Maker: Erha, Wuppertal
Product Description: This RLB EM Armband is a great example of the type of armband used early on by all members of the German national air raid defense league. It is made of royal blue cotton, with a Bevo machine woven RLB organizational emblem in the form of the stylized letters RLB on a starburst, over a Nazi swastika. The colors are strong. The upper and lower edges of this armband have finished, woven edges, as is typical for Bevo armbands. This one is stitched together in the back, as worn. Near the reverse seam, the manufacturer name is woven into the fabric: “Erha-Wuppertal.” It is also marked “Ges. Gesch.” indicating a legally trademarked design. This RLB EM armband is in excellent condition, with only minor age toning, and some extremely light soiling that is likely from wear. It’s a desirable, maker marked example of this quintessential item of Luftschutz regalia.
Historical Description: Nearly every military, civil, political and paramilitary organization in existence during the Third Reich used armbands. Armbands were worn on military and civilian uniforms and also on civilian clothes, from suit jackets to work clothing. They were used to denote membership in organizations, to indicate a specific role or function of the bearer, and as insignia of rank. Many organizations would change the design of their armbands over time, which added to the variety produced. These were manufactured in countless variations, ranging from simple printed bands to elaborately hand-embroidered pieces of the highest quality. Some Nazi armbands were worn by all members of large organizations and were made by the millions. Others were intended for use at a specific time and place and were unique. Many types were made in very limited numbers. Some bore metal insignia or special identifiers that indicated the wearer’s rank, unit affiliation, or nationality. Armbands were sometimes but not always marked with ink stamps by the issuing authorities.
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