When Hermann Goering became minister of the interior in Prussia in 1933 he recruited Rudolf Diels as head of Dept 1A of the Prussian State Police. Goering was impressed by Diels and made him head of what became known as the Gestapo. Others who held senior positions in the organisation included Arthur Nebe and Kurt Daluege

Heinrich Himmler and Reinhard Heydrich became jealous of the power of the Gestapo and began to spread rumours about Diels's loyalty to Adolf Hitler. One of these stories claimed that Diels had joined the conspiracy being organized by Ernst Roehm. Without the support of Hermann Goering Diels would have been killed during the Night of the Long Knives.

In April 1934, Hermann Goering, under pressure from Heinrich Himmler and Wilhelm Frick, agreed to hand over control of the Gestapo to the Schutzstaffel (SS). In 1936 Himmler placed the Gestapo under the command of Reinhard Heydrich with Heinrich Muller becoming the chief of operations.

During the Second World War there were 45,000 members of the Gestapo. However, it is estimated they also employed 160,000 agents and informers.

When the German Army occupied countries they were accompanied by the Gestapo. When on foreign duties they wore civilian clothes or SS uniforms. They were responsible for rounding up communists, partisans and Jews and others who were considered to be a threat to German rule. The Gestapo quickly developed a reputation for using brutal interrogation methods in order to obtain confessions.

At the Nuremberg War Crimes Trial the Gestapo was indicted for crimes against humanity. By this time most of its leaders were dead or like Heinrich Muller, had escaped capture by assuming another identity.

I became commissioner of the Interior in Prussia and at the same time Minister of the Reich. I had taken on a heavy responsibility and a vast field of work lay before me. It was clear that I should be able to make a little use of the administrative system as it then was. I should have to make great changes. To begin with, it seemed to me of the first importance to get the weapon of the criminal and political police firmly into my own hands. Here it was that I made the first sweeping changes of personnel. Out of 32 police chiefs I removed 22. New men were brought in, and in every case these men came from the great reservoir of the Storm Troops.

I gave strict orders and demanded that the police should devote all their energies to the ruthless extermination of subversive elements. In one of my first big meetings in Dortmund I declared that for the future there would be only one man who would bear the responsibility in Prussia, and that one man was myself. Every bullet fired from the barrel of a police pistol was my bullet. If you call that murder, then I am the murderer.

Finally I alone created, on my own initiative, the State Secret Police Department. This is the instrument which is so much feared by the enemies of the State, and which is chiefly responsible for the fact that in Germany and Prussia today there is no question of a Marxist or Communist danger.

I was in charge of the Gestapo until the beginning of 1934. Meanwhile Himmler was in charge of the police in provinces of Germany with the exception of Prussia. Himmler had become the leader of all these police forces, and, of course, he now sought to get the leadership of the police in Prussia as well. It was not agreeable to me, I wanted to handle my police myself. But when Hitler asked me to do this and said that it would be the correct thing, and it was proven, I actually handed the police over to Himmler, who put Heydrich in charge.

It is nearly impossible to relate what happened for four and a half hours, from 5.00pm to 9.30pm in that interrogation room. Every conceivable cruel method of blackmail was used against me to obtain by force and at all costs confessions and statements both about comrades who had been arrested, and about political activities.

It began initially with that friendly 'good guy' approach as I had known some of these fellows when they were still members of Severing's Political Police (during the Weimar Republic). Thus, they reasoned with me, etc., in order to learn, during that playfully conducted talk, something about this or that comrade and other matters that

interested them. But the approach proved unsuccessful. Was then brutally assaulted and in the process had four teeth knocked out of my jaw. This proved unsuccessful too. By way of a third act they tried hypnosis which

was likewise totally ineffective.

But the actual high point of this drama was the final act. They ordered me to take off my pants and then two men grabbed me by the back of the neck and placed me across a footstool. A uniformed Gestapo officer with a whip of hippopotamus hide in his hand then beat my buttocks with measured strokes, Driven wild with pain I repeatedly screamed at the top of my voice.

Then they held my mouth shut for a while and hit me in the face, and with a whip across chest and back. I then collapsed, rolled on the floor, always keeping face down and no longer replied to any of their questions. I received a few kicks yet here and there, covered my face, but was already so exhausted and my heart so strained, it nearly took my breath away.

(1) Operations against Jews, in particular against their synagogues will commence very soon throughout Germany. There must be no interference. However, arrangements should be made, in consultation with the General Police, to prevent looting and other excesses.

(2) Any vital archival material that might be in the synagogues must be secured by the fastest possible means.

(3) Preparations must be made for the arrest of from 20,000 to 30,000 Jews within the Reich. In particular, affluent Jews are to be selected. Further directives will be forthcoming during the course of the night.

(4) Should Jews be found in the possession of weapons during the impending operations the most severe measures must be taken. SS Verfuegungstruppen and general SS may be called in for the overall operations. The State Police must under all circumstances maintain control of the operations by taking appropriate measures.

We all made the discovery that a man can endure far more pain that he would have deemed possible. Those of us who had never learned to pray did so now, and found that prayer, and only prayer, can bring comfort in such terrible straits, and that it gives a more than human endurance. We learned also that the prayers of our friends and relatives could transmit currents and strength to us.

Between the end of October 1944 and April 1945, we made three attacks on Gestapo headquarters in Denmark. In each instance the primary object was to destroy Gestapo records and evidence against patriots who were under arrest or about to be arrested for their activities against the Germans, with the secondary object of trying to release the prisoners held in the headquarters and killing as many Gestapo men as possible.

The first raid was directed against the Gestapo headquarters for Jutland, which was in a building in Aarhus University.

