SS and police leader

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The title of SS and Police Leader (SS- und Polizeiführer) designated a senior Nazi Party official who commanded various components of the SS and the German uniformed police (Ordnungspolizei), prior to and during World War II in the German Reich proper and in occupied territories.


Three levels of subordination were established for holders of this title:

  • SS and Police Leader (SS- und Polizeiführer, SSPF)
  • Higher SS and Police Leader (Höherer SS- und Polizeiführer, HSSPF)
  • Supreme SS and Police Leader (Höchster SS- und Polizeiführer, HöSSPF)


The office of Höherer SS- und Polizeiführer (Higher SS and Police Leader, HSSPF) was authorized by a decree of 13 November 1937, signed by Reich Interior Minister Wilhelm Frick. This decree authorized the creation of HSSPF in each of the 13 German armed forces Wehrkreise (Military Districts) in the German Reich, but only in the event of mobilization. At that time, the HSSPF would serve as deputies to Heinrich Himmler, the Reichsführer-SS and Chief of the German Police, for the purpose of coordinating and integrating all local and regional SS and police formations into the defense organization of the Reich. The first HSSPF activated were those appointed in the Wehrkreise bordering Austria during the Anschluss crisis in March 1938, and Czechoslovakia during the summer and autumn of the same year.[1]

Appointments to these posts came from the ranks of existing SS-Oberabschnitte Führer (SS Main District Leaders), and in nearly all instances they held both positions simultaneously. The Oberabschnitte were the SS commands in each of the Wehrkreise. The purpose of the Higher SS and Police Leader was to be a direct command authority for every SS and police unit in these given geographical regions, answering only to Himmler and, through him, to Adolf Hitler. They were to act as Himmler's chief liaison to, and unifier of, all SS and police components in a region.[2]

After the March 1938 Anschluss when Austria was absorbed into the German Reich, two new Wehrkreise and corresponding HSSPF were established there as well. Likewise, after the October 1939 conquest of Poland, two additional Wehrkreise and corresponding HSSPF were created for those Polish areas that were directly incorporated into the Reich.[3]

However, in all other occupied territories, there were no Wehrkreise established, so the HSSPF existed as independent entities. However, they had something the Reich HSSPFs did not – several subordinate SS- und Polizeiführer (SS and Police Leader, SSPF) commands reporting to them. These positions were created beginning in November 1939 to assist the HSSPF in administering the large areas under their jurisdiction.[4]

Finally, in the autumn of 1943, Himmler created two Höchster SS- und Polizeiführer (Supreme SS and Police Leader, HöSSPF) posts with jurisdiction over very large territories; these were Italien (1943–1945) and Ukraine (1943–1944), each of which had both HSSPF and SSPF reporting to them.[5]


The SS and Police Leaders directly commanded a headquarters staff with representatives from almost every branch of the SS and the police. This typically included the Ordnungspolizei (Orpo; regular police), SiPo (security police) including the Gestapo (secret police), Totenkopfverbände (SS-TV; Nazi concentration camps), SD (intelligence service), and certain units of the Waffen-SS (combat units). Most of the HSSPF normally held the rank of SS-Gruppenführer or above, and answered directly to Himmler in all matters pertaining to the SS within their area of responsibility. Most SSPF normally held the rank of SS-Oberführer or SS-Brigadeführer and reported to their HSSPF. The role of all SS and Police Leaders was to be part of the SS control mechanism within their jurisdiction, policing the population and overseeing the activities of the SS men within each respective district.[6] The HSSPF could bypass the chain of command of the administrative offices for the SS, SD, SiPo, SS-TV and Orpo in their district under the "guise of an emergency situation," thereby gaining direct operational control of these groups.[7]

Himmler authorized SS and Police Bases (SS- und Polizeistützpunkte) to be established in occupied Poland and occupied areas of the Soviet Union. They were to be "armed industrialized agricultural complexes." They would also maintain order in the areas where they were established. However, they did not get beyond the planning stage.[8]

In 1944 and 1945, many HSSPF were promoted to their corresponding general's rank in the Waffen-SS by Himmler. This was apparently an attempt to provide potential protection for them, by giving them combatant status under the Hague Convention rules of warfare.[9]

