The organisation of the extermination - the "Reich Security Main Office"

The structure of the "Reich Security Main Office"

As early as 1936, "Reichsführer SS" Heinrich Himmler gained discretionary powers over the entire German police force, which completely detached itself from statutory control and state administration and merged with the SS. The Gestapo and the Criminal Police were amalgamated to form the "Security Police" central office under Reinhard Heydrich. An enormous terror apparatus came into being, which extended from the headquarters in Berlin to the individual local police authorities.

The "Reich Security Main Office" (Reichssicherheitshauptamt - RSHA) was founded in September 1939. This central institution of the SS State was responsible for the persecution and extermination of millions of people. Almost all the departments of the RSHA were involved in the bureaucratically organized genocide of the Sinti and Roma. In addition to Eichmann's department, Section IV B 4, Section V (Reich Criminal Police Department), headed by Arthur Nebe, played a key role in the implementation of the deportation and murder orders. In this respect, Section V worked closely together with the "Racial Hygiene Research Unit".

The RSHA controlled an extensive network of stationary and mobile services which extended over all the occupied territories. This also applied to the "Einsatzgruppen" (mobile killing units), which carried out systematic mass shootings of Sinti and Roma behind the Eastern front. Gestapo officers selected by the RSHA served in the notorious "political departments" in the concentration camps.

The RSHA was the actual executive body of the "final solution". The most barbaric extermination methods such as gas vans or mass killing with Zyklon B were developed and perfected here. Thousands of "bureaucrats" created the organisational conditions for the misanthropic ideology of National Socialism to become terrible reality.