Founded in 1925, the initial task of the SS was to guard meetings of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party. After Himmler was appointed Reichsführer of the SS in 1929 he converted the organisation into an elite unit of ‘Aryan Supermen’ for various military, security and policing missions. Amongst other things, the SS guarded the concentration camps and manned Einsatzgruppen and extermination camps. The military branch of the SS was the Waffen-SS.
In the Netherlands the SS was represented by H.A. Rauter, Higher SS Leader and Chief of Police and Commissioner-General for the Security Services. Rauter was responsible for deporting Jews, suppressing the Dutch Resistance, and transporting Dutch males to forced labour camps in Germany. At the Nuremberg trials the SS was classified as a criminal organisation. Rauter was sentenced to death in 1948.