| History Channel special: One of Adolf Hitler's most brutal and dramatic exterminations came half a decade before the Holocaust. The SA was Hitler's army of thugs, but the head of the SA, Ernst Roehm, was threatening Hitler's rule. On June 29th 1934, Hitler ordered the SA leadership to appear for a meeting at the Hotel Hanselbauer. Without warning, the SS burst in, beginning 48 hours of bloodshed in which 1,000 of the leading SA, including Roehm, were rounded up and slaughtered. This murderous deed is the single most significant episode in Hitler's rise to absolute power, and the set the stage for World War II and the Holocaust.