SS and police leader
The title of SS and police leader (German: SS- und Polizeiführer) was used to designate a senior Nazi official who commanded large units of the SS, of Gestapo and of the regular German police during and prior to World War II.
Three levels of subordination were established for bearers of this title:
- SS and police leader (German: SS- und Polizeiführer), SSPF
- High SS and police leader (German: Höherer SS- und Polizeiführer, HSSPF, HSS-PF, HSSuPF)
- Reichsführer SS, (RFSS, means Heinrich Himmler)
The first higher SS and police leaders were appointed in 1937 from the existing SS-Oberabschnitt fuhrers (leaders of the main districts). The purpose of the higher SS and police leader was to be a direct command authority for every SS and police unit in a given geographical region with such authority answering only to Heinrich Himmler and Adolf Hitler.
Inside the 'Reich', the person at the HSSPF post was usually the same person who was the SS-Oberabschnitt führer for that region. Outside the Reich, there was no Oberabschnitt, so the HSSPF existed on their own. However, they had something the Reich HSSPFs did not - several SS and polizei führer (SSPF) posts underneath them to aide them in their deeds.
There were also two höchste SS und polizeiführer posts (supreme SS and police leader). They were named "Italien" (1943–1945) and "Ukraine" (1943–1944), and had various HSSPF and SSPF under them.
The SS and police leaders directly commanded a headquarters staff with representatives from almost every branch of the SS. This typically included the ordnungspolizei (regular police), Gestapo (secret police), Totenkopfverbände (Nazi concentration camps), SD (intelligence service), and certain units of the Waffen-SS (combat units). In theory, an SS and police leader had authority to command and commandeer any SS unit available in a particular region; however, in practice SS units answered to their immediate chain of command and would only be requisitioned by the SS and police leader in the event of an emergency.
"The Higher SS and Police Leaders or HSSPF and their subordinate SS and Police Leaders were the most powerful (and feared) SS posts created by Himmler"-Mark Yerger, Allgemeine-SS
One of the more notorious functions of the SS and police leaders was to serve as the commanding SS general for any einsatzgruppen (mostly death squads) that were activated in the SS and police leader’s area. Such duties typically involved ordering the deaths of tens of thousands of persons and, following the close of World War II, nearly every SS and police leader, who had served in Poland and the Soviet Union, was charged with war crimes. A large number of the SS and police leaders, who had been involved with such crimes, committed suicide before capture.
The SS and police leaders were also the overseeing authority of the Jewish ghettos in Poland and, as such, directly coordinated deportations to extermination camps with the administrative help of the RSHA. The SS and police leaders were also afforded direct command over police battalions and SD regiments that were assigned to keep order in the ghettos.
The grand dream of Heinrich Himmler was to evolve the SS and police leader into an SS lord of the Lebensraum which the SS would rule and control after Germany had won World War II. Himmler’s dream envisioned twenty-eight SS states (SS- und polizeistützpunkte, literally SS- and police strongholds), spread throughout the East, each one of which would be ruled by an SS and police leader, militarily controlled by the Waffen-SS, and worked and lived on by SS warriors of the Allgemeine-SS. Whether or not Himmler’s vision was plausible, and if the more rational elements of the Nazi government would have permitted an SS nation in the East, remains speculative.
Late war promotions to Waffen-SS
In 1944 and 1945, many HSSPF were promoted to being generals in the Waffen-SS by Himmler. This was apparently to give them protection under the Hague Convention rules of warfare. An HSSPF who was a Nuremberg witness claimed that it was so that the HSSPF could legally guard POW camps under the rules of warfare.
Notable SS and police leaders
Note – Men were often transferred, promoted, etc., as the war went on. The HSSPF areas themselves might change, be absorbed, cease to exist, etc. This list is by no means exhaustive.
- Karl Wolff – "Italien"
- Hermann Behrends – Serbia and Montenegro
- Udo von Woyrsch – "Elbe"
- Carl Oberg – France
- Ernst Kaltenbrunner – Donau
- Karl Hermann Frank – Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia
- Friedrich Jeckeln – Northern Russia
- Richard Hildebrandt – Black Sea
- Erwin Rösener – Alpenland
- Odilo "Globus" Globocnik – Adriatic Coast
- Hanns Albin Rauter – Netherlands
- Erich von dem Bach – Central Russia
- Wilhelm Rediess – Norway
- Günther Pancke – Denmark
- Jürgen Stroop, then Walter Schimana, then Hermann Franz – Greece
- Friedrich Wilhelm Krüger, then Wilhelm Koppe – General Government (Poland)
- Karl von Eberstein - Munich area of Germany
- Franz Walter Stahlecker - Reichskommissariat Ostland (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus)
- Hans-Adolf Prützmann – "Ukraine"
- Yerger, p 22
- Yerger, p 22, 52
- Yerger, p 22-25
- Robert J. Hanyok, CENTER FOR CRYPTOLOGIC HISTORY NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY (2005). "Eavesdropping on Hell: Historical Guide to Western Communications Intelligence and the Holocaust, 1939-1945" (PDF) (Second ed.). National Security Agency, United States Government. Retrieved 2011-03-20. UNITED STATES CRYPTOLOGIC HISTORY, Series IV, Volume 9 The message is on page 52 "Decrypt of Police message [National Archives and Records Administration] (NARA), RG 457, HCC, Box 1386)"
- Hanyok, NSA, eavesdropping.pdf, Page 61, "German Police Decrypts, ZIP/G.P.D.353/14.9.41. Decrypt No.1 is from the Senior Commander of the SS and Police in Southern Russia to Heinrich Himmler, the Chiefs of the Order and Secret Police and the Himmler’s staff. (Source: [National Archives and Records Administration] (NARA), RG 457, Box 1386)"
- Ingrao, Charles W.; Szabo, Franz A. J. (2008). The Germans and the East. Purdue University Press, p. 288. 
- Yerger, p. 26
- "Nuremberg Trial Proceedings Volume 20 day 195". Avalon Project, Yale Law School. Retrieved 2009-01-03.
- Yerger lists about 37 separate HSSPF posts, most of which had several different commanders over the lifetime of the post. He also lists over 50 SSPF posts, many of which also had several commanders.
- Höhne, Heinz (1967). The Order of the Death's Head: The Story of Hitler's SS. (Der Orden unter dem Totenkopf: Die Geschichte der SS).
- Yerger, Mark C. (1997). Allgemeine-SS: The Commands, Units, and Leaders of the General SS. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing.
- Miller, Michael D., Schulz, Andreas, McCanliss, Ken (2008). Leaders of the SS & German Police, Vol. 1: Ahrens to Gutenberg, R. James Bender Publishing, ISBN 1-932970-03-7. Detailed biographical sketches of 71 senior police and SS leaders.