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The Schutzstaffel better known as the infamous SS

Posted by Rudy Passera on Sep 14, 2020 12:00:00 AM

"We saved Europe from Bolshevism and Stalin. We eliminated the Jews who wanted to take control on us….. you should set up us statues”

Nazi Party Congress in Nuremberg, Germany, 1937 copy

War crimes, human breeding, death camps, they are not enough words to describe the infamous Schutzstaffel, known simply as the SS.

In 1925 Adolf Hitler decided to create a protection squadron, in German the “Schutzstaffel” also known as the infamous SS. In the 20’s the SS is a political militia composed of a few men who exist in the shadow of the Sturmabteilung (Assault section also known as the Brown Shirt) commanded by Ernst Röhm who fought for the same objective, support Adolf Hitler.

Contrary to the Schutzstaffel, the Sturmabteilung was composed of thousands of men. One man changed the SS’s fate for eternity. In 1929 Heinrich Himmler became the Reichsführer of the Schutzstaffel. His first objective was to transform this militia into a huge elite army. To do so, Himmler created the Intelligence Service with the purpose to have files on every activist in the party and also of their friends and families to control everyone.

Head of the SS Heinrich Himmler, one of the chief architects of the Holocaust, in Warsaw after German invasion of Poland, 1939 copy

The little militia is about to become the most infamous and fearless SS that we know of the Third Reich

A Knight Order

Officially, to be enlisted in the SS, the men had to meet specific criteria of the perfect German Aryan race defined by Adolf Hitler.

They have to be between 25 and 35 years old, measure at least 1m74, with an elongated skull, be blond with blue eyes and have no physical defects. More so they have to  prove that they are purebred with their family’s tree going as far back as 1750! This was to ensure the men came from German descent but surprisingly prove that they were well raised!

Heinrich Himmler sets up those important selection procedures because it was from this moment on that the image of the Schutzstaffel would remain as such; an elite force racially aware and dedicated followers of the National Socialist Party movement, known simply as the Nazi Party.

Young intellectuals, young graduates were recruited. In 1933, 17% of the men enlisted in the SS were PhD graduates; the Nazi Party allowed many more educated Germans to join the SS.

To be enlisted in the SS meant to be part of the elite. They distinguish themselves by their extremely tight black uniform, very elitist and their skull insignia in memory of a Cossack Regiment from the First World War.

Anti–Semitism, fanaticism, things we consider as the worst defaults in today's world were considered qualities for the SS soldiers.

In the bureaucratic reports produced by the Schutzstaffel the first quality was: “He must be a real fanatic”. The typical SS soldier must be harsh, hard against himself to find the strength to be able to accomplish any orders, even the worst.

The Schutzstaffel was the perfect counter-example of the Sturmabteilung. The troops of the SA were fighting in the streets against the communists, the men were from working class wearing brown shirts.

In reality, the procedure was much less severe than it was claimed in the day to day Nazi indoctrination. The men were enlisted by their degree of militancy which made it possible to say that the SS represented the racial elite of the German people. The intractable selection was just for the propaganda.

When Adolf Hitler was elected Chancellor on January 30th, 1933 the ranks of the Schutzstaffel grew up to about 50 000 enlisted men totally devoted to him.

Annual midnight swearing-in of SS troops at Feldherrnhalle, Munich, 1938 copy

In November 1933, Adolf Hitler created a new rite: every 8th of November, the SS soldiers were to come in front of the Feldherrnhalle (Odeonsplatz) in Munich to pronounce their oath of loyalty to Adolf Hitler there. “We swear allegiance to you Adolf Hitler until death”. The oath was something really important because it ensure the radicalization of the men in the SS, but also the abandonment of all of their values. Once the ceremony of the oath was finished the men were not individuals anymore but part of an elite force.

Heinrich Himmler’s obsessions was to restore the German purity and prove they were higher human beings. The belief of the SS was that it was the Germans who had created everything which at that time were the grounds of our civilization (Mathematics, Music, Philosophy..). The Germans were gentle, nice, victims of their own goodness threatened by people who want to harm them… the Jews!

For Heinrich Himmler and the rest of the Schutzstaffel, Christianity is Judaism. Within the SS, history and biology classes taught that the evangelization of Germany was made by priests disguised as Rabbi with the mission of changing the Germanic culture by introducing values which were completely harmful to life. All enlisted men and officers had to learn how to become a good crusader and how to fight together efficiently their enemies. For the SS, Christianity was created by the Jews

The members of the SS had to get away from all Christian rites. Prayers were replaced by Mein Kampf and Jesus portrait replaced by the true messiah “Adolf Hitler”.

