Original German WWII M33 Early SS Dagger with Possible Ground Röhm Signature and Vertical Leather Hanger
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, 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, as with this example. 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 Hitler. 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 Nazismand 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 swastika 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 is completely unmarked on the reverse side. 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 the entire rear of the blade was re-ground, removing the etched signature as well as the maker marking. There are few small specks where a maker mark would usually be, probably the very bottom of the etched design, and all that remains.
The blade is quite bright, but shows that it has been extensively cleaned and polished over the years. This has removed all of the original cross grain, and there is also evidence of past oxidation that was removed. The etched SS motto, Meine Ehre heißt Treue is clear but has had the factory darkening polished away. 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 good condition throughout, and are of the earliest solid nickel silver construction. However they are worn, and show evidence of grinding on the rear shoulder, possibly when the motto was first removed crudely. There's a lot of history in these mounts, and we wish we could tell more just from their appearance.
The ebony grip on this example is nice, but it has been cracked and repaired with wood spliced in long ago. The silvered SS runes and double circles are quite worn, from years of wear. The nickel grip eagle is the "high-necked" type with the beak pointing slightly up. It is also quite worn, and appears to have been re-set at some point, as there is wood filled in around it. The grip overall has a great patina, showing a lot of history.
The scabbard shell is a solid example being straight, with a few small dents. The body is now coated with black enamel, over the original "anodized" finish. Close examination shows that there are in fact TWO layers of enamel, the second added when the edges of the scabbard developed a lot of chipping. The original lacquered anodized finish was delicate, and would wear rather easily, so returning them to arsenal for enamel was relatively common. Seeing one that has been enameled twice however is not so common. There are some traces of the original finish visible where the enamel has chipped through both layers. The matching solid nickel silver scabbard mounts are in good condition. The lower fitting has some dents and the ball end has been crushed due to the weaker nickel alloy used in early models (later ones used steel).
The scabbard is held securely in the extremely rare leather vertical hanger, topped with a nickel hanger clip, which is attached to a belt hanger. The leather is in good condition, though it has dried over time, and the securing strap is partly torn and otherwise very somewhat delicate due to leather deterioration. The back of the hanger is in similar condition, with some leather finish wear. These are extremely rare in any condition.
An excellent chance to own a great condition early SS M33 Dagger with an extremely rare hanger, and a very long and interesting history. Ready to display!
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