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The Reichssicherheitsdienst
(RSD, lit. "Reich security service") was an SS security force of Nazi Germany. Originally bodyguards for Adolf Hitler, it later provided men for the protection of other high-ranking leaders of the Nazi regime. The group, although similar in name, was completely separate from the Sicherheitsdienst
(SD) which was the formal intelligence service for the SS, the Nazi Party
Nazi Party
and later Nazi Germany. Its role also included personal security, investigation of assassination plots, surveillance of locations before the arrival of Nazi dignitaries and vetting buildings as well as guests. The RSD had the power to request assistance from any other SS organisations and take command of all Ordnungspolizei
(order police) in its role protecting the Nazi functionaries.


1 Formation 2 Pre-war role 3 Wartime operations 4 See also 5 References

5.1 Citations 5.2 Bibliography

Formation[edit] The RSD was founded on 15 March 1933 as the Führerschutzkommando (" Führer
protection command"; FSK) under the command of then SS- Standartenführer
Johann Rattenhuber.[1] His deputy was Peter Högl.[2] Originally charged with protecting the Führer
only while he was inside the borders of Bavaria, its members consisted of criminal-police detectives of the Bavarian police. Since the small group was made up of Bavarian police officers, they could only operate within the area of their authority.[3] Hitler's protection outside Bavaria
was already entrusted to an eight-member bodyguard known as the SS- Begleitkommando des Führers
Begleitkommando des Führers
which was founded on 29 February 1932.[4][5] Hitler
wanted a home-grown close protection group while in Munich because this was the traditional birthplace of the Nazi Party
Nazi Party
and where any plots would therefore have added significance. In the spring of 1934, the Führerschutzkommando replaced the SS-Begleitkommando for Hitler's overall protection throughout Germany.[3] In 1935 the Führerschutzkommando was made up of 17 police officers under Rattenhuber's command.[3] The FSK was officially renamed the Reichssicherheitsdienst
(Reich Security
Service; RSD) on 1 August 1935.[6] Himmler finally gained full control over the RSD in October 1935. Although Himmler was officially named chief, Rattenhuber remained in command and took his orders for the most part from Hitler or a chief aide such as Julius Schaub.[6] Himmler was given administrative control over the RSD and the SS gained influence over its members.[6] As for the SS-Begleitkommando, it was expanded and became known as the Führerbegleitkommando ( Führer
Escort Command; FBK).[4] The FBK continued under separate command until April 1945 and remained responsible for Hitler's close personal protection.[7] Pre-war role[edit] The RSD and FBK worked together for security and personal protection during Hitler's trips and public events, but they operated as two groups and used separate vehicles. For those occasions, Rattenhuber would be in overall command and the FBK chief, at the time, would act as his deputy.[8] Before a trip, the RSD had the responsibly of checking the route, the buildings along the route, and the places which Hitler
was to visit.[9] The local Gestapo
office would provide intelligence reports, along with information as to any assassination rumours, to the RSD.[10] For motorcades, following Hitler's Mercedes-Benz would be two cars to the left and right, one with FBK men and the other with a detachment of RSD men.[11] In 1936 a resolution of the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht
Oberkommando der Wehrmacht
gave members of the RSD the status of being Wehrmacht
officers but with authority that included extra jurisdictional powers and privileges.[12] It was formally called the Reichssicherheitsdienst
Gruppe Geheime Feldpolizei z. b. V (Reich Security
Service Group Secret Field Police z. b. V).[13] They were considered military police officers that were technically on the staff of Reichsfuhrer-SS
Himmler with its personnel wearing the uniform of the SS with the SD diamond on their lower left sleeve.[12] Those who were eligible to claim SS membership could join the RSD and all officers had to present proof that they were of German blood. In 1937 all RSD officers were made members of the SS breaking the link to the regular army.[12] By that year, the RSD had 100 men in its ranks.[14] Wartime operations[edit] On the outbreak of World War II, the RSD had 200 men in its ranks.[14] It protected Hitler, along with other government and inner circle members as they travelled around occupied Europe.[2] By 1944, there were seventeen RSD units protecting the top leadership.[15] As RSD chief, Rattenhuber was responsible for securing Hitler's field headquarters. In particular, a battalion guarded the Wolf's Lair
Wolf's Lair
near the town of Rastenburg, now Kętrzyn
in Poland. Rattenhuber's deputy, Peter Högl was appointed Chief of RSD Department 1 (responsible for the personal protection of Hitler
on a day-to-day basis during the war).[2] The Wolf's Lair
Wolf's Lair
had three security zones. Sperrkreis 1 ( Security
Zone 1) was located at the heart of the Wolf's Lair. Ringed by steel fencing and guarded by RSD and FBK men, it contained Hitler's bunker and ten other camouflaged bunkers built from 2 metres (6 ft 7 in) thick steel-reinforced concrete.[16] Hitler first arrived at the Wolf's Lair
Wolf's Lair
on 23 June 1941 and departed for the last time on 20 November 1944. Overall, he spent over 800 days there during that three and half year period.[17] By early 1945, Germany's military situation was on the verge of total collapse. In January 1945, Rattenhuber accompanied Hitler
and his entourage into the bunker complex under the Reich Chancellery
Reich Chancellery
garden in the central government sector of Berlin.[18] To the Nazi leadership it was clear that the battle for Berlin, which started in late April, would be the final battle of the war.[18] On 27 April 1945, Högl was sent out to find Himmler's liaison man, SS-Gruppenführer and Generalleutnant of the Waffen-SS
Hermann Fegelein
Hermann Fegelein
who had deserted his post at the Führerbunker.[19] Fegelein was caught by Högl's RSD squad in his Berlin
apartment, wearing civilian clothes and preparing to flee to Sweden
or Switzerland. He was carrying cash—German and foreign—and jewellery, some of which belonged to Eva Braun. Högl also uncovered a briefcase containing documents with evidence of Himmler's attempted peace negotiations with the western Allies.[20] Fegelein was brought back to the Führerbunker
and then shot on 28 April.[20] After Hitler
committed suicide on 30 April, Rattenhuber and the remaining RSD officers were captured by the Soviet Red Army
Red Army
on 1 May 1945 during the attempted break-out from central Berlin
to avoid capture.[21] Rattenhuber served 10 years in prison before being released by the Soviets on 10 October 1955.[22] See also[edit]

