The Ordnungspolizei (German: [ˈʔɔɐ̯dnʊŋspoliˌt͡saɪ], Order Police), abbreviated Orpo, were the uniformed police force in Nazi Germany between 1936 and 1945. The Orpo organization was absorbed into the Nazi monopoly on power after regional police jurisdiction was removed in favor of the central Nazi government (Verreichlichung of the police). The Orpo was under the administration of the Interior Ministry, but led by members of the Schutzstaffel (SS) until the end of World War II. Owing to their green uniforms, Orpo were also referred to as Grüne Polizei (green police). The force was first established as a centralized organisation uniting the municipal, city, and rural uniformed police that had been organised on a state-by-state basis.
The Ordnungspolizei encompassed virtually all of Nazi Germany's law-enforcement and emergency response organizations, including fire brigades, coast guard, and civil defense. In the prewar period, Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler and Kurt Daluege, chief of the Order Police, cooperated in transforming the police force of the Weimar Republic into militarised formations ready to serve the regime's aims of conquest and racial annihilation. Police troops were first formed into battalion-sized formations for the invasion of Poland, where they were deployed for security and policing purposes, also taking part in executions and mass deportations. During World War II, the force had the task of policing the civilian population of the conquered and colonized countries beginning in spring 1940. Orpo's activities escalated to genocide with the invasion of the Soviet Union, Operation Barbarossa. Twenty-three police battalions, formed into independent regiments or attached to Wehrmacht security divisions and Einsatzgruppen, perpetrated mass murder in the Holocaust and were responsible for widespread crimes against humanity and genocide targeting the civilian population.
|Common name||Grüne Polizei|
|Formed||26 June, 1936|
|Legal personality||Governmental: Government agency|
|Legal jurisdiction|| Nazi Germany|
|Headquarters||Berlin NW 7, Unter den Linden 72/74|
|Elected officers responsible|
|Parent agency||Reich Interior Ministry|
Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler was named Chief of German Police in the Interior Ministry on 17 June 1936 after Hitler announced a decree which was to "unify the control of police duties in the Reich". Traditionally, law enforcement in Germany had been a state and local matter. In this role, Himmler was nominally subordinate to Interior Minister Wilhelm Frick. However, the decree effectively subordinated the police to the SS. Himmler gained authority as all of Germany's uniformed law enforcement agencies were amalgamated into the new Ordnungspolizei, whose main office became populated by officers of the SS.
The police were divided into the Ordnungspolizei (Orpo or regular police) and the Sicherheitspolizei (SiPo or security police), which had been established in June 1936. The Orpo assumed duties of regular uniformed law enforcement while the SiPo consisted of the secret state police (Geheime Staatspolizei or Gestapo) and criminal investigation police (Kriminalpolizei or Kripo). The Kriminalpolizei was a corps of professional detectives involved in fighting crime and the task of the Gestapo was combating espionage and political dissent. On 27 September 1939, the SS security service, the Sicherheitsdienst (SD) and the SiPo were folded into the Reich Main Security Office (Reichssicherheitshauptamt or RSHA). The RSHA symbolized the close connection between the SS (a party organization) and the police (a state organization).
The Order Police played a central role in carrying out the Holocaust. By "both career professionals and reservists, in both battalion formations and precinct service" (Einzeldienst) through providing men for the tasks involved.
The German Order Police had grown to 244,500 men by mid-1940. The Orpo was under the overall control of Reichsführer-SS Himmler as Chief of the German Police in the Ministry of the Interior. It was initially commanded by SS-Oberstgruppenführer und Generaloberst der Polizei Kurt Daluege. In May 1943, Daluege had a massive heart attack and was removed from duty. He was replaced by SS-Obergruppenführer und General der Waffen-SS und der Polizei Alfred Wünnenberg, who served until the end of the war. By 1941, the Orpo had been divided into the following offices covering every aspect of German law enforcement.
The central command office known as the Ordnungspolizei Hauptamt was located in Berlin. From 1943 was considered a full SS-Headquarters command. The Orpo main office consisted of Command Department (Kommandoamt), responsible for finance, personnel and medical; Administrative (Verwaltung) charged with pay, pensions and permits; Economic (Wirtschaftsverwaltungsamt); Technical Emergency Service (Technische Nothilfe); Fire Brigades Bureau (Feuerwehren); Colonial Police (Kolonialpolizei); and SS and Police Technical Training Academy (Technische SS-und Polizeiakademie).
