World War II in the News is a review of WWII articles providing thought-provoking collection of hand-picked WW2 information.

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Gestapo & RSHA - Nazi Secret Police

Gestapo, SD & RSHA - Secret Police in the Nazi Germany.
Latest hand-picked WWII news. See also: Nazi SS Daggers, Nazi Uniforms, Heinrich Himmler, Waffen-SS, Klaus Barbie.

Classic turn-based strategy games: Conflict-Series
If you like classic turn-based PC war games and legendary strategy board games make sure to check out the highly rated Conflict-series for Android. Some of the WWII Campaigns include Axis Balkan Campaign, D-Day 1944, Operation Barbarossa, France 1940, Kursk 1943, Market Garden, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Rommel's North African campaign, and the Battle of Bulge. In addition to WWII some other time periods include Korean War, American Civil War, First World War and American Revolutionary War. The more complex campaigns like Operation Sea Lion, Invasion of Norway, and Invasion of Japan 1945, include Naval element and handling logistics of supply flow.
(available on Google Play & Amazon App Store since 2011)

The Gestapo: Power and Terror in the Third Reich by Carsten Dams and Michael Stolle
If you say the word Gestapo, everyone knows to what you are referring. This was a feared institution, a deadly instrument in ensuring political correctness within the Third Reich. Any one deemed an enemy was likely to come up against the Gestapo at some point – communists, spies, jews, gypsies and many more. Once inside its prisons, very few people emerged unscathed and most were never seen again. It is the image used in every WW2 film to portray the horrors of the Third Reich. Yet how accurate is this image? Was it really so all powerful? And what happened to its members after the Allied victory in 1945? Research by Carston Dams and Michael Stolle has thrown up some interesting and unexpected findings. They trace the history of the Gestapo from its founding in the Weimar Republic and its status under the Nazis.

The head of the Gestapo, Heinrich Mueller, was buried in a Jewish cemetery in 1945 with his id documents
The head of the Gestapo, Heinrich Mueller, never survived World War II but was buried in a Jewish cemetery in 1945. Professor Johannes Tuchel, an historian, says he has discovered archive evidence showing that Mueller died at the end of the war. Documents unearthed indicate that Mueller was first buried near an airport in Berlin in the last days of the war. He said that "a body in a general's uniform with Mueller's identification documents" was then disinterred and reburied in one of three mass graves in the Jewish cemetery and certified by a local registrar of deaths in 1945.

Exhibition reveals Bremen police's collaboration with Nazis: From civil servants into mass murderers
When the Nazis seized power in Germany in 1933, Bremen's police force did not hesitate to side with them. Bremen was home to two special police battalions during the Nazi era. One of those, the 303rd police battalion, was involved in a massacre at Babi Yar in Ukraine, where 30,000 Jewish men, women and children were shot and killed over a period of two days. The other special police task force, the 105th police battalion, had a part in deporting Dutch Jews to the Auschwitz.

SS officer Karl Josef Silberbauer, who arrested Anne Frank, worked for BND after the war
The SS officer responsible for the arrest of Anne Frank was one of many Nazis employed by Germany's Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) foreign intelligence agency after World War Two. Karl Josef Silberbauer worked as an informant and recruiter for the BND, according to evidence found by journalist Peter-Ferdinand Koch in US archives. Silberbauer, a feared interrogation specialist, worked several years for the BND and the Organisation Gehlen (a forerunner of the BND). During the war, he worked both in the Gestapo and the SD, holding the rank of SS-Oberscharführer.

Up to 200 former employees of RSHA (the main Reich security office) worked for the BND after the war. In addition, members of the SS Totenkopfverbände, the units charged with running the concentration camps, also worked for the BND.


German foreign intelligence agency (BND) - which hired Nazi killers as spies - to open up its archives to historians
SS captain Johannes Clemens - nicknamed the Tiger of Como - belonged to a squad that shot 335 civilians in the Ardeatine Caves near Rome in 1944. Georg Wilimzig's 300-member squad, known as IV/2, murdered thousands of persons after the Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939. After 1945, Clemens and Wilimzig both were hired by the same employer: the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), Germany's foreign intelligence agency.

Now the BND plans - in the footsteps of the German Foreign Ministry and the German Finance Ministry - to let historians explore its early years and the archives of its predecessor, the Gehlen Organization.

However, Chancellor Angela Merkel and several political parties oppose the plan, since it would inevitably reflect poorly on the parties which were in power during the decades after the war.


