Product Description: This Croatian SS Volunteer shield is a nice, unissued piece. This pattern of sleeve insignia was intended for wear by Croatian volunteers serving in the Waffen-SS. This is a textbook, factory made shield, machine embroidered on a backing of typical black SS wool badge cloth. The backing fabric shows no mothing or other damage, and is completely intact, with all of the original surface nap and only extremely minimal fraying. The outline of this shield is just slightly irregular, which was how it was cut from the sheet. The embroidery on this shield depicts a traditional Croatian red and white checkerboard pattern, in red and white thread. The embroidery is perfect, and the original colors remain strong. The reverse of this Croatian SS Volunteer 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 remnants or any other traces of having been worn. It shows only extremely minimal age toning, and no stains, holes, or damage. This is a choice example, that remains in 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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