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Hitler's EnforcersThe Gestapo and the SS Security Service in the Nazi Revolution$
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George C. Browder

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9780195104790

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195104790.001.0001

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From Political Detectives to Gestapo, 1933–1934

From Political Detectives to Gestapo, 1933–1934

(p.32) 2 From Political Detectives to Gestapo, 1933–1934
Hitler's Enforcers

George C. Browder

Oxford University Press

Routinization works best when one has distance, as at a bureaucrat's desk. When one has direct contact with the victims, the key process involves dehumanization. Abstraction, dehumanization, and brutalization taken together best describe what happens. This process is a double-edged sword: in denying the humanity of the victim and, therefore, his right to moral consideration, the victimizer brutalizes himself as well, weakening his moral restraints. The categorization of enemies prescribed by Nazi ideology and sanctioned through fully controlled media created the psychological environment to generate such processes. As one shall see, both police and Sicherheitsdienst (SD) created their own evidence and convinced themselves that the Nazi-designated enemies were indeed threats to society. The following social history of the Sicherheitspolizei (Sipo) detectives shows how authorization, bolstering, routinization, and dehumanization contributed to their evolution. Throughout the process, professional detectives and civil servants experienced an uneven, sometimes jarring, sometimes gradual transformation from apolitical professionals to “Gestapo men.”.

Keywords:   police, Sicherheitsdienst, Nazi, Sicherheitspolizei, detectives, authorization, bolstering, routinization, dehumanization, Gestapo

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