Original German WWII USGI Captured and Signed Early NSDAP Kreisleitung District Political Leader's Visor Cap
Original Item: Only One Available. The NSDAP or Nationalsozialistische Deutsche ArbeiterPartei, (National Socialist German Worker’s Party), was originally founded in Munich as the DAP, Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, (German Worker’s Party), on January 5TH 1919. When Adolf AH joined the DAP in the autumn of 1919 he was to reform what was basically a debating society into an active political party. Appointed as the first chairman of the party on July 29TH 1921, AH was to restructure it along para-military lines in a hierarchy.
This new NSDAP structure consisted of four ascending levels of government: the Ortsgruppenleitung (Local group leadership), the Kreisleitung (District leadership), the Gauleitung (Regional District leadership), and the Reichsleitung (National leadership). Each group was distinguished by a specific color of piping on the collar tabs and visor cap. Until 1939 in this scheme, light blue was for the Ortsgruppe level, black for Kreis level, burgundy red for Gau level, and gold yellow for the Reich level. After that the Kreis level changed to white piping.
This is nice example of a rare German WWII NSDAP Kreisleitung (District leadership) Level Political Leader's Visor Cap, which was captured and signed by USGIs during the war. On the top of the crown, there are about 25-30 names, many with their home towns listed, in many different writing styles. These are names that were written on by each person before it was brought home. Unfortunately there is not any unit marking indicated, but it is possible with enough research that it could be found, especially with this many names.
Very similar to the military issue Schirmmütze (Peaked Cap), these caps were usually referred to as a Dienstmütze (Service Cap) or Tuchmütze (Cloth Cap). The cap shows high quality fabrication, made from tan "whipcord woven" wool fabric, and a traditional high front. The cap has the typical triple piping around the circumference, the black for the district level leader. The cap band is a lovely dark tan velvet material.
It is decorated with a well detailed early pattern cast metal gilt spread-wing NSDAP Reichsadler (national eagle) insignia on the front, and a metal tri-color cockade on the velvet band. The cockade has a small swas (hook cross) in the middle, only seen on these party leadership caps. All are in very good condition, with their plating partly retained. Later versions would have a wreath around the cockade, and a different eagle identical in design to the ones used for the military.
It has a wonderful gold bullion cord "chinstrap", attached to the cap by gold-washed pebbled aluminum buttons, indicating that this cap is for an Officer / Leader. The visor / peak on this cap is thick brown finished leather, only seen on early pattern caps. It is in very good shape, though the stitching holding it into the cap has deteriorated in areas.
The cap is lined with cream colored rayon fabric, which shows light staining, and the diamond shaped celluloid sweat shield at the top is completely missing. There looks to have been a maker mark underneath, which is now illegible. The sweatband is real leather with a natural finish, and is still quite supple, showing light staining from use. There is an intact early type ((RZM)) label under the sweatband and gives the Vertriebsstelle Nr. (Sales Office Number) 12045 and Herstellerfirma Nr. (Supplier Company Number) 1073. There is also 017572 on the lower right corner.
Overall condition of the cap is very good, though it does show age from wear. There are some holes where the crown meets the cap band, which look to be from wear and age. The interior shows light wear with some staining, and the original gilding on the insignia is a bit worn and oxidized, especially on the chin strap, which was originally a bright golden color. However on an early example such as this, that is to be expected. This is not a cap that lived on a shelf.
These caps are very rare, and the multitude of names on the top makes it a fantastic USGI bring back item with solid research potential. This is the first example of an NSDAP leader's cap that we have been able to locate in quite some time. In fine condition, this cap is ready to research and display!
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