer mirror of the Wehrmacht; in gold

Car flags

From 1936, the political leaders of the NSDAP were granted their own motor vehicle flags. This was attached to the right side of the vehicle, while the left side was equipped with a party flag. In 1938 the flags were modified by adapting the imperial eagle and the applied letters. The borders were given different colors. Only one year later there was a repeated redesign of the stander, when the circle of those entitled was expanded and, among other things, special flags were introduced for the deputy Gauleiter and the local group leader.


1: Reichsleiter 2: Gauleiter 3: Kreisleiter 4: Main service manager, main office manager, office manager (Reichsleitung) 5: Gauleiter (deputy), main office manager, office manager (Gauleitung) 6: Main office manager, office manager (district manager)


1: Reichsleiter 2: Gauleiter 3: Kreisleiter 4: Main service manager, main office manager, office manager (Reichsleitung) 5: Gauleiter (deputy), main office manager, office manager (Gauleitung) 6: Main office manager, office manager (district manager)

1939–1945 (1941?)

1: Reichsleiter 2: Hauptamtsleiter, Oberamtsleiter (Reichsleitung) 3: Amtsleiter (Reichsleitung) 4: Gauleiter 5: Gauleiter (deputy) 6: Main office manager (Gauleitung) 7: District leader 8: Local group leader 9: Main office manager 10: Office manager (Gauleitung) 11: Main office manager , Head of Office (District Head)

In his function as deputy of the Führer and from 1933 to 1941 he was the holder of the second highest office in the NSDAP, Hess carried his own standard, which he only used as a vehicle flag. This existed in 2 variants, whereby the one with the black party eagle was apparently only rarely used.

See also


To the districts

  • Joachim Hendel, Oliver Werner: Regional central instances in National Socialism. Materials for researching the "NS-Gaue" as mobilization structures , Leander Wissenschaft, Jena 2015, ISBN 978-3-9815368-8-1 .
  • Jürgen John , Horst Möller , Thomas Schaarschmidt (eds.): The NS-Gaue. Regional middle authorities in the centralized “leader state”? , Oldenbourg, Munich 2007, ISBN 3-486-58086-8 .
  • Horst Möller, Andreas Wirsching , Walter Ziegler (eds.): National Socialism in the Region. Contributions to regional and local research and international comparison. Oldenbourg, Munich 1996, ISBN 3-486-64500-5 .
  • Albrecht Tyrell: Führer thought and change of Gauleiter. The division of the Rhineland district of the NSDAP in 1931. In: Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte , 23rd vol., Issue 4, 1975, pp. 341–374 (online in the VfZ archive ).

Policy fields in special districts

  • Joachim Hendel: Feeding the war. War-oriented agricultural and food policy in six Nazi districts of the "Inner Reich" 1933 to 1945 (= Studies on the History of National Socialism, Volume 2). Kovac, Hamburg 2015, ISBN 978-3-8300-8215-6 .
  • Hermann Rumschöttel , Walter Ziegler (Hrsg.): State and district in the Nazi era. Bavaria 1933–1945. Beck, Munich 2004, ISBN 3-406-10662-5 .
  • Roland Peter: Arms policy in Baden. War economy and labor in a border region in World War II (= contributions to military history, vol. 44), Oldenbourg, Munich 1995.
  • Gerhard Kratzsch: The Gau economic apparatus of the NSDAP. Leadership - “Aryanization” - military economy in the Gau Westfalen-Süd; a study on the practice of rule in the totalitarian state. Münster (Westf.) 1989, ISBN 3-402-06931-8 .

