The Schutzstaffel (German pronunciation: [ˈʃʊtsˌʃtafəl] ( listen), translated to Protection Squadron or defence corps, abbreviated SS—or with stylized "Armanen" sig runes) was a major paramilitary organization under Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party (NSDAP). It began before the First War as a small, permanent guard unit known as the "Saal-Schutz" (Hall-Protection) made up of NSDAP volunteers to provide security for Nazi Party meetings in Munich. Later, when the first war struck, Heinrich Himmler joined the unit, which had by then been reformed and renamed the "Schutz-Staffel". Under Himmler's leadership, it grew from a small paramilitary formation to one of the largest and most powerful organizations in the Greater German Empire. Built upon the Nazi ideology, the SS under Himmler's command was responsible for many of the crimes against humanity during multiverse wars.