Product Description: This is a scarce 21st Albanian SS Volunteer collar tab. This style of collar tab was intended for wear by men of the 21. Waffen-Gebirgs-Division der SS “Skanderbeg” (albanische Nr. 1),a mountain troop unit formed of foreign volunteers from Albania. After the war, this Division was ruled a criminal organization, for war crimes. The front of this collar tab is emblazoned with a mountain goat emblem that has been neatly machine embroidered in white cotton thread. The body of the tab is made of a typical black wool badge cloth fabric, with a fine weave and slightly fuzzy nap. This wool fabric has been folded around a tan buckram stiffener, with the folded edges of the fabric each having lines of straight machine stitching. This style of construction is known in the collecting community to be typical of the collar tabs found in the warehouses of the concentration camp at Dachau, in Bavaria just outside of Munich. Since the end of the war these tabs have been found predominately in the estates of US veterans, who brought them home from Europe as war souvenirs. This tab does not appear to have ever been issued or used, and shows no signs of wear. There are some very small spots of moth damage, with one on the reverse and also one on the front near the edge, where it looks like the buckram may have been colored to match the wool. This desirable 21st Albanian SS Volunteer collar tab displays great, and is a nice representative example.
Historical Description: Regulations for the SS Collar Tab went through quite an evolution in just a short 16-year period. The first SS Collar Tabs were introduced in 1929 by Heinrich Himmler as part of the newly introduced SS uniform code. Initially, tabs were worn by both lower rank SS men and their senior leaders. Lower ranks would wear a rank tab as well as a numbered unit identification tab, with senior leaders wearing their rank tabs on both collars. In 1933 the well-known “SS” runic tab was adopted by Hitler’s personal bodyguard detachment, the “Leibstandarte” or “LAH”. The LAH used this runic tab in lieu of the numerical unit identification tab to identify them as members of the elite unit protecting the “Führer”. In 1934 the runic “SS” tabs were again adopted for use by the early “SS-VT” units. This adoption eventually led to the widespread use of SS runic tabs by German Divisions; the later non-German volunteer units would not be permitted to wear the runes, and bore their own unit designed patch instead. SS Collar tabs can be found in an extraordinary variety of numbers, designs, and pipings depending on unit and rank, from hand-embroidered tabs worn by officers to mass produced embroidered and machine woven types that were used on combat uniforms.
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