Heinrich Himmler wanted to prove that the Germans created our modern civilization. He sent out archaeologists all over Germany to find out in the soil the irrefutable proof of the excellence of the Germans. (An expedition was even organized by the SS in the Saxon forest, precisely at Bastei where ancestors of the Germans presumably lived during the Middle Ages).

Heinrich Himmler always wanted more; he ordered some of his men to travel to Tibet to follow the steps of the first aryan and find the Holy Grail!

Even the German brands who supported the Third Reich wanted to believe it too, just like as Hugo Boss. The brand released a magazine which presented Adolf Hitler as someone tall and muscular. The purpose of the publicity was to arouse the desire to be an aryan.

Heinrich Himmler strongly believed that the SS were the elite of the German people and of the world, he considered the SS as an order.


Like any order, the Schutzstaffel wanted its own headquarters. It will be at the castle of Wewelsburg, North Rhine of Westphalia. Heinrich Himmler set his sights there to turn it into the ideological center of the SS. He built there a vast complex with a radius of 600 meters in length for the glory of the SS they could celebrate!

Note: In spite of the death of 1200 workers the works will not be finished in time

The Aryan race

From Heinrich Himmler’s point of view, the SS came from a biological elite. The SS soldiers were therefore encouraged to procreate as much as possible to give to the German people pure racial babies in sufficient numbers.

From the start Heinrich Himmler imposed birth rules; the SS must marry women like them, racially pure.

He personally sponsored each marriage and would say: “A wedding without children is a wedding without value”. Heinrich Himmler ordered his men to have at least four children per family, if they did not they faced financial penalties. The Schutzstaffel was struggling to live up to its ambitions! At the end of the 30’s only 40% of the SS soldiers got married and most of them only had one child.

To remedy to it, Heinrich Himmler took an incredible decision in October 1939. He signed the “procreation order” which encouraged the SS soldiers to have extra marital relations. Himmler said “You must have children everywhere, all the time whenever you can, with any woman”.

Indirectly Heinrich Himmler cuts himself away from the principles of monogamy, having a child with a single wife imposed by the Catholic church…by Judaism.

Heinrich Himmler wanted as quickly as possible to multiply the Germans with a  pure race. Birthing homes and maternity wards were built so the women who had a sexual relation with a SS solider could give birth safely. The first “Lebensborn” were built before the war, as the conflict spreads, they open up throughout Europe. During one of his speech Heinrich Himmler said “We have to steal the German blood where it is”.

As he was convinced that the Germans were the founders of our civilization, he thought there might be German blood in the Soviet Union territory. Across Poland, Ukraine and Russia all children who looked as if they had Aryan blood running thru their veins, per they physical appearance, were systematically kidnapped by the Schutzstaffel. These children were raised by orphanages or by SS families. Over 200 000 children were kidnapped and grew up without knowing who were their real parents...and for the vast majority still don't know today!

Munich Hiter and Röhm copy

The beginning of the repression

The allies of yesterday and nowadays our enemies. The SS soldiers were fully devoted to Adolf Hitler, his close circle convinced him to execute Ernst Röhm the commander of the SA. Ernst Röhm was very popular and a threat for the Führer. He ordered to eliminate him and the SA’ officers during the night of the 30th of June to the 1st of July 1934, what is knows still today the "Night of the Long Knives". With the death of Ernst Röhm, no one was in position to stop the Schutzstaffel.

In 1936 Heinrich Himmler controlled in its integrality the German Police, even the Gestapo created by Hermann Göring! The year 1936 was the beginning of the hunt against the opponents. Heinrich Himmler and the SS tried to give rational definitions of antisemitism without hate! 

The first people to be persecuted by the SS were the disabled people. First they were sterilized but it was not enough. They will put in place as of 1939 "Operation Aktion T4”: more than 200 000 disabled people were murdered by euthanasia until the end of the war for racial hygiene and a financial saving for the Nazi regime!

Antisemitism is an extremely complex form of racism because it is impossible to recognize someone of Jewish faith by his physical appearance. The “color line” which allows to separate people from the others doesn’t work in Germany, it was impossible for the Germans to tell if someone was Jewish or not by his skin color. 

