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Customs Border Guards
Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-263-1595-32, Bei Hendaye, Rommel, v. Obstfelder.jpg
On the far left, an Oberzollrat of the Zollgrenzschutz.
Agency overview
Dissolved8 May 1945
TypeParamilitary Border Guards
Jurisdiction Germany
Agency executive
  • Minister of the Reich Finance Administration
  • General Inspector of the Customs Border Guards
Parent agencyReich Financial Administration [de]

Zollgrenzschutz (ZGS) (German: Customs Border Guards) was an organization under the German Finance Ministry from 1937 to 1945. It was charged with guarding Germany's borders, acting as a combination Border Patrol and Customs & Immigration service.


It originated in the early 19th century as a tariff enforcement unit of the Prussian government. Reorganized in 1919 under the Weimar Republic following World War I, it gradually became more militarized and transformed into a paramilitary force, also due to the economic woes of blockade, inflation and Great Depression.

In Nazi Germany it was reformed again in 1937 by Fritz Reinhardt, a State Secretary of the Finance Ministry. Heinrich Himmler tried to bring it under the control of the SS, which was at first unsuccessfully. During the war, the units were used in occupied territories outside of Germany. In July, 1944 they were placed under the control of Heinrich Himmler and the SS. It was later deactivated at the end of World War II when Germany was partitioned.


Collar insignia Shoulder insignia ZGS Rank[1][2] Translation Heer equivalent
None.svg ZGS-Generalinspekteur h.svg Generalinspekteur des Zollgrenzschutzes General Inspector of the Customs Border Guards Generalleutnant
None.svg ZGS-Ministerialrat h.svg Ministerialrat Oberst
None.svg ZGS-Oberregierungsrat h.svg Oberregierungsrat Oberstleutnant
None.svg ZGS-Regierungsrat h.svg Zollamtmann
None.svg ZGS-Oberzollinspektor h.svg Oberzollinspektor
with less than three years in the grade
None.svg ZGS-Zollinspektor h.svg Zollinspektor Customs Inspector Oberleutnant
None.svg ZGS-Oberzollsekretär h.svg Oberzollsekretär Senior Customs Secretary Leutnant
None.svg ZGS-Zollsekretär h.svg Zollsekretär
Customs Secretary Stabsfeldwebel
None.svg ZGS-Zollassistent h.svg Zollassistent
Customs Assistant Oberfeldwebel
None.svg ZGS-Zollbetriebsassistent h.svg Zollbetriebsassistent
Customs operations assistant Feldwebel
None.svg ZGS-Zolloberwachtmeister h.svg Zolloberwachtmeister Customs Senior Sergeant Underoffizier
None.svg ZGS-Zollwachtmeister h.svg Zollwachtmeister Customs Sergeant Gefreiter
None.svg ZGS-Zollgrenzangestellter h.svg Zollgrenzangestellter Customs border employee Schütze
  • Ranks in italics with the prefix Hilfs- belonged to the Zollgrenzschutzreserve (reserves), formerly the VGAD (Reinforced border inspection service).


  1. ^ "Germany 1933-1945 (Third Reich): Customs Service". Uniform Insignia. 7 March 2013. Retrieved 1 January 2019.
  2. ^ ""Uniform und Dienstgradabzeichen der Landzollbeamten (Zollgrenzschutz)" (in German). Retrieved 1 January 2019.

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