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Rasse-und Siedlungshauptamt-SS
Flag Schutzstaffel.svg
The RuSHA was under the administration of the SS.
Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1969-062A-58, "Verein Lebensborn", Taufe.jpg
SS christening of a child born through the RuSHA's Lebensborn program in 1936.
Agency overview
Formed c.1931
Dissolved May 8, 1945
Jurisdiction Germany Germany
Occupied Europe
Headquarters SS-Hauptamt, Prinz-Albrecht-Straße, Berlin
Employees 1,500 c.1942
Minister responsible
Agency executives
Parent agency Flag Schutzstaffel.svg Allgemeine-SS

The Rasse- und Siedlungshauptamt-SS (English: SS Race and Settlement Main Office), (RuSHA), was the organization responsible for "safeguarding the racial 'purity' of the SS" within Nazi Germany.[1] One of its duties was to oversee the marriages of SS personnel in accordance with the racial policy of Nazi Germany. After Himmler introduced on December 31, 1931 the "marriage order", the RuSHA would only issue a permit to marry once detailed background investigations into the racial fitness of both prospective parents had been completed and proved both of them to be of Aryan descent back to 1800.[2][3]


Babies born during the SS Lebensborn program in 1943.

The RuSHA was founded in 1931 by Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler and Richard Walther Darré, who later rose to the rank of SS-Obergruppenführer. It was an SS office. In 1935, it was upgraded to an SS Main Office. Under its first director, Darré, it propagated the Nazi ideology of "Blood and Soil". Darré was dismissed by Himmler in 1938 and was succeeded by SS-Gruppenführer Günther Pancke, SS-Gruppenführer Otto Hofmann in 1940, and SA-Gruppenführer Richard Hildebrandt in 1943.

The RuSHA was created to monitor Himmler's 1931 order that the marital decisions of unmarried SS men should be supervised by the Nazi state. SS men would thereafter have to apply for a marriage permit three months before getting married so that the parents of the fiancée could be investigated to ensure her racial purity. With time, the marriage laws became less strict,[1] but RuSHA's power progressively grew in scope and other organizations came under its umbrella, such as the Ahnenerbe.

In December 1935 Himmler ordered the RuSHA to establish the Lebensborn network of maternity homes, whose purpose was "to accommodate and look after racially and genetically valuable expectant mothers."


In 1935 the RuSHA consisted of seven departments (German language: Ämter or Amtsgruppe):

  • Amt Organisation und Verwaltungsamt (English: Organisation and Administration)
  • Amt Rassenamt (English: Race)
  • Amt Schulungsamt (English: Education)
  • Amt Sippen und Heiratsamt (English: Family and Marriage)
  • Amt Siedlungsamt (English: Settlement)
  • Amt fur Archiv und Zeitungswesen (English: Records and Press)
  • Amt für Bevölkerungspolitik (English: Population Policy)

In 1940 it was reorganized to create four main departments:

  • Amt Verwaltungsamt (English: Administration Office).
  • Amt Rassenamt (English: Racial Office), it selected future SS personnel and conducted racial selections.
  • Amt Heiratsamt (English: Marriage Office) it controlled the selection of suitable wives by SS men.
  • Amt Siedlungsamt (English: Settlement Office), it dealt with the settlement of discharged SS men, especially in the annexed eastern areas.

The Race and Settlement Departments were further divided into the Hauptabteilungen (English: Main Branches). One of these managed welfare and pensions in cooperation with the SS-Hauptfürsorge- und- Versorgungsamt (English: SS Main Welfare and Pension Department) at the Reich Ministry of the Interior.

Racial policies

Some of the 14 defendants in the RuSHA Trial at Nuremberg read the indictments against them in July 1947.

Josef Mengele in 1956. Photo taken by a police photographer in Buenos Aires for Mengele's Argentine identification document.

By 1937 more than 300 SS men had been expelled from the Schutzstaffel for violating Nazi race laws (Rassenschande), although an order later stated that they could remain if they were already married and could satisfy racial criteria. In November 1940, Himmler reinstated all SS personnel expelled under the marriage laws, provided they met racial requirements of the Nazi Party.

Following the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, the RuSHA worked in partnership with VOMI in the "germanization" of captured territory, monitoring of settler welfare, and the plantation of ethnic Germans in areas designated for settlement by the SS, particularly in occupied Ukraine. This involved in part, the resetting of Germans in the Nazi occupied Eastern territories and ejecting the native families from those lands.

The RuSHA was also an advisory and executive office for all questions of racial selection. Racial examinations were performed by Rasse und Siedlungs (RUS) leaders or their racial examiners (German language: Eignungspruefer) in connection with:

  • Cases where sexual intercourse had occurred between Eastern European POWs or workers and Germans
  • Children born to Eastern European workers
  • Classification of people of German descent
  • Selection of enemy nationals, particularly Poles and Slovakians, for slave labour and Germanization
  • Kidnapping of children suitable for Germanization
  • Population transfers
  • The persecution and liquidation of Jews

The RuSHA also employed Josef Mengele for a short time from November 1940 to early 1941, in Department II of its Family Office, where he was responsible for "care of genetic health" and "genetic health tests".[4]


In July 1947, 14 officials from the organization were indicted in the RuSHA Trial and tried by the Allied powers at Nuremberg. All were charged with crimes against humanity, war crimes and membership of a criminal organization (the SS). All but one (who was acquitted on the two more serious charges) were found guilty and sentenced to between three and 25 years imprisonment.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 [1] SS Collections: RuSHA (Rasse- und Siedlungshauptamt) - Stenger Historica
  2. Michael Burleigh (7 November 1991). The Racial State: Germany 1933-1945. Cambridge University Press. pp. 84, 273,. ISBN 978-0-521-39802-2. 
  3. Christian Zentner, Friedemann Bedürftig (1997). The encyclopedia of the Third Reich. Da Capo Press. p. 146. ISBN 978-0-306-80793-0. 
  4. Schmuhl, Hans-Walter (2008). The Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institute for Anthropology, Human Heredity and Eugenics, 1927-1945: Crossing Boundaries. Springer. p. 364. ISBN 1-4020-6599-X. 


  • [2] SS Collections: RuSHA (Rasse- und Siedlungshauptamt) -
  • Law Reports of Trials of War Criminals: United Nations War Crimes Commission. Wm. S. Hein Publishing. 1997. p. 5. ISBN 1-57588-403-8. 

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