THE REICHSSICHERHEITSHAUPTAMT (RSHA)
The RSHA was the central
SS-department; all official and secret police and security organs of
the Third Reich were led by the RSHA. There was a multitude of
departments, offices, groups and sub-divisions and for this reason
the department was not transparent for outsiders. One of the powers
of the RSHA was the impositionl of "Protective Custody", which meant
the deportation into a concentration camp without trial or the
possibility of appelleal for the victims. The SS-leaders within the
RSHA were provided with almost unlimited power.
In 1940, the RSHA was divided into
- Had to fullfil
administrative tasks and was responsible for agents in
and out of the country as well as for the training of
collaborators who should not be threatened by any illegal
(organisation, administration, law)
- Had to expatriate
"Enemies of the State" and Jews and expropriate the
possessions of the deprived persons.
- This department was also responsible for the
construction of those vehicles, in which Jews were killed
by exhaust gas
(domestic news service)
- Collected and used
reports of the various "Leitstellen" (subordinated
offices) from all parts of the Reich about the effects of
administrative measures on the population.
- The department also delivered opinions about the
political reliability of particular citizens which were
used for nominations and promotions in the
administration, economy and science.
- Was responsible for the
persecution of real or supposed NS-(Gestapo) opponents.
The department had the power to impose "Protective
Custody" against everybody at any time.
- Politicians of all political movements, priests of
all confessions, Jews and "unpleasant citizens" were sent
to concentration camps without justification, if they,
according to the RSHA-opinion, had received too little
- Part of that department was the "Referat IV B 4",
where Adolf Eichmann planned
the "Final Solution of the
Jewish Question", the systematic murder of German and
European Jews. The deportations into the extermination
camps were organized here.
- Was in charge of the
persecution of non-political crimes.
- A further task was the persecution of Gypsies,
procedures to kill insane people were also
(Foreign news service)
- was responsible for
espionage and counter-espionage abroad.
- Administered book
stocks and archive materials of political and
(Ideological research) religious content, which had been
confiscated from Jews, Freemasons and politicians, in
churches and libraries and assessed their value.
In 1944, also the intelligence
services of the Wehrmacht, e.g. the departments of the military
secret service, were subordinated under the RSHA.