National Political Course for the Armed Forces, from 15-23 January 1937
[National-Politischer Lehrgang der Wehrmacht, vom 15-23.1.1937]
Restricted for the Armed Forces.
HIMMLER: Organization and Obligations of the SS and the Police.
I shall speak first of all about the origin, organization, and the spheres of activity of the SS; secondly, about the organization and obligations of the Police; and thirdly, about the combined efforts of the SS and the Police, and about the important and vitally necessary question on the internal security of the Reich.
The SS originated in 1923, very early in the history of the movement, as shock troop [Stosstrupp] Hitler, was prohibited and disbanded on 9 November1923. When the party was reestablished in 1925, the SA as a protective organization for the meetings was at first prohibited. The Fuehrer was also denied the right of speech and assembly in Prussia as well as in Bavaria Assembly was permitted only in Saxony and Thuringia which at that time were entirely red.
In order to insure the success of these meetings, it was necessary to protect them from dispersal. Therefore in 1925 the Fuehrer ordered a small organization to be formed in order to protect these meetings, namely the SS [Schutzstaffeln, protective squadrons] literally Staffeln at that time, namely small formations with the effective strength of one leader and 10 men in each location. Even as large a city as Berlin had a squadron of only 2 leaders and 20 men at that time. Throughout 1925-1926 we succeeded in carrying out and carrying through the meetings of the Fuehrer and also of other party speakers in Saxony and Thuringia with these squadrons.
In 1926 the SA was again permitted to exist, and for a few years the SS withdrew more into the background.
In the year 1929, eight years ago, I was ordered by the Fuehrer to take over the leadership of all SS units in the entire Reich, then totaling 280 men, and to change them according to the order, into a reliable elite organization of the Party.
I decided to tackle this problem -- which I should like to discuss here to some extent -- because I was a National Socialist, of course. I want to tell you also how this is to be interpreted. I am a strong believer in the doctrine that, in the end, only good blood can achieve the greatest, enduring things in the world. Strengthened by this conviction of mine, I began to work on this problem.
Accordingly only good blood, blood which history has proved to be leading and creative and the foundation of every state and all military activities, only Nordic blood, can be considered. I said to myself that should I succeed to select from the German people for this organization as many people as possible a majority of whom possess this desired blood, to teach them military discipline and, in time, the understanding of the value of blood and the entire ideology which results from it, then it will be possible actually to create such an elite organization which would successfully hold its own in all cases of emergency.
This form of selection of good blood has been very often theoretically recognized. Many books have been written on it from Chamberlain to Guenther of the years 1926/27, and many others which I shall not mention here. Now came the difficult question of the method of selecting these people. There are two kinds of selection procedures: first, the most severe selection procedure brought about by war, the struggle for life and death. In this procedure the value of blood is shown through achievement. In the year 1929, a great number of former soldiers still existed whose worth could be determined by their record during the war. Wars however, are exceptional circumstances, and a way had to be found to make selections in peace time as well, when courage could not be given this test. Thus, I could only draw conclusions from the appearance of the people in question. Of course, many will argue immediately: that is all very well but if you judge by height, blond hair and blue eyes and the dimensions of the skull then the matter is very problematical. That is known to me very well, too. One could never judge by that alone.
I then went on to require a certain height. I did not accept people under 1,7 mind here I ask you to understand the exact meaning to my words -- because I know that people who have reached a certain height must possess the desired blood to some degree. Of course it is impossible to be too discriminating here as it cannot be said that people who are smaller should not possess the same blood. That is natural but by choosing from this pool of people having the desired height there exists a greater probability of obtaining satisfactory results.
But we went further. It was not enough to go by height, but we began to obtain photographs at that time. That amounted to a hundred to two hundred people annually who were eligible for admission. I have personally seen each photograph and asked myself: Does the face of this man have distinct traits of foreign blood, excessive cheek bones, or as is the common way of asking: Does this one appear Mongolic or that one Slavic? Slavic, incidentally, is a faulty expression. It is merely a popular expression.
Why have I done all this? I should like to call to your attention here the types of soldier councils of the years 1918 and 1919. Everyone of you who was an officer at that time knows a number of such people by personal experience. You will have to admit that on the whole they were people whose appearance affected our German eye as rather peculiar, whose features looked strange and who had some foreign blood in them. They were the type of people who could be disciplined, who are orderly in normal times, who would even be brave, bold and daring in time of war but who, because of their blood, would fail to pass the final great test of character and nerves.
