Product Description: This is an unissued, near-mint example of the Waffen-SS Albanian Volunteer Sleeve Shield, as worn by members of the 21. Waffen-Gebirgs-Division der SS “Skanderbeg,” and later Kamfgruppe Skanderbeg. The Skanderbeg units were known for their wartime atrocities. This shield is made out of typical SS black wool badge cloth, and bears a traditional Albanian eagle emblem, machine embroidered in red and black thread. This example was likely removed from the SS clothing warehouse at the Dachau concentration camp in 1945. It has never been stitched to a uniform and shows only extremely faint age toning. A choice example of the Waffen-SS Albanian Volunteer Sleeve Shield.
Historical Description: As German military power stretched across Europe, many people in the occupied countries volunteered to fight for the German cause. Some were ideologues, some were opportunists, some probably “volunteered” because they had no other choice. In some areas, the Germans eagerly sought volunteers; in others, the Germans were less trusting, and the formation of volunteer units proceeded slowly. But by the end of the war, approximately one million foreign volunteers and conscripts were among those who had fought under Hitler. To distinguish these from German troops, and as a mark of distinction, the Germans authorized special insignia for wear by these volunteers. The insignia took the form of a cloth shield, either woven, embroidered, or printed, that was to be sewn on the uniform sleeve. Some of the foreign volunteer shields were used by specific units of the German Army or Waffen-SS. Others were worn by members of a variety of units and even paramilitary organizations. The design of each shield was chosen to represent the wearer’s nationality. Some were as simple as a national flag or colors, others had more complex designs.
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