The second raid was against the Gestapo headquarters in Copenhagen. The Gestapo had occupied the offices of the Shell Oil Company in the centre of the town, and the building was known as the Shell House. As usual we had the target and the approaches to it modelled, and planned the operation with the greatest care because the slightest error in navigation or bombing would cause heavy casualties among the Danes. Shortly before the operation took place, I was worried to learn that a large number of the Resistance Movement were imprisoned in one wing of the building and it seemed certain they would perish in the attack. I discussed this with Major Truelson temporarily attached to my headquarters while we were planning the operation, and he assured me that they would sooner die from our bombing than at the hands of the Germans, adding, "Who knows-some might not be killed and succeed in escaping, as happened at Aarhus, and anyhow their death will save many more Danish lives, so don't worry."

We lost three Mosquitos and one Mustang on this occasion, but succeeded in completely demolishing the Shell House, destroying all Gestapo records, liberating all the prisoners without the loss of a single life, and killing twenty-six Gestapo. It will always remain a miracle to me that anyone inside the building survived to tell the tale.

The third and last attack on the Gestapo in Denmark was on the 17th April when we raided their headquarters at Odense. Bob Bateson with Sismore his navigator again led, Peter and I flying as his No. 2. We had great difficulty in finding the target, a house in a thickly populated area and well camouflaged with netting. We must have been in the target area at least half an hour searching and of course just inviting trouble from German fighters. Happily they never appeared and eventually we found and destroyed our objective. The difficulty we had turned out to be fortunate, for it gave the people in the area time to disperse and not a single Danish life was lost.

I declared that I had no more to say, after which those devils handed me over to the torturers. They half dragged and half carried me up to the attic of the college, took off all my clothes and put on new handcuffs. To these a string was attached which could be tightened and caused insufferable pain. I was thrown on a bed and whipped with a leather dog whip. I was then taken down to the office again for further interrogation by Werner and his two assistants. Suddenly we heard a whine of the first bombs, while the planes thundered across the University. Werner's face was as pale as death from fright, and he and his assistants ran out of the room. I saw them disappear down a passage to the right and instinctively I went to the left. This saved my life because shortly afterwards the whole building collapsed and Werner and his assistants were killed. I was later rescued by Danish Patriots.

The torture of the Gestapo (25 photos)

It is a small neat house in Kristiansade next to the road in the port of Stavanger, and during the war was the most horrible place throughout the south of Norway.

«Skrekkens hus» — «House of terror" — so named it in the city. Since January 1942, the city archives building was the headquarters of the Gestapo in southern Norway. These prisoners were brought here were equipped torture chambers, hence the people sent to concentration camps and shot.

now in the basement of the building where the punishment cells were located and where prisoners were tortured, a museum, telling about what happened during the war in the building of State Archives.

Disposition of the basement corridors left unchanged. There were only new lights and doors. In the main corridor of the main exhibition is arranged with archival materials, photographs, posters.

So suspended beaten arrested chain.

So tortured with electric stoves. With particular zeal of the executioners could ignite a human hair on the head.

About water torture I wrote earlier. It is applied in the Archives.

In this device, finger crimp pulled out nails. The machine authentic — after the city's liberation from the Germans all the equipment torture chambers remained in place and was saved.

Next — other devices for interrogation with the "addiction».

Several basements are arranged reconstruction — as it looked then, in this very spot. This camera, which contained extremely dangerous detainees — trapped in the clutches of the Gestapo member of the Norwegian Resistance.

In the next room was located a torture chamber. It reproduced the actual scene of torture couples underground, taken by the Gestapo in 1943, during the session with the intelligence center in London. Two Gestapo tortured his wife in front of her husband, chained to the wall. In a corner, on an iron girder, suspended one member of an underground group failed. They say that before the interrogation the Gestapo pumped alcohol and drugs.

In all cell left, as if a 43-m. If you turn the pink stool, standing at the feet of the women, you can see the mark of the Gestapo Kristiansand.

This reconstruction of the interrogation — Gestapo agent provocateur (left) presents arrested clandestine radio operator group (it sits right in handcuffs) his radio in a suitcase. In the center sits kristiansandskogo chief of the Gestapo, SS-Hauptsturmführer Rudolf Kerner — about it I had to tell.

In this showcase items and documents of the Norwegian patriots, which is sent to a concentration camp near Oslo Greene — Chief forwarding station in Norway, where the prisoners were sent to other concentration camps in Europe.

Notation of different groups of prisoners in the Auschwitz concentration camp (Auschwitz-Birkenau). The Jew, the political, the Roma, the Spanish Republican, a dangerous criminal, a criminal, a war criminal, a Jehovah's Witness, homosexual. The icon of Norwegian political prisoner wrote the letter N.

The museum lead school tours. I came across one such — a few local teenagers walked the corridors together with the Tour Robstadom, volunteers from local residents who survived the war. They say that in the year in the Archives of the museum is visited by about 10,000 students.

Toure told the guys about Auschwitz. Two boys from the group had been there recently on a tour.

Soviet prisoners of war in a concentration camp. In his hand — a home-made wooden bird.

In a separate showcase things made by hands of Russian prisoners of war in the Norwegian camps. These crafts Russian bartered for food from the locals. Our neighbor in Kristiansand was a whole collection of wooden birds — on the way to school, she often met our group of prisoners going to work under guard, and gave them their breakfast in exchange for the carved wooden toys.

Reconstruction of guerrilla radio. Guerrillas in southern Norway to London passed information about German troop movements, deployment of military equipment and vehicles. In the north of the Norwegian intelligence supplied the Soviet Northern Navy.

"Germany — a nation of creators."

Norwegian patriots had to work under extreme pressure on the local population Goebbels's propaganda. The Germans have set ourselves the task of early nazification country. Quisling government is taking to this effort in the field of education, culture and sport. Quisling Nazi Party (Nasjonal Samling) before the start of the war inspired the Norwegians that the main threat to their security is the military power of the Soviet Union. It should be noted that intimidation of Norwegians about Soviet aggression in the north contributed to many Finnish campaign in 1940. With the advent of Quisling has only strengthened their propaganda with the help of agencies Goebbels. The Nazis in Norway to convince the population that only a strong Germany could protect the Norwegians from the Bolsheviks.

