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Sicherheitsdienst

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Eventually to contain all Nazi foreign human-source intelligence and counterintelligence activities of Nazi Germany, the Sicherheitsdienst, best known as the SD, was created as a Nazi Party, not state, organization in 1939. It was originally divided into internal and domestic intelligence services, headed, respectively, by Otto Ohlendorf and Walter Schellenberg. When the overall RSHA security organizations were formed in 1942, became, respectively, Amt (office) III and Amt VI.

They had a variety of duties, but sometimes were confused with Security Police (SIPO), which wore the same uniform in the field. [1]

Venlo Incident

One of the SD's greatest counterespionage successes was the Venlo Incident, in which it lured operatives of the British Secret Intelligence Service into being captured at the border of a neutral country.[2]

Reports from the Reich

The Inland SD, under Ohlendorf, operated a network of informers on the population. From these, SD headquarters produced classified "Reports from the Reich" that had some resemblance to a public opinion poll.[3] They told the party leadership about domestic politics and the public mood, often telling officials much they did not want to hear, and brought Ohlendorf into disfavor. Some suggest Ohlendorf took the Einsatzgruppe assignment to redeem his Party reputation.

Einsatzgruppe

A substantial number of the personnel of Einsatzgruppen, including commanders such as Otto Ohlendorf, were from the SD.

Commando Order

With his Commando Order, Hitler gave the SD the responsibility of killing lawful combatants captured behind German lines.

Foreign intelligence

Eventually, the SD bureau under Walter Schellenberg absorbed the military Abwehr. It regarded the Reich Foreign Office intelligence service, under Andor Henckle, as a competitor.

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