Kommandostab Reichsführer-SS

Kommandostab Reichsführer-SS
Formation May 1941
Type Waffen-SS
Purpose Security operations in the Army Group Rear Areas and civilian-administered territories (Reichskommissariat)
The Holocaust
Nazi Germany
German-occupied Europe
Key people
Heinrich Himmler
Kurt Knoblauch

Kommandostab Reichsführer-SS ("Command Staff Reichsführer-SS") was a paramilitary organisation within the SS of Nazi Germany under the personal control of Heinrich Himmler, the head of the SS. Established in 1941, prior to the German invasion of Soviet Union, it consisted of the Waffen-SS security forces deployed in the occupied territories.


The organisation was formed on 7 April 1941 out of Waffen-SS troops as "special staff" (Eintzatsstab), reporting directly to Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler. It was officially designated as Kommandostab Reichsführer-SS on 6 May.[1] To head the organisation, Himmler appointed a career army officer Kurt Knoblauch who acted as chief of staff for the units.[2] The purpose of the formation was to conduct "pacification operations" in the Army Group Rear Areas and civilian-administered territories (Reichskommissariats).[3]

Prior to the launch of the invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, the formations under the Kommandostab included two motorized SS Infantry Brigades (1st and 2nd) and two SS Cavalry Regiments combined into the SS Cavalry Brigade, totaling about 25,000 Waffen-SS troops.[1] Its individual units were subordinated to local Higher SS and Police Leaders (HSSPFs) and used in the murder of Jews and other "undesirables", in addition to providing rear area security. In the former function, the units activities were indistinguishable from the Einsatzgruppen mobile death squads and the Police Regiments, such as the Police Regiment Centre.[4] Historian Yehoshua Büchler described the formations under the Kommandostab as "Himmler's personal murder brigades".[5]

Subordinate formations



  1. 1 2 Browning 2002, p. 233.
  2. Hale 2011, pp. 160–162.
  3. Förster 2002, p. 93.
  4. Förster 2002, pp. 92–93.
  5. Förster 2002, p. 116.


Further reading

  • Beorn, Waitman Wade (2014). Marching into Darkness: The Wehrmacht and the Holocaust in Belarus. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-72550-8. 
  • Brandon, Ray; Lower, Wendy (2008). The Shoah in Ukraine: history, testimony, memorialization. Indiana University Press. p. 12. ISBN 978-0-253-35084-8. 
  • Cüppers, Martin (2005). Wegbereiter der Shoah: Die Waffen-SS, der Kommandostab Reichsführer-SS und die Judenvernichtung, 1939–1945 [Pioneer of the Shoah: The Waffen-SS, Kommandostab Reichsführer-SS and the Extermination of the Jews, 1939–1945] (in German). Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft. ISBN 978-3-534-16022-8. 
  • Megargee, Geoffrey P. War of Annihilation: Combat and Genocide on the Eastern Front, 1941. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-0-7425-4482-6. 
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