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I need some help from the German-speaking members of the forum.

Several months ago, I posed the question “What does ‘R’ mean?” on both Luger forums in an attempt to better understand the meaning of the term Revierhauptmannschaft used to refer to certain Prussian police. As a result of those discussions, I accepted the translation “precinct main force” used by Görtz & Bryans. This I understood to mean a particular, perhaps elite, group of police officials within a police precinct (Revier).

However, in researching Weimar police unit marks, I have learned that the governmental structure of the state of Saxony was divided into five (later four) districts known as Kreishauptmannschaften and that these were further divided into Kreise. From what I can deduce, the Saxon Kreishauptmannschaften were comparable to the Prussian Regierungsbezirke (administrative districts). I concluded that the term Kreishauptmannschaft must refer to an association or grouping of Kreise.

The similarity of these two terms makes me believe that they should be understood similarly. If Kreishauptmannschaft means a group of Kreise, then Revierhauptmannschaft must mean a group of precincts. This is quite different from a group of men within a precinct.

I have been unable to find either of these terms in any German-English dictionary. Any comments on my interpretation will be appreciated.
 

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Don,

although I am not familar with the administrative organisation of Prussian/Saxonian/Bavarian and so on police, I'd bet, that also in Saxony a "Kreis" (=region) is bigger than a "Revier" (=precinct), but smaller than a "Bezirk" (=county). But this is based on the assumption, that Saxony used the same system like in Prussia. I even don't know, if the same wording was used in Saxony! For example, a hunting permit was called in Prussia/Brunswik/Hamburg and in some of the Thuringian states a "Jagdschein", while the same paper was called in Bavaria/Wuerttemberg/Saxony/Anhalt and in some of the Thuringian States a "Jagdkarte", and, finally, in other states like Baden a "Jagdpaß". Consequently, it might be, that the police organisation in saxony used different words for the same administration area.

Martin
 

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Don, part of the problem Americans face is that essntially all of america speaks and writes english. In Europe, especially in germany and der nederlands, there are scores of dialects.

In the USA, there are differnces in how we call things, but I do not beleive it is as noticeable as in europe, Martin gives us an excellent example.

Ed
 

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Don,

I´m no expert in German administrative law or the history of German civil administration. But, a "Kreis" is a local administrative district; "haupt" is translatable a “main” and a “Mannschaft” is a military unit or “team”.

Thus, a “Kreishauptmannschaft” would be the main military unit attached to an administrative district (Kreis).

A “Revierhauptmannschaft” is the main unit at the disposal of a precinct.

The German habit of collecting any number of nouns into a single word seems disconcerting at times but is nearly always logical (“Lebensversicherungsgesellschaft” turns out to be a life insurance company).
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Martin,
I did not intend to imply that a Kreis and a Revier were the same size or even type of governmental unit. My contention is that, since they occupy the same position in two otherwise identical words, they should be interpreted similarly i.e., "grouping of Kreise" and "grouping of Reviere." Of course, this would mean that "-hauptmannschaft" would have to mean the same thing in both words.

Patrick,
It is very clear from at least two reliable sources of information on the Weimar period (one of which is the University of Mainz) that Kreishauptmannschaft refers to a governmental district and not to a military, police or other "team." This was the reason that I began to look for another way of interpreting the term than a literal decomposition, Revier - haupt - mannschaft.

Having said this, I realize I am in a lousy position to be trying to tell Germans what a German word means!
 

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Don,

you aren't in a lousy position at all! A quick research via google revelead, the the term "Kreishauptmannschaft" was in deed used in Saxony as a term for an administrative "region". Maybe I was too fast with my reply. One of the interesting sites I found is this

http://www.nummernschildmuseum.de/geschichte.html

it is a German site dealing with pre-war license plates for motor vehicles. It is only in German, but you will see, that "Kreishauptmannschaft" was used in Saxony for "county" (or whatever the US equivalent is), while in Bavaria "Regierungsbezirk" and in Prussia "Provinz" was used for the larger administrative districts/regions. So, it seems, there were used different terms in the different terms - like in my "hunting permit" example...

Regards

Martin
In the lousy position to admit, that an US citizen teached him again about german history..... ;)
 

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Don & Martin,

You´re right and I´m wrong. I looked it up and found:

“Im Jahr 1939 wurde die Bezeichnung „Kreishauptmannschaft“ reichseinheitlich in „Regierungsbezirk“ umgewandelt.”

Translation:
In the year 1939, the term “Kreishauptmannschaft” was changed throughout the Reich into “Regierungsbezirk”.


My excuse is that the change certainly makes more sense.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Martin and Patrick,

Thank you both very much for taking the effort to research this. As a result, I am more confident that, in the 1920s, the suffix "~hauptmannschaft" was used to indicate an organizational level superior to that indicated by the prefix. Therefore, "Kreishauptmannschaft" referred to a government organizational level superior to several (a group or team?) of Kreise. Similarly, I believe "Revierhauptmannschaft" referred to a Prussian police organizational level superior to several Reviere. I suspect this was the level that either became known as or was replaced by Inspektionen sometime during the 1920s.

This is a bit more than of academic interest to me as it is important in my interpretation of the police unit marks with "R." Thanks again for your help!
 
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