Reich Main Security Office (RSHA) Berlin Reichssicherheitshauptamt (Fond 500)

Language of Description
Alt. Identifiers
  • 1993.A.0085.1.2
  • RG-11.001M.01
1 Jan 1914 - 31 Dec 1945, 1 Jan 1936 - 31 Dec 1944
Level of Description
  • German
EHRI Partner

Extent and Medium

40 microfilm reels (partial), 16 mm

82,121 digital images, JPEG


Biographical History

The Reich Main Security Office (German: Reichssicherheitshauptamt, RSHA) was an organization subordinate to Heinrich Himmler in his dual capacities as Chef der Deutschen Polizei (Chief of German Police) and Reichsführer-SS, the head of the Nazi Party's Schutzstaffel (SS). The organization's duty was to fight all "enemies of the Reich" inside and outside the borders of Nazi Germany. The RSHA was created by Himmler on 27 September 1939. Himmler's assumption of total control over all security and police forces in Germany was the "crucial precondition" for the establishment and growth of the SS state. He combined the Nazi Party's Sicherheitsdienst (SD; SS intelligence service) with the Sicherheitspolizei (SiPo; "Security Police"), which was nominally under the Interior Ministry. The SiPo was composed of two sub-departments, the Geheime Staatspolizei (Gestapo; "Secret State Police") and the Kriminalpolizei (Kripo; "Criminal Police"). The RSHA was often abbreviated to "RSi-H" in correspondence to avoid confusion with the SS-Rasse- und Siedlungshauptamt (RuSHA; "SS Race and Settlement Office"). The creation of the RSHA represented the formalization, at the top level, of the relationship under which the SD served as the intelligence agency for the security police. A similar coordination existed in the local offices. Within Germany and areas which were incorporated within the Reich for the purpose of civil administration, local offices of the Gestapo, criminal police, and SD were formally separate. They were subject to coordination by inspectors of the security police and SD on the staffs of the local higher SS and police leaders, however, and one of the principal functions of the local SD units was to serve as the intelligence agency for the local Gestapo units. In the occupied territories, the formal relationship between local units of the Gestapo, criminal police, and SD was slightly closer. Throughout the course of wartime expansion, the RSHA continued to grow at an enormous rate and was "repeatedly reorganized." Routine reorganization did not change the tendency for centralization within the Third Reich nor did it change the general trend for organizations like the RHSA to develop direct relationships to Hitler, adhering to a familiar National Socialist pattern of the leader-follower construct. For the RSHA, its centrality within Nazi Germany was pronounced since departments like the Gestapo (within the RSHA) were controlled by Himmler and his immediate subordinate SS-Obergruppenführer and General of Police Reinhard Heydrich; they held the power of life and death for nearly every German and were essentially above the law. Heydrich remained the RSHA chief until he was assassinated in 1942. In January 1943, Himmler delegated the office to SS-Obergruppenführer and General of Police Ernst Kaltenbrunner, who headed the RSHA until the end of World War II in Europe. The head of the RSHA was also known as the CSSD or Chef der Sicherheitspolizei und des SD (Chief of the Security Police and of the Security Service). [Refrence: Wikipedia and “Nazi-Looted Jewish Archives in Moscow. A guide to Jewish Historical and Cultural Collections in the Russian State Military Archive”, ed. by D. E. Fishman, M. Kupovetsky, V. Kuzelenkov]

Archival History

Rossiĭskiĭ gosudarstvennyĭ voennyĭ arkhiv


Forms part of the Claims Conference International Holocaust Documentation Archive at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. This archive consists of documentation whose reproduction and/or acquisition was made possible with funding from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.

Source of acquisition is the Russian State Military Archive (Rossiĭskiĭ gosudarstvennyĭ voennyĭ arkhiv), Osobyi Archive, Fond 500. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Archives received the filmed collection via the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum International Archival Programs Division in 1993, and accretion in 2001.

Scope and Content

Files from the following Reichssicherheitshauptamt (RSHA) departments: Amt I (Administration, Organization, and Legal Affairs)-includes directives for management of the Sipo (security police), prewar organization of Einsatzkommandos, mobilization against Poland, office telephone lists, and activity reports of Einsatzgruppen in the Occupied Eastern Territories. Amt II (Personnel)-includes personnel lists and internal telephone directories. Amt III (SD-Inland)-includes statistical data on Germans’ religious affiliations and conversions. Amt IV (Gestapo)-includes descriptive material and reports about Jews in general; reports on specific documents taken by the Gestapo from Jewish organizations; similar material from outside Germany; directives and other documents of the Reichsvertretung der Juden in Deutschland; Amt IV activity reports; “Ereignismeldungen aus der UdSSR”; “Meldungen aus den besezten Ostgebiete”; Einsatzgruppe reports including those of Stahlecker and Jaeger; RSHA directives on the use of Sipo and SD in various countries including Poland, Norway, the occupied USSR, and (specifically) Belorussia; special reports on Jews and anti-Jewish measures in Belorussia; reports on Freemasons and other fraternal organizations; newspaper clippings. Amt VI (Intelligence and Counterintelligence)-includes situation reports on political, economic, and cultural conditions in various countries; Amt VII (Archives and Libraries)-includes essays on Jewry and Judaism, Protestantism, Catholicism, and Jehovah’s Witnesses.

System of Arrangement

Fond 500 (1914-1945). Opis 1-6; Dela 3006. Selected records arranged in seven series: 1. Amt I, Administration, Organization, and Legal Affairs, 1936-1944; 2. Amt II, Personnel, 1935-1945; 3. Amt III, SD-Inland, 1932-1944; 4. Amt IV-Gestapo, 1921-1944; 5. Amt V- Criminal Police, 1938; 6. Amt VI-Photographs of German soldiers in winter on the West front, 1940 (Intelligence and Counterintelligence); 7. Amt VII- Archives and Library, 1921-1945. Note: Location of digital images; Microfilm reels: #1-17, 119, 183-185, 279-305, 321; Reel 17: Reel start-Image#989; Reel 119: Reel start-Image#239; Reel 183: Image #791-Reel end; Reel 185: Reel start-Image#1182; Reel 305: Reel start-Image# 1277.

Conditions Governing Reproduction

Copyright Holder: Rossiĭskiĭ gosudarstvennyĭ voennyĭ arkhiv


Corporate Bodies



This description is derived directly from structured data provided to EHRI by a partner institution. This collection holding institution considers this description as an accurate reflection of the archival holdings to which it refers at the moment of data transfer.