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Transformations of the Police. One Hundred Years of Landeskriminalamt (LKA) Sachsen 1922-2022

Digital Humanities and Cross-Sectional Assignment / Research field
/ Research focus 
01.2021–12.2024 / Period
Prof. Dr. Mike Schmeitzner / Coordination


One hundred years ago, on 1st October 1922, the first "Landeskriminalamt" (State Office of Criminal Investigations) in a federal state was founded in the still young Free State of Saxony. The project's topic is the history of this LKA, created in Saxony through nationalisation and centralisation, its follow-up institutions serving as central criminal investigation department in the period of 1945 to 1952 and from 1990, as well as the development of the regional federal Criminal Investigation Offices in Saxony. The police history of Saxony and its LKA reflect the vicissitudes of the century in a particularly concise manner: Founded in 1922, it was absorbed into the Reich-wide structures of the Nazi regime's police in the mid-1930s, re-established in 1945 under Soviet auspices and again abolished or centralised in 1952 during the high Stalinist phase of the SED state. In the course of German unification, the second re-establishment followed in 1990.

If and in what way possibly buried lines of tradition can be discovered and revitalised will have to be discussed by the project, as the Saxon LKA was - in its founding phase during the Weimar Republic - also internationally considered one of the most modern and progressive central institutions in the field of policing. A history of the criminal police must also address the fact that the German dictatorships invented entirely new criminal offenses, the prosecution of which by the criminal police followed the implementation of an ideological agenda - in the Nazi state defined in racist terms - with the long-term goal of transforming society. Conversely, regarding the transitions after the end of both dictatorships (1945, 1989/1990), questions must be asked about the criminal police's tasks in the judicial processing of the past regime's crimes and the policies of "transitional justice".

The project's aspiration is a modern institutional history - on the level and with the wide-ranging questions and methods of the contemporary historiography of German police history of the 20th century. Its methodical approach is to understand and present police history in Saxony as a transformation history. Therefore, the account will, regarding time, focus on the phases of political and social upheaval in the 20th century, as well as their antecedents and aftermath. Taking up the conceptual and methodical canon of recent research on police history, which has been established for some years now, not only institutional structures and police personnel but also police practices are to be examined.



Prof. Dr. Tom Thieme / Hochschule der Sächsischen Polizei (FH)

Korinna Lorz / Projektteam Museum der Polizei Sachsen

Dr. Herbert Reinke, Köln

Dr. Carsten Schreiber, Wedemark

Prof. Dr. Daniel Siemens, Newcastle University


Hannah-Arendt-Institut für Totalitarismusforschung e. V. an der TU Dresden (HAIT) (federführend)

Hochschule der Sächsischen Polizei (FH)

Projektteam Museum der Polizei Sachsen