Questions about Nazi Germany

I’m writing a story that takes place in 1939 Nazi Germany.

In one scene, I want a character to be arrested by the Gestapo in her home. The idea being that a neighbor snitched on her, and it didn’t help that she was actually a field agent for british intelligence. I want it to go like this:

1.) Woman answers a knock at the door.
2.) A Gestapo officer and a squad of jack-booted thugs are outside.
3.) They search the house and ransakc the place.
4.) Evidence is discovered and woman is arrested.

I want to make this somewhat realistic, but there’s a number of things I’m not sure about.

A.) Presumably the Gestapo would be leading the raid but what about the thugs to do the actual arresting and maybe some ransacking(searching for evidence, stuff like that)? I keep thinking of Stormtroopers but I under the impression the SA was somewhat phased out by 1939. Police? SS? Soldiers? How would they be armed?

B.) Would they bother knocking and asking to search the place(not that refusing would deter them)? or just kick down the door and start smashing things?

C.) The part ends with her being arrested and threatened with interrogation to find out everything she knows. I had a line in there about her being shipped to a concentration camp, but maybe that’s a bit too excessive. Would this be down at Police/SS/Gestapo HQ instead?

It would likely be all Gestapo at your character’s door, especially after September of '39 (because the SD had been disbanded by then). They’d come to the door at maybe 2 or 3 AM, pound on the door. If your character doesn’t open, they’d quite probably force it. Likely they’d be armed with Walther P-38s…that was the pistol of choice of the police, maybe the PPK.

They’d come in, place your character under “Schutzhaft”-“protective custody”, then take her to the city’s Gestapo headquarters. Meanwhile, while she would be taken away by two officers, the rest would search her home. Meanwhile, at Gestapo headquarters, she’d be interrogated and made to confess, if neccesary with the threat of torture or actual torture. After they had gotten all of the information out of her, she’d be executed or sent to a camp.

This report might help you. It’s the Occupation Forces’ reasons for considering the Gestapo an illegal organization:

And, btw, watch your terminology. It’s unlikely she’d be arrested. A person who was arrested had certain rights under the law, would have to be found guilty in a court, and if found guilty, sent to prison for a specified time. The Gestapo didn’t usually bother with arrests. Instead, they’d take people into custody. Someone in custody didn’t have any civil rights and could be held indefinately.

Only on the basis of documentaries I’ve seen with arrested people’s testimonies :

Probably gestapo only. Possibly regular police.

Nope. Not excessive at all. She could be shipped there just because she listened too much jazz.

The interrogation would probably take place a the local Gestapo headquarters. She could stay there for months. She would be shipped to a camp later.

Considering the character is actually working for British Intelligence and they do find evidence while trashing her home, would they still ship her to a camp or just shoot her once they finish interrogating her?

Oddly enough, IIRC, the national headquarters of the Gestapo, in Berlin, was called Columbia House, of all things.

You’re slightly confusing two establishments. Columbiahaus was a concentration camp in Templehof, frequently used by the Gestapo to house their Berlin prisoners. Their actual HQ, however, was at Prinz-Albrecht-Strasse 8, in what had been the School of Industrial Arts and Crafts. This was part of the complex of police and SS buildings along that end of the Prinz-Albrecht-Strasse and round onto the Wilhelmstrasse, at the southern end of the main cluster of major government departments.

Gestapo interrogations in Berlin almost always took place at Prinz-Albrecht-Strasse, though the prisoners were often being shuffled back and forth to Columbiahaus.

If the story takes place in Berlin, HPL, then I highly recommend getting your hands on Topography of Terror, edited by Reinhard Rürup. Produced by the museum that now occupies the Prinz-Albrecht-Strasse site, it has a lot of information about and photos of the HQ, as well as Gestapo operations in the city.

Well, that particular part takes place in Bremen, but thanks for the recommendation and the rest takes place in Holstein.

If you haven’t alread done it, you can get a pretty good feel for how it was in the 1930’s Germany by reading the chapter on Life in the Third Reich in the book The Rise and Fall of The Third Reich by William L. Shirer.

Actually, I read it about 10 years ago, but I picked up a paperback copy recently and will go through that right now.

The Reich basically had four law enforcement agencies. All of them were incorporated into the SS by 1939. The agencies were the Ordnungspolizei (Orpo or regular police), which basically were the uniformed regular police officers, the Kriminalpolizei (Kripo or criminal police), which were the detectives working on criminal cases, and the Sicherheitspolizei (Sipo or security police), which consisted of the Gestapo and the Sicherheitsdienst (SD). The SD was another formerly independant agency like the Gestapo that had been taken over by the SS and they performed approximately the same duties.