War crimes and crimes against humanity[edit]

decrypted wireless telegram from "HSSPF Russland Mitte" (middle Russia) in 1942, reporting to Himmler the 'liquidation' of a village in Belarus (from NSA report[10])
Another decrypt, 1941, HSSPF Russland Sud (south Russia), reporting to Himmler the 'liquidation' of Jewish people (from NSA report[11])

The SS and Police Leaders were key figures in many of the war crimes committed by SS personnel. The HSSPF served as commanding SS generals for any Einsatzgruppen (death squads) operating in their area. This entailed ordering the deaths of tens of thousands of persons. In addition, they launched ruthless anti-partisan operations and directed police units to acquire forced labor for war-related projects.[12]

The SS and Police Leaders were the overseeing authority of the Jewish ghettos in Poland and directly coordinated deportations to Nazi extermination camps. They had direct command over Order Police battalions and SD regiments that were assigned to guard the ghettos. The HSSPF regularly provided SS and police guards and other support personnel for the transports to the death camps, and also negotiated with the agencies and ministries of the Reich for rolling stock, supplies and provisions, rail schedules, and an array of other requirements necessary to keep the roundups and the death trains moving efficiently. And, in the satellite and client states, the HSSPF negotiated directly with the puppet or collaborationist governments to hand over their Jews for deportation to the East. Finally, the HSSPF were also directly involved in the construction and operation of the extermination camps.[13] Following the end of the war, many SS and Police Leaders, particularly those who had served in Poland and the Soviet Union, either committed suicide or were charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity.[14]

Tables of SS and police leaders[edit]

In addition to the two HöSSPF noted previously, there were some thirty-eight HSSPF commands, nineteen in the Reich and another nineteen in the occupied lands. Most of these had several different commanders over the lifetime of the post.[15] Similarly, there were some forty-nine SSPF commands subordinated to those HSSPF leaders in the occupied territories, also with multiple commanders over the years. Some of these areas were renamed, merged, or dissolved during the duration of their existence, particularly as German military control over the eastern territories was relentlessly eroded later in the war.[16]

The tables below provide as complete an accounting of the SS and police commands and their leaders as is known. They list the permanent appointees, but omit any substitutes who temporarily acted in that capacity when the incumbent was on leave or on another assignment.

Table of Supreme SS and Police Leader (HöSSPF) Commands[5]
SS Designation Area HQ HöSSPF Dates
Italien Italy Rome;
Karl Wolff September 1943 – May 1945
Ukraine Ukraine Kiev Hans-Adolf Prützmann October 1943 – September 1944

