SS Main Office

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SS Main Office
SS-Hauptamt (SS-HA)
SS Hauptamt.svg
Vehicle command flag for SS Main Office
Flag of the Schutzstaffel.svg
SS logo
Agency overview
Formed30 January 1935
Preceding agencies
  • SS-Amt
  • SS-Oberführerbereiche
Dissolved8 May 1945
JurisdictionGermany Germany
Occupied Europe
HeadquartersPrinz-Albrecht-Straße, Berlin
Minister responsible
Agency executive
  • Chef des SS-Hauptamtes
Parent agency SS
Child agencies

The SS Main Office (German: SS-Hauptamt) (SS-HA) was the central command office of the Schutzstaffel (SS) in Nazi Germany until 1940.

Formation[edit]

The office traces its origins to 1931 when the SS created the SS-Amt to serve as an SS Headquarters staff overseeing the various units of the Allgemeine-SS (General SS). In 1933, after the Nazi Party came to power, the SS-Amt was renamed the SS-Oberführerbereichen and placed in command of all SS units within Nazi Germany.

This agency then became the SS-HA on January 30, 1935.[1] The organization oversaw the Allgemeine-SS, concentration camps, the SS-Verfügungstruppe (Special-purpose troops), and the Grenzschutz (Border Control regiments).[1]

During the late 1930s, the power of the SS-HA continued to grow becoming the largest and most powerful office of the SS, managing nearly all aspects of the paramilitary organization. This included the SS officer schools (Junker Schools), physical training, communication, SS garrisons, logistics and support.[1] Shortly after the outbreak of World War II in Europe, the SS-Verfügungstruppe expanded rapidly becoming the Waffen-SS in 1940. By this time, the office of the SS-Hauptamt could no longer administer the entire SS organization. As a result, the SS-HA was downsized losing much of its pre-war power to the SS Führungshauptamt (SS Leading Main Office) and the main offices of the Allgemeine-SS, such as the Reich Main Security Office.[2]

Organization[edit]

In 1940 the SS-Hauptamt remained responsible for SS administrative matters such as manpower allocation, supplies, personnel transfers, and promotions. The SS-HA had 11 departments (Ämter or Amtsgruppe):[3]

  • Amt Zentralamt (Central office)
  • Amt Leitender Ärzt beim Chef SS-HA (Chief Medical Officer)
  • Amt Verwaltung (Administration)
  • Amt Ergänzungsamt der Waffen-SS (Waffen-SS Reinforcements)
  • Amt Erfassungsamt (Requisitioning)
  • Amt für Weltanschauliche Erziehung (Ideological Training)
  • Amt für Leibeserziehhung (Physical Training)
  • Amt für Berufserziehung (Trade Training)
  • Amt Germanische Leitstelle (Germanic Control)
  • Amt Germanische Ergänzung (Germanic Recruitment)
  • Amt Germanische Erziehung (Germanic Education)

The SS-HA was technically subordinate to the Personal Staff Reichsführer-SS, but in reality it remained autonomous.

Leadership[edit]

Name Took office Left office Time in office Ref
1
Curt Wittje [de]
Wittje, CurtSS-Gruppenführer
Curt Wittje [de]
(1894–1947)
12 February 193414 May 19351 year, 91 days[4]
2
August Heissmeyer
Heissmeyer, AugustSS-Obergruppenführer
August Heissmeyer
(1897–1979)
14 May 19359 November 19394 years, 179 days[4]
3
Gottlob Berger
Berger, GottlobSS-Obergruppenführer
Gottlob Berger
(1896–1975)
1 December 19398 May 19455 years, 180 days[4]

Post-war[edit]

Gottlob Berger in the dock at the Nuremberg Trials in 1949.

After the end of World War II in Europe, members of the SS-Hauptamt were charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity. Gottlob Berger, the former chief of the SS Main Office, was arrested in May 1945 and tried in 1949. The trial against Berger and his co-defendants commenced on 6 January 1948,[5] and ended on 13 April 1949.[6] Berger was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment, but received credit for the four years during which he had been in custody awaiting trial.[7] Berger was released from Landsberg prison in 1951.[8]

References[edit]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Yerger 1997, p. 13.
  2. ^ McNab 2009, pp. 36, 41.
  3. ^ Yerger 1997, pp. 14–15.
  4. ^ a b c Yerger 1997, p. 15.
  5. ^ Heller 2011, p. 79.
  6. ^ Heller 2011, p. 103.
  7. ^ NMT 1949, p. 867.
  8. ^ Maguire 2013, p. 206.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Heller, Kevin Jon (2011). The Nuremberg Military Tribunals and the Origins of International Criminal Law. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-162212-0.
  • Maguire, Peter H. (2013). Law and War: International Law and American History, Revised Edition. New York, New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0-231-51819-2.
  • McNab, Chris (2009). The SS: 1923–1945. Amber Books Ltd. ISBN 978-1-906626-49-5.
  • Yerger, Mark C. (1997). Allgemeine-SS: The Commands, Units and Leaders of the General SS. Schiffer Publishing. ISBN 0-7643-0145-4.
  • Trials of War Criminals before the Nuernberg Military Tribunals, Volume XIV, "The Ministries Case". Nuremberg, Allied-occupied Germany: Nuernberg Military Tribunals. 1949. OCLC 874547741.