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he RSHA, or Reichssicherheitshauptamt (Reich Main Security Office or Reich Security Main Office), was a subordinate organization of the SS. The RSHA was created by Heinrich Himmler on September 22, 1939 through the merger of the Sicherheitsdienst (SD, or Security Service), the Geheime Staatspolizei (Gestapo, Secret State Police), and the Kriminalpolizei (Kripo, Criminal Police). The organization's stated duty was to fight all "enemies of the Reich" within and outside the borders of Nazi Germany. Included within the rubric of "enemies" were Jews, Romani people and other "racially undesirables" as well as Communists and other secret organization members such as Freemasons; thus the RSHA coordinated activities among a number of different agencies with wide-ranging responsibilities.

The first director of the RSHA was SS-Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich, who led the organization until his assassination on June 4, 1942. SS-Obergruppenführer Dr. Ernst Kaltenbrunner replaced him for the remainder of World War II. The director of the RSHA also oversaw the Einsatzgruppen death squads that followed the invasion forces of the German army into the eastern territories.

The actual RSHA acronym for its director was 'CSSD': Chef der Sicherheitspolizei und des SD (Chief of the Security Police and of the Security Service).

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