Maker: Robert Klaas
Product Description: This DRK Red Cross Hewer is a very handsome piece. The reverse of the blade is nicely stamped “GES. GESCHUTZT” just behind the crossguard, indicating a legally protected design. The blade retains lots of original luster, with some typical runner marks and slight greying in places. Behind the grips, on the tang of the blade, is the maker mark of Robert Klaas in Solingen. The original leather blade buffer pad is intact. The handle is attractive, with only a light patina to the metalwork. The scabbard with this Hewer retains a lot of the original black enamel painted finish, with some paint loss in scattered areas. The age and finish of the scabbard tip and throat are a good match for the grip fittings. The scabbard is complete with its original 4 correct screws, which do not look to have been turned. Overall, this DRK Red Cross Hewer is a nice, solid example, that remains in excellent condition.
Historical Description: The German Red Cross (Deutsches Rotes Kreuz, DRK) was given organizational status by the Nazi Party in 1938. As with all official organizations, it fell under the auspices of the NSDAP; the DRK fell under the German Ministry of the Interior. In 1938, a special and unique edged weapon, the “Hauer für Mannschaften” (known to collectors as the Red Cross EM Hewer) was introduced for enlisted personnel of the DRK. It was a blunt-pointed tool, with one cutting edge, and one saw edge on the blade spine. It was intended not only as a dress dagger for ceremonial and formal wear, but as a practical knife for preparing splints, casts and bandages. The purpose of the blunt tip was to avoid violating Geneva Convention prohibitions against medical staff carrying offensive weapons. Unlike most German blades intended for dress purposes, the Red Cross EM Hewer was not a private purchase item but was issued from unit stocks as needed. Officers in the DRK wore a different dagger. Manufacture of the enlisted hewer ceased in 1940.
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