Group portrait of a delegation from the 5th Company of the SA Regiment “Munich” at the consecration of the flag for the “Oberland” SA.

SA (Sturmabteilung); Storm Detachment or Assault Division or Brown Shirts functioned as a paramilitary wing of the Nazi Party. It played a key role in Adolf Hitler’s rise to power in the 1920s and 1930s. The SA’s main assignments included providing protection for Nazi rallies and assemblies, disrupting the meetings of the opposing parties and intimidating persecuted groups (Roma (Gypsies), unionists, Jews and Jehovah’s Witnesses). The SA played a key role in the Nazi boycott of Jewish-owned businesses in April 1933, when its members stood in front of Jewish-owned department stores, retail establishments and offices of professionals, like doctors and lawyers, discouraging and/or prohibiting German citizens from entering. The Star of David was painted in yellow and black across thousands of doors and windows with accompanying antisemitic slogans. Signs were posted saying, “Don’t Buy from Jews” and “Jews Are Our Misfortune.” Throughout Germany acts of violence against Jews and Jewish-owned property occurred. These events presaged Kristallnacht (the Night of Broken Glass).

Photo credit: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum