Strange car symbol and unknown SS-Untersturmführer

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Giovanni59
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Strange car symbol and unknown SS-Untersturmführer

Post by Giovanni59 » 21 Jan 2022 16:22

Hello.
From my photo album of an unknown SS-Hauptstumführer of SS-Gebirgsjäger, or SD, in the Balkans.
The officer uses the car with this strange symbol of a sunflower, does anyone recognize it?
Thanks for the replies.
Giovanni
Hauptf SS.Gebirgsjäger - Pag 26 - foto 71R2 126.jpg
Hauptf SS.Gebirgsjäger - Pag 20 - foto 54R2 103.jpg
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FransN
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Re: Car with this strange symbol

Post by FransN » 21 Jan 2022 22:10

My first reaction would be: Could this be the divisional symbol of the 23.Waffen-Gebirgs-Division-der-SS "Kama" (kroatische Nr. 2), since it looks similar (but not exactly identical to alleged post-war signs for this division?)
But I highly doubt it. Said division existed only between 17.06.1944 and late October 1944. I wonder if it had any vehicles at all. Not to mention with a divisional symbol.
There are not even proven divisional sign vehicle photos shown for its mother division, the 13. W. Geb. Div. d. SS "Handschar" (kroat. Nr. 1)!
Best regards,
Frans

PS If you DO have proven vehicle signs for the 13. (or proven 23.) SS divisions on photo, do let me (us) know!

Best regards,
Frans

Giovanni59
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Re: Car with this strange symbol

Post by Giovanni59 » 21 Jan 2022 23:17

FransN wrote:
21 Jan 2022 22:10
My first reaction would be: Could this be the divisional symbol of the 23.Waffen-Gebirgs-Division-der-SS "Kama" (kroatische Nr. 2), since it looks similar (but not exactly identical to alleged post-war signs for this division?)
But I highly doubt it. Said division existed only between 17.06.1944 and late October 1944. I wonder if it had any vehicles at all. Not to mention with a divisional symbol.
There are not even proven divisional sign vehicle photos shown for its mother division, the 13. W. Geb. Div. d. SS "Handschar" (kroat. Nr. 1)!
Best regards,
Frans

PS If you DO have proven vehicle signs for the 13. (or proven 23.) SS divisions on photo, do let me (us) know!

Best regards,
Frans
Thanks for your answer.
I think it is not the symbol of the 23.Waffen-Gebirgs-Division der SS "Kama", which seems to me to resemble the sun more than the sunflower.
One of my hypotheses is that it is the symbol of Einsatzkommando 2 (EK.2), but I have not found confirmation, and then I am not aware that this unit operated in the Balkans.
In my photos there are no other symbols visible on motor vehicles.

Best regards,
Giovanni

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Ivan Ž.
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Re: Car with this strange symbol

Post by Ivan Ž. » 31 Mar 2022 19:57

Giovanni59 wrote:
21 Jan 2022 16:22
From my photo album of an unknown SS.Hauptstumführer of SS.Gebirgsjäger or SD, in the Balkans. The officer uses the car with this strange symbol of a sunflower, does anyone recognize it?
Giovanni59 wrote:
21 Jan 2022 23:17
One of my hypotheses is that it is the symbol of Einsatzkommando 2 (EK.2), but I have not found confirmation, and then I am not aware that this unit operated in the Balkans.
Hello, Giovanni (and Frans)

There was indeed an Einsatzkommando 2 (EK 2, of the Sipo and SD) operating in the Balkans, more precisely in Bosnia and Herzegovina (and later in Dalmatia), from May 1943 onwards. It was based in Sarajevo and initially had branches in Mostar, Travnik, Tuzla and Višegrad (briefly), and then also in Zenica, Dubrovnik and (since mid-1944) in Brčko. So your hypothesis regarding the car insignia is most likely correct.

The aforementioned unknown SS-Untersturmführer (not SS-Hauptsturmführer), who was previously discussed in the identification thread...
nnUstuf.jpg
... could possibly be Herbert Hrabbi (spelling needs to be checked), who held the same rank and commanded both Mostar and Dubrovnik branches (and, as Giovanni knows, both cities, among many others, were pictured in the unknown officer's album). But again, this is just a possibility, it could have been another EK 2 officer just passing through those cities. Unfortunately, I was unable to find any info on an officer with such a name (also, I don't know why would an EK 2 man wear mountain troops gear and insignia, nor why he wore collar tabs both with and without SS runes).

Source for the EK 2 info: Nemačka obaveštajna služba, Belgrade, 1958, vol. V, pp. 505-519.

Cheers,
Ivan
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steve248
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Re: Strange car symbol and unknown SS-Untersturmführer

Post by steve248 » 01 Apr 2022 20:14

I think the officer in question here is Herbert Hrabie (born 2 Aug 1911, Innsbruck).
Commissioned SS-Ustuf on 30 Jan 1942; promoted SS-Ostuf on 21 June 1944. The photo in his SSO looks very similar. I will see if I can make a digitized version tomorrow - I only have a photocopy of this.

He had been Kriminalkommissar with Stapostelle Innsbruck when posted to Einsatzgruppe D (Sonderkommando 10a) and arrived in the Caucasus in Sept 1942. 1943 retreat to the Pripjet and in "late spring" (späten Frühjahr - possibly April) 1943 transferred to Yugoslavia. First in Belgrade and then with a "few" men to Herzogovina. Conducted the usual SIPO activities and "Partisanenerkundungsaufgaben". In Jan 1944 he says he was transferred to similar duties in Italy; Feb 1945, Leiter Sipo Ast Trento where he served until end of the war.

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Ivan Ž.
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Re: Strange car symbol and unknown SS-Untersturmführer

Post by Ivan Ž. » 01 Apr 2022 20:24

Hello, Steve

Excellent, looking forward to his file photo! So "Hrabie" is the correct spelling :) The mystery man was an avid skier (and ski jumper), likely a Tyrolean, and had definitely spent some time in Belgrade - ending up in Italy. So, everything so far points to Hrabie...

Edit: I've just found in Innsbrucker Nachrichten (various issues, 1928-1939) that Herbert Hrabie was a professional skier and ski jumper :)

Also, his 1946 IMT Nuremberg file can be found here (pp. 156-159).

Cheers,
Ivan

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Re: Strange car symbol and unknown SS-Untersturmführer

Post by steve248 » 02 Apr 2022 15:39

These two photos of Hrabie are from his RuS file - I only have a photocopy. His SSO is only two pages.
Hrabie 002.png
Hrabie 004.png
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Re: Strange car symbol and unknown SS-Untersturmführer

Post by steve248 » 02 Apr 2022 15:45

Hrabie was very active as a skier and Skilehrer in the German Polizei (which included the Schupo, Sipo and SD).
The Stansted Uni source you linked I notice Hrabie said he went to Caucasus in Feb 1942. In fact he did not arrive until Sept 1942 with a "Skikommando" formed of other Sipo/SD skiers assigned to SK 10a (EG D), in Krasnodar in the Kuban. SK 10a then under another skier, Dr Kurt Christmann.

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Ivan Ž.
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Re: Strange car symbol and unknown SS-Untersturmführer

Post by Ivan Ž. » 02 Apr 2022 19:40

Yes, that is the same man without any doubt - the same portrait photos appear in Giovanni's album as well ;)

Thanks very much for the confirming images, Steve. So, the mystery man is indeed Herbert Hrabie (misspelled as "Hrabbi" in the Yugoslav State Security Service book) of Teilkommando Mostar and Dubrovnik (Ragusa) of Einsatzkommando 2 Sarajevo (to which the strange car symbol belonged).

Cheers,
Ivan
Last edited by Ivan Ž. on 02 Apr 2022 19:59, edited 1 time in total.

steve248
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Re: Strange car symbol and unknown SS-Untersturmführer

Post by steve248 » 02 Apr 2022 19:59

Just realized a typo in my message above.
I was obviously confusing Stansted Airport with Stanford University.

Giovanni59
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Re: Strange car symbol and unknown SS-Untersturmführer

Post by Giovanni59 » 02 Apr 2022 23:55

Thank you all for the answers.
Finally some useful news for the searches on my photo album!
I now begin the translation of the German text relating to the person of Herbert Hrabie.
These are the photos of him from my album:
Ustuf SS.Gebirgsjäger - Pag 1 - foto 3R 030.jpg
Ustuf SS.Gebirgsjäger - Pag 1 - foto 2R 029.jpg
Best regards,
Giovanni
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Giovanni59
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Re: Strange car symbol and unknown SS-Untersturmführer

Post by Giovanni59 » 03 Apr 2022 07:28

steve248 wrote:
02 Apr 2022 15:39
These two photos of Hrabie are from his RuS file - I only have a photocopy. His SSO is only two pages.