Several posters distributed by the Nazis in Norway. «Norges nye nabo» — «New Norwegian neighbor", 1940 Note the fashionable and now welcome "inversion" of Latin letters to simulate the Cyrillic alphabet.

The promotion of a "new Norwegian" strongly emphasizes the relationship of the two "Nordic" peoples, their solidarity in the struggle against British imperialism and "wild Bolshevik hordes". Norwegian patriots in response to use in their fight against the character of King Haakon and his image. The motto of the King «Alt for Norge» strongly ridiculed the Nazis who inspired the Norwegians that the military difficulties — a temporary phenomenon, and Vidkun Quisling — the new leader of the nation.

Two walls in the dark corridors of the museum given to the criminal case, which was tried on seven main Gestapo in Kristiansand. The Norwegian jurisprudence of such cases has never been — the Norwegians tried Germans and citizens of another state, accused of crimes in the territory of Norway. The process involved three hundred witnesses, about a dozen lawyers, the Norwegian and foreign press. Gestapo officers were tried for the torture and abuse of detainees, was alone episode of the execution without trial of 30 Russian and Polish prisoners of war 1. June 16, 1947 were all sentenced to death for the first time and was temporarily included in the Criminal Code of Norway after the war.

Rudolf Kerner — kristiansandskogo Gestapo chief. A former teacher of shoemaking. Notorious sadist in Germany had a criminal past. Went to camp a few hundred members of the Norwegian resistance, is guilty of the death of the organization disclosed Gestapo Soviet prisoners of war in a concentration camp in the south of Norway. It was, like the rest of his accomplices, was sentenced to death, which was later commuted to life imprisonment. He was released in 1953 under an amnesty announced by the Norwegian government. He went to Germany, where his traces were lost.

Next to the archive building is a modest monument to those killed at the hands of the Gestapo Norwegian patriots. At the local cemetery, napodaleku from this place, lie the remains of Soviet prisoners of war, and British pilots shot down by the Germans in the skies over Kristiansand. Every year on May 8 at the flagpoles near the graves are raised flags of the USSR, the United Kingdom and Norway.

In 1997, the archive building, from which the State Archives moved to another location, it was decided to sell to private hands. Local veterans, public organizations were strongly opposed, to organize a special committee, and have achieved that in 1998 the owner of the building State Concern Statsbygg passed a historic building veterans committee. Now, here at the same museum, about which I have told you, the offices of the Norwegian and international humanitarian organizations — the Red Cross, Amnesty International, the United Nations.

Careless whispers: how the German public used and abused the Gestapo

The Gestapo was a key element in the Nazi terror system. The very word conjures up a nightmare image of an all-powerful Orwellian ‘Big Brother’ style secret police force keeping the German public under constant surveillance. Films, novels and TV documentaries have embedded this image in the popular mind. But is it true? In reality, the Gestapo was a very small organisation. In 1933, it had 1,000 employees and even at its peak in 1944, its active officers within Germany numbered 16,000, policing a population of 66 million. In Düsselfdorf, with a population of 500,000, there were 126 Gestapo officers in 1937. Essen had 650,000 inhabitants and just 43. The same pattern was repeated in all the other major German cities. Most rural towns had no Gestapo presence at all. The Gestapo was underfunded, under-resourced and over stretched.

Yet this did not mean the Gestapo was a weak or inefficient instrument of Nazi terror. To make up for a lack of staff, the Gestapo decided the vast majority of the population were loyal to the regime. It ruthlessly targeted its resources against groups within German society defined as political opponents, most notably, communists and socialists, religious dissidents, Jews, and a much broader group of ‘racial’ enemies, including long-term criminals, prostitutes, homosexuals, Gypsies, juvenile gangs and the long-term unemployed. If you did not belong to any of these groups then you had no reason to fear a knock on the door late at night by a Gestapo officer.

The Gestapo was extremely pro-active in hunting down communists, who were rarely treated leniently. Over 70 per cent of the surviving Gestapo files relate to communists. In 1933,600,000 communists were arrested and 2,000 killed in concentration camps. The killers were SS, not the Gestapo. By October 1935, of the 422 key Communist Party (KPD) officials in post in 1933, 219 were in custody, 125 in exile, 24 had been killed, 42 had left the party and only 12 were still at large. The fate of communist activist Eva Buch is typical. Eva was studying foreign languages at Humboldt University when she became involved with a socialist resistance group called the Red Orchestra. They had associates in academia and within the Air Ministry. They were accused of passing on secrets to the Soviet Union. On October 10th, 1942, Eva was arrested by the Gestapo after her flat was raided and an anti-Nazi leaflet she had translated into French was discovered. When a Gestapo officer told her during her interrogation she’d be treated more leniently if she named other collaborators within the group, she replied: ‘That would make me as low as you want me to appear.’ She was sentenced to death.

Brave individuals such as this appear frequently in Gestapo files related to religious opponents too. The story of Paul Schneider is particularly heroic. He was a Protestant Evangelical preacher who opposed the attempt to Nazify the Lutheran churches. During the winter of 1935-36, Schneider was reported to the Gestapo on no fewer than 12 occasions for making anti-Nazi comments. He was banned from preaching. He was sent by the Gestapo to the notorious Buchenwald concentration camp and placed in solitary confinement. He would loudly recite passages from the Bible from the window of his cell to comfort other inmates every evening. For this, he was subjected to brutal beatings by SS guards. Karl-Otto Koch, the camp commandant, realised he could not break Schneider. He offered him the chance of release if he signed a declaration promising never to preach again. Schneider refused to sign it. On July 18th, 1939, he was killed by lethal injection. He was 27.