Since I knew these things I said to myself: I shall not accept people whom I expect to quit, to complain, to become disloyal and traitors, to have bad soldierly manners and the like at the moment of political tests, because of the nature of the composition of their blood. We had to be all the more careful because we had only voluntary discipline in the SS during the years of struggle, and therefore we were unable to compel a man to do something.
It was only possible to deprive the man of his arm band for a period of three or four weeks or impose on him penal drills, and that only if he voluntarily accepted the punishment. If he was unwilling he could always say: "I resign, I don't like it any longer." We therefore have followed the above-mentioned principle of selection and been able to remove the principal causes of defect.
With this outward screening however, no final selection had been attained, since it was always the performance of the person during the following months and years which was of importance. It was my point of view that we should always require difficult tasks and more than any other organization. Valuable personnel is never trained by means of easy service and conveniences, but by difficulties and added burdens. We therefore began by exacting from our men higher dues in spite of the widespread poverty of the times. At a time when no uniforms were issued to party organizations, we asked our people to acquire black trousers and boots from their own means -- a tremendous expense for an unemployed person who had to pay the 40 marks of his own purse. If he failed to do so and declared: I cannot do that, then we explained to him: please go away, for you somehow failed to understand the matter for you do not possess the instinctive willingness to a sacrifice of your own accord, for we cannot use you. Thus we gradually arrived at our intended and desired picture.
This briefly-mentioned theory of selection of people may be criticised, today after eight years I believe I can say with sincerity that its practical application has justified its existence, and that it has really been possible to effect a certain selection of people in the SS already during the time of fighting.
I shall skip the next few periods and shall now occupy myself with the year 1933. This year was for the SS the hardest trial; for it was a time when all organizations flourished, a time of great assault and tidal waves of those who desired membership in the party and its organizations. A very difficult question confronted us at that time. It was a question of deciding whether to close the party and its organizations to further membership and thus remaining pure in quality but small in volume, or of opening them to further membership to increase their volume. This resulted in a dangerous situation, as was shown as a number of people poured in who were not entirely loyal and idealists, so that to a certain degree it became a menace of numbers, of the masses.
The SS too was endangered by this menace. Therefore I closed it in April 1933 while some of the other organizations still accepted as great a number of people as possible. This way I had the SS again under my control in April and said: We shall accept no more people. From the end of 1933 to the end of 1935 we expelled all those of the newly accepted members who proved unsuitable. In these years I have expelled approximately 60000 men. Today the strength of the SS consists of approximately 210000 men. This has been of great benefit to the SS and all of its units as its quality has greatly improved whereas it would have suffered considerably through quantity.
I shall close the question of selection by stating that today we accept young men of 18 years of age. We know them already from the Hitler Youth, have studied them already a few years, 80 that we are sure to get only the best. With 18 years they come to us as candidates.
They are extremely thoroughly examined and checked. Of 100 men we can use on the average 10 or 15, no more. We ask for the political reputation record of his parents, brothers and sisters, the record of his ancestry as far back as 1750 and naturally the physical examination and his records of the Hitler youth. Further we ask for a record of hereditary health showing that no hereditary diseases exist in his parents and in his family. Last, but perhaps most important, is a certification of the race commission. This examining commission is composed of SS leaders, anthropologists and physicians.
The behavior of this young man in front of this commission is now what is decisive: Not only the way he stands at attention but also his manly disciplined bearing, the ease and composition with which he answers the questions posed to him in the course of conversation, his gait, his
hands, in fact all that which we have come to regard in the course of our eight years of experience as ideal. This is the way we determine whether to accept the man or not. The first years the company has been very unhappy in many cases. It asked: Why is this man refused us? We have just located in this or that village a man who has in every respect an orderly appearance and now when this man confronts the race commission he is being refused at a time when it is so difficult to obtain people. In such cases we have always remained and still remain severe and that is the right thing. That is the proper way to conduct a veritable selection.
I now come to the organization of the SS. It is necessary to distinguish among the following organizations of the SS. First the General SS which consists of about 190000 men. This General SS is entirely civilian in nature except for the higher officer corps, which performs its duties on the higher levels, that is from Sturmbannfuehrer up. I am very proud o the fact that only 0.4% of the General SS are unemployed. These 0.4% come from Upper Silesia where it is really very difficult to obtain work. We have almost only professionals, and it is my opinion that it should be so. For a really capable man is of little value to me if he only excels in arts, he must also be otherwise honest and of good character, and accomplish something in his field, in his profession. A man who changes his position three times without satisfactory reason is expelled as we have no further interest in him. People who stand around idle are of no use to us. The General SS, therefore, is entirely professional in its nature and character and performs its duties nights and Sundays just like in war time. Besides the General SS there is the Verfuegungstruppe; also the Death Head Units, the SD, and the race and population system. I shall now discuss individual units in some detail.