Hrabie 002.pngHrabie 004.png
Hello.
Thank you for your answer.
I would like to ask you what "RuS file" and "SSO" mean.
Thank you.
Giovanni

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Re: Strange car symbol and unknown SS-Untersturmführer

Post by steve248 » 03 Apr 2022 15:10

RuS = Rasse und Siedlungs SS application form to get married

SSO = SS-Officer file

These are Bundesarchiv Berlin and US National Archives microfilm series; only Berlin has the paper copies as well. Both archives use the original microfilm series established by the US Army when it microfilmed the paper copies.
A3343-SS- roll number for the SS files; A3343-RS- roll number for the RuS files

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Ivan Ž.
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Re: Strange car symbol and unknown SS-Untersturmführer

Post by Ivan Ž. » 03 Apr 2022 15:17

More on Hrabie and his branches, from the aforementioned Yugoslav State Security Service's (Uprava državne bezbednosti) excellent book Nemačka obaveštajna služba, pp. 515-516 (transl. I. Ž.)
A TK [Teilkommando] was formed in Mostar in May 1943. It consisted of a commander with an officer's rank and several NCOs, and it performed both executive and intelligence work. The support personnel consisted of ethnic Germans [Volksdeutsche], while part of the guards, chauffeurs etc. were recruited in Mostar itself. From May to November 1943, the chief of the TK was SS-Untersturmführer Herbert Hrabie, who for a while also led, besides TK Mostar, TK Dubrovnik. Since Hrabie often travelled between the two places, acting for him in Mostar was SS-Untersturmführer Ludwig Reiter. In the spring of 1944, the TK was taken over by SS-Untersturmführer Meier [check spelling], who was previously the chief of motorisation of EK [Einsatzkommando] 2. He was withdrawn in the autumn of the same year, and the duties of the TK chief were taken over by SS NCO Walter Doering [check spelling], until sometime later when SS-Untersturmführer Leopold Bader, former deputy chief of EK 5, was transferred from Split to Mostar. The latter led TK Mostar until the retreat, in late October 1944.

Due to the relatively small personnel, TK Mostar was not divided into offices [Ämter]. The jobs were assigned to individual members, and the work according to the needs and specific circumstances.

The tasks and work direction of TK Mostar were identical to those performed by other branches of the Sipo and SD in the territory of Bosnia. It mostly worked against the NOP [People's Liberation Movement], according to which the agent network was formed. Particularly active in the creation of the intelligence network was TK member SS NCO Willi Sawotny [check spelling], who supervised most of the agents. The reports submitted by TK Mostar were not much valued by EK 2 due to their rather poor quality. They included data on NOV [People's Liberation Army] actions, various demolitions and sabotages, and general circumstances. Known are about 30 members of the agent network that the TK formed in Mostar and its near and distant surroundings.

TK Dubrovnik was formed after the capitulation of Italy, by deploying a certain number of members of EK 2. The Teilkommando was organised by the chief of TK Mostar, SS-Untersturmführer Hrabie. In early 1944, he was replaced as the chief of TK Dubrovnik by SS-Obersturmführer August Zollner, who led the TK until the retreat from Dubrovnik, in September 1944. Since Hrabie, until Zollner's appointment, also simultaneously led TK Mostar, acting for him in Dubrovnik, while he was in Mostar, was SS NCO Kynzel [check spelling].

TK Dubrovnik had an extensive intelligence network, which, however, was well-concealed, so little is known about it. The chief of EK 2, SS-Obersturmbannführer [Dr Anton] Fest, considered the Dubrovnik TK to be among the best in terms of intelligence work. [...]
Note: there's more on TK Dubrovnik in the book, but there's no more mention of Hrabie.
Last edited by Ivan Ž. on 03 Apr 2022 16:52, edited 1 time in total.

Giovanni59
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Re: Strange car symbol and unknown SS-Untersturmführer

Post by Giovanni59 » 03 Apr 2022 15:24

Many thanks to both of you.
Best regards,
Giovanni

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