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SS and Police Leader (German: SS- und Polizeiführer) was a title for senior Nazi officials who commanded large units of the SS, of Gestapo and of the regular German police during and prior to World War II.

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

  • SS and Police Leader (German: SS- und Polizeiführer), SSPF
  • Higher SS and Police Leader (German: Höhere SS- und Polizeiführer, HSSPF, HSS-PF, HSSuPF)
  • Supreme SS and Police Leader (German: Höchste SS- und Polizeiführer, HöSSPF)


The first Higher SS and Police Leaders were appointed in 1937[1] from the existing SS-Oberabschnitt Führers (leaders of the main districts). The purpose of the Higher SS and Police Leader was to be a direct command authority for every SS and police unit in a given geographical region with such authority answering only to Heinrich Himmler and Adolf Hitler.

Inside the 'Reich', the person at the HSSPF post was usually the same person who was the SS-Oberabschnitt Führer for that region. Outside the Reich, there was no Oberabschnitt, so the HSSPF existed on their own. However, they had something the Reich HSSPFs did not - Several "SS and Polizei Führer" (SSPF) posts underneath them to aide them in their deeds.[2]

There were also two "Höchste SS und Polizeiführer" posts (Supreme SS and Police Leader). They were named "Italien" (1943–1945) and "Ukraine" (1943–1944), and had various HSSPF and SSPF under them.[3]

SS and Police Leaders directly commanded a headquarters staff with representatives from almost every branch of the SS. This typically included the Ordnungspolizei (regular police), Gestapo (secret police), Totenkopfverbände (Nazi concentration camps), SD (intelligence service), and certain units of the Waffen-SS (combat units). In theory, an SS and Police Leader had authority to command and commandeer any SS unit available in a particular region; however, in practice SS units answered to their immediate chain of command and would only be requisitioned by the SS and Police Leader in the event of an emergency.

"The Higher SS and Police Leaders or HSSPF and their subordinate SS and Police Leaders (SSPF) were the most powerful (and feared) SS posts created by Himmler"-Mark Yerger, Allgemeine-SS[1]

War crimes

One of the more notorious functions of the SS and Police Leaders was to serve as the Commanding SS General for any Einsatzgruppen (mostly death squads) that were activated in the SS and Police Leader’s area. Such duties typically involved ordering the deaths of tens of thousands of persons and, following the close of World War II, nearly every SS and Police Leader, who had served in Poland and the Soviet Union, was charged with war crimes. A large number of the SS and Police Leaders, who had been involved with such crimes, committed suicide before capture.

SS and Police Leaders were also the overseeing authority of the Jewish Ghettos in Poland and, as such, directly coordinated deportations to extermination camps with the administrative help of the RSHA. The SS and Police Leaders were also afforded direct command over Police Battalions and SD Regiments that were assigned to keep order in the ghettos.

SS Lord

The grand dream of Heinrich Himmler was to evolve the SS and Police Leader into an SS Lord of the Lebensraum which the SS would rule and control after Germany had won World War II.[6] Himmler’s dream envisioned twenty-eight SS States (SS- und Polizeistützpunkte, literally SS- and Police Strongholds), spread throughout the East, each one of which would be ruled by an SS and Police Leader, militarily controlled by the Waffen-SS, and worked and lived on by SS warriors of the Allgemeine-SS.[6] Whether or not Himmler’s vision was plausible, and if the more rational elements of the Nazi government would have permitted an SS nation in the east, remains speculative.

Late war promotions to Waffen-SS

In 1944 and 1945, many HSSPF were promoted to being Generals in the Waffen-SS by Himmler. This was apparently to give them protection under the Hague Convention rules of warfare.[7] An HSSPF who was a Nuremberg witness claimed that it was so that the HSSPF could legally guard POW camps under the rules of warfare.[8]

Notable SS and Police Leaders

Note - Men were often transferred, promoted, etc., as the war went on. HSSPF areas themselves might change, be absorbed, cease to exist, etc. This list is by no means exhaustive.[9]




See also


  • Miller, Michael D., Schulz, Andreas, McCanliss, Ken (2008). Leaders of the SS & German Police, Vol. 1: Ahrens to Gutenberg, R. James Bender Publishing, ISBN 1-932970-03-7. Detailed biographical sketches of 71 senior police and SS leaders.

External links

  • Lists of SSPF
  • Lists of SS Commanders and their assignments on 9 November 1944
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