Begleit Brigade, an armored unit of the German Army which provided Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
with battlefield security. Feldgendarmerie, the German military police in World War II.

References[edit] Citations[edit]

^ Joachimsthaler 1999, p. 288. ^ a b c Felton 2014, p. 23. ^ a b c Hoffmann 2000, p. 32. ^ a b Joachimsthaler 1999, pp. 16, 287. ^ Hoffmann 2000, p. 48. ^ a b c Hoffmann 2000, p. 36. ^ Joachimsthaler 1999, pp. 16, 287, 293. ^ Felton 2014, pp. 32, 33. ^ Hoffmann 2000, pp. 39–40. ^ Hoffmann 2000, p. 60. ^ Hoffmann 2000, pp. 85, 86 diagram pages. ^ a b c Felton 2014, p. 18. ^ Hoffmann 2000, p. 43. ^ a b Hoffmann 2000, p. 40. ^ Felton 2014, p. 24. ^ Kershaw 2008, pp. 624, 792. ^ Kershaw 2008, p. 624. ^ a b Beevor 2002, p. 139. ^ Kershaw 2008, p. 942. ^ a b Joachimsthaler 1999, pp. 277, 278. ^ Beevor 2002, pp. 388–389. ^ Joachimsthaler 1999, p. 286.


Beevor, Antony (2002). Berlin – The Downfall 1945. New York: Viking-Penguin. ISBN 978-0-670-03041-5.  Felton, Mark (2014). Guarding Hitler: The Secret World of the Führer. London: Pen and Sword Military. ISBN 978-1-78159-305-9.  Hoffmann, Peter (2000) [1979]. Hitler's Personal Security: Protecting the Führer
1921-1945. New York: Da Capo Press. ISBN 978-0-30680-947-7.  Joachimsthaler, Anton (1999) [1995]. The Last Days of Hitler: The Legends, the Evidence, the Truth. Trans. Helmut Bögler. London: Brockhampton Press. ISBN 978-1-86019-902-8.  Kershaw, Ian (2008). Hitler: A Biography. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 978-0-393-06757-6. 