The Nazi propaganda will try, thanks to the means of communication of the time, to physically decriminalize the Jews. For the SS, the Jews hide themselves among the German people, they have a long and nasty nose, they are sneaky. At first it was not about killing the Jews, just to provoke them to leave the country. It was the beginning of the Ghettos and of the Yellow Star.

Panoramic view of camp

The concentration camp of Dachau was the matrix of all the Nazi camps. Theodor Eicke was the commander of the camp, as for the other camps soon to be built, it was entirely under the SS’s control. No one, no jurisdictions had the right to argue with the decisions made there. Theodor Eicke turned Dachau into a place of terror, the guardians were young 22 years old men who grew up with the Nazi ideology. Theodor Eicke transformed these young people into monsters, each new prisoner was beaten up by the guardians. In 1936 the Schutzstaffel opened five new camps in Germany, the opponents were no longer the Jews and disabled people but also the Gypsies, the homosexual, the Free Masons and the beggars.

The Waffen SS

In 1934 the Schutzstaffel created its own army, the “Waffen SS” which was intended to become the biggest branch of the Schutzstaffel to compete directly with the Wehrmacht.

These combat troops were considered as political troops; someone who wanted to join the Waffen SS did it first as a militant act.

Adolf Hitler at the swearing-in of SS standard bearers at the Reich Party Congress, Nuremberg copy

The same year prisoners from Dachau concentration camp built near Bad Tölz, a military casern where the SS officers cadets were trained.

In the night of August 31st 1939, a squad of SS soldiers disguised as Polish soldiers attacked the German radio outpost of Sender Gleiwitz. It was a staging to give the opportunity for Adolf Hitler to invade Poland.

To make sure everyone believed it was a Polish attack, some prisoners from a concentration camp were ordered to wear Polish uniform. They were brought near the radio outpost and murdered. The operation codenamed “Himmler” was scheduled for a long time between the Führer and the SS headquarters. This new branch of combat troops fought with the Wehrmacht and participated in the French and Belgium Campaigns. The Waffen SS encountered several casualties because men were not career soldiers.

On June 22nd , 1941 Nazis launched officially Operation “Barbarossa” and broke their pact with the Soviet Union. From the point of view of the Schutzstaffel, it was the beginning of the “Lebensraum”. It consisted in extending the German living space to the East. According to the Nazi doctrine, these territories have to be cleaned of the sub-men who occupied it. The war against the Soviet Union was a crusade war, a war against the absolute enemy, a racial and political enemy who was Judeo-Bolshevism.

To conquer this vital space, the SS demonstrated once again their fanaticism, the regular Army (The Wehrmacht) was followed by 3000 Einsatzgruppen soldiers.

These death troops were commanded by the Schutzstaffel and were ordered to eradicate all opponents of the Nazi regime. Cruelty escalated during the summer of 1941, Heinrich Himmler ordered his men to murder not only the men but also the women and children. He knows that for the SS soldiers it is difficult to kill a child or a woman. To justify it, Heinrich Himmler will indoctrinate them even more. The head of the Schutzstaffel normalized violence: “It is cowardly to kill a child but remember this, the child is Jewish, he will grow up and will kill our own children”. The SS had to kill the women and children Jewish for their own racial good, they had to kill them but not harm them!

These barbaric ideas reached  a peak between the 28th and 29th of September 1941 in Kiev. 33 711 Jewish were taken to the ravine of Babi Yar to be executed with a bullet in the head; bodies were covered with grass, and the next were murdered at the same place for two long days.

The massacre of Babi Yar was the worst massacre committed during the Second World War by bullets.

From June to December 1941 approximately 550 000 people who lived in the Soviet Union were murdered by the Einsatzgruppen: 1 person killed by soldier per day during 6 months! 

At least 1 million people were executed by bullets during the Second World War by the Waffen SS;  Villages and synagogue were burnt down.

Extermination Camps

For the German people and the people from the territories annexed by the Third Reich it was totally normal to murder Soviet Jews. But the SS wanted to kill all the Jews from Europe!

Contrary to the other Nazi crimes, everything that happened in the camps was to remain a secret. The SS believed that the public opinion was not yet ready to understand, because the prisoners came from all over Europe. All camps were built in the middle of the nature, in the middle of forests well hidden to hide what was going on inside...but being pragmatic, near a rail-track!


