SS Main Office
Vehicle flag of the SS-Hauptamt
The SS-Hauptamt was the administrative office of the SS until 1940
SS-Obergruppenführer Gottlob Berger commander of the SS-Hauptamt (1939-45)
|Dissolved||May 8, 1945|
|Headquarters||SS-Hauptamt, Prinz-Albrecht-Straße, Berlin
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 NSDAP 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. The organization oversaw the Allgemeine-SS, concentration camps, the SS-Verfügungstruppe (Special-purpose troops), and the Grenzschutz (Border Control regiments).
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. 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.
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):
- 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.
After the close of World War II, members of the SS-Hauptamt were charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity because they had maintained, for other branches of the SS, the "paper trail" for such activities as the Einsatzgruppen, Final Solution and the commission of the Holocaust. Gottlob Berger, the former chief of the SS Main Office, was tried in 1949. He was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment for crimes against humanity but was released in 1951.
The files of the SS-Hauptamt can today be found (via microfiche) with National Archives and Records Administration at College Park, Maryland. The original documentation is kept in Germany, under the authority of the Bundesarchiv in Berlin.