Product Description: This Albanian SS Volunteer Sleeve Shield is a choice, unissued example. This sleeve insignia was intended for wear by Albanian volunteers in the Waffen-SS, including those serving in the 21. Waffen-Gebirgs-Division der SS “Skanderbeg,” and later Kampfgruppe Skanderbeg, units with fairly extensive accusations of wartime atrocities. This is a textbook, factory made shield, machine embroidered on a backing of typical black SS wool badge cloth. The backing fabric shows only extremely slight fraying to the edges, and has a visible, fairly coarse weave. The embroidery is virtually perfect, and depicts a traditional Albanian eagle emblem, nicely executed in red and black thread. The original colors remain as strong as the day this was made. The reverse of this Albanian SS Volunteer Sleeve Shield shows the expected off-white bobbin thread. Most surviving examples of this shield were removed from the SS clothing warehouse at the Dachau concentration camp in 1945. This example is typical of these Dachau finds, with no stitch holes or other traces of ever having been worn on a uniform sleeve. This patch is virtually pristine, with only extremely minimal age toning, and no damage. It’s got great visual appeal, and remains in outstanding, near mint condition.
Historical Description: As German military power stretched across Europe, many people in the occupied countries volunteered to fight for the German cause. Some were ideologues, some were opportunists, some probably “volunteered” because they had no other choice. In some areas, the Germans eagerly sought volunteers; in others, the Germans were less trusting, and the formation of volunteer units proceeded slowly. But by the end of the war, approximately one million foreign volunteers and conscripts were among those who had fought under Hitler. To distinguish these from German troops, and as a mark of distinction, the Germans authorized special insignia for wear by these volunteers. The insignia took the form of a cloth shield, either woven, embroidered, or printed, that was to be sewn on the uniform sleeve. Some of the foreign volunteer shields were used by specific units of the German Army or Waffen-SS. Others were worn by members of a variety of units and even paramilitary organizations. The design of each shield was chosen to represent the wearer’s nationality. Some were as simple as a national flag or colors, others had more complex designs.
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