Product Description: This German Gymnastics Association Buckle is a very appealing example of this buckle type. This pattern of belt buckle was worn before and during WWII by members of the German Athletic Association, the “Turnerbund.” It is made of silvered brass, that retains virtually all of the original finish. The front of this buckle bears the Turnerbund cross emblem. This emblem is made up of four “F”s, a reference to the Turnerbund motto “Frisch, Froh, Fromm und Frei” – Fresh, Happy, Pious and Free. It has a light, even patina, with some small and minor marks, and no evident wear. The reverse of this German Gymnastics Association buckle is smooth, with the stamped cross emblem visible in reverse. The brass catch for the belt remains held in place with the original solder. The roller bar and prongs assembly for affixing this to a belt is complete and functional. It’s marked on the catch end with “Ges. Gesch.,” indicating a legally protected design, as well as the maker mark “M & Sohn.” There is a painted number, perhaps a museum accession or inventory number, that we have made no attempt to remove. This buckle remains complete and sound, with no damage or repairs. The condition rates as excellent.
Historical Description: The belt buckle was an important part of the regalia worn by all uniformed military, civil, political, and paramilitary organizations during the Third Reich. The belt (“Koppel”) was part of the uniform and would always be worn while on duty. The belt buckle (“Koppelschloss”) was generally specific to each organization, with many organizations having separate belt buckles for officers and for enlisted personnel, sometimes with different colors and finishes to further denote specific purposes. The buckles were adorned with various mottos and designs specific to the organizations for which they were intended. Many designs used the German national eagle emblem, in a variety of forms. Belt buckles were worn with uniforms ranging from finely tailored officer parade uniforms, to the issue uniforms of enlisted soldiers in combat. Generally speaking, most German belt buckles of the Third Reich were made with two prongs on the reverse, to allow the buckle to be worn and adjusted on a belt. The buckle had a catch that would mate with a hook on the belt, when worn. The earliest Third Reich buckles were often made of brass, or nickel silver. Later, aluminum became very common, and was used on private purchase as well as enlisted buckles of the German military, with or without a painted or plated finish. After WWII began, most enlisted military buckles were steel. Nazi belt buckles were popular souvenirs for Allied troops who served in Europe. Some types were made by the millions and remain quite common today. Others were made in limited numbers and are very rare.
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