v t e



Allgemeine SS Totenkopfverbände (SS-TV) Waffen-SS


Reichsführer-SS SS and police leader SS personnel SS commands


Julius Schreck Joseph Berchtold Erhard Heiden Heinrich Himmler Karl Hanke

Main departments

Personal Staff Reichsführer-SS SS Main Office Head Operational Office Reich Main Security
Office (RSHA) Economics and Administration Office Office of Race and Settlement (RuSHA) Main Office for Ethnic Germans (VOMI) Office of the Reich Commissioner for Germanic Resettlement (RKFDV) Courts Office Personnel Office Education Office

Ideological institutions

Ahnenerbe Das Schwarze Korps SS-Junkerschule Bad Tölz Lebensborn

Police and security services

Regular uniform police (Orpo) Schutzpolizei (Schupo) Criminal police (Kripo) Secret State police (Gestapo) State Security
police (SiPo) SS Security
Service (SD)


SS-Begleitkommando des Führers Reichssicherheitsdienst

Paramilitary units

Einsatzgruppen Schutzmannschaft Belarusian Auxiliary Police Latvian Police Battalions Ypatingasis būrys Lithuanian Security
Police Lithuanian Auxiliary Police Battalions Rollkommando Hamann Arajs Kommando Ukrainian Auxiliary Police Volksdeutscher Selbstschutz Trawnikis Estonian Auxiliary Police Police Regiment Centre


Verfügungstruppe (SS-VT) Leibstandarte (LSSAH) SS Division Das Reich SS Division Totenkopf SS Polizei Division SS Division Wiking

Foreign SS units

Germanic-SS Germaansche SS in Nederland Germaansche SS in Vlaanderen Germanske SS Norge Schalburg Corps Britisches Freikorps S.S. Sturmbrigade R.O.N.A. Finnish Volunteer Battalion of the Waffen-SS

SS-controlled enterprises

Ostindustrie Deutsche Wirtschaftsbetriebe Deutsche Ausrüstungswerke DEST Allach porcelain Apollinaris Mattoni Sudetenquell Anton Loibl

SS awards

SS Sword of Honour SS Honour Ring SS Honor Dagger

Ranks, uniforms and insignia

Uniforms and insignia of the SS Ranks and insignia of the Waffen-SS Ranks and insignia of the Orpo Corps colours of the Waffen-SS

v t e

Adolf Hitler


Führer Political views Political directives Speeches Mein Kampf Zweites Buch Last will and testament Books Nazism


Military career Rise to power Hitler
Cabinet Nazi Germany World War II The Holocaust Assassination attempts Death

Places of residence


Berghof (Kehlsteinhaus) Reich Chancellery Wolf's Lair Werwolf Adlerhorst Special
train (Führersonderzug) Führerbunker Wolfsschlucht I Wolfsschlucht II Anlage Süd Felsennest

Civilian residences

Braunau am Inn Linz Vienna
(Meldemannstraße dormitory) Munich
(16 Prinzregentenplatz)

Personal life

Health Wealth and income Religious views Sexuality Vegetarianism Staff Bodyguard August Kubizek Stefanie Rabatsch Psychopathography Hitler's Table Talk Paintings 50th birthday

Personal belongings

Hitler's Globe Personal standard Private library


Books In popular culture The Victory of Faith Triumph of the Will Hitler: The Last Ten Days The Meaning of Hitler Hitler
"Diaries" Moloch Hitler: The Rise of Evil Downfall


Eva Braun
Eva Braun
(wife) Alois Hitler
(father) Klara Hitler
(mother) Johann Georg Hiedler (grandfather) Maria Schicklgruber (grandmother) Angela Hitler
(half-sister) Paula Hitler
(sister) Leo Rudolf Raubal Jr. (half-nephew) Geli Raubal
Geli Raubal
(half-niece) William Patrick Stuart-Houston (half-nephew) Heinz Hitler
(half-nephew) Pets: Blondi


Hitler's possible monorchism Conspiracy theories about Hitler's death Streets named after Hitler Mannerheim recordi