Original German WWII Waffen SS Temporary KZ-Guard Collar Tab with Provenance

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. Here we have a very nice right side Collar Tab, used by the Waffen-SS to indicate a temporary guard at a KZ camp. These were members of other branches of the armed forces who were not members of the SS, but were serving as "temporary" guards. The tab is a parallelogram with sides measuring 2" x 1 5/8". Known as Kragenpatte in German, these were attached to the collars to indicate the rank and branch of the wearer. This example shows a Swas (hook cross), with an extra line on each "arm" of the design, also called "doubled arms". It is made of black fabric with silver/white thread and an internal varnished buckram fabric stiffener.

This particular type of diamond was made at the Camp, and many were recovered at the end of the war. This example was acquired by U.S. AAF 1st Lt. William George Keen, who was escorting Danish photojournalist A.E. Andersen from the magazine Billed-Bladet to the Dachau camp. Included is a copy of the letter of provenance we received with this collar tab, written and signed by Keen's nephew George Zepp.

The insignia is in excellent condition, most likely unissued, and was never attached to a uniform. Ready to add to your collection!

More on Temporary KZ-Guards:

In 1944, the Reischsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler took manpower among reservists and wounded soldiers (ages of 40+), around 10000 men, to serve in the camps in guard duties, since all the younger and physically fit soldiers from every branch of the SS apparatus were transferred to Waffen SS to defend the Reich during its collapse at the end of the war. These reservists wore SS uniforms with collar tabs like this one we are offering, and they filled the empty KZ positions left by Totenkopf younger soldiers. This pattern collar tab was introduced late in the war, (circa June 1944), for wearing by Heer and Luftwaffe personnel on temporary duty as KZ camp guards.

Apparently it was originally to be worn by the Wehrmacht transferees only, but in June 1944 the decision was made to have all KZ camp staff- and guard personnel - whether permanent full SS members or temporary draftees/transferees - wear the patch, restricting wear of the traditional "death's head" collar patches to personnel of the Totenkopf-Division only. Full SS members were authorized to wear the SS breast runes as a distinguishing badge, same as with those serving with foreign Waffen-SS formations that were also not authorized "SS runes"- or "death's head" collar patches either.

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