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: 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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