Manufacturer: RL2-38/28 (Paul Diener, Dresden)
Product Description: This is a fantastic example of an original WWII Luftschutz gladiator helmet. These helmets were worn by air raid wardens and by teams tasked with extinguishing fires and rescuing survivors after air raids. The exterior of the helmet retains 98 percent of the original smooth, semi-gloss finish dark blue paint. The “Luftschutz” winged swastika decal on the front is also incredibly well preserved and 98 percent intact, with very minor age toning. The interior of this Luftschutz gladiator helmet is also in excellent condition. The three pad, civil type liner shows only minor wear. The original, integral black leather friction buckle type chin strap is complete and intact. The outer rim of the helmet shows typical edge wear to the paint. The rear inner skirt is stamped RL2-38/28 indicating manufacture by Paul Diener, in Dresden. There is also a nice original decal in the rear skirt confirming that the helmet meets Luftschutz regulations. The decal lists the liner size, 57, as well as the highest authorized sale price- 8 Reichsmarks, which was about $280 in today’s US dollars. These helmets in this condition are getting much harder to find. This is a top shelf example of the Luftschutz gladiator helmet.
Historical Description: German political and civil authorities began preparing for Allied air raids even before WWII started. The Reichs-Luftschutz-Bund (RLB), under the auspices of the German Luftwaffe, was the primary organization responsible for air raid protection and readiness. Shelters were constructed all over the German Reich, and civilians were issued gas masks. Members of the RLB wore many different kinds of uniforms and equipment, from fine regalia used in parades to work coveralls and protective equipment and gear for firefighting. After the outbreak of the war, the role of the Luftschutz was expanded, and other organizations were brought under the Luftschutz umbrella, including the Luftschutz-Warndienst, Luftschutzpolizei, and the Sicherheits- und Hilfsdienst. The men and women of the Luftschutz were tasked with extinguishing fires caused by incendiary bombs, often with nothing more than buckets of sand or water with hand pups. They maintained order in air raid bunkers and provided first aid to those injured in the bombings. In the day and night raids on the bombed-out cities, and even during the horrific firestorms that took the lives of thousands, the Luftschutz were on duty.
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