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 formation of the 15TH Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS (lettische Nr.1) began in February 1943, with the ranks being filled by Latvian volunteers and conscripts. Due to the non-Germanic status of the Latvians, authorization for wear of the SS runic collar tab was prohibited and personnel of the division originally wore a blank collar tab until March 11TH 1943 when a swastika collar tab, also referred to as the Latvian "Fire Cross", was introduced for wear. In the autumn of 1944 a new collar tab was introduced and the design of the collar tab was based on what was allegedly the first Latvian coat-of-arms and a traditional Latvian army emblem that had been worn during the 1918-1920 wars of liberation. Of Note: The Latvian Fire Cross, (swastika), collar tab continued to be worn by personnel of the 19TH Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS (lettische Nr.2), after the 15TH Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS (lettische Nr.1), adopted the sunburst collar tab.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Black wool construction, 1944 pattern, right hand side, unit designation collar tab featuring a machine embroidered eleven point, sunburst pattern encompassing three stars within a semi-circular border and two downward curved stripes all in silver/grey rayon threads. The collar tab is mounted on a tan buckram backing. Of Note: The three stars on the collar tab are thought to represent the three main regions of Latvia:, Courland, Livland and Lettgallia.

GRADE ****1/2                             PRICE $279.00

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