It’s been estimated that only 15 per cent of Gestapo cases started because of surveillance operations. A far greater number began following a tip-off from a member of the public. Every allegation, no matter how trivial, was investigated with meticulous and time-consuming thoroughness. It’s been estimated that about 40 per cent of these denunciations were personally motivated. A Berlin stoker reported a prostitute who gave him venereal disease. She was placed in a concentration camp. Gestapo officers were extremely wary of husbands and wives who informed on each other. A housewife in Mannheim told the Gestapo her husband was making derogatory comments about Hitler’s regime. After a lengthy investigation, it emerged that the wife wanted her husband out of the way to continue a love affair with an off-duty soldier. In another case, two married doctors were involved. The wife accused the husband of carrying out illegal abortions. This led to his arrest and imprisonment. The husband claimed his wife had a vengeful motive. The husband had passed on a sexually transmitted disease to his wife, while carrying on a love affair. Her motive was revenge, but he served eight months in prison before this was finally established.

During the second World War, denunciations increased as a raft of new regulations were brought in. This was a golden age for snitchers. One offence in particular relied heavily on tip-offs from the public: listening to foreign radio broadcasts, particularly those of the BBC. Peter Holdenberg, a 64-year-old disabled bookseller, who lived in Essen, was accused by his neighbour Helen Stuffel of this offence, which carried a prison sentence of up to 18 months. She had listened at the wall of Peter’s next-door apartment. She said she could clearly hear him listening to BBC programmes during the evening. Another neighbour, Irmgard Pierce, corroborated her allegations. Holdenberg was brought in for questioning by the Gestapo on December 10th, 1942. ‘This is all a conspiracy,’ he complained. ‘I’ve had trouble with Stuffel in the past and Pierce always backed her up.’ He depicted the allegations as foolish gossip. He was not anti-Nazi at all. The ordeal of his arrest and confinement in a Gestapo cell was obviously deeply traumatic. On the evening of his arrest, Holdenberg was found hanging in his cell. He died in hospital on the following day, without ever regaining consciousness. His denouncer had caused his death.

The German public progressively realised uttering critical comments against the regime in public had to be avoided. A study of denunciations from the court files of the Bavarian city of Augsburg shows that in 1933, 75 per cent of cases began with a denouncement after overhearing anti-Nazi comments in pubs, but in 1939, this figure had fallen to 10 per cent.

If the success of a police force is measured by the numbers of cases that end in a court conviction, the Gestapo can be regarded as deeply inefficient. A study of a sample of cases that began with public tips-offs from the Würzburg area reveals that only 20 per cent ever went to court and a whopping 75 per cent failed to end up with a conviction.

The Gestapo came to realise investigating false allegations was wasting a great deal of its time. As a letter, dated August 1st, 1943, from the Ministry of Justice in Berlin put it: ‘The denouncer is the biggest scoundrel in the whole country.’

The Gestapo: The Myth and Reality of Hitler’s Secret Police by Frank McDonough is published by Coronet, £20. McDonough is professor of international history at Liverpool John Moores University and specialises in the history of the Third Reich.

The History Teacher Who Outwitted the Gestapo

A Born Rebel
Lucie Bernard was born in 1912 in the small commune of Châtenay-sur-Seine in north-central France, southeast of Paris. As a teenager, she rebelled against her parents’ wishes by refusing to train as a primary school teacher, a solid position that would have helped her working-class family move up the social ladder. Instead, she moved to Paris by herself at the age of 19 and began studying to gain entrance to the elite Sorbonne.

Lucie and Raymond Aubrac. (Credit: Chicago Review Press)

The principle of refusal—le refus, in French—that would define Lucie’s life developed early, according to Siân Rees, author of the recently published “Lucie Aubrac: The French Resistance Heroine Who Outwitted the Gestapo,” the first English-language biography of Lucie. “She never deviated from her principles or political beliefs, the most important of which was the guarantee of liberty,” Rees writes.

Troubled by the poverty she saw in Paris during the Great Depression, Lucie became an enthusiastic member of the French Communist Party. She finally qualified to enter the Sorbonne in 1937 and graduated in only a year, winning her first teaching post at a lycພ (one of France’s state-funded secondary schools) in Strasbourg, located on the Rhine River just two miles from France’s border with Germany.

Wartime Love Story
In 1939, she met and fell in love with Raymond Samuel, an engineering student from a well-to-do Jewish family. Later that year, she was preparing to leave for the United States, having won a scholarship grant. But on September 1, four days before Lucie was to sail for New York, German troops invaded Poland, prompting Britain, France and other Allied nations to declare war on Germany. Lucie canceled her voyage, managing to get across France and smuggle herself into Strasbourg𠅋y then off-limits to civilians𠅋y convincing army medics to carry her on a stretcher. Reunited, she and Raymond married that December.

Raymond Aubrac during World War II. (Credit: Apic/Getty Images)

After nine months of facing off with French troops across the border, Germany attacked France in the spring of 1940, and Raymond was one of nearly 2 million French soldiers captured in only a few weeks of fighting. The humiliated French government turned to Marshal Phillipe Pétain, the 84-year-old hero of World War I, who promptly signed an armistice with Germany.

Knowing she had to rescue her husband before he was transferred to a Nazi POW camp in Germany, Lucie again made a perilous crossing through France to where he was being held in Sarrebourg. During a brief visit, she discreetly passed Raymond a drug that would cause a fever when he was transferred to a hospital, she was able to smuggle in a disguise that allowed him to escape. The young couple stayed in a hotel (where most of the other guests were German officers) before fleeing on a train to Lyon, the most important city in France’s so-called 𠇏ree zone.”

Joining the Resistance
Unlike many in France, Lucie was never under any illusion that Pétain’s government headquartered in the spa town of Vichy, was legitimate. In the fall of 1940, following her tried-and-true principle of le refus, Lucie became one of the earliest members of the French Resistance, the growing movement dedicated to undermining the Vichy regime. Even as she apparently lived a dutiful life as wife, mother (Jean-Pierre, known as Boubou, was born in 1941) and teacher, Lucie was also an underground freedom fighter, helping to publish the journal Libération, delivering packages, distributing propaganda and helping imprisoned resisters escape.

