Original German WWII Luftschutz Air Raid Emailleschild Enameled Warning Sign - 12 7/8" x 9 1/2"

Item Description

Original item: One-of-a-kind. This is a wonderful German WWII slightly vaulted steel building warning Emailleschild (enameled sign) used by the Luftschutz Air Raid Protection service. This is a very robust well-made sturdy sign, with typical construction details of German government signage, as well as signs of long use in the field. This is not an example that came out a depot post war, but one that was actually out there and used, damaged by the elements and who knows what else. There is rust damage on many of the sides, as well as some loss of material and enamel.

The sign has a yellow body with a single light black border. The German warning text on the front reads:

Widerrechtliche Benutzung
ist strafbar!

This basically translates to "Air Raid protection device. Illegal use is punishable!". We assume this was hanging outside a shelter or similar protected area, warning people to stay out unless directed to go inside. During an air raid it was definitely not desirable to find a shelter full of material.

Condition is good, and it has a fantastic "been there" patina. We have seen some examples of this sign dated "1941", however these would be in the lower right corner, which is missing almost all of the enamel. The rear shows some dirt and mud soiling, so the sign probably was sitting on the ground or maybe even IN the ground for a while. The sign measures 12 7/8" x 9 1/2", and is really a lovely example more than ready to display as is.

Signs of this nature were quickly destroyed after the fall of Germany in April 1945, ones like this were salvaged by USGIs who wanted to bring home a trophy of war. Therefore, finding authentic (beware many fakes) porcelain building signs from the Third Reich has become quite difficult in the collector's market.

Formed in late 1932 the Deutsches Luftschutzverband, (German Air Protection League), was a voluntary organization designed to provide civil air raid protection in large civilian centers. Shortly after AH ascension to power the Deutsches Luftschutzverband was restructured and placed under the supervision of the Reichsluftfahrtministerium, (National Air Ministry), under the control of Hermann Göring. On April 29TH 1933 the Deutsches Luftschutzverband was renamed RLB, Reichs Luftschutz Bund, (National Air Raid Protection League) and was given status as an official national organization tasked with all aspects of civil air raid defense. The RLB remained a voluntary organization with a small cadre of paid, full-time uniformed officials to oversee the organization's functions until June 1935 when obligatory service was introduced. Only the most basic uniform and equipment items were supplied to the cadre personnel, with the rest having to be bought personally by members. On September 26TH 1938 a specific helmet for RLB personnel was introduced that incorporated a raised horizontal "bead" between the visors and crown. These helmets commonly called the "Gladiator" style were supplemented with M35, M40 and M42 helmets that also incorporated a raised horizontal "bead" between the visors and crown. The Luftschutz also utilized a variety of captured helmets.

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