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The Reichssicherheitsdienst (RSD) was an SS security force of Nazi Germany. Originally the personal bodyguards of Adolf Hitler, it later protected other high-ranking individuals of the Nazi regime.

The RSD was founded on March 15, 1933 as the Führerschutzkommando ("Führer protection command"), and renamed Reichssicherheitsdienst ("Reich's Security Service") on August 1, 1935. Its members originally were professional police personnel from the Bavarian police and were charged with personally protecting Hitler inside the borders of Bavaria. Outside of that state, Hitler's protection was insured by the SS-Begleitkommando des Führers, an eight-member bodyguard. The RSD replaced the Begleitkommando throughout the country in 1934.

Members of the RSD were made Wehrmacht officers by a resolution of the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht upon the outbreak of World War II, granting them extra jurisdiction and privileges. However, the group was technically on the staff of Reichsfuhrer-SS Himmler with its personnel wearing the uniform of the SS with the Sicherheitsdienst (SD) diamond on their lower left sleeve. Their official designation in 1939 was Reichssicherheitsdienst Gruppe Geheime Feldpolizei z. b. V. The group's leader for its entire existence was SS-Gruppenführer und Generalleutnant der Polizei Johann Rattenhuber. After Hitler's suicide on April 30, 1945 in the Führerbunker, Rattenhuber was captured by the Red Army on May 1 and placed in a Soviet prison.

Notes

This article incorporates information from the revision as of April 2, 2007 of the equivalent article on the German Wikipedia.

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