Klaus Barbie, “The Butcher of Lyon,” in 1944. (Credit: Gabriel Hackett/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

By the end of 1942, the Germans occupied all of France. Large-scale deportations of Jews had begun, though no one was aware of the horrific reality of the Final Solution at that time. That winter, Klaus Barbie of the Geheime Staatspolizei, or Gestapo, arrived in Lyon. In an effort to infiltrate and crush the Resistance, he favored interrogating and “turning” captured resisters into double agents. In March 1943, the Gestapo arrested Raymond, who was by then using the surname Aubrac. Though he was in charge of recruitment and training of soldiers for the Resistance organization Libération-Sud, Raymond (arrested under the alias François Vallet) was released after convincing the Germans he was only selling things on the black market.

Outwitting the Gestapo
On June 21, however, Raymond was arrested again, along with the chief Resistance leader Jean Moulin, in a Gestapo raid in the Lyon suburb of Caluire. Barbie and his officers beat and tortured both men Moulin would later die from his injuries. It was while Raymond was being held in Montluc prison that Lucie—pregnant with their second child at the time—visited Barbie to ask that her 𠇏iancé” be released due to his ill health. After Barbie flatly rejected her pleas, Lucie returned again, and he informed her that Raymond (or rather, 𠇏rançois Vallet”) had been sentenced to death.

Page from an American comic book detailing Lucie’s resistance work. (Credit: Chicago Review Press)

Even as Lucie visited Lyon’s morgues, hoping not to find her husband’s body, she didn’t give up on her rescue plan. She gained access to another German officer and won his sympathy, citing a French law allowing prisoners condemned to death to marry. The ruse worked, and on October 21 the “wedding” took place at Gestapo headquarters. An hour later, as the Germans transported Raymond back to prison, Lucie and several other armed members of the Resistance attacked the van, killing several German officers and freeing Raymond along with 16 other prisoners.

National Heroes
Exposed and wanted by the Nazis, the Aubracs went into hiding with their young son, moving from safe house to safe house until they were finally evacuated to Britain in February 1944. (Lucie gave birth to a daughter, Catherine, only days after their arrival.) The Allied press celebrated the couple𠅊nd especially Lucie𠅏or their heroism, and held them up as symbols of the valiant French Resistance.

Soon after June 6, 1944, when British and U.S. troops landed successfully in Normandy, Lucie traveled back to France as a representative of the Free French government of Charles de Gaulle. She was on hand in Paris on August 25, when the German garrison in that city surrendered to Allied troops and General de Gaulle addressed the jubilant crowds outside the Hotel de Ville.

Post-War Legacy (and Controversy)
The Aubracs’ triumphant post-war return was tinged with sadness, as Raymond’s parents had been deported to Auschwitz in January 1944. Lucie began teaching history again, and would spend the rest of her life speaking to thousands of students about the Resistance. She also campaigned against discrimination, and on behalf of progressive causes, such as Algerian independence. In 1996, she was presented with France’s highest award, the Legion of Honor, for her role in the Resistance.

Nazifying the Political Police

On January 30, 1933, Adolf Hitler was appointed chancellor of Germany. Hitler and other Nazi leaders planned to establish a dictatorship. They also planned to eliminate all political opposition. The new Nazi regime intended to use Germany’s political police to accomplish these goals. However, there were some obstacles to overcome.

Obstacles to Nazifying the Political Police

Initially, there were two main obstacles:

  1. First, the Weimar Republic’s constitution remained in effect. It contained legal protections against arbitrary police actions.
  2. Second, Germany’s political police forces were decentralized. They remained subordinate to various state and local governments. The police did not answer to Hitler as chancellor.

These two obstacles limited how Hitler and the Nazi regime could legally use the political police. For example, in the first weeks of the Nazi regime, the Nazis could not simply order the political police to arrest Communists without a legal basis. But this quickly changed.

Overcoming Legal Obstacles

Beginning in February 1933, the Nazi regime used emergency decrees to transform Germany. These decrees freed the political police from legal and constitutional limitations. The most important of these was the Reichstag Fire Decree. It was issued on February 28, 1933. This decree suspended individual rights and legal protections, such as the right to privacy. This made it easier for the police to investigate, interrogate, and arrest political opponents. Police could now read private mail, secretly listen to telephone calls, and search homes without warrants.


obscured text on front cover
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American Gestapo

Joseph Bolanos&rsquo reputation as a pillar of New York City&rsquos Upper West Side community was shredded in February when FBI agents and heavily armed police raided his mother&rsquos apartment where Bolanos was spending the night. They handcuffed him while other agents battered down the door to his home and kept him in the street in full view of the neighbors while they ransacked both apartments.

During this raid Bolanos suffered a stroke&mdashthe first of two caused by the stress of this gross miscarriage of justice. The reason for this federal assault was that Bolanos, a registered Democrat, had attended part of the Trump rally on Jan. 6 in Washington, D.C. He and his friends never went inside the Capitol Building, but a neighbor overheard him talking about the rally and alerted the Feds.

Bolanos was one of more than 500 people arrested for their activities during the January breach of the Capitol, and the numbers continue to grow. These ongoing arrests, the reputations they have destroyed, and the absurd and excessive force used to take people like Bolanos into custody should raise some frightening questions about the state of freedom in America. It is horrifying that our federal government has unleashed FBI agents and police on American citizens in ways so closely resembling the tactics of Communist China.

Miranda Devine tells the sickening story of the 69-year-old Bolanos&rsquos arrest in a piece for the New York Post. Before the arrest, Bolanos was known in his neighborhood for his care of his 94-year-old mother and for often helping out his neighbors. He became a Red Cross volunteer after the 9/11 attacks and even received a commendation from the police after rescuing a woman from a mugger.

Though he was never charged with a crime, the neighbors who once regarded Bolanos as a lovable character and an asset to the neighborhood now shun him as a domestic terrorist.

