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Sicherheitspolizei

The Sicherheitspolizei (), often abbreviated as SiPo, was a term used in Nazi Germany to describe the state political and criminal investigation security agencies. It was made up by the combined forces of the Gestapo (secret state police) and the Kripo (criminal police) between 1936 and 1939. As a formal agency, the SiPo was folded into the RSHA in 1939, but the term continued to be used informally until the end of the Third Reich.

Contents


Security role

The term originated in the early years of the Nazi power in Germany. Germany, as a federal state, had a myriad of local and centralised police agencies, which often were un-coordinated and had overlapping jurisdictions. Himmler and Heydrich's grand plan was to fully absorb all the police and security apparatus into the structure of the Schutzstaffel (SS). To this end, Himmler took command first of the Gestapo (itself developed from the Prussian Secret Police) and later of all the regular and criminal investigation police, assuming the title Chef der Deutschen Polizei (Chief of the German Police). As such he was nominally subordinate to Interior Minister Wilhelm Frick, but in practice Himmler answered to no-one but Hitler.[1]

In 1936, the state security police were consolidated and placed under the central command of Reinhard Heydrich, already chief of the party Sicherheitsdienst (SD), and named Sicherheitspolizei.[2] The idea was to fully identify the party agency (SD) with the state agency (SiPo). Most of the SiPo members were encouraged or volunteered to become members of the SS and many held a rank in both organisations. In practice, however, the SiPo and the SD frequently came into jurisdictional and operational conflict with each other, due in large part to the fact that the Gestapo and Kripo had many experienced, professional policemen and investigators, that considered the SD as an organisation of amateurs and often thought the SD a rather incompetent agency.

Furthermore in 1936, the state police agencies in Germany were statutorily divided into the Ordnungspolizei (regular or order police) and the Sicherheitspolizei (state security police). The two police branches were commonly known as the Orpo and SiPo (Kripo and Gestapo combined), respectively.[3]

Merger and further use

In September 1939, with the founding of the SS-Reichssicherheitshauptamt (RSHA), the Sicherheitspolizei as a functioning state agency ceased to exist as the department was merged into the RSHA.[4] However, its terms survived in common usage within Nazi Germany.

Inspektor des Sicherheitspolizei und SD was used by local security force commanders in charge of SD, Gestapo, Kripo, and Orpo units. The Inspectors of the Security Police answered to both the RSHA and to local SS and Police Leaders.

The term SiPo was also used figuratively to describe any security police forces of the RSHA.

Cold War

Following the end of the Second World War, the phrase Sicherheitspolizei appeared in East Germany as a title for some components of the East German secret police forces.

See also

References

Bibliography

  • Lumsden, Robin (2002). A Collector's Guide To: The Allgemeine SS, Ian Allan Publishing, Inc. ISBN 0-7110-2905-9.
  • Williams, Max (2001). Reinhard Heydrich: The Biography: Volume 1, Ulric Publishing, ISBN 0-9537577-5-7.

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