Gestapo, abbreviated form of Geheime Staatspolizei (secret state police), the executive arm of the Nazi police force, 1936–45, possessing almost unlimited authority. Under the control of Heinrich Himmler, it shared responsibility for internal security and administered the concentration camps. The Gestapo arrested and sent to the camps thousands of Jews, intellectuals, clergy, homosexuals, and other “undesirables.” It was declared a criminal organization at the Nuremburg Trials (1945–46).
See also: Himmler, Heinrich; Nazism.
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