Now let&rsquos head south to Florida, where police last week arrested 73-year-old pastor and Vietnam War veteran James Cusick for being inside the Capitol building during the riot. As reported by Gateway Pundit&rsquos Cassandra Fairbanks, Cusick claims no one told him not to enter the building, and the police with whom he chatted even directed him to a bathroom. (Anyone who was in Washington for this rally knows how few portable toilets the city provided for the hundreds of thousands of attendees.)

The police also took into custody Cusick&rsquos son and one of Cusick&rsquos friends, both of whom had also attended the rally. When Cusick&rsquos daughter asked the officers why they were arresting her father, the police seemed embarrassed and answered they were only doing their job.

The federal government is still holding many of those who participated in the Jan. 6 protests in solitary confinement in a Washington jail months after the event, with no trial in sight. Not only are they still imprisoned, they are being put through reeducation camps. Julie Kelly, reporting for American Greatness, writes of court-appointed lawyers pushing anti-American propaganda on their clients, with whom they have many political disagreements.

And what of those protesters on the political left, who rioted over the last year, burning buildings, smashing windows, looting stores, and attacking both innocent bystanders and police in cities across the United States? Many of those arrested were never tried and were released without bail. In New York City, for example, hundreds who participated in riots there a year ago have had their charges dropped. The District Attorney&rsquos office claims they are overwhelmed by a backlog of cases from the lengthy closure of the courts during the pandemic.

We should be outraged by this discrepancy in treatment, and what it reveals about the corruption within the Department of Justice, the FBI, and other branches of our law enforcement. What sort of government treats its citizens so despicably? One might also ask why those who actually committed violent acts of arson, looting, and assaults aren&rsquot facing similar consequences. Furthermore, why aren&rsquot our elected representatives doing more to rectify this situation? Who&rsquos really in charge of our government?

We expect to find such blatant injustice in places like Communist China, Cuba, Venezuela, certain nations in the Middle East and Africa, and some other countries around the world. But in the United States of America?

Whatever one&rsquos political persuasion&mdashconservative, liberal, progressive, libertarian&mdashthese raids and arrests should frighten and anger all Americans. If the authorities can arrest and abuse good citizens like Bolanos and Cusick while allowing real rioters to go free, they can do the same to the rest of us.

Sooner or later, the foot soldiers in law enforcement who are conducting these raids and making these arrests need to wake up. &ldquoI&rsquom just doing my job&rdquo applies when you&rsquore arresting real criminals, but it&rsquos also the watchword of fascists and communists.

It is time for all of us to wake up.

Big Tech is suppressing our reach, refusing to let us advertise and squelching our ability to serve up a steady diet of truth and ideas. Help us fight back by becoming a member for just $5 a month and then join the discussion on Parler @CharlemagneInstitute and Gab @CharlemagneInstitute!

Daily operations [ edit | edit source ]

Gestapo were also present in concentration camps as here in Lager Nordhausen, a subcamp of the Mittelbau-Dora KZ complex, 12 April 1945

Contrary to popular belief, the Gestapo was not the all-pervasive, omnipotent agency in German society. ⎪] In Germany proper, many towns and cities had fewer than 50 official Gestapo personnel. For example, in 1939 Stettin and Frankfurt am Main only had a total of 41 Gestapo men combined. ⎪] In Düsseldorf, the local Gestapo office of only 281 men were responsible for the entire Lower Rhine region, which comprised 4 million people. ⎫] "V-men", as undercover Gestapo agents were known, were used to infiltrate Social Democratic and Communist opposition groups, but this was more the exception, not the rule. ⎬] The Gestapo office in Saarbrücken had 50 full-term informers in 1939. ⎬] The District Office in Nuremberg, which had the responsibility for all of northern Bavaria, employed a total of 80–100 full-term informers between 1943 and 1945. ⎬] The vast majority of Gestapo informers were not full-term informers working undercover, but were rather ordinary citizens who for whatever reason chose to denounce those they knew to the Gestapo. ⎭]

According to Canadian historian Robert Gellately's analysis of the local offices established, the Gestapo was—for the most part—made up of bureaucrats and clerical workers who depended upon denunciations by citizens for their information. ⎮] Gellately argued that it was because of the widespread willingness of Germans to inform on each other to the Gestapo that Germany between 1933 and 1945 was a prime example of panopticism. ⎯] Indeed, the Gestapo—at times—was overwhelmed with denunciations and most of its time was spent sorting out the credible from the less credible denunciations. ⎰] Many of the local offices were understaffed and overworked, struggling with the paper load caused by so many denunciations. ⎱] Gellately has also suggested that the Gestapo was "a reactive organization" ". which was constructed within German society and whose functioning was structurally dependent on the continuing co-operation of German citizens". ⎲]

After 1939, when many Gestapo personnel were called up for war-related work such as service with the Einsatzgruppen, the level of overwork and understaffing at the local offices increased. ⎱] For information about what was happening in German society, the Gestapo continued to be mostly dependent upon denunciations. ⎳] 80% of all Gestapo investigations were started in response to information provided by denunciations by ordinary Germans while 10% were started in response in to information provided by other branches of the German government and another 10% started in response to information that the Gestapo itself unearthed. ⎰]

Thus, it was ordinary Germans by their willingness to denounce one another who supplied the Gestapo with the information that determined whom the Gestapo arrested. ⎳] The popular picture of the Gestapo with its spies everywhere terrorizing German society has been rejected by many historians as a myth invented after the war as a cover for German society's widespread complicity in allowing the Gestapo to work. ⎳] ⎴] Work done by social historians such as Detlev Peukert, Robert Gellately, Reinhard Mann, Inge Marssolek, René Otto, Klaus-Michael Mallamann and Paul Gerhard, which by focusing on what the local offices were doing has shown the GestapoTemplate:'s almost total dependence on denunciations from ordinary Germans, and very much discredited the older "Big Brother" picture with the Gestapo having its eyes and ears everywhere. ⎵] For example, of the 84 cases in Würzburg of rassenschande (race defilement) as sex with Jews were known under the Nuremberg Laws, 45 (54%) were started in response to denunciations by ordinary people, two (2%) by information provided by other branches of the government, 20 (24%) via information gained during interrogations of people relating to other matters, four (5%) from information from (Nazi) NSDAP organizations, two (2%) during "political evaluations" and 11 (13%) have no source listed while none were started by GestapoTemplate:'s own "observations" of the people of Würzburg. ⎶]

