S032160 WEHRPASS. (Wehrpaß)

BACKGROUND: With the reintroduction of conscription in 1935, the OKW Oberkommando der Wehrmacht, (High Command of the Armed Forces), activated the WEDs, Wehrersatzdienststelle, (Military Recruiting Offices), throughout Germany to process and administer the call up procedure. When individuals received their registration notice they were to report to the appropriate recruitment center where they would be issued a Wehrpass, (Military Pass), until they were inducted into active duty. Starting in the autumn of 1939, when an individual was inducted into active military service the Wehrpass was exchanged at the recruitment office for the Soldbuch, (Pay Book), which remained in the recipient’s possession as his official military identification document. The recruitment office would retain the Wehrpass and chronicle the individual’s active service record in it. The Waffen-SS, (Armed-SS), basically followed the same system but had instituted their own Ergänzungsstelle der Waffen-SS, (Replacement Centers of the Armed-SS), under the control of SS-Obergruppenführer Gottlob-Christian Berger of the SS-Hauptamt, (SS-Main Office), and in theory, could only recruit personnel on a voluntary basis although many personnel were "press-ganged" into service. In January 1945 the Ergänzungsstelle der Waffen-SS was combined with the army’s Wehrersatzdienststelle and was renamed Ergänzungsstellen des Heeres und der Waffen-SS, (Replacement Centers of the Army and the Armed-SS). The Wehrpass was issued in three, slightly different, variants with minor modifications with the first pattern being circa 1934-1938, the second pattern circa 1938-1945 and the third pattern circa 1942-1945. Generally if the individual was killed in battle the Wehrpass would be forwarded to his next-of-kin as a memento of his service time. Of Interest: As the war continued and man-power shortages became severe the standard criteria for acceptance into the Waffen-SS was decreased dramatically and numerous personnel who would have been unacceptable in 1939 were readily accepted into service with the Waffen-SS. By the end of the war more then half of all the personnel serving in the Waffen-SS were non-Germans. Of Note: It appears that the majority of Soldbuch's and Wehrpass's were manufactured by the Metten & Co, Nationaler Werbedruck firm of Berlin SW 61, "Metten & Company National Recruiting/Enlistment Printing 61 Southwest Berlin).

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Roughly, 5 3/4" x 4 1/4", fifty-four page, second pattern, (circa 1938-45), Wehrpass with a charcoal grey printed Wehrmacht, (Armed Forces), style eagle with out-stretched wings, clutching a wreathed, canted, swastika in it’s talons and Gothic script, "Wehrpaß", to the slightly crinkle textured, mid-weight, grey card stock cover. The cover also has a stapled seam with grey reinforcement tape, the handwritten recipient’s last name initial and the red inkstamped, branch of service, "Heer", (Army), which has been crossed out and replaced with handwritten, "SS", runes. The first internal page has handwritten and inkstamped entries that indicate the recipient registered for military service in, "Eisenstadt", on, "21. Sep. 1938", and the entry has the authorizing signature of a, "Major u. kommandeur", with the appropriate, "Wehrbezirkskommando", (Military Recruiting District Headquarters), inkstamp. The second internal page has a dual inkstamped, signed, black and white photograph of the young recipient dressed up in a nice civilian suit with a dress shirt and a necktie, rivetted in place. Additional registration entries appear to indicate that on registering the individual was deferred from military service in order to fulfill his six month, RAD, Reichs Arbeits Dienst, (National Labor Service), obligatory service. Further entries show that the individual reported to the Military Recruiting District Headquarters in, "Baden b/Wien", on "16. März 1939", was found fit and assigned to "Ersatzreserve I", indicating he was under thirty-five years old, untrained and not called up at that time. Additional entries indicate the individual reported to the Military Recruiting District Headquarters in, "Fürstenfeld", on, "4. 8. 39", and requested to serve with, "Geb, Jäg. Rgt. 139", (139TH Mountain Infantry Regiment). Finally on, "3. 11. 1939", the individual returned to a recruiting office, was found fit for combat duty and assigned to, "Geb. Nachr. Ers. Kp. 3 Graz", 3RD Mountain Signals Replacement Company at Graz. Interestingly a couple of entries indicate the individual was released from active military service on, "29. 2. 1940", at the Military Reporting Office in "Oberwart" and reassigned to "Reserve II", indicating he was under thirty-five years old and partially trained. Other entries indicate the individual returned to active military service on, "20. 1. 42" and served in four assorted mountain units including a, "Genesenden-Kompanie", (Convalescent Company), up until, "12. 4. 43", before transferring to serve with, "3./I. {fe} SS-Nachr.Ers. Rgt.", (3RD Company, SS-Infantry Telephone Signals Replacement Regiment). Additional unit service entries indicate the individual served in six assorted SS Signals units including a, "Stammkompanie", (Cadre Company), and a, "Dolm. Ausb. u. Ers. Kp. d. W-SS", (Interpreter’s Training and Replacement Company of the Armed-SS). Training entries indicate the individual received instruction with the, "Kar. 98k, (98k Carbine), the, "tschech. Kar. 24", (Czechoslovakian model 24 Carbine), and another illegible weapon. Promotional entries indicate the individual was promoted to the rank of, "Gefreiter", on, "1. 11. 42", to the rank of, "SS-Sturmmann", on, "21. 4. 43", and to the rank of, "SS-Rottenführer", on, "20. 4. 1944". Active service entries indicate the individual participated in the campaign in Russia beginning on, "18. 3. 44". Other entries include personal statistics, next-of-kin, RAD service and discharge entries, education, fluency in Hungarian, an illegible, specialized, training entry, medical examinations, the individual’s civilian occupation as a "Landwirt", (Farmer) and sabotage and espionage briefings. Another ,seldom encountered, entry indicates the individual was issued a new, Erkennungsmarken, (Identification/Dog Tag), by a, Genesenden-Kompanie, (Convalescent Company). Of Note: Dog tags were issued by the recruit’s original military unit, generally a training unit, with a specific, assigned, personal roster number and unit designation and by regulations the original dog tag was to remain in use by the recruit, even following unit service transfers, until his final release from military service. The exception to the rule was that lost dog tags would be replaced with a new dog tag bearing a new assigned, personal roster number and unit designation determined by the unit the individual was currently serving with at the time. This particular individual may have received a new dog tag after his original release and re-entry into military service. Also Of Note: Assignment to a Genesenden-Kompanie, (Convalescent Company), would seem to indicate the individual suffered from some type of illness or wound although there is no record of either in the Wehrpass. All the entries have the appropriate authorizing signatures and/or inkstamps. The pages show minor age yellowing but are all intact.

GRADE ****                             PRICE $299.00

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