SD and Gestapo...

Discussions on all aspects of the SS and Polizei. Hosted by Andrey.
Timo
Member
Posts: 3869
Joined: 09 Mar 2002 22:09
Location: Europe

SD and Gestapo...

Post by Timo » 11 Aug 2002 20:13

Something I don't know much about so perhaps somebody can clearify:

What is the difference between Sicherheitsdienst (SD) and Gestapo?

User avatar
MICHAELM82
Member
Posts: 287
Joined: 12 Mar 2002 04:53
Location: California

Post by MICHAELM82 » 12 Aug 2002 00:00

Hi Timo
The SD was the intelligence branch of the SS, responsible for the security of Hitler, the Nazi Hierarchy, the National Socialist Party and the Third Reich.During WW2 the SD was responsible for reporting on the morale of the civilan population.
The Gestapo was the secret state police, it was a political police that tracked down and eliminated dissidents, complainers and opponents of the Reich.
MCM

Timo
Member
Posts: 3869
Joined: 09 Mar 2002 22:09
Location: Europe

Post by Timo » 12 Aug 2002 00:10

Thanks Michael,

Somebody asked me whats the difference and I realized I could hardly give a detailed answer :) I'll better stick to the W-SS

Regards,
Timo

michael mills
Member
Posts: 8798
Joined: 11 Mar 2002 12:42
Location: Sydney, Australia

Post by michael mills » 12 Aug 2002 01:05

In origin, the SD was an organisation of the NSDAP, ie a private, not a state body.

The Gestapo by contrast was a state organisation, having its origin in the political division of the Prussian police. When Goering became the Reichsstatthalter of Prussia shortly after Hitler became reichskanzler (or it may have been before; I cannot remember offhand), he renamed the political division of the police the Geheime Staatspolizei, and brought it under NSDAP control, largely by filling it with recruits from the Party. particularly mmbers of the SS. However, many of the original non-Party members remained, right up until the end of the War. For that reason, the Gestapo was never completely a Nazi organisation, unlike the SD, which had its origins in the Party.

The first head of the gestapo was Rudolf Diels. After Himmler became head of all German police in 1936, he took over control of the Gestapo, as well as of the SD.

Until 1939, the SD and the Gestapo and the SD remained separate organisations. The SD had no official state function, and its ostensible purpose was to spy on the NSDAP itself, although it did build up a research capacity, eg Eichmann, who was a member of the SD, was responsible for building a database on Freemasons and Zionists. However, the SD had no powers of arrest. The Gestapo, as a State organisation and part of the police force, did have powers of arrest.

The Gestapo was eventually joined with the Kriminalpolizei to form the Security Police, Sicherheitspolizei, abbreviated to Sipo. The Sipo was placed under Heydrich, who was also head of the SD. From then on, the terms "Sicherheitspolizei" and "SD" were generally used in combination, eg Heydrich's title was "Chef der Sicherheitspolizei under des SD". As another example, the full name of the Einsatzgruppen was "Einsatzgruppen der Sicherheitspolizei und des SD".

Because of its subordination to Heydrich, the Sicherheitzpolizei (of which the Gestapo was a component) was drawn into the framework of the SS, and the distinction between the Gestapo and the SD became less distinct.

At the end of 1939 the RSHA was established, including all agencies over which Heydrich had control. The Gestapo and the Kriminalpolizei became separate branches (Aemter) within the RSHA. The SD was divided into two Aemter, one for internal espionage and one for external. From this time on, the SD became a State organ, and not simply a part of the NSDAP.

Members of the Sicherheitspolizei, both Gestapo and Kripo, did not usually wear uniforms. However, when memebers of the Sipo were sent on duty into occupied areas, they were given a uniform, consisting of a the field-grey version of the Allgemeine SS (distinguished by its open collar), with the SD triangle on the left sleeve. For that reason, observers began to think that all wearers of the uniform were members of the SD. For example, the Wehrmacht always referred to the Sipo as "SD", and its members as "SD-men", although the people referred to may have come from the Gestapo or the Kripo, not necessarily the SD proper.