As the war went on, the SS Headquarters did not anticipate that these massacres would have psychological consequences on the men. More so, the killing people by bullet was not fast enough!

On the 17th of July 1942, Heinrich Himmler went to Auschwitz to witness a new execution process. He witnessed the death of 449 Dutch Jews in a couple of minutes; the SS had put the final solution into practice by murdering the prisoners with the Ziklon B gas.

The gas chambers were created as morbid logistic efficiency as they were able to commit mass murder in a very short time but also spare the executioners unnecessary trauma! A killing protocol was created, to preserve the well being of the executioners, as much as possible. There were those who got people out of the train, those who drove them to undress and shave their heads and those who opened the hatches to pour the Ziklon B gas.

The beginning of the end

During the winter of 1942 to 1943 the German army was defeated by the Red Army at Stalingrad. The Waffen SS appeared as the last hope for the Third Reich, the propaganda presented it as an elite corps that would be able to aid the regular army. Its ranks continued to grow, the numbers doubled in one year to reach half a million recruits! The recruitment of the men was sped up, the selection criteria were abandoned one after another, the young men didn’t need the agreement of their parents to join the SS anymore, even the criterion of racial purity was abandoned. I.e. The 5th SS Panzer Division Viking was reserved for the foreign volunteers such as the French, Spanish and even Bosnian Muslims! 

From 1943 to the end of the war most of the men enlisted in the Waffen SS were teenagers or young adults without any experience in combat as the 2nd SS Panzer Division Das Reich or the 12th SS Panzer Division Hitlerjugend nicknamed by the Allies the “Baby Division”.

On the 6th of June 1944 during the D-day in Normandy, the Third Reich fought on two fronts: at the East against the Red Army which was getting closer and closer to the German border and at the West against the Allied Forces. The Wehrmacht accumulated the defeats, the Waffen SS were sent to Normandy to reinforce the frontlines.

However, this did not stop the Waffen SS to continue their war crimes at the West! The French resistance was ordered by the Special Operations Executive to destroy, railroads, roads, electric power plants which would have enabled  the German reinforcements to reach Normandy. The extermination policy at the West, at this time of the war, was no longer the same. According to Heinrich Himmler it is a policy of “prevention”.

To force the French resistance to stop the sabotage of German infrastructures, the Waffen SS will start killing civilians as in the village of Oradour-sur-Glane on the 10th of June 1944 where the 2nd SS Panzer Division Das Reich killed everyone or the day before at Tulle where the men were hanged.

At the end of the war Heinrich Himmler was captured, he killed himself by biting a cyanide capsule. Most of the SS committed suicide...more got away with it after the war with The Cold War!

Nuremberg Trial

Defendants_in_the_dock_at_the_Nuremberg_TrialsFrom the 20th of November 1945 to the 1st of October 1946 was held the Nuremberg Trial to sentence the dignitaries Nazis of the Third Reich. Four charges were invoked: Conspiracy ; War crimes ; Crimes against humanity ; Crimes against peace 

During the trial, number 27 was not a person but an institution: the “Schutzstaffel”. The judges sentenced it as a criminal organization of 800 000 members.

The fanaticism of its militants was still present despite the defeat. The soldiers took full responsibility but guilty of what? “We saved Europe from the Bolshevism and from Stalin. We eliminated the Jews who wanted to take control of us….. you should set up statues for what we did!”.

It is clear that the SS were monsters, but some of them had no choice but to join its ranks because of the right of “Sippenhaft”. This right allowed Himmler to enlist thousands of teenagers in the territories annexed by Germany like Alsace "Against their Will....". Of the estimated 60000 Alsatians recruited by force by the Third Reich, 10000 are still missing today.

Written by Pierre Fallet, WWII Trainee of Normandy American Heroes

Topics: World War 2, Nazi 2nd SS Panzer Division Das Reich, Nazi 5th SS Panzer Division Viking, Nazi 12th SS Panzer Division Hitler Jugend, Nazi Einsatzgruppen SS paramilitary death squads, SS, Third Reich, France, Reichsführer of the SS, Heinrich L. Himmler, Stabschef of the Sturmabteilung, Operation Aktion T4 mass murders, Lebensborn Aryan children project, Ucrania, Ernst Röhm, SA, Limousin, Oradour-sur-Glane massacre, Germany, Nazi

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