Between 1939 and 1945, the Ordnungspolizei maintained military formations, trained and outfitted by the main police offices within Germany. Specific duties varied widely from unit to unit and from one year to another. Generally, the Order Police were not directly involved in frontline combat, except for Ardennes in May 1940, and the Siege of Leningrad in 1941. The first 17 battalion formations (from 1943 renamed SS-Polizei-Bataillone) were deployed by Orpo in September 1939 along with the Wehrmacht army in the invasion of Poland. The battalions guarded Polish prisoners of war behind the German lines, and carried out expulsion of Poles from Reichsgaue under the banner of Lebensraum. They also committed atrocities against both the Catholic and the Jewish populations as part of those "resettlement actions". After hostilities had ceased, the battalions - such as Reserve Police Battalion 101 - took up the role of security forces, patrolling the perimeters of the Jewish ghettos in German-occupied Poland (the internal ghetto security issues were managed by the SS, SD, and the Criminal Police, in conjunction with the Jewish ghetto administration).
Each battalion consisted of approximately 500 men armed with light infantry weapons. In the East, each company also had a heavy machine-gun detachment. Administratively, the Police Battalions remained under the Chief of Police Kurt Daluege, but operationally they were under the authority of regional SS and Police Leaders (SS- und Polizeiführer), who reported up a separate chain of command directly to Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler. The battalions were used for various auxiliary duties, including the so-called anti-partisan operations, support of combat troops, and construction of defense works (i.e. Atlantic Wall). Some of them were focused on traditional security roles as an occupying force, while others were directly involved in actions designed to inflict terror and in the ensuing Holocaust. While they were similar to Waffen-SS, they were not part of the thirty-eight Waffen-SS divisions, and should not be confused with them, including the national 4th SS Polizei Panzergrenadier Division. The battalions were originally numbered in series from 1 to 325, but in February 1943 were renamed and renumbered from 1 to about 37, to distinguish them from the Schutzmannschaft auxiliary battalions recruited from local population in German-occupied areas.
The Orpo Police Battalions, operating both independently and in conjunction with the Einsatzgruppen, became an integral part of the Final Solution in the two years following the attack on the Soviet Union on 22 June 1941, Operation Barbarossa. The first mass killing of 3,000 Jews by Police Battalion 309 occurred in occupied Białystok on 12 July 1941. Police battalions were part of the first and second wave of killings in 1941–42 in the territories of Poland annexed by the Soviet Union and also during the killing operations within the-1939 borders of the USSR, whether as part of Orpo Police Regiments, or as separate units reporting directly to the local SS and Police Leaders. They included the Reserve Police Battalion 101 from Hamburg, Battalion 133 of the Nürnberg Order Police, Police Battalions 45, 309 from Koln, and 316 from Bottrop-Oberhausen. Their murder operations bore the brunt of the Holocaust by bullet on the Eastern Front. In the immediate aftermath of World War II, this latter role was obscured both by the lack of court evidence and by deliberate obfuscation, while most of the focus was on the better-known Einsatzgruppen ("Operational groups") who reported to the Reichssicherheitshauptamt (RSHA) under Reinhard Heydrich.
Orpo Police Battalions involved in direct killing operations were responsible for at least 1 million deaths. Starting in 1941 the Battalions and local Order Police units helped to transport Jews from the ghettos in both Poland and the USSR (and elsewhere in occupied Europe) to the concentration and extermination camps, as well as operations to hunt down and kill Jews outside the ghettos. The Order Police were one of the two primary sources from which the Einsatzgruppen drew personnel in accordance with manpower needs (the other being the Waffen-SS).
In 1942, the majority of the police battalions were re-consolidated into thirty SS and Police Regiments. These formations were intended for garrison security duty, anti-partisan functions, and to support Waffen-SS units on the Eastern Front. Notably, the regular military police of the Wehrmacht (Feldgendarmerie) were separate from the Ordnungspolizei.
