(Redarstva straža)
by H.L. deZeng IV

Formed April 1941 by simply taking over the existing uniformed police organization in Croatia, although most of the pravoslavni (Serbian ethnics residing in the Croatian State) were weeded out and replaced with Croatians. (1)

The Regular Police was subordinated to the Directorate for Public Order and Security (Ravnateljstvo za javni red i sigurnost - RAVSIGUR), which was formally under the Ministry of the Interior (but RAVSIGUR’s chief, Dopukovnik (Lt.Col.) of the Ustasha Militia Eugen “Dido” Kvaternik, acted exclusively at the orders of Poglavnik Ante Pavelić) from 4 May 1941 to 26 June 1942, then under the Ustasha Militia from 26 June 1942 to 15 October 1942, and finally under the Main Directorate for Public Order and Security (Glavno ravnateljstvo za javni red i sigurnost) from 15 October 1942 to the end of the war.

The Regular Police consisted of officers, NCOs and guards, both permanent and temporary. The NCOs were the police agents and wore both uniforms and civilian clothes, with the latter filling the role of investigators. The chief or commander of the Regular Police was appointed by Ante Pavelić and held the rank of Pukovnik (Colonel). Ustasha Pukovnik Franjo Lukač was appointed commander on 5 November 1941.

The Croatian Regular Police stayed at a strength of around 5,000 throughout the war. Before its absorption into the Ustasha Militia on 26 June 1942, the Regular Police organization had the respect and trust of the people, since it was not associated with the dreaded Ustasha Control Service (UNS), which was the Croatian counterpart of the German Gestapo/SD infrastructure. From 26 June 1942, the distinction began to blur and the Regular Police became increasingly implicated in the repressive measures that characterized the UNS. At the district (Župa) and county (Kotar) level, the Regular Police were called upon to assist the UNS agents and officers in rounding up political opponents for shipment to the camps, participating in executions, etc. For example, In December 1942 the chief of the Regular Police in Sarajevo led a major roundup of communists with the coordination and assistance of the UNS in Zagreb and German Secret Field Police (Geheime Feldpolizei) Group 510 in Sarajevo.

The Regular Police were not organized into units, but rather functioned as city and town police do today in Great Britain and the U.S. Police were assigned to each Župa (22 plus the City of Zagreb for a total of 23) and to each Kotar within each Župa. With an average of 6 Kotar to a Župa, the total force of 5,000 was spread pretty thin.

A Central Police School (Središnja redarstvena škola) was established in April 1942 with 350 cadets and located in the northwest quarter of Zagreb. The course of instruction lasted for one year, and in April 1943 the first class graduated. The second course consisted of 240 students, divided into 3 companies of 80 men each. In addition to the regular police instruction, the students received training in the use of all infantry weapons, including the heavy machine gun, as well as motor vehicle driver training. Service in the police qualified as fulfillment of military service. Students admitted to the police school had to be between 18 and 20 and elementary school graduates (European elementary schools at that time ran through 16 years of age - about the equivalent of U. S. high school grade 10). The instructors were all officers (police) and the school commandant was Police Bojnik (Major) Josip Karbe (Karba?).

Footnotes

1. Hory, Ladislaus and Martin Broszat - Der Kroatische Ustascha-Staat 1941-1945 (Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, 1964), p.146; NARA WashDC: RG 242 (T-315 roll 2271/172); (T-821 roll 278/478-79; roll 448/670).

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