Original German WWII Model 1933 SS Dagger by Robert Klaas with Scabbard - RZM M7/37 RZM 1051/38 SS
Original Item: Only One Available: 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 Germany eventually controlled nearly every function of German life and much of Occupied Europe. The SS Dienstdolch (service 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 originally 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 nice mid-war production dagger remains partly bright, and is quite attractive. We often see these quite worn and oxidized, but not this example, which shows only light overall staining. The rear is marked with the RZM and SS contract information:
M7 / 37
RZM 1051 / 38 ᛋᛋ
This marking indicates manufacture by Robert Klaas, a well-known maker from Solingen, the famous "City of Blades" in Western Germany, which produced many fine edged weapons. Their "Kissing Storks" trademark emblem is well known, and when we inspected the dagger, we found that the trademark is actually stamped into the tang of the blade under the grip!
The company was originally founded by Friedrich Robert Klaas, who married the daughter of knife maker Peter Daniel Pauls. After his father-in-law passed away, all was left to Klaas and his wife, so he merged his scissor business with the knife business, and registered with Solingen authorities in 1869. The company passed to his sons, and then his son-in-law. It survived WWI, WWII, and still exists today, per J. Anthony Carter's fine work GERMAN SWORD AND KNIFE MAKERS. Later daggers would only have the SS contract information, of which no records remain, so these examples with both RZM codes are the only way many makers were identified.
The blade still shows quite a bit of the original factory final polish crossgrain on both sides, visible in the light throughout the blade, especially where the staining has been worn away by the runners. This texture is iconic, and is the definitive identifying characteristic for a real WWII German Blade. It has not been sharpened like some were by USGI's, and still has the original edge. There is some runner wear, as well as overall light staining on both sides, and signs of past cleaning and polishing. However, we often see SS daggers in very worn condition, so we would consider this blade to be in very good condition. The etched SS motto, Meine Ehre heißt Treue (My honor is loyalty) is crisp, however cleaning has removed almost all of the factory darkened finish. The blade shoulders perfectly meet the lower crossguard contour.
The crossguards of this dagger and tang nut are in good condition throughout, and actually of the early war solid nickel silver construction. There is no evidence that they are plated, and the accent grooves are hand executed. The pommel nut is non magnetic, and also looks to be solid nickel silver, and shows some wear and deformation from tightening. As these are later production, there is no district numeral stamped into the cross guard. We did however check the inside of the guards per a customer request, and the cross guard is marked with St. twice on the inside, which we have seen before on examples by Klaas. The pommel guard is instead marked with a large H, a known marking, however it looks to possibly have been swapped out at some point.
The ebony grip is a very nice example with a great color, however it has definitely been repaired in the past. The black dyeing process for the grips unfortunately causes the ebony wood to become even more brittle than it is to begin with, so damage is very common. This trip has cracking and glue repairs near the cross guard on the front side. The rear of the dagger Also had cracking, and that has had the chunks missing filled, most likely with ebony dust mixed with glue. The silvered ᛋᛋ doppelte Siegrune (Double Sig/Victory Rune) symbol and double circles are in great shape, with intact plating and enamel, showing just a bit of oxidation around the edge. The grip eagle is the "high-necked" type with the beak pointing slightly up. It remains in good condition, showing very little wear, just a bit of light scratching and a few dents, and looks to be solid nickel alloy.
The scabbard shell is a solid example, completely straight and showing only a few small dents. It is the correct black enamel paint finish, and does look to have been repainted during wartime, with the original chipped paint job still visible under the refinish. Since then it has suffered some additional chipping, giving it a great worn look. The scabbard mounts are the early type, solid nickel silver alloy, and show a lovely lightly oxidized color. The lower ball is worn and dented in a bit, very common with the softer alloy, however we have seen many that are far worse. All four dome head screws are intact, showing just a bit of turning on some.
This is a great chance to own a very good condition SS dagger from the pre-war period made by a rare and desirable maker! Complete with a lovely scabbard, this dagger is ready to display!
Blade Length: 8 3/4"
Blade Style: Double Edged Dagger
Overall length: 13 3/4”
Scabbard Length: 10”
The RZM, Reichzeugmeisterei, (National Equipment Quartermaster), was officially founded in June 1934 in Munich by the NSDAP, Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, (National Socialist German Worker's Party), as a Reich Hauptamt, (State Central Office), and was based on the earlier SA Quartermaster's Department. The registry was was based at the Brown house in Munich and NSDAP party headquarters in Berlin.
The functions of the RZM were not only to procure and distribute items to Party formations, but also to approve chosen designs and to act as a quality control supervisor to ensure items manufactured for the Party met required specification and were standardized. Starting in late 1934 items manufactured for the SS came under the quality control of the RZM and as a result were to be marked with the RZM/SS approval/acceptance mark. The M7 in the code stands for daggers, with Robert Klaas being contractor number 37.
Shortly after this, the SS started using a separate listing of contractors, and in 1943 the Waffen-SS assumed full control over their uniform item production and no longer fell under the authority of the RZM.
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