FEBRUARY 22, 1933
SS AND SA BECOME AUXILIARY POLICE UNITS
Less than a month after Adolf Hitler is appointed chancellor of Germany, he calls on elements of the Nazi party to act as auxiliary police. The SS, initially Hitler's bodyguards, and the SA, the street fighters or Storm Troopers of the Nazi party, now have official police power. This further increases the power of the Nazi party in German society.
FEBRUARY 28, 1933
REICHSTAG FIRE DECREE EMPOWERS POLICE
An emergency decree following the burning of the Reichstag (German parliament) on February 27, 1933, grants the police almost unlimited power of arrest. This power is known as "protective custody." In National Socialist terminology, protective custody means the arrest of potential opponents of the regime without benefit of a trial or judicial proceedings. Protective custody prisoners are confined not in the normal prison system but in concentration camps. These camps were initially established by the Storm Troopers (SA) and later came under the exclusive authority of the chief of the SS (the elite guard of the Nazi state).
MARCH 20, 1933
HEINRICH HIMMLER ANNOUNCES THE OPENING OF DACHAU
The Dachau camp, located near Munich in southern Germany, is one of the first concentration camps established by the Nazis. SS chief Heinrich Himmler announces its opening on March 20, 1933. The first prisoners arrive on March 22. They are mainly Communists and Socialists. Dachau is the only camp to remain in operation from 1933 until 1945.
JUNE 17, 1936
HEINRICH HIMMLER BECOMES CHIEF OF THE GERMAN POLICE
Adolf Hitler appoints SS chief Heinrich Himmler chief of all German police units. All police powers are now centralized. The Gestapo (German secret state police) comes under Himmler's control. Responsible for state security, it has the authority to send individuals to concentration camps. Members of the Gestapo are often also members of the SS.