To the district and district leaders, also in special districts

  • Michael D. Miller, Andreas Schulz: Gauleiter: The Regional Leaders of the Nazi Party and Their Deputies, 1925–1945. Volume 1 (Herbert Albrecht - H. Wilhelm Hüttmann) . R. James Bender Publishing, 2012, ISBN 1-932970-21-5 (English).
  • Michael D. Miller, Andreas Schulz: Gauleiter: The Regional Leaders of the Nazi Party and Their Deputies, 1925–1945. Volume 2 (Georg Joel - Dr. Bernhard Rust). R. James Bender Publishing, 2017, ISBN 1-932970-32-0 (English).
  • Michael Rademacher: The district leaders of the NSDAP in the Gau Weser-Ems. Marburg 2005, ISBN 3-8288-8848-8 .
  • Michael Rademacher: Handbook of the NSDAP Gaue 1928–1945. The officials of the NSDAP and their organizations at Gau and district level in Germany and Austria as well as in the Reichsgau Gdansk-West Prussia, Sudetenland and Wartheland. Lingenbrink, Hamburg 2000, ISBN 3-8311-0216-3 .
  • Claudia Roth: Party group and district leader of the NSDAP with special consideration of Bavaria. Beck, Munich 1997, ISBN 3-406-10688-9 .
  • Kerstin Thieler: "Volksgemeinschaft" with reservation. Attitude control and political mobilization in the rulership practice of the NSDAP district leadership Göttingen. Wallstein, Göttingen 2014, ISBN 978-3-8353-1654-6 .
  • Peter Hüttenberger : The Gauleiter. Study on the change in the power structure in the NSDAP. In: Series of the quarterly books for contemporary history. Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, Stuttgart 1969.
  • Peter Klefisch: The district leaders of the NSDAP in the districts of Cologne-Aachen, Düsseldorf and Essen (= publications of the state archives of North Rhine-Westphalia, series C: sources and research, volume 46). Edited by the North Rhine-Westphalian Main State Archive , Franz Schmitt / Siegburg Publishing House, Düsseldorf 2000, ISBN 3-9805419-2-4 .

About the structure of the local group

  • Carl-Wilhelm Reibel: The foundation of the dictatorship: The NSDAP local groups 1932-1945. Paderborn 2002, ISBN 3-506-77528-6 .

To the general NSDAP structure

  • Wolfgang Benz (Ed.): How did you become a party member? The NSDAP and its members. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 2009, ISBN 3-596-18068-6 .
  • Wolfgang Horn: Leader ideology and party organization in the NSDAP 1919-1933. Düsseldorf 1972, ISBN 3-7700-0280-6 .
  • Wolfgang Horn: On the history and structure of National Socialism and the NSDAP. In: New Political Literature. 18, 1973.
  • Armin Nolzen : The office of the Deputy Leader / Party Chancellery as the administrative authority of the NSDAP: structure, organizational culture and decision-making practice. In: Stefan Haas (Ed.): In the Shadow of Power: Communication Cultures in Politics and Administration 1600–1950. Frankfurt am Main 2008, ISBN 978-3-593-38230-2 .
  • Reiner Pommerin : The Spatial Organization of State and Party in the Nazi Era. In: Geschichtlicher paragraph der Rheinlande: Supplement 5, Political History 3. Cologne 1992, ISBN 3-7927-1340-3 .
  • Wolfgang Schaefer: NSDAP. Development and structure of the state party of the Third Reich. In: Series of publications by the Institute for Scientific Politics in Marburg / Lahn of the Institute for Scientific Politics Marburg , Norddeutsche Verlags-Anstalt Goedel, Hanover 1956.

On the integration of the state and the NSDAP

  • Peter Diehl-Thiele: Party and State in the Third Reich. Studies on the relationship between the NSDAP and general internal state administration 1933–1945. 2nd edition, Beck, Munich 1971, ISBN 3-406-02789-X .
  • Reinhard Bollmus: The Rosenberg Office and its opponents. Studies on the power struggle in the National Socialist system of rule. Stuttgart 1970. 2nd edition: Munich 2006, ISBN 3-486-54501-9 . (Comprehensive evaluation of source material; some of the results no longer correspond to the more recent Rosenberg research).
  • Henry Ashby Turner (Ed.): Nazism and the Third Reich. Quadrangle Books, New York 1972, ISBN 0-8129-6195-1 (English).

To the badges

  • Francis Catella: Le NSDAP - Uniformology & Organizational Charts. Francis Catella, France 1987.

