Product Description: This is an absolutely textbook example of the SS Handschar Collar Tab. These were intended for wear by men of the 13. Waffen-Gebirgs-Division der SS “Handschar,” which was the first non-Germanic SS foreign volunteer division. These men were not authorized wear of the SS runic emblem, and they wore this distinctive collar insignia instead. This is an unissued, late war piece, in the typical “Dachau” construction as found in the SS storehouse at the Dachau camp when it was liberated by US Army forces in 1945. The design of this collar tab features a sword and hand, the divisional emblem of the Handschar, as well as a Nazi swastika. These are embroidered in silver-gray wool on a base of typical SS black wool. On the reverse, the textbook Dachau type coarsely woven tan buckram stiffener is visible. There is some glue on the back, as well as the white stitching common to these Dachau tabs. This unissued SS Handschar Collar Tab is in great condition overall. A very fine representative piece of foreign volunteer insignia.
Historical Description: Regulations for the SS Collar Tab went through quite an evolution in just a short 16 year period. The first SS Collar Tabs were introduced in 1929 by Heinrich Himmler as part of the newly introduced SS uniform code. Initially, tabs were worn by both lower rank SS men and their senior leaders. Lower ranks would wear a rank tab as well as a numbered unit identification tab, with senior leaders wearing their rank tabs on both collars. In 1933 the well known “SS” runic tab was adopted by Hitler’s personal body guard detachment, the “Leibstandarte” or “LAH”. The LAH used this runic tab in lieu of the numerical unit identification tab to identify them as members of the elite unit protecting the “Führer”. In 1934 the runic “SS” tabs were again adopted for use by the early “SS-VT” units. This adoption eventually led to the wide spread use of SS runic tabs by German Divisions; the later non-German volunteer units would not be permitted to wear the runes, and bore their own unit designed patch instead. SS Collar tabs can be found in an extraordinary variety of numbers, designs, and pipings depending on unit and rank, from hand-embroidered tabs worn by officers to mass produced embroidered and machine woven types that were used on combat uniforms.
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