The primary combat arm of the Ordnungspolizei was the SS Polizei Division the Waffen-SS. The division was formed in October 1939, when thousands of members of the Orpo were drafted and placed together with artillery and signals units transferred from the army. The division consisted of four police regiments composed of Orpo personnel and was typically used to rotate police members into a military situation, so as not to lose police personnel to the general draft of the Wehrmacht or to the full SS divisions of the regular Waffen-SS. Very late in the war several Orpo SS-Police regiments were transferred to the Waffen-SS to form the 35th SS Division.
By the start of the Second World War in 1939, the SS had effectively gained complete operational control over the German Police, although outwardly the SS and Police still functioned as separate entities. The Ordnungspolizei maintained its own system of insignia and Orpo ranks as well as distinctive police uniforms. Under an SS directive known as the "Rank Parity Decree", policemen were highly encouraged to join the SS and, for those who did so, a special police insignia known as the SS Membership Runes for Order Police was worn on the breast pocket of the police uniform.
In 1940, standard practice in the German Police was to grant equivalent SS rank to all police generals. Police generals who were members of the SS were referred to simultaneously by both rank titles - for instance, a Generalleutnant in the Police who was also an SS member would be referred to as SS Gruppenführer und Generalleutnant der Polizei. In 1942, SS membership became mandatory for police generals, with SS collar insignia (overlaid on police green backing) worn by all police officers ranked Generalmajor and above.
The distinction between the police and the SS had virtually disappeared by 1943 with the creation of the SS and Police Regiments, which were consolidated from earlier police security battalions. SS officers now routinely commanded police troops and police generals serving in command of military troops were granted equivalent SS rank in the Waffen-SS. In August 1944, when Himmler was appointed Chef des Ersatzheeres (Chief of the Home Army), all police generals automatically were granted Waffen-SS rank because they had authority over the prisoner-of-war camps.
The 11th SS Police Regiment (SS-Polizei-Regiment 11) was initially named the Police Regiment for Special Employment (Polizei-Regiment zbV) when it was formed around the beginning of 1942 from existing Order Police (Ordnungspolizei) units for security duties on the Eastern Front. The unit was renumbered as the 11th Police Regiment in July 1942 and then was redesignated as an SS unit in early 1943.12th SS Police Regiment
The 12th SS Police Regiment (German: SS-Polizei-Regiment 3) was initially named the 12th Police Regiment (Polizei-Regiment 12) when it was formed in 1942 from existing Order Police units (Ordnungspolizei) in Germany. It was redesignated as an SS unit in early 1943. The regimental headquarters was disbanded in early 1944, but its battalions remained in service.15th SS Police Regiment
The 15th SS Police Regiment (German: SS-Polizei-Regiment 15) was initially named the 15th Police Regiment (Polizei-Regiment 15) when it was formed in 1942 from existing Order Police units (Ordnungspolizei) to conduct security warfare behind the Eastern Front. The regiment was destroyed in January 1943 and its personnel was used to reconstitute it in Norway several months later from existing police units. The regiment was transferred to Italy in late 1943 and remained there for the rest of the war.17th SS Police Regiment
The 17th SS Police Regiment (German: SS-Polizei-Regiment 17) was initially named the 17th Police Regiment (Polizei-Regiment 17) when it was formed in 1942 from existing Order Police units (Ordnungspolizei) for security duties on the Eastern Front. It was redesignated as an SS unit in early 1943.19th SS Police Regiment
The 19th SS Police Regiment (German: SS-Polizei-Regiment 19) was initially named the 19th Police Regiment (Polizei-Regiment 19) when it was formed in 1942 from existing Order Police (Ordnungspolizei) units for security duties in Occupied Europe. It was redesignated as an SS unit in early 1943.20th SS Police Regiment
The 20th SS Police Regiment (German: SS-Polizei-Regiment 20) was initially named Police Regiment Bohemia (Polizei-Regiment Böhmen) when it was formed in 1939 after the German occupation of Czechoslovakia from existing Order Police (Ordnungspolizei) units for security duties in Bohemia. It was redesignated as the 20th Police Regiment in mid-1942 before it received the SS title in early 1943.21st SS Police Regiment
