rotten > Library > History > Third Reich > Gestapo


Short for Geheime Staatspolizeiamt, the "Secret State Police Office" of the Third Reich. It was the enforcement arm of Germany's national police system. In 1936, an official memo described its responsibilities this way:

To the GESTAPO has been entrusted the mission by the Fuehrer to watch over and to eliminate all enemies of the Party and the National Socialist State as well as all disintegrating forces of all kinds directed against both.
Accordingly, the administration was broken into six divisions of labor:

Section A Section B Section C
opponents, sabotage, protective service political churches, sects, Jews card files, protective custody,
matters of press and Party
  1. Communism, Marxism and associated organizations, war crimes, illegal and enemy propaganda.
  2. Defense against sabotage, combatting of sabotage, political falsification.
  3. Reaction, opposition, legitimism, liberalism, matters of malicious opposition.
  4. Protective service, reports of attempted assassinations, guarding, special jobs, pursuit troops.
  1. Political Catholicism.
  2. Political Protestantism.
  3. Other churches, Freemasonry.
  4. Jewish affairs, matters of evacuation, means of suppressing enemies of the people and State, dispossession of rights of German citizenship. (Eichmann was head of this office).
  1. Evaluation, main card index, administration of individual files, information office, supervision of foreigners.
  2. Matters of protective custody.
  3. Matters of the press and literature.
  4. Matters of the Party and its formations, special cases.
Section D Section E Section F
regions under greater German influence security passport matters, alien police
  1. Matters of the Protectorate, Czechs in the Reich, Slovakia, Serbia, Croatia, and the remaining regions of the former Jugoslavia, Greece.
  2. Matters of the General Government, Poles in the Reich.
  3. Confidential office, foreigners hostile to the State, emigrants.
  4. Occupied territories, 'France, Belgium, Holland, Norway, Denmark
  5. Occupied Eastern territories.
  1. General security matters, supply of legal opinions in matters of high and State treason, and other security matters.
  2. General economic matters, defense against economic espionage, protection of works and those engaged in guarding.
  3. Security West.
  4. Security North.
  5. Security East.
  6. Security South.
  1. Frontier police.
  2. Passport matters.
  3. Identification and identity cards.
  4. Alien police and basic questions concerning frontiers.
  5. Central visa office. (L-219)


26 Apr 1933 Hermann Goering founds the Gestapo.
26 Jun 1936 The Gestapo is subsumed under the newly-formed Sicherheitspolizei, or "Security Police". Reinhard Heydrich is named as head of SIPO.
27 Sep 1939 The Gestapo is centralized with the SD and the Criminal Police under the newly-formed Reichssicherheitshauptamt, or "Reich Security Main Office".

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