An examination of 213 denunciations in Düsseldorf showed that 37% were motivated by personal conflicts, no motive could be established in 39%, and 24% were motivated by support for the Nazi regime. ⎷] The Gestapo always showed a special interest in denunciations concerning sexual matters, especially cases concerning rassenschande with Jews or between Germans and Polish slave workers Jews and Catholicism and homosexuality. ⎸] As time went by, anonymous denunciations to the Gestapo caused trouble to various NSDAP officials, who often found themselves being investigated by the Gestapo. ⎹]

Of the political cases, 61 people were investigated for suspicion of belonging to the KPD, 44 for the SPD and 69 for other political parties. ⎺] Most of the political investigations took place between 1933–35 with the all time high of 57 cases in 1935. ⎺] After that year, political investigations declined with only 18 investigations in 1938, 13 in 1939, two in 1941, seven in 1942, four in 1943 and one in 1944. ⎺] The "other" category associated with non-conformity included everything from a man who drew a caricature of Hitler to a Catholic teacher suspected of being lukewarm about teaching National Socialism in his classroom. ⎺] The "administrative control" category concerned whose were breaking the law concerning residency in the city. ⎺] The "conventional criminality" category concerned economic crimes such as money laundering, smuggling and homosexuality. ⎻]

Normal methods of investigation included various forms of blackmail, threats and extortion to secure "confessions". ⎼] Beyond that, sleep deprivation and various forms of harassment were used as investigative methods. ⎼] Failing that, torture and planting evidence were common methods of resolving a case, especially if the case concerned someone Jewish. ⎽]

Karl Silberbauer-the man who arrested Anne Frank and her family.

Karl Josef Silberbauer (21 June 1911 – 2 September 1972) was an Austrian police officer, SS-Oberscharführer (staff sergeant), and undercover investigator for the West German Federal Intelligence Service. Silberbauer is best known, however, for his activities in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam during World War II. In 1963, Silberbauer, by then an Inspector in the Vienna police, was exposed as the commander of the 1944 Gestapo raid on the Secret Annex and the arrests of Anne Frank, her fellow fugitives, and their protectors

Born in Vienna, Silberbauer served in the Austrian military before following his father into the police force in 1935. Four years later, he joined the Gestapo, moved to the Netherlands, and in 1943 transferred to the Sicherheitsdienst in The Hague. He was then assigned to Amsterdam and attached to “Sektion IV B 4”, a unit recruited from Austrian and German police departments and which handled arrests of hidden Jews throughout the occupied Netherlands.

Silberbauer was employed directly by Eichmann and answered to him at Berlin’s infamous department IVB4, the headquarters of the programme to exterminate the Jews.

His job was to transfer non-Jews who helped Jews, those who sheltered English pilots and those who listened to the English radio to concentration camps.

Silberbauer was the officer in charge of the Gestapo squad which arrested the Frank family on 4 August, 1944. After the War, the Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal tracked down Silberbauer, who was working as police inspector in Vienna.

On 4 August 1944, Silberbauer was ordered by his superior, SS-Obersturmführer (lieutenant) Julius Dettmann, to investigate a tip-off that Jews were being hidden in the upstairs rooms at Prinsengracht 263.

He took a few Dutch policemen with him and interrogated Victor Kugler about the entrance to the hiding place. Miep Gies and Johannes Kleiman were also questioned, and while Kugler and Kleimann were arrested, Gies was allowed to stay on the premises. Both Otto Frank and Karl Silberbauer were interviewed after the war about the circumstances of the raid, with both describing Silberbauer’s surprise that those in hiding had been there more than two years. Frank recalled Silberbauer confiscating their valuables and money, taking these spoils away in Otto Frank’s briefcase, which he had emptied onto the floor scattering out the papers and notebooks which made up the diary of Anne Frank.

Soon after, Gentile protectors Kugler and Johannes Kleiman, together with Otto Frank, Edith Frank-Holländer, Margot Frank, Anne Frank, Hermann van Pels, Auguste van Pels, Peter van Pels, and Fritz Pfeffer, were arrested and taken to Gestapo headquarters in Amsterdam.(below is the red cross card of Johannes Kleiman after his arrest)

From there, the eight who had been in hiding were sent to the Westerbork transit camp and then to Auschwitz concentration camp. Soon after, Margo Frank and Anne Frank were sent to Bergen-Belsen, where they would die of typhus, three weeks before the camp was liberated by British forces. Victor Kugler and Jo Kleiman were sent to work camps. Of the ten, only Otto Frank, Kugler, and Kleiman survived.

Silberbauer returned to Vienna in April 1945 and served a fourteen-month prison sentence for using excessive force against members of the Communist Party of Austria.After his release, Silberbauer was recruited by the West German Federal Intelligence Service (BND), and spent ten years as an undercover operative. According to Der Spiegel reporter Peter-Ferdinand Koch, who learned of his postwar activities while researching BND employment of former Nazis, Silberbauer infiltrated neo-Nazi and Pro-Soviet organizations in West Germany and Austria. His BND handlers believed, correctly, that Silberbauer’s past membership in the SS would blind neo-Nazis to his true loyalties.

Possibly due to BND pressure, Silberbauer was reinstated by the Viennese Kriminalpolizei (Kripo) in 1954, four years after the German publication of Anne Frank’s diary and was promoted to the rank of Inspektor.

He is quoted as saying of Anne Frank’s diary: “I bought the little book last week to see if I am in it. But I am not. Maybe I should have picked it up off the floor.”