BND files reveal Klaus Barbie was paid by the German intelligence services during the 1960s
This has not been a good winter for those authorities who secretly protected the Nazis after the Second World War. First a 600-page report by the American Justice Department revealed that the U.S. set up a safe haven for the Nazis after the war. Then a discovery at BND (Bundesnachrichtendienst, German intelligence agency) archives proved that German and American intelligence agencies knew where some of the most wanted Nazi criminals were located, but did nothing with this information. And if that wasn't bad enough, more and more evidence shows that they actually co-operated with these Nazi individuals.

According to the BND archives, Klaus Barbie, a notorious Gestapo agent known as the "butcher of Lyon," was paid by the German intelligence services for political information during the 1960s. A file on Barbie, codenamed "Eagle", states he was of "complete German attitude" and a "committed anti-Communist" - and that he delivered at least 35 reports.


A report to Congress reveals U.S. officials protected Gestapo agents and Nazi war criminals
A report to Congress - by historians hired by the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration - reveals how U.S. intelligence officials protected Gestapo agents and Nazi war criminals like Rudolf Mildner and Mykola Lebed after the Second World War. The U.S. Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act has so far resulted in 8 million documents being declassified.

The SS: a New History by Adrian Weale (WWII book review)
The SS was created as a bodyguard troop for Hitler in the 1920s, but it was not until it was taken over by Heinrich Himmler in 1929, that the SS began to become the vehicle for more far-reaching ambitions. In Himmler's vision the SS - an autonomous organisation in a military-style hierarchy wearing smart new black SS uniforms - was to be a racial and an ideological elite. After proving its loyalty by executing the leaders of Röhm's Sturmabteilung in the "Night of the Long Knives", the SS began to expand: taking over the police and the Gestapo in 1936 and forming a military wing, the Waffen-SS.

Erich Steidtmann: Nazi police battalion leader who took part in the mass murders in Eastern Europe
A Nazi SS officer passed away in Germany 2 months after the reopening of an investigation into his connection to the mass murders in the Eastern Front. Erich Steidtmann led several Nazi police battalions - including the infamous Hamburg Polizeibataillon 101 - which took part in the mass murder of Jews in Eastern Europe. The Simon Wiesenthal Center issued a statement expressing frustration that Steidtmann was never prosecuted, saying it reflected decades of German judicial failure in the case. "Had the prosecutors done their job properly in the 1960s, he would not have escaped justice," said Nazi hunter Efraim Zuroff.

Stasi files shed light on West German spy agency's Nazi past, but some key data remains secret
Crucial information about the West Germany's secret service's past has long been hidden in the Stasi files, but now Stasi archive has agreed to release some of it showing BND employed Nazi criminals - but some key data still remains secret. Questions still surround one of Germany's worst-kept secrets: the presence of Nazis in West Germany's police, secret service and politics. Who were those people, what positions they had in the Third Reich and later in West Germany? 20-25% of the West Germany's intelligence service had SS background, not to forget the Wehrmacht officers, who'd been involved in war crimes.

"Topography of Terror" documentation center opened at the former Gestapo and SS headquarters in Berlin
The new "Topography of Terror" documentation center in Berlin at the site of the Gestapo and SS headquarters showcases the faces of the unknown perpetrators of the Holocaust. The index cards cover an entire wall containing names and handwritten notes. They are the details of some of the 7,000 employees of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt (RSHA), the merger of the SS paramilitary group and Gestapo - the men who worked at the core of the Nazi terror regime. This was where the masterminds behind the Nazi crimes, such as SS leader Heinrich Himmler and SD chief Reinhard Heydrich, had their offices.

Martin Sandberger: For years the highest ranking SS member alive, who lived in Germany undisturbed
He was a model pupil of SS leader Heinrich Himmler and a Nazi officer on the front lines of the Holocaust, sentenced to death by hanging by a US military court - but with the help of powerful friends he walked free. For decades Martin Sandberger - the highest ranking member of the SS alive - lived in Germany undisturbed. Shortly before his death he granted his last and only interview. Historian Michael Wildt depicts Sandberger as a poster child of the elite, academically trained type of perpetrator who, acting on orders from the Reich Security Head Office (RSHA), set up mass murder in the east.

West German spy agency employed 200 Nazi criminals after the end of World War II
The German spy service has admitted that it employed about 200 Nazi criminals after the end of World War II. Some had been involved in massacres in the Eastern Front, others were Gestapo torturers: all found a place in the West German intelligence service. The cases have been revealed because the Federal German Intelligence Service (BND) is compiling a history of its espionage activities since 1956 - and so polishing up its image. There was never any attempt to conceal the fact that the BND used Nazis - it was set up in a hurry, with U.S. help, to create spying networks against the Soviet Union.

Photos of camouflaged WW2 tanks and military vehicles -thread in Axis History Forum
Photographs of camouflaged World War II tanks and military vehicles thread in Axis History Forum.