The General SS is divided into 13 subdivisions which on the whole are exactly adapted to the present corps districts and one corps district being planned. Under these subdivisions headed by Oberabschnittsfuehrer who are Gruppenfuehrer or Obergruppenfuehrer there are those which are headed by an Oberfuehrer or Brigadefuehrer. These subdivisions, in their turn, are subdivided into SS regiments [Standarten]. A regiment, if in its entire force, is made up of 1600 men. Under the regiments we have the battalions [Sturmbanne] and companies [Stuerme], and under the companies the platoons.
A great many SS men live very far apart. Of course, it would be much more convenient to set up a Sturmbanne in some town and in this way have all the people always together. That would facilitate considerably the exercises which always take place in the evening hours, instruction and sport, and require much less effort. However, that would inevitably result in a decreasing quality because not enough people possessing the desired qualities could be obtained in a town of approximately 20 to 25 thousand inhabitants. We have, therefore, extended our organization considerably and have many platoons in the country side. These platoons are then divided up between the villages, so that in a typical village only the two best young men are SS members. We have meetings over the week ends when the farmer is not too occupied, or one entire afternoon in the winter, while in summer we only have monthly roll calls. That is the outline of the organization of the General SS.
The age groups in the SS are as follows: With 18 years the young man enters the SS. He is first an applicant, after three months he takes the oath on the Fuehrer and thus becomes a candidate [Anwaerter]. As a candidate during the first year he takes examinations for his SA sport insignia and his bronze sport insignia. At the age of 19-19.5, according to the time of his acceptance, he is conscripted for the labor service and subsequently for the Wehrmacht. After two more years he comes back from the Wehrmacht unless he remains there as a prospective noncommissioned officer or reenlists. If he returns to us he is still candidate. In these weeks he is especially thoroughly instructed in ideology. The first year is for him a period of elementary ideological indoctrination. In these weeks following his return from the Wehrmacht he receives special instruction about the marriage law and all other laws pertaining to the family, and the honor laws. On the 9th of November, following his return from the Wehrmacht, he becomes an SS man in the true sense. The Reichsfuehrer of the SS is just as much an SS man in the sense of the SS organization as the common man at the front. On this 9th of November he is being awarded the dagger, and at this occasion he promises to abide by the marriage law and the disciplinary laws of the SS, since the family is also subject to these laws. From this day on he has the right and the duty to defend his honor with a weapon as laid down by the honor laws of the SS. The applicants and candidates do not yet have this right. The SS man remains in the so called active general SS until his 35th year. From his 35th to his 45th year he is in the SS reserve, and after his 45th year in the Stammabteilung of the SS, identified by the grey color patch. Between the ages of 21 and 35 the SS man has to perform a great many duties, especially up to his 25th year. In these first four years there are a lot of marches, tournaments, i.e., sports of all kinds which take the form of contests that take place each year between Easter and Summer solstice so that we are able to select the best men of every company by these demonstrations of physical ability. Every SS men is being asked to pass some kind of annual test until his 50th year. And the reason for that? These men are for the most part professionals. In the SS perhaps anywhere from 1/2 to 3/5 live in cities. The workman in the cities is often engaged in occupations requiring him to stand or the intellectual worker to sit for a considerable amount of time. To that is added the misery of big cities which in my opinion is also a very serious military question.
People of the 20th Century no longer walk but travel in the subway, railroad or cars. Nobody is accustomed to marching in all the years of his civilian life. Or take those who hold leading positions as an example, all the professional State and Ministry leaders. These people are condemned to sit. Everybody is so pressed for time he has to take an automobile because there is no other way to keep up with the rush. The result of this is that people grow pale and fat and in some cases phlegmatic which is never good for the State. If we desire to remain young we have to be sportsmen. But all that would remain on paper if I did not hold annual checkups or arouse to a certain degree the ambition of the men so that they really become sportsmen and pass their annual tests.
