GESTAPO (Geheime Staatspolizei) Law and Legal Definition

GESTAPO (Geheime Staatspolizei) was the German state secret police during the Nazi regime. The GESTAPO was the political police force of the Reich. Much of its personnel consisted of transferees from former political police forces of the States. Membership in the GESTAPO was voluntary, and it had a membership of about 40,000 or 50,000 in 1943-45. The GESTAPO was founded in April 1933 by Goering to serve as a political police force in Prussia. Himmler was named deputy chief of the GESTAPO in Prussia in 1934. The GESTAPO, through its great power of arrest and confinement to concentration camps without recourse to law, was the principal means for eliminating enemies of the Nazi regime.

In 1943 GESTAPO contained five sub-sections. Section A dealt with opponents, sabotage, and protective service. Section B dealt with political churches, sects and Jews, and was subdivided into four offices, including B4, which was responsible for Jewish affairs, matters of evacuation, means of suppressing enemies of the people and State, dispossession of rights of German citizenship. Section C dealt with card files, protective custody, and matters of press and Party. Section D dealt with regions under greater German influence. Section E dealt with security. Section F dealt with passport matters and alien police.

The GESTAPO was one of the primary agencies for the persecution of the Jews. The persecution of the Jews under the Nazi regime is a story of increasingly severe treatment, beginning with restrictions, then seizure and spoliation of property, commitment to concentration camps, deportation, slave labor, and finally mass murder. The GESTAPO carried out mass murders of hundreds of thousands of civilians of occupied countries as a part of the Nazi program to exterminate political and racial undesirables.