For the Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle, as for all organizations in the Third Reich, Adolf Hitler was the ultimate authority. As Führer, he was the leader of the NSDAP and the "movement." As Reich chancellor, he was the head of the government and all its ministries and agencies. Originating at a common source, his authority filtered down through two channels, the Nazi party and the state. Although neither he nor his subordinates always respected the distinction between party and state, at times he found it useful. The state provided a counterbalance to the party. Within the party, certain individuals had built up personal power bases and thereby enjoyed some independent authority, whereas the Nazis whom Hitler had appointed to Reich posts held tenure solely by virtue of his goodwill.
For most Third Reich organizations, the nature of their authority was clear -- either state or party. VoMi's status, however, was ambiguous, since its authority, as Hitler had charged, was both state and party. As discussed in the preceding chapter, Hitler first approached the Volksdeutsche issue through Deputy Führer Hess, whose authority was that of the NSDAP. Thus VoMi, created under Hess's auspices, received its original commission from the party, and as property, it was the responsibility of the NSDAP treasurer, (Reichsschatzmeister)