- (ORPO)(Order Police).This body arose out of a reorganization that occurred in Germany in 1936, when the conventional police and the gendarmerie were merged into a single police force on Heinrich Himmler’s orders. Subsequently, the Order Police and its auxiliaries played an important role in the Final Solution. Because the Schutzstaffel (SS) did not have enough personnel to guard the trains that took Jews to the death camps, they enlisted the Order Police or police battalions for this responsibility. Composed of “ordinary Germans,” these policemen had already participated with the Einsatzgruppen in the invasion of the Soviet Union, and had participated in the mass shootings of Jews. Following the decision to implement the Final Solution, the Order Police, under the command of Kurt Daluege (1897–1946), became the intermediaries between the deported Jews and the death camps as they came to regard the guarding of the “special trains” as part of their duties. Although, in the occupied countries, these units were supposed to perform police duties, their primary role was to fight against partisans, and on occasion they were enlisted to support combat units. The number of men serving in ORPO in 1944 is estimated at 3,500,000.
Historical dictionary of the Holocaust. Jack R. Fischel. 2014.