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The Gestapo Geheime Staats Polizei or Secret State Police

The Gestapo Geheime Staats Polizei or Secret State Police was the Nazis most productive instrument of dread Its government agents were ubiquitous its casualties subject to torment and mass extradition to the concentration camps It appears to be a remarkable that others conscious qualities could be unearthed from people who were associated with such an abhorrent group yet that is one accomplishment of Frank McDonough s well researched book In the weeks before Nazi Germany s impending doom Hitler s regime destroyed all kinds of incriminating evidence that the Allies might use in the inevitable court proceedings against the Nazi elite Some of the records not destroyed by the Nazi were destroyed in the air raids by the allies including most of the records on enemies used by the notorious secret state police the Gestapo By some miracle about 70 000 of these case files survived in Düsseldorf 19 000 in Würzburg and 12 000 in Speyer were undamaged Although these files have been available to historians since 1945 they were largely ignored as few ever challenged the reputation of the organisation as an almighty all present all seeing and all knowing This was the largely accepted story regarding Gestapo when McDonough began researching the files more than 20 years ago The author mentioning that he was told by all contemporary Germans and historians that the Gestapo was everywhere However Since the turn of this century historical research has made the study of the Nazi secret organisation and police system much more open and subjective The author Frank McDonough makes an impressive effort to summarise the formation of the Gestapo who were the organisation s power figures and its day to day operations I personally found that despite his claim to portray himself as a myth buster I found this claim to be lacking and in most cases he was just translating the official documents Following his larger claim the author narrows his focus to the Western German areas such as Bavaria North West Phalia and Rhineland where Gestapo was much more active and to his credit he uses some Gestapo case files from occupied territories such as France and Belgium but unfortunately his analysis of these files is neither objective nor very accurate

2 pages | 735 words

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