In western countries, the term "Gestapo" was habitually used to refer to all parts of the German security apparatus. However, many of the most notorious members of the Sipo, eg Christian Wirth, the commander of the extermination camps in the Generalgouvernement, and Herbert Lange, the commander of the mobile euthanasia squads in occupied Poland, and later the creator of the extermination camp at Chelmno, originally came from the Kriminalpolizei.

It was largely because of the notoriety that the term "Gestapo" gained in the West that the Gestapo was declared a criminal organisation at the IMT (the main effect of which was that its members were not entitled to State pensions), whereas the SD and Kripo escaped such condemnation.

Martin Månsson
Financial supporter
Posts: 1023
Joined: 09 Mar 2002 11:59
Location: Sweden

Post by Martin Månsson » 12 Aug 2002 08:28

The first head of the gestapo was Rudolf Diels. After Himmler became head of all German police in 1936, he took over control of the Gestapo, as well as of the SD.



Sorry but this is not correct. Rudolf Diels was as you wrote the first commander of the Gestapo. In 1934, Göring gave the control of Gestapo to Himmler and the SS. Diels was replaced with Heinrich Müller, at last SS-Gruppenführer who were the commander from 1934 to 1945. Neither Himmler nor Heydrich were ever chief of the Gestapo, one often written mistake. Himmler held for a short while the title of deputy commander of the Gestapo in West-Prussia but he were never acting commander over it.

In 1939 the RSHA (Reichssicherheitshauptamt) was created, in this formation both SD, Gestapo, Kripo, SD-Ausland were incooperated. The structure was as follows:

Amt 1 Personal
Amt 2 Verwaltung und Recht
Amt 3 SD (SD-Inland)
Amt 4 Gestapo
Amt 5 Kripo
Amt 6 SD-Ausland (Abroad)
Amt 7 Weltanschauliche Forschung und Auswertung

Amt 4 & 5 (Gestapo and Kripo) formed the SIPO or Security police while the SD was the Security Service. Highest commander except Heydrich held the title BdS Befehlhaber der Sicherheitspolizei und des SD (Commander of the Security Police and the SD) SD and SIPO are often mixed up but were separated even if they cooperated.

Hope this will help
Best
Martin

User avatar
Phil V
Financial supporter
Posts: 1635
Joined: 21 May 2002 12:18
Location: Australia (usually)

Post by Phil V » 12 Aug 2002 09:46

Both Sicherheitspolizei (SD) and Geheime Staats Polizei (Gestapo) were different sections of Reichssicherheitshauptant (RHSA) which was designed to amalgamate all of the Security Services in Germany under Himmler (Heydrich).

The actual organisation of the RHSA was extremely complicated and convoluted. It has been suggested that this was intentional so that blame could not be easily proportioned.

The best book I have read that adequately describes the whole RHSA organisation clearly is :

"Gestapo : Instrument of Tyranny" by Edward Crankshaw.

User avatar
Walter Schellenberg
Member
Posts: 127
Joined: 14 Mar 2002 22:17
Location: FRANCE

Post by Walter Schellenberg » 12 Aug 2002 18:21

i just posted a subject which might help you to understand the difference between the two - please refer to it and tell me what you think or if it helped ;)


W-S

User avatar
Starinov
Member
Posts: 1490
Joined: 18 Apr 2002 16:29
Location: Québec, Canada.

Post by Starinov » 13 Aug 2002 00:11

Max Brandt wrote:Both Sicherheitspolizei (SD) and Geheime Staats Polizei (Gestapo) were different sections of Reichssicherheitshauptant (RHSA) which was designed to amalgamate all of the Security Services in Germany under Himmler (Heydrich).

The actual organisation of the RHSA was extremely complicated and convoluted. It has been suggested that this was intentional so that blame could not be easily proportioned.

The best book I have read that adequately describes the whole RHSA organisation clearly is :

"Gestapo : Instrument of Tyranny" by Edward Crankshaw.


This occurred only in automn 1939 since the RSHA did not exist prior to that date. Before that, both organisations were independent from each other. And the book is very good indeed.

You can also try Karol Grunberg's "SS, Gwardia Adolfa Hitlera". The author gives an extended description of Gestapo and SD. I know it has been published in polish but I have no idea if it has been translated.

Return to “The Phil Nix SS & Polizei section”