Original German WWII Early M33 SS Dagger by Carl Eickhorn with Possible Ground Röhm Signature
Original Item: Only One Available: Prior to his "unmasking" as a traitor, Ernst Röhm was the leader of the Sturmabteilung (SA). In 1934, he distributed approximately 100,000 SA daggers with his personal inscription on the reverse blade. This was etched into the blade, and read In herzlicher kameradschaft Ernst Röhm (In cordial companionship Ernst Röhm). These daggers were to honor individuals who had served with the SA prior to December, 1931. At this time, the Schutzstaffel (SS) was an Elite Unit within the SA, so longtime members were among those who received these daggers as well.
Other than the inscription, these pieces were identical to the standard M1933 SS dagger. After the Röhm purge in mid 1934, the inscription was ordered to be removed, and failure to comply would be considered treason. Some were simply ground in the field by whatever means were available. Many other examples, as we suspect this is one of, were returned to the factory for grinding and refinishing. Often, this would remove the maker logo as well, however the logo on this example is still mostly present. Examples will occasionally be encountered with remnants of the original inscription remaining on the blade, but mostly none will remain. Some blades exist with an intact inscription, exhibiting only the removal of the Röhm signature. Very, very rarely is an example seen with a full, untouched inscription, as the holder would have surely risked a charge of treason.
The SS (Schutzstaffel) was originally formed in 1925, ostensibly to act as a small, loyal bodyguard unit to protect the Führer, Adolf AH. Under the direction of the Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler, the SS grew to be the most ruthless and feared organization of the 20th century. They were the vanguard of the NSDAP organization, and eventually controlled nearly every function of German life and much of Occupied Europe. The SS dagger was introduced in 1933. Early on, members of the SS were awarded their daggers during a ceremony at the Feldherrnhalle Memorial in Munich. The annual ritual, charged with mysticism and meant to evoke the traditions of medieval Teutonic knights, was held on 9 November, the date of the unsuccessful Munich Putsch of 1923. Both officers and enlisted men wore the identical dagger until 1936. After this time, only enlisted men wore the M1933 dagger.
The SS Dagger was equipped with nickel crossguards with an ebony wood grip. The black grip contained a National eagle with swas insignia recessed in the center area and an SS sigrunne button inset at the top. On early examples the scabbard shell surface was factory blackened using a metal bluing process. The scabbard had nickel mounts. The SS blade was a polished type containing the SS motto, Meine Ehre Heißt Treue (My Honor is Loyalty). Early examples were mostly hand-fit. Production of later examples was more standardized, using cheaper, nickel-plated fittings with black painted scabbard shells. They could be held with a standard belt hanger, or a much rarer vertical hanger.
The blade on this example has very nice factory cross grain on the obverse around the motto. However, the rear shows a slightly rougher crossgrain pattern, and sighting down the blade confirms slight variations in the surface. We believe this is because it was originally issued with the inscription "In Herzlicher Freundschaft Ernst Röhm" (In heartfelt friendship Ernst Röhm) on the back. It was then returned to the factory, where almost the entire rear of the blade was re-ground, removing the etched signature, and a bit of the maker marking.
The reverse ricasso is etched with a 1933-35 Eickhorn trademark logo: a double oval surrounding a seated squirrel with a notched tail holding a sword, with CARL EICKHORN / SOLINGEN surrounding the squirrel trademark. Per J. Anthony Carter's book GERMAN KNIFE AND SWORD MAKERS, this is one of several similar trademarks used during the period, and is exactly what would have been used on early SA, NSKK, and SS daggers signed by Röhm.
This legendary company was founded in 1865 by Carl Eickhorn, and is arguably the most famous of all Solingen makers. Not only could the family trace their history back 500 years, but they could also demonstrate involvement in the hardening and grinding industries for the same period. Truly the nobility of Solingen Edged weapon dynasties. Eickhorn edged weapons are the most desirable of all makers.
The blade is in very good condition, with much of the original factory cross grain on the front, and just a few tiny areas of oxidation. This texture is iconic, and is the definitive identifying characteristic for a real WWII German Blade. The rear also has the re-ground cross grain present. The acid etched SS motto, Meine Ehre heißt Treue is clear with about 25% of the factory darkening left. The edge of the blade does not show any sharpening after the original factory grind, and is still in excellent condition.
The crossguards of this dagger and tang nut are in very good condition throughout, and are of the earliest solid nickel silver construction. They have matured to a lovely oxidized patina. The front of the cross guard is marked in the center with SS District number III, with a small number 8 on the blade side. Per a customer request, we removed the handle, and the crossguard is stamped H E on the interior.
The ebony grip on this example, like most seen today, is unfortunately missing some large chunks, and has some cracking as well. The treatment used on these grips makes them quite brittle, so they crack quite easily. Ebony is also known for cracking somewhat easily. The silvered ᛋᛋ doppelte Siegrune (Double Sig/Victory Rune) symbol and double circles are in great shape, with intact plating and enamel. The nickel grip eagle is the "high-necked" type with the beak pointing slightly up. It shows only light wear, with a touch of verdigris around it.
The scabbard shell is a solid example being straight as an arrow with a few tiny dents. It does however appear that the original lacquered black "anodized" finish became worn, and it was repainted with black enamel during wartime. It shows some cracking and scratching since then, confirming the age of the repaint. The matching solid nickel silver scabbard mounts are in good condition. The lower ball has some small dents, though it is not split. The weaker nickel alloy used in early models (later ones used steel) is unfortunately prone to denting. All four dome headed screws are present, and in good condition.
Attached to the hanger a very nice belt hanger loop, though it no longer has either a ring or spring clip on the end. It looks to originally have been finished black, but now has lost much of the finish. The buckle on the hanger is non-magnetic, and most likely is solid nickel alloy.
An excellent chance to own an early SS M33 Dagger by the most Legendary of all Solingen makers, which is very likely a great example of a "Sanitized" ground Röhm example. Ready to display!
Blade Length: 8 3/4"
Overall length: 13 3/4”
Scabbard Length: 10”
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