BACKGROUND: During the Weimar era, (Circa 1919-1933), Germany had independent, local Feuerwehr, (Fire Defence), departments located through-out the country. As with most countries, the German fire departments generally consisted of paid personnel in the cities and larger towns and volunteer personnel in smaller towns and villages. The paid fire department personnel were generally financed by the local political municipal councils. Being independent the fire departments had no uniform standards and uniforms and equipment varied depending on the budget allocated by the local councils. In 1930 the fire departments began to utilize box style belt buckles and although the buckles weren’t standardized they generally featured the traditional fire style helmets and assorted fire equipment including axes, ladders, ropes, etc. In 1934 at an attempt at some sort of standardization new fire department belt buckles were introduced that incorporated the city or state coat-of-arms, although the earlier, Weimar era buckles continued to be used well into the Third Reich era. The buckles were generally utilized on leather belts with the individual fire departments dictating what color leather was used. From observed examples it seems most of the standard box belt buckles of the time ranged in size from roughly, 4.5cm-4.7cm, (roughly 1 3/4"-1 7/8"), tall, to 3.5cm-4cm, (1 3/8"-1 5/8"), tall, although there were numerous other dimensions. Of Note: On June 17TH 1936, Reichsführer-SS, (National Leader of the SS), Heinrich Himmler was appointed to the newly created position of Chef der Deutschen Polizei im Reichsministerium des Innern, (Chief of the German Police in the National Ministry of the Interior), effectively giving him full control of all police agencies within Germany including the independent Berufsfeuerwehren and Feuerwehr, (Professional Fire Departments/ Volunteer Fire Services). In late 1938 the Berufsfeuerwehren and Feuerwehr were re-designated, Feuerlöschpolizei, (Fire Fighting Police), bringing them in to the realm of police services and regulations of May 3RD 1939 detached the individual Feuerlöschpolizei to establish the cadre of the newly forming, FschP. Feuerschutzpolizei, (Fire Protection Police), also under Himmler’s control. Through-out these changes in structure the assorted fire department personnel utilized both the early Weimar style and the later (1934), city or state coat-of-arms style belt buckles.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Roughly, 1 7/8", (4.7cm), tall, early, (Circa 1930-1934), two piece, die stamped, solid nickel/silver construction, fire defence personnel’s box style belt buckle features a smooth base field with a separate, circular, embossed, brass face plate attached to the front center by two, small, solder points, which are visible on the reverse. The circular face plate features a slightly textured, central, circular field with an embossed, stylized fire fighter’s helmet with spike and chinstrap, superimposed over two, crossed, fire axes, all encompassed by a slightly textured, circular, field with the embossed block Latin, script, "Gott Zur Ehr, Dem Nächsten Zur Wehr", (Honor God, Defend Your Neighbors). The script is encircled by both an inner and outer simulated, twisted rope border. The reverse of the buckle has a brazed on, buckle catch and the steel prong bar and brass prongs are all intact. The buckle is in overall good condition with minor age tarnish and a couple of small dings to the face plate. The buckle has no visible manufacturer’s markings.

GRADE ***3/4                                                         PRICE $50.00

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