SS-Hauptamt

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Uniform of a member of the SS-Hauptamt with cuffband

The SS-Hauptamt (English: SS Main or Head Office) (SS-HA) was the central command office of the German Schutzstaffel (SS) in Germany until 1940. Many of the members of the Hauptamt were foreign volunteers.

Formation

Dr. med. Franz Riedweg (1907−2005) of the "Germanische Leitstelle" (GL) of the SS-Hauptamt; Riedweg (de) was from Switzerland (Germanische SS Schweiz), his last rank was "SS-Obersturmbannführer der Waffen-SS".

The office can trace its origins to 1931 when the SS created the SS-Amt to serve as an SS Headquarters staff overseeing the various units of the Allgemeine-SS. In 1933, after the NSDAP came to power, the SS-Amt was renamed the SS-Oberführerbereichen. This agency then became the SS-HA on January 30, 1935.

The organization oversaw the Allgemeine-SS, concentration camps (German: Konzentrationslager), the SS-Verfügungstruppe (English: Special-purpose troops), and the Grenzschutz (English: Border Control Regiments). During the late 1930s, the power of the SS-HA continued to grow becoming the largest and most powerful office of the SS, managing nearly all aspects of the paramilitary organization.

World War II

Shortly after the outbreak of WWII, the SS-Verfügungstruppe expanded rapidly becoming the Waffen SS in 1940. By this time, the office of the SS-Hauptamt could no longer administer the entire SS organization. As a result, the SS-HA was downsized losing much of its pre-war power to the SS-Führungshauptamt (SS-FHA; English: SS Leading Main Office) and the main offices of the Allgemeine-SS.

Organization

In 1940 the SS-Hauptamt remained responsible for SS administrative in matters such as manpower allocation, supplies, personnel transfers, and promotions.

Groups and departments

The SS-HA had 4 department groups (Amtsgruppe A to D), 11 departments (German: Ämter) and various sub-departments:

  • Amt Zentralamt (Amt A I; English: Central office)
  • Amt Leitender Arzt beim Chef SS-HA (Amt A II; English: Chief Medical Officer)
  • Amt Verwaltung (English: Administration)
  • Amt Ergänzungsamt der Waffen-SS (English: Waffen-SS Reinforcements)
  • Amt Erfassungsamt (English: Requisitioning)
  • Amt für Weltanschauliche Erziehung (English: Ideological Training)
  • Amt für Leibeserziehhung (English: Physical Training)
  • Amt für Berufserziehung (English: Trade Training)
  • Amt Germanische Leitstelle[1] (English: Germanic Control)
  • Amt Germanische Ergänzung (English: Germanic Recruitment)
  • Amt Germanische Erziehung (English: Germanic Education)

Subordination

The SS-HA was technically subordinate to the Persönlicher Stab Reichsführer-SS (English: Personal Staff of the SS Reich Leader), but in reality it maintained autonomy.

References

  1. During World War II, Germanische Leitstelle was a department of the SS-Hauptamt under the command of Obergruppenführer Gottlob Berger. It oversaw the recruitment and propaganda offices for the Waffen SS in Oslo, Copenhagen, Brussels and The Hague.