The performance insignia of the SA have the following meaning: every form of sport which requires the use of arms is being executed with both arms. Shot put is done with both arms; the same holds true for stone putting. Pistols and rifles are fired left and right. That appears terribly awkward and unaccustomed in the beginning, but it is an excellent form of exercise and very successful. Hand grenades and clubs are hurled left and right. In the beginning no record performances can be expected of course of people past their twentieth year, since the left arm or in the case of a left-handed person the right arm, are completely untrained, so that at a distance of 10 m the target is often missed by three or five meters. It will be, however, a very good development and application of all physical strength if we require such performances of youths in the ages of 13 to 14 from the very beginning. I believe that in this way we shall be very successful. Every year the performance insignia differ. Of course, I do not expect the conditions and time from a 40 year old for a 100 meter race as I do expect them from a man of 21, but I do require of the man of 40 greater endurance in marching than I do of the man of 21. I expect a 30 year old man to shoot calmer and better than a 19-20 year old with few examples. They are also graded to the extent that a wounded war veteran who e.g. cannot swim need not, for that reason, refuse every sport. But I want to help him by grading the conditions so that one who lost an arm can perform the exercise with the other arm. Such are the sport activities of the SS from the ages of 18 to 50. Aside from the sport activity, those between the ages of 21 and 35 receive complete training in street patrolling and barricading for cases of internal security.
Hand in hand with physical exercise is mental and ideological training. Weekly periods of instruction are held during which pages from Hitler's "Mein Kampf" are read. The older a person, the more steadfast must he be in his ideology and the more training must he get in ideology.
I now come to the Verfuegungstruppe [Forerunner of Armed Forces SS]. The Verfuegungstruppe is divided into the following units: SS Regiment "Adolf Hitler," with three battalions, which is motorized and at the same time contains infantrymen and additional companies; SS Regiment "Deutschland" with 4 battalions with the usual motorcycle riflemen and infantry howitzer companies; SS Regiment "Germania" with 3 battalions also with motorcycle riflemen infantry howitzer companies; the SS battalion "Nurnberg," an infantry battalion; the SS engineer battalion today in Leisnig; later in Dresden; and the SS signal battalion today in Berlin, later in Unna, upon completion of the barracks. The Regiment "Adolf Hitler" is in Berlin. The Regiment "Deutschland" has three battalions in Munich and one battalion in Ellwangen, the Regiment "Germania" has now one battalion and two companies in Hamburg, and one battalion in Arolen and up to now one other battalion in Soltau. The final garrison is not yet stationary. The time of service is 4 years. No other form of conscription exists. The annual need for replacement will be approximately 2200 men, not a great number.
I now come to the Death Head Units. The employment and obligations of the Verfuegungstruppe I shall discuss later in connection with the police. The Death Head Units originated from the guard units of the concentration camps. In connection with these concentration camps, I should like to give a few data. We have in Germany today the following concentration camps which, in my opinion, should not decrease but increase in number for certain reasons:
(1) Dachau near Munich; (2) Sachsenhausen near Berlin, which is the former camp Esterwege in Emsland. I have dissolved this camp in Emsland upon the suggestion of Reich Labor Leader, Hierl, and the judiciary, who declared it was wrong to tell one person that the service in the swamps to make land arable is an honor, and another, by sending him there as a prisoner: "I'll teach you people what it means to get sent to the swamps." This indeed is illogical, and after half or three quarters of a year, I dissolved the camp in Esterwege and transferred it to Sachsenhausen near Oranienburg. Then there is a camp in Lichtenburg near Torgau, one in Sachsenburg near Chemnitz and besides a few smaller ones. The number of prisoners is about 8000. I shall explain to you why we must have so many and still more. We once had a very efficiently organized German Communist Party [KPD]. This KPD has been crushed in the year 1933. A part of the functionaries went to foreign countries. Another part was comprised in the very high number of protective custody prisoners in the year 1933. Because of my extensive knowledge of Bolshevism, I have always opposed the release of these people from the camps. It must be clear to us that the great mass of workmen are absolutely susceptible to National Socialism and the contemporary form of state as long as their way of thought has not been changed by the specifically indoctrinated, trained and financially backed functionaries.
It would be extremely instructive for everyone -- some members of the Wehrmacht were already able to do so -- to inspect such a concentration camp. Once they have seen it, they are convinced of the fact that no one had been sent there unjustly; that it is the offal of criminals and freaks. No better demonstration of the laws of inheritance and race, as set forth by Doctor Guett, exists than such a concentration camp. There you can find people with hydrocephalus, people who are cross-eyed, deformed, half-Jewish and a number of racially inferior products. All that is assembled there. Of course we distinguish between those inmates who are only there for a few months for the purpose of education, and those who are to stay for a very long time. On the whole, education consists of discipline, never of any kind of instruction on an ideological basis, for the prisoners have, for the most part, slave-like souls; and only very few people of real character can be found there. They would pretend to do all that would be asked of them, repeat all that is said in the "Voelkischer Beobachter" but in reality, stay the same. The discipline thus preens order. The order begins with these people living in clean barracks. Such a thing can really only be accomplished by us Germans, hardly another nation would be as humane as we are. The laundry is frequently changed. The people are taught to wash themselves twice daily, and the use of a toothbrush with which most of them have been unfamiliar.