The 21st SS Police Regiment (German: SS-Polizei-Regiment 21) was initially named Police Regiment Moravia (Polizei-Regiment Mähren) when it was formed in 1939 after the German occupation of Czechoslovakia from existing Order Police (Ordnungspolizei) units for security duties in Moravia. It was redesignated as the 21st Police Regiment in mid-1942 before it received the SS title in early 1943.25th SS Police Regiment
The 25th SS Police Regiment (German: SS-Polizei-Regiment 25) was initially named Police Regiment Lublin (Polizei-Regiment Lublin) when it was formed in late 1939 after the German invasion of Poland from existing Order Police (Ordnungspolizei) units for security duties there. It was redesignated as the 25th Police Regiment in mid-1942 before it received the SS title in early 1943.3rd SS Police Regiment
The 3rd SS Police Regiment (German: SS-Polizei-Regiment 3) was named the 3rd Police Regiment (Polizei-Regiment 3) when it was temporarily formed in 1939 from existing Order Police (Ordnungspolizei) units for security duties during the invasion of Poland. The second formation was ordered in 1942 from existing Order Police units in the Netherlands. It was redesignated as an SS unit in early 1943. It remained in the Netherlands for the rest of World War II.4th SS Police Regiment
The 4th SS Police Regiment (German: SS-Polizei-Regiment 4) was named the 4th Police Regiment (Polizei-Regiment 4) when it was temporarily formed in 1939 from existing Order Police (Ordnungspolizei) units for security duties during the invasion of Poland. The second formation was ordered in 1942 from existing Order Police units in Occupied France. It was redesignated as an SS unit in early 1943.5th SS Police Regiment
The 5th SS Police Regiment (German: SS-Polizei-Regiment 5) was initially named the 5th Police Regiment (Polizei-Regiment 5) when it was formed in 1942 from existing Order Police (Ordnungspolizei) units for security duties in Occupied Serbia. It was redesignated as an SS unit in early 1943. The regiment was disbanded at the end of 1944.9th SS Police Regiment
The 9th SS Police Regiment (German: SS-Polizei-Regiment 9) was initially named the 9th Police Regiment (Polizei-Regiment 9) when it was formed in 1942 from existing Order Police (Ordnungspolizei) units for security duties on the Eastern Front. It was redesignated as an SS unit in early 1943.Bahnschutzpolizei
Bahnschutzpolizei (BSP) (Railway Protection Police) in Nazi Germany was made up of full-time and part-time police officers who were employees of the Reichsbahn (state railways). The Bahnschutzpolizei was tasked with railway safety and also with preventing espionage and sabotage of railway property. They were not subordinated to Hauptamt Ordnungspolizei, only the Deutsche Reichsbahn.Brigadeführer
Brigadeführer (German: [bʁiˈɡaːdəfyːʁɐ], "brigade leader") was a paramilitary rank of the Nazi Party (NSDAP) that was used between the years of 1932 to 1945. It was mainly known for its use as an SS rank. As an SA rank, it was used after briefly being known as Untergruppenführer in late 1929 and 1930.
The rank was first created due to an expansion of the SS and assigned to those officers in command of SS-Brigaden. In 1933, the SS-Brigaden were changed in name to SS-Abschnitte; however, the rank of Brigadeführer remained the same.
Originally, Brigadeführer was considered the second general officer rank of the SS and ranked between Oberführer and Gruppenführer. This changed with the rise of the Waffen-SS and the Ordnungspolizei. In both of those organizations, Brigadeführer was the equivalent to a Generalmajor and ranked above an Oberst in the German Army or police. The rank of Generalmajor was the equivalent of brigadier general, a one-star general in the US Army.The insignia for Brigadeführer was at first two oak leaves and a silver pip, however was changed in April 1942 to a three oak leaf design after the creation of the rank SS-Oberst-Gruppenführer.Brigadeführer in the Waffen-SS or police also wore the shoulder insignia of a Generalmajor and were referred to as such after their SS rank (e.g. SS-Brigadeführer und Generalmajor der Waffen-SS und Polizei).Nazi Germany paramilitary ranks
National Socialist paramilitary ranks were pseudo-military titles which were used by the Nazis, represented by the Nazi Party, the National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei; NSDAP), between the years of 1920 and 1945. Since the Nazi Party was by its very nature a paramilitary organization, by the time of the Second World War, several systems of paramilitary ranks had come into existence for both the Nazi Party itself and the various Nazi paramilitary organizations.
