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The Führer’s Decree on Preserving the Purity of the SS and the Police (November 15, 1941)

In Himmler’s eyes, homosexuality was a “plague” that harmed the race and cheated the German Volk out of valuable offspring. Starting in 1936, he pursued its eradication through his Reich Central Office for Combating Abortion and Homosexuality. For members of the SS, which Himmler conceived of as an elite racial group, homosexuality was cause for expulsion and severe punishment. It was not until 1941, however, that Himmler was able to extract from his Führer a formal decree that made homosexuality within the SS punishable by death.

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The Führer

Führer Headquarters
15 November 1941


In order to keep the SS and Police clean of vermin with homosexual inclinations, I hereby resolve:

I. For members of the SS and Police the following sentences shall apply instead of §§175 and 175a of the Reich Penal Code:

A member of the SS and Police who commits unnatural acts with another man or lets himself be abused for unnatural acts shall be punished with death.

In less serious cases penal servitude or imprisonment of not less than 6 months may be imposed.

Where a member of the SS or Police was not yet 21 years of age at the time of the offences and was seduced into it, the court may in especially minor cases refrain from punishment.

II. Imposition of the sentences threatened under I is independent of the offender's age.

III. The crimes designated under I come under the jurisdiction of special SS and Police courts in accordance with the provisions applying to them. The competence of Wehrmacht courts is not affected.

IV. The provisions necessary to enforce and supplement this decree shall be ordered by the Reichsführer SS and Chief of the German Police in the Reich Ministry of the Interior.

The Führer [signed]: Adolf Hitler



Copyright 1995 from Hidden Holocaust? Gay and Lesbian Persecution in Germany, 1933-45 by Günter Grau, ed. Reproduced by permission of Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group, LLC, pp. 193-94.

Source of original German text: Todesstrafe gegen Angehörige von SS und Polizei (November 15, 1941), Bundesarchiv Film 2782/AN 2741216; reprinted in Günter Grau, ed., Homosexualität in der NS-Zeit: Dokumente einer Diskriminierung und Verfolgung. 2nd revised edition, Frankfurt am Main: Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, 2004, p. 244.

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