Product Description: This 23rd Nederland SS Volunteer Collar Tab is a scarce and very desirable piece of insignia for a foreign volunteer in the Waffen-SS. This pattern of collar tab was worn by men of the 23. SS-Freiwilligen-Panzergrenadier-Division “Nederland” (niederländische Nr. 1), a Division formed of Dutch volunteers. The front of the tab is emblazoned with a runic “Wolfsangel” emblem, a symbol that was believed in ancient times to ward off wolves. The emblem has been neatly machine embroidered in white cotton thread, that shows virtually no age toning. The tab itself is constructed from a typical black badge cloth fabric, that has been folded around a tan buckram backing, with the folded edges held in place on the reverse with white machine stitching. This style of construction is known in the collecting community to have been found in the warehouses at concentration camp Dachau, located in Bavaria, just outside of Munich. Since the end of the war, these tabs have been found predominately in U.S. veterans’ estates after they brought them home from Europe, as war souvenirs. There are no stitch holes on this piece, and no other indication of ever having been affixed to a uniform. It’s textbook in every regard, from the buckram weave to the appearance of the reverse stitching. There are no stains, holes, or damage, and no sign that this tab was ever issued or affixed to a uniform collar. This 23rd Nederland SS Volunteer Collar Tab remains in outstanding, near mint condition.
Historical Description: Collar insignia, in the form of collar tabs (Kragenspiegel) or simple woven Litzen, were very widely used by many German civil, political, military and paramilitary organizations, before and during WWII. In some cases, for example on collar tabs of the Luftwaffe, the collar insignia were rank specific, with devices or rank Tresse that changed as a soldier was promoted. In other cases, such as the pre-1938 Litzen used on enlisted field tunics of the German Army, the collar insignia had no rank identifier, but bore “Waffenfarbe” branch colors that identified a soldier’s unit type. Some German collar insignia were adorned with unit or branch specific metal emblems, while others featured hand or machine embroidery, and still others were made using hand applied wire bullion. Less commonly, collar insignia emblems could be directly applied to the collar itself, rather than being a removable patch. Collar insignia intended for field use was often different from the formal dress insignia used by the same organization. It is no exaggeration to say that many hundreds of different collar patterns were in use during the Third Reich, with some organizations having multiple patterns as regulations changed during the 1933-45 period. Some collar insignia, which was mass produced for large organizations, remains relatively common today, while other insignia types such as those for officers of the highest ranks, or for small organizations, are very scarce.
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