Sicherheits und Hilfdienst

The Sicherheits und Hilfdienst, or Security and Assistance Service was formedin 1935 as a mobile civil defense organization to augment the most vulnerablecities and towns in Germany. It differed from other civil air raid protectionservices in that it was mobile and was responsible for the heavy rescuework unlike the functions of the Reichsluftschutzbund which was not able to take part in actual heavy rescue operations. The menof the Sicherheits und Hilfdienst were housed in barracks but were allowedto sleep at home on alternate nights. Men in this organization wereexempt from the military for the duration of their service in theSicherheits und Hilfdienst, and they also were not allowed to take part in anyother occupation while a member.

The Sicherheits und Hilfdienst was organized into five main groups consistingof decontamination squads, firefighting units, repair work units, veterinaryservice units, and medical units.In 1940, a number of Sicherheits und Hilfdienst Abteilungen were formedto serve as a mobile reserve for those cities most heavily hit by Alliedair raids. Each location across Germany that housed Sicherheits und Hilfdienstunits were required to form a rapidly mobile cadre of men for these Abteilungen,which in turn were formed up and transferred to those locations in most direneed of their assistance following an Allied attack.

In 1942, following a series of tremendously devastating air attacks on Lubeckand Rostock in the north of Germany in which the Sicherheits und Hilfdienstunits proved to be totally unable to cope, the entire system of German civilair defense and rescue was reorganized. This was done on June 1st, 1942 by creating a brand neworganization, the Luftschutzpolizei, or Air Defense Police. The Luftschutzpolizeicame under the full control of the German Order Police (the Orpo), and thusits history is explained in detail in the section on German Police formations.

When the Luftschutzpolizei was formed the existing Sicherheits und HilfdienstAbteilungen were transferred directly into the Luftwaffe where they becameLuftschutz-Abteilungen, or motorized air protection battalions. Fifty-five suchunits are known to have been formed, numbered as Luftschutz-Abteilung 11through 60, and Luftschutz-Abteilungen VI, XI, XII, XIII, and XVII. These fifty-five Luftschutz-Abteilgungen were controlled byeight Luftschutz-Regimentsstäben. They continued to operate exclusively infirefighting, rescue work and debris clearing operations when theywere transferred to the Luftwaffe.