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, Sturmabteilung, (Storm Troops). 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 assorted SS collar tabs remained in usage through-out the war with a couple of minor alterations. The 21ST Waffen-Gebirgs-Division der SS "Skanderbeg", was formed in April 1944 primarily of Albanian Moslems with a cadre of German personnel and was intended to serve in an anti-partisan role in the Balkan region. The division proved to be so troublesome to the Germans, with allegedly over 3,500 desertions within its first two months of formation, that it was disbanded after about six months. The reliable personnel of the division were transferred to the 7TH SS-Freiwilligen-Gerbirgs-Division "Prinz Eugen", to form the SS-Gebirgs-Jäger Regiment 14. Due to the racial makeup of the divisional personnel Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler forbade wear of the SS runes on the collar insignia, and a specially designed collar tab was introduced and produced, although it is unlikely they were ever distributed in any quantity. Of Note: The stylized, Skanderbeg "goats head" helmet emblem utilized on the collar tab may be traced back to the Albanian national hero George Kastrioti, (1403-1468), also known as Iskander Beg or Skanderbeg. Skanderbeg a son of Prince Emathia, was captured by the Turks when he was seven years old, raised as a Muslim, and became a successful General under Sultan Murat II until 1444 when he renounced the Muslim faith, reverted to his Albanian roots and drove the Turks out of Albania. Skanderbeg was able to repel repeated Turkish campaigns and maintain Albania’s independence until his death in 1468.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Black wool construction, right hand side, unit designation collar tab featuring a machine embroidered likeness of the 15TH century goats head, "Skanderbeg" helmet in silvery/grey rayon threads. The collar tab is mounted on a tan buckram backing.

GRADE ****1/2                             PRICE $225.00

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