Table of Higher SS and Police Leader (HSSPF) Commands in the German Reich
(By Wehrkreis)[17]
SS Designation Wehrkreis Area HQ HSSPF Dates
Nordost I East Prussia Königsberg Wilhelm Rediess
Jakob Sporrenberg
Hans-Adolf Prützmann
June 1938 – June 1940
June 1940 – May 1941
May 1941 – May 1945
(Nord prior to April 1940)
II Pomerania
Stettin Emil Mazuw August 1938 – May 1945
(Ost prior to November 1939)
III Berlin
Berlin August Heissmeyer September 1939 – May 1945
Elbe IV Saxony
Dresden Theodor Berkelmann
Udo von Woyrsch
Ludolf-Hermann von Alvensleben
June 1938 – April 1940
April 1940 – February 1944
February 1944 – May 1945
Südwest V Württemberg
Stuttgart Kurt Kaul
Otto Hofmann
September 1939 – April 1943
April 1943 – May 1945
West VI Westphalia
Northern Rheinland
Düsseldorf Fritz Weitzel
Theodor Berkelmann
Friedrich Jeckeln
Karl Gutenberger
June 1938 – April 1940
April 1940 – July 1940
July 1940 – June 1941
July 1941 – May 1945
Süd VII Upper Bavaria
Munich Karl von Eberstein
Wilhelm Koppe
March 1938 – April 1945
April 1945 – May 1945
Südost VIII Silesia Breslau Ernst-Heinrich Schmauser
Richard Hildebrandt
May 1941 – February 1945
February 1945 – May 1945
Fulda-Werra IX Hesse
Arolsen Josias zu Waldeck und Pyrmont October 1938 – May 1945
(Nordwest prior to April 1940)
X Schleswig-Holstein
Northern Hanover
Hamburg Hans-Adolf Prützmann
Rudolf Querner
Georg-Henning Graf von Bassewitz-Behr
June 1938 – April 1941
May 1941 – January 1943
February 1943 – May 1945
Mitte XI Anhalt
Southern Hanover
Hanover Friedrich Jeckeln
Günther Pancke
Wilhelm Fuchs
Hermann Höfle
Rudolf Querner
June 1938 – July 1940
July 1940 – July 1943
July 1943 – September 1943
September 1943 – October 1944
October 1944 – May 1945
(Merged with Westmark in May 1943 to form Rhein-Westmark)
XII Southern Rheinland
Saarland (to July 1940)
Luxembourg (from July 1940)
Wiesbaden Richard Hildebrandt
Jakob Sporrenberg
Erwin Rösener
Theodor Berkelmann
April 1939 – October 1939
October 1939 – July 1940
July 1940– November 1941
December 1941 – May 1943
(Lothringen-Saarpfalz prior to February 1941)
(Merged with Rhein in May 1943 to form Rhein-Westmark)
XII Saarland
Theodor Berkelmann July 1940 – May 1943
Rhein-Westmark XII Southern Rheinland
Wiesbaden Theodor Berkelmann
Jürgen Stroop
May 1943 – November 1943
November 1943 – May 1945
Main XIII Franconia
Lower Bavaria
Upper Palatinate
Karl von Eberstein
Benno Martin
March 1938 – December 1942
December 1942 – May 1945
Donau XVII Lower Austria
Upper Austria
Vienna Ernst Kaltenbrunner
Rudolf Querner
Walter Schimana
September 1938 – January 1943
January 1943 – October 1944
October 1944 – May 1945
Alpenland XVIII Carinthia
Salzburg Alfred Rodenbücher
Gustav Adolf Scheel
Erwin Rösener
April 1939 – April 1941
April 1941 – November 1941
November 1941 – May 1945
Weichsel XX Reichsgau Danzig-West Prussia Danzig Richard Hildebrandt
Fritz Katzmann
September 1939 – April 1943
April 1943 – May 1945
Warthe XXI Reichsgau Wartheland Posen Wilhelm Koppe
Theodor Berkelmann
Heinz Reinefarth
Willy Schmelcher
October 1939 – November 1943
November 1943 – December 1943
January 1944 – December 1944
December 1944 – May 1945

