SS (Schutzstaffel)

Initially formed as a small unit of Hitler’s personal bodyguards, the SS (Schutzstaffel, 1925-1945) grew into a powerful elite corps and one of the most powerful organizations in the Nazi state. Under the leadership of Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler from 1929, SS members underwent rigorous ideological and racial screening and embodied absolute loyalty to Hitler and National Socialism. Himmler’s SS combined responsibility for internal security and racial purity in Nazi Germany and oversaw Nazi efforts in pursuit of the “Final Solution to the Jewish Question.”

See also Police in the Nazi State.