BACKGROUND: In August 1929 the SS, Schutz Staffel, (Protection Squad), incorporated the wear of rank collar tabs on the left side of the collar of the service tunic. The SS collar tabs were originally adopted from the earlier rank collar tabs as utilized by the SA, Sturm Abteilung, (Storm/Assault Detachment). Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler’s obsession with pagan runic symbolism manifested itself in runic emblems used by the SS, the most famous of which was the dual sig-runes used on the right hand side collar tabs as introduced in May 1933. Additional runic style collar tabs were introduced at various times through-out the war. The 36. Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS "Dirlewanger" was originally formed in early 1944 from convicted criminals, primarily poachers, cashiered army personnel and other undesirables as the SS-Regiment "Dirlewanger". The unit evolved into the SS-Sturmbrigade "Dirlewanger" in December 1944 and in February 1945 the unit gained Divisional status and was designated, 36. Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS "Dirlewanger". Although given Divisional status on paper the unit actually never surpassed Brigade strength. The commander of the 36. Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS "Dirlewanger", a decorated WWI veteran, a Freikorps member and a Condor Legion veteran, SS-Oberführer d.R. Dr. Oskar Dirlewanger, was also a convicted child molester who had once been expelled from the SS on a morals charge. Dirlewanger was also highly decorated being a recipient of the German Cross in Gold and the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross. Renown for his brutality, Dirlewanger played a key part in the German atrocities committed during the Warsaw uprising in August 1944. Considered extremely unreliable there were allegedly numerous requests for his dismissal by German army commanders that were ignored. Captured by the western allies Dirlewanger was allegedly killed while in captivity.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Right hand side, unit designation, black wool construction collar tab features machine embroidered, crossed rifles positioned above a horizontal, stick grenade in silvery/grey rayon threads. The collar tab is mounted on a tan buckram backing. The collar tab is in overall excellent, un-issued condition with minimal age toning.

GRADE ****1/2                             PRICE $495.00

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