Table of Higher SS and Police Leader (HSSPF) Commands in the Occupied Territories[notes 1]
(By date of establishment)[18]
SS Designation Area HQ HSSPF Dates
Böhmen und Mähren Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia Prague Karl Hermann Frank
Richard Hildebrandt
April 1939 – April 1945
April 1945 – May 1945
Ost General Government Kracow Theodor Eicke
Friedrich-Wilhelm Krüger
Wilhelm Koppe
September 1939
October 1939 – November 1943
November 1943 – May 1945
Nord Norway Oslo Fritz Weitzel
Wilhelm Rediess
April 1940 – June 1940
June 1940 – May 1945
Nordwest Netherlands The Hague Hanns Albin Rauter June 1940 – May 1945
Ostland und Russland-Nord Reichskommissariat Ostland Riga Hans-Adolf Prützmann
Friedrich Jeckeln
Hermann Behrends
June 1941 – October 1941
November 1941 – January 1945
February 1945 – May 1945
Russland-Mitte (To April 1943)
Russland-Mitte und Weissruthenia
Belarus Mogilev;
Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski
Curt von Gottberg
June 1941 – June 1944
July 1944 – August 1944
(Subordinated to HöSSPF Ukraine from October 1943)
Reichskommissariat Ukraine Kiev Friedrich Jeckeln
Hans-Adolf Prützmann
June 1941 – October 1941
November 1941 – March 1944
Serbien, Montenegro und Sandschak Serbia
Belgrade August Meyszner
Hermann Behrends
January 1942 – April 1944
April 1944 – October 1944
Frankreich Occupied France Paris Carl Oberg May 1942 – November 1944
Kroatien Croatia Zagreb Konstantin Kammerhofer March 1943 – January 1945
Operationszone Adriatisches Küstenland (Subordinated to HöSSPF Italien) Operational Zone of the Adriatic Littoral Trieste Odilo Globocnik September 1943 – May 1945
Griechenland Greece Athens Jürgen Stroop
Walter Schimana
Hermann Franz
September 1943 – October 1943
October 1943 – September 1944
September 1944 – November 1944
Schwarzes Meer
(Subordinated to HöSSPF Ukraine from October 1943)
Black Sea coast Nikolajew Ludolf-Hermann von Alvensleben
Richard Hildebrandt
October 1943 – December 1943
December 1943 – September 1944
Dänemark Denmark Copenhagen Günther Pancke October 1943 – May 1945
Ungarn Kingdom of Hungary (1920–1946) Budapest Otto Winkelmann March 1944 – February 1945
Belgien-Nordfrankreich Reichskommissariat of Belgium and Northern France Brussels Richard Jungclaus
Friedrich Jeckeln
August 1944 – September 1944
September 1944 – January 1945
Albanien Albania Tirana Josef Fitzthum August 1944 – December 1944
Slowakei Slovak Republic (1939–1945) Pressburg Gottlob Berger
Hermann Höfle
August 1944 – September 1944
September 1944 – May 1945
Siebenbürgen Transylvania - Richard Hildebrandt
Artur Phleps
August 1944 – September 1944
September 1944

