Original German WWII Early M33 SS Dagger by Gottlieb Hammesfahr & Co. 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 definitely seen wear and some corrosion, now polished away. This has made the factory final grind cross grain on the obverse somewhat faint, but we an still see it 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.
This fine early example was produced by a very rare maker: Gottlieb Hammesfahr & Co. AG, Nirosta-Werk, Stahlwarenfabrik und Gesenkschmiederei (Stainless Steel Factory, Steel goods factory and drop forge), in the Foche area of Solingen. This is a known producer of SS daggers during the Pre-WWII period and after. The rear of the dagger is marked with their trademark logo:
(CROSS ON PYRAMID LOGO)
Founded in 1804 and registered with the Solingen chamber of commerce in 1875, this company is one of the largest and longest-established edged weapon producers in Solingen. While this company was known primarily as a drop forge, it also made knives and tools during the WWII period. They had several brand names, including PYRAMIDE, which had a logo of a Pyramid with a cross on it. The "oval" style trademark was specifically used on the blades of the earliest SS and SA daggers made during the Third Reich, per J. Anthony Carter's work GERMAN KNIFE AND SWORD MAKERS.
The blade is in good condition, showing polishing and cleaning to remove dirt and oxidation over the years. This dagger looks to have been in service for some time. There is still some of the original factory final grind crossgrain visible. This texture is iconic, and is the definitive identifying characteristic for a real WWII German Blade. The rear also has re-ground cross grain present, which is rougher, and removed a bit of the maker mark. The rear also shows some past removed oxidation and water stains. The acid etched SS motto, Meine Ehre heißt Treue is clear with just a bit of the factory darkening left. The edge of the blade does not show any sharpening after the original factory grind, and is still in good 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, with no lifting or bubbling, confirming they are solid alloy. The rear of the crossguard is faintly marked with district number II in the center. Per a customer request, we removed the handle, and both the crossguard is stamped E W on the interior.
The ebony grip on this example, like most seen today, has some chipping and cracking around the grips. The treatment used on these grips makes them quite brittle, so they crack quite easily, and 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 does however show damage around it, and looks like it may have had to be reset sometime in the past.
The scabbard shell is a solid example, completely straight and undented, with very little damage of any kind. It may be a later war replacement, or was possibly refurbished, as it has a black enamel painted body, with solid nickel silver mounts. Most likely the body had the anodized finish and lacquer wear away, so it was either reconditioned or replaced. The finish shows the expected light crazing an checking from age, however there are are only a few small scrapes through the finish. The matching nickel scabbard mounts are in very nice condition, with overall wear, and some light denting. Three out of four screws are present, with the drag screws quite worn from polishing. The lower ball is dented in, typical of the softer nickel alloy.
An excellent chance to own an early SS M33 Dagger by a rare Solingen maker, 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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