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The RSHA (German: Reichssicherheitshauptamt) was the Reich Main Security Organization, a division of the SS, headed by Heinrich Himmler. It was first commanded by Reinhard Heydrich, and then Ernst Kaltenbrunner.

Himmler formally linked the Security Police and SD into the RSHA on September 27, 1939, under Heydrich's command. "So potentially powerful was the new agency that Heydrich kept its formal existence a secret until his death in 1942. Correspondence going outside the RSHA bore the pre-1939 letterhead: “the Chief of the Security Police and the SD.” ".[1]

While there were organization changes over time, the basic structure had seven Amter, or Offices:

  • Amt I: Personnel
  • Amt II: Administration and Finance
  • Amt III: Internal intelligence (Inland-SD); Otto Ohlendorf, later directly under Kaltenbrunner
  • Amt IV: Gestapo, Heinrich Mueller
  • Amt V: KriPo (Kriminal Polizei), German Criminal Police; Artur Nebe
  • Amt VI: External intelligence (Ausland-SD); Walter Schellenberg
  • Amt VII: Indexes and records, archives

The Einsatzgruppen reported directly to Heydrich.

In early 1942, the juridictional battles between the military Abwehr and the RSHA escalated.[2]


  1. Reinhard Heydrich, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum
  2. Michael Mueller, Geoffrey Brooks (2007), Canaris: the life and death of Hitler's spymaster, Naval Institute Press, pp. 209-210