Table of SS and Police Leader (SSPF) Commands[16]
SS Designation Reported to HSSPF or HöSSPF* of: SS and Police Leader Dates
Aserbeidschan** Russland-Süd Konstantin Kammerhofer November 1942 – April 1943
Awdejewka** Russland-Süd
Karl-Heinz Bürger October 1942 – December 1943
Bergvölker-Ordshonikidse** Russland-Süd Wilhelm Günther May 1942 – August 1942
Bialystok Russland-Mitte (To April 1943)
Russland-Mitte und Weissruthenia
Werner Fromm
Otto Hellwig
Heinz Roch
January 1942 – January 1943
May 1943 – July 1944
July 1944 – October 1944
Bozen Italien* Karl Brunner September 1943 – May 1945
Charkow Russland-Süd Willy Tensfeld
Hans Haltermann
Günther Merk
August 1941 – May 1943
May 1943 – September 1943
September 1943 – October 1943
Dnjepropetrowsk-Krivoi-Rog Russland-Süd
Georg-Henning Graf von Bassewitz-Behr
Hermann Harm
Waldemar Wappenhans
Karl Schäfer
November 1941 – August 1942
August 1942 – October 1942
October 1942 – October 1943
October 1943 – November 1943
Estland Ostland und Russland-Nord Hinrich Möller
Walther Schröder
August 1941 – April 1944
April 1944 – October 1944
(Renamed Adriatische-West, April 1945)
Operationszone Adriatisches Küstenland Ludolf Jakob von Alvensleben October 1944 – May 1945
Görz Operationszone Adriatisches Küstenland Karl Taus May 1944 – May 1945
Istrien Operationszone Adriatisches Küstenland Johann-Erasmus Freiherr von Malsen-Ponickau October 1944 – May 1945
Kattowitz Südost Christoph Diehm October 1944 – May 1945
Kaukasien-Kuban** Russland-Süd Konstantin Kammerhofer
Theobald Thier
August 1942 – November 1942
November 1942 – May 1943
Kertsch-Tamanhalbinsel** Russland-Süd Theobald Thier May 1943 – July 1943
Kiew Russland-Süd
Hans Haltermann
Paul Hennicke
October 1941 – May 1943
May 1943 – December 1943
Krakau Ost (General Government) Karl Zech
Hans Schwedler
Julian Scherner
Theobald Thier
November 1939 – October 1940
October 1940 – August 1941
August 1941 – March 1944
March 1944 – January 1945
Lemberg Ost (General Government) Fritz Katzmann
Theobald Thier
Christoph Diehm
August 1941 – April 1943
July 1943 – February 1944
February 1944 – September 1944
Lettland Ostland und Russland-Nord Walther Schröder August 1941 – October 1944
Litauen Ostland und Russland-Nord Lucian Wysocki
Hermann Harm
Kurt Hintze
August 1941 – July 1943
July 1943 – April 1944
April 1944 – September 1944
Lublin Ost (General Government) Odilo Globocnik
Jakob Sporrenberg
November 1939 – August 1943
August 1943 – November 1944
Metz Rhein-Westmark Anton Dunckern October 1944 – November 1944
Mittelitalien-Verona Italien* Karl-Heinz Bürger December 1943 – May 1945
Mitte-Norwegen Nord Richard Kaaserer November 1944 – May 1945
Mogilew Russland-Mitte (To April 1943)
Russland-Mitte und Weissruthenia
Georg-Henning Graf von Bassewitz-Behr
Franz Kutschera
Hans Haltermann
August 1942 – April 1943
April 1943 – September 1943
September 1943 – July 1944
Montenegro Serbien, Montenegro und Sandschak Richard Fiedler October 1943 – October 1944
Nikolajew Russland-Süd
Fritz Tittmann
Waldemar Wappenhans
Paul Zimmermann
Ludolf-Hermann von Alvensleben
October 1941 – September 1942
September 1942 – April 1943
April 1943 – October 1943
October 1943 – February 1944
Nord-Kaukasien** Russland-Süd Karl-Heinz Bürger August 1942 – October 1942
Nord-Norwegen Nord Heinz Roch November 1944 – May 1945
Ober-Elsaß Südwest Friedrich Suhr December 1944 – May 1945
Oberitalien-Mitte Italien* Ernst-Albrecht Hildebrandt April 1944 – October 1944
Oberitalien-West Italien* Willy Tensfeld January 1944 – May 1945
Pripet Russland-Mitte und Weissruthenia Ernst Hartmann December 1943 – September 1944
Quarnero Operationszone Adriatisches Küstenland Wilhelm Traub October 1944 – May 1945
Radom Ost (General Government) Fritz Katzmann
Carl Oberg
Herbert Böttcher
November 1939 – August 1941
August 1941 – May 1942
May 1942 – January 1945
Rostow-Awdejewka Russland-Süd Richard Wendler
Gerret Korsemann
Paul Hennicke
January 1942 – May 1942
May 1942 – October 1942
October 1942 – May 1943
(Renamed Wolhynien-Luzk, September 1942)
Gerret Korsemann
Waldemar Wappenhans
Wilhelm Günther
Ernst Hartmann
August 1941 – January 1942
January 1942 – August 1942
September 1942 – June 1944
June 1944 – September 1944
Salzburg Alpenland Erwin Schulz April 1945 – May 1945
Sandschak Serbien, Montenegro und Sandschak Karl von Krempler
Richard Kaaserer
September 1943 – June 1944
June 1944 – November 1944
Saratow Russland-Mitte Walter Schimana September 1941 – November 1941
Shitomir Russland-Süd
Otto Hellwig
Willy Schmelcher
Ernst Hartmann
Christoph Diehm
October 1941 – May 1943
May 1943 – September 1943
October 1943 – January 1944
January 1944 – February 1944
Stalino-Donezgebiet Russland-Süd Hans Döring
Willy Tensfeld
November 1941 – May 1943
May 1943 – September 1943
(Renamed Rostow-Awdejewka, January 1942)
Russland-Süd Richard Wendler August 1941 – January 1942
Süd-Norwegen Nord Jakob Sporrenberg November 1944 – May 1945
Taurien-Krim-Simferopol Russland-Süd
Ludolf-Hermann von Alvensleben
Heinz Roch
Richard Hildebrandt
November 1941 – October 1943
October 1943 – December 1943
December 1943 – September 1944
Triest Operationszone Adriatisches Küstenland Georg Michalsen October 1944 – May 1945
Tschernigow Russland-Süd Ludolf-Hermann von Alvensleben
Willy Schmelcher
Ernst Hartmann
October 1941 – November 1941
November 1941 – July 1943
July 1943 – October 1943
Warsaw Ost (General Government) Paul Moder
Arpad Wigand
Jürgen Stroop
Franz Kutschera
Paul Otto Geibel
November 1939 – July 1941
August 1941 – April 1943
April 1943 – September 1943
September 1943 – February 1944
March 1944 – February 1945
(Also known as Minsk)
Ostland und Russland-Nord
(To April 1943)
Russland-Mitte und Weissruthenia
Jakob Sporrenberg
Carl Zenner
Karl Schäfer
Curt von Gottberg
Erich Ehrlinger
July 1941 – August 1941
August 1941 – May 1942
May 1942 – July 1942
July 1942 – September 1943
September 1943 – April 1944
(Merged with Rowno, 1 January 1942)
Russland-Süd Waldemar Wappenhans September 1941 – December 1941