More proof of Adolf Hitler's plan to kill Pius XII, claims newspaper Avvenire
It has long been speculated that Adolf Hitler ordered the SS commander in Italy, General Karl Wolf, to seize the Vatican and kidnap or kill Pope Pius XII and the King of Italy. Dan Kurzman wrote about it in "A Special Mission: Hitler's Secret Plot to Seize the Vatican and Kidnap Pope Pius the XII," which is based on interviews with Wolf - but this could never be verified. Now new evidence, citing Niki Freytag Loringhoven (son of Wessel Freytag von Loringhoven), points to the role of the RSHA (Reichssicherheitshauptamt) in the plot. But Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, head of the German counterintelligence service Abwehr, warned his Italian counterpart General Cesare Amè.

Communist intelligence used ex-Nazi officials from Gestapo, SD   (Article no longer available from the original source)
A number of Nazi officials worked for the Czechoslovak communist secret services after WW2, in exchange for not being punished for their crimes, claims "Death for someone, but life for someone else" (Nekomu zivot, nekomu smrt). A number of Nazis who took part in the torture of paratroopers who killed Reinhard Heydrich went unpunished. Willi Leimer, officer of the Prague Gestapo anti-trooper section, was handed over to the Soviet Union after the war, but was seen in the 1960s wearing a soviet uniform, said historian Jaroslav Cvancara. Historian Dalibor Statnik revealed that Kurt Wilfer, Prague SD, became an agent of the Czechoslovak communist StB secret police.

Germany's BKA examines its Nazi Roots - Gestapo, SS Units
Germany's federal criminal police (BKA) is admitting that most of its founding members were active members of Hitler's security apparatus. BKA has invited historians to research its origins. The recruitment of Nazi police officers into the West Germany security apparatus after WWII is well-known, the country lacked experienced personnel who hadn't been involved in the Nazi machine. When the BKA was formed in 1951, almost all its 50 top officers had a Nazi past: in SS units, in the Gestapo, in the secret military police or the Third Reich's criminal police force (RKPA). For example Kurt Amend, in charge of manhunts at the RKPA, took up the same position at the BKA.

Postwar German Police Force Eyes Its Own Nazi Past
Germany's Federal Criminal Police Office, BKA, held a colloquium to examine the extent of its Nazi past - despite being founded after World War II. The first seminar focus on examining the role of ex-Nazi police officers who founded the BKA in 1951, and made up the core of its leadership into the 1970s. The BKA can be compared to FBI or MI5. Jörge Ziercke noted that the founding core of the BKA were 48 members of the Nazi security forces known as the Reichskriminalpolizei, Kripo. They became part of a new Criminal Police Force in the postwar British Occupied Zone, which evolved into the BKA. According to Ziercke, of the 48, 33 had been SS leaders.

Isle of Man to honour World War II land girls   (Article no longer available from the original source)
Women who stepped in to help keep the country going during Second World War are to be honoured. The Isle of Man is the first place in the British Isles to honour members of the Women's Land Army with a medal recognising their service. By 1941, after Britain had been at war for 20 months, many of the male farm workers had been conscripted or had volunteered for the armed forces. Internees and PoWs worked under guard close to their camps, but had to return by 4.30pm. To address the problem, women — known as land girls — were drafted in to help prepare the ground and harvest crops to feed the population.

Interviews with SS Nazi officer who caused the deaths of 2711   (Article no longer available from the original source)
Paul Harker had to keep reminding himself: the old man sitting across the table was a monster. Rolf Otto Schiller did not look like one, and his banter about the weather diverted Harker from compiling the memoirs of a former Nazi SS officer. After the pleasantries Schiller's demeanor would change. "Where did we leave off? When I ordered the liquidation of the Bialystok ghetto?" Schiller admits helping to implement the "Final Solution" by ordering the deaths of enemies of the Third Reich, and killing many of them himself. Accused of helping to slaughter more than 150,000 people, he was convicted for causing the deaths of 2,711. He served 30 years.

Dead Man in the Bunker - The head of a Nazi death squad
Martin Pollack's father was found murdered in a bunker in the mountains of Austria shortly after the end of Second World War. He was carrying false papers and attempting to escape to Italy. He had been the head of a Nazi death squad in the city of Linz. With the aid of diaries, photographs and official records, he retraces his father's rise through the Nazi hierarchy and his leadership of extermination programs.

Finally Filling a Vacant Lot Ravaged by Tides of Terror
During the Nazi era the site was the headquarters of the Gestapo, perhaps the most dreaded of Hitler's secret police. Berlin took a long while to figure out what to do with the spot where top Nazis like Heinrich Himmler and Reinhard Heydrich had their offices. It has always been a worrisome task for the Germans to construct places dedicated to portraying the Nazis, in part because of the fear that they could turn into pilgrimage sites for neo-Nazis. The places most closely identified with Hitler, his chancellery on Wilhelmstrasse and the famous underground bunker, are destroyed and unmarked. Most Berliners do not even know where they were.

