An Illustrated History of the Gestapo.

By Rupert Butler

Printed: 1992

Publisher: Ian Allan Publishing. London

Dimensions 19 × 24 × 3 cm

Language: English

Size (cminches): 19 x 24 x 3

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In the original dustsheet. Red cloth binding with gilt title on the spine.

  • F.B.A. provides an in-depth photographic presentation of this item to stimulate your feeling and touch. More traditional book descriptions are immediately available.

Traces the development of the Gestapo, looks at its leaders, discusses Hitler’s use of the secret police organization, and includes interviews with those who survived Gestapo interrogations.

The Gestapo started as small department of the Prussian State Police and grew to become a bureaucracy of terror under the leadership of the brutal drug addict Hermann Goring, the self hating Heinrich Himmler(both of whom committed suicide rather than face the consequences of their crimes)and the ruthless Jew-hating Reinhard Heydrich who died after an attempted assassination in Prague in 1942. The elimination of the village of Lidice in the wake of the latter showed the amoral character of the Nazis and their regime.

Yet the Gestapo could never have operated without the cooperation of the German people who willingly provided thousands of leads to the men in black (although the trench coat and black uniform was abandoned in the late 1930’s) who believed the organisation, though responsible only to its leadership not the law, was acting in the legitimate interests of the State.

To men like Himmler, Heydrich, Klaus Barbie and Adolf Eichman, killing real and imagined enemies (as defined by the Gestapo) was a task to be carried out without emotion for the people who they considered were less human than themselves. The leaders took the easy way out, the rank and file hid behind the claim that they were only obeying orders. The Nazis started out as a revolutionary party, hence its name as a national socialist party, but tensions between Ernst Rhom’s Brownshirts, who wanted a form of permanent revolution and Hitler, was fuelled by the ambitions of Himmler, Heydrich and others, who looked towards absolute political control enforced by terror, instituting the Night of The Long Knives in which the Gestapo played an active part. Heydrich presided over the notorious Wannsee meeting which approved plans for the “Final Solution To the Jewish Question” which was later described as “an abyss of barbarity” which “laid bare the inhumanity of which man is capable”. That inhumanity was seen in the Nazi People’s courts where the notorious Roland Freisler, who had travelled from fervent Bolsheivism to fanatical Nazism, acted as judge and de facto prosecutor until an allied bomb hit the courthouse he was using to satisfy his blood lust.

Racially based policies, whatever their origin, whoever the target, are depraved. Reducing other humans to the category of subhuman was the inevitable logical outcome of the Darwinist/Spencerian theory of the survival of the fittest. It was not what Darwin had intended but only the intellectually blind could imagine any other outcome than the myth of the Aryan Race. Ironically, Heydrich’s father was reputedly of Jewish stock.

Superbly illustrated throughout, the book finishes with testimonies from those who survived the Gestapo and its methods. Inhumanity to any human being creates an atmosphere of fear which the rise of civilisation was supposed to counteract. The Gestapo in Nazi Germany proved civilsation is no more than a veneer which can disappear beneath the release of physical violence into the political arena. A salutary reminder whenever political extremism of any kind (not just state sponsored terror)is encountered.



 Gestapo headquarters at Prinz-Albrecht-Straße 8 in Berlin (1933)

The Geheime Staatspolizei abbreviated Gestapo was the official secret police of Nazi Germany and in German-occupied Europe.

The force was created by Hermann Göring in 1933 by combining the various political police agencies of Prussia into one organisation. On 20 April 1934, oversight of the Gestapo passed to the head of the Schutzstaffel (SS), Heinrich Himmler, who was also appointed Chief of German Police by Hitler in 1936. Instead of being exclusively a Prussian state agency, the Gestapo became a national one as a sub-office of the Sicherheitspolizei (SiPo; Security Police). From 27 September 1939, it was administered by the Reich Security Main Office (RSHA). It became known as Amt (Dept) 4 of the RSHA and was considered a sister organisation to the Sicherheitsdienst (SD; Security Service).

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