Holocaust survivor and Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal began searching for Silberbauer in 1958, upon being challenged by Austrian Holocaust deniers to prove that Anne Frank actually existed. One Holocaust denier stated that, if Anne Frank’s arresting officer were found and admitted it, he would change his mind.

During the 1948 Dutch police investigation into the raid on the Secret Annex, Silberbauer’s name had been disclosed as “Silvernagel”. The Dutch police detectives who had assisted with the raid were identified by Miep Gies, who recalled their commander as having a working-class Vienna accent.

The Dutch policemen claimed to remember nothing except an erroneous form of their superior’s surname.

Wiesenthal considered contacting Anne’s father, Otto Frank, but learned that he was speaking out in favor of forgiveness and reconciliation. Otto Frank also believed that the person responsible for the denunciation to the Gestapo, not the arresting officers, bore the greatest responsibility. Wiesenthal, however, was determined to discredit the growing Holocaust denial movement and continued his search for “Silvernagel”. In late spring 1963, after ruling out numerous Austrians with similar names, Wiesenthal was loaned a wartime Gestapo telephone book by Dutch investigators. During a two-hour flight from Amsterdam to Vienna, Wiesenthal found the name “Silberbauer” listed as attached to “Sektion IV B 4” and could not wait for his plane to land.

Upon his arrival in Vienna, Wiesenthal immediately telephoned Dr. Josef Wiesinger, who investigated Nazi crimes for the Austrian Ministry of the Interior. Upon being told that Silberbauer might still be a policeman, Wiesinger insisted that there were “at least six men on the Vienna police force” with the same surname and demanded a written request. On 2 June 1963, Wiesenthal submitted a detailed request but was told for months that the Vienna police were not yet ready to release their findings.

In reality, the Vienna police identified Inspektor Silberbauer almost immediately.

When he had admitted his role in arresting Anne Frank, the department had been terrified of the bad press that would result from disclosing his past. Therefore, the Vienna police suspended Silberbauer from the Kripo without pay, ordered him to “keep his mouth shut”, about the reasons for his suspension. Instead, Silberbauer lamented his suspension and disclosed the reasons for it to a colleague. His fellow officer, a member of the Communist Party of Austria, immediately leaked the story to the Party’s official newspaper, who published it on 11 November 1963. After Izvestia praised “the detective work of the Austrian comrades”, an infuriated Wiesenthal leaked Silberbauer’s address to the Dutch media. When reporters descended upon Silberbauer’s Vienna home, the policeman freely admitted that he had arrested Anne Frank.

Silberbauer’s memories of the arrest were notably vivid – he in particular recalled Otto and Anne Frank. When he asked Otto Frank how long they had been in hiding, Frank answered, “Two years and one month.” Silberbauer was incredulous, until Otto stood Anne against the marks made on the wall to measure her height since they had arrived in the annex, showing that she had grown even since the last mark had been made. Silberbauer said that Anne “looked like the pictures in the books, but a little older, and prettier. ‘You have a lovely daughter’, I said to Mr. Frank”.

Although he disclosed what he knew, Silberbauer was unable to provide any information that could help further the Dutch police’s investigation into the Dutch collaborator who provided the tip. He explained that the call was taken by his commanding officer, SS Lieutenant Julius Dettmann, who said only that the information came from “a reliable source”. As Dettmann had committed suicide in a POW camp after the end of the war, the second investigation also hit a dead end.

Although the Austrian government stated that the arrest of Anne Frank “did not warrant Silberbauer’s arrest or prosecution as a war criminal”, the Vienna Police convened a disciplinary hearing. Among the witnesses was Otto Frank, who testified that Silberbauer had “only done his duty and behaved correctly” during the arrest. Otto Frank added, however, “The only thing I ask is not to have to see the man again.”

As a result, the police review board exonerated Silberbauer of any official guilt. His unpaid suspension was lifted and the Vienna police assigned him to a desk job in the “Identification Office”, or Erkennungsamt.

However ,Silberbauer,was not only responsible for ruining the lives of Anne Frank and her family but of hundreds of other Dutch people.

Goering on the formation of the Gestapo (1934)

In 1934, Nazi deputy leader Hermann Goering provided his own account of the formation of the Gestapo secret police agency the previous year:

“For weeks I personally undertook the work of reorganisation and finally, it was my personal decision to create the Secret State Police Office. This instrument, so much feared by our enemies, is the principal reason why in Germany and Prussia there is today no Marxist or Communist menace. Ignoring seniority, I put the most able men into the Secret State Police Office and put it under one of the most able young officials. Daily I am again and again convinced that I chose the right men. The job that the Office Chief, Rudolf Diels and his men did will always remain one of the principal achievements of the first year of German recovery.

The SA and SS actively supported my efforts. Without their help, I would never have been able to master our enemies so quickly. Since then I have once again reorganised the secret police and put them under my direct command. By means of a network of offices around Germany, with Berlin as the headquarters, I am kept informed daily, even hourly, of everything that happens in the diverse regions of Prussia. The last hideout of the Communists is known to us, and no matter how often they change their tactics, or rename their couriers, within a few days they are again tracked down, registered, monitored, and broken up.

We have had to proceed against the enemies of the state with total ruthlessness. It must not be forgotten that when we took over the government over 6 million people still supported the Communists… The greater part were good Germans led astray by this insane worldview, but also by the spinelessness and weakness of the middle-class parties. All the greater was the need to rescue these people from error and to lead them back into the national community. But it was just as necessary to proceed mercilessly against the deceivers, the agitators, and the leaders themselves. Thus concentration camps were established, in which we had first to intern thousands of officials of the Communist and Social Democratic Parties.

It was only natural that certain excesses occurred in the beginning. Of course here and there, innocents were also affected. Of course here and there, a few beatings took place and brutal acts were committed. But measured against everything that preceded it, and against the greatness of the occasion, this German revolution for freedom was the most bloodless and most disciplined revolution in history.”

Watch the video: COLOGNE: The Gestapo and Nazi torturing and and killing building Germany (January 2022).