The concentration camps are guarded by these Death Head Units. It is impossible to use exclusively married people for guard duty as has been suggested once, for no state can afford to do so. It is further necessary to keep the number of such guards for concentration camps -- there are 3,500 men in Germany -- at a relatively high level, for no form of service is as exacting and strenuous for troops as the guarding of crooks and criminals.
In case of war, it must become clear to us that a considerable number of unreliable persons will have to be put here if we are to assure ourselves of the absence of highly disagreeable developments in case of war.
The prisoner guards were formerly members of the general SS. We gradually collected them into the so-called Death Head Units. They are not arranged in companies, but in centuries (groups of 100) and have naturally also machine guns. In such camps there are two or three control towers, manned day and night with fully loaded machine guns, so that any attempt of a general uprising -- a possibility for which we must always be prepared -- can be immediately suppressed. The entire camp can be strafed from three towers.
The time of service in these Death Head Units is also four years. They consist today mainly of people who have served their time in the Wehrmacht and then enlisted with us for a period of four years. The Death Head Units have the additional purpose of being the cadre centuries for approximately 30 Death Head special battalions of the SS in case of war, for 25000 men with whom we shall guarantee the safety in the interior. I shall come back to this subject later.
I now come to the Security Service [SD]; it is the great ideological intelligence service of the party and, in the long run, also that of the state. During the time of struggle for power it was only the intelligence service of the SS. At that time we had, for quite natural reasons, an intelligence service with the regiments, battalions and companies. We had to know what was going on on the opponent's side, whether the Communists intended to hold a meeting today or not, whether our people were to be suddenly attacked or not and similar things. I separated this service already in 1941 from the troops, from the units of the general SS, because I considered it to be wrong. For one thing, the secrecy is endangered, then the individual men or even the companies are too likely to discuss every day problems.
That was indeed the principle of the SS from the beginning. Every day problems do not interest us; every leader appointed by the Fuehrer will be backed by us, every leader dismissed by the Fuehrer will be removed by us, if necessary by force, because only the command of the Fuehrer counts. Besides that we are only interested in ideological questions of importance for decades or centuries, so that the man is really above the concern of every day and knows that- he is working for a great task, which occurs but once in 2000 years. The SS man is not interested in daily problem of the kind whether perhaps the local group is correctly manned, whether everything is done properly in the labor front, no matter what it is, he is not interested.
The Security Service was already separated from the troops in 1931 and separately organized. Its higher headquarters coincide today with the Oberabschnitte and Abschnitte (sectors), and it has also field offices, an own organization of officials with a great many Command Posts, approximately 3000-4000 men strong, at least when it is built up. The spheres which it handles are above all Communism, Judaism, Freemasonry, ultra mundane activities, the activity of political religion, and reaction. Here, too, the details of the work are not of interest. You will perhaps see that during your visit; I can, therefore, be short. The security service is only interested in the great ideological problems.
For example: Let us say that it is attempted on the part of ultra-mundane people to effect gradually for the territory of Austria a change into a Swiss like state by means of scientific exploitation of the theory of the Austrian man. Just as it happened to us in our history 700 or 800 years ago with Switzerland which, although it still speaks the German language today, does not consider itself inwardly as belonging to Germany; or as we had to suffer the loss of Holland with its entire lower German territory a few centuries ago; the attempt is now being made to point at this problem of the South-East German people, of the Austrian people, with propaganda, by scientific under-running and scientific work at the universities, until spiritual separation also possible. We are furthermore interested: Which German professors support this theory or are connected with any wire-pulling abroad or elsewhere?
These are spheres which interest us. To us as a security service it is of no interest whether, for instance, the cell organization of the German Communist party at Berlin-Wedding has been broken up or not. This is a question for the executive power.