Other reference works

Contemporary literature


  1. See Paul Lucardie, On the Typology of Political Parties , in: Frank Decker, Viola Neu (Hrsg.): Handbuch der deutschenlungen , 2nd edition, Springer VS, Wiesbaden 2013, p. 61 ff., Here p. 70 .
  2. Cf. Cornelia Schmitz-Berning: Vocabulary of National Socialism. 2., through and revised Ed., De Gruyter, Berlin 2007, ISBN 978-3-11-019549-1 , p. 242 f.
  3. Alfons Rehkopp: Constitutional and Administrative customer. Berlin 1944, p. 93.
  4. Third implementing provision on the ordinance for the implementation of the law to ensure the unity of party and state of December 5, 1935 , in:
  5. More information on the history of the Nazi Reich Association of German Sisters (PDF; 780 kB).
  6. ^ Ordinance on the implementation of the law to ensure the unity of party and state of March 29, 1935 , in:
  7. Flag of the German Hunters' Association on ( Flags of the World ) .
  8. Michael Grüttner : Das Third Reich 1933–1939 (=  Handbook of German History , Vol. 19), Klett-Cotta, Stuttgart 2014, p. 112.
  9. a b c d e Horst Wallraff: Friedrich Karl Florian. NSDAP Gauleiter (1894–1974). In: Internet portal "Rheinische Geschichte" , LVR , accessed on October 20, 2019.
  10. ^ Michael Rademacher: German administrative history from the unification of the empire in 1871 to the reunification in 1990. The Gaue of the NSDAP: "The Gau Franken". (Online material for the dissertation, Osnabrück 2006).
  11. a b Wolfgang Stelbrink: Westphalia under National Socialism (1933–1939). In: Internet portal "Westphalian History" , LWL , accessed on October 20, 2019.
  12. ^ Wolfgang Stelbrink: Province or Gau? The two Westphalian NS districts on the arduous path to regional functions of the NS state. In: Jürgen John , Horst Möller , Thomas Schaarschmidt (eds.): The NS-Gaue. Regional middle authorities in the centralized “leader state”. Oldenbourg, Munich 2007, ISBN 978-3-486-58086-0 , pp. 294-317.
  13. Overview of the NSDAP Gaue, the Gauleiter and the Deputy Gauleiter between 1933 and 1945
  14. Armin Nolzen : Gau Koblenz-Trier, since January 24, 1941 Gau Moselland. In: Internet portal "Rheinische Geschichte" , LVR, accessed on October 20, 2019.
  15. a b Jürgen John, Horst Möller, Thomas Schaarschmidt (eds.): The NS-Gaue. Regional middle authorities in the centralized “leader state”. Oldenbourg, Munich 2007, ISBN 978-3-486-58086-0 , p. 460 (publisher's appendix).
  16. ^ Landesarchiv NRW Rhineland department , inventory signature 410.02.01 (various NS agencies), 1.1.5 ("NSDAP-Gauleitung Ruhr in Elberfeld").
  17. Hilde Kammer / Elisabet Bartsch: Youth Lexicon National Socialism - Terms from the Time of Tyranny 1933-1945 , ISBN 978-3-499-62335-6 , p. 151.
  18. Cornelia Schmitz-Berning: Vocabulary of National Socialism. Berlin 1998, ISBN 3-11-013379-2 , p. 112.
  19. Announcement according to Article 1 § 5 of the law against insidious attacks on state and party and for the protection of party uniforms of December 20, 1934 (Reichsgesetzbl. I p. 1269) of January 16, 1935
  20. Since the fonts in Germany were changed from Fraktur to Antiqua by a decree of January 3, 1941 , it would be conceivable that the letters on the vehicle flags were also adapted from this point in time. Flags with Latin letters offered at auctions after the war seem to confirm this, but in the NSDAP's organization book from 1943 all stands are still depicted with Gothic letters. It is unclear whether standards with Latin letters were actually used in practice. There are no official documents confirming a change in font.

Web links

Gauleiter of all Gaue

Gauleiter of selected Gaue

more links