**SSPF originally slated to be assigned to HSSPF Kaukasien.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ A further HSSPF command, to be known as Kaukasien was planned for the Caucasus in 1942 to be commanded by Gerret Korsemann but was never activated. The six SSPF commands that were to be subordinated to it were instead assigned to HSSPF Russland-Süd. (Yerger, 1997, p.44)


  1. ^ On the Historiography of the SS in Museum of Tolerance Retrieved 14 February 2022.
  2. ^ Yerger 1997, p. 22.
  3. ^ Yerger 1997, pp. 36–37, 39–40.
  4. ^ Yerger 1997, pp. 22, 52.
  5. ^ a b Yerger 1997, pp. 23–25.
  6. ^ Koehl 2004, pp. 144, 148, 169, 176–177.
  7. ^ McNab 2009, p. 165.
  8. ^ Ingrao, Charles W.; Szabo, Franz A. J. (2008). The Germans and the East. Purdue University Press, p. 288. [1]
  9. ^ "Nuremberg Trial Proceedings Volume 20 day 195". Avalon Project, Yale Law School. Retrieved 2009-01-03.
  10. ^ Robert J. Hanyok, CENTER FOR CRYPTOLOGIC HISTORY NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY (2005). "Eavesdropping on Hell: Historical Guide to Western Communications Intelligence and the Holocaust, 1939-1945" (PDF) (Second ed.). National Security Agency, United States Government. Retrieved 2011-03-20. UNITED STATES CRYPTOLOGIC HISTORY, Series IV, Volume 9 The message is on page 52 "Decrypt of Police message [National Archives and Records Administration] (NARA), RG 457, HCC, Box 1386)"
  11. ^ Hanyok, NSA, eavesdropping.pdf, Page 61, "German Police Decrypts, ZIP/G.P.D.353/14.9.41. Decrypt No.1 is from the Senior Commander of the SS and Police in Southern Russia to Heinrich Himmler, the Chiefs of the Order and Secret Police and the Himmler’s staff. (Source: [National Archives and Records Administration] (NARA), RG 457, Box 1386)"
  12. ^ McNab 2009, p. 166.
  13. ^ On the Historiography of the SS in Museum of Tolerance Retrieved 14 February 2022.
  14. ^ Yerger 1997, p. 23.
  15. ^ Yerger 1997, pp. 25–51.
  16. ^ a b Yerger 1997, pp. 52–81.
  17. ^ Yerger 1997, pp. 25–40.
  18. ^ Yerger 1997, pp. 39, 43–51.


  • Koehl, Robert (2004). The SS: A History 1919–45. Stroud: Tempus. ISBN 978-0-75242-559-7.
  • McNab, Chris (2009). The SS: 1923–1945. London: Amber Books. ISBN 978-1-90662-649-5.
  • Yerger, Mark C. (1997). Allgemeine-SS: The Commands, Units and Leaders of the General SS. Schiffer Publishing Ltd. ISBN 0-7643-0145-4.

Further reading[edit]

  • Birn, Ruth Bettina (1986). Die Hoheren SS- und Polizeiführer: Himmlers Vertreter im Reich und in den besetzten Gebieten. Droste Verlag. ISBN 978-3-77000-710-3.
  • Höhne, Heinz (2001) [1969]. The Order of the Death's Head: The Story of Hitler's SS. Penguin. ISBN 978-0-14139-012-3.