One day it will be broken up, or it is broken up already, and if it is reorganized, it will be broken up again. Therefore, this is of no interest to us, on account of that Germany will not perish. We are interested: What are the Communists' large-scale plans for the next years, in which country do they intend to begin, which influences of Bolshevism are noticeable in foreign Freemasonry circles, what are their plans, where do the big emissaries go now? Recently, e.g. 800 emissaries went to Austria. They arrived there 3 or 4 months ago, and now we are extremely interested to know: How is this going to affect Austria? Or what plans do they have, what great organizational plans for Germany, from which angle do they start, how does Bolshevism make common cause, for instance, with the religious coalition [Bekenntnisfront], and suddenly supports as an atheist movement these religious parsons, how is that possible all of a sudden? Or we are furthermore interested in this:
What economic influence do the Jews exercise again considered on a large scale to suffocate business, to commit sabotage and to transfer foreign currency illegally? These are things which are being studied there scientifically and -- in this case the word really fits -- by a general staff, which may sometimes last for years, tasks which in many or in most cases are only in the beginning stage.
After the Security Service follows the last pillar, the race- and settlement organization. We thus have the general SS, which represents the majority of the SS, of the order, the Verfuegungs troops with a certain task in the country for the protection of the interior, the Death Head Units, also for the protection of the interior, the Security Service, the intelligence service of the party and the state, and finally the race and settlement organization whose task of ideological training is of a positive nature, as contracted with the Security Service which has the negative task to seek information about the opponent. In this race and settlement office the marriage applications are being handled. In the last 4 or 5 years we have the order concerning marriages: No SS men can get married without the approval of the SS Reich leader. A physical examination of the bride and guarantees for the bride's ideological and human character are required. We are not interested whether the woman has a fortune or not. We request only a statement whether or not she has defects. We prefer it if the rich girls take along only what they have earned themselves, or their dowry. In addition, the genealogical table up to 1750 is required, the hereditary physical report of both, and several police and other reports. This results in tremendous work, especially now that people are getting married in an unusually great number; because it is our concern, that our men get married. We desire that they get married at 26 years, if possible, so that there will be really young marriages which are also able to have children.
I now turn to the Police and its structure. Today the Police is divided into two branches, namely civil and security police; the civil police wears a uniform. The security police is composed of the criminal police and of the Secret State Police [Gestapo]. We can certainly state without exaggeration that in 1933 we took over a wild confusion, a Police the decent elements of which were humiliated; for the sword had been taken away from the officers and a rubber truncheon had been given to the men. The police was permeated by persons with criminal records and by absolute Marxists; it did not care to actually take a stand against any crime because at once the League for Human Rights, the Peace Society and similar societies intervened, and because absolute glorification of crime was in vogue. This was the method of planned intellectual Bolshevization.
In Prussia, Goering took over the Police, put the uniformed police in order, and created a Landespolizei (gendarmerie) which in 19351936 was absorbed by the army; the same occurred in Bavaria. From my SS position, I first of all concerned myself only with the Secret State Police, with the political Police of the countries and with the Secret State Police in Prussia. Through the fact that I personally was political police commander of all German countries, and at the same time deputy of the Gestapo in Prussia, the Gestapo gradually came under the control of one person.
I may skip the whole further development. On the 17th of June of the previous year I became head of the German police, that is, of all the German Police together with its auxiliary organizations. I shall review for you my conception of my task as I have seen and still see it.
First: I shall ultimately form one true Reich police out of these 16 different gendarmeries, for the Reich police is one of the strongest binding elements that a state can have. We now have for the first time in German history a Reich Police. Outwardly, I am eliminating the various uniforms, the laws and regulations which were still in force until six or nine months ago. When a Hamburg police official was pursuing a criminal who was bold enough to go into Prussian territory, he could not pursue him farther without the consent of the Prussian Police. This naturally was to the great advantage of the criminal, for he could very easily escape. The same was the case between the other states of the federation. These things were still on such a firm legal basis that one could not do away with them without legal revision.
For the creation of the Reich police, not only outwardly but also inwardly, I have already made a beginning in the officers' corps and with the officials, by shifting the people somewhat, through transfers, etc., in this way showing Germany to them; thus my dear Bavarians may come North for a change, and the people from the North go South. If that is not done they all groan a little about it at first, as was the case with the SS a few years ago. Now a telegram arrives suddenly, the man is to be at his new post in two days. Transfers are effected on principle only by telegram, that keeps people young and fresh. As stated, this is only the beginning of our work with the Reich police.
The effective strength of officers and men is very low. That is quite understandable, for the police has given up much of its good or even best personnel for setting up the Landespolizei. The Landespolizei was absorbed by the Wehrmacht, and what is left in many places is the poorest not only of equipment, trucks, autos and other things, but sometimes the poorest of officers and men. All of this must now be painfully built up and brought into order.
