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SD (Sicherheitsdienst des Reichsfuehrers-SS)(Security Service of the SS)
The Nazi party's intelligence service; a major instrument for the implementation of the "Final Solution."
In 1931, Heinrich Himmler established the nucleus of an intelligence service in the SS and appointed Reinhard Heydrich as its chief. A year later, it became the Security Service. Its function was to uncover the party's enemies and keep them under surveillance.
Creation of the SD
On June 9, 1934, several months after Himmler's takeover of the political police (Gestapo), Rudolf Hoess designated the SD as the sole party intelligence service. The division of labour between the two intelligence branches, the SD and the Gestapo, was not clear-cut. The fact that both organisations were headed by the same people did not mean that no rivalry existed.
Division of Labour between the SD and the Gestapo
The first attempt to define the responsibilities of each branch was made after the liquidation of the Roehm group. Himmler announced that the SD was an intelligence and counterintelligence service, whose task it was to assist the Gestapo by identifying the enemies of the state; the Gestapo's task was to deal with these enemies once they were uncovered. The "Jewish issue," however, remained the joint responsibility of both organisations. The SD chiefs also tried their hand in espionage abroad by seeking to gain control over military intelligence. This goal was achieved in July 1944, after the attempt on Hitler's life.
On September 27, 1939, Heydrich unified his command over the Gestapo and the SD by creating the Reichssicherheitshauptamt (Reich Security Main Office; RSHA). After the outbreak of war, the SD personnel served in command positions or in the rank and file of the Einsatzgruppen, which in the summer of 1941 launched a systematic murder campaign against Jews and other groups in the Soviet Union. The staff organisation of the civil administration centres in the German-occupied areas included officers or inspectors from the Sicherheitspolizei (Security Police) and the SD. The officer, an SS- und Polizeifuehrer (SS and Police Leader), was the commander of all the SS and police units in his area. The Security Service personnel engaged in intelligence activities and in punishing and murdering the local population, chiefly the Jews.
The Jewish Section of the SD
It was only in 1935 that the Jewish Section of the SD (Section II 112) adopted a basic policy. In December 1936, the "provisional goal" it set was "to rid Germany of the Jews." From then on, the SD kept the Jewish organisations and institutions under its surveillance and supervision in order to harass the Jews and exert pressure on them to leave Germany. In 1937, the section outlined the practical steps that had to be taken to achieve its goal: economic dispossession, public pressure, and terrorisation. The first director of the Jewish Section of the SD was Leopold von Mildenstein, followed in 1936 by Herbert Hagen. Adolf Eichmann joined the section in early 1935 and was put in charge of subsection 112/3, which dealt with "Zionists." He entered upon his major role in the murder of the Jews when he was dispatched from the section to head the Zentralstelle fuer Juedische Auswanderung (Central Office for Jewish Emigration) in Vienna. The Jewish Section of the SD had a central role in organising and implementing the "Final Solution." In a judgement rendered on October 1, 1946, the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg declared the SD (as well as the SS and the Gestapo) to be a criminal organisation.
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