House of the Wannsee Conference to unveil archive materials   (Article no longer available from the original source)
The Wannsee conference was once thought to be the point at which the Nazis decided to stop randomly killing Jews and instead to industrialize their murder. However, the decision had already been made months earlier. Reinhard Heydrich called the meeting to ensure everyone knew what Adolf Hitler wanted done and to establish SS oversight of the process. -- The exhibit: With the opening of the eastern European archives, the role of the police battalions and the Gestapo has become much clearer. The centerpiece is the minutes of the meeting taken by Adolf Eichmann, which spells out the Nazi's plans in bureaucratic language.

Nazi intelligence Sicherheitsdienst in Palestine   (Article no longer available from the original source)
In early 1933, Baron Leopold Itz Edler von Mildenstein, a man who a few years later was to become chief of the Jewish section of the SD (the Sicherheitsdienst, the SS intelligence branch headed by Reinhard Heydrich), was invited to tour Palestine and to write a series of articles for Goebbels´s Der Angriff. And so it was that the Mildensteins accompanied by Kurt Tuchler, a leading member of the Berlin Zionist Organisation, visited settlements in Eretz Israel. The highly positive articles, “A Nazi Visits Palestine,” were duly published, and a special medallion cast, with a swastika on one side and a Star of David on the other.

Horst Kopkow - The Gestapo killer who lived twice
He was a notorious Nazi war criminal behind countless gruesome slaughters. But Horst Kopkow cheated the gallows when Britain's spymasters put him on their payroll. By 1933 he had joined the SS, and in 1937 he was promoted and moved to Berlin to do intelligence work in the nerve centre of the Nazi security police: the Reich Security Head Office (RSHA). First directed by Reinhard Heidrich, the RSHA was the central SS department from which all official and secret police organs of the Third Reich were led. By 1939, Kopkow was a Kriminalkommissar in department IV of the RSHA, responsible for the Gestapo (Geheime Staatspolizei), headed by Obergruppenführer Heinrich Mueller.

Did Hitler's SS General Heinrich Müller chief of Gestapo escape?
Sixty years ago in the burning ruins of Berlin, SS General Heinrich Müller, chief of Hitler’s secret police and one of the most wanted Nazi war criminals, took refuge in his bunker from the advancing tanks of the Red Army. By the time the smoke cleared and peace was declared — on May 8, 1945 — he had vanished. As far as public records are concerned, he was never seen again. Now, six decades on, the truth seems to be coming to light. Two former senior intelligence officers, a Frenchman and an American, have unveiled a secret that they have been keeping to themselves for many years.

Adolf Eichmann: The Mind of a War Criminal
Eichmann combined commerce with activism in the Austrian SS until 1933, when the party was outlawed and Kaltenbrunner arranged for him to travel to Germany. He spent some time at an SS training centre before he was posted to Dachau concentration camp. From there he joined the SD, the Nazi Party Security Service. While rabble-rousers like Joseph Goebbels railed against the Jews, the SD quietly promoted Jewish emigration. To this end Eichmann contacted Zionist envoys and made a visit to Palestine in 1937. In Oct 1939 he was appointed to Department IV D 4 of the Gestapo. Eichmann even defied his chief, Himmler, who at the end of 1944 finally commanded the killing to stop.

CIA file on Heinrich Mueller - Chief of Hitler's Gestapo
The CIA file on Heinrich Mueller, chief of Hitler's Gestapo and a major Nazi war criminal, sheds important new light on U.S. and international efforts to find Mueller after his disappearance in May 1945. Though inconclusive on Mueller's ultimate fate, the file is very clear on one point. The Central Intelligence Agency and its predecessors did not know Mueller's whereabouts at any point after the war. In other words, the CIA was never in contact with Gestapo Mueller.

Gestapo man Alfons Goetzfried accused of playing a part in 17,000 executions
A former Gestapo member went on trial in Stuttgart accused of helping to murder 17,000 people at Majdanek concentration camp in Poland in 1943. Alfons Goetzfried denied the charge that he shot 500 people, and said he only reloaded the weapons. Recalling how prisoners were brought to the edge of a pit, some of them naked, he said: "It was terrible how the people were shot. The men, women and children wept and were then shot in the head or neck." Goetzfried took part at Majdanek in "Operation Harvest Festival" in which 42,000 people were killed. The operation was ordered by Heinrich Himmler, to make room in Majdanek and two other camps for Jews from the Lublin area.