As far as I can, I am now bringing the police up to full strength with men leaving the Verfuegungstruppe (reserve unit) and the Death Head Units; I am bringing the police officers' corps up to full strength with SS leaders who come into the police from the Toelz and Brunswick Fuehrerschulen [Leader Training schools] by way of the Verfuegungstruppe. This brings me to an important problem; I am fighting to prevent the police officers' corps from becoming a second class officers' corps. This happens very easily just as it did in the past.
In connection with this whole matter, I now come to the main problem: internal security and obligations of the police during war. In a future war we shall have not only an army front on land, a navy front at sea, and an air force front in the air over Germany, but we shall also have a fourth theater of war, namely internal Germany. This is the basis which must be kept sound, at all costs, lest the three combat branches of Germany be stabbed in the back again.
We must clearly recognize that an opponent in war is an opponent not only in a military but also in an ideological sense. When I speak here of opponents, I obviously mean our natural opponent, international Bolshevism, under Jewish-Masonic leadership. This Bolshevism, of course, has its supreme citadel in Russia. But this does not mean that there is danger of Bolshevist attack from Russia only. One must always reckon with this danger from wherever this Jewish Bolshevism has gained decisive influence for itself. The states or people under Jewish-Masonic-Bolshevist leadership, or at least strong influence, will of necessity be unfriendly toward Germany and will constitute a danger.
Thus we must constantly ask ourselves, "Who is, or would be an opponent in case of war? Who is an ideological opponent, that is, who is under Jewish-Masonic-Bolshevist influence"? We must clearly realize, that Bolshevism is the organization of the subhumans, it is the absolute foundation of Jewish sovereignty, it is the exact contrary of all that is dear to an Aryan people. It is a diabolical teaching, for it appeals to the meanest and lowest instincts of mankind and makes a religion of this. Do not be deceived: Bolshevism, with its Lenin entombed in the Kremlin, will take only a few decades to become the diabolical religion of destruction, a religion native to Asia for the destruction of the whole world. Furthermore, remember that this Bolshevism is working according to plan for the Bolshevization of other peoples, and the destruction is aimed at the white race. One of the first institutions founded under Jewish leadership, as early as 1918, was an Asiatic university as I shall call it. It has a kind of department for each Asiatic population, whether numerous or not. The functionaries for these populations are instructed not only in their language, but also as to the customs, as to the religious and class quarrels, and the economic circumstances, etc. They are instructed whether these people are mostly rich or poor, whether the poorer class is particularly oppressed, etc. All of this is studied down to the smallest sects. The people who have finished their education there, then go out in a constant stream to all of these people and exploit their wishes and longings as their religious differences and their fanaticism, taking advantage of social misery, to draw them into a whirlpool and thus gradually convince them that the only ones who can really help them are the people in Moscow.
This general movement is also directed against the white race, and is today directed primarily against resurrected Germany, which was generally considered to have been ruined, because of having been subdued. If we wish to be immune to the poison of destruction in our people, our lives must again be founded on social well-being, order and cleanliness. We are in the process of creating both. The first four years have passed; unemployment has almost vanished, much has been accomplished, much more remains to be done by us. But the most important thing is the thorough ideological permeation of all our people with the profound realization that our people, a minority of 70 million in the heart of Europe, could stand only because we are qualitatively more valuable than the others.
And this brings me back to what I said about the race question at the beginning.
We are more valuable than the others who do now and always will surpass us in numbers. We are more valuable because our blood enables us to invent more than others, to lead our people better than the others; because it enables us to have better soldiers, better statesmen, higher culture, better characters. We also have better quality, speaking of your profession, because the German soldier is more devoted to duty, more decent, and more intelligent than the soldiers of other countries. And we shall maintain this quality as long as we keep our blood and people healthy, so long as this people recognizes and obeys the ancient laws for preservation of a people which National Socialism thanks to Adolf Hitler, restored to it. We shall remain healthy and immune as long as we do not slide back into democracy, into a hereditary or legitimate imperialism which did not develop from the people. Let us realize clearly that we shall weather the next decades only if we are a people that has a profound conviction of itself, believes in its own strength, and proves this strength.
I spoke of the ideological permeation of the whole people in case of war. If this war should come sooner than any of us believe or wish, that is, if war will come at all, we must clearly realize that there will always be a residue among the German people who will form a nucleus for the Comintern. The Comintern have an easy time of it, for they have a political agitator and at the same time a military spy who sells. Every communist is also a military spy who reveals any military and industrial secret out of loyalty to his imaginary fatherland, Moscow, the native land of the proletarians. Because of his conviction, he engages in political agitation and sedition in exactly the same way in order to start the revolution. The sooner war would come, the greater would be the danger. The later it comes, the more generations of youth have grown up, year after year, the less is the danger. The danger would arise again only if the German people would deviate from today's path. In any case, we must prepare for this danger, for this internal theater of war, and always realize clearly that any war brought about by neglect of this internal theater of war would lead to damage.
