Public Order and Extermination. Police in Nazi Germany

Temporary exhibitions

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  • Tuesday, January 26, 2021 - Monday, August 30, 2021

In a democratic state the police force is in place to provide security and order. Nazi Germany was a totalitarian state based off of the exercising of extreme violence and the consent of thereof.

The exhibition, created by the German Police University (DHPol) in Münster, explores the role of the German Police after the seizure of power by Adolf Hitler until the fall of the Third Reich. The following parts of the exhibition are devoted to the development of police structures, the profiles of people responsible for the functioning of police, and the operations of the German police apparatus on the eve of, and during, the Second World War.

Varied materials illustrating the topic, which were prepared by the authors of this exhibition – archival documents, propaganda prints, and photographs – allow us to take a closer look into how the Nazi regime realized its political and ideological goals through the use of the police force.

As the curators of this exhibition write: “Questions about the tasks and the limits of legitimate activities of the police are also valid today. Reflections on the role of police in a Nazi state should raise awareness not only in the police but also in the public opinion that police violence requires strict restrictions on the part of a law-abiding state in order to permanently guarantee individual freedom as well as that of society.”

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