The following articles provide information regarding the various paramilitary rank systems used by the Nazi Party:
Ranks and insignia of the Nazi Party
Uniforms and insignia of the Schutzstaffel
Uniforms and insignia of the Sturmabteilung
Ranks and insignia of the Hitler Youth
Ranks and insignia of the National Socialist Flyers Corps
Ranks and insignia of the National Socialist Motor Corps
Ranks and insignia of the VolkssturmAfter the Nazi Party came to power in Germany, a number of Nazi state controlled and/or sponsored organizations developed Nazi style ranks, insignia, and titles. Such various ranks and insignia were:
Ranks and insignia of the Ordnungspolizei
Ranks and insignia of the Reichsarbeitsdienst
Ranks and insignia of the Reichsluftschutzbund
Ranks and insignia of the Reichsbahn
Ranks and insignia of Organisation TodtThe Nazi use of paramilitary ranks even extended as far as inmates of concentration camps. By 1936, a system of Nazi concentration camp badges had been developed along paramilitary lines.Ranks and insignia of the Ordnungspolizei
The ranks and insignia of the Ordnungspolizei were developed in 1936 after the nationalization of Germany's regular police forces.Schutzmannschaft
The Schutzmannschaft or Auxiliary Police (literally: "protective, or guard units"; plural: Schutzmannschaften, abbreviated as Schuma) was the collaborationist auxiliary police of native policemen serving in those areas of the Soviet Union and the Baltic states occupied by Nazi Germany during World War II. Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler established the Schutzmannschaft on July 25, 1941, and subordinated it to the Order Police (Ordnungspolizei; Orpo). By the end of 1941, some 45,000 men served in Schutzmannschaft units, about half of them in the battalions. During 1942, Schutzmannschaften expanded to an estimated 300,000 men, with battalions accounting for about a third, or less than one half of the local force. Everywhere, local police far outnumbered the equivalent German personnel several times (in most places, the ratio of Germans to natives was about 1-to-10).The Schutzmannschaften had a reputation for their auxiliary police battalions (Schutzmannschaft-Bataillonen). Created to support the German offensive, in particular by combating the anti-Nazi resistance, many of these battalions participated in the Holocaust and caused thousands of Jewish deaths. Usually the battalions were voluntary units and were not directly involved in combat. In total, about 200 battalions were formed. Each battalion had an authorized strength of about 500, but the actual size varied greatly. They should not be confused with native German police battalions (SS-Polizei-Bataillone) which the Order Police formed between 1939 and 1945 and which also participated in the Holocaust (see Ordnungspolizei Police Battalions and Reserve Police Battalion 101).The Order Police organized the Schutzmannschaften by nationality (see Lithuanian Auxiliary Police, Latvian Auxiliary Police, Estonian Auxiliary Police, Belarusian Auxiliary Police, and Ukrainian Auxiliary Police).Schutzpolizei (Nazi Germany)
The Schutzpolizei des Reiches was the State (Reich) protection police of Nazi Germany, a branch of the Ordnungspolizei. Schutzpolizei is the German name for a uniformed police force.
The Schutzpolizei des Reiches was the uniformed police of most cities and large towns. State police departments were in charge of protection police, criminal investigation divisions (Kripo, short for Kriminalpolizei), and administrative police. The State protection police comprised patrol branch, barracked police, traffic police, water police, mounted police, police communications units, and police aviation. Policemen had to have previous military service, good physical and mental health, be of Aryan descent, be members of the Nazi Party and also members of the SS. Policemen were promoted according to a regulated career system. Promotion for officers was determined by merit and seniority. Pay for policemen was higher than the average industrial worker and was more in line with the average privately employed white-collar worker.VfB Lübeck
VfB Lübeck is a German association football club playing in Lübeck, Schleswig-Holstein in the country's north. In addition to its football side the 1,000 member sports club also has departments for badminton, women's gymnastics, handball, and table tennis.
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