I picture the scope of obligations in case of war as follows: The police of course would, according to their duty as I see it, be able to give up a maximum of 15000-20000 men (not more) to the Wehrmacht as soldiers. I have a total of 80000-90000 uniformed police. It must be taken into consideration that a large part of this uniformed police is
over or at least over 40, so that if I should give up 15000-20000, I
really would give up the backbone of this police. I can substitute men over 55-60 whom I may reactivate. That could be done if unavoidable. However, it is possible only if I assure myself of an attack unit [Eingreiftruppe] which I can use for large scale projects. These are the Death Head Units. By and large, I can get along with this old Police force. I can carry out all the former tasks of the Landsturm, i.e. guarding munition factories, railroad crossings, etc., with civilians over 45, who would be drafted as auxiliary police as planned provided I have as a backbone a troop that is young. For this the Death Head Units are provided, ranging in age from 25-35, not older and not younger.
I do not wish to have any very young nor any old persons, for the sabotage and terror troops consist of young, very lively persons with the most modern equipment. This opponent cannot be fought with old Landsturm personnel.
The Death Head Units will enter every government district of Germany. The following measures have been provided: firstly, no unit is to go to its native province, thus a Pomeranian troop would never serve in Pomerania. Secondly, each unit will change after three months. Thirdly, the unit will never be assigned to street duty singly. An individual with the death head insignia will never be used as a policeman for street service, that must not be. Fourth, if such use is made relentless measures are to be taken. Anything else is out of the question. Otherwise we would have to reckon in Germany with such possibilities as parachute jumps, use of saboteurs, use of bold groups of 16 or 20 men who might, with the support of Communist personnel, entrench themselves in a munitions factory. If these measures are not provided for one could not get along with such a limited personnel.
In closing, I may say one thing: I can manage with the officers' corps of the civil police and with the men of the Security Service, whom I naturally cannot release even in war, and with the men and leaders of the Death Head Units, only if I have valuable and decent people in them. I must make it possible by way of the Verfuegungstruppe which will be in combat, to have a constant exchange of wounded or those who have been at the front a long time, in return for officers and men of the police and the Death Head Units. Otherwise, I either would get no decent characters for these home formations, and then obviously could not fulfill the obligations; or else there would appear in the home formations manifestations of disturbances as happened with the fleet during the war, because it didn't get out. This must be avoided, and for this reason rotation is planned within the organization. Every SS leader of the Verfuegungstruppewe have about 300 SS leaders yearly coming from the Toelz and Brunswick SS schoolsis placed with the civil police once every half year, in order to become a reserve officer of the police. I can make good use of these people. If, for instance, one of them is wounded and has only one arm, he can still render excellent service at home.
An appreciation of this completely new kind of organization must penetrate everywhere, as well as an understanding of this internal theater of war which will mean the difference between the existence or nonexistence of our people if we ever would have to stand a trial. It
is the obligation of the SS and of the police to solve positively the problem of internal security. That is the assignment given to us by the Fuehrer. We are tackling it in all seriousness and are really convinced that it is no second rate task, and we are further convinced that only the best ideological training of our men and a racial selection will enable us to solve this problem some day.
In this short outline I have depicted for you the task of the SS and police. Just as I do in every address to Wehrmacht officers, I ask you in your circle to think yourselves into these somewhat novel channels of thought, and create understanding for it wherever you can.
Let us all clearly realize, the next decades do not signify any foreign political argument which Germany either can or cannot overcome, but they signify a fight of extermination of the above-mentioned subhuman opponents in the whole world who fight Germany, as the nuclear people of the Northern race, Germany as nucleus of the German people, Germany as bearer of the culture of mankind; they signify the existence or nonexistence of the white race of which we are the leading people. We have, of course, one conviction: we are lucky enough to be alive just at the time when once in 2000 years an Adolf Hitler has been born, and we are convinced that we shall survive every danger in both good and bad times because we all hold together and because each one approaches his work with his conviction.
Organization and Obligations of the SS and the Police (1937)
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Organization and Obligations of the SS and the Police (1937)
"Document 1992-A-PS: National Political Course for the Armed Forces, from 15-23 January 1937 [translation]" in Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression. Volume IV: Documents 1409-PS-2373-PS. District of Columbia: GPO, 1947. pp. 616-634.
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