Template:Infobox Government agency The Rasse- und Siedlungshauptamt-SS (Template:Lang-en), (RuSHA), was the organization responsible for "safeguarding the racial 'purity' of the SS" within Nazi Germany.
One of its duties was to oversee the marriages of SS personnel in accordance with the Aryan ideology of the Nazi party. RuSha would only issue a permit to marry once detailed background investigations into the racial fitness of both prospective parents had been completed.
The RuSHA was founded in 1931 by Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler and SS-Obergruppenführer Richard Walther Darré as an SS office. Four years later it was upgraded to an SS Main Office in 1935. 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.
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, but RuSHA's power progressively grew in scope and other organizations came under its umbrella, such as the Ahnenerbe.
In December 1935 Himmler ordered 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: Ämter or Amtsgruppe):
- Amt Organisation und Verwaltungsamt (Template:Lang-en)
- Amt Rassenamt (Template:Lang-en)
- Amt Schulungsamt (Template:Lang-en)
- Amt Sippen und Heiratsamt (Template:Lang-en)
- Amt Siedlungsamt (Template:Lang-en)
- Amt fur Archiv und Zeitungswesen (Template:Lang-en)
- Amt fur Bevolkerungspolitik (Template:Lang-en)
In 1940 the RuSHA was reorganized to create four main departments:
- Amt Verwaltungsamt (Template:Lang-en).
- Amt Rassenamt (Template:Lang-en), it selected future SS personnel and conducted racial selections.
- Amt Heiratsamt (Template:Lang-en) it controlled the selection of suitable wives by SS men.
- Amt Siedlungsamt (Template:Lang-en), 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 (Template:Lang-en). One of these managed welfare and pensions in cooperation with the SS-Hauptfürsorge- und- Versorgungsamt (Template:Lang-en) at the Reich Ministry of the Interior.
Template:Seealso By 1937 more than 300 SS men had been expelled from the Schutzstaffel for contravening Nazi race laws, 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 NSDAP.
Following the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, 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.
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: 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
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".
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.
- Law Reports of Trials of War Criminals: United Nations War Crimes Commission. Wm. S. Hein Publishing. 1997. p. 5. ISBN 1575884038.