SS ranks

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Rank insignia, collar tabs and shoulder straps of the Allgemeine SS.

The SS ranks were the paramilitary and subsequently military ranks of the Allgemeine SS and the Waffen-SS, known together as Gesamt-SS, which would be used until the SS was disbanded at the end of World War II. The highest rank of the combined SS was that of Reichsführer-SS (equivalent to the Generalfeldmarschall of the Wehrmacht or Reichsmarschall of the Luftwaffe), although Adolf Hitler was named "Oberster Führer der Schutzstaffel" in 1934 and was therefore considered supreme leader of the entire SS by virtue of his position as the Führer und Reichskanzler des Deutschen Reiches (meaning "Leader and State Chancellor of the German State"). There is no photographic record of Hitler ever wearing an actual SS uniform nor was there a special SS insignia for Hitler above that worn by Himmler.


Colar tabs of the SS generals und a "SS-Ehrenwinkel" (Honour Chevron): A to C for SS-Brigadeführer to SS-Obergruppenführer before 1942, 1 to 4 after April 1942, whereas 4 the new rank SS-Oberst-Gruppenführer represents.
SS-Oberst-Gruppenführer shoulder boards
SS ranks II.png
Ranks of the SS from SS-Reichsführer to SS-Schütze.jpg
SS-Uniform (Offizier).jpg


The lowest or pre-ranks, e.g. Bewerber, Jungmann, Anwärter, Vollanwärter, were established in the mid-1930s as a recruit or candidate position, held by an individual seeking an appointment as a Mann in a Nazi Party paramilitary organization:

  • SS-Bewerber (Staffel-Bewerber) or Applicant
  • SS-Jungmann (Staffel-Jungmann) or Young Man / pre SS-Mann
  • SS-Anwärter (Staffel-Anwärter) or Candidate
  • SS-Vollanwärter (Staffel-Vollanwärter) or Full Candidate

Volunteer for joining the Waffen-SS:

  • SS-Bewerber (Staffel-Bewerber)
  • SS-Jungmann (Staffel-Jungmann)
  • SS-Anwärter (Staffel-Anwärter)

Ranks starting with Private

  • SS-Mann (Waffen-SS: SS-Schütze or rifleman) − Private
  • SS-Oberschütze (senior rifleman, only Waffen-SS, from 1942)
  • SS-Sturmmann − Senior Private or Private First Class
  • SS-Rottenführer (section leader) − Corporal / Lance corporal

Non-Commissioned Officer ranks:

  • SS-Unterscharführer (junior squad leader; officer candidate of a SS-Junker School: SS-Junker)
  • SS-Scharführer (squad leader; officer candidate of a SS-Junker School: SS-Oberjunker)
  • SS-Oberscharführer (senior squad leader; officer candidate of a SS-Junker School: SS-Standartenjunker)
  • SS-Hauptscharführer (head squad leader; officer candidate of a SS-Junker School: SS-Standartenoberjunker)
  • SS-Stabsscharführer (staff squad leader)
  • SS-Sturmscharführer (storm squad leader)


  • SS-Untersturmführer (until 1935 SS-Sturmführer)
  • SS-Obersturmführer
  • SS-Hauptsturmführer (until 1935 SS-Sturmhauptführer)
  • SS-Sturmbannführer
  • SS-Obersturmbannführer
  • SS-Standartenführer
  • SS-Oberführer (senior colonel; no equivalent in the German army)


  • SS-Brigadeführer (SS-Brigadeführer und Generalmajor der Waffen-SS)
  • SS-Gruppenführer (SS-Gruppenführer und Generalleutnant der Waffen-SS)
  • SS-Obergruppenführer (SS-Obergruppenführer und General der Waffen-SS)
  • SS-Oberst-Gruppenführer (SS-Oberst-Gruppenführer und Generaloberst der Waffen-SS)
    • SS-Oberst-Gruppenführer und Generaloberst der Waffen-SS (above full General but below Generalfeldmarschall) was a new rank introduced 1942. The rank is correctly spelled Oberst-Gruppenführer to avoid confusion with the more junior rank of Obergruppenführer. Only four officers received this rank: Franz Xaver Schwarz, 20 April 1942 (... der Allgemeinen SS), Josef "Sepp" Dietrich, 20 April 1942 (... und Panzer-Generaloberst der Waffen-SS), Kurt Daluege (de), 20 April 1942 (... und Generaloberst der Polizei), and Paul Hausser, 1 August 1944 (... und Generaloberst der Waffen-SS).

General ranks

"One can exercise a certain amount of choice on this subject. The three grades of Gruppenführer are sometimes equated with Major General, Lieutenant General and General, respectively. An Oberführer is sometimes described as a “Senior Colonel” or a Brigadier General; in the latter case a Brigadeführer is equated with a Major General. These ranks had their origin in the early days when the SS was something of an offshoot of the SA, which had similar ranks."[1]

Ranks 1931

Generals Officers Enlisted ranks
SS-Obergruppenführer SS-Standartenführer SS-Obertruppführer
SS-Gruppenführer SS-Sturmbannführer SS-Truppführer
SS-Brigadeführer SS-Sturmhauptführer SS-Oberscharführer
SS-Oberführer SS-Sturmführer SS-Scharführer

Changes 1935

SS rank (Pre-1935) SS rank (Post-1935)
SS-Scharführer SS-Unterscharführer
SS-Oberscharführer SS-Scharführer
SS-Truppführer SS-Oberscharführer
SS-Obertruppführer SS-Hauptscharführer
SS-Haupttruppführer SS-Sturmscharführer
SS-Sturmführer SS-Untersturmführer
SS-Sturmhauptführer SS-Hauptsturmführer


Reichsführer-SS, als Reichsführer SS and sometime SS-Reichsführer, existed between the years of 1925 and 1945 for the "Imperial Leader" of the Schutzstaffel (SS). It was a title from 1925 to 1933, and from 1934 to 1945 it was the highest rank of the SS, situated over the Generalfeldmarschall of the Army and Großadmiral of the Kriegsmarine, but unter the Reichsmarschall of the Luftwaffe. The Reichsführer of the SS were:

External links


  1. Arthur R. Butz: The Hoax of the Twentieth Century — The Case Against the Presumed Extermination of European Jewry, 4th, corrected and expanded edition. Holocaust Handbooks