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Hermann Göring, the Minister-President of Prussia, formed the unit in 1933. Beginning on 20 April 1934, it was under the administration of SS national leader Heinrich Himmler, who in 1936 was appointed Chief of German Police (Chef der Deutschen Polizei) by Hitler.
The name stands for Geheime Staatspolizei. This means "secret state police". It was under the overall administration of the Schutzstaffel (SS).
The Gestapo were allowed to arrest people that offended the government. The government could use the secret police to accuse and arrest anyone they wanted without being questioned. They were instrumental to the SS in enforcing The Holocaust.
- Lumsden, Robin 2002. A collector's guide to the Allgemeine – SS. Ian Allan Publishing. p83. ISBN 0-7110-2905-9
- "The History Place - Triumph of Hitler: The Gestapo is Born". https://www.historyplace.com/worldwar2/triumph/tr-gestapo.htm.